Category Archives: Vegetarian

Easy Guacamole

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Who is ready for a fiesta!? 

I have to confess, I planned to have a recipe for Chicken Parmesan today, however it was over 90 degress yesterday, and I couldn’t bear to turn on my oven and make a heavy dish like that.

So instead, you get a fast and easy guacamole!

Want to know the secret to the easiet guacamole you will ever make?

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Salsa.  That is right!  Just plain old salsa.  This is more of a ‘pico de gallo’ type salsa, and I think that is really important.  I find this in the produce section of my grocery store, and it is kept refridgerated. 

It is full of chopped tomatoes, red onions, and peppers.  Normal jarred salsa is very ‘saucy’ and this is more chunky.  Try to find it in your store! 

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Cut your avocados like I’ve shown above.  Slice them in the peel in one direction, then the other, and scoop out the flesh with a spoon.

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Just add some salsa to your chopped avocado, spritz a little lime juice and sprinkle in some salt and you have a delicious and fast gaucamole! 

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Fast and Easy Guacamole

makes about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo type salsa
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Cut avocados in half.  Twist to remove one half from the pit.  Remove the pit from the other half.  Leaving the peel on, slice avocados in one direction, and turn and slice in the other direction.  Use a spoon to scoop the flesh into a large bowl.
  2. If you prefer very smooth guacamole, mash the avocados before adding other ingredients.  If you prefer chunky guacamole, dd remaining ingredients and mix well. The avocados will slightly mash, but you will be left with larger chunks as well.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

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Caprese Barley Salad

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I have a fantastic fresh salad for you today!  It is getting to be the time of year where I much prefer to eat cold foods over hot.  Unless those hot foods are coming from the grill.  But that is a different story.

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I found these gorgeous heirloom cherry tomatoes at Trader Joes this week.  Aren’t they beautiful?

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And I bought a ginormous tub of marinated mozzarella balls at Costco.  Who buys a 40 oz tub of bocconcini?   A hungry person who is shopping at Costco, that’s who.  Word to the wise, eat lunch before wandering those aisles!

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Also, can we talk about this balsamic vinegar? 

It isn’t white, or clear, but a kind of pinky-brown color.  But I hate the way normal balsamic looks when it is drizzled on mozzarella.  It tastes great, but makes it look dirty.  If you can find white balsamic, definitely use it!

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And barley.  Oh, barley.  It is really under-used.  I had this package left in my pantry from a beef and barley soup I made this winter.  And it probably would have sat there until next winter if it wasn’t for this salad.  If barley isn’t your thing, you can use rice, or quinoa, or any other grain of your choosing.  It soaks up the wonderful dressing and gets really tangy and flavorful.

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Fresh, simple and delicious.

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Caprese Barley Salad

makes 4 servings as a main dish or 8 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 2 cups uncooked barley (4 cups already cooked barley)
  • 16 oz cherry tomatoes
  • 12 oz bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar (or regular balsamic vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp basil, cut in ribbons

Directions

  1. Cook barley according to package directions. 
  2. Let barley cool completely.  Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Cut cherry tomatoes in half (or in quarters for very large tomatoes) and add them to the barley.
  4. Cut bocconcini balls in half and add them to the bowl.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, vinegar mustard and salt.  Whisk until well combined.
  6. Pour the dressing over the other ingredients.  Add basil and toss salad until it is coated with the dressing.
  7. Chill for several hours to allow flavors to come together. 

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 I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…How can you go wrong with tomatoes and mozzarella?

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Filed under Main Dishes, Salads, Side Dishes, Vegetarian

Deviled Eggs

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Any body else eat too many chocolate bunnies yesterday?  Personally, I enjoyed a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs.  They are the best ratio of peanut butter filling to chocolaty coating.  Much butter than a regular old Reese’s cup.

 

Anyhow, now that Easter has come to an end, I’m sure you have an abundance of leftover Easter eggs to use up.  And while plain eggs with salt and pepper are great, sometimes you just want something a little different. 

That is where Deviled Eggs come in.

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Let’s talk about boiling eggs for a minute.  I don’t know about you, but my Facebook wall was blowing up over people’s inability to boil an egg.  I didn’t know this was such a problem!  I listen to my girl, Martha, when it comes to things like this.  She says to place eggs in a pan and cover with cold water.  Slowly bring the eggs to a boil.  Once the water’s boiling, turn off the heat and cover the eggs.  Let them sit for 12 minutes, then run them under cold water to stop the cooking.  This make perfectly cooked hard boiled eggs, and you won’t get that greenish ring around the outside of the yolk. 

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So, cook and peel your eggs.  

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Slice your eggs in half long ways.

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Separate all the yolks from the whites. Place all the yolks in a bowl, and the whites on your serving platter.

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Mash up the yolks until they are very fine.

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Add some mayonnaise, mustard, celery salt and pepper.  I like my filling to be pretty firm.  My mom always said “You can add more, but you can’t take it back out.” so go slowly when adding these ingredients, because you can always add more to get to your desired consistency.

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To fill the eggs, I like to use a plastic bag.  You can be really fancy and use a piping bag with a tip in it to create a really pretty look, but the plastic bag works just fine for me.   To fill the bag, fold it over a bowl, then put your filling in.  When you unfold the bag, the filling is inside with no mess!

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Push the filling towards one corner.

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Then snip off the tip.

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Then pipe your filling into the egg whites.  Be sure not to overfill the eggs.  You want to make sure you have enough filling for all of them.

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I do what my mom always did, and top the eggs with some paprika and a slice of green olive. 

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This screams 1970s to me, but it is the way I’ve always had deviled eggs served, so I wouldn’t dream of doing these classic eggs any other way.

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Deviled Eggs

makes 24 egg halves

Ingredients

  • 12 peeled hard boiled eggs (see directions above for the perfect hard boiled egg)
  • 1/3-1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 pimento stuffed green olives
  • paprika

Directions

  1. Slice eggs long ways (from the small end to the larger end).
  2. Separate the yolks from the whites, placing the yolks into a bowl and the whites on to your serving platter.
  3. Mash up the yolks until they are very fine (resembling sand).
  4. Add mayonnaise.  Begin with 1/3 cup and add more (up to 1/2 cup total) until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Add mustard, celery salt and fresh pepper (2-3 grinds).  Mix well.
  6. Fill a plastic bag, or piping bag with tip, with the yolk mixture.  Pipe the filling into the egg whites.
  7. Slice the olives in half.  Top each egg with an olive slice.  Sprinkle the tops with paprika.

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Easy Roasted Asparagus

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Have you ever spent all day cooking a recipe?  You know, the really time consuming, multiple step, have-to-buy-ingredients-you’ve-never-heard-of kind of recipe?

Don’t get me wrong.  I love spending time in the kitchen.  It is my favorite place to be.  But while those recipes are sometimes fun, and the results can be spectactular, sometimes you feel… like its just not worth all the effort. 

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Sometimes simple ingredients, prepared in a very basic way yield the freshest and tastiest dishes that leave you with the satisfaction of a dish that has taken all day to prepare, but without the feeling that was not worth your time.

This simple roasted asparagus does just that. 

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To prepare youe asparagus, hold each end and bend until it snaps.  Discard (or compost, or save for stock!) the “woody” part at the bottom and save the beautiful tops.

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Place your asparagus spears on a foil lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

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Roast in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes, flipping half way through.  Top your asparagus with a sprtiz of lemon juice and shavings of parmesan cheese (I just make these with a vegetable peeler).

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Fresh, simple and delicious.  Everything a dish should be.

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Easy Roasted Asparagus Spears

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • shaved Parmesan cheese

 Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place asparagus on a foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.
  3. Roast asparagus for 10 minutes, flipping half way thorugh cooking time.
  4. Once asparagus is cooked, sprtiz with lemon juice and top with shaved parmesan cheese.

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Pasta Primavera

 Is every0ne else as excited for Spring as I am??  Today marks the first day of Spring, and winter is officially O.V.E.R!  Pretty soon, we’ll be on to sun tans and flip flops 😎

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Hello, gorgeous! 

Nothing says spring to me more than 70 degree days and big pile of veggies.  And pollen.    DSC_1026 (1024x681)

The weather here has been fantastic for the past week or so, and we’re looking to continue to trend through to the weekend.  75 degrees and sunny?  I’ll take it!

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 In honor of the first day of Spring, today I have Pasta Primavera for you!  Tender, crunchy vegetables and a buttery parmesan sauce all tossed together with al dente penne pasta.  This meal was phenomenal!

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 Of course, Chris commented on how their was no meat involved…to him a meal isn’t a meal unless there is meat.  But he did eat two servings, veggies and all (well, minus the asparagus).  Add grilled chicken or shrimp to this dish if you have a husband like mine.

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 Pasta Primavera

makes 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 16 oz dry penne pasta (or the shape of your choosing)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups lowfat or skim milk
  • 6 oz shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Saute the onions, red pepper and carrots until soft, but not browned (about 7-8 mintues).
  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter.  Saute the garlic for 1 minute.
  4. Whisk in the flour until smooth.  Let cook for 1 minute.
  5. Add the milk to the flour mixture, continuously whisking to avoid lumps.  Heat this mixture until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Whisk in the parmesan cheese until it is melted and the sauce is smooth. 
  7. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking time for the pasta, add the asparagus and broccoli florets.
  8. Drain the pasta and vegetables, and combine with suateed vegetables and sauce.  Mix until everything is coated with the sauce.
  9. Serve with additional grated cheese on top.

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Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or Salad)

I normally try to limit the amount of meat that I eat, and now that it is the Lenten season, meat is off limits for me on Fridays.  I made this dish for my lunch on Ash Wednesday (another meatless day).  It makes for a really nice light meal, or can be served with tortilla chips as an appetizer.

This is a “no recipe” recipe, and I’ll bet that you have most of the ingredients in your pantry.  I love quick and easy meals or snacks that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes.  Whether you are running late and need a quick meal, or have unexpected company, this salsa (or salad) is a quick, tasty and sure to please.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa (or Salad)

Makes 20 servings as a salsa, or 3 as a salad

Ingredients

  • 1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies), undrained
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped)
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime

Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer, or in a bowl alone or over chopped romaine lettuce as a salad.  I think this would also be amazing with some grilled shrimp!

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Filed under Appetizers, Salads, Vegetarian