Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites

Other, Vegetarian

Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites

Adapted from alidaskitchen.com

I was looking for recipes for quinoa when I came across this one. Alida, the blogger, said that this recipe had been a huge hit at her house and that it was like a healthier version of mac and cheese. I would rather have regular mac and cheese but it’s cute and fun food that hides its healthiness (good for kids!).

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1½ cups water (or broth)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups broccoli florets, finely diced
  • 1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and water and cook according to the package. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, eggs, broccoli, onion, cheese, paprika and red pepper flakes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Grease muffin tins.
  4. Put about 2-3 heaping tablespoonfuls of the quinoa mixture into the prepared muffin cups (for a regular-sized muffin tin).
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the pan.

Comments: Since becoming vegetarian I’ve been trying to incorporate a greater variety of vegetables into my diet. I wanted to try this recipe out because I hate broccoli. You honestly don’t taste the broccoli, which is why it’s good for kids (or picky adults like me). I used Horizon Organic’s shredded cheddar because it was the only vegetarian cheddar I could find at Target; however, I think they would be better with sharp or even extra sharp cheddar to give the bites a punch of taste. The original recipe said to make them in mini muffin tins but I used my regular muffin and large muffin tins; I got 12 regular-sized bites and 6 large-sized bites.

Broccoli Cheddar Quinoa Bites, porción

Advertisements

Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers

Other, Vegetarian

Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers

Adapted from eatingwell.com

What I loved about these peppers, besides their being Greek-inspired, was the fact that they are so nutritious. They are packed with veggies, protein, whole grain and some cheese. Those are four food groups in one! You have a whole rainbow of food right there which is what we should be eating everyday.

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 yellow, orange and red bell peppers
  • ½ cup whole-wheat orzo, uncooked
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¾ cup crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon aceto or red-wine vinegar

Directions:

  1. Halve the peppers lengthwise through the stems, leaving the stems attached. Remove the seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers cut-side down in a large microwave-safe dish. Add ½ inch water, cover with microwavable plastic wrap and microwave on high until peppers are just softened, 7 to 9 minutes. Let cool slightly, drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the orzo and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to the packaged instructions. Drain and return to the saucepan.
  3. Mash the chickpeas into a chunky paste with a fork, leaving some whole.
  4. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft. Add the spinach and oregano and cook, stirring until the spinach is wilted.
  5. Stir in the orzo, chickpeas, ½ cup of feta and vinegar. Cook until heated through.
  6. Divide the filling among the pepper halves and sprinkle each pepper with some of the remaining ¼ cup of feta.

Comments: This is another easy and quick recipe. Goes to show that healthy can also be quick. If there is one suggestion I would make is don’t freak out with the spinach. I don’t have a very large skillet at home and when I added the spinach, I could barely stir it, which scared me a bit. Then I remembered how quickly spinach shrinks down. So don’t worry. It’ll turn out fine!

Greek Orzo Stuffed Peppers, porción

Pumpkin Lasagna with Mushrooms & Spinach

Lasagna, Vegetarian

Pumpkin Lasagna with Mushrooms & Spinach

Adapted from verybestbaking.com

Let us further celebrate this wonderful pumpkin season with lasagna. Yes, you heard correctly: PUMPKIN LASAGNA. Wow. So much deliciousness in just those two words. As I’ve said before, I love lasagnas and I love anything pumpkin. Put them together and you get a wonderful meal. Add in the spinach and mushrooms and it becomes very nutritious. My parents are not such pumpkin enthusiasts as me so I was a bit hesitant at first but both really liked it. I’m sure you will too.

Yields 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin puré
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 6 whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked according to package
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese, divided
  • 4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Pumpkin Lasagna with Mushrooms & Spinach, lado

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 to 6 minutes or until they are tender. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat.
  3. Combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sage, pepper and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  4. Spread ¼ cup of the pumpkin sauce onto the bottom of the baking dish. Top with 2 noodles, overlapping slightly. Spread ½ cup pumpkin sauce to edges of noodles. Top with half of the mushroom-spinach mixture, ½ cup of ricotta, ½ cup of mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese. Repeat the layers. Finish by topping with the remaining 2 noodles and sauce. Cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and a light golden brown.

Pumpkin Lasagna with Mushrooms & Spinach, porción

Comments: I was not at all disappointed with this lasagna and it was a very appropriate October dinner. I used cremini mushrooms but use whatever kind you like best. I think next time I might use some more spinach; I followed the instructions this time around but I think it could have used some more spinach. I know Libby’s is the best-known brand of pumpkin however I just discovered that Trader Joe’s has a really good one. I tried a little as I was cooking just because and found it actually tastes like pumpkin. Most canned pumpkin tastes really bad (including Libby’s) but this one didn’t. Their secret? The pumpkin is cooked and canned on a family-owned farm in Washington within hours of being harvested. I highly recommend it. I am now using as much whole grain as I can however you can substitute the whole wheat noodles for regular ones. Remember to spread them out on aluminum foil once cooked so they don’t stick; if you use no-boil noodles, you don’t have to cook them beforehand. Finally, I found it a bit hard to spread the ricotta; I think it may be easier if you pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it. Long live the pumpkin season!

Pumpkin Lasagna with Mushrooms & Spinach, porción lado

Potato & Wild Mushroom Gratin

Other, Vegetarian

Potato & Wild Mushroom Gratin

Adapted from Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington

Might I say that this was an incredible discovery? I was looking through the book my dad bought me at the Mondavi Winery when I came across this one. It was in the section of side dishes but said it could be a vegetarian main course. I loved the combination of vegetables and as we all know anything with cheese is good.

Yield: 6-8 servings (as a main course)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 leeks, light green and white parts only, cleaned and finely chopped
  • 5 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • 5 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely chopped
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 3 pounds potatoes
  • 2 cups milk of choice
  • 2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

Potato & Wild Mushroom Gratin, lado

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and sauté the leeks until softened and lightly caramelized.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sauté, tossing occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until nicely softened and no liquid remains. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
  3. Peel the potatoes. Slice using a food processor or mandoline. Put the potatoes in a clean dishtowel or paper towels and wring out as much liquid as you can.
  4. In a large saucepan, season the cream with salt and pepper and add the potatoes, separating the pieces as you drop them in. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium low and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove the lid and continue simmering until most of the cream has been absorbed.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
  6. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  7. With a large spoon, transfer half the potato mixture to the dish and spread out in an even layer. Layer the mushrooms on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle evenly with half of the cheese. Cover with the remaining potatoes and sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly on top.
  8. Bake the gratin in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked and the top is brown and crusty. Let rest for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Comments: I think it’s safe to say we all fell in love with this. I made half the recipe for my parents and myself and we had a bit leftover. I made it as a the main coarse but the book suggests serving it as a side dish with grilled steaks or roast chicken. The original recipe calls for 1½ pounds of mixed wild mushrooms which include shiitake, chanterelle, black trumpet, morels, porcini and cremini; I found a 10-ounce box of shiitake and cremini mushrooms which is what I used but you can play around with the mushroom varieties. The recipe also said to use Yukon gold potatoes, which I did not find so I ended up using white potatoes. The original recipe also uses cream instead of milk. It’s probably creamier and definitely richer with cream; you can use just milk like me, half cream and half milk or go all out with the cream. Finally, the recipe calls for 1 cup shredded white truffle cheese; I was unable to find white truffle cheese so I used Gruyère and Parmesan instead. The dish may be made through step 7 up to 4 hours ahead, covered and left at room temperature.

Potato & Wild Mushroom Gratin, porción