Mix It Up Monday: Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos

In the name of healthy, I’ve been trying out a lot more vegetarian recipes the last few months.  Perhaps my FAVORITE that I stumbled across is this recipe for black bean and sweet potato burritos from One Lovely Life.  The flavor of these is out of this world and they’re SO SIMPLE.  You can make a big batch of the filling to keep in the fridge for fast work week lunches.  Or breakfast.  Anything goes.  Half the time I leave out the black beans entire and add extra onions.  I just LOVE the combination of sweet potato with taco seasoning.  It’s marvelous.  It is, naturally, great with cheese and sour cream, but it’s equally good with nothing at all, just wrapped in your favorite tortilla.  This is a fast, budget and calorie friendly meal to take into the new year.

Mix It Up Monday: White Pizza Grilled Cheese

I ran across this recipe on Pinterest and immediately knew I HAD to try it.  Because, seriously, it combines two of my favorite foods–white pizza and grilled cheese.  What’s not to love?  It’s a Cheese Lover’s Dream.   I opted to make these Friday night for our girls’ weekend.  Mine didn’t turn out as pretty as the original, probably because the internet had gone out and I misremembered quantities and ended up putting 4-6 sandwiches worth of filling onto 2…  But dear GOD it was good.  Decadent and rich.  We balanced out the rich with some baked eggplant fries (coming soon).  I made a few small changes to the original recipe, swapping out for part skim ricotta and using whole wheat bread.  Otherwise…yeah.  Delicious.   I definitely will have to make this again with the CORRECT portions and some gluten free bread so hubby can try it.

Vegetarian Stuffed Shells with Classico Creamy Spinach and Parmesan

So it’s National Pasta Day!  How cool is it that we have a day for that?  So of course I had to feature, you know, pasta.  I got invited by Classico to try out their new Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Pasta Sauce, along with a fabulous pasta pot, a swanky new Oxo grater, and some pasta tongs as part of their Classico Creations starter kit.  However, no payment was given or expected for posting about the program, and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own.

I’ve also got A GIVEAWAY!  They also gave me 5, count ’em FIVE coupons for a free jar of Classico Pasta sauce!  I will be picking five random peeps from commenters to pass these on to so you can try your own Classico Creation.  Just leave a comment saying which Classico sauce YOU’D like to try.    Be sure to leave your email address in the comment field (I won’t publish it, but I’ll want to be able to let you know you won!).

Ingredients:

  • 1 box jumbo shells
  • 1 24 ounce container of light cottage cheese (I like Kraft’s Simply Cottage Cheese)
  • 1 28 ounce bag of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
  • 8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 12 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 ounce asiago cheese, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 jar Classico Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Pasta Sauce

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, LESS FOUR MINUTES.  You want these to be under al dente so that you can handle them without actually tearing the pasta while you’re filling them.   Drain, dunk in ice water, and set aside to drain again.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Saute the red onion and zucchini until starting to soften.
  4. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and red peppers and cook another few minutes, until the mushrooms cook down.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Combine the cottage cheese, spinach, cooked veggies, asiago, and spices.  Mix well.
  7. Prep a 9×13 baking dish and a second 9×9 baking dish (this second you will be lining with foil and spraying THAT with the cooking spray because this is gonna be a meal for later).
  8. Stuff the shells and line up carefully.  You should be able to fit 24 into the 9×13 and another 12 into the 9×9.  You may have shells left over.  You won’t have filling.
  9. Fold the foil closed and pop that one as is into a freezer bag and stuff in the freezer to cook with some other jarred sauce at a later date.  I say this because I made WAAAAY too much filling and too many shells and this is what I decided to do with the overage!
  10. Pour the jar of Classico sauce over the 9×13 dish of shells.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20-30 minutes, until heated through and the sauce kind of oozes down around the shells.
  12. Enjoy!

 

 

Vegetarian Stuffed Shells with Classico Creamy Spinach and Parmesan
 
So it's National Pasta Day!  How cool is it that we have a day for that?  So of course I had to feature, you know, pasta.  I got invited by Classico to try out their new Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Pasta Sauce, along with a fabulous pasta pot, a swanky new Oxo grater, and some pasta tongs as part of their Classico Creations starter kit.  However, no payment was given or expected for posting about the program, and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own. I've also got A GIVEAWAY! They also gave me 5, count 'em FIVE coupons for a free jar of Classico Pasta sauce!  I will be picking five random peeps from commenters to pass these on to so you can try your own Classico Creation.  Just leave a comment saying which Classico sauce YOU'D like to try.    Be sure to leave your email address in the comment field (I won't publish it, but I'll want to be able to let you know you won!).
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 1 box jumbo shells
  • 1 24 ounce container of light cottage cheese (I like Kraft's Simply Cottage Cheese)
  • 1 28 ounce bag of frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess liquid
  • 8 ounces fresh baby bella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 12 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 ounce asiago cheese, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 jar Classico Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Pasta Sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, LESS FOUR MINUTES.  You want these to be under al dente so that you can handle them without actually tearing the pasta while you're filling them.   Drain, dunk in ice water, and set aside to drain again.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat.
  3. Saute the red onion and zucchini until starting to soften.
  4. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and red peppers and cook another few minutes, until the mushrooms cook down.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Combine the cottage cheese, spinach, cooked veggies, asiago, and spices.  Mix well.
  7. Prep a 9x13 baking dish and a second 9x9 baking dish (this second you will be lining with foil and spraying THAT with the cooking spray because this is gonna be a meal for later).
  8. Stuff the shells and line up carefully.  You should be able to fit 24 into the 9x13 and another 12 into the 9x9.  You may have shells left over.  You won't have filling.
  9. Fold the foil closed and pop that one as is into a freezer bag and stuff in the freezer to cook with some other jarred sauce at a later date.  I say this because I made WAAAAY too much filling and too many shells and this is what I decided to do with the overage!
  10. Pour the jar of Classico sauce over the 9x13 dish of shells.
  11. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 20-30 minutes, until heated through and the sauce kind of oozes down around the shells.
  12. Enjoy!

Chinese Stay-In: Soba Noodles with Stir Fried Veggies

I love my local Chinese place’s vegetable lo mein, and I never tire of trying to duplicate it.  I haven’t managed it yet, but I really enjoy making my own Chinese food at home, making noodles and some kind of Asian themed sauce with a load of fresh veggies.  It’s WAY healthier than traditional take out.  This particular one incorporates soba noodles, which are made of buckwheat and have a lovely, nutty sort of flavor.  If you have gluten concerns ALWAYS read the ingredient labels, as MOST soba noodles also have wheat.   This makes 2 really hefty servings at 609 calories and 33 grams of fat and WON’T leave you hungry in an hour like most Chinese.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup edamame
  • 2 tbs scallions (just the green part)
  • 1/2 cup asparagus
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp chili oil
  • 2 tsp canola oil

 

 

Directions:

1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and then slice in half moons.

2. Slice the onion.

3. Slice the mushrooms

4. Snap the woody stems off the asparagus (toss em) and cut the remainder into 1 inch pieces.

5. Mix the garlic, tamari, sesame oil, chili oil, 2 tbsp of canola oil (the rest is for stir frying), sugar and rice wine vinegar.  Set aside.

6. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions.

7. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over high heat.

8. Stir fry the zucchini and onions until onions start to soften.

9. Add the asparagus, mushrooms, and edamame.  Continue to stir fry until mushrooms are cooked and zucchini is softened.

10. Add the drained, cooked noodles to the pan.

11. Reduce heat to low and add the sauce, tossing until everything is well coated.

12. Set aside and allow to cool a few minutes while the noodles absorb the sauce.

13. Garnish with scallions.

 

 

Chinese Stay-In: Soba Noodles with Stir Fried Veggies
 
I love my local Chinese place’s vegetable lo mein, and I never tire of trying to duplicate it.  I haven’t managed it yet, but I really enjoy making my own Chinese food at home, making noodles and some kind of Asian themed sauce with a load of fresh veggies.  It’s WAY healthier than traditional take out.  This particular one incorporates soba noodles, which are made of buckwheat and have a lovely, nutty sort of flavor.  If you have gluten concerns ALWAYS read the ingredient labels, as MOST soba noodles also have wheat.   This makes 2 really hefty servings at 609 calories and 33 grams of fat and WON’T leave you hungry in an hour like most Chinese.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Asian
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces soba noodles
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup edamame
  • 2 tbs scallions (just the green part)
  • ½ cup asparagus
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbs tamari
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs rice wine vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbs sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs canola oil
  • ½ tsp chili oil
  • 2 tsp canola oil
Instructions
  1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and then slice in half moons.
  2. Slice the onion.
  3. Slice the mushrooms
  4. Snap the woody stems off the asparagus (toss em) and cut the remainder into 1 inch pieces.
  5. Mix the garlic, tamari, sesame oil, chili oil, 2 tbsp of canola oil (the rest is for stir frying), sugar and rice wine vinegar.  Set aside.
  6. Cook the soba noodles according to package directions.
  7. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil over high heat.
  8. Stir fry the zucchini and onions until onions start to soften.
  9. Add the asparagus, mushrooms, and edamame.  Continue to stir fry until mushrooms are cooked and zucchini is softened.
  10. Add the drained, cooked noodles to the pan.
  11. Reduce heat to low and add the sauce, tossing until everything is well coated.
  12. Set aside and allow to cool a few minutes while the noodles absorb the sauce.
  13. Garnish with scallions.

Caprese Mac and Cheese

One of my favorite things in summer is a good Caprese salad.  It takes advantage of all those lovely summer tomatoes and the fresh basil from my garden (well from the grocery store this time, since I didn’t get a garden planted because we moved), and fresh mozzarella which is just delicious.  But I wasn’t in the mood for straight Caprese salad, and I got the idea, when I found a pound of fresh mozz on sale at the market, to turn it into a light, summertime mac and cheese.  This is one of the few, mostly healthy meatless dishes my hubby will eat.  I say mostly healthy because it isn’t nearly as fat and calorie laden as our favorite baked ziti.  This was also my first use of Heartland’s gluten free pastas.  I have to say, I was very impressed with the flavor and texture.  Much more like a normal pasta than many gluten free alternatives.  Given I found it at my local Walmart, I say this is a victory for those of us living gluten free in small towns.  In any event, this makes 4 servings at 712 calories and 29 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. gluten free pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, divided in half
  • 3/4 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Toss the tomatoes with olive oil, kosher salt, a dash of pepper, and italian seasoning.

3. Bake in a dish for approximately 15-20 minutes.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions.

5. Drain and rinse the pasta.

6. In the pasta pot, over medium low heat, add the butter, milk and cornstarch, whisking until well combined.

7. Add half of the fresh mozzarella, chopped into smaller bits for melting.

8. Stir constantly until melted and combined (you may find a whisk makes this easier).  Add more salt and pepper to taste.

9. When sauce is combined, add the pasta and stir well to coat.

10. Add the roasted tomatoes, juices and all.  Stir well to coat.

11. Add the fresh basil. Stir well.

12. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.

13. Top with the remaining mozzarella, cut into eight slices.

14. Bake for another 10 minutes or so until mozzarella is melty.

 

 

Caprese Mac and Cheese
 
One of my favorite things in summer is a good Caprese salad.  It takes advantage of all those lovely summer tomatoes and the fresh basil from my garden (well from the grocery store this time, since I didn't get a garden planted because we moved), and fresh mozzarella which is just delicious.  But I wasn't in the mood for straight Caprese salad, and I got the idea, when I found a pound of fresh mozz on sale at the market, to turn it into a light, summertime mac and cheese.  This is one of the few, mostly healthy meatless dishes my hubby will eat.  I say mostly healthy because it isn't nearly as fat and calorie laden as our favorite baked ziti .  This was also my first use of Heartland's gluten free pastas.  I have to say, I was very impressed with the flavor and texture.  Much more like a normal pasta than many gluten free alternatives.  Given I found it at my local Walmart, I say this is a victory for those of us living gluten free in small towns.  In any event, this makes 4 servings at 712 calories and 29 grams of fat.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Gluten free
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. gluten free pasta
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 16 ounces fresh mozzarella, divided in half
  • ¾ cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbs olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss the tomatoes with olive oil, kosher salt, a dash of pepper, and italian seasoning.
  3. Bake in a dish for approximately 15-20 minutes.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  5. Drain and rinse the pasta.
  6. In the pasta pot, over medium low heat, add the butter, milk and cornstarch, whisking until well combined.
  7. Add half of the fresh mozzarella, chopped into smaller bits for melting.
  8. Stir constantly until melted and combined (you may find a whisk makes this easier).  Add more salt and pepper to taste.
  9. When sauce is combined, add the pasta and stir well to coat.
  10. Add the roasted tomatoes, juices and all.  Stir well to coat.
  11. Add the fresh basil. Stir well.
  12. Pour into a 2 quart baking dish.
  13. Top with the remaining mozzarella, cut into eight slices.
  14. Bake for another 10 minutes or so until mozzarella is melty.

Vegetarian Lasagna

I started out making another batch of stuffed shells then realized I had way more filling than shells, so I swapped over to lasagna.  Nice and simple.  Makes 6 servings at 385 calories and 12.1 grams of fat and freezes beautifully.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups simply cottage cheese
  • 2 cups simply ricotta
  • 8 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup  roasted red peppers, diced
  • 2 tbs minced garlic
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 cup  part skim mozzarella
  • .5 box whole wheat lasagana
  • 24 oz. arrabiata sauce
  • 1 lb frozen spinach
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute your mushrooms.
  3. Thaw your spinach.  Using a clean kitchen towel, wring out all excess moisture.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese, salt, basil, oregano, garlic, red peppers, mushrooms, and spinach.
  5. Now I prepped these in mini loaf pans lined with foil, but you could do it in a casserole dish if you want.
  6. Spray your dish with cooking spray, layer your lasagna noodles.
  7. Add a layer of filling.
  8. Add more noodles, more filling, more noodles, more filling.
  9. If you’re freezing the dish, stop here.  If you’re prepping, pour the jar of arrabiata sauce over the top.
  10. Bake for 40-50 minutes.

Printable version.

Vegetarian Stuffed Shells

I’ve been on a crusade to try to be better about not wasting food.  I’m really really bad about it with the new fridge because all the extra space is in depth and stuff gets lost in the back.  So when I found half a container of ricotta, half a thing of cottage cheese, and some feta, I knew I had to make some kind of pasta.  Once I found a random package of creamed spinach in the freezer, I decided on stuffed shells.  This one isn’t gluten free (though, I checked, Tinkyada does make jumbo shells if you can find them).  Since I knew hubs couldn’t eat them, I loaded them up with veggies and froze them individually so that I could pop them out and heat them for lunch.  I wound up with 29 shells at 42 calories and 1.8 grams of fat apiece. **Note: There were 42 shells in the box but I lost several to tearing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup simply cottage cheese
  • .5 cup reduced fat feta
  • 1 11 oz. package creamed spinach (you could totally just use regular frozen spinach, this is just what I had on hand)
  • 1 cup  roasted red peppers, diced
  • 7  oz  canned mushrooms
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8.5 oz Jumbo Shells (12-oz. package), uncooked
  • 12 oz arrabiata sauce
  • .5 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions:
1. Boil the pasta according to package directions, less about 3 minutes.  You want them just under al dente.
2. Meanwhile, mix your cheeses, spinach, peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and salt.
3. Add the beaten egg and stir until well incorporated.
4. When the pasta is done, drain and put in an ice bath to stop cooking.
5. Once shells are cool, spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
6. Carefully spoon the filling into the prepared shells.  You will always lose some shells to tearing.  I usually manage to get about 70% success.
7. At this point, I freeze mine so that I can pull them out for individual servings.
8. When ready to finish preparing, place desired number of shells into a baking dish and cover with arrabiata sauce and additional cheese if desired (not included in calorie calculation).
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Printable version.

Black Bean Burgers II

One of our former neighbors was a vegetarian, so I got into trying out bean burger recipes when we had neighborhood cookouts, so she wouldn’t have to bring her own burger.  I’ve done black bean burgers before, but after the recent lentil burgers I made, I wanted to try adapting my recipe.  The end result was delicious and held together better than my original attempt.  Makes 8 patties that freeze incredibly well.  They come in at 165.86 calories and 1.26g of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups black beans, rinsed
  • .25 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup salsa (I like the World Table Roasted Tomato Chipotle Roja from Walmart)
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup potato flakes
  • 1/2 cup corn flake crumbs
  • 1 egg

Directions:

1. Bring the stock to a boil.
2. Add the beans, salsa, onion, cilantro, paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
3. Stir until well combined.
4. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until black beans are soft and mushable.
5. Allow to cool for a bit, then mush with a potato masher.
6. Add the egg, stir well and fast (so it doesn’t cook).
7. Add the potato flakes.  Stir until well combined.
8. Add the corn flakes.  Stir until well combined.
9. Pan fry in cooking spray on both sides until they are effectively seared.
10. Finish off in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
11. Serve with good sharp cheddar or monterey jack.

Printable version.

Gluten Free Friday: Southwestern Lentil Burgers

I’m not vegetarian, but I do often like vegetarian meals.  I’ve been on a kick for veggie based lunches lately to up my total veggie consumption.  I’ve had this bag of red lentils for a few months with no clue what to do with them.  I’m not a fan of Indian food, and I don’t much do bean salads.  When my BFF asked me the other day if I knew of a good recipe for veggie burgers, I thought AH HA!  These have the bene of also being gluten free (many veggie burger recipes call for bread crumbs).  Makes 7 burgers at 140 calories and  5.15 grams of fat per burger.

Ingredients:

  • 2  tbs olive oil
  • 1.25 cups lentils, rinsed
  • 1.75 cups chicken stock
  • 1 can rotel
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup potato flakes
  • 1/2 cup corn flake crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 packet Sazon

Directions:

1. Bring the stock to a boil.
2. Add the rinsed lentils and cook for 20 minutes.
3. Add the rotel, onion, cilantro, paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt.
4. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, until lentils are soft.
5. Allow to cool for a bit.
6. Add the egg, stir well and fast (so it doesn’t cook).
7. Add the potato flakes.  Stir until well combined.
8. Add the corn flakes.  Stir until well combined.
9. Pan fry in canola or vegetable oil until both sides are browned (effectively seared).
10. Finish off in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
11. Serve with good sharp cheddar or monterey jack.

Printable version.

Gluten Free Friday: Bruschetta, Quinoa, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Red peppers were on special at Kroger a week or two ago, and I bought four with no idea what I intended to do with them.  Time passed and, like half the contents of my fridge, I forgot about them.  Found them again yesterday and determined I must stuff them with something!  I have a recipe for a roasted red pepper bruschetta that’s AWESOME, so I decided to do a riff on that and mix it in with quinoa for a nice vegetarian (and gluten free) side (which also warmed up to make a lovely lunch).  Serves 4 at 362 calories and 16 grams of fat.

Ingredients:

  • 4 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 leaves basil, chopped
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 15 oz diced tomato
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile drain the tomatoes.

3. Mix the tomatoes with the garlic, vinegar, salt, pepper, basil, and olive oil.

4. Meanwhile, core the peppers, cutting the top out and removing ribs and seeds.

5. In a large pot, bring water to a boil.

6. Boil peppers for 5 minutes or until just softened.

7. Drain and cool.

8. Once quinoa is cooked, add to the tomato mixture and stir until well combined.

9. Add the crumbled goat cheese and stir until well combined.

10. Stuff the mixture into the peppers.

11. Bake at 325 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Printable version.