Saturday, August 27, 2011

| pita pizzadillas |

This idea is so incredibly simple, I feel kind of dumb posting it. But, hey, I'm 30 years old and never thought to do it before today, so maybe it will help you out, too. I hereby christen this creation Pita Pizzadilla. I'm sure, much like when I "invented" ice skates as a child by thinking about tying butter knives to the bottom of shoes, someone else has already invented this.

Here's what you do:

  1. Open up a split pita half. Spoon in some marinara or pizza sauce.
  2. Add some chopped veggies/toppings. I used green pepper and black olives, cause that's what I had on hand.
  3. Stuff full with shredded mozzarella cheese (or your favorite pizza cheese - perhaps provolone for those of you from OH-IO?).
  4. Lay flat on a cast iron skillet (or whatever you would normally make a quesadilla in). Put a panina press on top (or don't, if you don't have one). 
  5. Cook until all melty and starting to get crispy on the outside.
  6. Take off heat. Let cool for a couple minutes. Slice into 3-4 triangles.
It tastes like what I imagine a Hot Pocket would take like if Hot Pockets tasted good.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

| potato muffin paradise |

I don't usually do a straight-up link to a recipe, but this is just too good to pass up. Tiny Mushroom-Potato Muffins at Vegelicious. They shall henceforth be rechristened "tiny potato pieces of heaven."

I made these for some friends as an appetizer/bread situation when we were having pasta for dinner. I made a non-vegan version (used real butter and real eggs). They were perfect in every way. Easy to make, fluffy, savory, fancy-looking, delectable.

I think one of my favorite things about them is the idea of what else could be done. The author mentions throwing in sun dried tomatoes or olives. I could also see adding some parmesan cheese. Or roasted red peppers. What else can you think of? I also wonder what might happen if we did them with sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes. Or a root vegetable mash? I love parsnips. I have a feeling I'm going to be making these quite a few times in the future.

For the record, I made a few that were regular-sized muffins (instead of mini) and they turned out great, too.

These are an awesome "bread substitute" because they're mostly vegetables (the ratio of potatoes to flour is 5 cups potatoes to 3/4 cup flour). An awesome way to get your veggies on.

Just make some. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

| classic midwestern yumminess (a.k.a. Macaroni Salad)

This recipe pretty much sums up my basic cooking process, which is:
1) Get a hankering for something
2) Read 3-5 recipes on the internets
3) Don't follow the recipes

Midwestern Macaroni Salad
(serves 6-8)

12 oz uncooked elbow macaroni
1 red onion, soaked in water for 5 minutes and then drained
1 c celery, diced 
1 red pepper, diced
diced cheese (I like Colby jack)
small can of sliced black olives (drained)
3/4 c frozen peas, thawed
½ can kidney beans, rinsed
1 cup mayo
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 T yellow mustard
celery seed
salt and pepper

1)    Boil macaroni. Prep other ingredients. 
2)    Drain macaroni and then throw in a few ice cubes to stop the cooking and get it cold.
3)    Mix the mayo, sugar, vinegar, mustard, and spices in a big bowl. Then add everything else.
4)    Put in the fridge for a few hours before you eat. Yummers.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

| sneaky broccoli cheese rice casserole

So...I had an immense craving for a broccoli-cheese-rice casserole. While I was picking up ingredients at the store I thought, "Hmmm....this would be a lot better if I could figure out some kind of protein to add." Obviously, chicken would be most folks' go-to source for this recipe, but since I'm a vegetarian. So I had to get more creative. The recipe turned out to be awesome (though my husband did say, "You're just making that for YOU to eat, right?").

1) Cook about 4 cups of rice. I used jasmine, but use whatever kind you like.
2) While it's cooking, chop up about 3-4 cups of broccoli pretty small and nuke it for 3-4 minutes in your microwave.
3) In a big bowl mix together the following:
- one package of silken tofu, pureed (I used a handheld potato masher to do this)
- one can of condensed broccoli cheese soup
- a cup of milk
- 2-3 tablespoons of melted butter
- salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder
- cheese: I probably used about a cup of grated sharp cheddar and another 1/2 cup of shredded parm
4) Smash up some crackers for a topping.  I used the handheld potato masher for this, too. Who knew those things were so handy?
5) Combine the rice and broccoli with the creamy mixture in the big bowl, then pour into a casserole dish. Top with the crushed crackers. Bake for about 40 minutes at 350. Enjoy your sneaky protein treat.