Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Amazing Chickpea & Sunflower Seed Salad Topper

I have to say, I am pretty proud of myself for coming up with this incredibly tasty (and unusual) salad topper. I started throwing things in a bowl....I started with a can of chickpeas....I wasn't going to roast them, so I needed some crunch....okay, I had some roasted sunflower seeds - in they went. Next up, some capers because why not? Okay, this is coming along.....a dollop of Dijon mustard, a drizzle of maple syrup (because I put maple syrup in everything), and a sprinkling of salt and a grind of pepper. Yum, this is getting good. Okay, what's next? A sauteed shallot....now we're talking! Finally, I took a bite of the finished product and WOW! And then I took another bite, and then another....gosh, this could be a salad in and of itself....and I just might do that (but I'll add in some navy beans and lemon juice...stay tuned!)....I had to stop myself from eating the whole bowl right then and there (5:00pm is my witching hour and I feel starved waiting for my husband to come home)....

So I added this to a Greek-inspired salad with bell peppers and roasted potatoes and tomatoes and it was just delicious!

I wanted to blog the recipe right away before I forgot it!


16 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Tbl capers
2 Tbl salted sunflower seeds
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp maple syrup
1 or 2 tsp dried dill
Pinch of salt & pepper
1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil

Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the finely chopped shallot and saute for about 3 or 4 minutes.

Add all the other ingredients to a bowl and combine. After the shallots have cooled a bit, add them to the chickpeas. Stir to combine. Use as a salad topping or eat right out of the bowl!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Mushroom & Leek Quiche with Gruyere Cheese

The quiche really hit the spot. It was cheesy and savory - gosh I love mushrooms and leeks together! We ate this for dinner, but I think it would make a lovely breakfast or brunch. Heck, I could happily eat this quiche and any time of the day. My husband said he liked it because it wasn't "egg-y".

I know the ingredient list looks a tiny bit long, but really, it came together easily. And the great thing about this quiche is the leftovers are so amazing the next day. I was wondering what I was going to have for lunch today (a bowl of cereal again?) and then SURPRISE - there was left over quiche in the fridge! HURRAY!! That bowl of cereal will have to wait! HA!

**Please note that the goodies in this quiche are PACKED! There isn't a lot of room after you pour everything in, so please make sure you buy a deep dish pie crust or else you will have some major spillage! 

I hope you enjoy my recipe!

  • 9” deep dish** frozen pie crust in pie tin, thawed (I used Pillsbury)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 6 oz baby bello mushrooms, stems removed & sliced
  • 6 oz button mushrooms, stems removed & sliced
  • 3 Tbl white wine (or broth)
  • 2 small leeks or one large leek, washed, and thoroughly cleaned, white parts only, thinly sliced
  • 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup creme freche or sour cream
  • 3/4 cup low fat or whole milk
  • 1 cup Gruyère, shredded
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F

Bake deep dish pie crust for 7-10 minutes (keep an eye on it). Set aside to cool.

Lower oven temperature to 375 F

In a large pan heat 2 Tbl butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 8 minutes without turning (this helps them to caramelize). Add the wine and cook another 5 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.  Push all the mushrooms to the rim of the pan and add the remaining butter to the empty circle in the middle of the pan. Add the chopped leeks to the butter and cook for 6 minutes until starting to become translucent.

At this point, go ahead and stir the leeks and the onions together and add the chopped, fresh spinach to the top. The spinach will cook down very quickly.  Stir to combine all the vegetables and mushrooms.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs, creme frech (or sour cream), and milk in a medium bowl. Add the nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir. Add the sauteed vegetables to the egg mixture and stir. Add the Gruyère and stir.

Place the par baked quiche shell onto a rimmed baking sheet that is lined with foil, gently pour the egg mixture into the shell. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or just until the quiche has set up in the center.

Cool for 15 minutes, slice, and serve.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Creamy Cauliflower Soup with Tortellinis Sundried Tomatoes

Yummy, easy to soup to throw together for a quick weeknight meal.  I found the recipe on the blog Cooking Closet. Here is the recipe word for word:
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste (optional)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 8 ounces cheese tortellini
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar sundried tomatoes*, drained and 1/2 pureed and 1/2 sliced thinly
  • 8 ounces spinach (optionally coarsely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan 
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat, add the onion and cook until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  3. Add the broth and cauliflower; bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer covered until the cauliflower is tender about 15 - 20 minutes.
  4. Puree the cauliflower in a blender.  <I suggest letting the soup cool completely before you do this. If you don't have time to wait, then you MUST take the plastic piece out of the top of the blender before blending (and cover with a clean dish towel)- this allows for the heat to escape>. Return blended soup to the pot.
  5. Add the pureed, sliced sundried tomatoes and chopped spinach to the soup. Bring to a simmer and add the tortellini, cook for about 5-7 minutes, until tortellini is cooked.
  6. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with Parmesan. Enjoy! 
*I bought a jar of pureed sun dried tomatoes to save time having to puree them at by myself at home

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

If you have been followed my blog since the beginning you will know that I really really love banana bread - I have so many banana bread recipes on this blog it's a big silly.....but there are so many different ways to bake a humble banana - and they just always seem to turn out scrumptious! I just cannot stop trying new banana bread recipes. Well, this one, folks, is a whopper! It is moist and the cinnamon swirl in the middle and on top is just delicious! They whole family gobbled this up!

I found the recipe on the blog Lovin' the Oven. Here is her recipe word for word:

For the bread:
  • 3 over-ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten <I used two eggs>
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt 
  • <I added a tsp of cinnamon to the bread> 
  • 1 1/2 cups flour 
For the swirl:
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbl cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9X5 loaf pan.
  2. Mix bananas, butter, sugar, egg(s), and vanilla together. Sprinkle baking soda, salt <and extra cinnamon if using> around on top of the banana mixture. Then gently stir in flour. Be careful not to over-mix!
  3. In a small dish, mix together the 1/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbl cinnamon.
  4. Add 1/2 of the batter to the greased loaf pan and then sprinkle half, or a little more than half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture all over the batter in the pan. Add the rest of the batter, and then sprinkle the leftover cinnamon-sugar on top.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes <I baked mine for 52 minutes>. Remove from oven and let cool completely before turning out onto a cutting board. Slice and enjoy!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Heavenly Hummus Wrap

Thank you to the Pioneer Woman for this super yummy and super easy recipe! It was the perfect meal to serve to my family on a rushed Monday night. I actually prepared all the ingredients before hand and then when it came time to assemble the wraps, it was a snap. I served these wraps with our favorite Salt & Pepper Ridged Kettle Chips and a giant fruit & spinach smoothie.

I love the Pioneer Woman's blog - head on over there to see step-by-step instructional pictures. Here is her recipe word for word - ENJOY!

  • 1 Tablespoon Butter Or Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Red Onion, Halved And Sliced
  • 1 whole Spinach Flour Tortilla (large)
  • 1/4 cup Hummus (homemade Or Storebought) - More If Needed
  • 1 whole Roasted Red Pepper (jarred), Sliced
  • 3 whole Canned Artichoke Hearts, Halved
  • 2 cups Mixed Greens
  • 1 Tablespoon Your Favorite Balsamic Vinaigrette (homemade Or Storebought)
  • 1/4 cup Feta Cheese Crumbles

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the red onions and cook slowly for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and deep golden brown. Set aside and let them cool slightly.

Grill the tortilla on a grill pan over medium heat for 1 minute, just until it has grill marks on the outside. (If you don't have a grill pan, just use a skillet.) The tortilla should still be soft and pliable; just with a little bit of color! Let the tortilla cool slightly.

To assemble the wrap, spread the hummus down the middle third of the tortilla. Arrange the cooked onion slices and the sliced roasted red peppers all over the hummus. Add the artichoke heart halves. Toss the salad greens in the balsamic dressing, then lay them on the wrap. Finally, sprinkle the crumbled feta all over the greens.

Carefully wrap up the tortilla, tucking in the ends. Slice the wrap down the middle, share with a friend, and chow down!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mustardy Mushroom Stroganoff

I really like this UK blog I just discovered called, The Sainsbury Magazine (it might be the US equivolent of Eating Well Magazine???).  I'm really eager to check out more recipes! This Mustardy Mushroom Stroganoff was the PERFECT vegetarian dish. I loved the cream of the creme fraiche (I found this in the produce section at Whole Foods) and the tang of the mustard combined.  This recipe came together very quickly and I will definitely serve it again. Enjoy!
Here is the recipe straight off the Sainsbury Magazine website (I added the US measurements): 
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 3 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 12 oz mixed mushrooms, sliced 
  • 2/3 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 Tbl grain mustard
  • 2 Tbl chopped tarragon
  • 2 handfuls of fresh baby leaf spinach, roughly chopped
  • Briefly soften the spring onions in 1 teaspoon of the oil in a medium saucepan. Tip in the rice and cook for 1 minute; add a pinch of salt and 2 cups of boiling water. Stir, pop the lid on, reduce the heat to low and cook for 15 minutes until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.
  • Meanwhile, soften the onion in the rest of the oil for 5-6 minutes in a frying pan; add the garlic, mushrooms, seasoning and 2 tablespoons water. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened.
  • Add the crème fraîche, mustard and most of the tarragon to the mushrooms and heat gently, adding a little water if needed to get a saucy consistency.
  • Stir the spinach into the rice and replace the lid for a minute or two until it has wilted.
  • Spoon the stroganoff onto a bed of greened-up rice; scatter over the rest of the tarragon.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Creamy Lemon Orzo Soup

I have been under the weather for the past few days and the temperature here has been absolutely freezing. So, it made perfect sense to whip up a big pot of soup. I didn't exactly feel like cooking, so this recipe was just perfect. It was fast, easy, comforting, warm and filling. Since I was feeling lazy, I bought a pre-chopped celery and onion mix in the produce section (this saved some time when I was putting it all together). I served this soup with a warm loaf of french bread. Enjoy!

This recipe is from the blog Baker Gets Cooking. Here is the recipe verbatim:

1 large onion, diced
1 large celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil <I used coconut oil>
1/2 teaspoon salt <I used much more salt than this - just taste it and add as needed>
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock <I used vegetable broth>
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup orzo noodles
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice from one lemon
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large Dutch oven or soup pot, sauté onions, celery, carrots salt and pepper in canola oil over medium low heat until softened, about 10 minutes.

 Add garlic to pot and cook for a few minutes.

Add chicken stock and oregano to pot, bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the vegetables are very soft. I like to blend the soup with an immersion blender, just a bit, to break the veggies into smaller bits. <I put half the soup into the blender and pulsed it a few times to break up the veggies>

Add the orzo noodles at this point. Cook mixture over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the noodles are tender.  Stir them often as they like to sink to the bottom of the pot and stick.

Add the zest, lemon juice and whipping cream. Mix well and serve.