Category Archives: Vegetarian

gnocchi with beans and spinach

gnocchi with beans and spinach dragitthroughthegarden.wordpress.comPart three of meatless meals: Gnocchi with beans and spinach. Lauren made this gnocchi a while back and I was very thankful for a homecooked meal that I didn’t have to cook. Not that my mom doesn’t cook me dinner when I’m home. I don’t want momma to read this and think I’m telling the world she deprives me of food. Although if I were to look in the pantry right now, I’d say my choices would probably be pretty grim…

But, seriously, with meals like this, I could go vegetarian.

Okay, maybe I will take that last part back and rephrase: I do not miss meat with meals like this, but I certainly want it in some meal at least once per week. Is that too much to ask?

As I posted here about a week ago, I was set to begin the “Eat your Heart out” Diet on Wednesday. I went to the grocery store and stocked up on fruits and veggies for the first few days. And then, two-thirds into my fruit day, the first day of the diet, I could not do it anymore.

I’m a baby. What can I say? I never would have thought I would be saying that I got stuck on the fruit day. I love fruit! But… not so much for dinner. And not so much as the only thing to eat all day. The acidity and sweetness were killing me. Seriously. My teeth hurt.

So, I made a refried bean quesadilla for dinner and called the whole diet thing done.

I guess maybe I should just start trying to eat a little bit healthier instead…

gnocchi with beans and spinach

Makes 6 to 8 Servings

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 16-oz. packages dried gnocchi
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
6 cups chopped baby spinach
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes with Italian herbs
1 15-oz. cans white beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (use part-skim to cut down on fat)
¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add gnocchi and cook for about 7-9 minutes, until lightly browned, stirring often. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add in garlic and stir often until it turns lightly brown, about 1 minute. Add in water and continue cooking until onion is fully cooked, about 4-6 minutes. Add in spinach and cook for an additional 2 minutes, until it begins to wilt. Add tomatoes and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Bring to a simmer. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheese over the top and cover for about 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted.

If you want, you can pop it under the broiler for of  to get nicely browned cheese on top.

Source: Eating Well

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roasted vegetable moussaka

roasted vegetable moussaka | drag it through the gardenThis dish is part two of my meat-free meal attempts, not only for Lent but also because Lauren apparently decided she does not like meat that much any more ever since her trip to Spain. Especially not chicken.

So, after having my plans of making a normal meat-filled moussaka shot down, I decided to try to pack the moussaka with some mediterranean veggies. Not only did I feel pretty healthy eating it with all of those vegetables, it tasted really good. Like good enough where I would make it again even though it doesn’t boast any meat in the ingredients.

My thing for Lent this year is to eat less meat. I have heard of people going vegetarian altogether during these forty days, but to be quite honest, that is just way too drastic for my diet.

I think I am going to start the “Eat Your Heart out Diet” this week which will definitely cut down on my meat intake. Have you heard of it? It’s basically a crash diet (which obviously isn’t an ideal situation) where you eat (pretty much) as much as you want of specified foods for a given day during a week. Supposedly people have consistently lost ten pounds during the course of the week and have supposedly kept the weight off. We’ll see.

If you want updates on how it’s going, I’ll try to post news over on my Facebook page. Like I said, I think I am going to start it this week… hopefully Wednesday. But that all depends on how quickly I eat the leftovers sitting in my fridge.

roasted vegetable moussaka

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Ingredients:
½ cup dried lentils
1 large eggplant, thinly sliced
2 large zucchini, thinly sliced
2 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon oregano
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cups milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Toss eggplant, zucchini, potatoes, onion, and garlic with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out on baking sheets, using as many as necessary to maintain a single layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until tender and lightly browned, tossing occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, add lentils and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle simmer. Continue cooking uncovered for about 20-30 minutes until lentils are tender. Drain. Return lentils to the saucepan and add tomatoes and oregano. Warm over low heat for a couple of minutes.

Once vegetables are cooked, place a single layer of eggplant on the bottom of a 9×13” baking dish. Add a layer of zucchini, potatoes and onion, and half a cup of feta cheese. Add all the tomato and lentil mixture. Add remaining feta cheese. Layer with remaining potatoes and onion, zucchini, and eggplant. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Slowly whisk in milk, making sure to break up any clumps. Continue heating until bubbling and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and add nutmeg. Let cool for a couple of minutes then rapidly whisk in th egg.

After the initial 25 minutes of baking, pour sauce over vegetables and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 25-30 minutes until browned and bubbly on top.

Source: Slightly adapted for AllRecipes.com

cheesy broccoli and cauliflower stuffed spuds

cheesy broccoli and cauliflower stuffed potatoes | drag it through the gardenLooking for a meat-free meal for the upcoming Lent season? I know I am. Maybe these baked potatoes stuffed with a cheesy broccoli and cauliflower filling will do the trick. You could always try it with a caesar salad or maybe my mom’s seven layer salad (just take out the bacon on that one for a meatless option).

This is the first time I have updated this blog since the end of January. And while that is good news right now (free time!) that was horrible news for the past week and a half. But, alas, I am back. And hopefully this little bit of extra time I have this week will allow me to get all my ducks in a row and get ahead of the game. Maybe.

Or else I will just spend that time catching up on TV shows I missed…

To be honest, I do not have that much of a life update if you are looking for one. I have decided to erase all of last week out of my memory. Because it was awful. Besides dinner with some friends Wednesday night. Shrimp and crab risotto and fro yo afterwards? Yes, please!

Okay, okay. Between these two paragraphs I just decided to check and see if an exam grade was up. I took this exam on Friday and I swore it absolutely murdered me. If I am going to be completely honest, I just wanted to go home and cry afterwards. But, I did not get that opportunity because I had to go to another class to take another exam.

Long story short, I ended up receiving a solid A on that first one. Maybe last week wasn’t so bad after all…

cheesy broccoli and potato stuffed baked potatoes

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 russet potatoes
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
6 cups mixed broccoli and cauliflower
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon mustard powder
2 ½ cups milk
1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese
1 ½ cups grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, rub potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and coarse salt. Bake in preheated oven for about 1.5-2 hours, until cooked through with crispy skin.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli and cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until cooked through, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a 2-quart pot over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and mustard powder. Slowly whisk in milk. Continue whisking until no lumps are present. Stir in cheddar and Gruyere cheese. Heat until melted. Carefully fold in cooked broccoli and cauliflower. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and spoon cheesy broccoli and cauliflower mixture inside. Serve.

Source: Adapted from Whole Foods

caramelized onion quesadilla

I am in awe that this semester is already one-fourth of the way finished. Not to mention, I’m more than halfway done with college in general. How crazy is that? This weekend I received my first LSAT prep book in the mail. Talk about weird! I can’t even imagine graduating from this place, much less going to law school and then becoming a real adult with real world problems. Am I really going to know enough for them to let me out of here?

This quesadilla is my go-to meal. I love caramelized onions on anything really. But, coat that in cheese and carbs? You’re golden. Just thinking about this quesadilla has got my mouth-watering and my stomach growling. Is it time for caramelized onion nachos? I think yes!

Caramelized Onion Quesadilla

Makes 1 6-inch quesadilla

1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon oil
1/3 medium onion, thinly sliced
  salt and pepper
2 6-inch tortillas
½ cup cheese (I usually use queso Chihuahua)
  sour cream, salsa, if desired

In a small skillet over medium heat, add oil and melt butter. Add in onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a separate bowl. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel to clean.

To the warmed skillet over medium heat, place a tortilla in flat. Sprinkle with all the cheese. Evenly spread caramelized onions. Top with remaining tortilla. Cook for about 4 minutes on the first side, until golden and crispy. Flip. Cook for about 3 more minutes, until the second side is crispy as well.

Cut into 8 slices. Serve with sour cream or salsa, if desired.