Tag Archives: vegetarian

Zucchini, Basil, and Parmesan Egg Bake

Yesterday I picked up my share of vegetables from my CSA, Frog Bottom Farm. In it was two pounds of mixed summer squash (I picked zucchini, barq squash, and beautiful, bi-colored zephyr squash), four beets (with tops still attached), five really long spring onions, a cucumber, a bag of arugula, and a bag of basil leaves.

I decided to use some of the squash, green onions, and basil in a baked egg dish that turned out really well. I had some of the leftovers this morning for breakfast, and I can confirm that baked egg type dishes do, in fact, reheat nicely!

Zucchini, Basil, and Parmesan Egg Bake

Zucchini, Basil, and Parmesan Egg Bake

It’s sort of like an eggy lasagna.

Recipe for Zucchini, Basil, and Parmesan Egg Bake (Serves 4, more or less):

What you need:

  • 8 eggs (preferably cage-free)
  • 3-4 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 pound zucchini or summer squash, sliced thinly
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper (jarred works just fine), sliced into strips
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
How to do it:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the zucchini and saute until the zucchini is cooked through and lightly brown around the edges.
  2. Use the remaining 1 Tbsp. of oil to grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Add salt, pepper, the green onions, the basil, and half of the parmesan cheese.
  3. Arrange the slices of bread in the pan so that the bottom of the pan is covered by a layer of bread. When the zucchini is cooked, layer the zucchini and roasted red bell peppers on top of the bread. Pour the egg-basil-onion-parmesan mixture over everything, allowing the egg to soak down through the bottom layers. Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on top.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees until the eggs are set and the cheese is melted. For me, this took around 25 minutes. Let the dish cool slightly, then slice into squares and serve hot.
Zucchini, Basil, and Parmesan Egg Bake

When it looks like this, it's done!

This dish would also be delicious with caramelized onions, but I was fresh out of those. A nice side dish would be a green salad. We ate ours and then gorged ourselves on local strawberries and blueberries that we bought at the farmers’ market where we go to pick up our weekly CSA veggies, which is held every Saturday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Richmond, Virginia. If you can bring yourself to get up early on a Saturday, I heartily recommend the St. Stephen’s Farmers’ Market!

Southern Vegetarian Meal

This meal was delicious! It consisted of vegetarian sloppy joes, using beans and veggies instead of meat with a homemade sauce, homemade corn bread, and cooked greens (leftover from a takeout barbecue meal).

Southern Vegetarian Meal

Southern Vegetarian Meal

The recipe for the sloppy joe beans was modified from a Rachael Ray recipe for “Sloppy Veg-Head Joes.” I added different veggies, like carrots and celery, a can of red kidney beans, and a couple tablespoons of natural ketchup (no high-fructose corn syrup!) instead of the brown sugar. It came out very tasty and went great with the cornbread.

The cornbread was a modified version of Mark Bittman’s recipe for cornbread. I used plain lowfat yogurt instead of buttermilk, and instead of sugar, I used three tablespoons of maple syrup to make maple cornbread. I use variations of Bittman’s cornbread all the time. It’s easy, relatively healthy, and most importantly, it’s delicious. You can find Mark Bittman’s recipe for good old fashioned cornbread here, on his website.

Maple Cornbread

Maple Cornbread

I’ve been experimenting with this cornbread recipe ever since I made it the first time. Vegetable additions like sliced green onions, fresh cooked corn kernels, or shredded zucchini all work well.

Sweet Potato Hash and Fried Eggs

It is time for a blog reboot. I have graduated with my Master’s Degree in Library Science (before you ask, yes, that’s a real thing), and I now have time, glorious time! I also have a new camera and quite a lot of new recipes to share with you.

So, I am breaking my blogging fast. In honor of that, my first post since 2009 (eegad!) shall be about breakfast. Specifically, my breakfast this morning, when I was tempted to go out to breakfast and spend quite a lot of money for someone else to cook for me, but instead I decided that it is probably better to cook with what I have here, in my pantry and in my fridge. Some of my favorite meals start this way.

I haven’t been to the grocery store in a while, but after scrounging around the kitchen I found some eggs, two sweet potatoes, and a vidalia onion. That, and a little oil, butter, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning was all I needed to make a healthy, tasty, cheap breakfast for Boyfriend and me.

Fried Eggs and Sweet Potato Hash

Fried Eggs and Sweet Potato Hash (click for larger image)

Sweet Potato Hash Recipe (serves 2):

What you need:

  • two medium sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • one onion (I used vidalia, but any kind will do), sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and cajun season (such as Louisiana Cajun Seasoning), to taste
How to do it:
  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until the onions are beginning to soften.
  2. Add the sweet potato cubes to the onions. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning. Stir to coat the sweet potatoes with oil.
  3. Sautee the hash until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and can be easily pierced with a fork – this took me around 15-20 minutes.
  4. Taste, adjust seasoning, and enjoy!
The sweet potato hash is a nice change from home fries or hash browns. It is slightly sweet from the natural sugars in the sweet potato and the onion, and pleasantly spicy from the cajun seasoning.  Plus, sweet potatoes can be bought on the cheap (I bought mine at 99 cents per pound) and they are packed with healthy stuff, like beta carotene and fiber. One medium cooked sweet potato contains 438% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, 4 grams of fiber, and has only 105 calories, according to the Nutrition Data website. I am declaring this sweet potato hash healthy, tasty, and cheap (not to mention easy as anything to cook).

Vegetable Curry

Another great way to use up whatever odds and ends are left in the kitchen at the end of the week is a nice big pot of curry! This week, I picked up a jar of Patak’s Hot Curry Paste to make my life a little easier.

Image from amazon.com

Image from amazon.com

And it worked! I chopped up potatoes and carrots and threw them into a hot pot with a little canola oil and sauteed them for a few minutes until they were starting to soften. Then I added several tablespoons of the yummy curry paste and a can of diced tomatoes. I cooked a pot of instant brown rice alongside the big pot of bubbling curry. I added my frozen green beans, frozen corn, and a can of chickpeas. When the potatoes were tender, I added the chopped broccoli florets and a few already-cooked leftover green peas and cooked the curry for another five minutes or so. Then I turned off the heat and added about half a bag of spinach and a bunch of chopped green onions, stirring it all together until the spinach wilted. Aaron and I ate the curry on top of the hot cooked brown rice.

Lots and Lots of Vegetables Curry!

Lots and Lots of Vegetables!

I loved eating this because there were so many different colors, flavors, and textures in the bowl, and it makes me feel good to eat a meal with so many different types of vegetables.

I took this picture shortly before I had the idea of adding a few tablespoons of plain nonfat yogurt and a sprinkle of cashew nuts to the top. The yogurt added a lovely creamy texture and a tangy flavor that matched the flavor of the curry nicely. Be careful when adding yogurt to anything that is hot and bubbly, however. It can curdle!

Extreme Curry Close-up!

Curry Close-up!

The verdict on the Patak’s Curry Paste is a big thumbs up. It is much easier than me attempting to understand the mysteries of Indian spices, and it tastes very good. Previously, I had either tried to season curries on my own, or bought a jar of Patak’s Cooking Sauce. A jar of the cooking sauce costs about $3.50 and contains enough for about 3-4 servings, but a jar of curry paste costs around $4.25 and contains enough for 10 servings. Since I find that the paste is more cost-effective, that is definitely what I will buy from now on.

Brown Rice with Sugar Snap Peas, Cashews and Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce

Ah, it’s Monday again, and that means tomorrow is the big grocery shop day. I actually haven’t been to the grocery store since we got back, so it was pretty slim pickins in my kitchen. But I did have some instant brown rice, a bag of frozen sugar snap peas, a jar of roasted cashews, and a can of crushed pineapple, and with the addition of some soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sriracha sauce, this is what I got:

Brown Rice with Sugar Snap Peas, Roasted Cashews, and Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce

Brown Rice with Sugar Snap Peas, Roasted Cashews, and Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce

I was feeling lazy tonight, so this influenced my cooking (which is also influencing my decision not to write a formal recipe!) – I threw the cup or so of instant rice into a pot with water and cooked it until there were about five minutes left, then added the frozen sugar snaps. While that was cooking, I mixed half of the small the can of crushed pineapple in a bowl with about 2 Tbsp. of soy sauce, 1 Tbsp. of rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. of honey, 1 tsp. of the hot sriracha sauce, and a few drops of sesame oil. When the rice and peas were done cooking, I mixed in the pineapple teriyaki sauce, helped myself to a bowl, and topped it with roasted, lightly-salted cashews.

This was a really tasty dinner, considering the fact that I haven’t been to the grocery store in about two weeks!

Healthy Nachos

I know, I know. “Healthy nachos” sounds like an oxymoron, but just take a look at these!

Healthy Nachos - Definitely NOT an Oxymoron

Healthy Nachos - Definitely NOT an Oxymoron

To healthify nachos, I started with a really good tortilla chip – Garden of Eatin’ Blue Chips. In addition to looking really cool and tasting delicious, they are made with organic, non genetically modified corn, and are baked rather than fried, which means fewer calories and a lot less fat – these chips only have 3 grams of saturated fat per serving. The black bean chips are good, too!

Then there was the question of what to put on top of the chips. I picked black beans, because they are yummy and have a ton of fiber. I added some cooked sweet corn. I sprinkled on some 2% sharp cheddar cheese and let it melt over the blue chips, beans, and corn in the oven. I decided I would pile on fresh tomatoes, red onions, red bell peppers, green onions, and jarred jalapeno peppers. I whipped up a batch of fresh guacamole (see previous post!) and got out the reduced-fat sour cream and Tobasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce. When it all came together, I snapped a few quick pictures and Aaron and I crunched our delicious, cheesy, colorful nachos while we watched Hell’s Kitchen (which we’re both crazy about).

Gooey Cheese, Crunchy Chips, Crisp Veggies

Gooey Cheese, Crunchy Chips, Crisp Veggies

Recipe (serves 2):

What you need:

  • Enough chips for two people, 2-3 big handfuls
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cooked yellow sweet corn
  • 3/4 cup 2% sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup jarred jalapeno peppers, diced (optional)
  • Tobasco sauce, to taste (optional)
  • guacamole and reduced-fat sour cream, for serving

How to do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the chips in a single layer on the foil. Distribute the black beans and corn evenly over the chips. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the chips, beans, and corn. Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and the chips are warm. (Do not use fat free cheese – it doesn’t melt well!)
  2. Remove the nachos from the oven and place onto serving plates. Sprinkle the tomatoes, bell pepper, red onion, green onions, jalapeno peppers (if using) on top. Splash on the hot sauce (if using).
  3. Serve with fresh guacamole and reduced-fat sour cream on the side. Enjoy!
The View from Atop Mount Nacho

The View from Atop Mount Nacho

Extreme Cheese-and-Bean Close-up!

Extreme Cheese-and-Bean Close-up

Pigeon desperately wanted to sample the nachos. While Aaron and I were sympathetic to her plight, we gently explained to her that nachos are not kitty food. Pigeon did not take the news well.

grumpypigeonShe grumped in her cat cube.

Pigeon might not be able to have nachos… but you can! And I hope you will! Soon!

Notice for Readers: Aaron and I will be going out of town for a week starting tomorrow (August 8th). We’re going to the North Carolina Outer Banks to vacation in a fancy beach house with Aaron’s family. I’m bringing my camera and plan to take a ton of food pictures, and I am 90% sure I’ll be able to update from the beach house. But, just in case I am not able to post, please don’t think I have fallen off the face of the earth. Simply expect a flood of posts in about a week. 🙂

Sauteed Potatoes, Red Bell Peppers, Onions, and Mushrooms

Aaron and I usually buy our groceries on Tuesday, since that seems to be the day that our preferred grocery store gets its shipment of fresh produce and other perishables – we found out that going on Tuesdays means fresher food that’s less picked-over and that lasts longer. Monday nights are usually the night I try to find a way to use up the odds and ends before the Tuesday morning shopping trip, and on this particular Monday night, I needed to use up some red potatoes (featured in Tilapia with Chimichurri), mushrooms, spinach, and onions (featured in salads like the one with the Barbequed Chicken Thighs), a bunch of green onions, a small tomato, and a red bell pepper. So I threw it all in a pan with salt, pepper, and a dash of worcestershire (thank you, spellcheck!) sauce, and this is what I got:

End-of-the-week meal

A successful use of leftover ingredients - and it wasn't soup!


But I thought to myself… “What could make this a little better?” Do you know what I came up with?

Fried Egg!

Yep. Fried Egg!

A fried egg on top! This made the whole dish very breakfast-y. And as we learned from yesterday’s Pasta with Fried Egg post, gooey egg yolk makes a lot of things taste really, really good. This was no exception!

What are your strategies for using up leftover food or odds-and-ends in the kitchen?