Monday, March 31, 2014

Samoas Brownie Parfait

After finding this recipe on Pinterest I asked my friend for weeks when her daughter would be selling Girl Scout cookies again. I am a broke grad student and as much as a I want to buy things that my friend's children are selling, I usually don't -- one exception Girl Scout cookies. I am convinced that the Tagalongs are one of the most delicious cookies that I have ever eaten and I am not ashamed to say that I have eaten an entire box in one sitting.

Adapted from Country Cleaver.

Something else that I'm excited for is National Grilled Cheese month:

Starting tomorrow you can come back to Vegetarian & Cooking! for a new grilled cheese recipe every day. I can barely contain my excitement, this is one of the coolest projects that I have put together for Vegetarian & Cooking! and I can't wait to share.

Back to the brownies, the grilled cheese excitement can wait one more day:

Samoa Brownies:
-8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped and melted
-8 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
-3 eggs
-3/4 cup sugar
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 cup flour
-1 cup Samoas cookies, chopped
-1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes

-Caramel sauce
-Whipped cream
-6 Samoa cookies for garnish, some chopped/some whole
-Extra toasted coconut for garnish
-Cocoa powder

To make the brownies combine the butter, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add in the melted chocolate. Slowly add in the flour. Fold in the cookies and toasted coconut flakes. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Let cool for 90 minutes before slicing.

Slice into one inch pieces.

Put a dollop of whipped cream at the bottom of a parfait glass.
Add in brownie pieces, caramel sauce, crushed cookies and toasted coconut flakes.
Repeat until the glasses are full. 
Top the parfaits with toasted coconut, a dusting of cocoa powder and a Samoa cookie.

Serve immediately.

This dessert is something that you don't serve after a large meal! It was incredibly rich and filling, I thought that it turned out really well and that all of the flavors went together well. The brownies were very moist and this was a good use for Samoa cookies (aside from eating an entire box alone, at one time).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans and Mushrooms

Sometimes all you need is a simple side dish, look no further. This doesn't take much prep work, it is easy to cook and the ingredients are all simple.

Adapted from Yummly.

-3 cups green beans, trimmed
-6 small mushrooms, sliced
-Extra virgin olive oil, to taste
-Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

-4 tablespoons pomegranate juice
-4 tablespoons balsamic glaze
-2 tablespoons sugar

To make the glaze, heat all three ingredients in a sauce pan until thickened.

Clean the mushrooms.

Slice all of the vegetables. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet.
Add in the green beans, saute until crisp tender.

Add in the mushrooms.

Pour the glaze over the green beans and mushrooms.
Continue to cook until the green beans are cooked through. 

This was a hit with dinner! The glaze was tangy and sweet which paired well with the green beans and mushrooms. Once the prep was done, this didn't take more than fifteen minutes to saute.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Asparagus Risotto

People shy away from making risotto because they think it's too difficult to make. This is the sixth time that I've made risotto and so far, I have not had any issues making it. When you're making risotto, you'll need to stand by it the whole time. This dish needs a lot of attention. If you give the risotto a lot of attention, it will give you the flavorful, creamy dish that you're looking for.

From Simply Recipes.

-2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
-1/2 cup chopped shallots
-1 cup arborio rice
-1/4 cup dry white wine
-About 4 cups vegetable stock
-1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, tips cut off, and the spears cut into thin disks
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
-Salt and pepper

Heat the vegetable stock in a small pot, bring to a simmer and maintain that simmer for the duration of the recipe.

To start, melt butter in the pan.
Saute the shallots for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the rice and toss in the butter to coat.
Add in the white wine and stir until the wine is almost totally absorbed.

Ladle in 1.5 ladles of the hot vegetable stock.
Stir continuously until almost absorbed.
Do this until about one ladle of stock is left.
You will add the stock and stir, stir, stir.

Add the asparagus with the last ladle of stock.
Stir until the liquid is absorbed.
Once absorbed, stir in the parmesan cheese.
Serve with additional parmesan cheese if desired.

I thought that this risotto turned out good. It had the right texture and had good flavors. The asparagus and parmesan went really well together. The key is to spend time with it, this isn't a dish that you can walk away from. If you can't take the time to continuously stir the risotto, then save it for date night.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lemon Raspberry Muffins

This recipe is simple to put together, but I hadn't been able to make it for a while. Everyone has things that they won't eat (except for Dave). For example, I loathe bananas, I can't eat them in anything. I just hate the flavor and the texture. For my dad it's lemon. He won't even eat baked goods with lemon in them, so I needed to wait until I was not at home to make these muffins or I would have been tempted to eat all of them.

-2 cups flour
-1 cup sugar
-1 Tbsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 eggs, lightly beaten
-1 cup milk
-1 Tbsp lemon juice
-1 tsp grated lemon zest
-1/2 cup canola oil
-1 heaping cup raspberries, frozen

Recipe from Tastes Better from Scratch.

Add the dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in another. Mix the wet into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, do not over mix! Gently fold the raspberries into the batter.
Fill greased muffin cups with the batter.
The original called for filling them 2/3 way full. I never listen to directions like that, that could be one reason why I'm a horrible baker.

Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes. 


These got mixed reviews. Dave really enjoyed these muffins, but I didn't like them. I'm not sure if it was the raspberry and lemon flavor together that I didn't like or something else. I typically like both raspberries and lemon flavored confections when they are not mixed together.

One major issue that we had with this was that we could not get the muffins out of the muffin tin. We had used cooking spray, but it was just a lost cause with most of them. Dave's roommate recommended coating the inside of the muffin cups with a little flour for an easier removal.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Red Potato and Pepper Breakfast Potatoes

Dave and I are both grad students, so we're constantly busy working on things for school. My philosophy throughout grad school has always been that Friday night through Sunday morning are off-limits for school work and reading. That leaves time for a small social life and it gives me a chance to maintain my sanity. Because Dave and I are always so busy on the weekends, a low effort breakfast is ideal on a Sunday morning so that we can consume copious amounts of coffee before we start reading for school again.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

-1 bag (2 Pounds) red potatoes, cut into chunks
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 whole onion, peeled and roughly chopped
-1 whole green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
-1 whole red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
-1/8 cup olive oil
-1/4 stick butter, melted
-1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, green bell pepper and red bell pepper.

Add the olive oil and butter, toss to coat. 

Then add the seasoned salt, cayenne pepper plus kosher salt and pepper.

Toss again to coat in the seasoning. 

Pour onto a baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, shake the pan twice during that time to move everything around.
Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes, shake the pan twice again during that time.

Serve with an over-easy egg and toast if desired. 

You can also add more seasoning if you want, we didn't and everything was delicious.

Crispy goodness. 

These turned out perfect! I think that I've had a similar dish in a restaurant at some point, but I can't remember where or when. I do know, that I would pay to eat this dish. All of the flavors went really well together and the onion pieces that crisped up in the oven went perfectly with everything else. I enjoyed mine with an over-easy egg on top -- try it, I promise that it is worth it.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cranberry Bacon Almond Goat Cheese Salad

I found this recipe on Pinterest and then adapted it based on what I had in my kitchen already. This was my first time using the Almond Accents, I thought that they were delicious, I was eating them out of the bag before the salad was even put together. I had also never used the honey goat cheese, I really enjoyed the sweetness that it brought to this.

Other Salad Wednesday Posts:  Greek PanzanellaGreek Yogurt Waldorf Salad and Chickpea Kale Salad.

Inspired by Sumptuous Spoonfuls.

-2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
-1 Tablespoon honey
-1 Tablespoon pomegranate juice
-1 Tablespoon red wine

-Almond Accents, Honey Roasted Cranberries
-Crumbled vegan bacon
-Fresh honey goat cheese
-Salt and pepper

To make the dressing, whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl. The Greek yogurt will thin out into a dressing, it took about a minute of whisking, but it did come together.

To make the salad -- toss the lettuce with the almonds, goat cheese and vegan bacon. 

Serve with dressing.

I enjoyed the dressing with this, although I wasn't sure that I thought the color was appetizing. It was sweet with a little bit of tartness from the pomegranate and acidity from the red wine. The saltiness of the vegan bacon paired well with the sweetness of the dressing.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hummus, Avocado, Tomato Sandwich

This is a recipe that Dave wanted to put together and we couldn't find any similar recipe so we decided to put together a sandwich based on everything that we had in the kitchen.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original. 

-Wheat bread, toasted
-1 avocado
-1 tomato
-Roasted red pepper hummus
-Whole grain mustard
-Alfalfa sprouts
-1 onion
-Olive oil

Slice the onion and caramelize it in a small skillet.

Spread the roasted red pepper onto one slice and the whole grain mustard on another. 

Load on the tomato, avocado, sprouts and caramelized onion. 


Once you've sufficiently filled your sandwich put the pieces together.


This sandwich was so good. All of the flavors went really well together. I had been skeptical when Dave wanted to use the mustard and the hummus, but I think that the tangy flavor of the whole grain mustard was needed. This was colorful and the kind of recipe that is perfect for spring.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Baked Sweet Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce, Bacon and Chives

I've had this recipe on my Pinterest board for a while and have been waiting for a good time to make it. There was a lot of down time with this recipe so it's easy to put the chips in the oven and then make something else. The original recipe used a yam instead of a sweet potato -- if you want you could use that for a little extra color.

Recipe from Cooking for Keeps.

-1 sweet potato, sliced thin on a mandolin
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-1 teaspoon seasoned salt
-1 tablespoon butter
-1 tablespoon flour
-½ cup hot milk
-4 ounces gorgonzola, divided
-Handful of chives, minced
-2 slices vegan bacon, cooked and roughly chopped

To make the chips: Toss the sweet potato slices in the olive oil and seasoned salt. Spread in one layer on a baking sheet (or two) and bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Turn off your oven, but leave the sweet potato chips in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan.
Remove from the heat, stir in the warm milk.
Return to the heat and bring to a simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Stir in half of the gorgonzola cheese, stir until melted. 

To build: put half of the chips on a plate, top with cheese sauce, vegan bacon and chives.

Add the rest of the chips, top with the remaining cheese sauce, vegan bacon and chives. 

We really enjoyed this recipe. The cheese sauce went really well with the slight sweetness of the chips. The bacon added a little crunch and the chives added some color.