Tuesday, December 31, 2013

10 Most Popular Blogs of 2013

Instead of posting a new recipe, to wind down the year we like to post a review of our most popular blogs of the year. Enjoy this review and check back tomorrow for a new post! Happy New Year's Eve to everyone, have a great and safe evening. Cheers!

10 Most Popular Blogs of 2012

1.) Tortellini Bake, this blog from May 2013 is by far our most popular blog, we see it pinned everywhere! If you haven't made it yet, you should check it out, incredibly easy and delicious comfort food. 

2.) Hocus Pocus Buns, from July 2012 is another favorite. If you're looking for something easy to make, you most likely have most of the ingredients.

3.) Spiked Hot Caramel Apple Cider, an easy adults-only beverage from October 2013 which became popular on Pinterest. We made ours in the crock pot, but you could easily heat this up on the stove top. 

4.) Truffle Mac and Cheese, also from May 2013, this mac and cheese was our first decadent recipe using truffle oil. Although we didn't love it, we're starting to get a lot better at nuancing the strong flavor of truffle.  

5.) Football Cupcakes, from December 2013 became super popular on Pinterest due to football season. You can easily change the colors to customize the cupcakes for your team or to create a cupcake football field with colored end zones.

6.) Mexican Corn, from November 2013, four ingredients and incredibly easy. A great side dish for taco night or fajita night! 

7.) Slow Cooker Spinach Artichoke Dip, from November 2013, is a fantastic appetizer that is made in the 1.5 quart crock pot. This was a hit with my picky boyfriend and with Becky's parents.

8.) S'mores Cake, from February 2013, this cake recipe marked the 1 year blog-iversarry of us creating Vegetarian & Cooking! featured on both Tastespotting and The Berry (check out the Milestones tab above for details) this cake is perfect for any occasion. This was also a special project we worked on with my friend Kayla, we've done many collaborations with her since then, check out her work here.

9.) Baked Avocado, from April 2013, eight ingredients (most of which you already have) and less than ten minutes to put together. This recipe is perfect for busy week nights.

10.) Olive Garden Five Cheese Ziti Copy Recipe, from December 2012, this is one of my favorite recipes, I always order this dinner whenever we go to Olive Garden and this recipe was almost an exact replica.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Chestnut Chocolate and Hazelnut Cannoli

I've seen a ton of cannoli recipes on pinterest, but I've never made cannolis before. So I bought some cannoli maker tubes, they were really cheap, so that I could try them out. This was the first attempt, I'm sure there will be many more to come.

This recipe comes from Baking Obsession.

For the cannoli shells:
-2 cups flour
-2 tbsp sugar
-1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
-½ tsp ground cinnamon
-½ tsp salt
-3 tbsp vegetable or olive oil
-1 tsp  white wine vinegar
-1/2 cup red wine 
-1 egg white
-Vegetable oil for frying
-1/2 cup toasted, chopped hazelnuts
-Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

For the chestnut filling:
-8 oz unsweetened chestnut puree
-¼ cup fine granulated sugar
-1/8 tsp salt
-8 oz ricotta cheese
-8 oz mascarpone cheese
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-2 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
-2 oz toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Use a wooden spoon to mix together the shell ingredients. Knead on a floured surface. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Roll out the dough, and cut it so it fits on the cannoli tubes. The original recipe suggested rolling into ovals first I had a lot of trouble with this, I kind of just smooshed them on the tube until it fit, but they got really uneven.This is the part I'll need to work on when I try these again.

Deep fry at 360, for about 2 minutes. When they cool a bit, slide them off the tubes.

Mix the filling. We used a plastic bag to pipe the filling
into the cannoli.
Fill and serve immediately.

The filling we made tasted really good. I thought the shell tasted good too. I would recommend this recipe. I just need to work on making them look a little better, but I think more practice, or possibly using the pasta maker to roll the dough next time will help with that.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Baked French Toast Muffins

This recipe is so easy it will be an instant favorite for holidays or for a quick birthday breakfast. Almost all of the preparation is done the night before and everything that is done before baking is incredibly easy.

Recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod.

-1 loaf French bread, cut or torn into 1/2 inch cubes (about 12 cups of bread)
-2 1/2 cups milk
-6 large eggs
-1/2 cup granulated sugar
-1 tablespoon vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cinnamon Streusel Topping:
-1/4 cup cold butter
-1/4 cup light brown sugar
-1/4 cup all-purpose Gold Medal flour
-1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-Pinch of salt

To make the muffins, combine all of the ingredients except for the steusel ingredients in a large bowl, stir to make sure the bread cubes are coated. Scoop into a greased muffin tin until all cups are full. Refrigerate overnight.

When you're ready to serve combine all of the streusel ingredients to form a crumble. 

Top the muffins with the streusel.
Then bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Serve with butter and syrup.

The top of these muffins got incredibly crunchy while the bottom stayed soft. The cinnamon sugar flavor was delicious. J. and my dad really liked these, they both at three. I thought they were filling and only had one for breakfast. I would make these again, this is a good way to use leftover bread (just scale down the recipe!).

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Asparagus Walnut Salad

I liked this idea because it was simple, it would be something to have as a side if you were already spending time on the main dish, but want to dress up your vegetable side a bit. The flavor was a little vinegar-y for me, but I think the way they looked on the plate made up for it.

I have walnut oil that I used before (you can check it out here, it was actually used in the first Vegetarian and Cooking blog post) but I think you could easily substitute vegetable or olive oil though.

This recipe is from Emeril.

-1 bunch asparagus
-1/4 cup white wine vinegar
-1 tablespoon minced shallot
-2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
-3/4 teaspoons salt
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/4 cup walnut oil
-salt and pepper
-1/3 cup toasted, chopped walnuts

Steam your asparagus until it is cooked.
Whisk together all the ingredients, stir in the walnuts last.
Plate the asparagus, drizzle the sauce over it.

I would have used a little less vinegar, this had an too much of an acidic taste. But it was easy to make, there was really only one step.

Friday, December 27, 2013

White Pizza Dip with Foccacia

I've had this recipe pinned on my Pinterest board for a while. I love how versatile the foccacia recipe is, you can add any topping that you prefer and can even make different varieties. I served this at our annual Festivus party, this was the fourth year that we've held it and it is always a good time. This dish was a hit!

Recipe from Tablespoon.

White Pizza Dip
1 soup mix envelope (1.2 oz), savory herb with garlic
1 container (16 oz ) sour cream
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Pizza Crust Foccacia
-1 refrigerated pizza crust, I used a store brand
-1 tsp basil leaves, dried
-1 tsp oregano leaves, dried
-2 tbsp shredded parmesan cheese
-1 roasted red peppers, sliced
-Green onions, thinly sliced

Roll out the pizza crust and press into a pan lined with parchment paper. 
Lightly press all of the toppings onto the crust and bake according to package directions. 

Meanwhile, gather the ingredients for the white pizza dip.
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Spread into a pie pan and bake at 350 for half an hour. 

When the foccacia is done, slice it into small pieces. 

Serve with the white pizza dip. 

The white pizza dip had good flavor, but it needs to stay warm or it will start to get the consistency of ricotta cheese again and that makes it hard to eat as a dip. The pizza dough foccacia was my favorite out of the two, it was easy to make and this made for a colorful appetizer for a party.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Savory Lime Corn Cakes

I'm not really sure if this is something for lunch or breakfast, but I think it would be good for either. I ate this as a brunch food. It was a lot like a pancake but a little drier and filling.

The recipe is from A Spicy Perspective.

-1 1/4 cup flour
-1 cup cornmeal
-2 Tb. baking powder
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1/2 tsp. chile powder
-1 1/4 cups milk
-2 eggs
-3 Tb. melted butter

-Guacamole (I used pre-made guac)
-Sour cream

Mix the dry ingredients.
Whisk in the milk eggs melted butter.
Scoop about 1/4 of a cup at a time and cook
about 3 minutes per side.

These were pretty tasty, they had a different consistency than I would have thought, they were pretty thick. I think the guacamole on top really made these.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tomato Basil Avocado Soup

Merry Christmas from Alecia and Becky at Vegetarian & Cooking! I hope everyone is having a great Christmas so far. I got a beautiful new camera and ton of great new kitchen stuff so Vegetarian & Cooking! is having a great Christmas. I'm looking forward to spending the day with my family and with J. Here's the last meal of our Hamless Holiday dinner, it is also Soup Wednesday. Tomorrow we'll go back to our regular blog schedule. 

Other A Hamless Holiday Recipes:
Bûche de Noël, dessert
Lighter Loaded Mashed Potatoes, side dish
Broccoli Cheddar Pot Pies, main dish
The Poinsettia, cocktail
Tomato Basil Avocado Soup, starter

Other Soup Wednesday Posts so far this year: Pumpkin Black Bean Soup, Caprese Soup and Jalapeno Beer Cheese Soup.

Recipe from the Amazing Avocado.
-1 avocado
-28 ounce can of tomatoes
-1 quart vegetable stock
-1 cup heavy cream
-1 large onion, diced
-1 tsp dry oregano
-1 tbsp chopped garlic
-5 fresh basil leaves
-Salt/pepper to taste

Heat oil in a medium soup pot, sauté the tomatoes and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Add the oregano, basil, plus salt and pepper. Cook another 5 minutes. Add stock and cook for 10 minutes. Remove soup from stove top and stir in heavy cream, blend using an immersion blender.

Spoon into bowls and top with avocado to serve. 

I was disappointed with the soup. I wish that the soup had been a lot thicker, I think that would have helped the avocado float on top better. I really liked the concept, the buttery avocado paired well with the tomato basil soup and with the seasoning. I would make this again, but with adjustments.

Cheers!! I hope everyone has a fantastic day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Poinsettia

It's Christmas Eve! This is the first Christmas Eve in years that I haven't had to work all day. I will be enjoying a relaxing day at home. This cocktail is a perfect Christmas Eve or Christmas drink, you can mix it so that it's not too strong and you can even mix a mocktail for kids using OJ and sparkling grape juice in place of the alcohol based ingredients.

Recipe from American Bartending School.

Other A Hamless Holiday Recipes:
Bûche de Noël, dessert
Lighter Loaded Mashed Potatoes, side dish
Broccoli Cheddar Pot Pies, main dish
The Poinsettia, cocktail


-1/2 ounce of Triple Sec
-2 shots of cranberry juice

It couldn't get any easier.

Mix the cranberry juice and triple sec in a martini glass.
Top with champagne.

Very easy to put together, subtle flavors. I would make this drink again. I am always a champagne fan and you can keep this drink low on alcohol or mix it strong.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Pot Pies

For entrees this year we wanted to do something small, because at Christmas there is always so much food, appetizers and desserts. To accomplish that we made these broccoli cheddar pot pies, they won't leave you feeling deprived, but will leave plenty of room for sides and dessert after the meal.

Other A Hamless Holiday Recipes:
Bûche de Noëldessert
Lighter Loaded Mashed Potatoesside dish
Broccoli Cheddar Pot Pies, main dish

This recipe is from Oh My Veggies.

-1 cup milk
-3 tbsp flour
-4 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-4 cups steamed broccoli
-1 sheet puff pastry
-1 egg, whisked
-cooking spray
-salt and pepper

Combine the milk and flour in a sauce pan over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is thickened.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheddar cheese until melted.
Add the seasoning. 

Mix the steamed broccoli into the cheddar sauce.

Pour into prepared ramekins.
You'll want to spray each ramekin with cooking spray before pouring the cheese/broccoli mixture into them.

Top each ramekin with puff pastry. 

Brush each with egg wash and cut an X into the top to vent (we forgot that step).
Bake at 425 for 12-14 minutes.

Serve with your Christmas dinner.

I really liked the individual servings of these, they were a good size. I wish we had cut an X into the top in order to vent the steam, I think if we had done so the cheddar sauce wouldn't have exploded out of the top of our broccoli cheddar pot pies. The flavor of these was good, broccoli and cheese is always a good combination.