Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers

The weather is getting better! The snow piles from the nor’easter are nearly gone and we’ve had a few evenings where it’s not frigid by dinner time – so we’re starting to fire up the grill.

Cave Tools recently sent me a pepper grill rack to try out (you can see my review here) and we finally busted it out to make these delicious little peppers. I think most people automatically think jalapenos stuffed with cheese and bacon for something like this, but I wanted to make something that felt light and fresh – and that was more toddler-friendly.

These were perfect! I can’t wait to make them again once we have lots of fresh herbs in the garden.

CaveTools4

Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 12

12 rainbow mini peppers
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped dill
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. lemon zest

Clean and core the peppers.

In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese, dill, basil, green onions, garlic, and lemon zest until well combined. Stuff peppers with cream cheese mixture.

Using a rack, grill over medium heat until the peppers are softened and the cream cheese puffs slightly. Serve immediately.

Spanakopita Quesadillas

You know what’s tricky about Lenten Fridays with a toddler? Lunch.

He is, in general, really good about eating whatever we’re eating for dinner. I’m one of those mean moms with an “eat it or go hungry” policy. But, lunch is another story. I usually let him pick his own lunch and that means we have a healthy rotation of dinosaur chicken nuggets and cold cuts. So far, Lenten Friday lunches have meant PB&J. For both of us.

I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. Jake ate half of his quesadilla before declaring he didn’t like it and requesting something else. Half of a spinach-filled, whole wheat wrap? I’ll take it.

And, I loved these so I was happy to steal the rest of his. Serve with tzatziki or sour cream for dipping. We added some olives on the side for a light lunch. If this was dinner, I would have opted for a Greek salad or hummus and veggies to round out the meal!

SpanikopitaQuesadilla

Spanakopita Quesadillas
(from Cooktoria)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic
7 cups baby spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
4 flour tortillas

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add in the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and spinach and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until spinach is cooked down a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a bowl and pop it in the fridge.

In a bowl, mix together the egg, feta, Parmesan, and dill until thoroughly combined.

When the spinach mixture is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any remaining liquid and add the spinach to the cheese mixture. Combine well.

Divide the mixture evenly between 4 tortillas. Fold each in half and fry over low heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway.

 

 

 

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

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers #CookoutWeek

Another great company I was introduced to via #CookoutWeek was Swine Dining. They specialize in small batch, made-by-hand spice mixes – and they’re awesome. They sent us three spice mixes to try and we loved them all.

Their signature blend is “Wimpy’s BBQ Rub” – called Wimpy’s because there’s no heat. We used it last night to make up a batch of our favorite pulled pork. We didn’t miss the heat – and it made it much more toddler-friendly. It was an awesome dinner for the whole family. Wimpy’s is currently available via their Etsy shop. They have plans to launch the other two spice mixes we tried – Jamaican Me Hungry (which I used in these burgers) and Dilly Dust – via Kitckstarter.

As soon I as I saw they sent us a jerk seasoning, I knew I wanted to make some sort of sweet potato burgers. The patties were too soft to place directly on the grill so I opted to bake them and they came out fabulous. If you wanted to get the grilled flavor, you could make them ahead of time and reheat on the grill.

JerkSweetPotatoBurgers

Jerk Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original}
Serves 8

2 large sweet potatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 egg
3 Tbsp. Swine Dining’s Jamaican Me Hungry jerk seasoning
Fresh sliced pineapple
Lettuce
Burger buns

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Wash the sweet potatoes and poke all over with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour, until very tender. Let cool until cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.

Reduce the oven to 350 degrees.

Mash half of the black beans and mix into the sweet potatoes. Mix in the remaining black beans, quinoa, breadcrumbs, egg and jerk seasoning until thoroughly combined. Divide into 8 patties and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 45 minutes, flipping halfway.

Serve on a bun, topped with pineapple and lettuce.

SwineDining

 

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans #CookoutWeek

One of the fun parts of #CookoutWeek has been getting acquainted with some of the sponsors. I got the opportunity to try out True Made Foods sauces and I’m a total convert.

If you haven’t heard of them, the gist is this: they infuse their sauces with vegetables and cut back on the sugar to make a product you can feel good about. Why am I so obsessed with this? I have a toddler that LOVES to dip anything and everything. If I can get some extra veggies in him while he slathers his dinner in ketchup, I’m all about it. This isn’t just a toddler ketchup, though – they’re really good and will easily please a more sophisticated palate. Wins all around.

I used two of the sauces they sent – the ketchup and the bbq sauce – to make up a batch of slow cooker baked beans. They were amazing. While most baked beans are loaded with sugar, these are pretty modest – but you don’t miss it at all. They’re full of flavor and a perfect accompaniment to any cookout.

CrockpotBakedBeans

Slow Cooker Barbecue Baked Beans
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 8-10 as a side

1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 sweet onion, finely diced
1/2 cup True Made Foods Ketchup
1/2 cup True Made Foods Barbecue Sauce
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. pepper

Add beans and onions to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour over beans and stir to combine.

Cook on low for 6 hours. Vent the lid for the last 15-20 minutes to thicken the sauce, if desired.

Caramelized Onion Tart

I’m pretty obsessed with caramelized onions. Like, if they weren’t destined for this tart, I probably would have just eaten them with a spoon.

This tart is a great option for a holiday appetizer. It’s a nice mix of sweet and savory and warm cheese makes pretty much everyone happy.  This was a definite crowd-pleaser.

OnionTart

Caramelized Onion Tart
(from Annie’s Eats)
Serves 8-12

2 Tbsp. butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 egg yolk
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Stir in the onion, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Let cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the ricotta and egg yolk until smooth.

Roll out the puff pastry sheet on a baking sheet and fold in each edge about 1 inch to make a crust.  Spread the ricotta mixture over the puff pastry and sprinkle about half of the Parmesan cheese over the ricotta mixture.  Spread the caramelized onions evenly over the cheese and top with the remaining Parmesan.  Bake 25-30 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden.  Slice and serve.

 

Red, White & Blue Salad

We just finished up our annual June celebrating marathon. It always seems like everything happens this month and we end up over-indulging in party food. Rather than keep the trend going, I’m planning to make some really fresh, seasonal meals for the July 4th weekend, including this salad.

We’ve had really beautiful berries in the stores lately so this will be a perfect accompaniment to any grilled meal we cook up this weekend.

RedWhiteBlueSalad

Red, White & Blue Salad
(adapted slightly from Green Lite Bites)
Serves 4 as a side

8 oz. baby spinach
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup quartered strawberries
1/4 cup feta cheese
3-4 Tbsp. poppyseed dressing

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach and dressing until evenly coated. Toss in the berries and transfer to serving bowl. Top with feta. Serve immediately.