‘appetizer’ Category

  1. spinach artichoke dip

    December 14, 2016 by Angie

    I’ve tried several spinach dip/spinach artichoke dip recipes. This one is the go-to. It’s never too soggy, too tart, or too rich. It’s a Cooking Light recipe so it’s a little less terrible for us than some other recipes out there. It also doesn’t call for any mayonnaise (blah!) which means it’s the cheesy, delicious kind of spinach dip rather than the far inferior, mayo-based variety.

    I used this Cooking Light recipe posted on myrecipes.com with slight variations.

    Ingredients

    1 8 oz package of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
    1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
    4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
    14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    2 8 oz blocks light cream cheese, softened
    10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
    crackers or chips for serving

     

    spinach artichoke dip on a triscuit
    Enjoying some of my spinach artichoke dip at the campus potluck

    Instructions

    1. Open the package of spinach and place the frozen spinach in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Flip and microwave for two more minutes. After that, I stirred the spinach around to expose the frozen bits and microwaved for one more minute.

    2.Put the cream cheese blocks out on the counter to soften them.

    3. Construct a spinach draining apparatus. I put a double layer of paper towels in a colander over a plate and poured the thawed spinach in there. I put another layer of paper towels over that and squished the water out. I had to change the paper towels again. You want to be sure the spinach is drained really well.

    4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    5. Drain the artichoke hearts. I again placed a double layer of paper towels on a plate (RIP trees), picked the artichoke hearts out of the can and placed them there, then topped with another layer of paper towels. Press them paper towels to get the water out. Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces.

    6. Mix 1.5 cups of the shredded Mozzarella, the sour cream, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, the black pepper, the minced garlic, and the cream cheese blocks together in a large bowl.

    7. Add in the spinach and the artichoke hearts. Stir everything together until it’s a beautiful dip.

    8. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees on the middle rack or until it starts to get bubbly.

    9. Serve with crackers or chips. I like Triscuits!

    pan of spinach artichoke dip

    The whole pan of dip – I bakcd it at home but forgot to get a photo. This is after warming it in the microwave at work.


  2. bruschetta

    May 21, 2016 by Angie

    The jar of pesto in my pantry was in danger of expiring, therefore, bruschetta. Eating bruschetta is much more enjoyable than throwing pesto away. I made a good life choice.

    pretty bruschetta

    Ingredients:

    loaf of fresh French bread
    jar of basil pesto (I would guess I used about 3 tablespoons – the jar is still quite full.)
    1 cup of cherry tomatoes
    reduced fat feta cheese (I used almost the entire container.)
    balsamic vinegar

    Preparation:

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with olive oil.

    2. Slice the French bread into small discs. Arrange the bread slices on the cookie sheet and spritz them with olive oil.

    3. Bake the bread slices until slightly toasty. You have to keep a close eye on them – they want to burn.

    4. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. Combine the tomatoes and feta in a bowl.

    5. Spread pesto on the toasted bread slices. Top with the tomato feta mixture. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the bruschetta, if you’re into that. Enjoy!

    plate of bruschetta


  3. stuffed zucchini

    March 6, 2016 by Angie

    I’m always looking for new sides. Somehow (maybe MyFitnessPal emails?), I came across this post for Summer Veggie Stuffed Zucchini from the Mountain Mama Cooks blog. I can rarely leave a recipe alone so I changed it up a little.

    eat zucchini filled with zucchini!

    Ingredients

    olive oil spray
    2 zucchini per serving, depending on the size of the zucchini. I used 6 small zucchini. Larger zucchini will work out better.
    1 small red bell pepper, diced
    1 bunch of green onion, diced
    tablespoon of minced garlic
    about 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
    1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed
    1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    salt and pepper, to taste

    stuffed zucchini in a row

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with olive oil.

    2. Wash the zucchini and trim off the ends. Slice all the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to gently scoop out the insides of the zucchini halves. Save the insides in a bowl.

    3. Arrange the zucchini “boats” on the prepared cookie sheet.

    4. Prepare the red bell pepper, green onion, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Cut up the zucchini pulp.

    5. Spray a pan with olive oil and cook the bell pepper, white parts of the green onion, and the zucchini insides with a tablespoon of minced garlic over medium heat for about ten minutes.

    6. Add the rest of the green onion, quartered cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and everything is heated through.

    7. Pour the vegetable mixture into a bowl. Add in the shredded parmesan and breadcrumbs and stir. Start filling the zucchini “boats” with the vegetable/cheese/breadcrumbs mixture. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs and parmesan on top of each stuffed zucchini if desired.

    8. Bake the stuffed zucchini for about 25 minutes.

    stuffed zucchini with baked tofu


  4. soy crumble and black bean taco casserole

    June 2, 2015 by Angie

    I haven’t cooked anything new in way too long. I saw this recipe for a one-pot taco casserole in an email I got from My Fitness Pal. I changed it up a little to make it vegetarian and eliminate the need for a packet of taco seasoning. Robbie and I both really liked it and, while it took two pots, it was worth it. In the future, I think I will add more veggies, possibly a bell pepper and some fresh spinach, and garnish with avocado slices.


    a little serving

    Ingredients

    safflower oil
    Two 12 oz bags of soy crumbles (I used Morningstar Farms Grillers Crumbles.)
    half of a 10 oz bag of frozen corn kernels (I used less because Robbie is not a corn fan.)
    One 15 oz can of black beans, drained (El Ebro is where it’s at.)
    One and half cups of salsa (I used Green Mountain Gringo brand in mild.)
    a yellow onion, diced
    about one and half tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning: equal(ish) parts garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano; followed by a larger amount of paprika; an even larger amount of cumin; and a very large amount of chili powder (I really winged this and it tasted awesome. If you want to measure out a big batch and store it, more power to you.)
    salt and pepper to taste
    about one cup of shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese

    soy crumble and black bean taco casserole

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

    2. Heat a large pan and add a few drops of your favorite oil. I used safflower oil because it doesn’t impart a taste onto the soy crumbles the way olive oil can. Add the soy crumbles. Cook, stirring occasionally. When the crumbles are about half way through cooking, add the diced onion. Continue cooking until the crumbles are cooked through and slightly browned.

    3. Add the salsa, frozen corn kernels, and homemade taco seasoning to the soy crumbles mixture. Cook for about 2 more minutes.

    4. Pour the mixture into a large casserole or glass baking dish. Pour the drained black beans on top. Bake for about 20 minutes.

    5. Sprinkle a layer of cheese on top and baked for another five minutes.

    6. Serve with tortillas, chips, taco shells, avocado slices, cashew queso – whatever you’re into!

    Robbie made tiny burritos with his

    Robbie made adorable mini burritos with low carb tortillas!


  5. cheesy artichoke dip

    January 31, 2015 by Angie

    I made this hot artichoke cheese dip from the Cooking Light website for my job’s dip eating/tailgate party on Friday. The first time I made it was as a Thanksgiving appetizer last year. Robbie and my parents and I think it’s awesome. Everyone at the tailgate party really liked it too. You should make it tomorrow and feed it to people while they watch football because it’s cheesy and delicious and not difficult to make.

    Tailgate star: cheesy artichoke dip

    I followed this recipe from Cooking Light with a couple of changes. This time I used about half of a small yellow onion instead of a green onion, Vegenaise instead of reduced fat mayonnaise, and skipped the lemon. I served it with a baguette at Thanksgiving, which I highly recommend, and with cracked pepper lentil chips at the tailgate party, also delicious.

    cheesy artichoke dip

    Eat cheesy artichoke dip and go team!


  6. Mexican-style quinoa with black beans and avocado

    May 19, 2014 by Angie

    This was my first time making quinoa and I’m pretty sure it was my first time even eating it. It’s gotten really popular in the last decade or so and I can finally find it at my normal grocery store. I wanted to make something with it to try it out and thought it would be nice in a Mexican sort of dish instead of rice. I Googled a bit and found a few Mexican-style quinoa recipes. I used a recipe on the blog Damn Delicious as a guide. The ability to cook everything in one pot together really sealed the deal for me. Robbie and I both loved this. I will definitely be making it again, possibly this weekend.

    Mexican-style quinoa with black beans and avocado

    Adapted from One Pan Mexican Quinoa from Damn Delicious

    Ingredients

    olive oil
    half of a red onion, diced
    1-2 tsp minced garlic
    1 cup quinoa, rinsed
    1 cup vegetable broth
    1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained (I stand by by El Ebro as the best canned black beans on the planet.)
    1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes, semi-drained, keep most of the juice (I prefer Muir Glen Organic Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes.)
    1 tsp chili powder
    1/2 tsp cumin
    1/4 tsp garlic powder
    pinch of cayenne powder
    salt and pepper
    juice of half a lime
    1 avocado, diced

    Directions

    1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet (with a lid) on medium heat.

    2. Add diced red onion and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook for about three minutes stirring occasionally.

    3. Add the quinoa, vegetable broth, black beans, fire roasted tomatoes (with juice), and the spices to the skillet. Stir then put the lid on. Raise the heat to a boil then lower to simmer for 20-25 or until the quinoa is cooked and most of the liquid is gone.

    everything cooking in one pot

    This is what it looks like early on in the cooking process.

    4. Towards the end of the cooking time, wash and cut the lime and avocado in half. Dice both halves of the avocado.

    5. Stir in the juice of half a lime. Stir in the diced avocado. Serve immediately.

    Mexican-style quinoa

    I feel the photos don’t do it justice and for that I apologize. It’s extra tasty good, I promise!


  7. loaded baked potato soup

    November 23, 2013 by Angie

    I saw this recipe for slow cooker loaded baked potato soup on reddit.com and I couldn’t wait to make it/eat it. I followed her directions exactly and even used some of the same toppings: sliced green onion and grated cheddar cheese. My slow cooker runs hot so I’m pretty sure mine was much more cooked than hers. It was very mushy at the end of the eight hours. I added some extra vegetable broth to try to get it to a soup consistency. That didn’t really work. Alas, it was the best tasting bowl of mashed potatoes I’ve ever made!

    Loaded Baked Potato Soup

    Here are the converted ingredient measurements for us ‘Muricans.

    5 medium potatoes
    2 cups of vegetable stock
    1 onion, diced
    4 cloves of garlic, minced
    about 2 ounces of cheddar cheese
    1 ounce of butter (I used Earth Balance margarine)
    salt, black pepper, and toppings of your choice to taste

    I got to use my snazzy immersion blender for this. I can’t believe people use real blenders to make soup! I barely had to use it though due to the overcooking. The onion, potatoes, and broth mixture had become a big mush on its own. The recipe tasted really great but I don’t think it could be called a soup – again this is probably due to my overactive crock pot. I really do think I will adapt this and make mashed potatoes this way in the future. It was a lot easier than the old fashioned way.


  8. Outback Steakhouse copycat bread attempt

    November 16, 2013 by Angie

    Ever since the success of the Red Lobster cheddar bay biscuit copycat recipe I’ve been wanting to try to make the delicious bread they bring out before your meal at Outback Steakhouse. Apparently the bread is called honeywheat bushman bread. There are several copycat recipes out there but this one by Chef Pablo sounded the least insane so I tried it.

    Outback Bread Attempt

    It was good but doesn’t taste much like the Outback Steakhouse bread at all. It has a strong molasses flavor which I don’t remember from the original. It’s a little sweet for my taste so I probably won’t make it again. If I’m going to eat a sweet bread I prefer to eat a quick bread like banana or pumpkin. I may try a different copycat recipe though because I really do love that bread with the whipped butter and I don’t see myself going to Outback Steakhouse uhhh probably ever again.

    Trailer Park Thanksgiving with Outback Bread Attempt

    We had this bread as part of what I’m calling our Trailer Park Thanksgiving. The bread was the only thing I made from scratch. The mashed potatoes are Publix brand from the box which I realize is pretty disgraceful but they actually weren’t bad. For our “turkey”, we tried the gardein savory stuffed turk’y with gravy we found in the frozen section at Whole Foods. It was good but not amazing. I give the gravy two thumbs up though.


  9. Thanksgiving 2012

    November 28, 2012 by Angie

    People tend to be curious about what vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving so here’s a quick rundown of what we had at Thanksgiving Part 1 at my parents’ house. That’s right, there was a Thanksgiving Part 2. We are very committed to this holiday but there was wine at Part 2 in SoFlo and thus I kinda forgot to take photos.

    We started off with baked Brie served on Triscuits or lentil chips topped with chardonnay wine jelly from the best cheese shop this side of France, Cheese Please. I didn’t get a photo of that either – wahhh. We also had some spinach phyllo triangles to start.

    On the plate here is corn on the cob (obviously), tofu vegetable pot pie, apple and onion stuffing a la Rachel Ray, Mom’s wonderful sweet potato casserole, and homemade cranberry sauce.

    Glorious.

    Tofu veggie pot pie with a puff pastry crust

    Apple & onion stuffing and Mom’s sweet potato casserole

    It wasn’t even a week ago and I’m ready to do it again! My wish is for never-ending Thanksgiving leftovers and a lightning fast metabolism.


  10. spinach phyllo triangles

    November 28, 2012 by Angie

    These take some time to make but they’re really popular and tasty appetizers. I make them a few days before, freeze them, and bring them to Thanksgiving every year. The phyllo dough is finicky but if you keep it covered while you work it’s not so bad.

    Makes about 36 spinach phyllo triangles.

    Ingredients

    1/2 package (one sleeve) of phyllo dough, thawed
    olive oil
    1 cup onion, diced
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    2 10 oz packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    2 tsp oregano
    8 oz crumbled feta cheese
    2 oz shredded parmesan cheese
    freshly ground pepper
    around 4-6 tbsp melted butter (I use Smart Balance.)

    Steps

    1. Take the phyllo dough and frozen spinach out of the freezer to thaw. You’ll almost definitely have to defrost the spinach in the microwave because it’s an ice block.

    2. Squeeze as much liquid as you can from the spinach.

    3. Dice an onion.

    4. In a deep frying pan, heat the olive oil. Saute the diced onion and minced garlic. When that looks good add in the spinach and oregano and cook until the spinach is warm. Add ground pepper to taste.

    5. Remove the spinach mixture from the heat. Stir the cheeses into it.

    6. Now the filling is ready and it’s time to set up your phyllo triangle assembly station. Melt some butter in the microwave – you can start with 2 or 3 tablespoons.

    7. Put a layer of damp paper towels down on your work surface, I use a cutting board. On top of that place a layer of plastic wrap then your sheets of phyllo dough. Cover them with another plastic wrap/damp paper towel situation to keep the phyllo dough from drying out while you’re working.

    8. Take one sheet of phyllo dough out and brush it with melted butter. Repeat by stacking two more sheets of phyllo dough with butter brushed on top of each. Cut through all three layers longways to make five or six long, thin strips.

    9. Spoon a small amount of spinach mixture at the bottom of each of the thin strips. Fold it over like a flag to make a triangle shape enclosing the spinach mixture inside. Brush with melted better and place it on a prepared cookie sheet.

    10. Once you’ve constructed all of your triangles you can freeze them if you want to have them on hand for the holidays or you can bake them up right away. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 375.

    I got 36 triangles from this recipe and stacked them between parchment paper in this Tupperware.