Vegetarian

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Meatless Monday: Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Published October 7, 2013 by jenmatteson

Yes, I know.  October might be a little late in the season to be posting a “summery” recipe, but guess what?  My tomatoes don’t start getting crazy until late August/September.  We left for California mid-late August, with only our cherry tomatoes blowing up.  My Big Boys were big, but green.  When we returned the first week of September, we had more tomatoes than we could handle.  I made salsa, and several batches of marinara sauce and stewed tomatoes to freeze.

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Food and Wine certainly had my number, because one of my daily emails was summery fresh tomato soup.  In September, the weather is always hit or miss.  It could be 85 degrees and sunny, or it could be 42 degrees and rainy or gloomy.  So, soup isn’t so weird at this time of year.  Seeing as though I had a butt-load (this is a technical term) of tomatoes, I thought this would be excellent to make.

The peeling and seeding the tomatoes is the most work in this recipe, and that’s not much at all.  I just dropped the tomatoes in boiling water for about a minute, transferred to ice water, and peeled.  I then seeded them easily by cutting them in half, horizontally, then cutting out the seeds with a paring knife.

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

The soup was exactly how it sounds, fresh!  Some people like tomato soup made with cream, and you can certainly add some for a little luxury, but I think it’s completely unnecessary.  The soup is thick and rich, without being heavy (if that makes any sense at all).  The basil gives it the freshness, and the meaty tomatoes give it the rich thickness.  Add some crusty French bread for dipping and you’ll be in heaven!  If you use vegetable broth, this is an awesome vegan recipe.  Also, if you check your labels of your ingredients, it can easily be gluten-free (I believe tomato paste is the biggest culprit, but Hunt’s brand is gluten-free).

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Summery Fresh Tomato Soup

Source: Adapted from Food and Wine
Servings: 8-12

Ingredients:

4 tbsp olive oil
1 cup sweet onion, minced
2 pound tomatoes, peeled and seeded (I used big boys from my garden)
2 tsp tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth (chicken broth would work fine)
1 sprig basil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. In large deep sauce pan, melt butter.  Add onions and cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and their juices along with tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add broth and basil to tomatoes, season with salt and pepper.  Simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, about 20-25 minutes.

3. Remove basil sprig and puree using immersion blender.  You can use a regular blender here, but make sure the soup is cooled first, otherwise you’ll have a huge mess on your hands (and all over your kitchen).

Meatless Monday: Slow Cooker Refried Black Beans

Published August 12, 2013 by jenmatteson

One of my absolute favorite meals to make myself is refried black bean tacos.  I have probably eaten this meal more than any other in my lifetime.  I ate it a lot while I lived alone, but I still do most nights when Nate isn’t home for dinner.  I love cooking, but this simply not cooking – it was heating up canned beans and adding fresh veggies and putting it all in a tortilla.

Refried Black Beans

Of course, there are several ways to eat black beans, but that is just one of my favorites.  Many people like them just along side of their dishes, sometimes served with rice.  They are always great to throw into a taco, burrito or salad to add protein.  Another one of my favorites is just to use it as a dip for tortilla chips.  However you eat them, this is a super recipe!  The best part is that you can control what you put in it, including the heat.

Refried Blakc Beans

This recipe certainly makes a lot of refried beans, but don’t be scared, the freezer is your friend!  I separated them into freezer bags to store for the next night I have my refried bean taco craving!  These turned out great!  You can control the consistency of the beans by adding more liquid if you choose, and/or blending them longer if you like them smooth.  I like them slightly chunky, so I didn’t blend for very long to get the consistency I liked.  However you like it, play around with the ingredients and find one that’s a perfect fit for you!

Refried Black Beans

Slow Cooker Refried Black Beans

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: Makes about 8 cups

Ingredients:

1 onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers (I used 2 jalapenos and 2 Serrano chilis to add extra heat)
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 cups dried black beans, rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
4 cups water

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 10 hours.

2. If there is a lot of liquid remaining, ladle some out and reserve.  Using an immersion blender, blend until desired consistency, adding back liquid as needed/desired.

Meatless Monday: Buffalo Falafel

Published August 5, 2013 by jenmatteson

I’ve never had falafel before, but I’ve always wanted to try it.  I never really thought I’d be making it the first time I tried it though.  Falafel is a dish that is eaten throughout the middle east, and widely accepted as being first eaten in Egypt.  Often served in a pita, falafel is traditionally made of ground chickpeas, fava beans, or sometimes both.  The beans are formed into a patty or ball and then deep-fried.  Toppings and sauces for falafel can range anywhere from a traditional tahini based sauce to hot sauce or pickled vegetables.  Any way you serve it up, I would definitely like to get down on that!

Buffalo Falafel

I saw this recipe on Thug Kitchen (yes, him again), and wanted to try it right away.  Not only because of the buffalo sauce, but also because it was a creative way to use cauliflower.  The ground cauliflower and chickpeas are mixed together along with some other seasonings and some breadcrumbs to create the falafel ball.  Then, these are baked, unlike the traditionally fried falafel.  I didn’t make my own buffalo sauce as was noted in Thug Kitchen, I just went for my trusty stand by, Franks Red Hot.

Buffalo Falafel

I served these in Flat Outs, though pita bread might have been a better idea to contain the messy.  Nate was fairly indifferent to the buffalo falafel, but I liked it.  It did have too much cauliflower taste, but I think that was my fault as the recipe called for 1/3 of a pound of cauliflower, and not having a kitchen scale, I just guessed.  I thought I may have used about twice as much cauliflower as was necessary.  After a little Googling, turns out, I probably used about 4 times as much as necessary!  1/3 pound is only about 1/2 cup.  Oh well, lesson learned!  Google first next time.  I also garnished these with avocado, lettuce, onions, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Buffalo Falafel

Buffalo Falafel

Source: Thug Kitchen
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas or 1-15 oz can, rinsed
1/3 pound cauliflower (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp all-purpose seasoning blend (use whatever you like – I used some chipotle seasoning)
2 tbsp breadcrumbs
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (I use Franks Red Hot)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly spray olive oil on a foil lined baking sheet.

2. In a food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it resembles rice.  Add the chickpeas and process until it forms a smooth paste.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add onion, garlic, oil, seasoning and breadcrumbs.  The mixture should easily form into balls, but if it’s too dry, add a little water.  If it’s too moist, add a little more breadcrumbs.  Form balls slightly larger than ping-pong balls and place on prepared baking sheet.  The mixture should make about 12.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until they start to become golden and brown.  Don’t forget to flip halfway through.

3. Once the falafel are done cooking, gently push to the center of the baking sheet and coat with buffalo sauce, reserving a little for serving.  Return to oven for another 5 minutes to allow the falafel to absorb the flavor.  Top with remaining buffalo sauce as desired.

4. Serve falafel in pita, wraps, Flat Outs, over a salad, or however else you would like it.  I added avocado, lettuce, onions and a little Greek yogurt for garnish.

Meatless Monday: Spicy Bean and Rice Tacos

Published June 17, 2013 by jenmatteson

Once again, it’s Meatless Monday!  For this edition, I decided to go with Jaida’s spicy bean and rice tacos from Sweet Beginnings.  I’ve made her avocado and lime black bean tacos in the past for a recipe swap and saved this one as well.  We love tacos, so I anticipate we’ll be back to try several more of her taco Tuesday creations.  What a fantastic idea!

Spicy Bean and Rice Tacos

This really seems like a burrito-taco to me, seeing as though it has rice and beans, but honestly, I’m not sure what constitutes a taco or a burrito.  I am going with tacos though, because they are in a taco shell, and not wrapped up like a burrito.  That makes perfect sense, right?  These tacos came together so quickly and incorporated ingredients that are always in my pantry or fridge.  I added a little extra cayenne pepper, as we like it spicy, but other than that, these were perfect.  Add some choice toppings and you’re good to go!  We used the leftovers as salad toppers, as we do for most of our leftovers when applicable.

Spicy Bean and Rice Taco

Spicy Bean and Rice Tacos

Source: Slightly adapted from Sweet Beginnings
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/3 cup water or vegetable broth
1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked whole grain rice
flour tortillas
toppings as desired (lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, Greek yogurt, etc.)

Directions:

1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic, chipotle pepper in adobo, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the beans and water to the pan and bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Partially mash the beans with the back of a wooden spoon.

3. Remove from heat and add rice.  Stir until well combined.  Scoop mixture into tortilla shells and top as desired.

Meatless Monday: Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Published May 13, 2013 by jenmatteson

Two Meatless Monday’s in a row, and I’m soon to be on fire!  Just last week I came across the most hilarious blog that is sure to make you laugh out loud.  Thug Kitchen is serving up tons of vegan recipes with even more attitude than a teenage girl.  If you haven’t yet visited, you should.  Even Gweneth Paltrow is talking about it!

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Last weekend, I made a double batch of whole wheat pizza dough, separated it out into 8 dough balls, and froze.  I was tired of being in the mood for pizza on a Friday, but not having enough time to put the dough together after work and still eat at a reasonable time.  I’ve never tried freezing pizza dough before, but I read some where you can do it. If you read it on the internet, it must be true, right? 

I was planning to make a Mexican veggie pizza for this post, but once I saw Thug Kitchen’s cilantro pesto, I had to try it out immediately.  I took the dough out of the freezer the day prior and transferred it to the refrigerator.  I then took it out of the refrigerator and set it out on the counter for about and hour before rolling it out.  It worked out great!  Though for future, I might make a regular pizza dough instead of whole wheat.  Whole wheat doughs tend to be more stiff than all all-purpose flour doughs.  It was a little fussy in rolling out, but I made it work.    Just not a pretty edge!

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

On to the good stuff.  I was slightly concerned about this pizza, mostly because I was completely winging it.  The ingredients all go well together, but using a pesto that I’ve never tried before was a risk.  But, I took a risk and it paid off, big time.  Nate and I both loved it!  Of course I used cheese only on his side, so vegans could enjoy this pizza just as much as I did!  I initially planned to add jalapeno, but I forgot.  It was still wonderful.  The cilantro pesto paired perfectly with the toppings.  Nate said it tasted light and fresh, but I thought with the black beans and avocados, it was rich and creamy – but not heavy.  So glad to have extra cilantro pesto to use in a variety of ways.  I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

Cilantro Piesto Pizza

Cilantro Pesto Pizza

Source: Cilantro Pesto adapted from Thug Kitchen, Pizza is Pigzilla Original
Servings: 1 small pizza, about 2 servings

Ingredients:

For the pesto (makes about 1 cup):
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
2/3 cup slivered almonds
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup olive oil

For the pizza:
pizza dough (use your favorite – I used 1/4 of my whole wheat pizza dough)
1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup onions, chopped fine
1/4 green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/2 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/2 avocado, chopped

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine cilantro, almonds, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and vegetable broth.  While processing, stream in olive oil until pesto reaches desired consistency.  Set aside.

2. Cook pizza dough to specifications instructions.

3. Spread 1/2 cup cilantro pesto over crust.  Sprinkle black beans, onions, peppers, tomato and cheese over pizza evenly.  Return to oven and heat until cheese is melted and crust is desired crispness.  Sprinkle avocado over the top and serve.

Meatless Monday: Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Published May 6, 2013 by jenmatteson

We are certainly not vegetarians, but we enjoy eating some vegetarian meals from time to time.  And by “we”, I mean I make them and Nate eats them because that’s what I made for dinner.  But usually there are no complaints.  Not only is eating a vegetarian meal from time to time healthful, but it’s also pretty budget friendly.  Quality meat can get so expensive, especially when you have it as part of each meal.  I usually only buy meat when it’s on sale – I always stock up on the BOGO sales on chicken breasts because we eat so much of it and it’s such an easy go-to meal.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

But what’s easier than chicken breasts?  No meat meals!  Unless I’m using dried beans, there is almost no pre-planning involved because I don’t have to remember to take anything out of the freezer beforehand.  Not only that, but it usually comes together in a cinch.  Many of my blogging friends do Meatless Mondays, which as the title indicates, is a vegetarian recipe.  I thought it’d be fun to try to add more Meatless Mondays into our lives and into my blog.  Variety is crucial in a well balanced life.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

For these stuffed peppers, I didn’t follow any particular recipe, although I did Google how long and at what temp I should cook them for.  Didn’t want to waste any of this delicious quinoa salad stuffing!  Speaking of wasting…after I had stuffed the peppers, I put the remaining quinoa salad into a container to save for lunches or another dinner.  In the morning, I went to grab it out of the fridge to pack for lunch, only to discover that it was gone.  And it wasn’t like a little bit, I could have stuffed at least four more peppers.  I immediately texted Nate with a sad face asking why he didn’t leave me any leftovers.  While I was waiting for a response, I went to grab a container to pack a salad in, and lo and behold, there sits my full container of quinoa salad, in my kitchen drawer.  Just then, I received a text from Nate saying sorry, but it was just a little salad.  I had completely forgot about the leftover salad, which really was like three bites.  I felt so bad for accusing him, though when we talked about it later, he did say he probably would have just taken the entire container to work.  Even though it sat out all night, given the ingredients, I figured it would be safe to keep.  Don’t judge!  But really, that’s how good it was – I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away!

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

The peppers turned out fantastic, and while they don’t look like a lot, eating a whole one is probably too large of a serving.  For presentation purposes, I didn’t want to cut the peppers in half, but we easily could have been full on a half stuffed pepper.  I mixed a little shredded pepper jack cheese in Nate’s pepper (don’t worry, none was in the “drawer leftovers”) and added a little to the top.  Of course, mine was cheese-less, so for you non-dairy eaters, it was still a fabulous meal!  The variety of fresh veggies, paired with the slightly firm pepper was a fabulous combination.  Add in a little taco seasoning, and you’ve got yourself a flavorful, healthy and filling vegetarian meal.

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

What would you like to see next on Meatless Monday?

Mexican Stuffed Peppers

Source: Pigzilla Original
Servings: Makes 4

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
3 tbsp taco seasoning
4 bell peppers (I used red, but use whatever color you wish), be sure to choose peppers that have an even bottom so they can stand on their own.
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup cilantro, plus more for garnish
1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (optional)
non-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream for garnish (optional)

Directions:

1.  Add quinoa, water and taco seasoning to medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Using a paring knife, carefully cut the top of the peppers off, discarding the stem and seeds.  Set aside pepper bottoms and reserve any flesh from the tops and chop.  In a medium frying pan, spray with a small amount of cooking oil and heat over medium heat.  Add chopped pepper, onion, jalapeno and frozen corn.  Sauté for 4-6 minutes, until vegetables begin to soften, but are still slightly crisp.  Remove from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3. To the vegetables, add black beans, tomatoes, cilantro, cheese (optional) and cooked quinoa.  Fold together until well combined.  Spoon quinoa salad into peppers.  Fill so the salad is barely overflowing the pepper, and top with additional cheese (if desired).  Place peppers on foil lined baking sheet or dish (dish is nice in case they try to take a spill) and bake until pepper begins to soften and cheese begins to brown on top, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and garnish with Greek yogurt and/or additional cilantro.

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Published February 26, 2013 by jenmatteson

When the cat’s away, the mouse will play!  Nate is gone fishing again this weekend, which means I get to keep myself busy with some cooking.  It’s not exactly prime tomato season, but it certainly is perfect soup season!  We just got a small snow storm, which was super awesome for traffic, but even better for sitting at home with a kitty or two, and some homemade soup.

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Roasting the tomatoes for this soup really amp up the flavor.  It’s key!  I adapted Nicole’s recipe only by adding basil.  This would be great with a little cream (add after boiling) for an added rich flavor.  For those of you who like cheese, this is a wonderful soup to go along with your gourmet grilled cheese.  I thought this crusty sourdough bread was perfect for dipping in my soup!

Tomatoes before roasting

Tomatoes after roasting

 

 

 

 

 

 

If I get a bazillion tomatoes from my garden or from my dad’s this summer, I’ll be making much more of this soup to throw in the freezer so we can have it anytime!  It’s so simple and so delicious!

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup

Source: Adapted from Prevention RD
Servings: 4

Ingredients:

3 lbs plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme (fresh would work, but I didn’t have any on hand)
1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
5 cups low-sodium vegetable stock

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place tomatoes and garlic cloves on a foil lined baking sheet, cut side up.  Sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper.  Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Peel garlic cloves.

2. Transfer tomatoes, garlic and any accumulated juices into a food processor or blender.  Pulse until they form a chunky puree. Transfer to a medium stock pot and add thyme, basil and vegetable stock.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes.  Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste.

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