Cauliflower Nachos

A lot of my Lenten Friday dinners are recreated junk food or takeout fakeout. There’s a reason for that. By the time Friday rolls around, that’s really all I want. And I’m assuming I’m not alone in that since pizza is such a popular Lenten dinner.

So, here’s another option if you’re thinking of ordering pizza tonight.

No, you won’t be fooled into thinking the cauliflower is tortilla chips – but this is delicious in it’s own right. And you’ll feel more virtuous downing a whole plate!

CauliflowerNachos

Cauliflower Nachos
(from Delish)
Serves 2

1 large head cauliflower, chopped
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Your favorite nacho toppings – we used salsa, black beans, black olives, pickled jalapenos, and sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In a large bowl, toss cauliflower with olive oil. Sprinkle spices evenly over the cauliflower and toss to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Top with cheese and any other toppings you want warm and bake for 5 minutes more, until the cheese is melted.

Add remaining toppings and serve.

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup

The weather is giving me whiplash. We keep going from unseasonably warm to snowstorm and back. Yesterday, we were at the park in light sweatshirts. Today, it’s snowing.

Luckily, that means it’s soup weather – and I just happen to have a great meatless soup to share as part of the Lenten dinner series!

This soup is pretty much veggie lasagna in a bowl. I’ve tried a bunch of lasagna-type soups and they never quite hit the spot because they lack the cheesy goodness that is lasagna. This version features an ingenious dollop of cheese on top. I love it!

VeggieLasagnaSoup

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup
(from Foodie Crush)
Serves 10

1 yellow onion, diced
2 zucchinis, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
6 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1/8  tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
12 oz. lasagna noodles

 

For the ricotta cheese topping

1 8 oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4  cup basil leaves, chopped
Generous pinch of salt

Add the onion, zucchini, garlic, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, vegetable broth, bay leaves, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kosher salt and black pepper to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-7 hours.

While the soup cooks, mix all ingredients for the cheese topping together in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When the soup is done, prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package directions, chop them up, and add to the soup.

Serve the soup topped with a dollop of cheese topping.

Pinto Bean Burritos

Welcome to the 2017 Lenten dinner series! Every Friday during Lent I’ll be posting a meatless meal idea. This series was born out of my desire to do something other than order pizza on Lenten Fridays, and it’s resulted in some of our favorite meals.

I picked a really quick and easy meal for our first Friday because, if you’re anything like me, this totally snuck up on you and you’re scrambling. These are perfect for nights like that – they take about 5 minutes to prep and only 15 minutes to bake. I threw some chips and salsa with this and it was a great, no-fuss meal.

PintoBeanBurritos

Pinto Bean Burritos
(slightly adapted from Aggie’s Kitchen)
Makes 4-6

I can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 sweet onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Whole wheat tortillas
Shredded cheddar
Salsa

In a bowl, combine the pinto beans, onion, bell pepper, vinegar, salt and pepper – gently mash until the ingredients start to come together.

Divide the filling between tortillas and top with cheese and salsa. Roll up, and wrap in a piece of foil sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until heated through.

12 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday – the start of Lent – which means I’m kicking off my annual Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays series. As usual, you’ll find a great meatless meal here every Friday until Easter!

To kick things off, I’m sharing a dozen ideas below. You can also check out my previous roundups – 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent and 9 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent.

2017MeatlesMeals

Mashed Potato Waffles

Honey Lime Sweet Potato & Black Bean Tacos

Guinness Pizza Dough

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

Kung Pao Chickpeas

5 Minute Pad Thai Fakeout

Chili Cornbread Waffles

Chickpea Puttanesca

Hatch Chili Mac ‘n Cheese

Caramelized Onion Tart

General Tso’s Cauliflower

(If You Give a Moose) Blueberry Muffins #FoodBloggerLove

Today we’re celebrating #FoodBloggerLove, which is sort of like blind dating, food blog style. I was assigned a random blogger to get acquainted with and I’m so excited to introduce you to the lovely Chef Sarah Elizabeth today. I think you guys will love her. I know I do!

Sarah is a new mom and – get this – her Henry was born the same day as my Julie! Fun, right? What really hooked me, though, is her monthly blog series – Family Dinner Book Club.

Each month, there’s a featured kids’ book. Sarah posts a meal to go with the book, and then two other bloggers she work with post a craft and discussion questions. As a voracious reader raising two little book worms, I think this is pretty much the best idea ever.

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With her family dinner book club in mind, I gathered up Jake for our own mini book day. We picked If You Give a Moose a Muffin and made – of course – muffins.

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Jake is at a fun age where he’s really into books. He loves discussing the pictures and is starting to make connections between the things he reads in books and the rest of the world. Of course, he was totally smitten by the idea of making muffins like the book.

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I stuck with a simple, one-bowl blueberry muffin – because toddler attention spans can only handle so much! And, to be fair, ours were a tad over-mixed, thanks to my excited assistant – but we all still thought they were delicious!

I’m so excited to follow along with the Family Dinner Book Club and the other cooking adventures Sarah (and Henry!) will have. Aside from her blog, you can also find Chef Sarah Elizabeth on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Want to check out the rest of the #FoodBloggerLove posts? Click the frog below!

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One-Bowl Blueberry Muffins
(from A Sparkle of Genius)
Makes 12

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp.
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3-1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup frozen blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees an line a muffin pan with cupcake papers or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a 1 cup measuring cup, add the oil, egg and then fill to the 1 cup line with milk. Add vanilla and whisk until well combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Fold in blueberries.

Divide batter evenly between muffin wells. Sprinkle tops with a little sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake

Date for Valentine’s Day? I have the perfect one. This cheesecake.

But seriously, if you’re looking for a dessert for the holiday, this is a great option. It’s decadent and special, but easy enough that anyone could pull it off. Want to make it even easier? Swap out the ganache topping for the fruit topping of your choice – I think cherries would be especially marvelous!

TripleChocolateCheesecake

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake
(from OMG Chocolate Desserts)
Serves 16

Crust:
24 Oreos, finely crushed
1/4 cup butter, melted

Cheesecake:
2 lbs. cream cheese at room temperature
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
4 eggs at room temperature
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Ganache topping:
3/4 cup heavy cream
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. sugar

Additional chocolate bar to make curls.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease a 9″ springform pan.

Combine the finely crushed Oreos and melted butter and press mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes then cool on a wire rack while you prepare the filling.

Melt 10 oz. of bittersweet chocolate and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Mix in the cocoa powder until well combined. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the melted chocolate and mix until combined.

Pour the filling over the top of the cooled crust and smooth out.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, until the center is set and the top looks dry. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, run a thin knife around the pan to loosen the sides of the cheesecake, then refrigerate, uncovered until completely cooled – at least 8 hours.

Once completely cooled, stir together the cream, 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate and sugar together in a medium saucepan. When it is completely melted and smooth, remove to cool. Pour over cheesecake. Top with chocolate curls.

Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs

There’s nothing new about cocktail meatballs. I’m sure you’ve had them a million times. But I wanted to share this recipe today because it’s a great, easy option for your Super Bowl party.

This version uses the slow cooker – it’s a mix-it-up-and-forget-it dish that’s always a crowd pleaser.  Use a slow cooker liner for even easier clean up!

CocktailMeatballs

Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs
(from Cincy Shopper)
Serves 10-12 as an appetizer

12 oz. chili sauce
1 1/2 cups ketchup
1 1/2 cups grape jelly
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 lbs. frozen meatballs

Add all ingredients, except meatballs, to the slow cooker and whisk to combine. Stir in meatballs. Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.

2017 Soup Swap Party

If you’re looking for a fun winter party idea – host a soup swap! Think, a cookie swap but instead of taking home piles of cookies you’re trying to avoid this time of year, you get to bring home some new, fun lunches and dinners.

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It’s also a super easy party to throw. We have each family bring 5 quarts of soup – 4 frozen, to be swapped, and 1 to heat up for sampling. I set up a grilled cheese bar – bread, cheese, a bunch of toppings and a Panini press – and everyone makes sandwiches and then hangs out in the dining room or kitchen while the soup heats up.

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We’ve done our soup sampling in rounds the last two years, in an effort to keep the soups warmer. We had 8 soups this year, so it was 2 rounds of 4 soups each. After sampling, we vote on best soups. I always get little bags of chocolates for the winners!

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Then, we pick our soups draft-style. Everyone goes home with 4 quarts of different soups. And of course, there’s dessert. Such a fun way to spend a chilly January afternoon!

You can check out my first soup swap party here.

Instant Pot Picadillo

The Instant Pot is still pretty new for me – I haven’t played with it as much as I want to – but I’ve been loving trying so many new things.

This was the first time I’ve used it to sauté, and it worked so well! I love that I can brown up the meat before pressure cooking (or slow cooking, for that matter), without having to dirty another pan. It’s ridiculously convenient.

This was a dish I knew I would love, but I was pleasantly surprised that the two-year-old also devoured it. This is definitely something I’ll be making again!

IPPicadillio

Instant Pot Picadillo
(from Skinnytaste}
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 large chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tomato, chopped
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsp. cilantro
4 oz. tomato sauce
1 tsp. cumin
1 bay leaf
2 Tbsp. sliced green olives

Press the Instant Pot’s sauté button. When heated, brown the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Add onion, garlic, tomato, salt, pepper and cilantro. Cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in the olives, 2 Tbsp. of olive brine, cumin and bay leaf. Stir in tomato sauce and 3 tbsp. of water until well combined.

Cover and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Use the quick pressure release.

Cranberry Apple Crisp

Yes, January is almost over. And yes, I’m just now sorting through my Christmas pictures. Apparently this is life with two kids.

To be fair, all of the good family pictures and such were on my phone. I really need to get better at my camera!

I did find this, though. A quick shot of a delicious dessert – so I just had to share. If you’re someone who doesn’t like overly sweet desserts, this is for you. The tart cranberries and apples offset the sugar in this nicely.

I recommend serving it warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. Heavenly!

CranberryAppleCrisp

Cranberry Apple Crisp
(from The Blonde Cook)
Serves 6-8

For the filling:
3 cups cored, chopped and peeled granny smith apples
2 1/2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen
1 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour

For the crisp:
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 11×7 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour for the filling. Stir in the cranberries and apples and mix, gently, until evenly combined. Pour into prepared baking dish.

In another bowl, stir together all topping ingredients until well combined. Sprinkle evenly over fruit mixture.

Bake for 50 minutes, until edges are bubbly and fruit is tender.