Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese

photo(108)

I know it’s not quite the season yet but I couldn’t pass up the zucchini and corn in the grocery store this week. Zucchini is probably my all time favorite vegetable, actually they might tie with tomatoes I’m not sure I can pick one over the other. Anyway, I had this idea of roasting all these vegetables together and adding them to a mac and cheese. You know me, I love a good mac and cheese so why not add some vegetables to it??

After roasting the vegetables they looked and smelled so good I was tempted to skip the rest and just eat them right out of the dish. I continued with the plan though and I’m glad I did. I debated over which cheese to use and ended up deciding on a cheddar and gruyere mix. The sweetness of the corn really makes this dish.  Now I have a feeling I’ll be making similar mac and cheese dishes for every season.

And of course I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday! I had a great time co-hosting last week’s Fiesta Friday with Angie, Jhuls and Selma. I can’t wait to see what everyone else brings today!

Summer Veggie Mac and Cheese
2 ears of corn
2 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 box medium shells pasta
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Carefully cut the sides of the corn to remove the kernels and place them in a bowl. Cut the zucchini, pepper and onion into bite sized pieces and add them to the bowl with the corn. Toss the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, paprika and pepper. Pour the vegetable mixture into a large baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes until the vegetables have softened.

photo(111)

2. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta into a strainer.

3. Add the butter to the pot on low heat. Once the butter has melted add the flour and whisk until combined. Next add the milk. When the milk begins to warm up, turn up the heat slightly, to about medium. Then add the cheeses and stir constantly until the cheese melts and you have a thick sauce.

4. When the vegetables are done take them out and add the cooked pasta to baking dish. Then add the cheese sauce on top. Combine the sauce with the pasta and vegetables until everything is combined. Add the breadcrumbs on top.

photo(110)

5. Turn the oven down to 350 and bake the mac n cheese for about 25 minutes, until the top has browned. Enjoy!

photo(109)

Baked Eggs

photo(103)

Well I don’t know about you, but I really think every weekend should be a three day weekend 🙂 I had a great time over the weekend, including co-hosting Fiesta Friday and I hope all of you did as well! We spent one day of the weekend looking at apartments since we’ll be moving soon. I know apartment searching can be a very time consuming and trying experience so I figured we’d start the day off with a delicious and very filling breakfast to help us make it through!

These baked eggs are super warm and tasty. I made them in individual dishes since it was just the two of us, but you could definitely double or triple the recipe and bake them in a larger baking dish if you’re feeding a crowd.

Baked Eggs
Serves 2
2 slices of day old bread
1/2 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese (whatever kind you like, I used fontina)
6 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
salt
pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
fresh basil, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Tear the slices of bread into small pieces and layer them on the bottom of ramekins or a baking dish.

photo(107)

2. Divide the tomato sauce over the bread.

photo(106)

3. Crack the eggs one by one into a separate bowl and then slide them from the bowl on top of the tomato sauce and bread.

photo(105)

4. Top with cheese and tomatoes. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper over each egg. bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes until the whites of eggs have turned white and the yokes are cooked through.

photo(104)

5. Remove them from the oven and top with a small amount of chopped basil and parsley. Enjoy!

Fiesta Friday #17 and Quinoa Burgers

photo(99)

Happy Friday everyone! I’m super excited to be co-hosting Fiesta Friday today along with Selma and Jhuls and of course the lovely Angie! I hope many of you have a long weekend coming up and can kick it off with today’s Fiesta! For anyone who doesn’t know or who hasn’t joined yet Fiesta Friday is a weekly blog party. Please join us, it’s tons of fun to see what everyone is making and bringing to the party! You can check out all the details here. I hope you join us!

Today I’m bringing quinoa burgers to the party. Yes, I’ll be that person that’s bringing the healthy dish, but I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it! I really like these burgers because you can change them up however you like. Add different vegetables or spices to either use up what you have in the fridge or put your own spin on them!

You can of course eat these with a bun like a regular burger, but I prefer them with just lettuce, tomato and a little chipotle ketchup. Add a side of sweet potato fries and you’ll feel like you’re eating at your favorite burger joint!

Quinoa Burgers
Yield: 10 Burgers
3 cups water
1 1/2 quinoa
3 carrots
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1. Preheat oven to 350. Add the water and the quinoa to a pot and bring to a boil. Once it begins to boil lower to a simmer and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Add the cooked quinoa to a bowl and let it cool off a bit.

2. Chop the carrots and parsley in a food process, or by hand if you don’t have one. Add the carrots, parsley and chopped green onions to the bowl with the quinoa.

photo(102)

3. Add the eggs and spices to the bowl with the quinoa and combine them all together.

4. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form the mixture into 10 good sized burgers and place them on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Enjoy!

photo(101)

photo(100)

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

photo(92)
When I heard that the first Fiesta Friday challenge would involve yeast and herbs I was excited. In my mind, there are few things better than fresh warm bread and I love having a reason to experiment and try something new. I immediately knew I wanted to make a focaccia. I love the crunch bottom and sides and the fluffy soft inside.

I also really like baking cheeses into my breads and fontina seemed like a great choice for this Italian classic. The fontina adds a little saltiness and flavor without being overwhelming. However, I think the real star of this focaccia is the garlic and herb oil. The fresh herbs really bring this to life and well, I love garlic so a garlic infused oil is right up my alley. If you’re not such a garlic fan you can either use less or omit it.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else enters in the challenge. Click the badge below to see what’s been entered so far!
”Fiesta

Fontina Focaccia with Garlic Herb Oil

Dough
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups Fontina cheese, grated or shredded

Garlic Herb Oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
6-8 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Begin by adding the water and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Let sit for about ten minutes, until it starts to get frothy. Add the flour and salt to the yeast and water and begin to combine on the lowest speed. Slowly drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into the dough while it combines. Once the dough starts to form a ball, add 1 cup of the fontina and let it continue to combine until you have a sticky dough ball. Remove the dough and place it in a bowl. Cover the bowel with a clean towel and let it rise for an hour.

photo(98)

2. While the dough is rising, make the garlic herb oil. Peel and smash the two cloves of garlic and place them in a microwave safe bowl with the olive oil. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Put the oil, garlic, basil and parsley in a food processor and pulse until the herbs and garlic are in small pieces.

photo(96)

3. Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large baking dish. Place the dough in the dish and spread it out as best you can. Then turn the dough over so both sides get oiled and spread it out a little more. It’s fine if it doesn’t reach the edges of the bowl. Use your fingers to dimple the surface of the dough and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil on top.

photo(97)

4. Bake the bread at 400 for about 30 minutes. Then place the rest of the fontina cheese on top of the bread. Bake for another 5-10 minutes, until the top just starts to brown. Remove from the oven and brush the garlic herb oil on top. Enjoy!

photo(93)

 

Kale and Pepper Quesadilla

20140515-193351.jpg
This quesadilla was the result of needing to use up everything in our fridge before heading out of town for a few days. I was rummaging through the fridge to determine what had to be eaten before we left. The discoveries were a half a block of cheese, half a bag of small sweet peppers, one bunch of kale and a few green onions. Once I realized there were a few whole wheat tortillas hidden in the back of the fridge, the idea came to life. I think quesadillas get a bad rap for being unhealthy food, but depending on the tortilla you use and what you put in them they don’t have to be so bad.

I’m bringing these quesadillas to Angie’s Fiesta Friday party today.  If you haven’t joined the party yet you totally should it’s a ton of fun and the other bloggers are so inspiring! 

Kale and Pepper Quesadillas

Serves 2
2 tablespoons olive oil
8-10 mini sweet peppers
1 bunch kale
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded or cubed
2 whole wheat tortillas
Salt
Pepper

1. Remove the tops and seeds of the peppers and cut them into thin strips. Add the pepper strips and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Sauté until the peppers soften, about 6-8 minutes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the peppers to a bowl.

20140515-193436.jpg

2. Remove the kale leaves from the stems and chop into small pieces. Add the remaining olive oil and kale to the pan on low heat and sauté for about 4 minutes until the kale wilts. Add the kale to the bowl with the peppers.

20140515-193622.jpg

3. Add the green onions to the bowl with the other vegetables and stir to combine.

20140515-194019.jpg

4. Place a tortilla in the pan and return to low heat. Place 1/4 of the cheese on half of the tortilla, then half of the vegetable mixture then another 1/4 of the cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla on top and cook for 3 minutes. Flip the tortilla and cook for another 2 minutes then remove it from the pan. Enjoy!
20140515-194148.jpg
20140515-194132.jpg

Fettuccine Alfredo

photo(87)

Alfredo is such a heart warming dish. It’s so simple to make, yet a bowl of cheesy warm alfredo seems so special. I remember my brother and I would always get really excited when my mom would announce we were having fettuccine alfredo for dinner.

I like to keep my family’s tradition of pasta on Sundays alive, but lately I’ve been running out of ideas and was tired of the typical tomato sauce. My mom suggested alfredo, and I thought it was a great idea. I unintentionally “lightened” this dish a bit by using 2% milk instead of whole milk since that’s all we had. I also added the last bit of a bottle of white wine we had in the fridge, but you can definitely leave that out or replace the wine with milk if you prefer.

Fettuccine Alfredo
3 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, smashed
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese
salt
pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 pound dried fettuccine

1. Add the butter and garlic to saucepan on low heat. When the butter has melted add the milk and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the wine if you’re using it. Next add the cheese and continue to stir until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

photo(90)

2. Cook the fettuccine in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain the pasta and then add it to the pan with the sauce.

photo(89)

3. Mix the pasta with the sauce and top with parsley, basil and extra cheese. Enjoy!

photo(88)

Cumin Roasted Carrots

photo(85)

Oh carrots. They certainly are not one of my favorite vegetables. While I don’t exactly dislike carrots, I never find myself getting excited for them. Yet, somehow, they always manage to make their way into my shopping cart and my kitchen. When I’m wandering through the produce aisle I always think something like “oh I should probably pick up a bag of carrots in case I want to make some soup” but the poor bag usually ends up unused.

This week I had a bag of carrots from my grocery shopping, and also received more in my farm basket and I was determined to use them. I juiced some, threw some in a potato salad, but still had more carrots left so this is what I did with them. I wanted to give them lots of flavor that I knew I’d enjoy so I added cumin for a very distinct taste. If any of you have a favorite carrot preparation I’d love to hear it, I could definitely use the ideas!

Cumin Roasted Carrotsphoto(83)
6-8 carrots washed and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop the carrots into even bite sized pieces. I like to cut them in half lengthwise then cut them into smaller pieces.

2. Combine the carrots with the rest of the ingredients in a baking dish and toss to combine.

photo(84)

3. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, until they’re soft when you stick a fork in them. Enjoy!

photo(86)

Homemade Potato Chips and Goat Cheese Dip

photo(90)

Phew, it’s finally Friday! I don’t know about you but to me this week felt extra long. I’m certainly ready for this Friday and Angie’s Fiesta Friday party! If you haven’t joined us yet for the Fiesta, you should certainly join.

This week I’m bringing some homemade potato chips and a delicious goat cheese dip to the party. Hope you enjoy!

Homemade Potato Chips with Goat Cheese Dip
Chips:
4 potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oilphoto(92)
salt
pepper

Dip:
4 oz goat cheese
2 teaspoons sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground back pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes very thinly, about 1/16th of an inch thick. Place the slices on a paper towel for about 10 minutes to dry out a bit, flipping them over after 5 minutes. The longer they dry the better, but I’m impatient!

photo(91)

2. Add the potato slices to a bowl with the olive oil and toss to coat them. Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 for about 12 minutes, then flip the slices over and bake for another 12 minutes. If they aren’t browned or starting to crisp leave them in the oven an additional 5 minutes.

3. Remove the potato slices from the oven when browned and season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Combine all of the ingredients for the dip in a bowl and stir to combine. Serve the dips with the chips, enjoy!

A blogoversary, pasta e fagioli and big thanks!

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I first started this blog. When I first started, I was fairly certain no one except my mom would actually read it. I was really shy to share it at first (and was mortified when some of my co-workers discovered it). I’m humbled and thrilled to see all of you reading, commenting and sharing! I want to send a HUGE thanks to all of you. It’s been such a pleasure learning new recipes and techniques and generally just having so many people to discuss food with!

I figured for my blogoversary (not sure if that’s a real word but I’m going with it) post I would re-do my very first post. I wanted to update it a little and add some better photos. I’m not sure if it’s just my lack of photography skills or if this is just generally not a photogenic dish, but unfortunately these pictures aren’t a whole lot better!

I also want to express my thanks to those of you who nominated me for blogger awards! I was shocked and thrilled with each one. I had every intention of completing the required steps to receive them and pass them along, but I always got stuck trying to come up with all the unique facts about myself for each one! So I want to thank all of you here for your acknowledgement! Thank you to Lori and Ngan for nominating me for the Liebster Award, Jillian for nominating me for the Sunshine Award and Nancyfor the Dragon Loyalty Award! If I missed anyone, please let me know!

And now on to the food!  I chose Pasta e Fagioli for my first post because it was the first dish I really learned to cook myself and it got me interested in learning more about cooking.  I’ve made some small changes since the first time I posted it and I think it’s just a little bit better now!

Pasta e Fagioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashedphoto(88)
4-5 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16oz crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon basil
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
30oz (2 cans) cannellini beans, drained
32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 box ditalini pasta
1/3 cup heavy cream
Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese for topping

1. Heat the olive in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the carrots. Let the carrots cook for about 5 minutes than add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the carrots soften and the onions are translucent.

2. Add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan. Stir in the reaming spices. Let the sauce cook at a simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After about 30 minutes, add the beans.

3. Add the broth, turn the heat up and bring the liquid to a boil. When it’s boiling, add the pasta and cook to al dente, about ten minutes.

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. Top with cheese (I like lots of cheese) and enjoy!

photo(89)

Corn Dip

photo(87)

I’m almost embarrassed to admit that in my household of only two people, who generally consider themselves to be pretty healthy, this dip barely lasts 24 hours. It’s that good. It’s the perfect mix of the sweet corn, creamy cheese and tiniest bit of spice. I’m a real whimp when it comes to spicy things so I usually only add a tiny bit of cayenne and add some paprika instead. But, if you’re a spice lover you can certainly up the heat or add a diced jalepeno. I also somehow only had about half an onion, so I added some green onion to to this batch. I used canned corn because that’s what I had, but fresh would be great!

I’m bringing this dip toAngie’s Fiesta Friday party! Hopefully everyone there likes it as much as I do (or maybe hopefully not so I can eat it all myself..eek)photo(83)!

Corn Dip
2 cans sweet corn
1 small onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
8 oz cheddar cheese shredded or cubed
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon paprika

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Drain the corn and place in a bowl. Combine the corn with the rest of the ingredients until it’s all mixed together well. Place in an even layer in a baking dish.

photo(84)

3. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, until it begins to brown on top, enjoy!

photo(86)