Vegetarian

Cheesy Vegetable Enchiladas

Searching for a great meatless meal? These cheesy vegetable enchiladas are packed with so much flavor that you won’t even miss the meat.

Cheesy Vegetable Enchiladas 2

For the past 5 days I’ve been on the opposite side of the country, visiting family in LA and San Diego because my nephew is turning two, doubling his age! Can you believe it’s already been another year since his first birthday? I certainly cannot. His birthday party was this past Saturday but I am waiting to share the photos until his actual birthday this Wednesday, March 26th. Stay turned for that if you’re into adorable two-year olds.

In the meantime, feast your eyes upon my latest enchilada creation. With  sweet potato, black beans, corn, bell pepper, rice and cheese, these veggie enchiladas are packed with so much flavor you’ll find that meat would be completely unnecessary. And then throw some avocado on top while you’re at it.

Cheesy Vegetable Enchiladas 1

Three years ago: Blueberry Cookies
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Leprechaun Pizza

If a leprechaun ordered a pizza, this is what it would look like. Green spinach crust, pesto, mozzarella, goat cheese, and four-leaf clover bell peppers.

Leprechaun Pizza 2

St. Patrick’s Day is a whirlwind of corned beef, rainbows, green food, and Guinness. This recipe is no exception from that list, with a green spinach pizza crust, topped with green basil pesto, mozzarella and goat cheese, followed by green and yellow bell peppers cut to look like four-leaf clovers. I actually tried to find green cheese but decided the white was a nice contrast for the appeal factor.

Using half the spinach pizza dough, this recipe makes one medium pizza. If you want to use it all, make a larger pizza or two medium ones but make sure to double your toppings. Or you could make dinner rolls with the other half. How about cheese stuffed spinach dinner rolls?

In other news my pizza stone and peel are just big enough to make a 13-inch pizza (therefore making this one medium pizza). Although I do have a 16-inch pizza pan, I am now in the market for a 16-inch or larger pizza stone and peel. Because pizza stones rock. If you don’t already own one I strongly suggest adding it to your wishlist. Assuming you like to make homemade pizza on a regular basis.

Leprechaun Pizza 1

One year ago: Kale Quiche
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Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Pizza

I don’t know what it is about pizza but I have a very hard time capturing appetizing photos of pizza slices. No matter what angle or lighting I use, I rarely enjoy looking at the photos I take of pizza slices. As a result I tossed every single one for this pizza and was left with just unsliced photos. Maybe that’s why I don’t make pizza as much as I used to these days, because of its unphotogenic nature? Thankfully, I always take pictures before I slice into anything just in case so I at least have a shot of the whole pizza itself.

Pictures aside, the toppings on this pizza are perfect for fall and butternut squash happens to be one of my favorite fall/winter squashes to cook with. In fact, at the end of the season last year, it went on sale so I stocked up and froze it after being peeled and cubed. But that’s long gone and this pizza was made with fresh butternut squash from this season.

 Butternut Squash, Spinach and Feta Pizza

One year ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding
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Winter Wheat Berry Power Salad

I don’t eat salads very often, mostly because I get bored of them very quickly. But when a salad like this one comes along it’s a love affair. After the salad I went nuts over last year that involved roasted butternut squash it should be no surprise that this most recent culprit also includes the same fall ingredient. It is paired up with dried cranberries, pistachios, and feta, all mixed into a bed of baby kale and spinach. There’s even these things called red winter berries in there which I had never even heard of until now. I don’t know how to describe them if you are unfamiliar, but they are a bit chewy – in a good way!

Winter Wheat Berry Power Salad

Speaking of salads, remember when I told you about the Advocare 10 Day Cleanse? Well I finished! I definitely felt lighter and unbloated even after only 2 days. Now at the end I can actually see a little bit of my abs that I knew were hidden under there somewhere. I learned about this cleanse from Steph who is doing the 24 Day Challenge and hosting a Gobble Gobble Challenge as well. Her amazing results are what inspired me to try the 10-day. I’ve shared my Day 1 and Day 10 photos below (self-conscious moment).

Advocare Results 1 and 10 only

One year ago: Homemade Funfetti Cupcakes

Two years ago: Red Beans and Rice
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Spicy Black Bean Burgers

If you follow Steph’s Bite by Bite you know that she is hosting Fit-Ober and a 24 day AdvoCare challenge. Although I am not participating in those specific challenges, I did purchase the AdvoCare 10 day herbal cleanse after being lured in by the amazing results Steph has already been seeing. My day one belly looks similar to Steph’s (we’re the same weight too) so we shall see how it goes!  Although I have to admit, reading the guidelines about eating 8 cups of veggies/fruit a day, at least 8 cups of water, only whole grains, little to no fat, and no processed sugar makes me wonder how much the cleanse is doing versus the healthy eating. I eat pretty healthy already but need to work on eating more veggies, less fat and no sugar (goodbye cookies fort 10 days = sadness). Either way, if I am a bit leaner in time for being a bridesmaid in Amber’s wedding this weekend I’ll be a happy camper.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers 1

Speaking of healthier eating, how about a veggie burger? When it comes to meatless burgers, black bean is typically the first kind people think of. Yet, for some reason I shied away from this version and tried every other kind first. I have no legitimate reason for this other than it simply did not appeal to me. But that all changed when this burger came into my life. It should come as no surprise that part of the reason this burger was so appealing to me was the addition of avocado slices on top. But I also liked that jalapeno and corn were mixed into the patty as well.

I made these burgers before the cleanse began, but to meet the guidelines given by AdvoCare I should have substituted the oil with broth, the bun for whole wheat (although I normally do), and the fries for veggies. Next time ;-).

Spicy Black Bean Burgers 2

One year ago: Mini Pink Ombre Sugar Cookie Cake
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Tofu Lettuce Wraps With Cashew Sauce

I know most of you are enjoying pleasant fall weather, but here in Memphis it’s still highs in the 80s and 90s. I cannot really complain though because we had a very moderate summer (for Memphis), with only a couple days over 100 degrees instead of entire months. As a result my electricity bill was never over $85 all summer! Normally I average around $140 because I live on the third floor and everyone’s heat comes to me (while during winter I barely turn my heat on). Add all my baking and cooking and it’s a never ending battle to keep the temperature under 80 inside.

Even though the battle against the heat isn’t very prevalent anymore, I still like to make no-cook meals or desserts from time to time. This meal is legit no cook because it doesn’t even require a stove top or a microwave – absolutely no heat involved. Well, except for some spicy heat from the cashew sauce!

Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Cashew Sauce

One year ago: Mini Pumpkin Black and White Cookies
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Spicy Thai Noodles with Tofu

I dropped that ball yesterday and missed posting for Single Serving Sunday. You may not have even noticed (which if that’s the case maybe I should rethink those posts), but in case you did my apologies. I had a quick single serving breakfast recipe that I had every intention of preparing and posting, but the first time it did not come out right and then I ran out of eggs and didn’t get to the store until it was too late to fuss over. Maybe by next weekend I will have it ready haha.

With one week until I need to send the final draft of my dissertation to my committee I have been in super-productive mode. Hence my lack of a post yesterday. I did next to nothing other than write all last week until Friday afternoon when my brain died. After sending my Introduction to my advisor I just couldn’t process nerdy thoughts, so I took the night off and hung out with friends Friday night. The rest of the weekend wasn’t as writing-productive as I would have liked, but I feel less tense and my apartment is cleaner. Accomplishments come in many forms.

For all my fellow stressed out people who are desperately trying to get things done while still getting some sustenance, here is a quick and healthy meal for you tonight. It’s kind of like those healthier pasta recipes that mix in fettucine-sized slices of zucchini. This time whole wheat spaghetti is mixed with broccoli slaw and tofu which has sauteed into a spicy-honey sauce and topped with peanuts, cilantro and green onion. It’s spaghetti gone Thai!

Spicy Thai Noodles with Tofu

Two years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Candied Bacon
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Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce

I forgot to tell you some news… I submitted a manuscript on Monday to be reviewed and hopefully published! One of two actually as I have a second coming right behind it. Just have to finish up some minor experiments before I can wrap it up but should be nearing completion within a couple days. Then all I have to worry about it reformatting them both to fit in my dissertation, and finishing the dissertation itself! Is that all?

Yes I am somehow still cooking for myself despite everything I freak out about on a daily basis. Besides, I am trying to soak up every last morsel of summer cooking. Some people have already started to embrace the fall flavors for cooking, but I am not ready yet! I cannot imagine eating anything pumpkin when it is still 90 degrees outside so I made this fresh summer gnocchi dish. The original recipe used corn on the cob, but I had some frozen kernels already and decided to use them instead. Saving money like a baller grad student.

Gnocchi, Sweet Corn & Arugula in Cream Sauce

One year ago: Reese’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie

Two years ago: Almond Berry Overnight Slow Cooker Oatmeal
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Eggplant Manicotti with Creamy Pesto Filling

Every day is a battle to actually prepare a meal at dinnertime for myself instead of opening a blue box of mac and cheese or swinging by Taco Bell. I am actually impressed by only caving once thus far. Oddly enough I spruced up that blue box by topping it off with some lentil soup and fried okra. That is what happens when you are hungry and rummage through the pantry and freezer for random items. Oddly enough it was quite delicious and I may have to do it again the next time I cave.

But on the days I do manage to cook it is rarely anything that takes more than 30 minutes of preparation. And yes, this recipe today falls into the category. It may look fancy and difficult but the hardest part is slicing the eggplant, unless you’re smart and pull out your mandoline (I own one but always forget). The next hardest part? Not eating the entire pan by yourself in one sitting. The creamy pesto was freaking amazing and I wanted to bathe in it.

Eggplant Manicotti with Creamy Pesto Filling

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Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin

Oh July, why did you scamper off so quickly? I cannot believe July is almost over, and that today marks yet another episode of The Secret Recipe Club. This month I got to dig around Flying on Jess Fuel. I found lots of tempting recipes such as Key West Grilled Chicken Skewers and a Rainier Cherry Pie – that pie excited me because I love Rainier cherries but couldn’t bring myself to buy them in order to bake it as they were ridiculously priced at the time. I decided to go for a side dish recipe since I don’t make side dishes very often compared to other things. Of course then she posted a recipe for Zucchini Bread Pancakes after I already made this gratin recipe. Guess I will had to add it to my menu later on!

Potato side dishes are quite fabulous. You can cut them up and cook until they are crispy fries, mash them and enjoy a creamy spoonful, slice them and layer with cheese for a gooey experience, or just eat them by themselves with a little butter. Of course the possibilities don’t end there! This recipe incorporates some yellow squash along with the potatoes to not only make it a little healthier, but also add great summer flavor. And the goat cheese worked wonders as usual. It was tempting to add double the amount called for in the recipe because I knew it could do no wrong, but resisted. This gratin also went very well with balsamic chicken I had prepared in the crock pot.

Potato, Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin

Two years ago: Cream Cheese Chicken Enchiladas
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