I’m really loving cooking vegetarian on Mondays.  The challenge of eating meat-free one day a week, has me researching tasty entrees I probably wouldn’t try usually.  This tortellini dish literally blew us away.  I had my vegetarian friend over for dinner and she was also impressed.

I must say, the Georgia Olive Farms Olive Oil really made this dish.  It melded beautifully with the sharp bite of fresh garlic, the herbed pasta and the creamy goat cheese.  This recipe should probably serve four, but Jim and I ate 3/4 of it between the two of us. The only thing that would have made it any better, would be a fresh loaf of french bread to sop up the delicious sauce left at the bottom of the bowl.

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Isn’t that olive oil beautiful?

Fresh Tortellini with Asparagus, Peas & Parsley

printable recipe

  • salt
  • 1/3 cup Georgia Olive Farms Olive Oil
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 lb. fresh cheese tortellini (I used herbed cheese from the Farmer’s Market)
  • 1 lb. thin asparagus, trimmed of tough, woody stems, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces (leave the tips whole)
  • 1 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • 2 oz. fresh goat cheese, softened
  • black pepper
  • parmesan cheese, grated

In a covered pot, bring well-salted water to a boil over high heat. In a large pasta serving bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook the tortellini, asparagus, and peas in the boiling water until the tortellini is al dente, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and vegetables and toss with the garlic-oil mixture. Add the pine nuts, mint, and goat cheese and stir until the cheese melts into a sauce, adding cooking water as needed to moisten the pasta. Season to taste with salt, pepper and parmesan and serve.

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This bowl was not full for long.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve started making lunch for the ladies in the office and I’m a big fan of Meatless Monday.  So, when I needed something to pair with a Cream of Tomato Soup, these were the perfect match!  I threw together a batch of these ridiculously easy zucchini tots one evening to “test” the recipe to make sure they were good…and, my husband and I devoured the entire pan before they could cool. Needless to say, they are delicious.

Not only are these tots easy to prepare, they can be frozen and reheated in the toaster oven for a quick breakfast or afternoon snack. An added bonus is your family will love them and it’s an tasty way to sneak some veggies into the pickiest of eaters. Feel free to play around with the vegetable and cheese combos.  I think carrots, squash or broccoli would be great substitutions as would monterey jack, swiss or muenster.

Zucchini Tots

printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ onion, diced
  • ¼ cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Grate the zucchini over a paper towel. Pat the excess water out of the zucchini once grated. Combine all the ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill the muffin tins with the mixture. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the tops are golden. Use a knife to help remove the muffins from the pan and enjoy!

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Mix all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl (I was making a double batch in this pic).

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Be sure to fill the tins to the top for a perfect-sized tot.

Check out more delicious #BackToSchool recipes from the #SundaySupper community listed below:

Please be sure you join us on Twitter throughout the day on Sunday. We’ll be meeting up at 7:00 p.m. EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat where we’ll talk about Back to School Meals and ways to make meal time easier!

All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag, or you can follow us through TweetChat! We’ll be sharing great recipes and tips all afternoon, and we’ll be talking all things Back to School Meals during our chat!

We’d also love to feature your Back to School Recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers!

I’ve had several people ask me for a good quinoa recipe lately, and this is the one I always recommend.  The lemon gives it a refreshing, summery taste and the mixture of toasted pine nuts, kale and quinoa give it a surprising heartiness that leaves you feeling full.  It’s great on its own, or alongside a tasty wrap to round out a healthy lunch.  This recipe is a great guide, because you can swap out different ingredients to change up the taste…use almonds or walnuts instead of pine nut, sub feta or cubed mozzarella for the goat cheese or even use a different grain, such as Farro, for the base.   The combinations are endless while staying healthy, delicious and budget-friendly.

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A satisfying choice for Meatless Monday

Kale & Quinoa Pilaf

 Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups salted water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale, washed and sliced into 1” ribbons
  • 1 lemon (Meyer, if you can find them) zested and juiced
  • 2 scallions,chopped
  • 1tbs roasted walnut oil (you can use evoo or sunflower oil, but the walnut oil really has a  great flavor)
  • 3 tbs toasted pine nuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

Bring the salted water to a boil and add quinoa. Cover and lower the heat to simmer.  Simmer 10 minutes, then top with chopped kale and re-cover.  Simmer 5 more minutes then remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine lemon juice and zest through goat cheese in a medium bowl.  Head back to the stove to check on the quinoa.  It should have absorbed all the liquid and you should be able to fluff it with a fork.  Mix the kale in with the quinoa, then pour over lemon/oil mixture.  You can serve immediately or chill overnight and have for lunch the next day. It’s great served warm or cold!

I’ve really gotten into this #Meatless Monday thing once I realized what positive benefits it reaps…both to the individual and the environment.  Not to mention, having a meat-free day also saves a few pennies.  This veggie quesadilla was a Monday evening hit a few weeks ago. I served it with a Chilled Avocado Soup for a tasty and nurient-packed dinner.  You don’t have to stick to the veggies listed, either.  I think it would be great with caramelized onions, sliced bell peppers and/or mushrooms.

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Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas

printable recipe 

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 8 (8 inch) whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in onion, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in beans and corn, then add sugar, salsa, and pepper flakes; mix well. Cook until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  2. Melt 2 teaspoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Place a tortilla in the skillet, sprinkle evenly with cheese, top with some of the bean mixture and top with fresh cilantro. Place another tortilla on top, cook until golden, then flip and cook on the other side. Melt more butter as needed, and repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.

When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in San Pedro, Belize in May, we shared a delicious bowl of gazpacho at the Blue Water Grill.  It was our final night on the island before heading inland to San Ignacio –what a delicious choice for our  last meal! The refreshingly cool bowl of soup was welcome on the palate after a long hot day at the beach.  As soon as we returned home I immediately searched, and found, an amazing recipe for the chilled appetizer by Ina Garten.  This has definitely made it to the list of summer staples!

P.S.Be sure to check out more #BeatTheHeat recipes listed below from fellow members of the #SundaySupper community!

Gazpacho garnished with mango

Gazpacho

Printable recipe 

Ingredients

  • 1 cucumber, halved and seeded, not peeled
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and seeded
  • 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 red onion, I’ve alo used Vidalia, which is a sweet substitution
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups Mott’s Low Sodium Garden Blend tomato juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Garnish – fresh avocado, mango, pineapple or papaya, cubed

Directions

Roughly chop the cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, and red onions into 1-inch cubes. Put each vegetable separately into a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until it is coarsely chopped for a chunky soup.  Blend longer for a smoother version (we prefer chunky). After each vegetable is processed, combine them in a large bowl and add garlic, tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well and chill overnight before serving. Garnish with ripe avocado, mango, pineapple or papaya.

#BeatTheHeat Appetizers:

#BeatTheHeat Salads, Soups, & Sides:

#BeatTheHeat Main Dishes:

#BeatTheHeat Desserts:

#BeatTheHeat Drinks & Cocktails:

Monday Menu Plan

January 2, 2012

It’s a new year, so let’s stick to those healthy resolutions by featuring, not one, but two vegetarian dinners this week.  The portobello burgers have become a weekly regular for us.  So tasty AND guilt-free.  Who’d a thought adding a couple of shakes of steak seasoning to mushrooms would make them taste so meaty and delicious???

Meatless Monday: Butternut Squash Soup & Kale and Quinoa Pilaf

Meatless Tuesday: Portobello Burgers

Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday:  Jim’s Making Indian

Friday:  Gu’s Bistro

Related articles

Monday Menu Plan

December 19, 2011

Meatless Monday:  Pistachio-Crusted Tofu with Ponzo Sauce over Brown Rice

Tuesday:  Dinner in Athens…would like to try The National

Wednesday:  Trivia at Corner Pub

Thursday:  Gu’s Bistro

Friday:  Fellini’s

Saturday:  Christmas Eve Dinner!  Butternut Squash Soup, Roasted Organic Chicken with Stuffing and Gravy, Cauliflower Gratin

Arroz y Gandules

December 18, 2011

I grew up with my grandmother making this simple, filling and inexpensive Puerto Rican meal of Arroz and Gandules (rice and pigeon peas).  You can easily make it vegetarian by omitting the bacon and chorizo for a well-rounded Meatless Monday Meal. 

Rice and Gandules

  • 2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed (I’ve tried making it with brown rice and it came out a little mushy)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, chopped
  • 4 tbs Sofrito
  • 1 15 oz can Gandules (Pigeon Peas), drained
  • 1 link Chorizo Sausage
  • 1 envelope Sazon con Culanto y Achiote
  • 1 8 oz can Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Spanish Olives
  • salt and pepper

Heat a large pot on medium-high heat, cook chopped bacon until crispy, remove bacon from pot and set aside. 

Add sofrito (stand back it will spatter) to bacon drippings, cook about 3-5 minutes.  Add pigeon peas, sausage, bacon, rice, sazon and tomato sauce to the pot, stir.

Add water and bring it to a boil on high until water evaporates, stir rice over ONLY once*, cover and simmer on low for 35 minutes.  Add olives and stir until heated through.

*It is important not to stir rice more than once otherwise it will come out very sticky.

 

Monday Menu Plan

December 12, 2011

Meatless Monday:  Roasted Vegetable Gourmet Pizza from Whole Foods

Tuesday:  Broccoli Cheese Soup; Lemon Lamb Chops with Sautéed Greens

Wednesday:  Bison Burgers with Cabernet Onions and Canadian Cheddar

Thursday:  Holiday Party

Friday:  Dirty Santa Party {LOTS of apps to prepare!}

Southeast Meets West

December 7, 2011

At first glance, this recipe looked like a healthy, vegetarian meal.  Great dish for a Meatless Monday

At second glance, I questioned if Paula Deen got her her hot little hands on the original recipe. I mean, vegetable oil for frying and 11 TABLESPOONS of butter?!?  Since when did Paula start fixing tofu???

After I got over the amount of oil and butter in the recipe, I realized it looked like a great dish with a lot of yummy flavors, so I may as well give it a shot.  I tweaked it a bit with the addition of green bell pepper, decreased the amount of serranos (I mean, eight?!? I guess Bobby Flay got his hands on this, too) and I lessened the amount of butter, reflected below.  I just can’t consciously tell people to put 11 tablespoons of butter in their food. 

It turned out to be an extremely flavorful dish that I will definitely make again.  I hope you enjoy it just as much as  we did!

Black Pepper Tofu

  • 1 3/4 lbs firm tofu
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 stick  of butter
  • 12 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 serrano chili, thinly sliced
  • 12 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp sweet soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 4 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp black pepper
  • 16 small and thin green onions, cut into 1 1/4-inch segments
  • I green bell pepper, julienned

Start with the tofu. Pour enough oil into a large frying pan or wok to come 1/4 inch up the sides and heat. Cut the tofu into large cubes, about 1 x 1 inch, then add to the hot oil. (You’ll need to fry the tofu pieces in a few batches so they don’t stew in the pan.) Fry, turning them around as you go, until they are golden all over. As they are cooked, transfer them onto paper towels.

Remove the oil and any sediment from the pan, then put the butter inside and melt it. Add the shallots, chiles, garlic and ginger. Sauté on low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the ingredients have turned shiny and are totally soft. Next, add the soy sauces and sugar and stir, then add the black pepper.

Add the tofu to warm it up in the sauce for about a minute. Finally, stir in the green onions and green bell pepper. Serve hot, with Jasmine rice.

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