Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

I have few recipes planned for sweet potatoes coming up. I've always liked them and I've seen a lot of recipes using them, and I've also seen them more often at restaurants recently. It seems to be a growing trend I'm really glad to see happening. This recipe I saw on the blog how sweet it is. I thought this was good because it is a side dish that I could easily adjust to make just one. I only made one potato, but I made enough cinnamon sugar and topping for four and put the extra in the refrigerator, it could easily be used to make this recipe again.

4 sweet potatoes

For the cinnamon sugar:
-1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
-1 tablespoons brown sugar
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon salt

For the topping:
-2/3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
-2/3 cups brown sugar
-2 tablespoons flour
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

Slice the sweet potato, a bit more than 1/2 way through,
and make each slice about 1/4 of an inch apart.
Mix together the ingredients for the cinnamon sugar.
Use a knife to put a small amount in about every other slot.
Mix together the ingredients for the oatmeal topping.
Spread some of the topping on the potato.
Bake at 375 for about an hour.
Halfway though I put a piece of foil on top.

I like that this was a way to jazz up a baked sweet potato. The oatmeal topping was a really good combination with the sweet potato. I had never eaten the skin with a sweet potato before though, I'm not sure I really liked it. Next time I might peel the potato first.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tortilla Soup

Happy Soup Wednesday! I love a good tortilla soup, it's also usually really easy to find a vegetarian version in a restaurant which is always a plus. This recipe comes from the Cooking Photographer and is vegan. However, you can add any toppings you'd like, mine's not vegan because I added cheese and sour cream.

Check out the past Soup Wednesday posts:
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6
Week 5
Week 4
Week 3
Week 2
Week 1

-2 tablespoons ground cumin

-2 teaspoons sweet paprika

-2 teaspoons chili powder

-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

-1 teaspoon coriander
-1 1/2 teaspoons salt
-1/2 teaspoon black pepper
-3 tablespoons light colored oil
-1 large onion, diced
-1 green bell pepper, diced
-1 red bell pepper, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 (4 ounce) can diced mild green chiles, drained
-2 (10 ounce) cans RoTel Diced Tomatoes with Lime & Cilantro 

-1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
-2 (32 ounce) containers Swanson Organic Vegetable Broth

-2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
-Juice of 1/2 a lime
Prep the veggies.
In a bowl, mix the seasonings.
Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and peppers and cook until softened.

Add the garlic and spices, cook for two minutes.
Add the tomatoes, green chilies and corn.  
Add in the vegetable broth, cook until heated.
Then add the black beans about two minutes before serving.
Add desired toppings. 

I have a confession to make...even though I cook often I still make some serious mistakes. This soup was delicious, there was nothing wrong with the recipe, but somewhere along the way I mis-measured some of the spice and my soup was so spicy it could barley be eaten. And I'm not a wimp when it comes to spicy food, but I really couldn't handle the soup that I made. What I could taste through the spicy onslaught was really great, if you check this out and manage not to over season (and I'm sure you won't make my mistake) leave me a comment and let me know how it went!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Confetti Macaroni and Cheese

I love macaroni and cheese, but I've been working on trying to make some of my recipes a little more healthy, this confetti macaroni and cheese is from the blog Peas and Crayons. I used whole wheat pasta because for the diet I am currently on that counts as "better" for me than regular pasta, I know there are a lot of people on gluten free diets thought -- feel free to use whatever type of pasta you'd like. This recipe would also look great with small shells. 

Other Mac & Cheese Recipes from Vegetarian & Cooking!:
Spicy Macaroni & Cheese
Mac & Cheese Stuffed Peppers
Tomato Soup Mac & Cheese
Mac & Cheese Pizza
Grilled Mac & Cheese Sandwich
Panera Mac & Cheese

-12 oz uncooked pasta, elbow macaroni or other small shape (about 3 cups)
-1/8 tsp table salt, for pasta cooking water
-2 cup(s) fat-free skim milk
-1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
-3/4 tsp table salt
-3/4 tsp onion powder
-1 cup(s) low-fat shredded Cheddar cheese, sharp-variety
-1/8 tsp hot pepper sauce, or more to taste
-Any vegetables you'd like to use -- I used carrots, broccoli and green onion

Follow this recipe to make the macaroni and cheese, Easy Macaroni and Cheese. This is the recipe that I always use to make homemade macaroni and cheese, it's super easy. You can use any recipe you'd like to or you can even use pre-packaged macaroni and cheese and add the cooked vegetables later.

Cut up the vegetables into small pieces.
Boil a large pot of water, I cooked the veggies and the pasta in the same pot for 5-6 minutes.

Combine the sauce from the stove with the macaroni/vegetable, stir in the cheese and hot pepper sauce. Server warm with salt, pepper and cayenne.

This recipe was great. I love macaroni and cheese and this was a great way to sneak in some vegetables because the main flavor is the cheese. I don't have any children, but J. is a really picky eater and I think this would be a great way to get some extra vegetables into a meal for both of us. You can add as many vegetables as you'd like and you can add whichever kind you like. Whenever I make macaroni and cheese I will be adding more vegetables. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kale Rigatoni Bake

I saw this recipe on foodgawker from a stack of dishes. It was originally a coral rigatoni, each rigatoni was stuffed with cheese and kale and stood up in the pan. I thought we would be ambitious and try this, but it didn't quite work out, so we adapted it to just be a rigatoni bake and it still turned out just fine.

This makes about 4-5 servings.
-1/2 pound rigatoni
-8 oz fat free ricotta
-8 oz part skim ricotta
-1 Tbsp olive oil
-garlic clove
-1/2 onion
-1/2 pound kale
-1 egg
-1 cup grated asiago
-about 2 cups bechemel sauce (Check out this post to see how to make bechemel).

Heat olive oil in pan, saute garlic and onions until softened.
Chop the kale into small pieces and add to the pan, cook for a few minutes.
Mix the kale with the egg and ricotta.

Meanwhile, start boiling the rigatoni, cook it half way.
Make the bechemel sauce as well.

Spread the bechemel sauce on the bottom of an 8x8 pan.
We tried standing the rigatoni up, but they are tough to fill,
but just be sure to add them all to the pan and spread the
cheese and kale mixture between the noodles.
Top with grated asiago cheese.
Bake at 375 until the top is golden.
Top with red pepper if desired. 
Even though this didn't turn out quite how we expected, it was still really good. The ricotta and kale went together well. A little red pepper on top gave this a little something extra, and gave it a nice color. If you're looking to make an effective kale coral rigatoni, I would suggest pureeing the kale in the blender before mixing it with the ricotta, of course hindsight is 20/20. This recipe is delicious nevertheless, but the coral rigatoni presentation would look beautiful.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Vegetarian Croque-Monsieur

In high school I took four years of French and my taste buds were constantly tantalized by the wide variety of textures and tastes available in French food. Enter the croque-monsieur. This sandwich is a delectable version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, but since this is a vegetarian blog and I don't eat ham, I decided to tackle this recipe vegetarian style. You can find the original post at Not a Leaf.

-2 tablespoons butter, plus another tablespoon to spread on the bread
-1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
-1 cup milk (I used nonfat)
-1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese, grated
-1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper each
-4 slices French loaf
-4-6 oz. Gruyere cheese (cut into slices, and some grated)
-1 tomato, thinly sliced
-2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Slice the bread and tomato, grate the cheese.
Melt the butter.
Stir in the flour and stir for thirty seconds.
Add the milk and stir until the mixture thickens and forms a sauce.
In a large skillet build sandwiches, butter on the skillet side of the bread.
Spread mustard on all sandwiches. 
Top with cheese.
Add tomato, top with more cheese and a slice of buttered bread.
You don't want to cook the sandwiches all the way, but you want to get the sandwiches crisp.
Place the sandwiches on a lined baking sheet.
Top with the beschamel sauce.
Bake for 5-10 minutes.
Broil for 3-5 minutes with the oven door open.
Broil the sandwiches with the door opened until the top is golden brown.

This sandwich was so tasty, this is the food that dreams are made of. There is cheese on the inside, there is cheese on the outside, it was crunchy, chewy and cheesy all at the same time. This recipe was so awesome. If you get a chance make this sandwich and you will not be disappointed. This is one of my favorite blogs now.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Key Lime Cheesecake Cupcakes

This is a recipe I saw on pinterest had to make. The original recipe is from tablespoon.

-lemon cake mix
-oil (both according to the package directions)
-juice from 1/2 a lime
-lime gelatin **
-small store bought cheesecake

-cream cheese frosting (about half a tub)
-key lime yogurt (about half a small container)
-1 Tbsp powdered sugar
-1 tsp lime juice

** Note from Alecia: Gelatin isn't vegetarian, margarita mix is a great way to get the lime flavor, just add a little green food coloring to make the cupcakes green. You can find my margarita cake recipe which uses that trick here.

Mix the lemon cake mix according to the package directions.
Add in the lime juice and gelatin.
The original recipe said you could add some green food coloring,
but my batter was pretty green, and the finished cupcakes had
a perfect color just from the gelatin without adding anything.
Fill a the cupcake liners about 1/3 of the way.
Spoon out a small piece of the cheesecake into each cupcake.
Fill the rest of the way with the batter.
Mine didn't really get any bigger when they cooked, so fill
them generously.
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes.
This makes 24 cupcakes, but I ran out of liners so I had a few less.
Mix the frosting, yogurt, powdered sugar and a little bit of lime juice.
Once the cupcakes cool top them with frosting.
I garnished with a small slice of the lime and some lime zest.

Everyone I shared this with really liked it, it was definitely a hit, and it was without a doubt the best cupcake I've ever made. The lemon and lime makes the cupcake taste a little lighter, not overly sweet. I really liked the green in the cupcake, it really made it something different. Everyone also agreed that the best part of this cupcake was definitely the yogurt frosting.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Caprese Bites

I love pizza and this recipe is a great way to get those classic flavors into an appetizer. The original blog called for using empanada wrappers as the crust, but they don't sell at any of the grocery stores that I go to so I used phyllo dough instead.

-Phyllo dough, 5 sheets stacked, cut into 12 squares.
-3 small tomatoes, chopped
-6 oz. mozzarella cheese, diced
-10 basil leaves, chiffonade [thinly sliced]
-kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Spray the holes of a muffin tin lightly with cooking spray.
Cut small squares of phyllo dough and layer them into the muffin tin.
I used five layers per caprese bite.
Fill with tomato and cheese.
Top with basil.
Bake at 15 minutes for 350.
I thought these were really good! My mom thought there was too much basil in each and I think next time  would put the basil on the side so that it could be applied to the bites to taste, rather than just adding it in myself. These are the perfect size for an appetizer and not too bad for you either.