From a pinned recipe to the dinner table in about 12 hours. This morning I saw a pin for Cookie and Kate’s Vegetarian West African Peanut Soup and I knew we needed it soon. I knew it would be a hit since my boyfriend likes pretty much every recipe that involves peanut butter or coconut milk. Plus this was veggie friendly and we already had several of the ingredients on hand.
Alterations: I used vegetarian better than bouillon and I wasn’t sure the flavor was going to be strong enough so I upped the amount of chopped ginger and garlic. My onion was also quite big. I opted for kale instead of collards and added in a roughly chopped carrot about 2/3 of the way through the broth simmering process. I used a combination of Sriracha and Sambal Oelek for the hot sauce.
Do-again?: Super flavorful and came together quite quickly. The vegetables weren’t overdone and we didn’t even think this needed the rice (so we skipped it). Would definitely make it again.
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Yesterday I began my nearly annual tradition of giving up meat for Lent. While I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself religious, I do like using the time period of Lent to make myself more aware of habits and what I’m consuming. I was a pescetarian for seven years before, so it really isn’t too hard for me to adjust. Especially when I can eat things like Macheesmo’s Stuffed Artichokes for dinner.
Alterations: I scaled things down because I was working with three artichokes instead of four.
Do-again?: Not going to lie, the prep work took some time. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it was time consuming to cut and pry open the artichokes. Then it was a nice hands-off hour while they roasted in the oven tempting us with delicious smells until they were finally ready. My boyfriend was skeptical that it would be filling enough but the roasting time made the inner leaves really tender and it was definitely enough for a satisfying dinner. The outer leaves were a bit drier so I whipped up a little lemon pepper garlic aioli to dip the leaves in.
Earlier this fall, my mom and I took a trip to South Carolina and Georgia. Almost everywhere we dined featured Pimiento Cheese in some form or another. In tribute to this trip, I decided to make Southern Living’s Ricotta Pimiento Cheese spread as another appetizer on Thanksgiving.
Do-again?: There was nothing wrong with this dish and it did the trick as an appetizer, but it didn’t necessarily beg to be made again either. I might prefer it on some sliced cucumbers or celery.
Usually my family does Thanksgiving in the early afternoon, where it serves as the single big meal for the day. This year, due to travel schedules, we had Thanksgiving at dinner time, which presented an opportunity to serve appetizers mid-day to keep us sated before the big meal. I made Cooking Stoned’s Stuffed Brussels Sprouts, along with some stuffed mushrooms for those afraid of the little green guys.
Alterations: I added some chopped mushroom stems and used low fat ricotta.
Do-again?: These were great, as tasty as stuffed mushrooms but you feel better about eating them since you get to believe you’re eating something green. The hardest part is finding big enough Brussels sprouts to be able to stuff!
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Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t have fresh delicious salads. And while I love squash season, I don’t necessarily love peeling and seeding them - which is why the delicata is awesome. It’s the low maintenance squash, which must be why Heidi at 101 cookbooks has so many delicata recipes including this one for a roasted delicata squash salad with miso harissa dressing.
Alterations: Instead of marcona almonds, I used pistachios and I used a combination of yellow and purple fingerlings (which tricked my boyfriend into thinking there was sausage in this salad). I also left out the radishes.
Do-again?: Even after his initial disappointment about the lack of sausage in this salad, this got the thumbs up. The dressing was awesome - tart and salty and spicy.
Weather-wise, it was predictable that I would get sick this week. It took a dive into the low 40s following a nice 70 degree weekend last week. It has left me craving soup. I’ve satisfied this craving with butternut posole, spinach lentil and now Giada’s Hearty Tomato Soup. This appealed to me because it snuck in some extra veggies - carrots, onions and white beans - and didn’t use any dairy.
Alterations: I skipped the lemon and creme fraiche topping and instead decided to make grilled cheese “croutons” with some toasted rosemary bread and jalapeno jack.
Do-again?: This was definitely heartier and more filling than a standard tomato soup, due to the protein from the beans. Next time I would likely amp up the spices a bit more - but maybe I would have gotten that if I had used the creme fraiche topping. All in all, a solid winter soup.
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This year we bought three pumpkins but only got around to carving one of them. As far as I’m concerned, I hope I always remember to keep a Halloween pumpkin around to make Bon Appetempt’s Pumpkin Stuffed with Cheese Fondue as it’s an even better table decoration than a cute glowing face. It was an impressive centerpiece for the smorgasbord for the Scandinavian potluck dinner party I held with a handful of other couples.
Alterations: I used veggie broth and next time would add a little more cream/broth mixture to keep the insides even moister.
Do-again?: Definitely - it looked great and it was also super tasty - the consistency is more savory bread pudding than fondue but I bet a bit more liquid could thin it out. In any case, I’ll definitely make this again next fall at least once, if not several times.
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I keep impulse buying cauliflower with the intent to finally try to make cauli-rice or cauliflower crust pizza, but when it comes down to it, seems like too much work. Thankfully, Fork and Bean’s BBQ Cauliflower Salad gave me another good reason for buying cauliflower in addition to allowing me to eat BBQ without the guilt.
Alterations: Skipped the tortilla chips and don’t think our ranch was technically vegan.
Do-again?: Totally - this was a completely satisfying entree salad with lots of tasty components.
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I often have lots of little odds and ends of veggies left in my fridge. My typical way to use these up is to make a veggie scramble, but Cassie Crave’s recipe for Vegetable Tortellini Bake gave me a new option.
Alterations: I halved the recipe, using just one package of tortellini (pesto filled in my case) and used the veggies we had in our fridge - mushrooms, peas, red pepper, zucchini, chopped tomatoes. I also used veggie broth instead of chicken broth. Since our tortellini had pesto in it, I skipped on adding additional pesto and just added some spices like red pepper flakes and garlic powder to our sauce mixture.
Do-again?: This was easy and satisfying and a good way to use up leftover veggies.
I came across Bon Appetit’s Charleston Grub Crawl when doing food research for a trip to the city and was surprised that one of the most appealing dishes among a list of drool-inducing Southern delicacies was a Corn, Eggplant and Green Curry Salad for Xiao Bao Biscuit, an Asian comfort food restaurant. The early September bounty of corn and eggplant at the farmer’s market made it a perfect seasonal dish to serve at our first dinner party at our new apartment.
Alterations: I cheated and used some green curry paste that I purchased at the store. I also used this crazy purple corn - so pretty!
Do-again?: It was a fair amount of work to grill the corn and leeks on my indoor grill and fry the eggplant, but the result was worth it. This salad was delicious and a big hit with my guests. I would definitely make this again.
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