Category Archives: Vegetarian

Best Ever Broccoli Cheese Soup

I just LOVE broccoli cheese soup.  Back in my (much) younger days, I worked as a waitress at Applebee’s and on the day of the week that broccoli cheese soup was scheduled, they would always run out because the wait staff would eat it all.  Not just me. ;)  It was great.

I’ve tried a few recipes over the years and they were all fine but this one is the recipe I’ve been looking for, but didn’t know it.  It’s heavenly.  It’s thick, creamy, velvety….I could go on and on.  Make sure you have some nice bread to sop up every last bite, we used crescent rolls because I’m a crescent roll freak.  This soup is SO good that even my super picky daughter ate a few bites and declared it yummy!

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup cooking sherry
2 16-oz pkgs. frozen broccoli, or fresh (I used 2 heads fresh)
4 cans chicken broth
1 2-lb. loaf Velveeta cheese, cubed
2 cups milk (I used 1% but who are we kidding with all this cheese and butter?!)
1 tbsp garlic powder
2/3 cup cornstarch
1 cup water

Method:
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onions and a sprinkle of salt and start to saute’.  Add the cooking sherry and cook until the onions are soft.  Add the broccoli, toss to mix in all the onions, then add the cans of chicken broth.  Simmer uncovered until the broccoli is soft, it may take a little while longer with fresh broccoli.

Once the broccoli is soft, slowly start adding in the cheese cubes, stirring well, until it is all added and melted.  Add the milk and garlic powder and mix in well.  Watch your heat now because the cheese will easily stick to the bottom of the pot, stir often.

In a bowl, mix together the cold water and cornstarch and add to the soup.  Bring up to a low boil then reduce the heat, the soup will thicken.  Once it’s ready you’ll want to turn it off so it doesn’t stick.

 

Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo

There are certain ingredients that I just go crazy for and one of them is goat cheese.  I can’t get enough of the stuff, anytime I see a recipe with it I HAVE to try it.  Pair goat cheese with some roasted red peppers and pasta?  Winner!

While this was delicious, I actually found it to be even better the next day as leftovers.  Lots of things are, I guess.  I served this with a nice caesar salad and some garlic butter crescent rolls, yummy!

Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Alfredo

Roasted Red Pepper & Goat Cheese Alfredo
Recipe from Laurens Latest

Ingredients:
2 whole red bell peppers
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fat-free half & half
4 oz. garlic and herb goat cheese
2/3 cup grated Parmigano Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 lb linguine, cooked
salt & pepper to taste

Method:

Roast red peppers under the broiler until the outer skins are blistered.  Remove from oven and cover with foil for ten minutes.  Allow to cool before handling.

While that’s cooling, saute the onions and garlic in olive oil until tender.  Add the half and half, goat cheese and seasonings, stirring to melt the goat cheese in.  Keep warm over low heat.

Uncover the peppers and peel the outer skin and stem off, remove all of the seeds.  Coarsely chop, then add to the sauce.  Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce with the red peppers.  Add the artichoke hearts and parmesan cheese and allow to heat through.  Toss with cooked pasta and serve topped with more cheese.

 

Portobello Pesto Pizza

Pizza is one of the greatest, most versatile foods ever.  Practically everyone loves pizza and you can put ANYTHING on them.  They can be simple, budget saving pizzas or gourmet treats.  This pizza is about a middle of the road, probably closer to the budget than the expensive.

When I have pizza, I want it to be full of gloppy stringy cheese.  I know those words aren’t appealing, but hey, that’s how it is.  When I saw the picture of this Portobello pesto pizza on Brown Eyed Baker, the cheese looked fantastic and that’s what caused me to make it.  It didn’t disappoint, my husband and I both loved it – so much in fact that we made it twice in one week!  It’s so simple, the hardest part is slicing and cooking mushrooms, which we know isn’t difficult at all.  The first time we made it, we made it as the recipe states with the Portobello mushrooms.  The second time the supermarket didn’t have any, so we used regular mushrooms which worked fine, FYI.

Portobello Pesto Pizza

Portobello Pesto Pizza
Recipe slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Ingredients:
1 pizza crust, we used Boboli brand
basil pesto
1 tbsp butter
salt
1 lb. Portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
Parmesan cheese
Smoked Provolone cheese slices

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and place a pizza stone inside to warm.
  • In a pan, saute the mushrooms and onion in the butter until soft, season lightly with salt while they are cooking.
  • Assemble the pizza, spread the pesto on the crust, just as you would pizza sauce.  Top generously with the mushrooms and onions, then the Parmesan cheese.  Lay slices of Provolone cheese on top, covering as much of the pizza as you can.
  • Slide pizza onto the heated pizza stone, then bake until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.  Allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

 

Lentil & Spinach Curry

I’ve never been a big fan of beans, or anything of the like (except for green beans and bbq beans), but I’ve been trying to change that lately.  I am now a fan of black beans and lentils (I know it probably isn’t technically a bean?).  While I am a new fan of lentils, I’m a cautious fan.  I’m not completely on board, unless it’s something that sounded really REALLY good.  Like lentil & spinach curry.

I love curry.  There is an Indian restaurant in Baton Rouge that an old roommate used to bring me to and I just loved it.  I took my now hubby there and lucky for me, he loved it too.  I don’t know why we don’t cook it more often, I think we’ll have to change that.  This meal came together really quickly and was pretty healthy for you (and cheap too!).  The vegetable base it called for was a little tricky to find (I found it at Albertson’s) and a bit on the pricey side, but if you can find it I think it’s worth it.  It’s basically vegetable bouillon but you can tell that it has a bit more richness and seasoning to it.  But if you can’t find it, regular vegetable bouillon should do the trick.  I also added peanut butter, which was NOT in the recipe.  Gotta love my husband, he didn’t even bat an eye when I said “I think peanut butter would go nicely in this!”  He taste-tested and agreed with me!  But that’s your call.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Lentil & Spinach Curry

Lentil & Spinach Curry
Recipe adapted from Food and Whine

Ingredients:
2 cups lentils
3 cups water
2 tsp vegetable base (I used organic Better Than Bouillon in a jar)
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3-5 tsp curry powder, depending on your taste (we like a lot!)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp sugar
1 10 oz. frozen spinach, cooked and drained
1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 spoons peanut butter (optional)
salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

Rinse lentils in cold water, then combine with 3 cups of water in a saucepan over medium heat.  Once it comes to a boil, add the vegetable base and stir in.  Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

While that’s cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the onions and garlic, cook until soft.  Add the grated ginger, let cook for a minute before adding the rest of the spices.  Once fragrant, add the spinach, crushed tomatoes and lentils (I didn’t add all of the lentils, probably about 3/4 of them).  Add salt, pepper and peanut butter (if desired) and mix in well and allow to heat through.

Serve over rice, with some naan if you have it!

 

Pan-Fried Green Beans

Spring is here, flowers are blooming and fresh produce is plentiful.  Kroger has been having some great produce sales lately, one of them being green beans.  When my husband decided he wanted to do some steaks on the grill, I knew I wanted to have fresh green beans with them.

I have a couple of green bean recipes I always cook, but I just wanted something different this time.  It’s fun to mix it up sometimes!  After a little search on allrecipes.com, I landed on “Dad’s Pan-Fried Green Beans.”  It sounded easy and delicious, and it really was.  The flavors were so deep and delicious, all that was left at the end was an empty plate!  I’m sure you could fix this with frozen green beans, but if you find some on sale, you can’t beat fresh!

Pan-Fried Green Beans

Pan-Fried Green Beans
Recipe from allrecipes.com

Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
3 tbsp soy sauce (I used Tabasco brand)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp white granulated sugar
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp minced garlic

Method:
Place the green beans in a pot with one inch of water.  Bring to a boil, cover and cook for five minutes.

While that’s cooking, stir together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.  Drain the green beans, then heat the sesame oil.  Add the green beans and garlic, cook for about a minute, just until the garlic is toasted.  Add the soy sauce mixture, toss to coat and allow to cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened and reduced.

Transfer the beans to a serving dish and drizzle the remaining sauce over them before serving.

Crockpot Lentil Soup

I’ve never been a big fan of beans so lately I’ve been trying to “train” myself to like them.  It’s working.  I’m now a fan of black beans, so I figured I’d branch out some and bought a package of lentils.  I see lots of recipes for lentils, so after looking through some I decided to go with a crockpot recipe.

This was super easy to make, you just throw everything into the crockpot.  It is very hearty, despite being a meat-free soup.  If you’re wondering, lentils are very earthy, they sort of remind me of black-eyed peas, just with a different texture.  In fact, this soup reminded me a lot in taste of the black-eyed pea soup I make.  My husband was skeptical he loved it, so did my three-year old daughter.  It makes  a ton, so you can freeze some for a rainy day!

Crockpot Lentil Soup

Crockpot Lentil Soup
Recipe adapted from I Was Born to Cook

Ingredients:
1 pkg dry lentils, rinsed and drained
1 can sliced carrots, with juice
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasonings
2 bay leaves
7 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
6-8 shakes of hot sauce

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 12 hours or HIGH for 5-6 hours.  Discard bay leaves and serve.

Tomato Cobbler

One of those iconic ingredients that makes you think summer is tomato.  And during the summer, you always want something kind of light.  Enter tomato cobbler.  I was intrigued when I saw it on Pink Parsley, and I’m not sure that my husband was too excited at the prospect.  But he’s a trooper and he always (usually) eats whatever I put in front of him.  I’m a lucky girl.

This tomato cobbler was no sacrifice, believe me.  I don’t know how exactly to describe it, but it really tastes like cobbler.  There’s some taste, I guess the juice of the tomato cooking with the biscuit that just says cobbler.  It’s phenomenal.  And I was very pleasantly surprised with how simple it was.  This dish took no time to put together and it was really quite impressive and like I said, it tastes awesome!  It would make a great light meal for a lunch party.

Tomato Cobbler

Tomato Cobbler
Recipe seen on Pink Parsley, originally from Martha Stewart Living

Ingredients:
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp butter
2 onions, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
3 lbs grape tomatoes
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

For the biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
coarse salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1.5 cups heavy cream

Instructions:

  • Make the filling:  heat the oil and butter in a saucepan until melted.  Add the onions and cook until caramelized, about thirty minutes.  Add the garlic and thyme and cook about three minutes, until fragrant.
  • Preheat the oven to 375.  In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the onion mixture, flour, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  • Make the biscuits:  Whisk together the flour, baking powder and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl.  Add in the butter, mixing with your fingers, squeezing and combining until it’s well-incorporated and resembles a coarse meal.  Stir in the cheese and add the milk and stir until a sticky dough forms.
  • Spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick spray and add the tomato mixture, spreading evenly over the bottom.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, spoon out equal round biscuits and use the bottom of the measuring cup to sort of flatten them down.  Place them in a circle around the dish, leaving the tomatoes in the center exposed.  Sprinkle a little more cheese on and bake for 70 minutes, until bubbly and the biscuits are a golden brown.  Allow to cool a little before serving.

Tomato Cobbler

Tomatoes Coming Out of Your Ears?

It’s pretty remarkable that with the drought the South has been having, this is the first year we’ve actually had success with tomatoes!  We’ve had a consistent crop and were delighted when my husband’s grandmother brought us a box of tomatoes from a local farm.

He immediately said he wanted me to make tomato jam, but I wanted to do something else too.  I decided to make a tomato tart.  While it did taste good, I wasn’t super crazy about the crust so I haven’t decided if I’m going to post that recipe yet.  We’ll see.  In the meantime, here are some pictures to enjoy:

When life hands you tomatoes, you make...

 

Sweet and Spicy Tomato Jam

 

Roasted Tomato and Cheese Tart

Avocado and Mushroom Enchiladas

I loooove avocados.  I could sit and eat avocados all day but that wouldn’t be good.  Well it would, but it wouldn’t, know what I mean??  I was so excited when I saw a recipe for avocado enchiladas on a blog recently and it didn’t take me long at all to add them to my menu for the week.

These were very simple to make.  The recipe called for corn tortillas but I don’t care much for those, so I used flour.  Also, instead of just putting salsa verde on top, I used the salsa verde sour cream sauce from my other favorite enchilada recipe.  They were incredible!  I was also really surprised at how filling they were, despite having no meat.  It would be a great meal during Lent.  Just a thought.  We served ours with Mexican Rice.

Avocado and Mushroom Enchiladas
Recipe adapted from:  Meals in a Madhouse

Ingredients
2 avocados
1 onion, chopped
1 pkg mushrooms, sliced
extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
10 flour tortillas
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp butter or oil
14 oz. salsa verde
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable broth if going vegetarian)
1.5 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
shredded pepper-jack cheese

Method:

Preheat oven to 400.

In a small skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter and cook chopped onions and sliced mushrooms until soft, lightly salting as it cooks.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp butter/oil and add the flour, stirring constantly for two minutes.  Add the chicken broth and stir well so the flour mixes in well.  Add the salsa verde, sour cream and seasonings and cook for 5 minutes, then set aside.

Spray a 9×13 casserole with nonstick spray.  Fill each tortilla with some of the diced avocado, onion/mushroom mixture and shredded cheddar cheese.  Roll and place in the casserole, seam side down.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.  Once all are filled and in the dish, spoon the salsa verde sour cream sauce over it so it’s evenly covered.   You don’t have to use all the sauce.  Top with shredded pepper-jack cheese and bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Avocado and Mushroom Enchiladas

Corn, Leek and Potato Chowder

I’ve really been trying to do good with my diet this time, so I’ve been watching what I eat really carefully and counting calories.  It was hard to resist the cake I posted yesterday, I only allowed myself a small sliver!  Luckily, Cooking Light has tons of great recipes for those on a diet.  I have the Cooking Light 15-Minute cookbook, which is just great.  I got this recipe for chowder out of it and it was so delicious and took NO time at all to make.  Hubby really loved it too.  Of course he ate more than one serving, but that’s okay.  I stuck to just one :)

Corn, Leek and Potato Chowder
Recipe from:  Cooking Light 15-Minute Cookbook

Ingredients:
1 cup sliced leek
2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes with onions and peppers (Ore-Ida Potatoes O’Brien), thawed out
1 (10-oz) pkg frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed (I used an 8 oz. can of “no salt added” corn)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2.5 cups fat-free milk
1 cup pre-shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Method:
Heat a large saucepan coated with cooking spray.  Over medium heat, cook the leeks for about two minutes.  Add the potatoes, corn, salt and pepper and cook another three minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add the milk and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes, uncovered, stirring often.  (This part is optional:  I used an immersion blender and blended just a little bit to make it a little thicker and chowder-like)

Serve topped with cheese.  We had side salads with it.

4 servings – 250 calories each.

Corn, Leek and Potato Chowder