Vegetarian Spaghetti Squash Boat

Other, Vegetarian

IMG_2624

Adapted from Hello Healthy

I love stuffed vegetables. Can’t you tell? I just love the idea of stuffing vegetables with stuff. It’s weird, I know but they always look impressive and beautiful and they’re great for when you have leftovers. Here’s one recipe that goes with the spaghetti squash fad that’s going around.

Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • ½ red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used baby bello)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets, finely chopped
  • 1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Cut the spaghetti squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out seeds and place flesh side down in a large microwavable bowl. Microwave for 7-8 minutes on high and allow to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onions, peppers and mushrooms together until softened. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
  4. Stir in the broccoli and cook for a few minutes to brighten the green color. Stir in black beans. Remove from heat.
  5. Once the spaghetti squash is cool enough to touch, carefully use a fork to scrape out spaghetti squash strands into a bowl. Place the spaghetti squash skins in a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  6. Toss the spaghetti squash with the cooked veggies and ¼ cup of the cheddar cheese.
  7. Pour the spaghetti squash mixture into the spaghetti squash boats and top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until the cheese melts.

 

Comments: This recipe is quite straightforward and has a nice blend of ingredients to yield quite a nutritious meal. Though the original recipe says it serves 2 people, my parents and I had enough with just one spaghetti squash. This is another great recipe to make kids eat broccoli. As I’ve said before, I hate broccoli but I chopped it nice and small and didn’t even taste it. If I were to critique one thing it’s that I think it needs more filling. I felt like there was way too much squash and not enough of the other things. Maybe doubling the other ingredients is to much but you can always double and freeze leftovers for some other meal.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Muffins

Cupcakes and Muffins, Sin categoría

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Muffins

Adapted from ambitious kitchen.com

How much longer before you get tired of my pumpkin recipes? I’m sorry but you are just going to have to deal with it. Pumpkin season is not over yet and I am making the most out of it. Here are some yummy muffins to warm up your day!

Yields 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix!)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin, honey, egg, oil, vanilla, yogurt and milk until well combined, smooth and creamy.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Divide the batter evenly into the prepared muffin tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted int he middle comes out clean or with a few crumbs attached. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes and then remove them from the tin.

 

Comments: The muffins themselves aren’t all that sweet but the chocolate chips add all the sweetness you could want. The muffins do come out deliciously moist and soft due to the yogurt and pumpkin. They’re pretty quick to whip up (30-40 minutes total). Do not use muffin liners; whole wheat muffins tend to stick to them and you don’t want pieces of paper in your muffins! You can easily make the muffins gluten free by using all-purpose gluten free flour instead of whole wheat. You can also make them vegan by replacing the egg with 1 flax egg, using applesauce instead of Greek yogurt and using vegan chocolate chips. They are best hot out of the oven. You can reheat any leftover muffins in the microwave for about 20 seconds.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Greek Yogurt Muffins, uno

 

Blueberry Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Cakes

Blueberry Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake

Adapted from Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington

Who can say no to a coffee cake? I’m afraid no one can. There’s just something irresistible about that crumby, sweet, cinnamon-y, melty feeling on your tongue. Tie that with a super moist blueberry cake and you’re done for. Honestly. Coffee cakes are very versatile; they are great for breakfast/brunch, 5 o’ clock tea or dessert.

The Streusel

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

Blueberry Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake II

Directions:

  1. Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and pecans in a medium bowl.
  2. Add the butter. With two knives or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles large bread crumbs.
  3. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1¼ cup buttermilk
  • 2 ½ cups fresh blueberries
  • Streusel (recipe above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Grease a 12-cup nonstick Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. Combine 2 cups of flour, the baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until very light. Add the lemon zest and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well before adding the next one. Don’t overbeat as this will make the cake tough.
  4. With the mixer on low speed, alternately mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in thirds, beating until the batter is blended. Set aside.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining ¼ cup of flour and the blueberries. Toss until the blueberries are well coated. Gently fold the blueberries into the batter.
  6. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and sprinkle with a third of the streusel. Cover with the remaining batter and smooth out to make an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining streusel evenly over the top and pat it down gently.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 50-60 minutes or until the cake is firm and the streusel is crisp and golden. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
  8. Cool the cake for 15 minutes in the pan. Invert the cake onto a plate or wire rack and then reinvert it onto a serving platter so the streusel side is on top.

Blueberry Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake IV

Comments: This is not a particularly difficult cake to make but it does require some time. However, the results are well worth it. If you do not have a Bundt pan, you can bake the cake in a 9×13-inch baking pan. In this case, you will spoon all of the batter into the pan and then sprinkle evenly with the streusel. The cooking time is also reduced by about 10 minutes. To serve, you just cut the cake into squares; no inverting or reinverting required. I prefer to use fresh produce but if blueberries are not in season you can use frozen ones. Frozen berries will be more evenly distributed while fresh ones will fall to the bottom of the cake to create a delicious jam-like layer. This cake can be made up to 1 day ahead and stored at room temperature. Because of the buttermilk, I recommend storing leftovers in the refrigerator.

Blueberry Streusel Buttermilk Coffee Cake III

M&M’s Pumpkin Cake

Cakes

M&M's Pumpkin Cake

Adapted from Family Circle November 2009

Need I say that one of my favorite things about autumn is the pumpkin-everything? I think I’ve already mentioned it. Last weekend I hosted a Halloween party at my house. I’ve had my eye on this cake for many years and I finally had the opportunity to make it. It was the highlight of the party. Everyone was impressed when I brought it out and they melted in their seats at the very first bite.

The Cake

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée (NOT pumpkin pie filling!)
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Coat two 1.5-liter Pyrex bowls with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin, milk and vanilla to blend.
  3. Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour mixture, alternating with the pumpkin mixture, ending with the flour mixture. Beat just until smooth.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared bowls. Bake in the preheated oven in the center of the oven for about 55 to 65 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  5. Remove the bowls from the oven and cool for 15 minutes. Invert the cakes onto a plate and remove the bowls. Cool completely.

Forming the Pumpkin

Ingredients:

  • 2 round cakes (recipe above)
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • Red and yellow liquid food coloring
  • 6 bags White Candy Corn M&M’s
  • 1 Milky Way candy bar

Directions:

  1. Trim the top of the cakes with a serrated knife to make level.
  2. Tint the frosting orange with the food coloring according the directions on the package.
  3. Place one cake layer, cut-side up, on a serving platter. Spread the cut side with ½ cup of the frosting. Place the other cake layer on top, cut-side down. Trim any excess to make round.
  4. Spread a thin layer of frosting on half the cake from top to bottom.
  5. Separate all the orange M&M’s and place in a bowl and separate about 34 yellow M&M’s as well.
  6. Start with the nose by placing 3 yellow M&M’s in the center of the frosted area on the cake. Make sure to place 2 on the bottom and 1 on top, forming a triangle. Place 2 orange M&M’s above the nose, then begin the eyes. Attach 3 yellow candies along the same line as the orange candies above the nose, to the left. Place 2 more yellow candies above that row and end with a single yellow candy. Repeat on the other side of the nose. Below the nose, make an upside-down triangle using 3 orange candies. Make a yellow candy mouth by arranging candies in a “V” around the orange triangle. Use additional yellow candies to finish the mouth according to the picture. Fill in with more orange candies close together on the frosted area. When that area is covered, spread another area with the frosting and add more candies. Repeat until the entire cake is covered with orange M&M’s.
  7. Cut the candy bar in half crosswise on the diagonal to fashion a stem. Press the candy bar half, cut-side down, into the top of the cake for the stem. Refrigerate to firm the frosting.

Comments: The cake itself is not too difficult to make. The instructions are quite straightforward. When making the pumpkin, it is extremely important to make the two cakes perfectly flat to be able to form a nice sphere. My favorite store-bought frosting is Betty Crocker’s Whipped Frosting, which is the one I used. It is light, doesn’t have a exceedingly sweet flavor and is very easy to spread. I had quite an adventure with the M&M’s, to be perfectly honest. I initially bought 3 bags of the White Candy Corn M&M’s but I quickly ran out and had to buy 3 more. I was still not able to cover the top of the cake but it looked all right. These M&M’s are seasonal and come only in the candy corn colors (orange, yellow and white), hence the name. I was afraid they might have a strange, artificial candy corn flavor but it’s just white chocolate. They are really good and go perfectly well with the vanilla frosting and pumpkin cake. I had to adjust the amount of M&M’s used for the face; the recipe said to use 34 and to start the mouth by forming the “V” with 7 yellow candies around an upside-down triangle of 6 orange candies (not 3). I used less because of the size of my cakes after trimming but it still turned out great. Adjust the amount to fit your cake. For the stem, I used a Milky Way bar but you can use whatever chocolate candy bar you like. To cut the cake, slice the top cake first and then continue with the bottom. This cake turned out really moist and the combination of flavors was exquisite. I highly recommend this for your Halloween party next year or just for funsies if you’re really into pumpkin and Halloween (like me).

M&M's Pumpkin Cake, close-up

Chipotle Harvest Chili

Vegan

Chipotle Harvest Chli

Adapted from Happy Herbivore by Lindsay S. Nixon

Here’s another recipe for chili. When I went off to college I learned to love chili. I never liked chili with meat but I love vegetarian chili. This recipe is easy and quick and you don’t have to rush to the supermarket since it doesn’t have any strange ingredients.

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced
  • 8 tablespoons tomato purée, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup canned corn, drained
  • 2 cups chopped spinach
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, undrained

Directions:

  1. Line a large pot with a thin layer of broth and sauté the onion over high heat until translucent.
  2. Add the remaining broth, sweet potato, 6 tablespoons of tomato purée, chili powder and cumin. Cover, bring to a boil and simmer until the sweet potato is fork-tender.
  3. Add the corn, spinach and black beans with their liquid, stirring until the spinach wilts.
  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of tomato purée and stir.

Comments: I loved the rainbow of vegetables in this chili and it was really good. The original recipe uses kale instead of spinach but I don’t like kale at all so I used spinach instead. It also says that it yields 2-3 servings but I think you can feed at least 4. I made the chili with Roasted Herbed Fingerling Potatoes but I think it would go really well with cornbread as well.

Roasted Herbed Fingerling Potatoes

Side Dishes

Roasted Herb Fingerling Potatoes

Adapted from Seriously Simple Parties by Diane Rossen Worthington

Roasted potatoes are amazing. They go with practically anything and can be made for any occasion. Roasting keeps more of the nutritious qualities of the vegetable than does boiling and has a more interesting taste than just steaming.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds red, yellow and purple fingerling potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F (220C).
  2. Combine the potatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary in a roasting pan. Roll the potatoes around with a large spoon or shake the pan from side to side until all the potatoes are well coated with oil and herbs.
  3. Roast the potatoes for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Shake the potatoes so they are browning evenly.
  4. Roast for another 15 minutes until the potatoes are brown and crusty. Serve immediately.

Comments: This is a really easy side dish to make. Though the roasting itself takes quite some time, the preparation doesn’t. You can prepare the potatoes, put them in the oven and start working on the main course. I made these to go with Broiled Tilapia Parmesan for my parents and Chipotle Harvest Chili for me. If you can’t find fingerling potatoes, cut larger ones into 1½-inch pieces. Though the recipe says it serves 6 to 8 people, I made half the recipe and had about 5 servings of potatoes; I guess it depends on how large your portions are. Now get roasting!

Roasted Herb Fingerling Potatoes, porción

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Fish

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Before becoming vegetarian, this was one of my favorite fish recipes. My mom often made it for a quick weekday dinner. Tilapia by itself doesn’t have a lot of flavor but the Parmesan sauce in this recipe takes it to whole different level. Go ahead and try it if you don’t believe me!

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 2 pounds tilapia filets

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven’s broiler. Line a broiling pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the Parmesan, butter, mayonnaise and lemon juice. Season with the basil and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Arrange the filets in a single layer on the prepared pan. Broil them a few inches from the heat for about 2 minutes. Flip the filets over and broil for a couple more minutes. Remove the filets from the oven and cover them with the Parmesan sauce on the topside. Broil for about 2 more minutes until the topping is browned and the fish flakes easily with a fork. Do not overcook the fish.

Comments: There really isn’t much to this recipe. It’s quite straightforward, easy and fast. I know people are often afraid of cooking fish because they don’t know when it’s ready but believe in yourself and I promise it will turn out right. When I made this for my parents I paired the fish with Roasted Herbed Fingerling Potatoes. Fish always goes well with rice too. Let me know if it’s not one of the most amazing tilapia recipes you’ve tried!