Whenever I see a picture of food and it has puff pastry in it, I always want to eat it immediately. Unfortunately, I had a bad experience with puff pastry when I accidentally set fire to my boyfriend’s oven. It was a minor fire, but his housemates were not too pleased about the failed experiment and I haven’t used puff pastry since. I decided to try to start forgiving puff pastry by using prepared sheets of it instead of making it myself. I wanted to make little appetizer bite for New Year’s Eve and puff pastry seemed like the simplest way to do that. I just put a few things on top that I thought sounded good and baked them according to the directions. It was very simple and, I’m proud to say, there were no fires.
I wanted these to be a more savory than sweet so they would be a nice little appetizer instead of dessert. I used onion, cheddar cheese, and apple on top of a square of puff pastry. These little bites would be great for a party as an appetizer. They are flavorful and can be eaten easily as finger food.
2 sheets of puff pastry (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium apple
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 15-20 minutes
Servings: 18 3″x3″ squares
If using frozen puff pastry, remove from the freezer to begin defrosting. Cut the onion into thin slices. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic powder, and chili powder. Saute the onions until they are soft and browning. Remove from heat. Slice the apple into thin slices. Cut the puff pastry into 3″x3″ squares. If using Trader Joe’s puff pastry sheets, this would be 9 squares per sheet. Gently press the tines of a fork around the inside of the squares leaving about a half inch margin. Preheat the oven to whatever temperature specified by the puff pastry instructions (I baked mine at 400°F). Place a small portion of the onion in the middle of each square topped with a slice of apple and followed by about a tablespoon of cheddar cheese. Place the squares onto a lightly buttered cooking sheet using two if necessary. Bake for the time specified (mine said 15 minutes, but I baked them for about 20 minutes total). Allow to cool and then enjoy!
Until recently, I didn’t really like soup. Something about drinking food with chunks in it seemed really weird to me. That was until I went to this small soup shop in Tacoma, Washington called Infinite Soups. I had a tomato gorgonzola soup, and it was amazing. Since then, I have tried other soups and they’ve been good, but they’ve never compared to the tomato gorgonzola I first had at Infinite Soups. If you ever get the chance to go there, I highly recommend it. They even have vegan and vegetarian selections and all the soups are made fresh daily.
I’m always worried to try to make my favorite of anything because I’m worried it won’t turn out well. There’s nothing worse than expecting something awesome and getting something awful. Luckily, that was not the case this time.
When I realized my boyfriend and I had guests coming over for dinner, I decided soup was an easy option and I should try to make my favorite soup. I took the risk that it might turn out bad, any it actually turned out really well! It was creamy and cheesy and tomato-ey. All of the flavors came out smoothly and none were overpowering. This is a delicious one-pot meal that makes food that will last for days. It was a hit with everyone else as well. This would be a great meal for a potluck as a vegetarian option.
While I was looking around for a decent recipe for a tomato soup, I found out that baking soda will prevent milk from curdling. I think it must be something about it being basic since it’s sodium bicarbonate, but I don’t know why. I didn’t search for very long, but I couldn’t find any answer for why this happens. Does anyone know? I’ll give you a recipe for tomato gorgonzola soup if you can tell me…oh wait….
2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp baking soda (to prevent curdling)
8 oz low fat cream cheese
8 oz gorgonzola cheese
1 cup half and half
3-14.5 oz cans of fire roasted tomatoes, salt free
2 cups low sodium tomato juice
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
Prep time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 servings, about 1-1/2 cups each
In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the baking soda, the gorgonzola cheese, the cream cheese, and the half and half. Break apart the cream cheese and stir until the cheeses have melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and let the soup heat for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato juice, and spices. Stir to combine. Heat for a few minutes until the tomatoes are slightly tender. Then blend the soup using an immersion blender or by pouring the soup into a regular blender and blending in parts and return to heat. Stirring frequently, heat to a simmer and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with extra oregano or basil. Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!
On black Friday, I raided all kitchen supply stores. I also got some presents from my mom of things she rarely used (thanks, Mom!). One of the things I got was a pineapple corer. It’s a weird device that allows you to easily remove all the best parts of the pineapple and leave the rest behind. The next week, I saw pineapples on sale. It was a sign. The new pineapple corer needed to be used.
I got home, excited to eat the pineapple when my boyfriend asked, “What are we going to eat the pineapple with?” I really only ever ate pineapple raw and plain as a kid. Sometimes, as a treat, we would have it with coconut and chocolate sauce, but other than that it was always plain. I went in search of what else pineapple was used in. One person suggested eating it in a salad with shrimp. I’ve also seen it in salsa. I decided to combine these two ideas and make a Pineapple Shrimp Southwest Salad. Since I’m a vegetarian, I made mine without shrimp and it was still delicious. I let the salsa act like the dressing. Since my recipe for salsa has tomatoes and onions in it, it also made it so I had to add fewer ingredients but still got a great variety of flavors. I also decided to let corn chips act like the croutons. The combination sounds odd, but it was quite delicious.
For this recipe I won’t add exact amounts since it’s all about what you like and what you don’t like. Salad is very customizable like that. I’ll give you the ingredient list and you can find the proportions that make this your favorite salad.
Fresh sliced pineapple
Canned black beans
Blue corn tortilla chips
Prep time: 10 minutes
Chop the romaine lettuce with a lettuce knife (not metal) or tear it using your hands and place it in a salad bowl. Heat the beans according to instructions and add on top of the lettuce. Scoop some chunky salsa on top. Crush up the tortilla chips and sprinkle over the salad. Top with prepared shrimp. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve the same day. Enjoy and don’t be afraid to go for second helpings!
Salsa is part of the reason why my boyfriend and I are together. The story of this salsa goes back even further than that though. My sister got this recipe from a chef in Mexico that prepared the food at the hotel where she was staying during a trip. She loved the salsa so much that she went and asked him for the recipe. When she got back to the US, she made it for our family, and I became obsessed. It was the best salsa I ever had.
Fast forward to college, freshman year. One of my friends got tomatoes from his professor’s garden (that’s the kind of school I went to) so we decided to make salsa. As we were walking around campus to go buy the rest of the ingredients, I saw two huge bushes. My name is Holly and I was wondering if there were holly bushes. A friendly fellow who happened to be walking by replied that they were, in fact, holly bushes. He introduced himself to me and ignored my friends. After talking a little bit, we discovered that we were planning on making salsa in the building where he lived. We promised to get him when the salsa was finished. Me and my friends parted ways with the friendly person and continued with our plan to make salsa. When the salsa was complete my friends urged me to go get the guy that was talking to us by the holly bush, insisting that he thought I was cute. I did, and we’ve been dating ever since. ♥
This is the recipe for that salsa. From a hotel in Mexico to bringing a couple together in Washington state, this recipe has gotten around. Aside from the obvious sentimental value, it still is the best salsa I’ve ever had. If you have a Chipotle in your area, it’s similar to the chunky mild salsa that they make. So if you like chunky tomato-y salsa, this one’s for you.
5 roma tomatoes
½ white onion
Juice from 2 lemons
½ cup cilantro
1 tsp garlic powder
Dash of salt
Dash of black pepper
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Servings: Makes about 4 cups (nutrition facts for 1 cup)
Remove the seeds and core from the jalapenos. Finely chop the cilantro, tomatoes, onion, and jalapeños and place in a large bowl. Add the lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix all the ingredients together. Add a little bit of water if the tomatoes were not juicy enough to blend the flavors together. Serve immediately with tortilla chips. The salsa will save a few days, but the tomatoes may get a little wrinkly after some time. Enjoy and don’t forget to go for second helpings!
Hello, all! I have decided to do a three part series. I made 3 delcious things yesterday, but I think that this is just too good to put in one post. Today I’ll be posting about piquillo (or pequillo) pepper hummus (the happiest mistake I’ve ever made). Next, I’ll post about the pita bread I made to go with the hummus. Lastly, I’ll post about the stuffed pita I made when I realized my planned dinner had gone bad in the fridge (the second happiest mistake I’ve made). These recipes are all very delicious and can be made with minimal effort and, except in the case of pita bread, minimal time. So without further ado, I give you the story of why piquillo pepper are in hummus.
I have been trying to clean out my pantry in attempts to make more space. In the back of one of the shelves I found a jar from Trader Joe’s of Piquillo Peppers. “Odd,” I thought to myself, “What did I want to make that involved piquillo peppers?” I put them in front to remind myself to figure out something to do with them and continued with my cleaning and baking. As I was making the pita bread, I reached for my sugar behind the peppers and… *CRASH* The pequillo peppers fell out and the bottom of the jar broke off. Luckily the glass did not shatter. “Ok…. I guess I’ll use these today.” So I decided to try to make some hummus to go with my pita and add the piquillo peppers. Maybe like roasted red pepper hummus? Turns out, it’s a million times better than roasted red pepper hummus. Why have we been using red peppers when we could be using these superior peppers? If you like roasted red pepper hummus, you’ll like this even more. I will never be buying store bought hummus again and I most definitely will be using piquillo peppers whenever I can. Give this recipe a try, you’ll be happily surprised.
Recipe for Piquillo Pepper Hummus
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans
3/8 cups tahini sauce
1-1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika
2 roasted piquillo peppers (available in a jar at Trader Joe’s), drained and rinsed
1 tbsp olive oil
sprinkle of ground chipotle pepper powder (optional, I found this at Target)
Total time: 10 minutes
Makes: About 2 cups, 1 serving is 2 tbsp
Combine all ingredients except the last two (olive oil and chipotle pepper) in a blender or food processor. Scrape sides occasionally to ensure that all the garbanzo beans are blended. Pour into a bowl. Create a little well in the middle Cautiously sprinkle the chipotle powder, if using, over all the hummus. Too much can make your hummus REALLY have a kick. Pour the olive oil into the well. Serve with fresh pita (recipe below) or pita chips. Hummus will last a few days in the fridge covered.
Note: To make regular hummus, simply do not add the piquillo peppers or paprika (but you’ll be missing out).
This hummus is delicious and nutritious so don’t forget to go for second (or third, or fourth….) helpings!
Last post I hinted that I would be making pasta for my next recipe. If you read the title, you may realize that this isn’t pasta. That is because I epic failed at making it. Pasta and I aren’t talking for a while. Especially the stupid butternut squash ravioli kind…. The problems first started when I ran out of all purpose flour in the middle and tried to add some whole wheat flour to substitute. This trick, which normally works well in bread recipes, did not work at all. The pasta was weird and chewy and looked very frightening. No good. I’ll try again, but I moved on and made some bread instead.
This bread was pretty good and made a huge loaf. I’ll definitely be making it again soon. I’m experimenting with my camera and different lighting techniques so I don’t have many pictures that turned out well, above is one I really liked.
I got this recipe from a book that I literally have not been able to find anywhere. I got it on clearance at Borders for my boyfriend a couple of years ago as a present and I have been looking for one for myself ever since then. He eventually just gave it back to me, but there was a sad time when I didn’t have the book or it’s delicious recipes. I think that it’s this one but there’s another book by the same name. It’s very confusing. Either way, I have the recipe with my modifications below. Enjoy!
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
4 to 4-1/2 cups flour
2-1/4 tsp yeast
1 tsp mustard powder
2 cups grated Cheddar cheese
2/3 cups lukewarm milk
2/3 cups lukewarm water
1 tbsp butter, melted
Active time: 30 minutes
Inactive time: 2.5 hours (in the down time I made my own light box)
Servings: Makes 1 humongous loaf
Saute the onions in the olive oil until they begin to brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool. In a bread machine pan,* combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter and 1/2 cup of cheese, following the instructions from your machine. Mine have always said to put in the wet ingredients the the dry ingredients, but I guess that’s not always the case. Set to dough. The dough should not be sticky so you should add more flour until you can touch the dough without it sticking to you. Add about 1/8 of a cup at a time and allow it to fully mix in before adding more. I added about another 1/2 a cup.
*If you don’t have a bread machine you can use a stand mixer or your hands. Just combine the wet ingredients together. Then combine the dry ingredients. Mix them together and knead for about 10 minutes adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Allow the dough to rise for about 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
Once the dough has risen, knock it back. Divide the dough into roughly 20 equal parts. I did this by first dividing it in half, then quarters, then attempting to divide those into five somewhat equal parts. It’s ok if it’s not perfect because it’ll make the bread look more interesting. Spray a 10×5″ bread tin with cooking spray or oil. Shape the 20 parts into balls (again, it’s ok if it’s not perfect). Place half of the balls into the bottom of the tray. Brush the tops of the balls with half the butter. Put the remaining balls on top. Top those balls with the remaining butter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot for about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top until it has reached your desired cheesiness level (Side note: cheesiness is a real word. I totally thought I made it up). Bake for 40 minutes. If the loaf is still not done as determined by a knife or toothpick, cover the top with tin foil to prevent browning and bake for however much longer in 5 minute increments. I had to bake mine for 55 minutes total.
Remove from the oven and let cool. You can slice the bread or pull off the balls you rolled up. I went the tear off route like pull apart bread. It was super yummy. I dipped mine in leftover carrot soup and it was so delicious. This would be a fun bread to bring to a party and share with many people because you can tear off bits and enjoy it with many people.
I wasn’t really sure what to call this soup. It’s mostly carrots, but just carrot soup sounds boring. I thought about calling it Spicy-Ginger-Onion-Garlic-Carrot-Soup, but I thought that was too long.
Anyway, I made soup! The boyfriend is sick and since I’m vegetarian, I went hunting for a chicken soup alternative. I’ve heard (but I have no idea if it’s true) that ginger, garlic, and onions are all supposed to be good for you if you’re sick. Add a big helping of Vitamin C from the carrots, and I think this soup qualifies as an immune-booster soup. The bonus is that it tastes about 50 million times better than cherry cough syrup. This soup is delicious and will feel great on a sore throat. Also, I just realized this recipe is vegan. It’s so yummy that I didn’t even realize it.
Another bonus is that I got to whip out my immersion blender that I got from my mom this weekend. One of the best parts of moving out is that you get so much stuff when you go to visit. I returned with a Gamecube (Super Smash Bros., anyone?), a pasta roller (I’ll let you guess what my next recipe will be), an immersion blender, and a bunch of other random hand-me-downs. Thanks, Mom!
If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can still make this recipe. Just pour the soup into a regular blender and puree it until it’s smooth. You’ll get the same results except you’ll lose whatever you spill. I know I’d probably spill about half of it. I hope you all are more coordinated than I am.
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
about 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
2 to 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp chives
1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1 lbs carrots, pealed and chopped into 1″ pieces
4 cups (2 cans) vegetable stock
Active time: 10 minutes
Inactive time: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4 portions
Soup is pretty easy to make. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions, red pepper, garlic, ginger, chives, crushed red pepper, thyme, and paprika (what a list!). Saute until the onions turn a light brown color (about 5 to 10 minutes).
Add the vegetable stock and carrots and bring to a bowl. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft and easily pierced with a fork.
If you have an immersion blender, use it now to blend the soup. I left some chunks just because I like a little texture in my soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour the soup into a blender or food processor and blend until it’s your desired chunkiness.
Garnish with crackers and/or extra chives. Serve after it’s cooled so you don’t burn your tongue like I did. As always, don’t be afraid to go for second helpings!
Ok. New goal: Put up a post every week on Tuesday evening. I read somewhere that Wednesday morning is when the most people are on the internet. I don’t know if it’s true, but it posting before Wednesday seems like a good goal. Especially since I totally abandoned this blog for about two weeks. I can’t really expect to gain loyal readers if I abandon them now can I? For any potentially loyal readers, I apologize. I won’t do it again. I don’t even have a good excuse for why I didn’t post. My family was in town for a week (we went to the Grand Canyon!) and then the other week the things I made were not very good. I’m going to start making drafts before I post online so that even if I don’t have time that week, I can still post. I think it’ll work well…I think.
In other news, it’s fall. This means there are a flurry of pumpkin and butternut squash recipes. I thought I’d try one to see how it went. It turned out awesome. Since butternut squash doesn’t have a low GI, this recipe is not the best for diabetics. However, this recipe does have very few calories per serving. You can check it out in the nutrition facts. Now, on to the recipe!
(Makes 8 side dishes or 4 main courses)
1 medium to large butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 green pepper (optional)
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup lowfat cream cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1. The goal of this first part is to end up with butternut squash mash. I’ll explain how I did it and then how I think it could be done. First preheat the oven to 425°F. Next, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and guts. Place the squash cut side up on a baking tray and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until the flesh is soft and you can easily insert a fork (about an hour depending on the size of the squash). When the squash is done, remove from oven and let cool. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scrap out the flesh into a large bowl and mash it up.
I think that a better way to do this would be to peel the squash before placing it in the oven and then cutting it into 1″ cubes. This would reduce the baking time and also allow you to immediately mash the squash when it comes out of the oven. Also, I’m impatient and burnt myself because I didn’t let the squash cool enough. However you want to do it, you want to end up with butternut squash mash.
2. While the squash is in the oven or while it is cool, heat the olive oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the chopped red onion, the chopped green pepper, the thyme, and the ginger. Stir occasionally and cook until the onion and pepper begin to brown. Add to the large bowl with the butternut squash mash.
3. Add the cream cheese and the parmesan cheese to the bowl and mix all the ingredients together until uniform. Spoon the mixture into oven safe dishes. I made mine in 4-3.5 oz ramekins. You could also put all of the mixture into one large baking dish (probably a 9×9 glass casserole dish) for a family style dish. Add the bread crumbs and chopped pecans to the melted butter and mix. Spoon the mixture over the top of the mixture in the dishes as evenly as you can.
4. Place the dish(es) in the oven at 425°F for 25 minutes until the tops begin to brown. Remove from oven. Let cool and then enjoy and don’t hesitate when going for second helpings!
You see that title and you think, what are arancini rice balls and why would I want to make them? They are tomato-y rice surrounding a little pocket of cheesy goodness and you want to make them because they are AMAZING (don’t they look amazing?). These are an appetizer from Italy and I love them. A lot. If I have them, I usually make them my main course because I always eat so many of them.
So I decided to be adventurous and try to make them, modified to be healthy of course. First thing I did was I switched the usual arborrio rice for brown rice. This makes it so that it’s a whole grain and better for you. Second, I baked them instead of frying them which is how they are usually prepared. This decreases the fat content. Even with these healthy switches, they still came out amazing and delicious. What’s better is that each ball is less than 100 calories! Awesome, right?
These are a little spicy, which my boyfriend and I really like. If you’re not a fan, add less of the crushed red pepper. Generally, the amounts listed for spices are flexible and you can add more or less based on your preference.
Arancini rice balls are a really great way to use up left over rice. I made some brown rice the night before to go with some indian food and made a little extra to try out with these guys. Most of the ingredients are probably things you have in your pantry right now making them super easy to make.
Here is the recipe for these bad boys:
4 cups cooked brown rice (chill the rice if you want to make these all in one day)
1/3 cup (plus some for sprinkling) asiago (or parmesan) cheese, grated
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1-1/2 tsp dried thyme
1-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (less for a less spicy dish)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, part skim milk, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup gorgonzola grumbles (optional, but they really make it yummy!)
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (You can use regular bread crumbs if you don’t have/don’t know what panko is. If you want to use panko, you can find it at Trader Joe’s.)
Active time: 20 minutes
Inactive time: 30 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Servings: Makes 16-2″ balls. 1 serving = 1 ball (but I had four for dinner with some broccoli)
Combine the cooked rice, beaten eggs, asiago cheese, and tomato paste and mix until uniform. Add the dried thyme and crushed red pepper and mix again. If your rice was already cold then you can go right on to the next step. If not, chill it until it is cold. I left mine overnight.
Now comes the tricky part. Making the balls. I will admit that I failed spectacularly at the several times before getting it down. I’m here to share you what I learned. First, let’s get everything set up. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a cooking sheet with PAM or something like it (I found an olive oil spray. It makes me happy). Next, get out a large spoon and moisten your hands. Keeping your hands moist throughout the ball forming process will ensure the rice won’t stick to you. Now cup one hand as if holding water and spoon a dollop (about 1/8 of a cup or 2 tbsp) of the rice mixture into your palm. Flatten it out with your other hand to make a cup sort of thing. Now place a mozzarella cube and some gorgonzola crumbles (if using) in the middle. Spoon another dollop of rice mixture on top. With your free hand try to smoosh the rice mixture you added on top to cover the cheese. Then bring your hands together to form the ball shape and transfer it to the other hand. This way you can check to make sure the cheese isn’t leaking out either side. In the end, you want to have a ball of rice without any cheese showing through. The balls will be fragile so don’t check it too much or they will fall apart. Place the ball on the prepared cookie sheet. Do this about 16 times.
This next part is fun, but be careful still. Take the panko or breadcrumbs and pour them into a shallow bowl or a plate. Then roll one of your balls around in it to coat it. Be gentle with the balls. I had a couple fall apart in the panko and that was sad. All that work to create a ball gone to waste! Once coated sufficiently, place back on the cookie sheet. Do this with all of the balls.
Once you’re done coating the balls in crumbs, place them in the oven for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip them over CAREFULLY so that they brown evenly. Devour immediately and don’t forget to go for second helpings!
Recipe makes 16 servings (1 serving = 1 ball)
Amount Per Serving:
Calories – 99.5
Total Fat – 3 g
Saturated Fat – 1.5 g
Cholesterol – 28 mg
Sodium – 159 mg
Potassium – 114 mg
Total Carbohydrate – 14 g
Dietary Fiber – 1.3 g
Sugars – 0.8 g
Protein – 4.2 g