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.

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

Instant Pot Garlic Rosemary Potatoes

I jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon when they were on sale on Prime Day, but honestly, aside from cooking chicken to shred, I haven’t used to much. What seemed so versatile and useful on my computer screen now seems overwhelming on my kitchen counter. I guess that means I’m getting old? This recipe seemed simple enough so it became my first real Instant Pot test – and I fell in love.

What I loved here was that it was simple and hands-off. When I roast potatoes, I feel like I’m checking them a million times, they have to be flipped, etc. – with this I just threw potatoes in the IP and went on to do the rest of dinner. They cooked and you could switch up the seasonings to make it fit whatever meal you’re making.

I’m really excited about playing with the Instant Pot more and seeing what else I can do – is anyone interested in seeing more IP recipes here?

GarlicRosemaryPotatoes

Instant Pot Garlic Rosemary Potatoes
(slightly adapted from Pressure Cooking Today)
Serves 4 as a side

1 lb. potatoes
1 cup water
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sprigs rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste

Wash and slice the potatoes and add them to the steamer basket of the Instant Pot. Pour 1 cup of water into the pot. Lock the lid in place, set to high pressure with a 4 minute cook time.

While the potatoes cook, whisk together the oil, garlic and rosemary in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments until the garlic is fragrant.

When the Instant Pot beeps, turn it off and do a quick pressure release. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and pour the oil over. Toss gently. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

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

 

Tuscan Spread

Jake loves dip. Or, as he says it “deeeep!” Anything that can be dipped is a hit – and that extends to spreads, too. It’s common now to get halfway through a meal and then have him start asking for dip. I’ve been keeping things like hummus in the house so we have some healthy options to dip – but sometimes you just need something fun.

This was fun.

It pairs well with crackers and we loved it with cucumbers, too. And it really couldn’t be easier. This is an awesome option for summer potlucks!

TuscanSpread

Tuscan Spread
(slightly adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything)
Serves 10-12 as an appetizer

2 packages cream cheese, softened
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/3 cup chopped black olives
8 green onions, chopped
3 oz. roasted red peppers

Add everything to a food processor and pulse until combined.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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.

 

Baked Blueberry French Toast

We celebrated Mark’s birthday this past weekend with a trip to Boston to visit family and friends. It was an awesome, albeit busy, weekend without much birthday fuss – aka, perfect for him. The last few years, I’ve made him French Toast for breakfast on the weekend of his birthday because it’s his favorite. Knowing we’d be away, I baked up the traditional breakfast a few weekends ago when we had a lazy morning. He loved it.

There have been beautiful berries in the stores around here recently and adding fresh blueberries to the French toast was a wonderful idea. One little change made this feel so fresh! This tasted more like traditional French toast then the popular casserole versions but was still very hands-off, which made me happy. It also fit in with this month’s What’s Baking theme – baking with fresh fruit. You can check out all the great recipes submitted later this month at Sweet Beginnings.

BakedBlueberryFrenchToast

Baked Blueberry French Toast
(slightly adapted from Family Fresh Cooking)
Serves 4

1 loaf Challah bread, sliced into at least 8 thick slices
5 large eggs
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl,  beat the eggs, then whisk in the milk, maple syrup, salt and cinnamon.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture turning to coat. Let the excess drip off and place on a baking sheet. Let stand for 5-10 minutes, then top with blueberries.

Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

I think pretty much every food blogger (and Chipotle fan) has already made this. Why did it take me so long? I’m super lazy about side dishes.

And, I ran across a version that used the rice cooker. Because, if we’re being honest, I suck at cooking rice any other way. This came out perfectly, though, and will definitely be in the regular rotation going forward!

CilantroLimeRice

Cilantro Lime Rice
(from Shari Blogs)
Serves 4

1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. canola oil, divided
Juice of 1/2 a lime
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

In a rice cooker, combine the rice, water, salt and 1 tsp. of canola oil.  Cook on the white rice cycle.

When done, stir in remaining canola oil, lime juice and cilantro. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Chili Cornbread Waffles

I’m sort of terrible at reading magazines. I subscribe to a lot of them and usually just end up flipping through them once. And then every once I find an article I keep coming back to. When I picked up the April issue of Family Fun and saw there was a whole feature on waffles? Instantly obsessed. Waffles are one of my go-to dinners for busy nights and they’re just happy food – which is exactly what we’ve needed around here lately. April was a doozey!

These were really good. A fun take on chili with the flavor without the spoon – like a loaded up cornbread. And they’re one of those meatless meals where you just don’t miss the meat. The leftovers got happily gobbled up the next day for lunch – next time I’ll be doubling the recipe so they last longer!

ChiliCornbreadWaffles

Chili Cornbread Waffles
(from the April 2015 issue of Family Fun Magazine)
Makes 4-5

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, plus additional for serving
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 scallions, thinly sliced, for serving
2/3 cup sour cream
Half an avocado
Juice of half a lime

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs, buttermilk , oil and tomato paste until well combined. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well blended. Fold in kidney beans, cheddar, red bell pepper, corn and jalapenos.

Heat a waffle iron on high and spray with non-stick spray. Pour 1/2 cup of the batter into the heated iron and cook until golden brown. Repeat until the batter is all used up.

While the waffles cook, whisk together the sour cream and avocado until smooth.

Serve the warm waffles topped with avocado cream, cheddar and scallions.