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Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

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

A Favorite with a Twist: Smoked Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite dishes to eat. I can eat macaroni and cheese every other day. I can eat it as a side dish or as an entrée. You can add meat and vegetables. You can use one cheese or a variety of different cheese: American, Meunster, Cheddar, Gruyère, Parmesan, Romano, and the list goes on and on.

I like my macaroni and cheese simple. Give me pasta with great cheeses and I am winning. Check out how I made Smoked Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese:

Smoked Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese

1 cup milk
3/4 cup half & half
2 tablespoons flour NOTE: I used garbanzo flour.
2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 cups smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup smoked cheddar cheese & extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded mixed for topping
1 cup garlic panko bread crumbs (recipe below)
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
4 cups cooked pasta, drained

ONEPreheat oven to 375 degrees.
TWOCombine milk, half & half, melted butter, and flour in a sauce pan. Whisk over low heat until mixture thickens.
THREEAdd salt & peeper.
FOURGradually stir in cheese (Be sure to not use the cheese set aside for topping.) until mixture is completed melted.
FIVEAdd cooked pasta to casserole dish, baking pan, or cast iron skillet coated with oil or cooking spray.
SIXStir in cheese sauce.
SEVENTop with shredded cheddar cheese mixture.
EIGHTTop with garlic pinko bread crumbs.
TENBake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Garlic Panko Bread Crumbs

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

ONEMelt butter in a skillet over low heat.
TWOAdd chopped garlic. Sauté garlic for about 3 minutes or until garlic is fragrant.
THREEAdd panko bread crumbs.
FOURIncrease to medium heat & stir mixture for about 5 minutes being careful to not burn the bread crumbs.

Mac & Cheese

Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese

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 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.

Move Over Deep Dish: Craft Pizza is in Town

Tuesday, June 3rd, Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood will have a new restaurant to open its doors to the community. Located on the corner of West Potomac Avenue and North Damen Avenue, Craft Pizza, will offer a variety of pies in a modern casual dining environment.

Craft Pizza

Craft Pizza

These pizza pies are not made in the traditional Chicago deep dish style….no, no, no. Each pie is made with a thin crust that had me eating even the end crusts. The light crust is a complex combination that knows when to be crispy and when to be chewy with each bite.

What about the ingredients on the pizza? You ask. Well, the amazing crust does not over power the other ingredients. The red sauce and basil on the margherita pizza tasted as if someone picked the tomatoes and basil directly from a garden that morning.

Craft Margherita

Craft Margherita

My favorite house pie is the white truffle pie made with whole milk and fresh mozzarella, pecorino romano/grana padano, truffle oil, and sea salt. And no I didn’t forget anything 🙂 The white truffle pie does not have sauce. The simplicity of the of this pie gave me the opportunity to appreciate the fresh cheeses. As for the white truffle oil, let’s just say it was delish.

White Truffle Pie

White Truffle Pie

Whether you are a meat lover or vegetable lover, there is something at Craft Pizza for everyone. Choose from 11 varieties of house pies or build your own unique pie. Craft Pizza offers 2 sizes, 14 inches or 18 inches. The slices are cut in traditional triangle so everyone can enjoy the end crust 😉 Also, chicken is not offered as a meat; but no need to despair. The meatless options more than satisfying for me. House pies range from $12 to $24. The build your own option base price (without toppings) is $12 for a 14 inch or $16 for an 18 inch pie.

Scott Toth and his partner has something special that they are bringing to Wicker Park (By the way, we want something special on the South side 😉 ). Craft Pizza is located at 1252 North Damen Avenue. Stop by or give them a call at 773-4CRAFT. Salads, antipasta, and artisan pizzas are available during lunch and dinner for dine in or take out only. Sorry, delivery is not available because Craft Pizza is dedicated to maintaining the quality of their artisan pies for the customers. Also, boil and bake bagels, pastries, and Chicago’s own Sparrow Coffee will be available for breakfast from 8am to 11am on Saturday and Sunday. WARNING: If you are driving, finding parking may be a bit of a scavenger hunt. After you find a parking space, your experience at Craft Pizza will be well worth it. NOTE: They are BYOB and do not sell liquor.

My Experience @ Craft Pizza

My Experience @ Craft Pizza

Conscious Comfort Food: Karyn’s Cooked

With the cold winter days in Chicago, I wanted to stuff my face with mashed potatoes and meatloaf. I didn’t want the heaviness and fat that typically accompanies this dish so I decided to go to Karyn’s Cooked in Chicago’s River North neighborhood located at 738 North Wells Street. Note: Karyn’s Cooked is easily accessible by public transportation (You can take the bus as well as the Brown & Purple elevated train to the Chicago stop).

Karyn's Cooked

Karyn’s Cooked

An acquaintance had been telling me about this restaurant since I moved back to Chicago a few years ago. I tested out a recipe from the owner’s cookbook; but I had not made my way over to the cozy warm restaurant specializing in conscious comfort food.

Karyn’s Cooked offers a variety of vegan/vegetarian options that resemble non-vegan/non-vegetarian dishes that I am familiar with. Chili, Sloppy Joe’s, Mac & Cheese, Pecan Pie, and Bread Pudding are only a small sample of items on the menu.

WARNING: Honey is used in some of the desserts. If you are a vegan who does not consider honey vegan; be sure to ask which dishes are made with honey.

I didn’t order an appetizer. I dived right into ordering the Homestyle Meat Loaf served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Shitake Mushroom Gravy, Steamed Broccoli, and Garlic Bread.

Homestyle Meatloaf

Homestyle Meatloaf

As a meat eater, the vegan meatloaf does not have the same texture of the meat version; but this vegan version from Karyn’s Cooked is packed with flavor and isn’t dry. NOTE: The recipe for the Vegan Meatloaf is in the owner’s cookbook, Soak Your Nuts by Karen Calabrese.

The sides rounded out the meatloaf nicely. It only makes sense to offer mashed potatoes and gravy with meatloaf. I must confess that I don’t eat traditional gravy. As a child, gravy was synonymous with Gravy Train dog food. I stepped out of my comfort zone and experienced the shitake mushroom gravy. This gravy isn’t smooth. It is filled with chunks of mushrooms and other veggies. I could have eaten a full bowl of the shitake mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes by itself.

Since I didn’t get an appetizer, I ordered dessert to take home. I chose the Lemon Meringue Pie at the suggestion of my server. I was too stuffed to eat the pie at home. Yep, you read it correctly, I was more than satisfied. I even took leftover meatloaf & gravy home.

The next day, the pie was fabulous. The topping wasn’t too sweet; and it resembled a vegan whipped topping that I had made before. I must say that with each bite, I was amazed how the filling and crust tasted like my mother had made them.

Lemon Pie

Lemon Pie

Karyn’s Cooked is a restaurant that I will frequent as I travel the road of adding more meatless options to my diet. I am upset that it took me this long to get there. When my brothers come to visit, I am going to treat them to Karyn’s Cooked. I want to know what hard core carnivores have to say about Karyn’s Cooked. Be sure to check out Karyn’s Cooked for yourself and tell me what you think.

My Experience @ Karyn's Cooked

My Experience @ Karyn’s Cooked