Category Archives: Vegetarian

Eggplant Parm Make Over

This weekend, Brent and I were sitting out on our porch talking about what foods we wanted to get for the week. After spending about a year with my parent’s, Brent picked up the love for Eggplant Parm. It’s become a running joke that it’s one of the only ways we can get him to willingly eat veggies.

I haven’t really been eating pasta all too often and wasn’t really feeling the heaviness of it. It’s not on my summer food loving list. Immediately, the idea was born. Spaghetti squash Eggplant Parm.

The recipe below is actually a combination of two that I have done before. Baked Eggplant and just a typical Spaghetti Squash.

Eggplant Parm Makeover

Ingredients:

1 Large Eggplant 3 Eggs
1 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs 1 16oz Jar Tomato Basil Red Sauce
2 Medium Sized Spaghetti Squash 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste 1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese, Shredded

Directions:

Spaghetti Squash:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut each squash in half and remove the seeds. Spread the olive oil over the inside of half and place them face down on a baking sheet. Bake them for 40 minutes or until the outside has become soft or wrinkly.

2. Let them cool off to the side for a few minutes. Then take a fork to the inside of them and scrape the squash from the inside. It will turn into strings. Place the squash in a bowl.

Eggplant:

1. Slice the eggplant in even slices with 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch width, depending on your preference. It’s more important to make them even.

2. In a flat dish with edges, whip up the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water until it is uniform. Place the bread crumbs on a separate plate. Take a slice of eggplant, place it in the eggs mixture until well covered, then transfer it to the bread crumb plate and cover it with the crumbs. Don’t forget to do the sides!

3. Put the eggplant slices on a baking sheet. Once all of the slices are finished, bake them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees, flip them over and bake for another 15 minutes or until as crispy as you want.

4. To serve, top the squash with the eggplant and finish with some red sauce and mozzarella.

DONE! You can make the squash and the eggplant at the same time. So don’t wait for the squash to finish in the oven before starting the eggplant.

Eggplant Parm Make Over Steps

Brent took a bite of it and I quote, “This may be the best thing I have ever eaten.” Words like this are really rare because normally I get, “Yea, it’s good.” And it’s a plate of veggies!! This will be making another appearance.

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I used a new red sauce for this as well, and it was delicious. I would recommend you give it Rao’s Homemade Red Sauce a try. You could make this gluten free by just substituting gluten free bread crumbs.

Have you ever changed a favorite and had it turn out better?

 

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Rice Cakes, Boring to YUM!

Now I don’t want to take credit for this idea because it wasn’t me. Kaela introduced me to the idea of using a rice cake as almost an open faced sandwich instead of trying to choke down a dry, lightly salted rice cake. Let’s get real, if you eat them, you probably need a large glass of water to go with it. OR you are enjoying the caramel apple or some other sugary version of it.

Check out these yummy snacks:

Rice Cakes

They are delicious. Before the half marathon, Kaela pulled this snack out and it was perfect before our run.

It doesn’t really photograph well, but the sharpness of the cranberries goes really well with the rice cake and the cream cheese.

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I made this in my kitchen, and while I was placing the cranberries on it my sister, my mom and Brent all became curious. My sister loved it and Brent was pleasantly surprised. He’s the sceptic when I’m trying new things out and he actually liked it. 🙂

From there, bananas made it onto the cream cheese and it was topped off with a blueberry jam that is made with fresh wild blueberries from maine. It’s not a sweet jam at all. But the snack is extremely moist and filling.

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YUM.

And for something a bit sweeter, try taking the Apple Rice Cakes and top it off with peanut butter and sliced bananas. Brent’s response to this one, “You did good things.”

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I have to say, there will definitely be more experimenting when it comes to this snack. It is healthy, low calorie, low carb snack that I don’t feel guilty eating. And there are so many options when it comes to adding things on top that I don’t think it could get boring.

With the fall upon us, I am looking forward to trying a PUMPKIN flavored rice cake! Apples might be something to try on it as well. Raisins??

 

Have you ever taken a boring, bland snack and made something amazing with it??

Italian Herb Flatbread

Going into this weekend I had one thing on my mind…Relax. I was tossing around the idea of heading to the cape for a little escape because I really just needed a little break. Over the past few weekends, we have been painting the house like nuts and then heading out for the normal work week.

Instead, I stayed around and planned on getting back into the kitchen to make something new and different. Flatbread!

It turned out that my sister needed an appetizer to bring to a party last night, so it was perfect timing. I wasn’t really sure how the flatbread was going to turn out, but I don’t mean to too my own horn, but toot toot! Haha.

I am more excited about it because I hadn’t really cooked much with yeast, and this just felt like an accomplishment.

Italian Herb Flatbread

Ingredients:

1 1/3 Cup Warm Water 2 7g Sachets of Fast-Acting Yeast
2 Teaspoons Honey 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tablespoon Diced Basil 1 Tablespoon Chopped Rosemary
1 Clove of Garlic, Diced 3 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

1. In a tall container, I used a drink jug, mix the water, honey and yeast. I warmed the faucet water for 10 seconds in the microwave. Set it aside until it becomes frothy.

Flatbread Yeast

2. While the yeast is doing it’s thing, take a large bowl and mix the flours, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and herbs. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add it to the flour mix. Begin stirring it gently and once you can get your hands into it, knead the dough until it is smooth. Leave the dough in a ball and place it into a clean bowl. Cover the bowl with saran wrap and place it in a warm area for 40 minutes.

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3. While the dough is setting, mix 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, 1 tablespoon basil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let the oil sit until the dough is ready.

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4. Once the dough is ready, cut it into 8 smaller balls of dough. Gently roll them out into thin circles. The flatbread will puff up when they are cooked. Brush the top side with the olive oil mix and place it on a cast iron pan at medium heat, oil side down.

Flatbread- Steps

5. Leave the flatbread on the skillet for about a minute, or until the bread is slightly browned. Then spread the oil on the top side and flip it. If the flatbread springs back when you touch it, it’s cooked. Once the second side is cooked, remove it from the heat and dust it with a little salt.

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6. Cook each piece and let them cool before slicing them up. And Finito!

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When Maggie went to grab the dish at the end of the party, it was completely empty and there were rave reviews. “YOU WERE THE ONE THAT BROUGHT THE FLATBREAD?!”

Great success.

I am really quite happy with how they came out and am already trying to think of new ways to mix it up. Maybe an onion spin on it?? Or parmesan cheese??

 

Easter, Easter, Easter!

Happy Easter

 

Easter for my family was fairly low key which was nice. I actually haven’t been home in a while for Easter and I feel like I kind of forgot what the celebration was like. I woke up this morning around 7 and started making some goodies for breakfast. The star of the meal was by far the Apple Cider and Rum French Toast, that was topped with chunky applesauce from Trader Joe’s. YUMMY.

Apple Cider French Toast

 

Ingredients:

4 Slices of White Bread 3 Eggs
1/4 Cup Apple Cider 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Bacardi Rum

Directions:

1. Mix up the eggs, apple cider, rum and cinnamon until well blended.

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2. Soak the bread lightly in the mix on both sides and cook it on a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray over medium heat. Brown it on both sides.

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And ENJOY! These were such a hit. You could really taste the apple cider in the french toast, with a hint of rum. the chunky apples sauce on top really tied it together.

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I also made some soft, hard boiled eggs. Doesn’t make sense…but it will! I am a BIG fan of these guys and I felt like they were appropriate for Easter considering they are shaped like an egg still. If I had thought about it a little more, I may have added a little dye to the water to color them 🙂

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So fun right??! They are super easy. Boil some water and place the eggs in for 6 minutes exactly. When you take them out, place them right into a cold bowl of water. When they are cool, peel them and enjoy! Love them!!

We enjoyed all of this with some bacon and fresh berries. I’d say a solid showing for breakfast.

After breakfast, we headed out to church.

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Then started getting ready for the main event. I took on the job of just one of the appetizer plates. I decided on a festive Bunny Veggie Platter. I had previously made a cornucopia for Thanksgiving and wanted to do something similar for Easter.

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The bunny is simply made of Pillsbury Breadsticks.

Directions:

1. Take a two pieces of tin foil and shape them into the body and the head of the bunny. Place them next to each other on a greased cookie sheet. Start by placing the bread sticks over the bread sticks over the tin foil, making sure you tuck a portion of each stick under the tin foil. This makes sure that there is something to hold up the bunny once your remove the tin foil. Add on a piece for the nose and ears. I had some leftover, so I made a carrot as well.

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2. Mix 1 egg and 1 Tablespoon of water in a small bowl. With a brush, generously paint it on the bunny. Season with salt to taste and garlic powder to taste. Bake the bunny (and carrot in our case) in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes, or until they are nice and browned.

 

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3. Once the breadsticks have cooled, flip them over carefully and peel out the tin foil. This is why it is important to tuck the breadsticks around a bit. It won’t have anything to stand on if you don’t.

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Once the tin foil is out, you are done! Place chopped veggies around it to make it look nice. I used two olive slices for the eyes because the dough ones moved a bit when it came out of the oven. One of the eyes baked onto the ear. Not a good look for a bunny.

I think this turned out really well. So festive 🙂

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We had some family come over and had little easter egg hunt for the little girls. It was a lot of fun to watch them run around the yard looking for eggs and getting all excited. I was thinking that maybe we should hide beer and have an adult easter egg hunt. That may just happen next year…

Over all, it was a really fun Easter. Nothing too crazy, but exciting enough!

What is your ideal holiday?? Low key with family or wild and crazy?!

 

Easy and Fresh Tomato Soup

Since moving up to Boston, Brent and I have been planning on buying a house simply because we are both absolutely sick of renting. I don’t really want to throw away rent money anymore and really want to put it into something that has some sort of return. We’ve been talking to some realtors just to get an idea of what is out there and where we stand. She suggested that we just go out and start looking at houses so we know exactly what we want. That way when it pops onto the market, we can swiftly take it off 🙂

Brent had emailed me with a house to consider last week, and the house looked perfect for what we were looking for. The only problem…the address. It was less than a mile from my parents house. I’m thinking we could just break out of the neighborhood that I grew up in. We went looking anyways…and it really gave us a good idea of how to look at the pictures online and translate it into actuality. I think if we were ready to buy a house, Brent would have been all over this one.

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It had a cute little backyard for BBQing, and around it, a perfect little Oreo pen.

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It was definitely a good idea to take a look at a house that we would consider buying, just to get an idea of what’s out there.

After I got back home from the open house, I went to work making some dinner. I wanted to make a soup and ended up making this Fresh Tomato Soup that was delicious and really light. I added some mashed potatoes to give it a little more weight and substance.

Fresh Tomato Soup

 

Ingredients:

3lbs Fresh Tomatoes (Any Kind)
1 Bulb of Garlic 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Thyme, Chopped Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Potatoes 1 Tablespoon Parsley, Chopped
Parmesan Cheese to Top  1 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

Directions:

1. Pierce your potatoes with a fork several times and place them on a baking sheet. Cut the top of the garlic bulb off and sprinkle about a teaspoon of olive oil over the bulb. Place it in tin foil and put it alongside the potatoes on the baking sheet. Bake the potatoes and garlic at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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2. While the potatoes and garlic are in the oven, spread out your tomatoes on a baking sheet, lined with tin foil. I used two different red tomatoes and some Sunburst tomatoes. You can take the stemmy heads off the tomatoes now, or after they bake. Whatever is easiest for you.

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3. Over the tomatoes, sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and the chopped thyme. Then put them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the skins split.

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4. Once the skins have split on the tomatoes and a fork goes smoothly into the potatoes, it’s ready to start smashing. First, put a colander over a bowl, and smash the tomatoes. The juice will fall into the bowl below while keeping the chunks in the colander.

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5. In a large pot, smash the potatoes. Use the juice from the tomatoes to help the process.

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6. Next, mash in the garlic from the roasted garlic bulb. They should be easy to just squeeze out of the cloves. Stir in the chopped parsley, the tomato chunks and even some more thyme if you would like. Finish it with a cup and a half of chicken broth. Let it heat for 10 minutes under low heat.

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Serve it with some parmesan cheese on top and enjoy! The potatoes really help to add some substance to the soup without over doing it. The soup is extremely light and full of the tomato flavor. It doesn’t have the big chunks of tomato if you don’t want it to and it’s crazy healthy!! All good things!

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I was planning on keeping some for lunch the next day, but everyone kind of cleared it out. This soup will be making an appearance again. It’s very easy on the labor end, so when you don’t feel like making something, this is the perfect answer.

Do you like your tomato soup to be smooth or full of tomato chunks??