Friday, March 30, 2012

Meatless March Meal #15: Zucchini Spaghetti

I used to work at Pizza Factory, and while I worked there, I learned a few secrets. This one isn't really a secret, but it is very yummy. Have you ever heard of zucchini made into spaghetti? I hadn't until I worked there.

I have to admit, I did go out and purchase a special tool just to make it, but it only cost a few dollars. Plus, this recipe is really simple :) Anyway, here goes!

Zucchini Spaghetti 
{homemade apple sauce recipe found here}

Zucchini/Yellow Squash
Tomato sauce

1. Use a peeler or a special peeler (which I cannot find online, but I bought mine at Macy's), or just cut into strips.

2. Instead of boiling the zucchini (which will be difficult to drain), boil the water and use a steamer to "steam" the zucchini. Spoon it onto your plate, add tomato sauce, and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Baby "Shower" for Baby West

Several weeks ago, a few of us threw a surprise baby shower for a friend of ours. I was so worried that no one would come {not because of her, but because I thought they would all forget or not be able to or whatever}. It didn't help that when 2 o'clock {the time it was supposed to start} rolled around, there were 4 other people. But she wasn't coming till 2:15, and fortunately, almost everyone came before then.

When she walked in the door, she was SO surprised!! I was so happy that people came and she was surprised. Overall, it was a huge success!

{I wish I had gotten a picture of her cute and very red face :) but the 20 pictures I'm posting here will have to suffice}

{Sorry, these photos aren't amazing. I'm still working on being a good photographer :) }

We decided that our theme would be "shower" (as in rain shower), and we would make the refreshments pink, to go along with the baby's gender {girl}.

Can we just take a moment to "ooh" and "ahh" at this amazing cake??? {I did not make, my very talented, closet cake-making friend who helped with the party made it.} And not only did it look incredible, it tasted so delicious!
{So yummy! And she did all that decorating free hand. Crazy awesome}

{See those little cupcake looking things in the background? 
They are super tasty cake tarts, and I shall have to post the recipe soon}

{These looked better than they tasted}

Instead of playing baby shower games, we opted to decorate onesies. I know what you might be thinking--some people have no sense of art and can't draw for cookies. TRUE! Myself included! That's why we went with fabric, buttons, and cut out shapes. All of the onesies came out adorable.

{The creative juices at work}

And here they are! I thought they turned out awesome. Mine is on the bottom picture on the right side, with the cherries :)

And last, but not least, time to bring out the baby stuff! Seriously, this baby is going to be cutest little girl!

{Look at how gorgeous this girl is, even though she had 
no idea she was going to be photographed or going to her own party}

And of course, mama had to made a little something for little Baby West. I love the onesie she decorated.

Finally, we couldn't leave our guests going home without anything! So another friend made these adorable onesie cookies {they looked cute and tasted incredible}.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Meatless March Meal #15: Eggplant Parmigiana

I think I'd give this one a 6 out of 10, but only because I didn't cook it long enough. My husband said he loved it and would definitely have it again, but that we should have cooked it a little longer. And we probably should have cut it a little thinner. But alas, we did not, but fortunately, YOU can learn from our mistakes and hopefully make an amazing eggplant parmigiana!

P.S. This made a lot for the two of us, so expect some leftovers if you're only feeding 2 or 3 people. {Original recipe found here.}

Eggplant Parmigiana with Angel Hair pasta

Ingredients: }} prep time: 40 minutes }} Cook time: 35 minutes
2/3 c breadcrumbs
2 T Parmesan cheese
2 t Italian seasoning
1/2 t garlic powder
1 medium-sized eggplant
3 egg whites, beaten
3 c tomato sauce {recipe below}
Shredded mozzarella cheese
1 med onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil
Angel hair pasta, cooked

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 pan and set aside. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Mix and set aside.

2. Peel skin from eggplant, and cut into 1/2" to 1/4" sized slices {we cut them too thick and didn't cook them long enough, so I would suggest closer to the 1/4" thicknesses}. Place them flat on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt. Wait 20-30 minutes for the eggplant to "sweat." {You can't really tell, but on the right picture, the eggplant has water droplets all over it--that's what it means to "sweat" the eggplant.}

3. Put the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk for a minute. Then dip each eggplant slice into the egg yolks, into the breadcrumb mixture, and put them on a cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes on each side {flip once while in the oven}.

4. While your eggplants are cooking, it's time to make your tomato sauce! Heat olive oil in a deep skillet. Saute the onions and garlic until browned. Then add the tomato sauce.

5. Take your now-cooked eggplant and make a row on your 13x9 pan, pour half of the tomato sauce on top, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Make another layer on top and pour the remaining tomato sauce on and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.

As you can see, Jordan likes a lot more cheese than I do.

6. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Now would also be a good time to start that Angel Hair pasta {and peas and corn if you want those as well}.

Now all you have to do is serve it up and enjoy!

Meatless March Meal #14: Most amazing lentils ever!

This is probably one of my most favorite vegetarian meals ever! Seriously, it is really good and really good for you.

I would give this a 10 out of 10 and make it any day. Keep in mind that this recipe makes a lot, so be prepared for some yummy leftovers.

Slow Cooker Lentil Salad

Ingredients: }} prep time: 10 minutes }} cook time: 4-6 hours

Crock Pot:
2 c dry lentils {about the size of a small bag}
1 medium carrot, coined
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped {optional: I don't like cooked celery, so I omit it}
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 T parsley
1 bay leaf
1 T salt
1/2 t thyme
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes

Tortilla chips {we like corn tortilla chips}
Shredded cheese
Romaine lettuce {my husband likes it with spinach}
Ranch dressing {Hidden Valley is the bomb {dot} com}

1. Combine all ingredients in Crock Pot, and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.

2. Now for the yummy part: Layer crushed tortilla chips, a hearty serving of lentils, shredded cheese, lettuce, and drizzle some ranch on top

See? Easy as pie, errrr, salad :)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Meatless March Meal #13: Refried Beans without the refry

Okay, so this isn't exactly a meal, but it makes enough beans to make several meals, like this one. It's so good, plus, you know exactly what's in it!

Sadly, I do not have any pictures, but this is a pretty simple recipe.

Dry pinto beans {how much depends on how much you want, just keep in mind that a little can make a lot.
1-2 Onions, chopped
Garlic, minced

1. Soak beans for 12-24 hours in a large pot. {I think 12 hours would be just fine, but it won't hurt them to soak any longer.}

2. Drain beans and put into Crock Pot and cover with water. {Keep in mind that the beans should be completely covered with water and then an extra half inch or above the beans.} Cover beans with onions, garlic, salt, and pepper.

3. Cook on LOW for 12 hours or HIGH for 8 hours, or until beans are easy to mash and water is mostly gone. When finished cooking, mash the beans and they are ready for all sorts of dishes.

Meatless March Meal #12: Huevos Rancheros

This dinner was actually really good! I would seriously consider making this at least once or twice a month. And it's pretty a simple recipe. Jordan loved it as well. And needless to say, there were not any leftovers :) I think though, that it does make the perfect amount for 2-3 people. Of course, it can easily be made for more. 

Original recipe found here, but I changed it up a bit. So my recipe is different.

Huevos Rancheros

Ingredients: }} prep time: 25 minutes }} cook time: 10 minutes
1 1/2 c thinly sliced romaine lettuce
1 green onion, sliced
2 T fresh cilantro, sliced {optional: as in, we didn't have any cilantro and it still tasted fab}
3 t olive oil
2 t lime juice
Salt {just a pinch or so}
Pepper {just a pinch or so}
2 c Refried beans {recipe to follow}
6" corn tortillas {we had 8}
Shredded cheddar cheese
4 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine romaine, cilantro, green onion, lime juice, salt, and 1 t oil. Combine beans and salsa in a separate bowl. Put just enough salsa in to make it a slightly runny consistency--maybe a 1/4 to 1/2 cup {but to your liking is best}.

2. Coat tortillas with cooking spray on both sides. Place tortillas on a baking sheet, overlapping just barely.

3. Spoon the bean & salsa mixture onto the tortillas, and sprinkle with cheese {however much you like}. Then bake for about 10 minutes, or until beans are hot and cheese is melted.

4. While your tortillas are cooking, crack your eggs into a skillet, without breaking any of the yokes. Cook for about 5 minutes, flipping once when the eggs are cooked on the bottom.

5. Assemble two tacos, one egg, and a portion of the lettuce mixture onto your plate. Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Meatless March Meal #11: Shepherd's Pie

Okay, so this dish might not win any beauty pageants, but my husband LOVED it! He gave it a 9 out of 10. {Just FYI, this scale is based on meals this month, not food in general, so maybe in real life it's like a 7ish.} I thought it was okay. I probably would have liked it better if it didn't have kidney beans {I learned that I don't really like kidney beans all too much}.

Also, it's a pretty straight forward recipe. {Original recipe found here.}

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Ingredients: }} prep & cook time: 25 minutes }} bake time: 15 minutes
Olive oil
1 med. carrot, coined
1 med. onion, chopped
Celery {optional: I don't like cooked celery, so I omitted it}
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can kidney beans, drained {you may consider using black beans if you're not a fan of kidney beans}
1 can diced tomatoes {I used Hunt's Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes again, super bueno}
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 c frozen peas
1-2 c vegetable broth
1/4 c flour
3-4 c mashed potatoes {we used leftovers from our Rosemary-garlic mashed potatoes}
Shredded cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil {about 1 T} in a skillet. Add carrots and saute until soft. Next, add onions and garlic. Saute until soft and smelling yummy.

2. Add beans, tomatoes, corn, peas, and broth. I know the recommendation on the amount of broth to add is vague, but I would suggest adding a little bit at a time until it's a little bit more liquid-y than desired consistency. The original recipe calls for 2 cups, but I thought that was a bit much. Cook until peas and corn are cooked.

3. Mix some water with your flour until it's a "smooth paste." I took this to mean, not too thick, but not too runny. {I know the picture kind of looks like baby spit up, but I promise it's just water and flour!} Pour the flour mixture into the skillet to make your "gravy." Stir it in until it reaches desired thickness.

4. Pour your mixture into a 9x9 pan {or 13x9 if you like}, and spread the mashed potatoes over the top {that's the hard part, but you can do it!}. Sprinkle some paprika on top for a nice garnish {as you can see, the garnish did nothing for this ugly dish, but at least it tasted good!}

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until mixture is bubbling {underneath the potatoes}. Eat and enjoy!