Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cheddar Ale Soup

The weather here keeps fluctuating between chilly and warm -- on a nice fall-like day this soup would be perfect to warm you up. It reminded me a bit of broccoli cheese soup, and although I'm not a fan of beer, the pale ale added nice flavor to this soup.

Adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures.

-4 vegan bacon slices
-2 tablespoons unsalted butter
-1 large onion, diced
-2 carrots, peeled and diced
-2 celery stalks, diced
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
-1 cup pale ale
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-2 cups milk
-2 cups vegetable broth
-1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
-Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1.) Cook the vegan bacon in the bottom of a large soup pot. Once crispy, remove from the pot and crumble. 
2.) Melt the butter in the same pot, then mix in the onion, carrots and celery. Cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened. 
3.) Next, add the garlic, cooking just until fragrant.
4.) Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the ale and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
5.) Mix in the soy sauce, milk and veggie broth until smooth. Bring the soup come to a simmer and simmer for 10-12 minutes.
6.) Turn off the heat under the pot and puree the soup with an immersion blender
7.) Stir in the cheese a little at a time until melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with the crumbled vegan bacon and additional cheddar.
Dave and I both really enjoyed this recipe, I don't typically enjoy ales (or any beer), but I think this had wonderful flavor. It really hit the spot on a fall evening.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Potato Latkes with Jalapeno Dill Yogurt

When Dave and I first started dating we tried out a latke recipe together. This one is a basic latke, but the yogurt sauce is what makes it shine. The yogurt is full of flavor and even though it has jalapeno in it, the sauce isn't too spicy.

Recipe from A Spicy Perspective.

-1 lb. shredded potatoes
-1 cup chopped scallions, greens and whites
-2 large eggs
-1/3 cup cornmeal
-1 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. pepper
-Oil for frying

Jalapeno Dill Yogurt:
-1 cup Greek yogurt
-1 tablespoon grated jalapeno
-1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
-Salt and pepper

First add all potatoes to a colander and press down to extract the excess moisture -- you do not want them to full of water.

After pressing the potatoes, mix together the potatoes, scallions, eggs, cornmeal, salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a hot skillet and then form the latkes into patties.

Fry until golden brown on each side, salt each once cooked.

The latkes were nice and crispy. Adding the green onion brought an additional dimension of flavor. Dave said that he could taste the cornmeal in them, but I couldn't. The jalapeno dill yogurt was full of flavor, even though it had the jalapeno mixed in, the sauce overall had a nice cooling effect with the latkes.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fried Green Tomato Caprese

Summer has pretty much drawn to a close and there are a ton of amazing fall ingredients available. I still had some green tomatoes so I made this recipe to close out summer. Fall is my favorite season and my Pinterest is brimming with fall recipe plans, the next few months will be really fun here are Vegetarian & Cooking!

Recipe from Diane, A Broad.

-3 green tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
-1 large egg, beaten
-1 cup bread crumbs
-1/4 cup medium grind cornmeal
-1/4 cup flour
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-olive oil or non-stick spray for baking
-12 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into rounds (ideally the same size as the tomatoes)
-6 tablespoons of pesto
-balsamic reduction for drizzling

Place the tomato slices on a paper towel covered plate. Lightly salt both sides of each tomato slice to draw out excess water so they don’t get all soggy after baking. Let them sit for about 30 minutes, pat dry with paper towels.

In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, cornmeal, flour, salt, pepper, and cayenne and stir to combine. Beat the egg in a small bowl. Coat each slice of tomato in the egg, then in the bread crumb mixture, press each tomato to make sure the coating sticks. Place the breaded tomato slices on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the tomatoes.

Bake for 25-30 minutes at 425, until golden brown and crispy.

Allow the tomatoes to cool slightly. And then assemble the caprese stacks by alternating tomatoes and mozzarella, spread the pesto between layers (as much or as little as you'd like). Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

I thought this was good, but it didn't wow me. The original post called for fresh basil leaves, but I find their flavor to be overwhelming, so I substituted pesto instead. I think this was an interesting concept, maybe I would have liked it better if the tomatoes had been fried as opposed to baked. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Stuffed Pepper Appetizer

This is a recipe that my dad makes frequently, I've adapted it to be vegetarian. I served these at our game night paired with the Smoked Gouda Southwestern Dip. These have a kick to them, but Dave and I really enjoy spicy recipes, so it was nice to eat something with some heat.

If you find yourself with too many peppers in your garden you can prep them ahead of time and freeze them! I cleaned these peppers two weeks prior to making the recipe. I cut them in half, removed the seeds and then layered them on a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen I put them all in a freezer bag. The day before cooking them I put them in the fridge to defrost.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original. 

-1 block cream cheese
-2 green onions, diced
-1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
-12 hot peppers, sliced in half (I used Hungarian Hot Peppers)

Mix together the cream cheese, green onions and cheddar cheese.

Stuff each pepper with the cheese filling. 

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes and broil for 5 minutes.

These looked so great, I was really impressed. They added a nice color to the appetizers and the browning of the cheese was just fantastic. As I mentioned above, the peppers themselves were hot, however, all four of us enjoy spicy foods and found the heat nice, not overwhelming. The filling was wonderful, you could change this up by using different peppers and shredded cheeses, a flavored cream cheese would also be good.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Smoked Gouda Southwestern Dip

Dave and I routinely host game night at our apartment. I made this dip for card night at our place and then portioned it into bowls on either side of the table so no one would need to get up. According to my parents Euchre is the card game that every needs to know -- easy to learn as a child, difficult to teach to adults, especially when wine is also involved.

With this dip make sure to use full-fat sour cream. I had reduced fat and my dip separated a little bit.

Recipe from Vikalinka.

-1 cup sour cream
-3 green onions, sliced
-1 cup smoked gouda, grated 
-1/2 cup cheddar, grated
-1 cup corn
-1 cup black beans
-1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl combine sour cream, corn, black beans, both cheeses  and minced garlic. Mix together, make sure everything is incorporated.
Empty the contents into an 8x8 baking dish and bake for 15 minutes until cheese is melted.

This was a hit. I served it with tortilla chips and we had no leftovers by the end of the night. The smoked gouda added good flavor and the melted cheddar cheese made the dip nice and creamy. Steph and I couldn't get enough of this at the card table, the guys enjoyed the appetizer, but we enjoyed it more.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baked Enchilada Casserole

We're starting to get incredibly busy and anything we can do to simplify the dinner process is incredibly helpful. This casserole can be made ahead and then frozen. It was pretty easy to put together though, so if you wanted to put it together and then bake the casserole, it would be a pretty easy dinner.

Recipe from Spoonful.

-2 14oz cans of enchilada sauce
-6 corn tortillas
-2 1/2 cups mexican cheese blend, divided
-1 cup frozen corn kernels
-1-15 ounces can black beans, drained
-1 medium red bell pepper, diced
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350° F. 

In a large bowl mix together the black beans, bell pepper, onion, garlic, cumin powder and salt.

Pour 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 7×11 baking dish. Cover with three corn tortillas. As you'll see below, I used two full tortillas and then cut the other in half to line the sides.

Spread half of the bean mixture on top of the tortillas and top with another ½ cup of sauce and a handful of cheese followed by three more tortillas. Repeat one more time, topping the last layer with cheese.

At this point I froze the casserole for 2 weeks. If you freeze the casserole, bake it for 45 minutes, uncovered at 350. If you do not freeze the casserole, bake it for 40 minutes, uncovered at 350.

Dave and I liked this casserole, we were able to eat it for dinner and then for lunch for several days (which is always a bonus for us). All of the veggies made this good, the beans helped to make this filling. I wish I had used more enchilada sauce. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Eggplant Sandwich with White Bean and Blue Cheese Spread

Happy Sandwich Wednesday! We got quite a bit of produce from one of Dave's friends. After a day of canning and freezing what we could, I found this recipe to use the eggplant and tomato. We already had all of the other ingredients.

Other Sandwich Wednesday Posts: Mushroom & Brie Sausage Sandwich; General Tso's Tofu SubPoached Egg and Avocado on a Croissant.

Recipe adapted from Eat Wisconsin Cheese.

-4 slices (1/2-inch thick) eggplant, peeled
-Olive oil
-1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese
-1/3 cup (1 ounce) grated Wisconsin parmesan cheese
-1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
-1 15-ounce can cannellini drained and crushed
-1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) blue cheese
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
-4 English muffins, halved, brushed with olive oil
-4 slices tomato

In a medium bowl mash the cream cheese; add parmesan and garlic, stir. Fold in  the crushed white beans, blue cheese, basil and dill, stir to combine all ingredients.

In a large skillet, heat two tablespoons of olive oil and brown the eggplant slices. Toast the English muffins until lightly golden; spread each half with about two tablespoons of blue cheese spread. Top each with 1 slice cooked eggplant and tomato slice. Top with other half of English muffins to make a sandwich.

Dave and I both really enjoyed this sandwich. It was fresh and full of flavor. The white bean spread was incredibly tasty, the herbs added nice flavor and the cream cheese helped to ton down the otherwise strong flavor of the blog cheese.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Three Bean Salad

My parent's vegetable garden was very bountiful this year, in an effort to jazz up some green beans that they gave me I put together this three bean salad.

Recipe from Country Cleaver

-1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
-2 tablespoon sugar
-2 tablespoon vegetable oil
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-2 cups green beans, blanched
-1 15.5 can garbonzo beans, rinsed
-1 15.5 can kidney beans, rinsed
-1 large shallot, minced
-1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl stir together green beans, garbonzo beans, and kidney beans. Whisk together sugar, oil, salt, pepper, garlic and shallots. Pour the mixture over the top and stir the beans to combine until all vegetables are coated in sauce. Cover chill in the fridge to and allow the flavors to meld. Serve chilled.

I thought this turned out good, it would be a good side dish for a picnic. I'm not a big fan of kidney beans (I learned that now), but the blanched green beans added a nice textural element to the dish.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cheese Stuffed Garlic Biscuits

Hindsight is 20/20. I didn't read the recipe correctly when I made these and we were rushing to get somewhere after dinner. You'll see that my stuffed biscuits are not very stuffed or very cheesy -- that's because I did not cut the biscuits in half...if you want fully loaded and very cheesy biscuits, then you'll need to cut each one in half.

I served this with yesterday's Vodka Pasta.

Recipe from Spend with Pennies

-1 can of premade biscuits (10 pieces) 
-20 cubes cheddar cheese 
-3 tablespoons butter
-1 clove garlic, crushed
-1/3 cup parmesan cheese
-2 teaspoons dried parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut each biscuit in half and slightly roll out, unless you want massive biscuits like I made, then keep them whole and stuff with extra cheese. Place a cheese cube in the middle and wrap the biscuit dough around the cube, make sure the edges are sealed!. Roll in your hands to make a ball shape.
Melt the butter in a small bowl and stir in the garlic.  In another bowl, combine parsley and parmesan cheese. Dip each biscuit into the butter and then into the cheese. Bake 10-12 minutes or until browned (if you made full sized biscuits like mine, you'll need to bake them 15-18 minutes of until just browned).

Dave and I liked this recipe, but I wish that I had made the biscuits smaller like I was supposed to. They were a little difficult to eat since they were so large and they were incredibly filling. I had wanted to make this, because I made a similar recipe involving pizza bites.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Vodka Pasta

When I was in college I loved buying jars of vodka sauce for my pasta because it's very cheesy and a has a kick to it. This vodka sauce is homemade and will make quite a bit of sauce, we even had some leftover after we had eaten all of the pasta

Recipe from Cook like a Champion.

-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-medium yellow onion, diced
-2 tablespoons tomato paste
-1/2 cup vodka
-1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
-1 cup heavy cream
-Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 pound pasta
-1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving

While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet (or large pot, you will need to add a lot of ingredients) over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the onion and cook about five minutes or until softened.

Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat and then stir in the tomato paste and vodka. You'll want to cook this until most of the alcohol has evaporated, for 5-7 minutes. Now, stir in the cream, red pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a a simmer, then reduce heat. Cook sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese.

This was good, but I didn't love it. I think that I needed to add more cream/cheese to this. It had the heat element that I was looking for, but not quite the cheesiness that I'm used to from other vodka sauces.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Southwestern Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite ingredients to work with, I was introduced to it last year. I made a Creamy Garlic Spaghetti Squash for my parents and they loved it too. My dad is growing spaghetti squash in their garden this year and it's great for me because it is a vegetable which is really thriving.

I made this recipe using half of a roasted spaghetti squash. You can freeze the rest and use it for another recipe later or just double the recipe.

Recipe adapted from the Comfort of Cooking.

-1 medium spaghetti squash
-1/2 red onion, chopped
-1/2 tomato diced
-2 jalapenos, diced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 jalapeno pepper, minced (leave seeds in for more heat)
-1 red bell pepper, chopped
-1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
-1/2 tablespoon oregano
-1/2 tablespoon chili powder
-Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
-1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 cup frozen corn, thawed
-Juice of 1 lime
-1 cup grated cheddar cheese

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Use half of the cheese.
Pour into a 9x13 pan.
I know this is an 8x8, I made one spicy casserole and one without peppers, that's where the rest of my squash is.

Top with the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
I served this recipe at my parents house to a large group of people and everyone seemed to enjoy it. One whole pan was emptied and the other casserole had half of it eaten. The flavors in this were great, all of the spices gave this a good "taco seasoning" flavor without the store bought packet. This also had great color due to all of the fresh/canned veggies that were added. This might have been my favorite spaghetti squash recipe.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Breakfast Bruschetta

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and had all of the ingredients to make this recipe so it was a win-win. This is a great brunch recipe, you can eat it with your hands and it's simple to make.

Recipe from Life as a Strawberry.

-1 baguette or crusty french bread loaf, thickly sliced
-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 cup goat cheese
-4 eggs
-1 teaspoon fresh pesto
-2 teaspoon milk
-1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
-salt and pepper to taste

I use this instead of pesto.
I hate buying fresh herbs and not knowing what to do with them until they expire.

To make this, toast the bread and spread a thick layer of goat cheese on the toast. In a skillet, heat the olive oil and scramble the eggs with the basil and milk. Season with salt and pepper.

Top the baguette with scrambled eggs and cherry tomato halves. 
Dave and I both really enjoyed this recipe. The basil brought good flavor to the scrambled eggs, I always love goat cheese in recipes, so that added a nice flavor to this. All of the classic bruschetta flavors were there, and overall this was a good filling breakfast. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Slow Cooker Lasagna Soup

I'm starting to find myself drawn to more and more slow cooker recipes. In the summer I love to use the slow cooker because it allows me to spend more time doing activities. In the fall/winter I love the slow cooker because it has such potential to make comfort food without too much effort.

For this soup you will need a 6-quart slow cooker or larger. Mine is a 6-quart and it was filled to the brim with ingredients. The good news about that is, this recipe is perfect for serving a large crowd or if you need to have plenty of leftovers. This provided Dave and me with lunch and dinner throughout the entire school/work week.

Recipe from Foodie Crush.


-1 yellow onion, diced
-2 cups brown mushrooms, sliced
-2 zucchinis, sliced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
-1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
-6 cups vegetable broth
-2 bay leaves
-2 teaspoons dried oregano
-1 tablespoon dried basil
-1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
-2 teaspoons kosher salt
-2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
-12 ounces lasagna noodles
-4 cups fresh spinach leaves

For the ricotta cheese topping
-1 8 ounce container ricotta cheese
-1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
-1/4 cup parsley, chopped
-1/4 cup basil leaves, chopped
-generous pinch of kosher salt
Add the onion, brown mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the liner of a 6 quart slow cooker,.
Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 7 hours.
Once the seven hours is up, cook the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, drain, rinse and add to the soup. I cut mine into smaller pieces to make them easier to eat. At this time you should also stir in the spinach.

Mix all of the ingredients together for the ricotta topping, spoon over the soup.

Dave and I both liked the soup, but neither of us was wowed by it. We ate it for a week straight (for lunch and dinner) so it wasn't awful. I think that I would have liked it better if the broth was thicker, the broth in this soup is pretty thin. If it had been a little heartier like tomato sauce I may have liked it better. Overall though, if you want a satisfying crock pot recipe that will make a ton of servings, this recipe is it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Poached Egg and Avocado on a Croissant

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals and sadly I barely have time to make really great breakfasts during the week. This sandwich is quick and easy to put together and it is possible to enjoy it with a cup of coffee on a busy week day morning.

Other Sandwich Wednesday Posts: Mushroom & Brie Sausage Sandwich and General Tso's Tofu Sub.

A Vegetarian & Cooking! original. 

-1 croissant
-3 eggs, poached
-1 avocado
-Red pepper flakes
To make this you can use poached, fried, sunny-side up or any other cooking style you'd like to use in order to make the eggs. I personally like runny yolks, so mine are poached. 

Layer the eggs on the bottom of a croissant, season well. Spread avocado on the top half.


See? Easy to put together. Protein and fresh ingredients are things I love to have in my breakfast when I get the chance. I found this breakfast to be very filling which is always good. I hate making it halfway through my morning class or only part of the way into my work day when I start feeling incredibly hungry -- I like to stay focused until lunch.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Caramelized Onion and Balsamic Hummus

It's getting close to fall so I thought I'd share a fall-esque twist on hummus. The flavors in this are reminiscent of Thanksgiving dinner. 

Recipe from Once Upon a Cutting Board.

-2 teaspoons olive oil
-2 medium yellow or sweet onions, thinly sliced
-1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar, divided
-1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, divided
-1 can chickpeas
-3 tablespoons reserved liquid from can of chickpeas
-3 tablespoons tahini
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and saute for five minutes. Season with salt and cook for twenty to thirty minutes, stirring occasionally. Just before the onions are done cooking, add 1 teaspoon brown sugar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, stir to coat.  Remove the onions from the heat and set some aside for garnish if you desire. Add the rest to the bowl of a food processor.

In a small sauce pan heat the 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil. Cook until the vinegar is reduced to a thick syrup.

With the onions add the chickpeas, chickpea liquid, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar, salt, and pepper.  Process until smooth. Add additional lemon juice if necessary to lighten up the hummus -- sometimes it is just too thick.
Serve the hummus with the reserved onions and balsamic drizzle.
I also served mine with Sweet Potato and Brown Rice Triscuits.
This hummus was incredibly rich, Dave ate quite a bit of it. I just enjoyed one serving. The balsamic and onions give this a great amount of flavor, but it's a little overwhelming. It is a good appetizer, but I wouldn't try to make a light lunch out of it (unless you really enjoy onions). I did like this because it was a non-traditional twist.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mushroom and Marinara Polenta + Fried Eggs

During our shopping adventure to stock all of our cabinets at the apartment we walked down every aisle of the grocery store trying to make sure that we were making well-rounded food choices.  We had both had polenta before, but the kind that is already formed into a log to be cut up and cooked a variety of ways. In an attempt to expand our cooking knowledge we purchased a box of polenta in order to make polenta bowls for meals.

This recipe incorporates a hodge podge of ingredients and is a nice filling dish. If you're wondering where to buy the New Zealander Cheese, it is one of the new Sargento Tastings*, I think they're a great way to purchase a specialty cheese in a small amount.

Adapted from Half Baked Harvest.

-3 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used a blend of crimini, shitake and oyster)
-2 tablespoons butter
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
-1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon salt

-2 cups vegetable broth
-2 cups milk
-1 cup polenta
-4 ounces New Zealander Cheese shredded
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon pepper
-2-4 tablespoons butter (your preference)

For Serving
-1-2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
-4 eggs cooked to your liking
-fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Bring the vegetable broth and milk to a boil. Add the polenta and stir continuously for 15 minutes or until polenta is creamy. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, butter and seasoning.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the mushrooms and cook until reduced.
Add the garlic, red pepper, balsamic and seasoning.
Stir until garlic is fragrant. 
Serve topped with mushrooms, marinara and an egg.
This was a nice hearty dinner. The mixed mushrooms gave a nice texture to the dish, both the mushrooms and the polenta were well seasoned. The marinara sauce helped to make the dish rich. And I am always a fan of a fried egg on top of a dish, it added some protein and made everything extra good when the yolk was split.

*This post is not sponsored, I just like using the product, but if Sargento would like to sponsor a blog, I'd be more than happy to work something out.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lemon Pasta Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini is one of those bountiful garden vegetables that you probably have too many of. I am a big proponent of fried zucchini -- something about that just screams summertime to me, but I digress, there are other ways to eat zucchini.

I saw this recipe in Food Network magazine along with several other recipes for stuffed zucchini.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

-1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
-Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
-1/2 cup small shells pasta
-1 shallot, chopped
-1/2 cup heavy cream
-1/2 cup vegetable broth
-3/4 cup shredded dill havarti cheese
-1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
-1 tablespoon breadcrumbs

Slice the zucchini in half and scoop out the center leaving a 3/4 thick shell.
Brush both sides with olive oil and broil until soft.
A few minutes per side.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside once finished.

In a skillet heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, about one minute. Add the heavy cream and vegetable broth, bring to a simmer and cook five to six minutes, the mixture should thicken slightly. Add the havarti, salt and pepper. Stir until the cheese melts.

Remove from the heat and stir in the pasta.  Fill the zucchini halves with the pasta mixture and sprinkle breadcrumbs and lemon zest. Return to the broiler for about a minute or until golden brown.

This recipe turned out great. There was extra macaroni and cheese on the side which was fine with me. The lemon pasta had good flavor, I had not used havarti before, it made the sauce nice and creamy. The lemon flavor was present, but not overwhelming and it all paired well with the zucchini boat. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Blackberry Crisp in a Jar

I've had this recipe pinned on my Pinterest board for a long time and I am so glad that I finally made it. I didn't have the right size mason jars for this recipe, I recommend using half-pint jars if you'd like to have a great presentation.

Recipe from This Gal Cooks

-5 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed
-3 tablespoons corn starch
-1/2 cup granulated sugar 

-1/2 cup all purpose flour
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-6 tablespoons butter
-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon salt

Add the blackberries, sugar and cornstarch to a large pot. Over medium heat, mash the blackberries while cooking until the mixture has thickened and is bubbly. At that point, remove the filling from the heat and set aside.

Combine all of the ingredients for the topping and cut in the butter until the mixture resembles crumbs. You will want to use cold butter for this.

If using half pint mason jars: Fill four jars 1/3 full with the blackberry mixture. Add a layer of the crumb mixture. Then add more berries up to the almost the rim of the jar, then add the remaining topping to each jar.

If using pint mason jars like I did: Add 1/4 of the mixture to the bottom of two jars, add 1/4 of the crumble. Repeat once in order to fill the jars almost half way.

You'll want to put the jars on a baking sheet and then bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before serving. The jars will be hot! 

This dessert had everything that you could possibly want in a dessert, especially because it was not overly sweet. The blackberries brought a nice tangy element, the cinnamon really added a depth of flavor. I cannot wait to recreate this with other fruits. Dave and I were both very happy with how this one turned out.