Tag Archives: vegetarian

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.

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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??

 

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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??

 

 

 

Eggplant Parm, Love it or Hate it?

I have NEVER really been a fan of eggplant. The texture, the flavor…the everything about it. Well, the color is kind of pretty. But, I can’t really say I ever would have ordered eggplant anything throughout my entire life. But, I feel like the whole, your taste buds change while you grow up is completely true. I really like eggplant now. And onions, and tomatoes, and veggies in general. Brussels sprouts might just have to stay in limbo for right now.

  • Fun fact: They say that the bitter flavor of brussels sprouts is really distasteful to children because when you are younger you have more taste buds. The bitter flavor typically indicates something that may contain toxins, where as sweets are generally safe to eat. So children will spit it out in response to the bitter flavor, where adults won’t be keying in on the bitter flavor and be able to enjoy them a bit more. 

Eggplant I think has always been a texture thing to me. I’m finally getting used to the texture of a nice fresh eggplant and it is kind of growing on me. It is also my father’s favorite so I know this meal is going to be around for a long long time. My dad had been talking about eggplant parm for a while and when my mother was out of town for a few weeks, we decided to whip some up for him.

Eggplant Parm

 

Ingredients:

 

 

2 Large Eggplant 2 Jars of Tomato Sauce
2 Eggs 2 Tablespoons Milk
2 Cups Bread Crumbs 1 16oz Bag Mozarella Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Minced Garlic 1 Large Onion
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

 

Directions:

1. In a medium sized pan, add in a tablespoon of olive oil, minced garlic and your large onion, diced. I used a vidalia onion, but a yellow onion would work well too. Set it on a medium heat and stir frequently until the onions are cooked through. When the onions are cooked, add in the two jars of sauce. It can be any flavor you like. I used an italian sauce.

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2. With the sauce sitting on simmer, take your eggplant and cut them into thicker slices.

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3. Next, in a flatter dish, whisk the eggs with your milk until they are well combined. Then dip the eggplant slice into the egg, covering it on both sides and then dip it into your bread crumbs, covering it on both sides, as well as the edges.

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4. Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with tin foil and bake them all at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until the eggplant looks browned. Then, flip them over and give it another 5 minutes.

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5. In 13×9 baking dish, line the bottom with some sauce and start layering the eggplant on the bottom. You want to fill the bottom as much as possible. You may have to cut a few in half.

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6. Then top the layer off with some more sauce, and a mozzarella cheese layer. Then another eggplant layer and so on. Until you have no more eggplant and the top layer is sauce and cheese.

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7. Bake the dish at 350 degrees for 25  minutes, covered with tin foil. You need the dish to completely warm up and the flavors to blend. If you do not cover it, you will get a crunchy top. You can always take the tin foil off for the last 5 minutes if you want that effect.

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Not too complicated but just a little time consuming! On the other side, you will have enough eggplant parm to hold you over for a while! And if you have any left over baked eggplant, you can put it on sandwiches or on salads for other meals!

 

What are some foods that you like now as an adult that you may have hated when you were a kid??

The Superbowl Spread

Long time no blog! I’ve been in New Orleans for the past two weeks and have a few things to share with you about the delicious eats and all of the activities that went on. But first! The Superbowl!

I was slightly upset that I was leaving New Orleans, literally a DAY before the superbowl…but the crowds were unbelievable on a normal weekend. I didn’t want to know what would happen when Mardi Gras and the Superbowl collided. Madness!

Last night for the Superbowl, Brent and I stayed in with my parents and enjoyed an exciting game. When I got up in the morning, I threw together a chili that I think may have been one of the best. It was packed with tons of veggies and had a bit of spice to it. I loved how fresh it tasted…and how light it was. **You could EASILY make this a vegetarian chili by simply omitting the ground beef. There is so much veggies in this chili that you wouldn’t be missing too much 🙂

Spicy Veggie Chili

 

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs Ground Beef 2 Large Onions, Chopped
2 Green Peppers, Chopped 2 Red Peppers, Chopped
6 Medium Carrots, Diced 6 Cloves of Garlic, Diced
4 Tablespoons Chili Powder 1 1/2 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano 4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder
2 28-oz Cans Gournd Peeled Tomatoes
1 15oz Can Black Beans 1 15oz Can Red Beans
Shredded Cheese to Top

Directions:

1. Dice, Chop and prepare all of your veggies. Including the garlic.

Chili Prep

 

2. Heat up a skillet and cook the ground beef until done. Be sure not to dry it out. Then, in a LARGE crockpot, add in all of your ingredients (minus the cheddar cheese) and stir well.

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Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. You want the onions and the veggies to cook through and the flavors to all marry. It was really fresh tasting, and don’t be afraid to adjust the seasonings to your liking. Just bare in mind that the cumin is a bit more potent than you may think 🙂 This will feed 10 people easily.

On the side of the chili, I made some home-made corn bread. I was really kind of pumped to give this a go because I hadn’t even made cornbread from scratch before. The cornbread turned out really moist…even though I left it in the oven for a little too long. WHOOPS. It’s a bit darker in color than it should be but still tasted amazing.

Cornbread

 

Ingredients:

1 Cup Flour 1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Eggs 1 Cup NonFat Milk
1/4 Cup Melted Butter 1/4 Cup Honey
1/4 Cup Sugar

Directions:

1. Mix flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt together with a fork until it is light and evenly mixed.

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2. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs, honey, sugar, milk and melted butter. Make sure to combine it really well.

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3. When the oven is completely heated to 400 degrees, mix the wet ingredients with the dry and immediately transfer to a 9×9 greased baking pan and put it into the oven. **Once you mix the wet ingredients with the dry, you must transfer it quickly. Do NOT over mix the batter. It should be lumpy.

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Bake it for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Make sure you keep an eye on it or else it will come out a bit dark 🙂

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It was delicious and extremely moist. I will definitely be making this guy again.

I have one last thing that I whipped up for the Superbowl, but because this is getting to be a bit lengthy, I will save it for another post. It was a Buffalo Chicken dip that got great reviews. Brent inhaled it. Not that he doesn’t already love everything that is buffalo chicken.

Today is my first day back and I’ve got a few phone calls to start making, routing to do and some packages to go through. I think have about 15 individual boxes that are waiting for me in the garage. FUUUN!

Happy Monday!!

 

A Saturday Baking Project

This was supposed to publish last night (Saturday) WHOOPS! So here you go!!

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I am STILL, trying to put a dent in my baking supplies, and I honestly can’t believe the amount of food that I have been able to make without buying anything, but butter. I don’t really have tons and tons of sticks of butter laying around, so that was the only thing on the shopping list lately.

This morning, I ended up taking on the project of making some Granola Bars. Surprise, surprise, I made them chocolate chip and dried cranberry granola bars. I don’t know what it is with this combo, but I LOVE it. I’ve always been a bit nervous about making these, simply because I thought there was a lot to it…or that it was complicated. But after making them, they couldnt’ have been easier. I would absolutely say they are easier than making rice crispy treats (I have some trouble with making those).

Chocolate, Cranberry Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1/3 Cup Honey 1 Stick Butter
1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
2 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats 1/4 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Chopped Walnuts 1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/3 Cup Chocolate Chips

Directions:

1. In a medium sized sauce pan, on low heat, melt the butter, sugars and honey together. Do not boil the mixture.

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2. Stir in the oats, cranberries, almonds, and walnuts. Then take the pan off the heat, and stir in the chocolate chips.

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3. Line a smaller baking dish with parchment paper and press the granola mix into the pan. I used a 9 by 11 pan and ended up scrunching it to the end because it would have resulted in really thin bars that wouldn’t stay together well.

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4. Lastly, bake the bars for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. You want the top to be golden brown.

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Let it COMPLETELY cool before taking it out of the pan and cutting it. While it is hot the bars will not stick together. You can pull the whole parchment paper out and lay it on the counter to slice easily. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars.

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I am actually going to bring these bars with me to Naples. Brent and I are celebrating Christmas with his family and I thought it would be fun to bring some treats. I was trying to come up with a good way to bring them without the bars falling apart or sticking to each other and decided to wrap them individually in parchment paper. This way you can actually just throw them in a bag while you are on the run and don’t have to worry about a mess! GENIUS!

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I know this isn’t really an original idea, but afterwards, I kind of felt really smart. Haha, no puzzle is to difficult for THIS one to solve! Just don’t give me a rubix cube and completely kill my smarty pants ego.

Have you ever come up with a solution that just made you feel really, really smart??