Cheesy Zucchini Bake

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We have zucchini in the garden this year. I feel like shouting it from the rooftops because our zucchini never seems to work out. Having an abundance now is a huge novelty and I’m happily working through some of the recipes I’d saved from previous years.

This side is pretty simple, but it’s a great one to have in your repertoire – easy, fast and delicious.

Cheesy Zucchini Bake
(slightly adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen)
Serves 2-3 as a side

1 large zucchini, cut into half moon slices
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp. Herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 cup shredded mixture of provolone and mozzarella, divided
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray.

Toss the cut zucchini with the basil, green onion, herbs, parmesan and half of the shredded cheese until evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to baking dish. Bake for 2-25 minutes.

Sprinkle remaining shredded cheese over the top and bake for 10-15 minutes more, until the cheese is nicely melted.


Grilled Sriracha Broccoli

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We’ve been making good use of the grill this summer – remaking lots of our favorite recipes from years past and trying lots of new things too. This falls into the “new” category.

Side dishes, in general, tend to get easily forgotten around here. After prepping a main dish, I usually just go for sides that are quick and easy – salads, fresh-cut veggies, dinner rolls, etc. This broccoli was just as easy, but definitely not forgettable. I’m sure this will be a staple for grilled dinners going forward!

Grilled Sriracha Broccoli
(from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Serves 3-4

1 large head of broccoli, cut into three sections
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. sesame oil

Place the broccoli in a bowl or baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together all other ingredients to make the glaze. Pour the glaze over the broccoli and spread around with a pastry brush.

On a hot grill, place the glazed broccoli flat-side down and grill for 4 minutes. Flip and grill for an additional 2-3 minutes, until slightly tender. Serve immediately.


Eggplant Parm Burgers

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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

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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.


Sesame Green Beans

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Two posts in one day? Must be recipe swap day! The latest theme was blogger’s choice, so I got to select anything I wanted from Joanna’s blog, Kosher Kitchen. I’ve never had to cook kosher, so it was really neat to spend time poking through her recipes to see the kinds of things she makes.

I settled on this simple side dish because side dishes are usually something of an after-thought for me so I’m trying to vary things up a bit. This was a great, delicious alternative to what I usually do with beans – and nearly as easy as just making some frozen ones.

As a side note, I someone managed to not get a single sesame seed in this picture. I’m not sure how that’s possible, since they were in the pan and then on our plates. Food blogger fail!

Sesame Green Beans
(from Kosher Kitchen)
Serves 4 as a side

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
Pepper, to taste

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sesame seeds. When the sesame seeds begin to darken, stir in the green beans. Cook, stirring, until they turn bright green.

Add in the chicken broth, salt and pepper and cover. Cook for 10 minutes and then uncover and cook until liquid evaporates.

Want to see what the other bloggers participating made? Check out the roundup below. And thanks to Sarah, as always, for hosting!


Barbecue Quinoa Salad #VeryVegetarian

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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!


Easy Roasted Eggplant

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I’ve been loving all the gorgeous eggplant at the market. I’ve pinned about a million eggplant recipes to try and eggplant has been on my weekly shopping list. This was the first eggplant dish I made this season, and it’s dangerous.

Eggplant dishes (at least the ones I tend to pick out) seem to take a lot of prep. This one takes all of three minutes and then you can do other things while it roasts. After a busy day at work, it’s an awesome dinner and now that I have something so delicious and easy under my belt, it’s been hard to get motivated to do anything else with my eggplant!

 Easy Roasted Eggplant
(inspired by purevege.com)
Serves 2

1 large eggplant
1 T. olive oil
1 T. herbs de Provence
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

Cut the eggplant in half lengthwise and score a diamond pattern into the white side. Place cut-side up on a baking sheet. Spread half the oil over each side, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle half the herbs over each half.

Roast until lightly golden brown and a knife slips in easily.

Serve with a side of tomato sauce.


Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”

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I feel like I’ve been seeing versions of these on Pinterest forever. They peaked my interest, but I never had a good excuse to try them out. They finally landed on the menu when I decided that I needed to make pigs and blankets for dinner. This was their accompaniment – a way to throw in some veggies and still make it feel like a junk food night.

I was actually surprised how much I liked these. You’re not going to fool anyone into thinking these are actually chicken wings, but they’re good in their own right. The cauliflower becomes almost creamy within the baked coating. And because it’s made with whole wheat flour and baked, it’s much better for mindless snacking. I’m sure these will be a repeat during football Sundays!

Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”
(slightly adapted from Self)
Makes enough for 4-6 as a side

1 head of cauliflower
1 c. milk
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 c. buffalo wing sauce
1/2 c. ranch or blue cheese dressing

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees.

Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, flour and garlic. Dredge each piece of cauliflower in the flour mixture, allowing extra to drip off, and place on a lined baking sheet.

Spray the tops of the “wings” with cooking oil and bake for 15 minutes. Transfer the cooked pieces to a large bowl. Drizzle the buffalo wing sauce over and toss to coat. Return the coated pieces to the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Burritos

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I’m currently in the middle of a summer fresh produce binge. I love everything with lots of fresh veggies and every trip to the grocery store ends up resulting in produce department impulse buys. I can’t get enough.

I made these a few weeks ago as a new-mom meal for a friend. They seemed like a good meal for that sort of thing, and I just wanted some more veggies.

I kept a few for myself for lunches and they were gone so quickly I had to make another batch the same week. These are simple, but so, so good!

Roasted Vegetable & Black Bean Burritos
(from Aggie’s Kitchen)
Makes 8

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 red pepper, cubed
1 red onion, cubed
2 jalapenos, diced
1 t. cumin
1 t. chili powder
Salt and pepper
2 t. olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
Handful chopped cilantro
Squeeze of lime
Whole Wheat Tortillas or Wraps
Nonstick olive oil spray
Foil

Preheat the oven to 425F degrees.

In a large bowl, toss together veggies with olive oil. Add spices and toss until evenly coated. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, tossing halfway through. When done, set aside to cool.

Add the black beans, cilantro and lime to the cooled vegetables and toss to combine. Divide mixture between wraps. Spray lightly with cooking spray and wrap in foil. Refrigerate – these will stay good for several days or can be frozen.

When ready to eat, put the wrapped burritos in a 350F degree oven until heated through – about 10 minutes.


Sweet & Spicy Green Beans

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I’ve been on a sides kick lately (have you noticed?) so when I was assigned Nichole’s blog for the latest blogger’s choice swap, I immediatedly went to see what kind of sides she had blogged.

Green beans are a favorite around here, so I knew these would be a big hit. We also always have the ingredients on hand so I’m sure this is a side that will make it into our regular rotation.

Sweet & Spicy Green Beans
(adapted from Cookaholic Wife)
Serves 2 as a side

1/2 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
1 T. olive oil
1 t. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 t. chile garlic sauce
1 tsp. honey
Pinch of sesame seeds, toasted

In a medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add green beans and cook until slightly browned and soft. Stir in soy sauce, chile garlic sauce and honey, tossing to coat.

Once the sauce has heated through, transfer beans to a serving bowl and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

You can check out what the other bloggers in the swap chose to make below. Thanks, Sarah, for hosting!