Sunday, August 31, 2014

Spinach Artichoke and Brie Crepes

This recipe was lurking on my Pinterest board for quite a while, I have made crepes once for the blog and have not made them since because my first attempt did not go well. I decided to give these savory crepes a try for dinner. After one or two just-okay attempts at making the crepes, I created a video to help you with the experience, you will find the video below.

I had some leftover filling, check out tomorrow's post to see how I used the leftovers.

Recipe from Half Baked Harvest.

-2 large eggs
-3/4 cup milk (I use 2%)
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-3 tablespoons butter
-1/4 teaspoons salt
-1/2 cup water
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper 
-1 (8-12 ounces) bag fresh spinach
-1 (12 ounces) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
-1 (8 ounce) brie wheel, sliced into slices

-Honey, for serving

To Make the Batter: Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until brown bits appear on the bottom, about 5-6 minutes, then immediately remove from heat and set aside. Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl.. Add the browned butter and stir until well combined. Set aside for half an hour to forty-five minutes to let the bubbles settle.

Meanwhile, make the filling:

Heat olive oil in a pan.
Saute the garlic and seasoning until fragrant.
Add the artichokes and spinach. Saute for 5-6 minutes.
Stir in the parmesan cheese and then set aside.
To Make the Crepes:
Heat a 12 inch non-stick pan. Coat the pan in cooking spray. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. (See video below for the cooking portion) I stacked mine in between layers of paper towels to keep them apart.

Once you have all of your crepes, return them one at a time to the skillet, fill half with filling.
Add brie slices and fold over.

Cook until brie is melted and both sides are golden, flipping once.
Repeat with the remaining crepes.
Serve drizzled with honey.

These took a while to make -- I wish I had tried to prepare these on a weekend instead of a weeknight. This would have been a nice, fancy date night type of dinner as opposed to a dinner that I prepared after work. The original post had a honey sauce that Dave wasn't thrilled about once we prepared it, so we ended up using plain honey instead. The honey added a nice sweet element to the savory filling. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lemon Yogurt Olive Oil Cake

I made this cake when Dave and I had some of our friends over for dinner. There are a lot of steps, but the smell that was wafting from my oven while this was baking was 100% worth it. This went over really well with our friends and I was happy with how everything turned out.

I apologize that these are not my best photos! These were taken during the stage when I was still struggling with the best location in the apartment to take my blog photographs. Make the cake. The results will speak for themselves.

Recipe adapted from Kitchen Treaty

-2 cups all-purpose flour
-3 teaspoons baking powder
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-2 cups plain Greek yogurt
-1 1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
-3 eggs
-1 tablespoon grated lemon zest 
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-1/2 cup olive oil
-1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 
-1/3 cup granulated sugar

-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice

In a large mixing-bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a medium mixing-bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir with a whisk until just incorporated -- do not over mix!! Fold in the olive oil.

In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the syrup.
Pour into a greased 8x8 pan.
Bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the syrup over the cake.
Once the cake is completely cooled, spread with glaze.

This cake was amazing. The cake was incredibly moist due to the yogurt and the olive oil. The syrup added a tangy element and the glaze helped to finish it off with sweetness. I was very pleased with how this recipe turned out -- it was sweet without being too sweet making it a nice summer dessert.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Risotto Cakes

This blog is meant to follow my post from yesterday: Mushroom Risotto. You can put this together using any leftover risotto. It would work best if there aren't pieces of vegetable in the risotto, but overall using the mushroom risotto was pretty successful. This helped me take the leftovers from our date night and turn them into an easy to make week night dinner.

The recipe comes from the blog of a friend from college. Check out her page, she puts together some really great recipes.

Recipe from Whatever Pieces.

Risotto Cakes
-1 1/2 to 2 cups leftover risotto
-1 egg
-1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp canola oil (or any combination of fats)
-2 eggs, poached and kept warm, optional
-Salad greens, optional
-Balsamic vinaigrette, optional (recipe follows)

Balsamic Vinaigrette
-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-2 tsp Dijon mustard
-1 tsp honey
-1 tbsp chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
-Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix together the ingredients for the vinaigrette and dress the salad. It's optional, but I recommend it. The salad helped to give this some fresh elements and the vinaigrette was good served with the risotto cakes. Make your poached eggs (or sunny side up) and set aside.
Mix the egg and risotto in a mixing bowl.

Heat oil in a large skillet and portion out 1/3-1/2 a cup of the risotto mixture.
Be patient! These will take several minutes to cook on the bottom. If you flip the cakes too soon they will be crumbly.
You should be able to slide the entire cake around the pan before flipping it -- that means the bottom is crisp.

Serve the poached eggs over the risotto cakes, season the eggs with salt and pepper.
Toss the salad greens in the vinaigrette.     

Dave and I loved this dinner. Turning the risotto into cakes took a creamy rice dish and made it slightly crunchy. The egg yolk from the poached egg gave this dish a richness. If you enjoy the risotto cake with some of the vinaigrette it will give it a nice acidic element and a new flavor. This was great use for the leftovers and turned the dish from the night before into something totally new. This will be my new way to enjoy risotto leftovers. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is one of my favorite dinners to eat, it comes across as very classy while being flavorful. Many people are intimidated by making risotto, but there is no reason to be intimidated! Risotto is pretty easy to make, it just takes a lot of time. If you have a busy schedule save something like this for date night or a dinner party, because it is sure to impress.

If you're looking for something to do with your leftover risotto check back tomorrow! I have a recipe for you to use these leftovers in a creative way.

Recipe from Give Me Some Oven

-4 to 4.5 cups vegetable stock
-1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
-1 shallot, minced
-1 cup Arborio rice
-1/4 cup dry white wine
-1 Tbsp. butter
-16 oz. sliced baby bella mushrooms
-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
It will look like a lot of mushrooms.

Heat the butter in a large skillet and cook the mushrooms until reduced.

Now there's much less, set this aside.

Heat your stock in a saucepan, you want it to be warmed through, but not boiling.

Heat oil in a large skillet.
Add the shallots and saute until translucent. 

Add the rice and stir for several minutes to coat it.
Add the white wine and stir constantly until the wine is almost total absorbed.

Start adding stock one ladleful at a time using the same approach.
Stir constantly until the stock is almost totally absorbed before adding more.
Do this until all of the stock is used.
Stir in the mushrooms. Mine had a little bit of liquid in them, so I stirred the rice until the liquid was pretty much absorbed. 

Finish the dish by stirring in the parmesan, then serve.

This was fantastic. Dave and I ate this for dinner paired with a nice white wine. The rice was nice and creamy, the mushrooms added a hearty element to the dish. Finishing with parmesan cheese adds an additional flavor note. Overall I was very pleased with this dinner.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cauliflower "Steak" Burgers

Today is the last Grilling Wednesday this post also marks the transition into Sandwich Wednesday which will run from September until the end of November. I love grilling season, but the fall means back to school for me so sandwiches are a great way to bring lunch/dinner with me. I only have class three days a week, but that means for two of those days I am at school from 10am-10pm which requires me to bring both a lunch and dinner. I prefer to save my money for going out with friends, rather than spending it throughout the week on small meals. Sandwiches are easy to pack and pretty filling.

Inspired by Kitchen Treaty.

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 PizzaGrilled Fruit Bruschetta with Honey Cream Cheese, Grilled Veggie Tacos, Southwest Quinoa Sliders with Avocado Cream Sauce, Grilled Parmesan Polenta Chips and Roasted Green Pepper and Feta Bruschetta

-1 medium-size heads cauliflower
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + more to taste
-Freshly ground black pepper to taste
-2 pepper jack cheese
-2 hamburger buns
-Mustard barbeque sauce, for serving
-Onion rings, for serving
-Chives, for serving 

In order to get the cauliflower "steak" you will need to: Remove the leaves from the head of cauliflower and cut off the bottom stem. Sit the head of cauliflower upright on the flat cut bottom and, with a sharp chef's knife, cut into in 1-inch thick slices. You're trying to get two good steaks from the center of the cauliflower. Use the outside pieces for another recipe, I used mine in Buffalo Cauliflower Pasta Salad.  These steps can be doubled or even tripled -- there's just two of us so two steaks worked for me.

Brush both sides of your steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill for 10-15 minutes or until slightly chard and tender.

Before removing from the grill melt your cheese over the top.

I served mine with some cooked onion rings, mustard based barbecue sauce and minced chives.


This was a little difficult to eat, but the flavor on this was really good. The cauliflower helped to give quite a bit of vegetable without making you feel like you're just sitting at a cook-out eating only garden salad. You can top these burgers however you like -- I jazzed mine up a little based on what I had. Dave was in charge of trying to make these cauliflower "steaks" and it turned out pretty well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Layered Doritos Casserole

If you came here looking for a healthy meal today, then you should probably stop reading. This casserole was anything but healthy, but for an easy to make weeknight dinner which yielded leftovers for lunch. The flavors in this were spot on, Dave and I were both going back for second and third portions.

Recipe from Spend with Pennies

-1 (family size) bag Doritos, any flavor (I used the Spicy Nacho)
-1 onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1 cup thick salsa
-1 cup sour cream
-1 can cream of  mushroom soup
-2 cups shredded cheese
-Sour Cream
Crush enough Doritos to cover the bottom of an 8x8. You don't want them to be dust, so leave some pieces.

In a mixing bowl combine salsa, sour cream, soup and 1 cup of cheese. I used the thickest salsa I could find and there wasn't too much liquid -- if yours has liquid in it then strain it.

Layer some of the salsa mixture on top of the Doritos.
Add more cheese.
Repeat one more time topping the casserole with crushed Doritos and a layer of cheese.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes covered and 20 minutes uncovered.

We served ours with more sour cream and some lettuce.
It's not the prettiest casserole.

This dish was so cheesy and rich,  I couldn't get enough of it. Dave and I both really enjoyed this and were scrambling to eat the leftovers in our lunches. This casserole didn't last more than a day and a half because we both took a big portion for lunch. As I mentioned, this is pretty rich and it's not necessarily good for you -- this will make it into my monthly cooking rotation though. It's nice to enjoy something rich every once in a while and I'd love to try this with different flavors.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Slow Cooker Spinach Stuffed Shells

This recipe is a perfect main dish if you're serving company, this recipe made enough for dinner for four people plus leftovers. The recipe was incredibly easy to put together, with a side dish or a starter this is a well rounded meal.

Recipe from

-1 (12 ounce) package jumbo pasta shells, cooked according to package directions
-1 (32 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
-2 cups ricotta
-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated or shredded
-1/2 cup diced onion
-2 tablespoons italian seasoning
-1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed, and squeezed dry

In a large bowl mix together the three cheeses, onion, seasoning and spinach. 

Stuff the shells with the cheese mixture.
Spread pasta sauce on the bottom of the crock pot. Add shells. More sauce. More shells. Then the last of the sauce.
Cook on low for 4 hours.

These went over really well during the dinner night we had at our apartment. These were easy to make and because they we cooking in the crock pot I was able to focus on more important things like getting the apartment together for company and making dessert.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Peach Pizza with Balsamic Glaze

Alecia told me we'd be having pizza night for dinner, starring one of the more interesting and delicious medium-priced fruits, the peach. I love the juicy meal and al dente skin unique to peaches. I figured most people should, except I know my dad abhors the subtle fuzz and Alecia shares a less specified aversion. I learned that this peach pizza was designed especially for me! And little did I know I'd be making and baking it too, ha.

A Vegatarian & Cooking! original, based in part on Skillet Stuffed Crust Pizza.

-Store pizza dough
-Goat cheese
-Some cream
-A peach or two
-Balsamic vinegar

I started out by spreading the pizza dough into the cast iron skillet. I made a white sauce by whisking together a portion of goat cheese and some cream that I had in the fridge.

I grated some fresh mozzarella ball on top.

Layers of peach, I peeled and ate the skin myself, and crumbles of goat cheese. The crust has been folded over, with alternating lumps of mozzarella cheese and peach.

Sprinkle parsley on there.

Using the smaller grater holes, add more mozzarella cheese all over, including the crust for the neat browned cheese crust look.

Bake at 400 for 30-40 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted. Let sit 10 minutes.

While the pizza is resting, reduce balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and drizzle on top.

So, the peaches made the pizza a little bit wetter than I might have liked, but in all it was a very attractive and cheesy-satisfying meal. It's all in the assembly - don't put the cheese down before the pizza dough, for example, and be smart about what you put on, but use ingredients from your heart and have fun making it. I usually eat a slice of pizza's worth of ingredients as I make it, just to be sure it's good.