Vegetarian

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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Greek Pizza with Greek Yogurt Pizza Dough

How is it that I cannot remember the details of a memory long ago or things of importance, yet when a song comes on the radio that I haven’t heard in over 5 years I can sign along as if I never stopped listening? Funny thing, the brain. Random thought of the day… on to this pizza!

Since my revival of pizza night last week I’ve been toying with the idea of other kinds of pizza crust. So take a wild guess as to what is my new favorite way to use Greek yogurt? In pizza dough! Its addition results in a fluffy interior with the perfect amount of crustiness on the exterior. I cannot believe how long it took me to put Greek yogurt into dough, but I foresee many Greek yogurt-bread products in my future.

This brilliant brain-child of a pizza dough was also topped off with some special ingredients to create a Greek pizza: artichokes, tomatoes, red onion, red pepper, olives, garlic, feta mozzarella, and tahini. Have I ever told you that I don’t even like olives? Or at least I used to, but lately I don’t seem to mind their presence. Either my taste buds are going numb or I’m growing up. But I don’t wanna grow up!! ::cue ToysRUs theme song::

Greek Pizza

Two years ago: Peanut Butter and Oat Granola Bites
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Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers with Roasted Garlic Avocado Cream

I love that veggie burgers come in all sorts of flavors. I myself have made a few including edamame and eggplant, and even though there’s never been a disappointment I still shy away from trying a homemade black bean burger. I have zero explanation for this especially after successfully making black bean brownies. Today I once again am sharing a non-black bean veggie burger. Maybe one day I will venture down that road, but for now let’s focus on sweet potato.

Sweet potato might be one of my favorite starches. I first fell in love with it in French fry form, and then later in gnocchi. Twice. So trying it in burgers seemed like the next step. The incorporation of garlic and smoked paprika sealed the deal for me. The flavors were incredible! And of course you know I can never say no to topping it all off with avocado, especially when in cream form.

Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers 1

Speaking of the cream, while it I mistakenly thought the avocado went into the cream instead of just sliced on top of the burgers. However, it ended up being a happy accident because it made the sauce taste that much better, and believe that the avocado slices would’ve squeezed out due to the softness of the burger patty. I should’ve just pretended I did it on purpose and not said a word to you but I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes. Especially when it turns out to not be a bad thing!

I have a feeling you are eyeing that creamy goodness in the background. Never fear for it is being posted tomorrow!

Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers 2

Two years ago: Veggie Eggs Benedict
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Oven-Fried Avocado Tacos with Cilantro Lime Creme

During one of my most recent visits to Nashville, I went to a taco stand called Mas Tacos Por Favor and had the best fried avocado tacos. I enjoyed them so much that I had to figure out how to make them at home, or else I would have driven 3 hours just to get some more.

Oven-frying is my favorite way to cook chicken, so I decided to incorporate this method for the avocado and it worked beautifully. I couldn’t remember exactly what else was on the taco, but I improvised based on what I could remember or see in the picture I took with my phone and it came out pretty darn close. The only thing I would change is possibly cutting back a little on the lime or adding sriracha to the sauce. I think a lime-sriracha sauce would be wonderful.

These tacos were also served with a healthier version of elote (Mexican corn), which will be posted tomorrow!

Oven-Fried Avocado Tacos

One year ago: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta
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Spaghetti Avocado

Posts on Sunday? Yes because it’s Single Serving Sunday! Remember the leftover avocado from the breakfast taco I shared last Sunday? Well today I am sharing a simple pasta dish that uses it for a sauce. Using some of the cooking water and a little bit of seasoning, the avocado turns into a creamy delicious sauce. You may even find yourself whipping this up in larger quantities when cooking for others. No one has to know how easy it was to prepare.

Add some red pepper flakes if you want a little kick!

Spaghetti Avocado

Two years ago: Baked Zucchini Fries with Balsamic Aioli
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Spicy Edamame Burgers

To say my weekend was eventful is an understatement, even for a birthday weekend. Friday night I watched the Grizzlies beat the Clippers and advance into the second round with a couple friends. I even brought along my giant margarita glass that I haven’t used since my 22nd birthday (6 years ago) and we all had a good time taking turning drinking that mammoth beverage. Saturday I went to see Iron Man 3, and had dinner and drinks with friends. I didn’t lay myself down into my own bed until almost 5am. Needless to say I slept in until about 1pm on Sunday and still managed to get my butt in gear for the final day of Beale Street Music Fest.

Today, my energy stores are pretty low and I anticipate many early to bed evenings this week to recharge. A good dose of healthy food probably won’t hurt either after all the dessert and other ridiculousness I consumed this weekend as well. Speaking of eating healthier things, I know that I may have scared a few of you already with the green tortilla chip coated chicken I shared last week, but I promise there’s nothing to be afraid of with these burgers either.

These edamame burgers are full of flavor and also surprisingly filling. My favorite part about them is not needing to shove my hands into raw meat! Don’t get me wrong I adore a full on meat patty, but trying to turn on the faucet and dispense soap in order to clean off your hands, all without contaminating other surfaces is an awkward task.

Spicy Edamame Burgers

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Creamy Pesto with Mini Ravioli, Asparagus and Sun Dried Tomatoes

On one of my most recent adventures to Nashville, I (of course) stopped in to Trader Joe’s to stock up on old and new favorites. This particular journey I found myself flinging all kinds of newly found items into my shopping cart. One item that became a projectile happened to be dried mini cheese ravioli. Just like a girl, I got all excited over their small cuteness.

Once I got them into my kitchen I found I couldn’t just throw them into just any old sauce – they were just too special. So I made a creamy pesto sauce by mixing pesto and Greek yogurt together and tossed in some roasted asparagus, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes. Roasting vegetables has become my go-to vegetable cooking method and the combination definitely did the mini raviolis justice. But feel free to use regular (less exciting) sized ravioli if you cannot find minis.

Creamy Pesto with Mini Ravioli

Two years ago: Guiltless Cajun Chicken Alfredo
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Butternut Squash Orzo with Pine Nuts, Balsamic Drizzle, and Fried Sage

I am currently battling some sort of cold. I call in sick to work but yesterday was one of those days. I’ve slept over 12 hours the past two days and I’m still not feeling any better today. However, being sick is kind of boring, especially without the internet, so I actually did run into work quick to get some things to work on at home (and to post this).

Sometimes I don’t read ingredient lists properly. I either screw up writing down the correct amount needed or the ingredient itself. Take this recipe for example: I bought orzo instead of arborio rice. So viola I made orzo intead of risotto, and it still tasted great. The fried sage and balsamic drizzle are must haves for this dish. Never thought that fried sage would be so wonderful. They turn into crispy little flavor wonders.

Butternut Orzo

One year ago: Chicken Pad Thai
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