Eggplant Parm Burgers

Posted on

Today’s the last Friday of Lent and the Lenten dinner blog series was admittedly sort of a bust this year. We ended up revisiting a lot of old favorites – and getting a fair amount of pizza. Still, I couldn’t let Lent end without sharing these.

As soon as I saw these on Josie’s blog, I knew I had to make them ASAP – a mashup of burgers and eggplant parm? I’m so in. These were just as good as I was hoping they’d be. They also froze well – I stuck too in the freezer for a busy night and they came out just as good as the first time.

I think these officially displaced the black bean burgers for my favorite meatless burger.

Eggplant Parm Burgers
(from Pink Parsley)
Makes 4 Burgers

1 large eggplant (about 1 1/2 – 2 lbs.)
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. minced fresh basil, plus more for serving
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup marinara sauce
Sliced mozzarella cheese
Hamburger buns
1 Tbsp. butter, softened
Garlic powder

Preheat your broiler. Lightly spray a foil-lined baking sheet. Peel the eggplant and slice into coins about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange on the sprayed baking sheet in a single layer. Using 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil, brush both sides of the eggplant rounds. Season with salt and pepper. Broil for about 7-10 minutes, until golden brown. Watch them closely to make sure you don’t burn them! Remove from oven and cool until able to handle.

Roughly chop the eggplant and place in a food processor. Add the panko, parmesan, parsley, basil, garlic, red pepper flakes and egg to the food processor too. Pulse until evenly mixed. Form into four patties and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees and heat a nonstick, oven-safe skillet with the remaining oil over medium heat. Transfer the eggplant patties to the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Top each burger with 1 Tbsp. of the marinara sauce and a slice of cheese and move the skillet to the oven. Bake about five minutes, until cheese is  melted and sauce is heated through.

While the patties bake, spread the butter on the cut side of the buns and sprinkle generously with garlic powder. Arrange, cut-side up on a baking sheet. Place in the oven when you take out the eggplant patties and toast lightly. Serve eggplant patties on garlic bread buns.


Black Bean Fajitas

Posted on

One of the hardest things about meatless Fridays, for me, is that I don’t usually cook on Fridays. It’s our typical date night so we’re usually going out. But, when I go out I’m always drawn to a burger. Or steak. Or something else that’s off the menu on Lenten Fridays. So, we stay home and I cook, even though I usually don’t want to.

Quick meals make it easier to not throw in the towel and order a pizza. These were whipped up in no time and they were really good.

Black Bean Fajitas
(from One Hundred Dollars a Month)
Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1  red bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 zucchini, halved and sliced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cilantro, optional
Tortillas, for serving

In a large skillet, heat oil until shimmering. Add in beans, pepper, onion and zucchini and cook until the veggies are nearly done. Stir in the cumin, chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro, if desired. Serve in tortillas.


Dill Pickle Dip

Posted on

My friend Sarah brings up pickle dip whenever we start talking about appetizers. Or football food. Or any other snack-food occasion. And every time she mentions it, I think, I really should make that. I finally got around to it and I’m totally kicking myself for waiting so long.

I’m a huge pickle fan, so this was totally up my ally. Mark and I polished off an embarrassing amount of it while watching a basketball game. It’d be a great snack for March Madness (or, because it’s green, St. Patrick’s Day!).

Dill Pickle Dip
(from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup chopped dill pickles
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
2- 4 Tbsp. pickle juice (depending on how thick you want the dip to be)
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients well and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Bang Bang Cauliflower

Posted on

Mark’s been working late recently, which means the opportunity to make some dinners he’d turn his nose up at – like cauliflower as a main dish. It’s one of the best parts of dinner-for-1 nights!

I adapted this recipe a little – I used a whole wheat batter and baked instead of fried – to make a little healthier. Granted, you’re still covering everything in this amazing bang bang sauce, but eating so much cauliflower has to balance it out a bit, right?

This is a great meatless meal option, but chicken would also work great here.

Bang Bang Cauliflower
(adapted from Life and Kitchen)
Serves 2 as a main dish

1 head of cauliflower
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
2-4 tsp. sriracha sauce
Green onions

Preheat the oven for 450F degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into florets. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and milk. Dunk the cauliflower, letting excess drip off, and place on a lined baking sheet. When all the cauliflower is dunked, spray the tops with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes.

While the cauliflower bakes, whisk together the mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce and sriracha in a large bowl. Toss the baked cauliflower with the sauce and serve immediately.


16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent

Posted on

Last year, I kicked off Lent by sharing a roundup of meatless meal ideas. Part of Lenten obligation for us is abstaining from meat on Fridays, and over the past few years I’ve made it a project to shake us from our usual menus of cheese pizza and pasta with tomato sauce. I’ll be sharing new, meatless dishes on Fridays during Lent again this year – but I’m kicking off again with a roundup of our favorite meatless meals of the year to give you some inspiration.

Whether you’re observing Lenten Fridays or just looking for some new meatless dishes to work into your rotation, these are all great options. And you can check out the roundup I shared last year of 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent here.

Pizza Cobbler

Apple and Cheddar Panini

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Citrus Curry Dressing

Easy Roasted Eggplant

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

Zucchini, Chile and Red Onion Fritatta

Roasted Vegetable and Hummus Tart

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Berry Kiwi Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing

Layered Vegetarian Tostadas

Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Ricotta Spread

Roasted Vegetable and Black Bean Burritos

Potato Enchiladas

Barbecue Quinoa Salad

Bubble-Up Pizza

Korean Vegetable Pancakes with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce


Bubble Up Pizza

Posted on

This is pizza for a busy night. Or, pizza-when-I-don’t-want-to-deal-with-crust pizza. It takes all of five minutes to throw together and is on the table in less than a half hour. When paired with a big, green salad, it’s a great meal.

It uses canned biscuits at as the base. I have a huge soft spot for these so I’ll happily indulge occasionally, but if you’re not a fan, I think pizza dough would work just as well.

 

Bubble Up Pizza
(slightly adapted from Pass the Sushi)
Serves 4

2 containers canned biscuits
1 jar pizza sauce
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

Slice each biscuit into 4 pieces. Place them in a bowl with the pizza sauce and 1 cup mozzarella. Toss until evenly coated.

Spread the biscuit mixture into a cast-iron skillet. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle remaining mozzarella over the top and return to the oven until it melts.


Barbecue Quinoa Salad #VeryVegetarian

Posted on

A few weeks ago, I was selected to participate in the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge hosted by OXO and Plated. It’s a really fun event - OXO sent bloggers a package of cooking tools to use in creating a vegetarian dinner recipe for Plated. Plated is a service that sends you the ingredients to make a gourmet dinner in under 30 minutes – and they’ll be selecting a few of the recipes submitted to the Very Vegetarian Recipe Challenge to feature in their meal plans next month. Very cool, right?

I had a lot of fun coming up with a dish to make and submit. This one turned out perfectly - it clocks in at just about 20 minutes and is ridiculously easy to get on the table. It’s also one of those vegetarian meals that will easily please meat eaters too. It can also easily be made vegan – just make sure you’re using a vegan barbecue sauce and skip the cheddar.

Barbecue Quinoa Salad
Serves 2

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/3 cup barbecue sauce
1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small head broccoli
1 ear of corn
1 red bell pepper
1 cup black beans
2 oz. cheddar cheese
4 green onions

Equipment:
Small saucepan
Salad dressing shaker (or small bowl + whisk)
Medium skillet or frying pan
Corn peeler (or sharp knife)
Tongs
Cheese grater
Mixing bowl

 

Prepare quinoa: Rinse the quinoa and add to a small saucepan. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, until all water is absorbed.

Prepare dressing: In a salad dressing shaker, combine the barbecue sauce, Cajun seasoning and 1/3 cup olive oil. Shake until well combined. Set aside.

Cook vegetables: Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Chop the broccoli into bite-size pieces (florets only) and dice the red pepper. Add both to the pan. Using a corn peeler, remove the kernels from the corn and add to pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until broccoli starts to soften. Move the veggies around with tongs occasionally to keep from burning. Add the black beans and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Prepare toppings: Shred the cheddar cheese and dice the green onions.

Assemble the dish: Add the quinoa and cooked veggies to a large bowl. Pour the dressing mixture over and toss using the tongs until evenly coated. Divide between two bowls and top with shredded cheddar and diced green onions.

Enjoy!


One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta

Posted on

Our pasta pot was passed down to us from Mark’s parents when we moved into our first apartment. It works – so we’ve yet to replace it – but, my goodness, does that pot take a lot time to come to a boil. And I sometimes avoid making pasta because I don’t want to deal with it. Sad, but true.

It’s one of the reasons I was so drawn to this recipe – one pot pasta that doesn’t need to be made in the pasta pot! This was as easy as it gets: dump, stir, cook – done. Simple, but delicious.

One Pot Tomato Basil Pasta
(from Apron Strings)
Serves 4-5

12 oz. linguine pasta
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
2 t. dried oregano leaves
2 large sprigs basil, chopped
4 1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 T. extra virgin olive oil Parmesan cheese for garnish

Add pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic and basil to a large stock pot. Add in vegetable broth and sprinkle the pepper flakes and oregano over the top. Drizzle with oil.

Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until the desired amount of liquid has evaporated .

Season to taste with salt and pepper, stirring the pot several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom. Serve garnished with parmesan cheese.


Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Ricotta Spread

Posted on

My husband has been working late recently. A lot. Which means I’ve had a lot of nights to make things he doesn’t like for dinner – like eggplant. Topped with tomatoes.  Topped with ricotta. Three things he’s not a fan of – all at the same time.

Just the name of this sandwich made me drool. Warm, crispy eggplant topped with garden-fresh tomatoes and a delicious, roasted-garlic ricotta spread. On a warm roll fresh from the bakery. Mark would have hated it. I loved it immensely.

Crispy Eggplant Sandwiches with Roasted Garlic Ricotta Spread
(adapted from Katie at the Kitchen Door)
Serves 4

1 medium eggplant
2 large eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 c. regular breadcrumbs
1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
1 T. Italian seasoning
Olive oil spray
4 rolls
1 c. arugula
1 tomato, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, skin left on
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 c. whole milk ricotta

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

Slice the eggplant into 1/2-inch thick slices. Season with slat and pepper. Beat eggs in one shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning.

Dredge each eggplant piece in the egg and then the breadcrumbs. Place on a lined baking sheet. Spray the tops with olive oil.

Bake for 15 minutes, then flip them over, spray with olive oil and bake for another 15 minutes.

In a dry skillet over medium heat, place the garlic cloves with the skin still on. Toast, flipping occasionally, until they start to blacken and are fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Let the cloves cool and then remove the skins and mash. Mix with the ricotta and parmesan.

Slice the rolls in half and top with arugula, eggplant, sliced tomato and ricotta-garlic spread.


Berry Kiwi Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing

Posted on

The latest recipe swap theme was Summer Salads – I’m not sure there’s anything better than a great salad this time of year so I’m super excited to see what everyone made!

This simple salad came from Jaida at Sweet Beginnings.  It was delicious. I made it for my summer book club meeting and everyone raved about it! The dressing was almost dessert-like, but paired with the bitterness of the spring greens it worked really well. And I’m not sure who wouldn’t like a salad with all that gorgeous summer fruit!

 Berry Kiwi Salad with Sweet Balsamic Dressing
(from Sweet Beginnings)
Serves 4-6 as a side

4 c. Spring salad mix
1 c. strawberries, hulled and halved
1 c. blackberries
2 kiwis, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 c. white balsamic vinegar
2 T. sugar
1/4 c. heavy whipping cream

To make the dressing: Whisk together the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium for 6-8 minutes, until mixture is reduced by half. Slowly whisk in the cream. Cook without stirring for 2 minutes. Removed from the heat and cool. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To assemble the salad, toss the berries and kiwi with enough dressing to lightly coat. Top the spring mix with coated berries.

You can check out what the rest of the swap participants made below. And as always, thank you to Sarah for organizing!