A lot of people do not like beets. I have always liked beets, especially with vinegar, salt and fresh cracked black pepper on them. I grew up eating them poured over cabbage boiled with a ham hock. My mama and daddy grew them in their garden and my mama would can them so we could enjoy them all year long. I never realized how much better fresh beets or home canned beets were until I got out on my own. The canned beets in the grocery stores have NOTHING on the taste of a fresh roasted beet. In fact, David did not eat them until he met me and learned to eat them like I grew up eating them with vinegar, salt and pepper.
For Meatless Monday last week, I made a roasted beet salad. I kept coming across recipes for them, so I decided to make my own version. Here’s how I made my Roasted Beet Salad.
Roasted Beet Salad
- 3-4 medium beets, washed and trimmed
- red onions, sliced into this slices
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup candied walnuts, chopped (I made some candied walnuts and will share the recipe with you later this week!)
- Balsamic Maple Cinnamon Dressing, (Recipe to follow. I also made this dressing for the BeetNut Tart)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wrap the beets in foil packets and roast in the oven until tender, about 1 hour.
- While the beets are roasting, prepare the dressing:
Balsamic Maple Cinnamon Dressing Ingredients:
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 6 teaspoons pure maple syrup
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
Put all the ingredients into a glass jar or bottle (you could also whisk together in a small bowl). Seal and shake well to mix. Shake well before using.
- Check beets for doneness by poking a toothpick into them. It should pierce through without any resistance. When they are done, take them out of the oven and open the foil packets and let cool.
- Once cool enough to handle, peel using a paper towel, then dice or slice them as desired. (This is similar to how I showed you how to make grilled beets)
- Add the beets, red onion and spinach into serving bowls, top with the goat cheese and walnuts and drizzle with dressing.
If you do not think you like beets, then maybe you should revisit them and try some fresh roasted. They are really yummy and they are really good for you! I hope this recipe is a way to get you to try something good and healthy!
My new found love for red peppers led me to this recipe I adapted from Lovely Little Kitchen. This pasta dish is creamy and so flavorful you won’t believe it. Here’s how I made Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce:
Red Pepper and Spinach Linguine With Parmesan Cream Sauce
- 1 pound linguine
- 3 red peppers, diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt & black pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups of milk
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ – 1 cups of pasta water
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Cook according to package instructions.
- Place the chopped red peppers onto a foiled lined baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the red peppers in a single layer and roast in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. The peppers should start to come blackened on the edges. Set aside until needed.
- Meanwhile, add butter to a medium saucepan and melt over medium heat. Stir in garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Do not brown! Sprinkle flour over the butter and garlic mixture.
- Whisk for one minute, then gradually whisk in milk. Allow to cream mixture to come to a slow boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.
- Turn the heat down to low. Stir in parmesan cheese.
- Add the roasted red peppers to the Parmesan cream sauce.
- When pasta is ready, remove from heat. Reserve at least 1 cup of the water. Drain the rest of the water out of the pasta, and return to the pot.
- Add spinach and creamy roasted red pepper sauce to the pasta and toss with tongs or stir to coat. If the pasta and cream sauce is too tight and sticky, add a little of the pasta water to the mixture at a time. This will help you incorporate the pasta better. (You may not need it all. Discard the leftover water if not needed.)
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot!
This was pretty tasty according to David and even His Royal Highness liked it. Do-Againer!
Every now and then the Mexican beast wakes up and we have to feed it. If you are craving Mexican food on Meatless Monday, try this recipe for Spicy Pepper Jack Mushroom & Spinach Quesadillas. Here is how I made them:
Spicy Pepper Jack Mushroom and Spinach Quesadillas
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces, mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 of a medium onion, diced
- 1 6-9 ounce bag Baby Spinach
- 4 (10 inch) flour tortillas*
- 7-8 ounces, pepper jack cheese (I used slices)
- salsa, black olives, scallions, sour cream, jalapenos, cilantro, limes or any toppings you wish to add for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, over medium high heat add onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then saute over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook until the mushrooms are cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Add a handful of spinach to the pan at a time. Let it cook down before adding the next batch. (This process will go very quickly). Cook spinach until it is wilted, but still bright green.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the filling mixture into a sieve over a bowl and allow to drain and cool, about 5 minutes.
- Using a paper towel, smear about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of a large cast iron pan**. Preheat the pan over medium heat.
- Place the one tortilla in the preheated pan.
- Quickly, add the cheese and 1/2 of the filling mixture, leaving about a 1/2 inch of space around the perimeter of the tortilla.
- Add additional cheese on top of the filling mixture, then top with another tortilla.
- Let the quesadilla cook for about 1 – 1 ½ minutes before flipping***.
- Flip and allow the other side to crisp for 1 – 1 ½ minutes.
- Carefully slide onto a plate.
- Repeat with remaining tortillas and other 1/2 of the filling.
- Slice quesadillas into four wedges (We always use a pizza cutter to slice it up as you would a pizza.) Garnish with any toppings you choose. and serve immediately.
* With tacos, we always use corn tortillas. But with quesadillas, you need the pliability of flour tortillas to hold the cheese and the filling together. It needs to withstand the flip
**Flour tortillas absorb a lot of oil, so you only want to lightly coat the pan with oil. I used cooking spray to get the best coverage without over greasing.
***The half-moon technique is easier to flip than a quesadilla made with two tortillas. Just spread your filling over half of the tortilla, then fold the other half over the filling. When the time comes to flip the quesadilla, slide a spatula under the open side, then flip the quesadilla over on the fold.
This is a quick and easy recipe. One that will definitely satisfy your inner Mexican cravings on Meatless Monday!
I have been wanting to try a stuffed tomato recipe for a long time. After picking up some fresh large red tomatoes from the farmers’ market last weekend, I decided to try some stuffed tomatoes for Meatless Monday. I modified an existing recipe and came up with this one:
- 4 large tomatoes
- 8-ounce package of portobello mushrooms or a large handful of shiitake mushrooms, chopped. Reserve stems.
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for sauteing
- 1 bunch (8-10-ounces) fresh spinach, large stems removed
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 1 cup ricotta cheese (Learn to make homemade Click HERE)
- 1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated
- good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- salt & fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- small handful basil, finely chopped
- Pull of the mushroom stems and add them to 1 cup of boiling water. Leave to soak.
- In a large frying pan set over medium heat, warm olive oil . Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the cooked spinach into a sieve set over a bowl, and press out all of the moisture with the back of a wooden spoon. Transfer the spinach onto a cutting board and finely chop. Put in a large bowl and set aside.
- Using a slotted spoon, gently remove the mushroom stems from the hot water. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve. Discard stems and reserve the liquid to use as stock later.
- Put the frying pan back on the heat and add a good splash of olive oil. Saute the caps mushrooms over a high heat for 3-4 minutes until they begin to brown.
- Reduce the heat to medium and pour over the stock from the mushroom stems. Add the garlic and shallot, sprigs of thyme and lemon juice. Continue to cook the mushrooms until all the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat, spread on to a plate and allow to cool. Locate and discard woody stems from thyme sprigs.
- Stir the ricotta and mushrooms into the spinach.
- Add two-thirds of the parmesan, a pinch of nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and put into the refrigerator while you prepare the tomatoes for the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut into the tops of the tomatoes. Start from the outer edge of the tomato and angle the knife towards the stem, like you would carve a pumpkin. Remove the tops of the tomatoes and reserve to use as lids. Using a melon baller or spoon, carefully scoop the pulp out of the tomatoes. Reserve the pulp for the dressing.
- Fold the egg yolk into the cheese and spinach mixture. Stuff the tomatoes with the mixture, piling it up well but without pressing down as this may cause the tomatoes to split.
- Sprinkle the rest of the parmesan on top and replace the tomato tops. Carefully place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the filling is heated through.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: Put the reserved tomato juice and pulp into a sieve and press with the juice out with the back of the spoon. Discard chunks of tomatoes and pulp. Poor the juice into a jar with a lid. Add mustard, vinegar, oil, basil and shake. Salt & pepper to taste.
- Drizzle some of the dressing over the cooked tomatoes before serving (you can save the extra for a salad).
They were delicious! There was a perfect balance of cream, zest and freshness to these tomatoes. I would even use the dressing on a salad. If you have some extra tomatoes this summer, you should give this recipe a try!
I don’t think I had ever heard of a strata before I came across a recipe that had it in its name. The picture looked good and the ingredients were ingredients we liked. Needing a Meatless Monday recipe, I decided to make my first strata. A strata is basically a very savory bread pudding. This recipe uses smoked Gouda which has a very smoky flavor almost like there was bacon in the dish. The smoked gouda lends a hearty richness to the spinach and mushrooms. David actually thought there was bacon in it just by the smell. I had to change up the recipe a little bit based on availability and I decided to add a little Gruyere that I had left over from making homemade macaroni and cheese when we cooked for David’s cousin a few weeks ago. Here’s what I did:
4 oz. baguette (about a 9-inch piece), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 Tablespoon, unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. coarsely chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5-ounce Bag of fresh baby spinach
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
¾ Cup Smoked Gouda Cheese, grated
¼ Cup Gruyere Cheese, grated
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Spread the bread cubes on a large rimmed baking sheet and toast in the heating oven until dry and pale golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but not browned.
- Add the mushrooms, garlic, thyme, and ¼ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft.
- Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper.
- Add the cheese and bread to the egg mixture and, toss until combined. Transfer to the skillet. Stir until all of the ingredients are distributed evenly. Pour into a small casserole dish and press down on the mixture to flatten it a bit.
- Bake, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, uncover and continue to bake until set in the center, about 5 minutes more.
Let cool briefly, slice, and serve.
OH, YES!! A Do-Againer!!
Last Monday, I gave this recipe for a spinach and tomato tart a try. I have officially gotten my husband to eat cooked spinach. He ate this left over tart two days after we had it and said that it was good all three days, but he was tarted out. 🙂
Here’s how I made it:
- 1 (14.1-ounce) box refrigerated pie crust (I used Pillsbury)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 large yellow onion
- 1 9-ounce bag of baby spinach
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 11/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 (8-ounce) packages of Swiss cheese (I used Sargento)
- 2 sliced tomatoes, sliced 1/4″ thick
Preheat oven to 450°
Unroll and stack pie crusts on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 14″ circle. Fit crust into an 11″ Pie pan. Prick the bottom of the pie crust with a fork. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Reduced oven temperature to 375°
In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter is melted. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add onion and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until onion is tender. Add spinach, in batches, stirring constantly, until spinach is wilted and all liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat. In n a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, half-and-half, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and mustard.
Assemble Tart: Using one package, plus about three slices out of the second package, Lay a single layer of Swiss cheese on the bottom of the crust. You made need to tear to ensure the pie crust is covered as much as possible. Layer spinach mixture on top of cheese. Pour egg mixture over spinach. Place tomatoes in the mixture. Sprinkle tomatoes with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and top with remaining cheese slices.
Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, or until middle is set. Let cool for 10 -15 minutes before serving.
I hope you enjoy this like we did!
Tonight I tried my first recipe by Giada De Laurentiis. I have to say two things positive about it. I got David to eat cooked spinach and it is a definite Do-Againer!!
Want to make it?
For years we have been frequenting a small Greek/Italian restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. One of their specialty dishes is Spinach Feta Pizza. This pizza is no ordinary pizza. Instead of sauce you drizzle a Greek dressing on top of spinach, onions and feta cheese.
You see, one of my college printing classes took a field trip to Richmond to visit an ink manufacturing plant. After our visit was over at the ink company, we stopped our van to get something to eat. Everyone divided into groups. Some went to Wendy’s, some went to McDonald’s and then there was a group that decided to try a this little hole in the wall Greek restaurant. I didn’t have that much money, but I had to go there versus the fast food restaurants. After all, they did have Italian food too.
I had barely enough money to get the lasagna. I really don’t recall anything special about it, but I’m sure it was good. It was on the trip back home in which a classmate offered me some of his left over Spinach Feta pizza. I have always been willing to try new foods. Oh man!!!! Once I took the first bite, I could not get enough. I think I ended up eating at least two if not three slices of this guy’s pizza. From that day forward, I was determined to find that restaurant and order one of those pies for myself!
Like most, I have really become addicted to Pinterest. I enjoy seeking out DIY projects, cleaning tips, home decor ideas, gardening tips and of course recipes!! I came across a Greek Dressing recipe. As I read the ingredients, I began to imagine how they would taste together and immediately thought it was that famous recipe used by the Greek restaurant. What if? What if I could finally make this treasured pizza on my own????
I bought a fresh made pizza dough from the grocery store and tonight I made my own Spinach Feta Pizza. It was pretty darn close to the pizza I have loved for years.
Here’s how I made it:
Spinach Feta Pizza
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 2 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 2 tsp. pepper
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
Mix all ingredients together and shake well.
- One store bought pizza crust or make your own (I really need to make my own dough)
- 1/2 bag of fresh spinach (must be fresh)
- 1/2 an sweet onion cut into 1″ thin slices
- One block or container of crumbled Feta Cheese
- 1/4 tsp dried Dill
- 1/4 tsp dried Oregano
- Prepare pizza dough per instructions
- Layer our fresh spinach first making sure the dough is covered except for 1″ around the edges
- Layer onions over top of the spinach
- Layer Feta Cheese to cover over as much of the spinach as possible. You want the cheese to be the main ingredient of the pizza.
- Sprinkle dried oregano and dill on top of the cheese.
- Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Be sure to check it and make sure that your oven is cooking the dough evenly.
- Cut into slices, and drizzle Greek Dressing over the pizza slice.
Will you try it? Will this be a “Do-Againer”? Let me know!