Tag Archives: vegetarian recipes

Orzo Pasta Salad

Simple flavor combinations always taste the best to me and this recipe is the perfect example.

Orzo Pasta Salad has been a staple in our house for years. The combination of fresh dill, scallions, feta and lemon juice add a lightness that make it perfect for warm summer days. We take this on camping trips, on picnics, and have used it when entertaining. I’ve never met a person that didn’t like this salad though this picture does not do it justice:orzo pasta salad

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Simple and Satisfying Mexican Casserole

This simple recipe is full of possibility. Starting with basic ingredients, this meal can be customized to meet the tastes of every household. It makes a satisfying dinner and only improves as leftovers. So pull up a fork and get ready for some Mexican Casserole!

mexican casserole

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Kicking Off the New Year with Vegetarian Hoppin’ John

I am a superstitious person. Often times the superstitions that I adhere to are things that just make good sense. I don’t hold open umbrellas over my head indoors, I don’t walk under ladders and I like to eat Hoppin’ John on New Year’s Day.
vegetarian hoppin john

Eating Hoppin’ John is a southern tradition that is believed to bring a year filled with luck and prosperity. The peas in the dish symbolize pennies or coins and including greens in the meal represents money. Who wouldn’t want to add a little good fortune to a new year when you only have to eat a delicious meal?

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A Basic Baked Ziti Recipe

The Husband and I have been watching The Sopranos lately. Aside from being a brilliant show, each episode has one thing in common – amazing food. I decided to channel my inner Carmela Soprano and try my hand at a Baked Ziti recipe.

baked ziti

Carol’s Recipe for Baked Ziti from All Recipes was delicious. Super simple and full of basic ingredients, I’m sure that Carmela Soprano would shake her head in disappointment, but we loved it and have moved this recipe to my “Favorites” list. I halved the recipe and served with sauteed spinach and a ciabatta roll.

Here’s Carol’s recipe with my notes:

1 (16 ounce) package ziti pasta (our little grocery store didn’t have ziti so we used a penne style pasta)
1 egg, lightly beaten (I used a whole egg even though I halved the recipe)
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 (28 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce, divided (I used Newman’s Own Marinara)
2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.

2. Fill a large pot with lightly salted water and bring to a boil. Stir in ziti pasta and return to a boil. Cook pasta, stirring occasionally, until cooked through but still firm to the bite, about 11 minutes; drain.

3. Combine egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese in a bowl. Spread 1/3 the spaghetti sauce in prepared baking dish. Top with 1/2 the pasta, 1/2 the ricotta mixture, 1/3 the spaghetti sauce, 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 the Parmesan cheese; repeat layers. Top with remaining spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese; cover baking dish with aluminum foil.

4. Bake in preheated oven until heated through, 45 to 50 minutes. I removed the aluminum foil halfway through the baking process so the cheese would get golden brown on top.

Does your television influence the food you eat?

It’s Not Delivery, It’s Homemade (Pizza!)

Bread Machine Pizza Dough

I’m having an affair with my bread machine. After mutliple breadmaking disasters, I  banished the machine to the basement where it has been collecting dust for years. Recently I had an urge to give it a try again and after doing a little research, finally turned out a successful loaf! What ended up being the secret? NOT following the manufacturers instructions. I now add the yeast to the water instead of putting it in the machine last.Three loaves later, I was compelled to kick it up a notch and try making my own pizza dough.

The important thing to keep in mind when making your own pizza dough is to allow enough time. While a bread machine will do all of the work for you, it still takes a long time. For example, the “dough setting” on my machine takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete, that’s not a last-minute dinner idea or you’ll be waiting for a long time to eat. Get that dough started at a reasonable hour and then go about your business! I used All Recipe’s very highly rated Bread Machine Pizza Dough recipe that is made using flat beer and it came out amazing:
homemade pizza

Here’s their recipe:


1 cup flat beer (I used Fulton’s Sweet Child of Vine)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast


  1. Put beer, butter, sugar, salt, flour, and yeast in a bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough setting, and press Start.
  2. Remove dough from bread machine when cycle is complete. Roll or press dough to cover a prepared pizza pan. Brush lightly with olive oil. Cover and let stand 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  4. Spread sauce and toppings on top of dough. Bake until crust is lightly brown and crispy on the outside, about 24 minutes.

For the sauce, I combined diced tomatoes with the last of my slow roasted garden tomatoes in the freezer and topped it with freshly grated mozzarella cheese. Served with a simple salad on the side with a homemade vinaigrette, we declared it a culinary masterpiece:
homemade pizza and salad

Winter Warm Up: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

What’s for Dinner? Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie!

Temperatures took a nosedive in Minnesota over the last few weeks and that made me want to fire up the oven. Shepherd’s Pie was not a meal that I grew up eating, but this recipe from EatingWell caught my attention. Lentils? Mashed potatoes? Veggies? Ready in 45 minutes? Sign me up!vegetarian shepherd's pie

This Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie recipe is filled with yummy flavor. It would be easy to make vegan, or add cooked meat to individual ramekins if non-vegetarians are coming to the dinner table. I had originally planned to add browned ground beef to The Husband’s ramekin, but he had other dinner plans that evening. Since I was making it for myself, I kept the recipe vegetarian and used one small baking dish instead of individual ramekins. I substituted regular milk for the buttermilk and used frozen mixed veggies instead of frozen corn.

Here are the instructions from EatingWell:

1 pound Yukon Gold or white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used regular milk)
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1 tablespoon water
3/4 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed (I used frozen mixed veggies)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 14-ounce can vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cooked or canned (rinsed) lentils

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with 2 inches of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, partially cover and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. Add buttermilk, butter and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until mostly smooth.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat four 10- to 12-ounce broiler-safe ramekins (or an 8-inch-square broiler-safe baking dish) with cooking spray. Place ramekins on a broiler-safe baking sheet.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and water. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in corn, thyme and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and stir to coat. Stir in broth. Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in lentils and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes.
  4. Divide the hot lentil mixture among the prepared ramekins (or spread in the baking dish). Top with the mashed potatoes. Broil, rotating halfway through, until the potato is lightly browned in spots, 6 to 10 minutes.

This simple and delicious recipe for Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie makes 4 generous servings  (2 cups each) and is ready to eat in 45 minutes. The leftovers will knock your socks off.