Thursday, February 27, 2014

Romantic Pancakes

Last week I celebrated a really nice Valentine's day by exchanging gifts and having a nice dinner with Ben. He got me a beautiful new tea set that I absolutely love! Only a few days later, Ben left for a long weekend to go skiing with his family, and I stayed home to man the fort.

I'm not sure if I was just missing Ben, or still in the Valentine's mood, but I decided to get a little creative with my breakfast one morning.  As you know, I'm not the biggest fan of breakfast foods, but I knew I had a lonely box of pancake mix in the cupboard that wanted some attention. I had also been itching to try out my new heart molds. Add in some mixed berries and chocolate sauce, and I had made some very romantic pancakes...just for myself.




There is not much better than chocolate with strawberries, so I knew I'd have a winner. I mixed the chocolate sauce right into the batter, but next time I'll squeeze it onto the pancakes as they cook, for a more chocolaty flavor. I loved the hot, sweet berries inside and the pancakes were so soft and fluffy too! This little romantic breakfast for one came together perfectly, with a cup of tea in my brand new set.

What do you think of my little romantic pancakes? Would you eat these alone, or share them with someone special?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Easy Miso Soup

I have loved miso soup ever since I first tried it, and I remember that first.  When I was in high school my mom found a brand of vegetarian instant soups in the supermarket, and I lived on those.  They made all different flavors, and one was miso. I remember how much I loved it, and how happy I was that it was vegetarian.

I started ordering miso soup from Sushi restaurants left and right. They all seemed to taste a little different, so I decided to see what really went into miso. From what I gathered, miso itself is made from fermented soy beans. When miso soup is made it can be made with just miso and water, or it can also have fish stock.  That must have been the culprit of the unusual taste in the different soups.

That meant I sad had to cut miso soup from my diet, since you never know how restaurants make it. I figured that was that. Then Ben found a really easy miso soup recipe. It was completely vegan and looked easy to make. We pick up some miso paste and Ben made his soup...and it was SO GOOD! After stealing a ton of spoonfuls, I knew I had to make it myself.


What you need:


4 tablespoons of miso paste
1 lb of tofu, diced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
dried seaweed, crumbled
6 cups of water

What to do:
Heat the water in a medium pot, until boiling.
Once water is boiling remove from heat.
Add the onions, crumbled seaweed, and tofu to the boiling water.


Scoop out a tablespoon of miso, and put the spoonful in the water. While the spoon is in the water, using a fork or chopstick, slowly dissolve the miso into the water.
Repeat 3 more times.
Serve with a few dashes of soy sauce.






This miso soup was amazing! It was so authentic with the perfect Asian flavors. The tofu was nice and soft, and added an element of protein. The onions were crunchy, and added depth to the flavor or the soup. The flavor of the seaweed gave this soup that fishy element that in other soups comes from the fish stock. A splash of soy sauce was the perfect finishing touch. It added that last bit of saltiness that was needed to complete the soup.

Do you love miso soup too? Will you try making your own easy miso soup?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Asparagus and Sausage with Rice

While most vegetarians might hate living with a meat eater, it actually comes in handy. Hey! Don't get me wrong, I still hate when I have to be around when he's cooking pork chops, but being exposed to different foods has given me some great ideas (plus I like having a taste-tester to tell me if my veggie meats taste like real meat).

Since I have zero experience with sausage, it seriously confuses me.  My supermarket carries a few different kinds of vegetarian sausages, and I want to try them all, but I don't really know what to do with them. I tried some on a bun, but I wanted some new ideas. Ben recently made a make-shift jambalaya with rice, sausage, and potatoes. There it was, the perfect opportunity to vegetarianize! (I might have just made that word up).


What you need:


1 pound of vegetarian sausage, sliced
1 1/2 cup of rice
3 cups of veggie broth
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped
3 cloves of garlic
oil for cooking
celery salt
parsley flakes
chipotle Tabasco (or you can use any hot sauce plus liquid smoke)

What to do:
Begin by cooking  the rice according to the directions on the package, however boil the rice in the veggie broth, rather than plain water.
While the rice is cooking, heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
Saute the garlic, asparagus, and sausage.
Add the celery salt, pepper, parsley, pepper, and Tabasco to the saute.
Saute until sausage browns and asparagus softens.


Once the rice is cooked, combine with the sausage and asparagus.







The first thing I noticed was lots of spice! The sausage was meaty and very flavorful, and I loved the soupy flavor from cooking the rice in broth. This turned out to be surprisingly comforting! I loved the hint of smokiness from the Tabasco.

Now I have a confession about asparagus. This is only the second time I have ever eaten it! It used to totally gross me out, and I had been too scared to try it. I bit the bullet (and the veggies) and actually tried a bite of asparagus that came as a side to a meal Ben ordered in a restaurant a few months ago..and I actually liked it.

If you have been following around here, you'll notice that there is no shortage of broccoli on this blog, but not too much other variety in veggies. I have been trying to expand my veggie horizons and try cooking different kinds. I ended up liking this asparagus too! It had a nice softness with a hint of sweet and a fresh veggie flavor. I wouldn't say asparagus is a favorite food of mine, but I did like it and I am going to try and make it a regular in my diet.

Do you try to expand your veggie menu too? Do meat meals inspire you to create veggie options?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Veggie Packed Minestrone

I have tried a number of canned soups, which are always warm, healthy, and comforting in the winter (or any time of year). Every time I review a canned soup, someone always tells me to try cooking it myself. I recently made corn and potato chowder, and was super happy with the result. One of my favorite soups is minestrone. While I love Amy's soups, I knew it was time to try my own!


Inspired by All Recipes.

What you need:


4 small (or 2 medium) potatoes, pealed and chopped
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, diced
5 cups of veggie broth
1 can of green beans
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of chick peas
about a 1/2 lb of carrots, pealed and chopped
oil for cooking
your favorite Italian spices to taste (I used basil and oregano)
pepper and celery salt to taste

What to do:
Heat oil over medium head in a large pot.
Saute onion, pepper, celery salt, and Italian seasonings for about 5 minutes.
Stir in canned tomatoes (with juice), chick peas, green beans, carrots and garlic.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft, about 30 minutes.






I was really excited when I had noticed, again, that I made a completely vegan dish...until I added a side of cheesy garlic toast.


I was so pleased with this perfect blend of Italian flavors and tomato. I loved the bite of protein that the chickpeas added, it was almost meaty. The green beans and carrots gave this soup a great veggie packed flavor. The potatoes were nice and soft, and filled with the flavor of the soup. All the veggies made this soup so colorful and beautiful. This soup was so comforting. I'd call it Italian with a twist!

What is your favorite soup? Will your try out this minestrone?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Cheesy Broccoli Casserole

Now that we are really in the dead of winter, I have been thoroughly enjoying comfort foods. Anything warm, cheesy, and comforting is the perfect food to end a cold winter day with. Comfort foods are not always the healthiest, so it helps to tweak them here and there to turn them from junk food, to a great meal. The best way to make some great comfort food is in the crock pot. I love that you can just toss everything in and leave it. Its rare to find a great looking vegetarian crock pot recipe, but when I found one for cheesy broccoli casserole, I knew I had a winner.


Inspired by Stephanie 'Dea.

What you need:


2 pounds of broccoli, trimmed
1/3 cup of flour
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp brown mustard
1 cup of fat free milk
1 cup of veggie broth
1/2 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup of shredded mozzerella

What to do:
Combine the flour, salt, pepper, and mustard in a large bowl.
Toss flour mixture with the broccoli and pour into the crock pot.


Pour in the milk, broth, and cover with cheese.


Cook on low for about 6 hours, until broccoli is tender and the edges start to brown.




This casserole was crunchy, creamy, so comforting, and so delicious! There was a hint of spice from the pepper and mustard. I loved that the outsides were crispy. All the spices from the broth made me feel like I was eating a solid cheesy broccoli soup! This meal was the perfect mix of vegetables and creamy comfort. It would work perfectly as a side dish, or a meal on its own!

Will you try this crock pot cheesy broccoli casserole?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Greek Style Panini

There is officially a love affair going on, between my panini press and I. It is the best think I have added into my kitchen in a long time. When I have some left over ingredients that I don't know what to do with, they seem to always work perfectly, cooked into a panini. I have my two staples that I always make, cheddar apple, and southwestern, but I have been wanting to add a new panini to my menu. With my recent leftovers of feta and olives, and hummus on sale two for one, it was Greek style panini time!


What you need:


2 slices of bread
6-8 pitted Kalamata olives
Feta cheese
Your favorite hummus
Half a tomato, sliced

What to do:
Assemble your sandwich with the hummus spread on, feta, olives, and tomato


Put everything into the panini press and cook until golden brown on the outside


I ate my panini with a side salad.



This panini was s incredibly delicious! It tasted like I ordered it right out of a sandwich shop. The hummus was creamy, and added an element of protein from the chick peas. The olives and feta were briny, and the tomato was hot a juicy. All the Greek flavors came together perfectly all in a hot and crispy crust.

What is your favorite panini combination? Will you try out this Greek style one?

Bye from the Veggie Side!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Mediterranean Pasta Bake

Rabbits rabbits, and happy February! We all know how extremely cold it has been lately, and it always seems that February is the coldest month.  It always seems that there is a big snow storm every February, and after the two blizzards we just had, I'm not ready for another!  Winter wouldn't be so bad if I could just spend it all indoors with some hot cocoa by the fireplace, but unfortunately I am not a bear in hibernation. One way to combat the winter cold, is with warm comfort foods. While everyone loves the traditional comfort foods, its fun to change them up. I love cheesy, baked pasta, but I also love Mediterranean flavors.


Inspired by All Recipes.

What you need:


1 lb box of pasta
1 Jalapeno pepper, diced
1 bag of spinach
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
20-30 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped in half
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Olive oil for cooking

What do to:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta according to directions on the box.
While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Saute the jalapenos for about 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, olives, and spinach, let simmer for 10-15 minutes.


Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse.
Toss the pasta into the tomato mixture until evenly coated, and transfer into a large baking dish.
Top with cheeses and bake for 5 minutes.
Broil for an additional 5 minutes, or until cheese is brown and bubbly.






This meal was full of gooey, melty cheese and lots of heat! The tomatoes were hot and juicy, the olives were salty and briny, and the feta was nice and creamy. The spinach added a nice veggie flavor. I loved the texture of the olives with the soft pasta. This meal turned out to have a great mix of both Greek and Italian elements, which I loved! Everything was all baked and melted together with a crusty, baked top. This was full of flavor, and full of comfort!

Do you like to put twists on comfort foods? Will you try this pasta bake?

Bye from the Veggie Side!


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