Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lemon Garlic Cream Fetticuine

This dinner is incredibly easy to throw together. This made a ton of pasta, but the leftovers reheated well in both our lunches.

Recipe from the Recipe Critic.

-3 Teaspoons grated lemon peel
-2 Teaspoons minced fresh parsley
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-8 oz uncooked fettuccini
Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce
-¼ cup butter
-3 green onions, chopped
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 tsp grated lemon peel
-½ cup heavy whipping cream
-¼ tsp salt
-⅛ tsp pepper
-4 oz cream cheese, cubed
-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
-2 tomatoes, diced
-2 teaspoons fresh parsley, minced
-grated parmesan cheese, optional

In a small bowl, mix the lemon peel, parsley and 2 teaspoons minced garlic.

Cook the fettuccini according to package directions and drain.

For the sauce melt the butter in a skillet and add the green onion.
Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. 

Add the heavy cream, salt and pepper.
The stir in the cubed cream cheese.
Remove from the heat. Add lemon juice.
Stir in the parsley mixture that was made in the small bowl.

Toss the pasta in the sauce, add fresh tomatoes.

Dave and I both really enjoyed this recipe. The fresh tomatoes add nice color and a burst of freshness to the dish. The sauce was well seasoned and the acidity from the lemon wasn't overpowering. This is a heavy dish though -- with the pasta and cream cheese, I wish I had served it with a salad or something to help make it feel lighter.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grilled Veggie Tacos

One of the greatest things to grill is vegetables. I like showing you a wide variety of grilling alternatives during Grilling Wednesday, but sometimes it's best to go back to basics. These tacos are made with fresh vegetables grilled to perfection.

Other Grilling Wednesday Posts: Bean and Squash BurgersHalloumi & Asparagus Skewers with Orange SauceGrilled Barbeque Onion and Smoked Gouda QuesadillasGrilled Corn and Tomato Fettuccine and Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms with Blue CheeseQuinoa Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries, Beer Caramelized Onions and SwissGrilled Mini Caprese Pizza and Grilled Fruit Bruschetta with Honey Cream Cheese.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original. 

-1 avocado
-1 large red bell pepper
-1 medium zucchini
-8oz package baby portabella mushrooms
-1 pint cherry tomatoes
-2 ears of corn
-1 medium/large red onion
-12-15 soft flour tortillas
-Olive oil
-salt + pepper
-cumin + red pepper + onion powder

1.) Make the taco seasoning -- mix together the cumin, red pepper and onion powder to taste. You'll want quite a bit of each because it goes on all of the vegetables. I just guessed the measurements in a small bowl.

2.) Slice the avocado in half, leave the bell pepper whole, slice the zucchini into discs, skewer the tomatoes, mushrooms and red onion. Coat all of these vegetables in oil and season with the homemade taco seasoning.

In all of the photos you'll see that we left the corn bare, I don't recommend doing that, it was a pain. Coat the corn in oil, season it, then loosely wrap it in foil -- cook 4-5 minutes rotating several times until the corn is golden brown on all parts.

3.) Grill the tomatoes until bursting, the red onion, mushrooms and zucchini until browning. The avocado will cook until grill marks form. Overall this process took about 20 minutes.

4.) To serve, remove the avocado from the shell and slice; cut the corn from the cob; remove the skin from the red pepper and slice; all other vegetables can be left as is.

5.) Serve in warmed tortillas with cheese and sour cream if desired.

These were perfection. Everyone in my family enjoyed them. Grilling brought out the best flavors in all of the vegetables -- but especially in the corn and mushrooms. When we ate them for dinner they were served with cheese. I reheated these leftovers for lunch at work the next day and just ate the tacos plain and they were just as good as the night before. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Quinoa Stuffed Quesadillas

Do you ever have trouble with avocados? This recipe was created after a botched avocado recipe. I had purchased a few unripe avocados and every time I thought one was ripe, I would open it to find out that I was very wrong. I've started buying the unripe ones and putting two of them into a brown paper bag in order to help them ripen.

Although this might sound weird, we ate these quesadillas for breakfast -- they weren't difficult to put together so we were able to eat and get out the door to work. I found these to be pretty filling as a breakfast.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-½ cup quinoa, cooked
-1 can black beans (rinsed)
-½ chopped red pepper
-½ cup corn
-½ chopped red onion
-Salt and pepper
-Cumin and red pepper flakes to taste
-Corn tortillas
-Sour cream or Greek yogurt, for serving
In a large bowl mix together the quinoa, black beans, chopped red pepper, corn, onion and seasoning. 

In a skillet add one tortilla and then as much filling as you'd like.

Top with cheese.
Add the other tortilla.
Cook until cheese has melted enough to hold the quesadilla together, then flip so that the other tortilla can brown.

We enjoyed eating this. We did serve this for breakfast, but this would be a good dinner too. There are many ways to make this more versatile by switching out ingredients or by adding other things. This might be good with some scrambled eggs added. Overall, I find quinoa to be very filling; if you don't, serve this with a side dish.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Pink Deviled Eggs

Dave saw this recipe in a magazine a few months ago while waiting for me to finish at the eye doctor (getting your eyes dilated is the worst). He thought it was a really interesting concept so we decided to put it together. How cool would these be for Breast Cancer Awareness month?

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

-4 pickled beets (about 3 ounces)
-12 eggs
-1/4 cup mayonnaise
-1 tsp mustard 
-black pepper, pinch
-salt, pinch

1.) Mince the pickled beets.
2.) In a small bowl, combine the pickled beets, egg yolks, mayo, mustard and seasoning. Mash together until combined.
3.) Fill a ziplock bag with the filling, snip one corner and pipe in the empty hard-boiled eggs.

I liked these, I'm a big fan of tangy flavors and the pickled beets with the mustard added a nice amount of tang. Dave liked the concept and didn't have a problem with the pickled beets, but said that he's not a big fan of deviled eggs.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Mixed-Berry Dutch Baby

I am loving the cast iron skillet Dave got me for my birthday. You'll want one too in order to make this fantastic breakfast recipe. A Dutch baby (or German Pancake) is baked in the oven, leaving you free to make the rest of breakfast or to sit down with coffee + the crossword puzzle rather than spending time flipping pancakes.

Recipe from Food & Wine.

-3 large eggs
-1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
-1/3 cup sugar
-Pinch of salt
-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
-2/3 cup milk
-2 cups raspberries
-2 cups blackberries
-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
-Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 425.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, salt and sugar.
Add the flour and milk. Whisk until combined.
Gently fold in the berries.

Melt the butter in the skillet.
Once melted, pour in the batter.
Bake 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve with powdered sugar if desired.

This turned out beautifully! I wish that we had guests over for brunch when I made this because it seemed too good to have as a simple weekend breakfast for Dave and me. Together we devoured half of this and the leftovers kept well for breakfast the next day. The berries were tart and the powdered sugar added a hint of sweetness. Perfect with a cup of coffee, no syrup needed.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

White Merlot Sangria

Whenever we go to visit our friends at their apartment they usually have the meal covered (hello pizza by the pool!), so I usually offer to make some sort of sangria for on the side. Summer is the best time to make sangria because the fruit is incredibly fresh and usually a lot cheaper than in the fall/winter.

Adapted from A Cup of Jo.

-1 (750 ml) bottle white merlot 
-3 tablespoons peach schnapps
-3 tablespoons sugar
-1 cup raspberries
-½ cup cubed watermelon 
-½ peach, thinly sliced 
-5 to 6 thin slices lime 
-Ice, for serving
Mix all ingredients in a large pitcher.

Let chill for several hours, stir before serving.

This sangria turned out great. The white merlot was already a little sweet so it didn't need too much extra sweetness. I cut the watermelon pieces a little large, I wish that I had cut them smaller so that they were easier to get out of the cup. Overall, this was widely enjoyed poolside. These fruits all soaked up the extra wine nicely and it was a subtly sweet drink, not overpoweringly sweet.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Watermelon Christmas Trees

Happy Christmas in July! According to a quick Google search, Christmas in July originated from countries in the Southern hemisphere celebrating Christmas twice -- once on December 25 and once on July 25 when they are experiencing colder weather. Here in America it provides an excuse to mix summer with winter and for bars to host theme parties.

This recipe is incredibly easy to make. I put this together for a pool party and it was a hit with everyone there.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-White chocolate, melted
-Red or green sugar

You'll also need a Christmas tree cookie cutter. 

Slice the watermelon into 1 inch slabs so that you can use the cookie cutter to make trees.
I cubed the excess and put it in a bowl to enjoy later.
Drizzle the white chocolate over the trees like garland.
Sprinkle on the colored sugar.

The white chocolate drizzle added an unexpected crunch to this. It gave the watermelon a little more sweetness, but not in an overwhelming way. I made these to serve pool side and they were very popular as a post lunch snack. Enjoy your Christmas in July!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Grapefruit Guacamole

I am obsessed with making guacamole. Despite all of these crazy mix-ins there hasn't been one which I didn't like. It seems that everything just goes well with avocado. The grapefruit sections in this recipe add enough acidity that you won't need to add any lemon/lime juice.

Recipe adapted from No Recipes

-2 green onions, thinly sliced
-1  grapefruit each segment peeled
-2  avocados
-1 teaspoon salt
-3 dashes smoked Tabasco sauce
-Tortilla chips, for serving.

-In a small bowl, mash together the avocado, onions, salt and Tabasco. Gently stir in the grapefruit segments, but reserve some for the top of the dish.

The grapefruit added the perfect amount of acidity to this -- it was refreshing to scoop up an entire piece. The hot sauce didn't make this spicy, but helped to add additional complex flavors. This would be perfect for a party because the presentation is beautiful.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Grilled Fruit Bruschetta with Honey Cream Cheese

Happy 750th post! I cannot believe how much this blog has grown since I first started posting. Check out the Milestones tab above to see other milestone posts. There are a lot of big changes coming to Vegetarian & Cooking! in the next month so stay tuned.

Other Grilling Wednesday Posts: Bean and Squash BurgersHalloumi & Asparagus Skewers with Orange SauceGrilled Barbeque Onion and Smoked Gouda QuesadillasGrilled Corn and Tomato Fettuccine and Bacon Wrapped Mushrooms with Blue CheeseQuinoa Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries, Beer Caramelized Onions and Swiss and Grilled Mini Caprese Pizza.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

-4 large apricots, halved and pitted
-4 nectarines, halved and pitted
-1/2 pound sweet cherries, pitted
-1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
-1 cup cream cheese
-2 tablespoons honey
-Eight 1-inch-thick slices of baguette

To make the honey cream cheese combine the honey + cream cheese and mix well.

We skewered all of the fruit to make it easier to work with, you don't have to.
Brush all of your fruit with olive oil.

First grill the bread.
Brush each side with olive oil and grill 1-2 minutes per side.

Then add the fruit.

You'll want to grill each skewer until soft.
Between 5-10 minutes per side.

Spread the honey cream cheese onto a baguette slice.
Add as much fruit as desired. 

This was pretty well received -- however, I wish that we had chosen different fruit. I really enjoyed the grilled cherries, but wasn't a fan of the nectarines and apricots. Dave really liked this though, he ate all of the leftover fruit. I think the honey cream cheese helped to bring additional subtle sweetness to the dish, it was nice that this dessert wasn't overly sweet.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mac and Cheese with Baked BBQ Tofu

I have a confession. I hated tofu for almost eight years of living a vegetarian lifestyle. Every once in a while I would eat enjoy some tofu mixed into a stir-fry (those build your own stir-fry places where they'll cook it for you? Yum!). Otherwise, every time I prepared tofu it just made me feel sad so I stopped trying.

Once Dave and I started dating I realized that he would eat anything. I have yet to find a food that he won't eat and since he was down with the tofu, I decided it was time to start trying to incorporate it back into my life. Plus, macaroni and cheese makes everything better.

Recipe from Oh My Veggies.


-1 (8-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
-1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
-8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked according to package
-2 cups reduced-fat milk, warmed
-1/4 cup unsalted butter
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
-Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the tofu into one inch cubes and coat with half of the BBQ sauce.
Bake at 400 for 20-30 minutes, stirring once.
Toss with the remaining BBQ  sauce.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until a sauce forms.
Whisk in the milk, stirring continuously until thickened.
Stir in the cheese until melted.

Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and combine.

Top each serving with a helping of BBQ tofu and seasoning if desired.

Dave and I both enjoyed this recipe. I would have enjoyed it more if the tofu was a little crispier, ours stayed pretty soft. Overall, I think the sweeter flavors of the BBQ sauce went well with the sharpness of the cheddar cheese. We ate all of the leftovers the next day.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Thai Basil Eggplant Tacos

Sometimes I really struggle with leftovers. I'm only feeding two people and I enjoy leaving the recipes in full form so that Dave and I can have a lot of leftovers for lunch for work/school. However, eating the same thing every day for lunch/dinner gets incredibly boring and repetitive.

Thai Basil Eggplant was the blog from yesterday. This post uses the leftovers from that blog to create a fusion of Mexican and Asian style foods.

I really like the idea of making more posts like this in the future if I'm able to creatively repurpose the dinner leftovers. I think that creating something new out of the leftovers really speaks to the lifestyle that Dave and I are currently living. Sometimes as young professionals it is so difficult to balance work/school/social life and I'm so thankful that we have the opportunity to sit down together for a meal together every day. Repurposing the leftovers just makes everything so much easier.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original.

-Thai Basil Eggplant leftovers
-Mexican blend cheese, shredded
-Green onions, thinly sliced
-Greek yogurt
-Corn tortillas, lightly fried in olive oil

1.) To make the tortillas, lightly fry one tortilla at a time. Hang the fried tortilla over a wooden spoon handle until almost hardened. This will form a shell.
2.) Heat up your Thai Basil Eggplant leftovers. Fill the each shell with Thai Basil Eggplant, cheese, Greek yogurt and green onion.

These got mixed reviews again. Dave and I both loved the taco idea for using up the leftovers that we had. I still didn't like the Thai Basil Eggplant dish, with a ton of Greek yogurt (to cut through some of the hoisin sauce) these were better. Dave ate most of them because I just didn't want to. Look for more leftover re-inventions in the future, I'll find a better recipe to show case the thai basil.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Thai Basil Eggplant

When we traveled to visit Dave's family in New Hampshire last month his parents sent us home with an assortment of dried basils from their garden. This recipe uses Thai Basil:

I'm working on finding recipes for the others so stay tuned!

Recipe from Vegetarian Gastronomy

-1 large Italian eggplant 
-1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
-1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
-1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
-Handful of mushrooms, sliced
-1 14-oz. block firm tofu
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-Thai basil leaves
-vegetable oil
-4 1/2 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce 
-1/2 cup soy sauce 
-1/4 cup water
-1-2 teaspoon chili sauce 
-2 teaspoon corn starch

In a large pot heat the oil.
Start by cooking your eggplant.
When the eggplant is mostly cooked add the peppers.
Add the mushrooms last.
Once the vegetables are cooked stir in the garlic and thai basil.
I used 3-4 pinches of thai basil. 

In a large skillet pan fry the tofu until it is crispy on all sides.
Mix the sauce in a large bowl. Once mixed, stir into the vegetables and allow to cook for a few minutes to help thicken the sauce.

Overall Dave and I were a little disappointed in this recipe. Out of all of the Asian-style recipes that I've made for the blog this wasn't my favorite. The sauce had too much hoisin in it and that overwhelmed all of the other flavors in the dish. We still have a ton of thai basil left so I will be looking for another recipe.