Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Goat Cheese Stuffed Pepper Bites

At a recent event with my husband, there were trays of bite size appetizers made up of all sorts of complicated combinations floating around.  The one we both seemed to enjoy most though was the simplest.  A little spicy, a little sweet, a little creamy, a little crunch….. it's a perfect balance and so easy!


* You can buy peppadews in a jar but I also found them on the olive bar, of all places. 

* Soy creamer worked great for me but dairy milk, half and half, whatever you have on hand would work as well. 

12 peppadew peppers, seeded an drained well
4oz. goat cheese
1-2 TBSP creamer, to taste

1.  Place the cheese in a small mixing bowl.  Add the creamer 1 tsp. at a time and stir until the mixture reaches desired consistency.  (I used 1 TBSP = 1 tsp. but the amount you use will depend on the softness of your cheese.)

2.  Scoop the cheese mixture into a piping bag and fill the peppers.

3.  Refrigerate if you're making these ahead of time but serve them at room temperature.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sweet Potato with Black Beans, Salsa, and Feta

Ready for a super easy dinner?

Bake a sweet potato and top it with black beans, salsa, and feta cheese.  That's it.  The flavor combination is surprisingly delicious!

1.  Preheat oven to 385*.  Prick large sweet potatoes with a fork and coat with olive oil.  Bake approximately 1 hour.

2. Prep the black beans by rinsing and draining.  Then, in a small saucepan, heat 1 tsp. olive oil.  Add a minced clove of garlic, the beans, and salt, to taste.  Heat through.

3.  Top the potatoes with the beans, salsa, and feta.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Zucchini Pasta Olio

I had been seeing recipes everywhere that featured zucchini as a substitute for pasta so I finally decided to break in my new vegetable spiral gadget last night.  If you don't have one of these tools in your kitchen, stop what you're doing right now and go get one.  Seriously, it was so easy and fun to use!

I didn't have high hopes that just because the zucchini now looked like pasta, it would be an acceptable replacement, but it was perfect!  I'm glad for starting with something simple but my husband and I were talking over dinner and agreed it would be good to try zucchini-as-noodles in other dishes as well.  Surprisingly, we really didn't miss the pasta.

All you do is run the zucchini through the spiral slicer:
(I used 2 large zucchinis for this recipe.)

Next, prepare the sauce:

1/8c olive oil
1/8c butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4c Parmesan cheese

1.  In a small pan, heat the oil and butter until butter is melted.

2.  Add the garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Finally, cook the zucchini:

1.  In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tsp. olive oil.  Add the zucchini and toss to coat.

2.  Pour in 1/4c water (vegetable stock might also be good here) and allow to simmer until al dente, approximately 5 minutes.

3.  Drain, if necessary, and add your sauce.  Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.
Yummy low-carb dinner!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Creole Spiced Quinoa and Kale

I have to admit, I wasn't sure if this alone was going to be enough for a meal.  But that's because I had forgotten how surprisingly filling quinoa can be.  This recipe yields two servings that are not only full of flavor but also satisfying.

This was my first time actually cooking with kale.  I had only used it frozen in smoothies before so I was a little concerned an entire bunch would be too much but it wasn't at all.  It was actually the perfect amount.

* I used the Lacinato variety of kale, also known as "dinosaur kale"
* Better Than Bouillon makes a fantastic vegetarian version of chicken broth base

1/2c quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 bunch kale
1 tsp. olive oil
1/8c yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Creole seasoning, or to taste

1.  Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add the kale and blanch for 1-2 minutes.  Drain and rinse immediately with cold water.  Chop into bite size pieces and set aside.

2.  In a medium pot, bring broth to a boil and add the quinoa.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer until liquid is absorbed; approx. 15-20 min.

3.  In a separate medium pot, heat the olive oil.  Sauté onion and garlic 2-3 min., until softened.

4.  Stir in the kale and cook another 2-3 min.

5.  Add the quinoa and Creole seasoning, stirring to combine everything and serve.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Vegetarian Cheese Steak Pizza

My husband and I have been on a bit of a gluten-free kick lately.  Reducing our wheat intake really hasn't been difficult; more inconvenient than anything but still not a big deal.  Gluten-free breads and are definitely an acquired taste for me and I had been quite frustrated lately with the pizza crusts we tried.  Some were tolerable and one in particular was like eating cardboard.

So, I wasn't sure what to expect she I tried a mix for this recipe last night.  Turns out, it was pretty good.  My husband even commented that our dinner was "the best gluten-free pizza" we've had yet.

A few notes:

* For the crust, I used Bob's Red Mill
* The gyro meat was Viana (vegan alternative)

prepared pizza crust
1/2 lb. gyro meat, cooked
1 TBSP butter
1/2c onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, thin sliced
steak seasoning, to taste
2c mozzarella cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 425*

2.  In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add onions and green pepper, sautéing until crisp tender.  Add the gyro meat and toss until combined.  Sprinkle in a little steak seasoning, to taste.

3.  Place crust on a pizza stone and top with approximately 1c mozzarella.

4.  Add the gyro mixture and top with the remaining mozzarella.

5.  Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until crust is golden.



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