Posts Tagged 'Vegetarian Meals'

Slow-Cooked Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

Recently, I received a treat in the mail: a promotional copy of Pure Vanilla, a new vanilla-centered cookbook by Piece of Cake blogger Shauna Sever. As much as I love chocolate, vanilla has always been my favorite flavor, so I couldn’t wait to dig in and check out the recipes. In a cruel twist of fate, we’re trying to avoid eating too much refined sugar and dairy at this point, so I longingly skipped over Vanilla Bean Bread Pudding, Big Mama Vanilla Cheesecake, Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies, and Candied Vanilla Popcorn. I did manage to find a recipe, though, that (a) is relatively low sugar, (b) is made (almost entirely) with things I already had on hand, and (c) solves a problem we’ve been tackling recently, which is that it’s hard to make breakfast every morning with Dr. O’s ever-changing (and sometimes painfully early) work hours.

Shauna says adding a vanilla bean “transforms this humble food (oats) into something otherworldly,” and she’s right. Throw this one together before bed and wake up to one fantastic breakfast.

Slow-Cooked Vanilla Spice Oatmeal
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 tablespoons light brown sugar (optional), plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
Half-and-half or heavy cream, for serving

Method:
Coat the sleeve of a 5-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place sleeve in slow cooker and combine all ingredients in it; add 3 1/2 cups water and stir to blend. Set slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours. Remove vanilla bean and scrape any remaining caviar into oatmeal. Stir well and serve with brown sugar to taste and a drizzle of half-and-half or heavy cream.

Variation: Increase the water to 4 cups and add 2/3 cup of dried fruit before cooking.

Source: Pure Vanilla

Slow-Cooked Vanilla Spice Oatmeal

Talk about an incredibly easy, super tasty breakfast. I tried the variation, upping the water to four cups and adding 1/3 cup of dried tart cherries and 1/3 cup of dried apricots. The fruit cooked down to a lusciously soft consistency and the spices were just right. Dr. O said it was like eating cobbler for breakfast (a good thing in our house!).

My only complaint? I lost about a serving of oatmeal to crust on the sides of my slow cooker sleeve, even with a coating of canola cooking spray.  Maybe next time I’ll combine the ingredients in a separate bowl and dump them in to avoid disturbing the cooking spray.  (Or maybe my slow cooker is a bit too warm, even on low?)  I’m very interested to try this as a single serving in my Crock-Pot Little Dipper.  I’ll post an update when I do.

Thanks for the book and the amazing recipes, Shauna!  Can’t wait to try them all.

Honey-Caramelized Figs with Yogurt

You know those kitchen projects you mean to get to, year after year, but never do? One of mine was cooking with fresh figs. I think the problem is that the season is so short; by the time I had a plan, the figs were gone.

This year, cooking with figs actually had purpose for me. We’ve been focusing on healthy snacks around here lately and have been eating a fair amount of dried figs. I’ll be the first to admit that dried figs and a bit ugly and a bit chewy (particularly if you refrigerate them for freshness), and Dr. O wasn’t crazy about them. When I saw piles of beautiful, fresh figs at Whole Foods last week, I knew I had an opportunity to show him the fruit in its best light. Eight ounces of figs and a quick Internet search later, I had a plan for breakfast: Honey-Caramelized Figs with Yogurt. Dr. O loved every bite!

Honey Caramelized Figs with Yogurt
Total time: 10 min. | Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon honey, plus more for drizzling
8 ounces fresh figs, halved (I trimmed the stems also)
2 cups plain, low-fat Greek yogurt
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Method:
Heat honey in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook figs, cut side down, until caramelized, about 5 minutes.

Serve over yogurt with cinnamon and pistachios. Drizzle with honey, if desired.

Source: Whole Living, September 2012

Honey-Caramelized Figs with Yogurt

Talk about a delicious and easy recipe! The flavor of the fresh figs was just incredible. They were rich and sweet with pleasant chewiness in the flesh and crunch in the seeds. Add extra crunch from the pistachios, extra sweetness from the honey (necessary, I think, since the yogurt is unsweetened), and creaminess from the yogurt, and you have a tasty, gorgeous breakfast. If I can get to it before figs are out of season, I’ll definitely make this one again.

Recipe link: Honey-Caramelized Figs with Yogurt

Thai Vegetable Curry

Today’s dish is one I was sure was on the blog already, based on how many times I’ve made it: Food & Wine‘s recipe for Thai Vegetable Curry. I first made it for a Thai-themed gourmet club meeting back in June of 2011 (along with this fantastic recipe for Thai Chicken with Basil). I typically make the curry every couple of months or so because it’s absolutely delicious, comforting, and incredibly easy.

This particular recipe is great for weeknights or entertaining. When I’m cooking for just the two of us, I serve it right away with a pot of rice. The curry is perfect for dinner parties, though, because it actually tastes a little bit better when it’s made a day ahead. I throw mine together in a Dutch oven, refrigerate it overnight for optimal flavor blending, and then gently reheat it on the stove while we enjoy appetizers with our guests.

Thai Vegetable Curry
Serves 6

Ingredients:
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, sliced thin
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons Thai green curry paste (I used red curry paste)
1 2/3 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (one 15-ounce can)
1 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup drained canned bamboo shoots, halved
1 pound boiling potatoes (about 2), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound broccoli, thick stems removed, tops cut into small florets (1 quart) (I used cauliflower)
1 tomato, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice
1/3 cup thin-sliced basil leaves

Method:
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the curry paste and fry, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the coconut milk and broth and bring to a boil. Stir in the soy sauce, brown sugar, salt, bamboo shoots, potatoes, and broccoli. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomato and heat through, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice and basil.

Variations: Other vegetables that would taste good in place of the broccoli include carrots, eggplant, cauliflower, snow peas, cabbage, green beans, and canned baby corn. Try your favorite, or use a combination of vegetables.

Source: Food & Wine

Thai Vegetable Curry

Yum, yum, yum.  Maybe I just love curry and coconut, but this dish is simply delicious.  There’s good textural contrast in the vegetables, and I adore the warm, creamy broth.  My version is very mild since I use red curry paste; try green curry paste instead if you can’t get enough heat.

Earlier, I mentioned that I usually serve the dish immediately when it’s just the two of us and a day later when we’re entertaining.  One other modification I make is that I’ll use light coconut milk for us and regular coconut milk when we have guests.  Light coconut milk makes the dish super healthy (only 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points per serving, without rice).  Regular coconut milk doesn’t make it a nutritional disaster, but it certainly adds a richness to the broth that elevates the dish for company.

Recipe link: Thai Vegetable Curry

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard (aka My Best Grilled Pizza Yet!)

I finally managed a restaurant-quality grilled pizza, y’all.  I’ve been using the same dough recipe since last summer and I’ve tried a variety of different toppings, but this last one – Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard – is a real winner.  If you want crisp yet chewy homemade crust and totally delicious (and pretty nutritious!) toppings, this one’s for you.

Basic Grilled Pizza Dough
Makes four 10-inch pizzas (1 pound dough total)

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon sugar
1 packet (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface

Method:
Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast.  Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

Whisk oil and 1 teaspoon salt into yeast mixture.  Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry).  Turn out onto a floured work surface.  Knead until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 30 minutes.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide into 4 equal pieces.  (To store, refrigerate dough pieces, covered, up to 2 days, or freeze, up to 1 month.)  Let rest 15 minutes before using.

Source: Everyday Food, July 2010

Onion, Ricotta, and Chard Pizza Toppings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 pounds onions, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 pound chard, stemmed, leaves washed (can substitute spinach, if desired)
3/4 cup ricotta (6 ounces)
2 ounces Parmesan, grated (1/2 cup, tightly packed)

Method:
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet.  Add the onions.  Cook, stirring often, until tender and just beginning to color, about 10 minutes.  Add the thyme, garlic, and a generous pinch of salt.  Turn the heat to low, cover and cook another 10 to 20 minutes, stirring often, until the onions are golden brown and very sweet and soft.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, stem and wash the chard leaves, and bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Fill a medium bowl with ice water.  When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the chard.  Blanch for one to two minutes, just until the leaves are tender, and transfer to the ice water.  Drain and squeeze out excess water. Alternatively, steam the chard for two to three minutes until wilted, and rinse with cold water.  Chop the chard medium-fine.  Combine the ricotta, chard, and Parmesan in a medium bowl and set aside.

Make ahead note: The cooked onions and the blanched or steamed chard will keep for three or four days in the refrigerator.

Source: The New York Times

To assemble pizzas:

Heat grill: Set up a grill with heat source, coals or gas, on one side over medium-high.  Clean and lightly oil hot grill.

Stretch dough: On a lightly floured work surface, separately stretch or roll 2 pieces basic grilled pizza dough or 8 ounces (two 4-ounce pieces) store-bought dough into 10-inch-long ovals or other desired shape.  Brush one side lightly with herb oil or olive oil and season with coarse salt and ground pepper.

Grill dough: Using your hands, place dough, oiled side down, directly over heat source.  Brush dough with herb oil or olive oil and cook until underside is lightly charred and bubbles form all over top, 1 to 2 minutes.  With tongs, flip dough and cook until lightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes.  Slide dough to cooler side of grill.

Add toppings: Top dough with ricotta/chard/Parmesan mixture and caramelized onions.  Cover grill.  Cook until toppings are heated through, 2 to 5 minutes.

Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard

Holy cow, this pizza was deeeeeelicious.  The dough was crisp on the edges and chewier in the center, the caramelized onions were smoky and sweet, and the ricotta with the chard and Parmesan was creamy and super flavorful.  I served this with a beet and arugula salad with goat cheese and walnuts and thought I was in heaven.  I will definitely make this pizza again, and the menu (with the salad) would make a fantastic casual dinner party.

I’ll admit that it took a bit of practice to develop a good system for getting the dough from the kitchen to the grill, so I’ll share what I know.  I roll and stretch the dough on my kitchen island and then put each piece on its own lightly-floured baking sheet before I brush it with oil.  Since I don’t have much work space on the sides of my grill, I make Dr. O carry the two baking sheets onto the deck and then I hand-transfer the dough to the grill.  The dough tends to shift and stretch a bit when it’s picked up, but that’s OK; rustic is good.

TIPS:  If I make the pizza dough ahead, I wrap it in plastic wrap before I store it.  If I freeze it, I wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in a freezer bag as well.  To use frozen dough, I typically just thaw it in the refrigerator overnight.

Recipe links: Basic Grilled Pizza Dough and Onion Pizza with Ricotta and Chard

Dueling Veggie Burgers

I’m having a vegetarian dinner guest again this weekend, and my tried-and-true options (a) have been done before, and (b) aren’t seeming super appropriate at this moment with this gorgeous weather.  What does seem appropriate?  Grilling! Burgers and side salads make an easy entertaining menu, so I decided to try two very different vegetarian burger recipes: Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers and Balsamic Portobello Burgers with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese.

My use of the word “dueling” in the title might suggest that there was actually some hot competition between the recipes.  There wasn’t.  One recipe was leaps and bounds (truly!) above the other.  I wanted to include both, though, to help anyone who might be having their own veggie burger debate.

I’ll start with the Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers since I made them first.  The patties were made of quinoa, carrots, scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, and egg; they were seasoned with cumin, salt, and pepper.  The patties came together easily and without too much mess, and I liked that they could be assembled a day ahead and held (uncooked) in the refrigerator.  The recipe called for the patties to be cooked on the stove, but I decided to use my outdoor grill since it would create less mess when I was entertaining my guests.  They cooked up easily (I did 8 minutes per side over medium heat) and didn’t stick to the grill at all.

The problem?  Despite all those delicious ingredients, they didn’t have a lot of flavor.  They were also super dry when we reheated the leftovers the next day.  The yogurt-lemon-scallion sauce helped quite a bit, but the experience really should be about the burger, right?  Carnivores would never trade a beef or turkey burger for one of these, but I figured the quinoa burger would be a not-amazing-but-good-enough backyard barbecue option for vegetarians.

Greek Style Quinoa Burgers

That was, until I tasted the Balsamic Portobello Burgers with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese.  Oh.  Mah.  Gawd.  They were just as easy to make as the quinoa burgers (maybe easier) and still had make-ahead convenience factor, but I would actually choose this over meat from time to time.  Portobellos are a meaty mushroom to begin with, and they soaked up the marinade so beautifully.  You know that wonderfully messy, juicy dribble you get when you bite into a fantastic burger? You get it here.  With roasted red peppers and goat cheese (two of my favorite ingredients!) on a grill-toasted bun, this was absolute heaven.

Balsamic Portobello Burger with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese

My only note is that you’ll use either one or two mushrooms per burger depending on the size of your portobellos.  Just make sure you get at least the weight recommended by the recipe (1 pound).  Consider making extras…  You won’t regret it!

Recipe links: Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers and Balsamic Portobello Burgers with Red Pepper and Goat Cheese

Peanut Butter Waffles

How do I love thee, peanut butter?  Next to apple slices, tucked inside a chocolate cup, sandwiched with homemade jam, and now, in waffles.  As someone who consumes peanut butter almost daily, I saw this recipe in the May 2011 issue of Everyday Food and couldn’t resist.

The recipe isn’t on Martha Stewart’s site yet, so I’ve posted it for you.  I was able to get 20 small heart-shaped waffles out of the batter.  Two waffles (before you add bananas and syrup) are 6 Weight Watchers PointsPlus points.

Peanut Butter Waffles
Yield varies with waffle maker

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for brushing waffle iron
6 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 bananas, sliced, for serving
3/4 cup pure maple syrup, for serving

Method:
Heat waffle iron and preheat oven to 275°F; set a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet and place in oven.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a blender, blend butter and peanut butter until smooth, 1 minute.  Add buttermilk and eggs and blend until combined, 1 minute. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until batter is combined.

Brush waffle iron with butter and pour in 1/2 to 3/4 cup batter, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.  Close iron and cook until waffles are golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes.  Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm; repeat with remaining batter.  Serve with bananas and maple syrup.

Note: Waffles can be frozen in zip-top bags, up to 1 month; reheat in the toaster or a 325°F oven.

Source: Everyday Food, May 2011

Peanut Butter Waffles

I’m not sure I’ve ever had a bad waffle, but these are tastier than most.  They have a subtle peanut butter flavor when eaten plain; I think the bananas and syrup bring out the peanut butter a bit more.  In terms of texture, they’re pretty light and fluffy. The oven time crisps the outside edge a bit (a plus in my book!).  Since I am always looking for good make-ahead recipes to take the stress out of entertaining (or even just getting Dr. O out the door in the morning), I love that I can make a whole batch and either hold them in the oven or freeze them for later.

These aren’t going to dethrone my favorite classic waffle recipe, but they are certainly delicious and a nice change of pace.  Give them a try!

Mexican Potato Omelet

January was a month of dates with friends and lots of naughty, naughty food. Croque Madame with loaded potato soup (heavy cream!) at The Squeaky Bean? Yes, please!  Massive plate of fries (half bacon mac and cheese, half buffalo) at Jonesy’s Eat Bar?  Mmmm.  Catered dinner from Le Central at the sorority reunion?  You bet. (And that’s really only half the damage!)

We had lots of fun, but I’m going to focus on healthy cooking for the next couple of weeks to balance things out a bit.  I made something wonderful last night – Mexican Potato Omelet from the April/May 2006 issue of Body + Soul – that was fresh, well-balanced, and delicious.

Here’s the recipe:

Mexican Potato Omelet
Serves 4
Prep time: 20 min. | Total time: 50 min.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red-skinned potato (6 ounces), well scrubbed, halved, and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 large eggs
1 1/4 cups plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped (about 2 tomatoes)
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese (2 ounces)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Method:
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch broiler-proof skillet over medium-low heat. Add potato, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and all but 1 tablespoon of the scallions; season with salt and pepper and cook 1 minute.

In a large bowl, beat eggs until well combined. Add 1/4 cup each tomato and cheese; stir to combine. Add remaining oil to pan, and pour egg mixture over the potatoes.

Preheat broiler with rack 4 inches from the heat. Meanwhile, cook eggs on the stove top, lifting the edges to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath, until the center is almost set, 8 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup cheese over the top, then broil in the oven until set, about 2 minutes.

In a small bowl, make a salsa by combining the remaining tomatoes, scallions, cilantro, and lime juice. Run a metal spatula around the edges of the pan and slide the omelette onto a platter. Serve cut into wedges with salsa.

Source: Body + Soul, April/May 2006

Mexican Potato Omelet

This wasn’t knock-your-socks-off amazing, but it was a solid, tasty weeknight meal.  I especially loved the way the lime in the salsa brought out the flavors in the omelet.  I didn’t modify anything exactly, but I did need an extra 2 minutes to cook the potatoes and I went the full 10 minutes to cook the eggs on the stove top.  I also seasoned the eggs and the salsa separately (in addition to the potatoes when the garlic and scallions were added).  I served the omelet with seasoned black beans.  Yummy!

Recipe link: Mexican Potato Omelet

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas

When I sat down to make my most recent menu and store list, I decided to just grab all the August issues of Everyday Food from my archives to look for inspiration.  I spent so many years without an outdoor grill that I figured I probably missed some fantastic recipes.  I was right!  Lately, I’ve been thinking about trying portobellos on the grill in some form or another, so I couldn’t pass up the recipe for Grilled Portobello Quesadillas.  This recipe goes so far back (2003 – I can’t even believe I’m admitting to having a magazine from back then!) that it isn’t on the Everyday Food site, so here it is:

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas
Serves 4
Prep time: 25 minutes | Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound portobello mushrooms (3 – 5), trimmed and cleaned
4 flour tortillas (10-inch)
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Salsa and sour cream, for serving

Method:
Heat grill to medium.  In a small bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.  (I used 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.)  Brush both sides of mushrooms with oil mixture; starting with stem side up, grill mushrooms until tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp paring knife, 8 – 12 minutes, turning once.  Remove from grill; slice 1/2-inch thick.

Layer one half of each tortilla with cheese, scallions, mushroom slices, and then more cheese, dividing toppings evenly.  Fold tortilla over filling; using your hands, carefully transfer filled tortilla to grill.  Cook until tortilla is slightly charred and cheese is melted, 2 – 3 minutes per side.  Serve with salsa and garnish with sour cream, if desired.

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2003

Grilled Portobello Quesadillas

They aren't exactly pretty, but they sure are delicious.

These quesadillas are tasty!  The portobellos are so meaty and smoky from the grill, and the ooey-gooey factor from the cheese is fantastic.  If you need to please a vegetarian and a meat eater in one meal, this is your ticket; Dr. O said he didn’t miss the meat at all.  Plus, the quesadillas are so filling that I couldn’t even eat the whole thing (and I was really looking forward to doing just that, believe me.)   I would absolutely, 100% make this recipe again.

Bell Pepper Egg-In-A-Hole

In the interest of tightening up my grocery budget just a bit, I recently went on a quest to see if Costco’s meat really was cheaper than my regular grocery store. The verdict?  Not so much.  However, I did discover that Costco had killer deals on several items of produce.  I was able to get 12 large Braeburn apples for only $4.49 (I’m used to paying around $1.99 per pound unless I make the special trip to Sunflower Market; $4.49 usually translates into about 5 apples), 12 ounces of raspberries for $2.99 (usually anywhere from $2.99 to $4.99 for only 6 ounces!), and a bag of 6 gorgeous red peppers for $5.79 ($1.99 each on a normal day, $0.99 when on sale).  I’m not sure that Costco would be worth a special trip since it’s 15 minutes from my house, but I’m definitely going to visit the produce area during every Costco trip from here on out.

Today’s recipe centers around the peppers from my produce score.  I have a special place in my heart for Egg-In-A-Hole; my uncle made if for me for breakfast during my Colorado visits when I was growing up (except he called it Egg Toast).  I always get the warm fuzzies when someone makes me breakfast, and his version was always so delicious.  I saw this particular version – Bell Pepper Egg-In-A-Hole – in this month’s issue of Everyday Food, and I just had to give it a shot.

To prep for the meal, I sliced one red bell pepper (any color is fine) into four 1/2-inch-thick rings and grated 2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese.  In a large nonstick skillet, I heated 1 teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.  I added the bell pepper rings to the skillet (evenly spaced) and cracked 1 egg into the middle of each ring.  I seasoned the eggs with coarse salt and ground pepper and cooked until the egg whites were mostly set (about 3 minutes).  Next, I gently flipped each egg (with the pepper, of course) and cooked for an additional 90 seconds.  (The recipe says 1 minute for over easy; we tend to like our eggs over medium.  Cook them longer if you like your yolks cooked through.  If you gently touch the yolk area with your finger, you should be able to sense how cooked the yolk is by how firm to the touch it is.)  I sprinkled each egg with 1/2 teaspoon of the Parmesan and placed each one on a slice of unbuttered wheat toast.

In a separate bowl, I tossed 8 cups of mixed salad greens with 2 teaspoons of olive oil (the recipe said to use 1 teaspoon, but I didn’t think it was enough), seasoned the greens with coarse salt and ground pepper, and then tossed again.  I served the salad alongside the eggs.

Bell Pepper Egg-In-A-Hole

This was such a fun, delicious twist on the traditional Egg-In-A-Hole recipe.  Two added bonuses: it’s an incredibly light meal (only 4 Weight Watchers points, even with the extra teaspoon of oil in the salad) and it only took 10 minutes to prepare. 10 minutes!  It’s love.  I was also shocked by how delicious the salad was since it had next to nothing on it.  Flavorful greens and an appropriate amount of seasoning really did the trick.

Now, if I were going to serve this to company, I would probably butter the toast. Between a bit of runny yolk and the awesome flavors of the egg and the bell pepper, I didn’t miss it; I just think the extra bit of flavor would really step things up for guests.  Also, if you’re feeding folks with strong appetites (especially at dinner), be warned that Dr. O ate three of these.  He’s a machine.

Hope you try the recipe and enjoy!

TIPS:  I was surprised to see that the recipe recommended cooking the eggs over medium-high heat.  I’m used to cooking them over medium-low to medium heat for tenderness.  Everything worked out well with the recipe, though, so I’ll go with the higher heat setting when I make eggs this particular way.

Recipe link: Bell Pepper Egg-In-A-Hole

Potato, Leek, and Feta Tart

Last night, I fed Dr. O the last meal he would eat as a member of a certain age group.  (That age group will not be disclosed.)  If I had thought about our Thursday night meal this way when I was menu planning for the week, I might have planned an old favorite to mark the occasion.  Thankfully, what I did plan – Potato, Leek, and Feta Tart from Real Simple – was elegant, delish, and night-before-big-birthday-worthy.

To start, I preheated my oven to 375°F and then prepped my veggies and herbs.  I cut two small zucchini into half-moons (about 1/4-inch thick), chopped two tablespoons of fresh dill, and thinly sliced 2 red potatoes (about 8 ounces total) using the thinnest slice option on my mandoline.  (I have a cheap one from Amazon.com.)  I also cut the white and light green parts of two leeks into thin half-moons.  Leeks require a few rounds of rinsing to remove all the grit; if you’ve never worked with leeks before, I’d recommend reading my Tomato and Leek Frittata post.

Once the veggies were prepped, I heated 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  I added the leeks, the zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and cooked the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Next, I stirred in 2 ounces of crumbled feta cheese and the chopped dill. Finally, I added the sliced potatoes, tossed everything to combine, and removed the skillet from the heat.  (At this point, the cheese will not be melted and the potatoes will not be cooked – don’t worry!)

On a piece of parchment paper, I rolled 1 store-bought 9-inch pie crust to a 12-inch diameter.  I moved the paper (with the pie crust) onto a baking sheet and spooned the potato mixture onto the pie crust, leaving a 2-inch border.  I folded the edge of the pie crust over the edge of the potato mixture and baked it until the pie crust was golden brown and the potatoes were tender (55 minutes).  (I did tent mine with foil at the 45-minute mark to prevent the crust from getting too dark.)  I served the tart in wedges with salad on the side.

Potato Leek and Feta Tart

I was nervous about this one since there wasn’t exactly a finished filling to sample before everything went into the oven, but I ended up pleasantly surprised.  The amount of salt and pepper was just right; the saltiness of the feta definitely added to the overall flavor profile.  The pie crust was flaky and not at all soggy, the vegetables were tender, and the cheese was browned on top but melted inside.  It was pretty yummy overall.  My only issue with this recipe is that the potatoes that were exposed on top of the filling ended up a bit chewy while the potatoes underneath were just perfect; next time, I’ll nestle the potato slices beneath a layer of leeks and zucchini.

The baking time is long but the prep work was pretty easy…  I would definitely make this again for any night when dinner needs to be simple but special.

Recipe link: Potato, Leek, and Feta Tart




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