Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Part I: Tomato Fresh and Dietary Changes

25 Oct

Recently my husband and I have become vegetarians. We are animal lovers and even though we knew the meat industry is cruel and unforgiving, it only just became clear how bad it really is, so we are no longer eating meat. This being said my recipes going forward will be meatless (we do still eat seafood though.)

This summer we had our first garden and it was amazing! So much fun to see the plants grow and produce and then you get to eat it! I am a huge lover of Italian food, so to be able to make sauce with tomatoes and herbs from my own garden was incredibly rewarding. This post will be in 2 parts, this post is the recipe for the homemade sauce and the following post will be for the eggplant rollatini that I made with the sauce.

Now this is truly my recipe so the measurements are not exact, use your best judgement when adding the spices and herbs and adjust to your taste.

Prepping the Tomatoes

Start with about 2 to 3 lbs fresh tomatoes

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Bring to a boil a large pot of water. Cut out the core of the tomatoes, and mark an “X” on the bottom. Have a large bowl of ice water ready to put the tomatoes in after they go into the boiling water. Once the water is boiling place the tomatoes into the boiling water for no more than 60 seconds, then using a slotted spoon put them into the ice water. The skin will come off no problem, just don’t let them sit in the ice water too long or they get soggy.

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Once they are all peeled, cut into quarters and set aside in a bowl. Dice half of a large onion and saute in 2 Tbls of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat until soft. Add 3 cloves minced, fresh garlic and cook till fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook over medium heat using a wooden spoon to break the tomatoes into smaller pieces as they cook. Once they really start to cook down add salt and pepper, fresh thyme, oregano, basil and parsley. I used them straight from our garden, just rinsed and chopped; started with a little bit of each and added more as the sauce cooked until I liked the flavor. Simmer on low for about another hour and half.

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I cooked my sauce for about 2 hours total. It was absolutely delicious. I ended up making it about 3 times this summer, we had lots of tomatoes. We grew heirloom and beefsteak but it looked like we ended with some plum too, I used all 3 in the sauce. If you prefer a thicker richer sauce you can add tomato paste and if you like a little kick you can add some red pepper flakes…no rules in the kitchen, just make sure it tastes good!

The Summer Beet

31 Aug


Once again I am writing about doing something I’ve never done in the kitchen before, roast beets. I just love beets, that earthy sweet flavor that is packed with goodness. Beets are something that I order when I eat out but have never made them at home. I saw them at the farmer’s market and decided I would give it whirl.IMG_6370

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Cut off greens and the little pointy tip off the beets, scrub well. Coat lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place beets on baking sheet and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in the oven for 1 hour. To test for doneness a fork should pierce it smoothly, if not cook for another 15 minutes or so, it should not take more than 1 1/2 hours.

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Remove top cover of aluminum foil and let cool. When cool enough to handle you can peel the skin right off. It is a bit messy so you may want to use rubber gloves.  The beets are now ready to use!

I decided to make a salad with mine that I served with chicken breast, absolutely delicious, low-fat, low-carb and nutritious.

3 medium beets, chopped

4 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 Tbs minced red onion

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs white wine vinegar

1 Tbs honey

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

Place spinach and beets in a large bowl. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey and red onions. Pour over spinach and beets, toss to combine. Top with goat cheese. And enjoy!

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Summer Veggie Lasagna

20 Jul

Lasagna is comfort food which usually means winter, it is cheesy, hot and gooey. Well, this is my vegetable lasagna made from lots of summer veggies, because sometimes you need that ooey, gooey, comfort food in the summer. And I know most vegetable lasagna is made with a white sauce but I make mine just like the traditional with a red sauce and it is delicious!

Homemade sauce with fresh from the garden herbs!

Homemade sauce with fresh from the garden herbs!

Sauce:

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs freshly chopped parsley

1 Tbs freshly chopped basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan over medium heat add olive oil and chopped onions, cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, salt and pepper, stir until combined. Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer and cook for another 30 minutes. While the sauce cooks you can get the vegetables ready and cook the lasagna noodles.

Noodles:

10 lasagna noodles (I cook one extra just in case…)

Olive oil

Bring large pot of water to a boil, add about 1 Tbs olive oil and add noodles, cook according to package directions, you will want them to be al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Cooking up the veggies.

Cooking up the veggies.

Vegetables:

1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes

1 large yellow squash, cut into small cubes

1 8 oz container baby bella mushrooms, cut into small cubes

1/2 bag baby spinach

1 Tbs olive oil

*You can also add some red or green peppers if you like that flavor.

Heat olive oil in large saute pan, add zucchini, yellow squash and cook for about 4 minutes then add mushrooms. Cook vegetables till soft and tender. The vegetables will release quite a bit of liquid, drain this so that the lasagna isn’t too watery. When the vegetables are cooked and drained add them to the sauce.

To assemble the lasagna you will need:

1 16 oz block of mozzarella, sliced thinly

1 8 oz container ricotta cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9″ x 13″ pan cover the bottom of the pan in thin layer of sauce, place 3 noodles length wise in the pan and cover with the vegetable sauce, add a layer of baby spinach, spoon ricotta cheese over the spinach and then the mozzarella cheese, repeat. You will have 3 layers of noodles with the top being the mozzarella cheese.

Cover with tin foil and place in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until slightly browned. Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread…you’re all set. Enjoy!

Finished product...I left it in the oven just a tad too long.

Finished product…I left it in the oven just a tad too long.

 

Not your Momma’s 7 Layer Dip

15 Jul

Who doesn’t love 7 layer dip? Well, here’s a Greek version and not only is it super tasty, it is also kinda healthy. I made it this past weekend for a small gathering and it was huge hit (there was nothing left). You can serve it with pita chips, warmed pita bread cut into triangles or bagel chips. Stacy’s actually makes a new pita crisp that I happen to love because it is thinner and lighter than the regular pita chips. Vegetables are good too, especially if you or your guests are gluten free.

I dip, you dip...we dip!

I dip, you dip…we dip!

I adapted this from SkinnyTaste.com. There are just a few changes, the first one being she makes hers in a 9″ x 13″ Pyrex pan, not to insult her but I happen to like to serve in a prettier way so I made mine in a white ceramic serving dish. Secondly, I beefed up the amount of hummus and greek yogurt to make it more substantial, 8 oz seemed to spread out too thin. Give it whirl and let me know what think!

1 1/2 cups hummus

1 1/2 cups plain low-fat or no fat Greek yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp fresh chopped dill

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Pinch of Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp finely chopped red onion

1 cup chopped English or regular cucumber (seeded)

1 cup seeded, chopped tomato

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped

In a small bowl combine yogurt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.

In the dish of your choice, spread the hummus as the first layer, then the greek yogurt mixture, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, feta and lastly the olives.

Super easy, super tasty and good for you!

*The dish should be 1.5 or 2 quarts.

Summer Fresh Veggie Pasta

27 Jun

I love pasta. I love artichokes and asparagus. If you love all of those things then you will love this dish! It is great summertime dish that is quick and easy. The freshness of the lemon and crisp summer vegetables are just delicious in the light cream sauce.

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8 ounces of your favorite pasta-cooked according to package directions

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed, cut in half

1 Bundle asparagus, sliced into small pieces

1 Tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 or 2 cloves of garlic, depends on your taste for garlic

2 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons flour

1 cup milk, I used 2% but you can use whatever you prefer

Salt and pepper to taste

Shaved parmesan cheese

Put olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add asparagus and lemon juice, cook for about 5 minutes and then add artichoke hearts. Cook together for about another 4 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a bowl and set aside.

Add butter to pan and melt, add garlic to melted butter. Saute until garlic is fragrant. Add flour and stir, the mixture will thicken. Slowly add milk and keep stirring until the mixture becomes smooth. Add drained pasta and stir to coat. Stir in vegetables and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with grated parmesan cheese, lemon slice and enjoy!

One Last Soup before Spring…

20 Mar

So, I sit here writing this on the first day of Spring and it is snowing out. When will it end? Hopefully soon but until it does, let’s eat soup. This recipe is a copy cat recipe of Olive Garden’s famous Pasta e Fagioli, meaning “pasta and beans”, it is traditionally a meatless Italian dish however this recipe adds ground beef but I stuck with tradition and left the meat out, which makes this a great meal for meatless Mondays. This is easy, healthy and makes a great meal, definitely give a whirl!

Pasta e Fagioli with shaved parmesan cheese-buon appetito!

Pasta e Fagioli with shaved parmesan cheese-buon appetito!

Ingredients:

1 lb ground beef* (I omitted)

2 tbsp olive oil (if not using meat)

1 small onion

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced

28oz can crushed tomatoes

15oz can tomato sauce

15oz can beef broth (vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian)**you may want more depending on how you like it

15oz can kidney beans (with liquid)

15oz can great northern beans (with liquid)

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1/2 tsp pepper

8oz ditalini pasta

*with the salt, pepper and dried herbs-increase or decrease depending on taste

Heat olive oil large dutch oven or pot, add carrots, celery, onion and sauté for about 10 minutes then add minced garlic. Saute for a few more minutes until garlic becomes fragrant.

Add remaining ingredients, except the pasta and simmer for 1 hour.

You may want to add more broth at this point depending on how you like it.

About 15 minutes before the hour is up, boil water for pasta and cook pasta for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. Now, a tip from a friend is: to not add the pasta to the soup…add it as you eat it so that it doesn’t blow up in the soup and absorb all the liquid. This was great advice. I kept mine in storage container and added as we ate it. Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and warm, crusty bread; delicious!

*If you would like to do the meat version the first thing you do is cook the ground beef until browned, drain the grease. Set browned ground beef aside and cook veggies as above in same pot, when veggies are ready, add ground beef back into pot and follow the recipe from there. Enjoy!

 

 

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