By Request: A Few Favorite Vegetarian Dishes

donut dietI mentioned in yesterday’s post that I make some vegetarian dishes and the lovely Hannah asked what my favorite recipes were, so I figured I’d post them for posterity.

Just a few notes about these: A few of them came from the Written in Our Hearts cookbook, which is a great vegetarian/vegan collection of recipes (as well as photos, stories, and memories) published in honor of Davy Jones with the proceeds going to The Davy Jones Equine Memorial Foundation, however I’ve tweaked them due to the demands of the people I cook for and my own need to fuss with things. If you want to see the original, untouched versions of the recipes or if you want even more vegetarian/vegan recipes for your kitchen, I really encourage you to buy the cookbook. Yummy food and a good cause. Everybody wins.

Second, I like to cook because cooking doesn’t require exact measurements. Some of the measurements on these recipes are approximates.

And finally, everything here is easy because I’m lazy. I don’t like intricate, labor-intensive recipes. I’m not that kind of girl.

Veggie Penne

This is my own creation and it’s super easy. Cook a box of penne pasta and drain it. Add a little olive oil. Mix in some steamed veggies (I love the Eat Smart vegetable medley; steam in the bag in the microwave, fresh and tasty), add some shredded Parmesan and you’re done.

Mac and Cheese

People don’t think about mac and cheese being vegetarian because people don’t think about it being healthy, but it’s definitely one of those things that can be less garbage food if you make it yourself instead of getting it out of a box.

I use this mac and cheese recipe to make my cheese sauce. For a traditional flavor, I use finely shredded cheddar jack (I’m not shredding my own, kids). For something with a little more class, I use finely shredded mozzarella and substitute garlic powder for the mustard powder. Stir in a little broccoli along with the pasta and it’s mac and cheese all grown up. It might take a time or two to get the hang of the cheese sauce (it can end up a little gritty if you don’t get it right, but it still tastes fine), but it’s worth it.

Veggie Fritattafrittata

This is my take on Micky’s Veggie Fritatta in the Written in Our Hearts cookbook.

2T olive oil–2 small potatoes, diced–1/4 cup chopped onion–1/2 cup red pepper, chopped–1/2 cup diced tomato–1/2 cup diced zucchini–6 eggs–2T of milk–1/2 cup shredded mozzarella–1/2 cup shredded triple cheddar–basil–salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add potato, onion, red pepper, and zucchini. Season with a pinch or two of salt. Cook 5-7 minutes. Transfer to non-stick baking pan and stir in the tomatoes. Whisk eggs and milk together; pour evenly over dish. Scatter cheese over the top. Bake 20 to 25 minutes (depending on your oven) until set in the middle. Garnish with a pinch or two of basil.

Sauteed Zucchini

I really love zucchini and the easiest way for me to make it is to slice it up and cook it in a little olive oil over medium heat. Season it with a little salt (I prefer sea salt, but that’s just me) and it makes a great side dish. I like to serve it and brown rice with the next recipe.

Mozzarella Salad Sandwich

Another hit from the cookbook.

1/2lb mozzarella–sun dried tomatoes–rolls–4t white vinegar–1/4 cup olive oil–1/4t salt–1/8t pepper

Cut the cheese into thin slices and put in a bowl. Add the tomatoes to the cheese (julian them if necessary; I buy them that way). Shake vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small jar until salt dissolves. Add olive oil. Shake again. Add dressing to cheese and tomatoes and toss. Fill rolls with the cheese salad. The longer it sits, the better it is.

Rotini Salad

This is actually Tortellini Salad in the cookbook, but when I first made it, there was no tortellini on the shelf and I bought rotini instead. And I use sweet onion as that much raw yellow onion kills my GERD. I also downsized most of the measurements here because otherwise it was way too much. Still good, though.

1 box tri-color rotini–4-6 oz of monterey jack cheese, diced small–1 large tomato, chopped–1/4 of an onion, chopped–1/4 red pepper, chopped–1T olive oil–parsley, garlic powder, basil, oregano to taste

Cook and cool pasta. Toss everything together. Chill thoroughly before serving. If you need a place to start with the seasonings, I probably use about a tablespoon of garlic powder and oregano, and half a tablespoon of parsley and basil. Remember, though, it’s easier to add seasoning than to take it out.

veggie scrambleVeggie Scramble

This is my new favorite lunch option after we’ve had rotini salad. It seems like when the rotini is gone, there’s still bits of onions, peppers, and tomatoes left over and I don’t want it to go to waste. So I throw a peeled, chopped small potato in a pan over medium heat with some olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Cook it for a couple of minutes, then add the onions, peppers, and tomatoes (with all of the salad seasoning still stuck on them, no additional seasoning required). Cook that for five or six minutes. Then I beat two or three eggs with a splash of milk, pour it over the top, and let it cook for a minute or two before giving the whole pan a good scramble. With an English muffin, it’s breakfast for lunch and I couldn’t be happier.

Recipe: Breakfast Burrito

I came up with this while housesitting at my aunt’s. I pretty much only ate hamburger for dinner every night that week because it was the easiest thing to fix in a kitchen I wasn’t used to and to avoid dragging out the grill. After putting scrambled eggs on a burger one night, I decided to cut to the chase and put the scrambled eggs IN the meat. I added some cheese and spices, slapped it on a tortilla, added some sour cream and salsa and called it dinner.

INGREDIENTS

-Ground beef

-Eggs

-Shredded cheese

-Tortillas

-Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder

-Salsa

-Sour Cream

DIRECTIONS

Brown ground beef in a skillet. Season it with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Beat eggs, add salt, pepper, and chili powder. Turn down the heat and add the eggs to the ground beef. Toss until eggs are scrambled and nearly done. Add shredded cheese. Toss until cheese is melted.

Put a helping of meat mixture on a tortilla. Top with sour cream and salsa. Roll into a burrito.

Okay, yes, I left out a lot of specifics in this recipe. That’s because it’s so easy to adjust. On my own, I used a handful of ground beef (about what you’d use to make a large hamburger patty) and a couple of eggs. That was good for two very full burritos. Cooking for three fat people, I use about a pound and a half of ground beef and six eggs. The cheese, spices, salsa, and sour cream can all be adjusted to taste.

It’s a great base recipe to jazz up. You can add onions, peppers, hash browns, mushrooms, whatever.

I will offer this warning, though. It’s a rather heavy meal. A little goes a long way. I’m usually stuffed after two smallish burritos.

Recipes: Shrimp Pizza with Spinach and Roasted Tomatoes

In the winter time, I like to make a shrimp pasta dish with rainbow rotini, spinach, and roasted tomatoes and I’ve often thought that the ingredients (minus the pasta) would transfer well to a pizza.

I was so right. Here’s the recipe if you’re into trying new things.

INGREDIENTS

-1 bag of thawed, jumbo pre-cooked shrimp (cocktail shrimp)

-2 thin pizza crusts (store bought or make your own)

-2 bags of shredded cheese (I use Kraft 4 Cheese Pizza Cheese)

-1 bag of baby spinach

-roasted tomatoes (store bought or make your own; I’ll include my recipe for my own)

-1/2 tablespoon of butter

-1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced

-olive oil

-red pepper flakes

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 425.

In a skillet on medium heat, melt the butter and add the garlic. Add the spinach and wilt, giving it a good toss in the butter and garlic. Set aside.

Drain and prep the shrimp by pulling off the tails (pinch the tail from the top/bottom instead of the sides and the shrimp should pop right out with a little tug). Season with red pepper flakes (use as much or as little as you want; I usually use 1 to 1 1/2 tbsp).

Spread a thin layer of olive oil on the crusts. Use about a third of a bag of the shredded cheese to make a thin layer on one of the crusts (you’re going to use a bag a pizza). Top each pizza with the spinach, shrimp, and tomatoes. Use the rest of the bag of cheese to cover the toppings.

Bake for 9-11 minutes directly on the rack, until cheese is melted and a little brown and the crust is crispy.

The recipe makes two pizzas. It’s easily doubled or halved. I make two because if I don’t, I don’t get a piece. It’s very popular in my house. But it also keeps well, so it’s great for lunch the next day.

My recipe for roasted tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS

-3 or 4 medium tomatoes

-2 to 4 cloves of garlic, chopped

-olive oil

-salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400.

Slice the tomatoes into fairly small wedges and seed them (aim for about 8 wedges a tomato). Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet (I use a pizza pan covered in tin foil for easy clean-up). Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (about 1 tbsp each) and the chopped garlic. Give it a quick toss.

Roast (bake) in the oven for about 20 minutes.

I typically double this and make a big batch at once because I use them in several of my recipes. They keep really. Just make sure you let them cool before you stick in them in the fridge in a container.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Pickle Wraps

When I announced on Twitter that I was making pickle wraps for my New Year’s Eve celebration, I got quite a few comments asking what they were and a couple of requests for the recipe. I decided posting the recipe would make for a good Friday Funtimes post.

And since I do like to cook, I figured that posting my recipes from time to time would be a good go-to for the Fridays that I’m not feeling particularly fun.

Food is fun.

Pickle Wraps

Ingredients
1 jar of small, whole dill pickles
2 90 calorie packages of Budding’s Beef (any deli thin sliced corned beef will do, really)
1 8oz container of cream cheese (I like the low fat kind)

Use a paper towel to dry off the pickles. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese on one slice of the beef. Set the pickle on the edge of the cream cheesed beef and roll it up. Slice up the pickle into rounds no more than quarter of an inch thick. Serves several people at once or one person over several days (at least that’s my experience).

One word of caution: This recipe is not for everyone. I know it sounds terrible and even some pickle lovers have a hard time trying it. Rarely does it work out well for someone not fond of pickles. In fact, my roommate Carrie swears it’s the most vile thing she’s ever put in her mouth.

I’m going to take her word for that.

Enjoy!