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Entries in Vegetables (61)

Saturday
Jun302012

Free Form Vegetarian Lasagna

Free form lasagna

I am not sure how I found my way there, but one day, I ended up visiting Bev Cooks. I flipped through the wonderfully written posts with beautifully photographed food and came across this recipe. I usually love making lasagna in the winter time, but it can be a little bit labor-intensive, not to mention messy when trying to get pieces out of the pan. This recipe, however, was as easy as sautéing some vegetables and piling things on a plate! I suppose you could even go so far as to call it "lazy man's lasagna," but then again I associate the word lazy with sloppy, and this lasagna looks so elegant all layered up on a plate (well, until the sauce starts to slide down the stack and make a puddle underneath)! Our only complaint was that the herbed ricotta was still cold, so it made each bite only luke-warm; a little spin in the microwave fixed that, though! All in all, a deliciously easy weeknight meal!

6 No-Boil Lasagna Sheets
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
2 cups Ricotta Cheese
1 tablespoon Fresh Herbs, chopped (we used basil, oregano, and rosemary)
1 Zucchini, sliced into thin discs
1 Yellow Squash, sliced into thin discs
1 bunch Swiss Chard, chopped (we used baby spinach)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Walnuts, toasted (we omitted)
Fresh Parmesan and Basil, for garnish

Place the lasagna sheets in a shallow dish filled with water (we used boiling water because warm tap water didn't do anything). Soak for 30 minutes while preparing the rest of the lasagna. Pulse the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Pour the tomatoes into the saucepan, cover and simmer on low, adding salt and pepper to taste. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini and squash and sauté until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the chard (spinach) and continue to sauté until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix the ricotta with herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pat each lasagna sheet dry and place one on each serving plate. Arrange some vegetables over each sheet, followed by a dollop of the herbed ricotta. Layer with another sheet of pasta, more vegetables, and more ricotta. Repeat with the remaining pasta sheet, vegetables, and ricotta. Finally, spoon the tomato sauce over each pile. Garnish with toasted walnuts, parmesan shavings, and a few fresh basil leaves, if desired. 

Saturday
Jun092012

Spinach-Artichoke Pizza

Spin art pizza

Wow, it's been almost a week since my last post. I didn't forget about you guys! I've been busy with planning events during the last full week of school I also spent some time in the kitchen whipping up some desserts; one for a special lunch honoring a friend of mine who will be retiring at the end of the school year, and one large batch of elephant cut out cookies, which were wrapped up in bags for my sister-in-law's baby shower this afternoon (and a box was given to my next door neighbors who just had a sweet baby boy!). With all that craziness, I welcomed this very quick, and delicious, pizza that I found on Cate's World Kitchen. I love spinach-artichoke dip, and I love pizza, so how could I not love a pizza topped with spinach-artichoke dip?! Amazing!

1 (14 ounce) can Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
1 1/2 cups Fresh Spinach, chopped
4 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
1 Garlic Clove, minced
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded/grated
Pinch of Red Pepper Flake (I added)
Pizza Dough (enough for 2 10" pizzas)

 Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone inside it. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese and mayonnaise until smooth. Add the garlic, spinach, and artichoke hearts and mix well. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and red pepper flake, to taste. Shape the pizza dough into two 10: rounds. Spread the spinach-artichoke mixture evenly on each crust, then sprinkle evenly with parmesan cheese. Bake, one at a time, on the pizza stone until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes. (*Alternatively, switch the oven to broil and cook the pizza, watching carefully, until it is bubbly and browned, about 4-5 minutes.)

Monday
May282012

Pasta Salad with Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, and Green Olivida

Olivida pasta salad

Happy Memorial Day! This month for Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Amy's blog, Fearless Homemaker. I absolutely loved reading through her blog. She seems like such a fun girl…and you have to read about her surprise wedding. How awesome! After bookmarking several recipes, it all came down to this pasta salad, in honor of the kickoff to outdoor grilling and picnic meals! I did swap green olives for a mixture of Greek olives, because that is all that my grocery store had in their olive bar container. (In the process of making this pasta salad, I discovered that a cherry pitter does NOT make a good olive pitter like the woman at the kitchen store told me!) When all was said and done, this pasta salad was every bit as good as I imagined it would be. In fact, I'm looking forward to having another bowl this afternoon, before I walk down to my corner to watch the Memorial Day Parade! Thanks for a great recipe, Amy! 

1 Garlic Clove, peeled
2 cups Pitted Green Olives, coarsely chopped and divided
3 tablespoons Capers, drained
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes 
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 pound Pasta (I used gemelli)
2 pints Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved (I only used 1)
8 ounces Small Fresh Mozzarella Balls
2 tablespoons Fresh Oregano, chopped
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Put the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped. Add 1 cup of chopped olives, capers, red wine vinegar, soy sauce, mustard, and crushed red pepper flakes. Pulse about 6 times to chop coarsely. With the machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup of oil, forming a coarse puree (almost like tapenade texture). Transfer the olive mixture to a bowl. Stir in the remaining cup of olives and season to taste with salt and pepper. (This mixture can be made up to 3 days ahead of time, just cover and refrigerate). Cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Drain and allow to cool (I ran my pasta under cold water to cool it down). Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the pasta and toss to coat (I skipped this). Add the olive mixture, tomatoes, mozzarella, and oregano to the pasta and toss to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary. 

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Wednesday
May232012

Asparagus Gruyere Tart

Aparagus tart

bought a bunch of asparagus with the intention of making a quiche of sorts. Somehow, it became the meal that kept getting pushed back day after day. It got to the point where I had to use the asparagus or toss it, and that is exactly when I came across this recipe on Joy the Baker. I did end up having to trim a little more off the asparagus spears than I would have liked to, but they were able to be salvaged. And this recipe was the perfect way to salvage them! I did switch up the cheese because the gruyere was $12 at my grocery store, but that didn't matter because any kind of cheese is delicious in my eyes! We paired these tarts with steak and stuffed mushrooms for dinner, but I had one on its own for lunch the next day and it was the perfect amount of food. These might even make a great bite-sized appetizer, too!

1 sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed but still cold
1 Egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups Gruyere Cheese, finely grated (I used grated swiss)
1 pound Slender Asparagus
Salt and Black Pepper
Olive Oil
Balsamic Reduction (bring balsamic to a boil in a saucepan, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until it has thickened)

Unfold the thawed puff pastry onto a lightly floured work surface and slice into 6 rectangles. Gently press each rectangle with your fingers, flattening slightly. With a small paring knife, score a 1/4 inch border along the inside of each rectangle (oops, I skipped this step, but it worked just fine). Arrange the rectangles 1 inch apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Brush the top of each pastry with the beaten egg, then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Top with a generous sprinkling of grated cheese. Press 5-6 asparagus spears into the cheese. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with more black pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown and the asparagus is cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle the top with balsamic reduction, if desired.

Tuesday
May082012

Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera

It's no secret that we are carb lovers! I could eat pasta just about every night and I don't think I'd ever get sick of it, as long as the toppings were switched up every so often. Now that spring has sprung, the thought of light pasta dishes have begun to entice me. When I came across this recipe on Elly Says Opa, I knew it was the perfect pasta dish for this time of the year. The addition of mounds of roasted vegetables makes me feel less guilty about eating the pasta itself. I look forward to the day I can make this again using only vegetables grown in my garden rather than having to use all store-bought produce!

1 Carrot, peeled and cut into thin strips
1 Zucchini, cut into thin strips
1 Summer Squash, cut into thin strips
1 Red Bell Pepper, cut into thin strips
1 Yellow Pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small Onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence
1 1/2 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
8 ounces Pasta
15 Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated

Toss the carrot, zucchini, squash, peppers, and onion onto a baking sheet along with the herbs de Provence and olive oil. Roast at 450 degrees for about 8 minutes, then stir in the garlic and roast for an additional 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and begin to brown. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta, vegetables, and tomatoes to combine. Stir in as much reserved pasta water as necessary to moisten the pasta. Add the cheese, as well as the salt and pepper, to taste. 

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