Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cheese and Tomato Pie

Hello everyone! Today I have a recipe to share with you that I found on Pinterest. I love searching through Pinterest and finding easy, vegetarian meals. Of course, I also need to find meals that are budget-friendly. Now that I have moved away from home, and buy my own food, I have become price conscious. Most of the meals that I make have a limited number of ingredients, and are made with food that was on sale at the supermarket that week. I had saved this recipe from Design Corral, and cheese and tomatoes were on sale during the week.  My decision was made!


What you need:


1 Deep dish pie crust
4 Medium tomatoes
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
Salt & Pepper

What to do:
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
Cut the tomatoes into slices, and arrange them flat on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Leave them for 20-30 minutes to drain.
Prebake the pie crust for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, mix the mayo, mozzarella, and cheddar cheeses.


Layer in the tomatoes until you fill up the pie crust.
Top the tomatoes with basil and pepper.


Spread the cheese/mayo mixture evenly over the tomatoes.


Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.



My pie got a little ugly once I cut it, oh well!

What do you get when you cross pizza with comfort food?  Until  tried this cheesy tomato pie, that question would have stumped me too.  This was the prefect combination. The pie crust was light and flaky, which takes this meal away from pizza, and towards the comfort food side of the spectrum. The tomatoes were so juicy and fresh, and the basil gave it that Italian flavor. The top was so cheesy, and the mayo turned it into almost a cream sauce. All the flavors came together brilliantly, I nearly licked the plate clean!

What is your favorite comfort food collaboration? Are you going to try this cheese and tomato pie?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pasta with an Avocado "Cream" Sauce

Oh avocados. Such precious little gems.  They are truly a super food, filled with all kinds of good-for-you things. But sadly, they are quite expensive. Once in a while they will go on sale and I always stock up! Since avocados are a rare and special treat, when I get them I usually like to eat them on their own, and really enjoy them for what they are. However, once in a while I like to go a little crazy, and actually turn my avocados into something, and its usually pretty good.

A friend of my friend, Sara, commented that I should try spaghetti squash with this avocado cream sauce recipe. Well, I'm kind of over the spaghetti squash thing, but that doesn't mean I wasn't going to try the recipe out anyway!


What you need:


1 box of pasta
3 ripe avocados
3 tablespoons of lemon juice
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 teaspoon basil
6 tablespoons olive oil
Black pepper

What do to:
Start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, scoop out the meat of the avocados into a medium bowl.
Add in the garlic, olive oil, lemon, basil, and salt, and mix it all up.


Once the pasta is done, drain it and add in the avocado sauce. Top with black pepper and serve hot.






I just want to start off by telling you that I was thiiiiiis close to ditching the pasta, and eating the sauce right out of the bowl with some tortilla chips, it was SO GOOD! The avocado was so buttery and fresh, with a nice mild taste. Since the lemon and garlic are pretty strong flavors compared to the avocado, the avocado acted more like a cream sauce, without adding any cream. Actually, this sauce is completely vegan! The original recipe calls for a food processor, but I really liked the chunkiness of just mashing it up with a fork. It was nice getting a bite with a big piece of avocado in it! The garlic added a bit of a spicy note when biting into it, and the lemon gave it a nice tang. Overall, this was some incredibly amazing pasta!

What are your favorite ways to eat avocados? Will you be trying this avocado "cream" sauce?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Meatless Messy Joes

Oh technology. You either love it...or it ruins your life. Not too long ago I have a minor computer hiccup, and the resulted in me losing a few recipes I had saved. It really saddened me for three reasons. First of all, I am sad that I can't recreate to perfection the amazingness that I cooked. Second, I wont be able to give proper credit to the person that initially invented the recipe. And finally, I can't share the recipe with all of you lovely followers.  I will do my best to share with you the parts of the recipe that I remember, and if I find the original copy, I will post it right away so I can give credit where credit is due!


Today's lost recipe is for vegetarian sloppy joes. I felt weird calling them sloppy joes, when they were 100% meat free. I decided that I will dub them Meatless Messy Joes!

What You Need:


1 Package Smart Ground soy crumbles
3/4 tsp Mustard
1/2 cup Ketchup
2 1/2 tsp Brown suagr
3 cloves Garlic
Onion powder
Salt & Pepper to taste

What To Do:

Like I said, I lost the recipe, so I don't remember exactly what I did. But I'm pretty sure I just cooked the soy crumbles according to  the instructions, then mixed in all the rest of the ingredients.
Plop it all on some bread, and you got yourself a Meatless Messy Joe!





I could not get over how good this was! It instantly took me back to eating sloppy (turkey) joes as a kid. The sauce was the perfect mix of tomatoey from the ketchup, and a hint of sweetness and spice from the brown sugar and mustard. I even had Ben try it and he said it tasted almost exactly like a real sloppy joe! As a vegetarian cook, that is one of the best compliments I can get!

Do you like making Meatless Messy Joes too? What is your favorite recipe?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Chik'n N Waffles

As I have mentioned many times on my blog, my favorite thing to do as a vegetarian is to re-create popular meaty foods but make them 100% vegetarian. When someone says to me "Oh I wish you could try this, its so good" is like a challenge to me.  I hate when people generalize vegetarianism as just salads and tofu. My goal is to show people that vegetarians can eat pretty similarly to meat eaters.

I have recreated various meaty dishes including buffalo chicken pizza, hamburger helper, sloppy joes, and even a hot sausage sandwich. But I wanted to go further. I wanted to recreate a dish that I had never seen turned vegetarian: Chicken and Waffles.

It might just be me, but I feel that recently chicken and waffles has been gaining popularity. People are always talking about the amazingness that is chicken and waffles and I knew that just being a vegetarian wasn't about to stop me from trying them. It was time to do this.


I started with my trusty Boca Chik'n patties. I just love these. They are probably the most realistic fake chicken I have ever had. The breading is crispy and the inside is meaty and peppery. I've used them in pasta, on sandwiches, and now its time to eat them on a waffle. For the waffle I just used a basic waffle mix.  Time to break out the waffle iron!


Yes that is a Bugs Bunny waffle iron, and it is 20 years old!  I remember my dad used to make me Bugs Bunny waffles all the time as a kid. I would sit and wait at the table while my dad made the waffle. Back then, the waffle always looked so massive, and I never finished it all. This baby has been away in a cabinet for so many years, and I decided to take it with me when I moved away from home. Who knew I would be breaking it out again for anther go!


The waffle came out just as perfectly as I remember as a kid.  Now its time to add the Chik'n, and the syrup!



I decided it needed some butter too, because if I am going to eat unhealthy food, I might as well go all out!



I have to say I wasn't totally blown away by my creation. I think the Chik'n was a bit too mild, and it got over powered by the syrup. Even though I couldn't taste the chicken too much I still enjoyed the mix of sweetness with a bit of salty and peppery. The waffle itself was perfect. It has a nice crunch and it took me right back to having waffles with my dad. This may not have been everything I dreamed of, but I was really happy I got to try something new and I can cross chicken and waffles off my meaty bucket list!

I had little visitor that wanted to try these too...


Muffin was very interested in my meal. I might have snuck her a little piece of waffle which she just LOVED!

Have you tried veggie chicken and waffles? What is your favorite meaty meal?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Veggie Burger Chronicles: Shenanigan's

Hey everyone! I hope you have all been enjoying October. I am definitely sad that its already half over!  While I usually am loving the fall weather at this point, it has been feeling quite summery around here. I mentioned before that I recently went to Ocean City, MD and enjoyed a nice beach day! Before Ben and I hit the beach, we decided to stop at a pub, called Shenanigan's, for lunch. Perfect opportunity to try another veggie burger!




As I have explained before, veggie burgers usually fall into one of two categories: "meaty" based, or veggie based. This patty was definitely on the veggie based end and pretty mild in flavor. I loved seeing all the different colors of vegetables in the burger. It was also full of grains which gave in a nice bite. The lettuce and tomatoes were super fresh, and the coolness paired well with the warm burger and toasty bun. The bun was whole grain and it was really nice and flavorful. Unfortunately with everything going on, it was hard to taste the cheese or the sauce.

Overall this burger was pretty good, but not one of my favorite VBs.

Have you tried the veggie burger from Shenanigan's in OC?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Zucchini Lasagna

It is no surprise that I am obsessed with zucchini. It is cheap, delicious, and you can use it in so many dishes. I love taking foods that are "blank canvasses" and seeing all the things I can do to them to change them completely, its almost magical! I found this recipe for Zucchini lasagna, and decided to roll with it.


What you need:


3 Medium Zucchinis
Ricotta Cheese
Tomato Pasta Sauce

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
While preheating, cut the zucchini width wise into slices under a half and inch thick.
Layer the zucchini, sauce, and cheese in a baking dish.


Bake uncovered for 50 minutes, then let sit for 10 minutes.



Sorry this ended up being not so pretty. Who knew that using zucchini instead of pasta would make it fall apart into a big mess?



This dish was so simple and easy to make; only three ingredients and not much effort.  The beauty of this meal is that you can add so many different things and end up with a different meal every night. Add onions, garlic, oregano, hot peppers - its endless! The mix of tomato sauce and ricotta gave it that authentic perfect Italian flavor. The zucchini was both soft and crunchy, giving this dish a nice mix of textures.  Substituting pasta for veggies increased the healthiness level, but didn't jeopardize the comforting factor. This was a great version of the classic comfort food.   

What is your favorite way to alter a blank canvass dish?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ramen Broccoli Slaw

Welcome to fall...not really. I don't know about you, but its been in the 80's here in Virginia! October is my most favorite of seasons, but sadly its not quite feeling like fall around here.  Last weekend I was in Ocean City, MD to see my dad compete in the regional Barbershop Chorus competition.  While he was rehearsing I actually went to the beach! The beach, in October. Warm weather calls for warm weather food.


In the spring, I went to Ben's cousin's bridal shower. I absolutely love that side of his family. While most of Ben's family either forgets that I don't eat meat, or they just don't care enough to accommodate me, his aunt is the absolute sweetest.  Every family gathering at her place involves her walking me through all the vegetarian options that she made for me!  During the shower, we went through the same ritual. She pointed at a bowl full of greens and noodles, called it Ramen Broccoli Coleslaw, and told me it was vegetarian. I had never heard of such a thing. but after trying it I was hooked!  I decided it was time to try making it myself!

What you need:

Top Ramen Oriental flavor (the only vegetarian Ramen)
Olive oil
Broccoli Coleslaw

Unfortunately, I lost the recipe, and I can't remember how much I used of each ingredient. I just remember that you smash the Ramen into small pieces, mix it up with the Ramen flavor packet and the other ingredients. If I find the recipe I will let you guys know!




The second time around, this was just as good as I remembered! I loved the combination of salty from the Ramen spices, the sweetness from the sugar, and the tang from the vinegar. The veggies were really fresh and really added to the mix of textures. The different crunches from the veggies and the noodles made this dish pretty complex. I love finding ways to dress up Ramen noodles, and this was definitely a winner in my book!

What are your favorite ways to dress up Ramen? Have you ever tried this Ramen Broccoli Slaw?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup

Hello hello! I hope you are all doing well. I am actually in Ocean City this weekend to see my dad sing in his chorus. I love seeing my dad, but its always bittersweet having to say bye.

It has been really nice getting back to writing. I have to say, that little break I took was quite refreshing. I feel so much more connected to my blog, and really enjoying writing again. I sadly don't have much free time lately, but I am going to do my best to keep on blogging!

Today I have the ultimate in classic comfort food. Its not mac and cheese, not meat loaf, and definitely not stew: its grilled cheese and tomato soup!


There is something so special and grilled cheese and tomato soup. Dipping the sandwich into the warm tomatoey goodness just makes you feel like a kid again. Its warm and tasty with those classic comfort flavors.

On the soup side of the plate, I opted for Amy's Chunky Tomato Bisque. It was actually the first time trying this flavor.


This soup had such a fresh, tomatoey taste. I could actually taste a difference between this soup, and the non-organic ones that I sometimes eat. I especially loved the chunks of tomato and the hint of cheesiness. It was definitely a grown up version of the basic tomato soup.




Next, I bring you the grilled cheese part of this dynamic duo.


While for the cheese, I used the classic, individually wrapped, American cheese slices, I decided to add a little something special.  Recently, while visiting a friend, she let me pick a couple jalapenos off her plant! I thought they would be the perfect compliment to a grilled cheese, so I diced them up, put it in the sandwich, and cooked it in my panini press.


YUM! I love that you can see the jalapeno pieces. This sandwich had two of my favorite qualities, meltiness and cheesiness. I couldn't get over how cheesy it was. The jalapeno bits gave it the perfect amount of spice. It really brought this classic sandwich to a whole new, grown up, level.

It was so fun getting to regress to childhood for a meal, but still feeling like just a little bit of an adult.

What is your favorite kid food?

Bye from the Veggie Side!


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