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Posts from the ‘Veggies’ Category

Grits with a Twist:  Roasted Veggies & Cheesy Grits

I know what you are thinking.  It is okay.  There are days I can’t believe it either & I wanna know what the hell am I doing putting vegetables in a dish that should contain a protein that runs and jumps.  

Lately, I have been eating less meat.  Truth be told, I feel a whole lot better now that I have consistently eat more vegetables.  I don’t feel sluggish.  I have more energy than I had when I was in college.  I’m kinda liking what I see in the mirror.  My stomach isn’t so flabby.  My legs are shaping pretty good. 

In order to NOT miss meat, I am remixing my own recipes.  My key to eating more vegetables is seasoning.  You can go from Cajun cauliflower to lemon pepper cauliflower by simply changing spices.

This flavor remix is to my Shrimp & Cheesy Grits recipe.  Instead of shrimp, I turned the flavor on an array of roasted vegetables 🙂 and black beans.

Roasted Vegetables

1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Head of Cauliflower
1 Small Green Zucchini
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Pepper
1 teaspoon Onion & Herb Seasoning

ONEPreheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
TWOClean veggies & cut into small pieces.
THREEPlace veggies in a bowl.
FOURAdd EVOO & seasonings.
FIVEToss until all veggies are well covered.
SIXPlace veggies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
SEVENRoast veggies in the oven for about 15 minutes or until veggies are browned.

Roasted Veggies

Roasted Veggies

Black Beans

1/2 cup canned vegan black beans rinsed
1 tablespoon chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

ONEAdd oil to a skillet on medium heat.
TWOSauté garlic & shallots until translucent. Be careful to not burn the garlic.
THREEAdd beans to skillet & sauté for about 5 minutes.

Cheesy Grits

1 1/2 cup shredded aged white cheddar cheese
1 ounce cream cheese
2 cups water (plus a 1/4 cup of water set to the side)
1/2 cup grits

ONEAdd water & grits to medium saucepan.
TWOCook mixture on medium heat.
THREEWhisk mixture to prevent from sticking.
FOURAs mixture thicken, turn heat to low.
FIVEAdd cheese to mixture & continue to stir until all cheese is melted.
NOTEAdd a little extra water if necessary prior to adding the cheese. If grits look dry, add a little bit of water.

Assemble Roasted Veggie & Cheesy Grits with Black Beans

ONEAdd grits to a bowl.
TWOAdd beans.
THREETop with roasted veggies.
ENJOY!!

Roasted Veggies & Cheesy Grits with Black Beans

Roasted Veggies & Cheesy Grits with Black Beans

Roasted Garlic & Tomato Chunky Salsa: Small Appliance Review

Chips & salsa was my go to snack when I was in undergrad. And if I had a bag of Cool Ranch flavored Doritos and a jar of any medium salsa, life was grand 🙂 Since I had the opportunity to check out Hamilton Beach’s Wave Action Blender, I decided to take it back to the undergrad days and make a delicious tummy pleasing salsa.

Chips & Salsa

Roasted Garlic & Tomato Salsa

I had the opportunity to make a number of recipes. The Wave Action Blender performed above and beyond my expectations when I made smoothies and most dips. In less than 2 minutes, creamy smoothies were ready for me to devour. The 48 ounce glass jar allowed me to blend a week’s worth of smoothies to store in the fridge.

Hamilton Beach Blender

Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender

My hummus recipe didn’t turn out too well in the Wave Action. I transferred the contents of the unblended chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, smoked ancho chili peppers, and tahini to the food processor to make a smooth hummus without having to add additional oil to the mixture.

The Wave Action Blender is worth sitting on your counter. The beautiful stainless steel base is one reason for you to jazz up your kitchen.

Roasted Garlic & Roasted Tomatoes

1 pint yellow cherry tomatoes
1 pint red cherry tomatoes
5 garlic cloves
pinch of salt
dash of black pepper
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

ONEPreheat oven 250 degrees.
TWOIn a medium bowl, toss all ingredients until tomatoes are well covered with the extra virgin olive oil.
THREESpread the tomatoes out on a lined cookie sheet.
FOURBake for 20 minutes.
FIVEAllow to cool before putting them in a food processor or blender.

Roasted Garlic & Tomato Chunky Salsa

3 cups roasted garlic & tomatoes (recipe above)
1 diced sautéd shallot
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño pepper (optional)
1 pinch salt (optional)
5 to 8 leaves fresh cilantro finely chopped

ONEAdd all ingredients to the blender.
TWOPulse ingredients for about 1 minute. NOTE: The longer you blend the mixture, the smoother the mixture will be.
THREEEnjoy!!
FOURRefrigerate any leftover, if you have any leftovers.

Chips & Salsa

Savor the Moment

Stay tuned to Facebook or Instagram for your chance to win your own Hamilton Beach Wave Action Blender.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

I was craving tacos all week. But instead of making tacos, I had planned on breaking from the norm and make a pan of enchiladas. After my run today, I was crazy hungry. Guess who forgot to take the ground turkey out of the freezer to thaw. If you answered me, you were correct. Instead of throwing the idea of enchiladas out the window, I found a can of black beans and turned everything around.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

1 15-ounce can reduced sodium black beans, rinsed
2 small zuchinni squashes, chopped
1/4 cup onions, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 10-ounce can red enchilada sauce
5 or 10 corn tortillas (If the tortillas are thin, double up the tortillas.)
1 teaspoon canola oil
Cooking spray or olive oil in spray bottle
1/4 cup your favorite shredded cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar & prairie breeze cheese.)

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

Sauce

ONEAdd enchilada sauce, ground cinnamon, and cayenne pepper in a small sauce pan.
TWOCook at low heat for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring to ensure sauce does not stick.
THREESet to the side.

Filling

ONEAdd canola oil to skillet over medium heat.
TWOAdd zuchinni, onions, green pepper, chili powder, salt, and garlic powder to skillet. Sauté mixture for about 10 minutes.
THREEAdd beans & cilantro. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes.

Enchilada Filling

Enchilada Filling

Tortillas

ONESpray oil on both sides of each tortilla.
TWOWrap in paper towels.
THREEHeat up in microwave for 30 seconds

Assembley

ONEAdd about a 1/4 cup of sauce to a small non-stick baking pan or casserole dish.
TWOOver to the side, add about 1/2 cup of filling to the tortillas and roll up. Place enchilada with seam side down in the dish.

Rolled Enchiladas

Rolled Enchiladas

THREECover with the remaining of the sauce.

Sauced Enchiladas

Sauced Enchiladas

FOURTop with cheese.
FIVEI added cilantro & black beans to the top.

Dressed Uncooked Enchiladas

Dressed Uncooked Enchiladas

SIXBake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted & not burned.

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Vegetarian Enchiladas

SEVENENJOY!!

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Vegetarian Enchiladas

Celebrate the Big Game: Bean & Corn Empanadas

Anyone who knows me, know that I love me some football. In my world, football is the 5th season that occurs between fall and winter. All I can say is that this girl has it honest. I grew up with food & football & family. Sundays were extra special when we sat around the television cheering & chewing.

The Super Bowl is in two weeks. Parties and get to togethers will be held in celebration of the big dance. Chicken wings, chips, cheese dishes, dips, burgers, and ribs re just a few items on the menu. Many of these items are the beginning of the downward spiral to falling off of the New Year’s Resolution healthy eating journey. Also, many of the dishes are not vegetarian friendly.

Eating what’s good for you does not have to be tasteless and boring. These bean & corn empanadas are sure to please vegetarians and carnivores alike.

Bean & Corn Empanadas

2 9-inch pies crusts
1 15-ounce can black or red kidney beans (take your pick) rinsed & drained
1/4 cup frozen broccoli, thawed
1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 to 12 fresh cilantro leaves, chopped fine
1 green onion stalk, chopped fine
1 teaspoon oil
small bowl with a little bit of water

ONEPreheat oven on 375 degrees.
TWO oil in skillet on medium heat.
THREEAdd chopped green onion, brocoli, garlic, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes.
FOURAllow mixture to cool.
FIVEAdd seasoned broccoli mixture to food processor. Add cilantro and beans.
SIXChop for about 5 to 7 minutes or until thoroughly combined.
SEVENStir in corn.
EIGHTLine cookie sheets with parchment paper. Spray parchment paper with nonstick cooking spray if parchment paper isn’t non-stick.
Roll out/flatten pie crust.
NINEUsing a 4-inch circle cookie cutter, cut out circles and place on lined cookie sheets. TIP: If you have scraps, combine them & roll them into a ball. Flattened them with your hand.
TENSpoon mixture onto circles. Be sure to leave room along the edges.
ELEVENFold one side over and press edges.
TWELVEDip fork into bowl of water. Crimp edges of empanadas closed.
THIRTEEN Bake empanadas for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
FOURTEENServe with your favorite dipping sauce or salsa. I served the empanadas with my favorite hoisin sauce.

Bean & Corn Empanadas

Bean & Corn Empanadas

Happy New Year: Simply Raw Zucchini with Sunshine Cool Breeze Dressing

We are well into a new year. I hope the year is bringing you laughter and smiles thus far. With January, comes New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like the word ‘resolution’. I don’t keep resolutions; but the word improvements is an on-going process that gives me an opportunity to succeed. So I will use the word improvement 🙂

One of the improvements that we make concerns improving our health. Whether we set out on the journey to eat healthier or lose weight, we need to equip ourselves with tools that we will be able to sustain in the long run so that we can reach our goals. Great tasting healthy options will keep us on track to better health.

Last year, I made a lifestyle change that I have been able to sustain and carry me into the new year. The change I made was to incorporate more raw vegetables into my day. Eating raw vegetables on a consistent basis doesn’t mean that you are eating raw carrots and celery or the traditional lettuce, tomato, and cucumber salad. There are a host of vegetables that will ensure you do not get bored with eating a dish packed with vitamins and high in fiber.

One of my favorite vegetables is zucchini. I love it sautéed, steamed, and raw. Truth be told, raw zucchini is boring and taste like cardboard. By adding the refreshing dressing below, the zucchini is kicked up to new heights.

Sunshine Cool Breeze Dressing

juice of 1 small lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon agave nectar
8 fresh mint leaves chopped fine
1 pinch cayenne pepper

ONECombine all ingredients in a bowl with lid or bottle with a cap.
TWOShake vigorously to combine all thoroughly combine all ingredients.
THREEPour over your favorite vegetables. Toss the vegetables to make sure they are evenly coated.

I julienned one medium sized zucchini. I tossed the zucchini in the Sunshine Cool Breeze Dressing. I then served the zucchini over a bed of baby spinach and baby arugula for extra vitamins. Yuuuuuuumy!!

Raw Zucchini w/Sunshine Cool Breeze Dressing

Raw Zucchini w/Sunshine Cool Breeze Dressing

Happy Holidays: Christmas Bruschetta with Garlic Crustinis

I love this time of year. I get to hang out with friends and family. Everyone is full of smiles and holiday happiness. Not to mention, the food is amazing. I want to leave you with this appetizer that is sure to be a hit with meat lovers and vegans alike.

Have your fruit and vegetable tray if you like. But this Chrstmas Bruschetta will impress even the pickiest of eaters. To accompany the bruschetta, you can serve your favorite bread. In order to make this a low carb appetizer and to make this dish vegan friendly, have fresh tomato slices on the side.

Bruschetta & Garlic Crustinis

Christmas Bruschetta w/Garlic Crustinis

Christmas Bruschetta

7 Roma tomatoes
2 green tomatoes
6 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt

ONEWash and remove seeds & drain juice from tomatoes.
TWODice tomatoes in small pieces.
THREEAdd tomatoes to a bowl alon with remaining ingredients.
FOURToss lightly being careful to not smash the tomatoes.

Garlic Crustinis

1 loaf of French bread
about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
approximate 2 to 4 garlic clove pieces

ONEPreheat oven to 350 degrees.
TWOSlice French bread, making the pieces 1/4 to 1/2 inch in thickness. NOTE: It is best to cut the bread with a bread knife. Also, cut the pieces about the same size. This will allow for consistent toasting.
THREEBrush or drizzle bread pieces with olive oil on both sides. TIP: If you don’t have a brush, use a plastic bottle dispenser used for ketchup or mustard. This way you have better control over the amount of oil used.
FOURPlace on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
FIVEBake for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown.
SIXAllow to cool for 5 minutes.
SEVENRub crustinis with garlic cloves until well covered.

I Learned Something New: Kachumbari

A few weeks ago, one of my awesome sister friends celebrated her birthday with great people and great food. One of those awesome dishes was an African dish, named kachumbari. If made with the freshest ingredients, this dish will sure to be a hit. We diced onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and green peppers. Cilantro was diced and limes were juiced. As you have read, the ingredients put you in the mind of pico de gallo. This African dish is packed with veggies when cucumbers and green peppers are added. Cucumbers gives this dish a refreshing taste.

Kachumbari

Kachumbari

I cheated and added an extra vegetable. I added green zucchini to my kachumbari. This delectable dish is awesome with your favorite tortilla chips or rice.

Kachumbari

3 large red tomatoes NOTE: I used large plum tomatoes.
1 cucumber
1 green pepper
1/2 red onion
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 green zucchini (optional)
2 scotch bonnet peppers (optional, if you like spicy food)
Juice from 1 lime

ONEDice tomatoes. Set aside in a strainer to strain the juice.
TWODice the remainder of the vegetables.
THREECombine all vegetables in a large bowl.
FOURAdd cilantro & scotch bonnet peppers.
FIVEAdd lime juice.
SIXStir mixture being careful to not smash vegetables.
SEVENCover & refrigerate until ready to serve.

This nutritious raw vegetable dish can be served as a side dish for a casual meal at home or as an appetizer at your next party.

Smoothie Me Crazy: Tips for a Great Smoothie

Detoxing for a week was hard. I set out to detox for seven days but my mind broke down. I must say that I detoxed for 5 1/2 days which isn’t bad at all :-). During my detox, I ate a combination of raw or cooked fruit and vegetable dishes when I wanted pizza, burgers, and wings.

During my detox days, I decided to drink smoothies rather than drinking juices. I drank smoothies to ensure I received the maximum benefits of eating raw fruits and vegetables without having to eat each fruit and vegetable individually.

I learned a lot about making smoothies during my detox. Let me share some tips with you.

ONEBuy the freshest produce possible. When you use fresh ingredients, fresh is the difference between a good smoothie versus a great smoothie.

TWOMix fruits and vegetables. Adding green leafy vegetables increases the amount of essential vitamins and minerals in a glass.

THREEDo not shy away from fresh or dried seasonings. Fresh mint, fresh or ground ginger, and ground cayenne pepper are great additions to any smoothie for you to add extra flavor.

FOURIce is not essential to smoothie making. I didn’t use ice for not one smoothie. Instead of ice, juice, or water, I used coconut water.

FIVEThoroughly clean your produce. The worst thing that could ever happen while sipping on your smoothie is for you to crunch into a dirt ball of any size. YUCK!!

SIXIf you choose one tip to adhere to, pay close attention to this tip. An awesome blender is essential to making a great smoothie. My counter top blender failed to deliver a smooth drink that didn’t consist of rough bits of fruits and veggies. I had to pull out my immersion blender to get my smoothies to the texture I desired.

I used the following ingredients in various combinations to create a different smoothie each day:

Spinach
Cucumber
Mint
Ground Cayenne Pepper
Ground Ginger
Fresh Ginger
Pineapple
Apple
Banana
Kiwi
Flax Seed
Strawberries

Smoothie Me Crazy

Smoothie Me Crazy

Day 2 Detox Dinner: Vegan Barbeque Lettuce Wraps & Potato Wedges

On day 2 of my detox, I had a taste for barbeque. Yep, I was tempted to go and purchase turkey tips and fries with mild sauce from one of my favorite spots, Uncle John’s. But I held back and came up with this recipe to satisfy my barbeque and fries combo fix. This recipe is made with beans. NOTE: When buying bean,s be sure to read labels to ensure they are not made with meat.

Tex Mex Lettuce Wraps

Vegan Barbeque Lettuce Wraps

Potato Wedges with Dill Sauce

Potato Wedges with Dill Sauce

Vegan Barbeque Lettuce Wraps

1 can Black Beans (reduced sodium)
1/2 cup your favorite Barbeque Sauce
1/2 cup Frozen Corn (thawed)
1 stalk Green Onions (chopped)
1 cup Shredded Carrots
1 teaspoon fresh Minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (or to taste)
1/2 cup Roasted Butternut Squash
1 head of Lettuce (clean and separate leaves) NOTE: I used a head of Boston Lettuce.

ONERinse liquid from black beans.
TWOCombine black beans, barbeque sauce, corn, garlic, and cayenne pepper to a medium nonstick skillet.
THREECook for 20 minutes over low to medium heat stirring occasionally.
FOURStir in remaining ingredients. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
FIVEAllow to cool before spooning mixture in lettuce leaves.

Potato Wedges

4 small Red Potatoes (scrubbed & cut in wedges)
1/2 teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper
1 teaspoon of Olive Oil

ONEPreheat oven to 400 degrees.
TWOToss red potato wedges in olive oil and pepper.
THREELine a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
FOURPlace potato wedges on lined cookie sheet. Do not overlap wedges.
FIVECook for about 10 to 15 minutes (until light brown on side) and turn over.
SIXCook for about another 5 to 10 minutes.

Cucumber Dill Sauce

1 cup Cucumber (chopped)
1 1/2 teaspoon Fresh Dill (chopped)
1/4 cup filtered Water
1 pinch of salt (optional)

ONECombine all ingredients into your favorite blender.
TWOBlend until smooth.

Day 1 Detox: Chili Blanco & Roasted Butternut Squash

I have been on an eating frenzy. To clean my machine, I decided to detox for 7 days. Seven days may seem like a long time; bit it isn’t that bad. Yes, I could eat a large cheese pizza, but that won’t help my digestive tract.

I believe I should not have to punish myself in order to detox. I am eating a combination of cooked and raw flavorful foods. If you want to ‘detox’, be sure to educate yourself and be sure to be honest with yourself. Be honest about know what you can and cannot do. For instance, I cannot drink smoothies and juices for seven days. If I opted for a liquid detox, I know I would fail after day 1.

If you are responsible for your cooking your meals, be sure to stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. My Saturday grocery shopping trip to the grocery store resembled a trip to the farmer’s market.

Grocery Cart @ Mariano's Market

Grocery Cart @ Mariano’s Market

For dinner on Day 1, I made Chili Blanco & Roasted Butternut Squash.

Chili Blanco

1 Medium White Potato (peeled)
1/2 cup filtered Water
1 cup filtered Water
1 can Small White Beans (reduced sodium)
1 can Northern Beans (reduced sodium)
1 Green Onion stalk (chopped)
1 teaspoon Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
3 tablespoons Green Chile Powder
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 pinch Pink Himalayan Salt (optional)

ONESteam or boil potato until fork tender.
TWOAdd 1/2 cup of filtered water & potato to a blender. Blend until smooth (replaces tomato paste in traditional chili). NOTE: I preferred using my hand blender versus my standard blender.
THREETransfer the potato purée to a saucepan.
FOURStir in last six ingredients listed.
FIVECook on low heat for 5 minutes.
SIXStir in remaining ingredients.
SEVENCook for 30 minutes on medium heat. Stir occasionally, ensuring chili does not stick.

Chili Blanco

Chili Blanco

Roasted Butternut Squash

12 ounces Butternut Squash (peeled & cut in cubes) NOTE: The grocery store I went to, Mariano’s, sell Butternut squash raw and cubed in bags.
1 tablespoon ground Dried Ancho Chili Pepper

ONEPreheat oven at 400 degrees.
TWOAdd butternut squash to a bowl.
THREEAdd ground dried ancho chili pepper.
FOURToss butternut squash to coat with chili pepper evenly.
FIVELine cookie sheet with parchment paper.
SIXAdd seasoned butternut squash to lined cookie sheet.
SEVENCook for about 10 minutes or until butternut squash is fork tender and a charred crusting begins to form on top.

Roasted Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash