Saturday, August 31, 2013

Spinach and Tomato Alfredo Pizza

I swear, you guys must think I have food ADD. One day I post a fall comfort food, and they next I'm posting foods with summer veggies. The truth is, I just love the foods I love, and I could eat them any time of the year. For today, I have another recipe inspired from a blog. I love reading other blogs. That's really all I do in my free time. I read every single one of the blogs I follow, and I love gathering inspiration from them. Its the best way to find new vegetarian recipes right from the bloggers themselves. Don't think I am unoriginal, or a copy-cat. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? This recipe comes from Family Food Finds.


What you need:


A few handfuls of spinach
1 small (or half a large) tomato, chopped
Alfredo sauce
4-5 minced garlic gloves
1/2 of shredded mozzarella cheese
A pizza crust

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees with your pizza stone inside.
Spread a few spoonfuls of the alfredo sauce on the crust, making sure to leave about an inch around.
Sprinkle on the garlic and cheese.  Evenly layer on the tomatoes and spinach leaves.
Finally, add a few sprinkles of oregano.
Pop your pizza in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
Let your pizza sit for about 5 minutes before you cut into it.





This was so quick and easy to make, and so good! I'm not really a huge fan of tomato sauce. Its not that I don't like it, I just like most other Italian sauces more. How brilliant to put Alfredo on pizza! It was so creamy, garlic-y and full of flavor. I loved the Italian flavors, and once in a while I would get a bite with a huge chunk of garlic. What can I say? I love garlic! The tomatoes burst in my mouth, and the spinach gave it a nice, fresh flavor. I loved this whole wheat crust. The pizza was soft, while the crust was nice and crunchy. I felt that the Alfredo made this pizza so rich and creamy, I don't think it really needed the cheese. This was such a great pizza, I will definilty be making this again!

Adapted from Family Food Finds Spinach Tomato Alfredo Pizza.

Do you like experimenting with different kids of pizza? Will you try this one too?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chickpea Casserole

Fall! Summer! Fummer? I can't make up my mind. Do I want to hang on to the last days of summer, or jump right into fall? What an interesting time of year. While fall is my absolute favorite season, there is just something so fun about summer. Even though I have been obsessing over zucchini and squash this summer, I am ready for fall comfort foods. I knew it was time to try Amuse Your Bouche's Lemony Chickpea Casserole.

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What you need:

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2 Cans of chickpeas, drained
Parsley flakes
Onion powder
1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled up
6 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup 2% milk
2 eggs
8 tbsp bread crumbs
ground black pepper (not pictured)

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the chickpeas, onion powder, parsley flakes, vegetable stock cube, lemon juice, and cheddar cheese into a bowl and mix it all up.

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In a small bowl, beat the eggs, and then stir in the milk.

Pour the chickpea mix into a baking dish, and smooth it out evenly. Sprinkle the top with black pepper, and then pour the egg/milk mix evenly over the chickpeas. Top with the bread crumbs, also sprinkled evenly over the chickpeas, and bake for 35 minutes.

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This casserole was so warm and filling. The chickpeas have their own unique flavor, which really gave it a nice bite. It seems like some of the ingredients would have a contradicting flavor: the egg and the lemon, the lemon and the cheddar, the chickpeas and the egg, but that just made them work together even better in the final product. The bread crumbs gave it a nice crust, and I loved that kick of lemon. The veggie stock cube was a brilliant idea! It has so much flavor, and all the spices you need, in one little cube. Overall this was one amazing dish, and I will definitely be making it again.

Recipe inspired by Amuse Your Bouche.

Will you be trying out this amazing casserole?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Plats Du Chef French Onion Soup

Its almost the end of August, which means the end of summer, and fall is quickly sneaking up on us. That means its time for soup, soup, and more soup! Ehh, what am I saying, I could eat soup any time of year. Its always so wonderful and flavorful and filled with anything you could imagine. From veggies, to cheeses, or even pasta, rice or tofu.

I have known about french onion soup for ages, and knew that it had beef broth in it right from the beginning. I just pushed it into the back of my mind as a food I'd never eat and didn't give it a second thought. But one day going food shopping with my vegetarian brother, he pointed out a vegetarian french onion soup. I knew it was time to try it.

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Each box has two frozen soups. They look kind of weird right out of the package. Each soup is layered with cheese and croutons on top.

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Excuse the ugly photo. As the soup heats up in the microwave, you need to stir it up, so instead of that pretty melted cheese all on top, everything gets mixed together. It doesn't make it any less delicious though!

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This soup is definitely oniony, but not overpowering. Its salty, and the cheese is mild and chewy. I love the melted cheese, there is so much in each bite. The croutons get soft and absorb the soup, and when you bite down they explode with flavor. I have never had real french onion soup, so its hard for me to compare them, but I know that this is one delicious, comforting vegetarian soup.

Have you tried this vegetarian french onion soup?

Bye from the veggie side!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Morning Star Mini Corn Dogs

With the summer winding down, I feel like I need to be showing you some more summer foods while I still can. I have been hoping that fall hurries up and showing you guys comfort foods for when the weather cools down and the leave begin to fall. But with the last little bit of summer still here to enjoy, I thought it was only appropriate to share with out one of my favorite summer foods.

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I never once had a corn dog, or a turkey corn dog, before I gave up meat. Actually, I never had a hot dog either. They never really appealed to me as a kid, nor was I allowed to eat red meat. I feel that becoming a vegetarian has inspired me to try lots if different food that I had never had. I have gotten to try buffalo wings, ribs, and now Mini Corn Dogs, thanks to Morning Star.

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I love the sweet, fluffy cornbread with the meaty tasting veggie dogs inside. They have a hint of a smokey flavor too. I love the mix of salty from the dogs, and sweet from the corn bread. These are really cute and really tasty. They are a bit on the greasier side, but hey, when you decide to eat a corn dog, its not because you felt like being healthy. These are great to enjoy at a BBQ, watching a baseball game, or just hanging around your house enjoying the air conditioning.

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Have you tried these Morning Star Mini Corn Dogs? Do you love them as much as I do?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tomato Soup Mac & Cheese

Its so nice that Fall is here already!

Wait...what?  I don't know about your area, but here in Northern Virginia, it really feels like fall out! The weather has been really cool, especially being that its the middle of August and you expect to go outside and it be in the 90s.  Its not hot, there's a nice breeze, and its not raining like in pesky Spring.  All this cool weather has been making me crave fall even more. And fall foods. Like some nice warm comfort foods. So, why deny it any longer, I decided to make the ultimate comfort food: Tomato soup mac and cheese.

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Here's what you need:

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1 box of pasta
2 cups of cheddar cheese
10 oz ricotta cheese
2 1/2 cups of milk
20 oz cans of condensed tomato soup

Here's what to do:
Cook your pasta as you normally would, but for about half the time, until the pasta is less than el dente.
Drain the pasta and mix it with the ricotta.

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Stir in the cheddar cheese, tomato soup, and milk and mix it all together.
Pour the mixture into a baking dish, and bake for 30 minutes.

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I was hoping that this pasta would be more cheesy, like mac and cheese, but it reminded me more of tomato soup with cheese and pasta, or pasta with a tomato cream sauce. Either way, it was still very tasty, and definitely filled me with that warm, comfort food feeling.

What is your favorite comfort food? Are you going to try this pasta for yourself?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Inspired from A Local Choice.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Adventures with Spaghetti Squash

I have bad luck buying veggies*.  About a week ago, I decided to cook a zucchini dish for dinner, and I needed 3 zucchinis. The first supermarket I went to had zero, due to a contamination issue. So I had to go to a different supermarket, which had a pretty limited supply.  Shortly after, I found a pesto squash recipe that I wanted to try. I went to the same supermarket that finally had zucchini again, but this time no squash. I didn't know what was up with me, but for some reason I was just unlucky with veggies.  I didn't know what to do, but while I was looking around I spotted spaghetti squash. I heard a lot about this veggie. It is supposed to look and taste like pasta, and its used as a healthy and low carb version for starch. I have been thinking about trying it, and now was as good a time as any.

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When I brought them home I was really confused. I didn't know how I was supposed to turn these big round squashes into pasta. I did some quick research to find out how to cook these babies.

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I found out preparing these is pretty simple. First you need to pierce them all over to help the steam release when they are cooking. Then just put the whole squash in a baking dish, and pop them in the oven at 375 for an hour.

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Once you pull them out of the oven, cut them in half lengthwise. CAREFUL: they are super hot!

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You need to remove all of the seeds. I ate a bite with the seeds and it was pretty gross, so those have got to go!

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Then, using a fork, scrape out all of the squash meat from the rind.

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The squash is really stringy, and definitely does look like spaghetti.

In the spirit of pasta, and taking inspiration from my original pesto squash dish, I decided to eat my spaghetti squash with some pesto sauce.

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I thought the squash would taste more mild, like pasta, but it really tasted quite vegetabley.   It was also a lot more crunchy than I thought it would be, much more like onions, not pasta.  It wasn't bad, but not really my thing. I wouldn't say that I have gotten on the spaghetti squash bandwagon.  I read that most people like it with tomato sauce, so I might try it again with that.  However, with buying about 5 boxes of pasta on sale for a dollar, spaghetti squash is much more expensive.  Right now, newly living on my own, I am more concerned with watching the size of my wallet, and not the size of my waist. For now, its gonna be carby pasta for me!

Have you boarded the spaghetti squash train? Any tips for a spaghetti squash newbie?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

*Zucchini and squash are actually considered to be fruits.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Healthy Choice Pumpkin Squash Ravioli

I don't know about you, but I am really craving fall. There are so many reasons why its my favorite season.  Crisp weather and crisp leaves. Cold nights and hot pumpkin lattes. Sweaters, and scarves, and boots! And of course Halloween and my birthday! While I love that the summer brings foods filled with coconut, I just can't wait for fall to bring my beloved pumpkin.

As you know, I have really been enjoying cooking in my new kitchen, but that doesn't mean that I am abandoning my love of frozen meals. I love how quick and easy they are, especially for foods that I don't have the skills to make, like pumpkin ravioli. I love pumpkin ravioli. I think it is probably my second favorite food. This Healthy Choice Pumpkin Squash Ravioli was the perfect frozen meal to hit the spot while I am craving fall in the summer.

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I saw this box in the freezer section and instantly snatched it up when I saw "pumpkin" on the box. Then I hugged it for a while, which made me incredibly cold, and then I finally noticed the box: 100% natural, 280 calories, and vegetarian! Yep, I knew this was coming home with me.

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There wasn't just pumpkin filled raviolis in the box, but squash, apples, and green beans, all in a butter-sage sauce. This filled the kitchen with that perfect fall pumpkin flavor, sweet and full of spice.

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Each ravioli was filled with pumpkin spice flavor, and the sauce was buttery and fragrant. I loved the chunky apples and squash, and the green beans gave it a fresh veggie taste. Each forkful was a little, savory, pumpkin pie.

Now after eating this, I really can't wait for fall. Oh, October, hurry up!

Do you love fall as much as I do? What is your favorite seasonal food?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Awareness Wednesday: Gel Capsules

Hello hello! Time for another Awareness Wednesday post. Today's topic is important because it is about an item that may be difficult to get around consuming because it can be needed for your health.  I am talking about gel capsules. We have all seen them in commercials, in the pharmacy, and maybe even prescribed by your doctor.

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Gel capsules can be filled with vitamins, such as vitamin E or Echinachea, over-the-counter pain killers like Aleve, or even prescription medications. They can be clear as shown in the photo above, or in solid colors; filled with liquid or powder.

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However, they all have one thing in common: they are all made of gelatin. Avoiding these little guys can be tricky. Like most things that are not vegetarian, the easiest thing to do is stop ingesting them.  But when it comes to your health, gel capsules can't always be avoided.

Here are a few different things you can do if you come face-to-face with gel capsules.

1. If you are purchasing an over-the-counter medicine, most brands have many different varieties. Try to pick up medicine that comes in tablets rather than capsules.

2. If this medication is prescribed by your doctor, ask if you can get the medication in a different form.  They might be able to give you the same medicine in a tablet, or liquid form. When I was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, my doctor prescribed me vitamin D capsules. Instead, I found out how much I needed to take, and purchased vitamin D oil in liquid form.

3. If there is no way to get your medication in another other form, you can always open up the capsules and dump its contents into some food or a drink, and ingest it that way. I got MRSA when I was in college, and the only way to get the medication I needed was in capsules. Every day I would open them up and pour the powder into apple sauce.

Hopefully everyone stays healthy and doesn't need to take medications, but if you find your self needing gel capsules, hopefully these tips help you avoid them without jeopardizing your health.

Do you need to take gel capsules for anything? Are you going to try a new way to take your medicines?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cheddar Apple Panini

Hey everyone. Today I wanted to show you an awesome panini that I have been eating non-stop the past few days.  I love making paninis and I have been really loving my panini maker.  It cooks my paninis really quickly, and to perfection! The cheese is always melty, and the bread is perfectly grilled. The best party of paninis is that you can either throw one together with whatever you have in the house, or you can carefully plan out what you are going to add. This panini was one of the planned varieties.

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This panini was both inspired by this recipe, and The Melting Pot.  My favorite Melting Pot course is the cheese course. Ben and I usually get the fondue made of cheddar cheeses, and I am obsessed with dipping in those green apples. When I saw that panini recipe on Panini Happy, I knew I had to try it!

What you need:

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2 slices of bread
Shredded cheddar cheese
Half of a green apple
Spicy brown mustard

What to do:
While your press is heating up, cut your apple in half.  I wrapped up the extra half and put it away for tomorrow's panini. Then cut the apple in slices.
Spread on the mustard on one slice of bread, and place the apple slices on top.
Pile on the cheddar cheese shreds, and place the second slice of bread on top.
Put it all of the panini press and grill until you get nice brown grill lines.

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The hot, juicy apple really gave this sandwich a meaty bite, which is nice in a meatless sandwich. You might think the apple would be too sweet for a lunch panini, but the sharpness of the cheddar, and the spicy mustard helped to cut the sweetness of  the apple. I just loved the melty cheese, and the crispy bread!

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Green apples and cheddar are just a perfect marriage!

I just loved this panini, I can't wait to make it again. Or maybe go to the melting pot, which ever comes first.

Do you love cheddar and apples like I do? Are you going to make this panini?

Bye from the Veggie Side!


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