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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.
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.
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:
Raise your hand if you are tired of turkey, stuffing, and Brussels sprouts and you feel like if you see one more pumpkin pie you’re gonna pop a button on your pants? I for one don’t want to look at anything Thanksgiving until next year. I indulged in all my mama’s good cooking and brought back home leftovers to eat off of for a couple of days. If you are tired of Thanksgiving foods too, you’ll love this Meatless Monday recipe I made last week. I know, I did a Mexican recipe the week before, but I can’t help it. I love this stuff! I thought I would share a recipe that will get you over that Thanksgiving coma and kick start your week with a little bit of spice. Here’s my recipe for Mexican Refried Bean Pizza:
OPTIONAL TOPPINGS: The following are merely suggestions according to our taste, but you could certainly omit or add any you would like.
In case you are wondering, His Royal Highess did not get upset like he did the night I made the fajitas. 😉
I can’t believe I haven’t done veggie stir fry before last week as a Meatless Monday meal. It is so easy and fresh! Here’s how I make it:
Option #1: At least one day before you plan to make the fried rice, place rice in a sieve and rinse until the water is no longer cloudy and runs clear. Place the rinsed rice in a medium-sized saucepan. Add 2 cups of cold. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, and simmer until the water has cooked down to the level of the rice. Stir rice with a spoon well. Cover, and reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook for about 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork. Allow the rice to cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled, cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
Option #2: I usually take the short cut and use Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in place of the steamed rice. (It may not be the Asian thing to do, but I’m not Asian… 😉 )
Making stir fry from scratch is simple and so worth making yourself. Although a wok is nice to have, you don’t have to have one to make this stir fry. You also have control over sodium and sugar when making it yourself at home. This is so good it was hard not to do a repeat performance this week…
I found a recipe online for a mushroom quiche that was featured in an issue of Food & Wine Magazine. The recipe looked awesome and I thought it would be good to have another use for my spring form pan besides cheesecake. There was also a note on the bottom of the recipe that I could make it ahead and then warm it up when it was ready to eat. What a perfect recipe. I could make it on Sunday and the just come home and heat it up after work on Monday and that would keep me practically out of the kitchen on Meatless Monday.
It was a great plan. A great plan indeed, until it happened. One of those moments when a great plan starts to go south. Call it a stubbornness, hardheadedness, a brain fart, a blonde moment or just plain stupid, but I really didn’t think things through when making this recipe. Here are some lessons I learned from making this quiche:
LESSON #1: The recipe for the pastry shell was specific to the dimensions of the pan and the amount of filling made.
The recipe called for a “Buttery Pastry Shell”. It even had a link to a recipe for a butter pastry shell. Did I click on the link for that specific recipe? NO! I did not click on the link. For some reason I had it in my mind to use the perfect pie crust recipe I posted about this summer when I made my homemade cherry pie for the Fourth of July.
Before I could even try to make the pastry shell using the recipe I wanted to use, I realized I couldn’t use that recipe. That recipe called for shortening. I did not have any shortening. That was my chance to correct my mistake. Did I go back and click on the link to the “buttery pastry shell” the recipe called for? NO! I did not click on it. Instead, I Googled recipes for pastry dough that did not call for shortening. I found a recipe that made a 9” pie crust. In my head that is what was needed and that was what I was going to make. It never dawned on me that the recipe needed a specific pastry shell. One that actually fits the spring form pan and could hold the amount of filling I was going to prepare later. What is crazy is the fact that I used ingredients from another recipe, and intended on using the directions from the one I should be using, but I hardly read the instructions on the recipe for the pastry shell and I don’t think I really understood what was directed anyway. I didn’t care because I was going to make it work.
I made the dough and then placed it inside the refrigerator to relax and chill. While the dough chilled, I prepared the spring form pan and cut out two parchment paper circles that I thought would help the baking process. One would go underneath the dough on the bottom of the spring form pan. The second parchment paper circle would go on top of the dough to hold the rice. Yes, rice. I don’t bake often, so I don’t have any baking weights. I did not have any beans that I wanted to waste either (can you even reuse beans if you use them for blind baking?). The recipe said you could use rice for blind baking pie shells. Did you know that you could use rice? Me either! After 30 minutes, I took the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and began to roll it out. It was really pretty dough. Very smooth and silky. It wasn’t too dry and it wasn’t too sticky. I folded it up to make placing it inside the pan easier. As I began to unfold the dough and shape it inside the pan, I realized it really didn’t fit the pan, nor was it as thick as the directions said it should be. Looking at the picture of the made quiche in the printout, it looked close enough to the right height. So I decided to go with what I had.
Let’s put it this way, you can use rice, in place of weights, as long as the parchment paper is large enough to keep the rice from touching the dough. The recipe instructed that I start with weights for a certain period of time and then take it out and continue to bake the shell until golden brown. When I cut out a circle of parchment paper to place into the bottom of the shell, I should have made it large enough to just lift the rice out of the shell. I did not think about making it easy to empty out the rice to finish baking the crust. Also, I am pretty sure I did not put enough rice in the shell either. As the shell baked the sides that I knew were way too thin began to roll downward into the bottom of the shell. This made trying to get rid of the rice and parchment paper almost impossible. The dough started to encompass the rice. I had to gently pick some grains of rice out of the shell using a pastry brush and a toothpick before I could return it to the oven to finish baking.UGH! What nightmare! Why didn’t I just start over after realizing the dough didn’t fit the spring form pan correctly? I still thought I could make it work.
After that lovely pastry shell came out of the oven, I let it cool while preparing the filling for the quiche. Yes, I was still determined to continue on. I prepared the filling as directed. Before assembling the quiche in the shell, I decided I had better cover the outside of the spring from pan with aluminum foil, just in case it started to leak out of the pan. That folks, was one moment of genius! The first layer of ingredients seemed ok, but by the time I made the second layer of ingredients, things got really chaotic. Even though the pastry shell was practically engulfed by the filling from the first layer I proceeded to pour more filling into the spring form. I could see that it was starting to seep out of the pan into the layer of foil I had wrapped around it. I then decided I may want to put a sheet pan underneath that foil lined spring form pan. Well that is another genius moment. As the quiche was inside the oven beginning to bake the filling started to ooze out of the foil lined spring form pan and onto that sheet pan. All I could do was sit there and watch it happen. At that point, I really didn’t have an option to do anything else. Minute by minute passed and the oozing seemed to slow down. My next concern was that this thing had to bake for an hour and a half. That filling that had oozed out would start to burn and smoke up the house. So, with David’s help, we took it off the original sheet pan and placed it onto a clean one. Sheeew! I was exhausted and this thing just got into the oven.
After the long baking time, I took the quiche out of the oven and let it cool. Finally I was able to spring it out of that pan. It really didn’t look all that bad and it smelled great! I proceeded with pictures and enjoyed the natural light on the deck rail. It took until we went to bed that night for that quiche to cool enough to place into the refrigerator. The next day we came home and I sliced it up and placed it into the oven as suggested. David’s tummy was bothering him and he didn’t eat. I did and guess what? That quiche was great! Yes, the crispy crust on the outside would have made the texture a little better, but the flavors were not harmed. The next day David had his for lunch and it was so good he encouraged me to try it again. Said it was way better than “that soup” we had for Meatless Monday the week before. Thanks dear! I think…
Even though I had issues, this quiche would be awesome for entertaining friends and family during the holiday season. I had to change up the ingredients just a bit from the original due to limited cheese and cheese selections. Here’s how I made it:
If you didn’t get lost in the story and have read this all the way to here, congratulations you are at the end. Thanks for reading and learning through my mistakes. The original recipe was called “Over-the-top Mushroom Quiche”. You have no idea…
David did not like this soup and I am not sure why. I liked it! I guess we can agree to disagree on this one…
Inspired by ClosetCooking.com’s Roasted Apple and Aged White Cheddar Soup
You’ve got to love this time of year. Just perfect for soups to warm up your innards on these chilly fall days. Here are 5 soups perfect for Meatless Monday, or any day of the week:
I realized that most of my Meatless Monday recipes are about supper or lunch. I haven’t shared too many recipes that could be used for breakfast or a dessert. So today, I am going to share with you a tart recipe I made last weekend, using some of our fresh local apples. Here’s how I made my Apple Ricotta Tart:
Slicing was made easier with the use of a pizza cutter. You can also drizzle with caramel sauce if desired. I will be sharing a caramel sauce recipe later this week, so stay tuned… 😉
On FOOD FACT FRIDAY, I told you about some pretty interesting facts about the butternut squash. As mentioned, David nor I had never had butternut squash until last year, when we tried it roasted in the oven for the first time. We like it because it is pretty unique and really not like anything else. It’s one of those fruits you treat like a vegetable to make it savory.
Today, for Meatless Monday, I am excited to share with you a recipe for a Beet and Butternut Squash Tart that I made last week. David renamed it “BeetNut Tart” I made a dressing to drizzle over it when it was ready to eat. It was so colorful and so good! Here’s how I made it:
While the tart is baking, prepare the dressing as follows:
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.
The dressing brought the tart full circle. We enjoyed it again for lunch the following day. This will happen again, yum!
I really didn’t know what to make for Meatless Monday last week, but David spotted some beautiful portobello mushrooms at the grocery store and pointed them out to me I knew exactly what we were going to have Portobello Mushroom Pizzas! I had some extra baby Bellas in the refrigerator and decided to stuff some of them too. Here’s how I made them:
I wanted to make mushroom cap pizzas for a long time. I was kind of on the fence as to whether to back the caps before adding the cheese and toppings. During the cooking process, some liquid cooks out of the mushrooms. I chose to skip pre-baking the mushroom caps go with a pizza topped portobello from the start. I didn’t think mushroom liquid would be a bad thing. Turns out it was a good thing. A very good thing indeed! David and I loved them mushroom juice and all. Do-Againer!
Everyone is always looking for ways to cut out some calories. Lord knows David and I sure need to! The other day we had a Meatless Monday meal on a Thursday also! I bought a beautiful eggplant from the farmers’ market the weekend before and decided to make Eggplant Parmesan. This time, instead of frying the eggplant, I decided I would bake it to take away some saturated fat from the frying process. Here’s how I made it:
We couldn’t even tell it wasn’t fried. In fact, I think it was even better than if I had fried it. Try it and let me know what you think!
Last Saturday, I made arrangements with Mr. Mello, from Oak Shade Farm to purchase some of his lovely shiitake mushrooms. I had to take His Royal Highness to the vet for a shot, but we had a late appointment. To ensure we didn’t miss out on Mr. Mello’s mushrooms at the farmers’ market, I contacted him earlier in the week to see if I could get some and to pick up a sample of his dried mushrooms to experiment with, as we had previously discussed.
For Meatless Monday I found a recipe that used fresh shittake mushrooms that I just had to try. Here is how I made: Pasta With Shiitake Mushrooms and Basil:
Adapted recipe from: EatingWell.com
This recipe was wonderful! You could taste each individual ingredient with each bite. I couldn’t get over how much the lemon flavored the pasta. It made what is normally a heavy dish much lighter. Perfect for summer!
Next time I think I may use linguine noodles instead. The fettucine noodles were a little large in comparison to the mushrooms. All part of texture, and nothing to do with flavor. David and I even used the left over “Beer Can Chicken” (recipe to come) from Sunday night to add to the pasta for lunch on Tuesday. It was a great combination!
I am looking forward to experimenting with the dried mushrooms this winter, so stay tuned for that!
For Tips on how to take care of mushrooms, click HERE.
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:
* 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!
David and I have been enjoying heirloom tomatoes for the first time this summer. If you can get past the way they look they are really delicious and have a much more intense flavor that your normal “Better Boy” or “BeefSteak” varieties. I’ve got to be honest, some of those heirloom tomatoes are just down right ugly and are not very appetizing. Do you have that problem too?
Anyway, since discovering the PERFECT PIE CRUST recipe, when I made that cherry pie for the Fourth of July, I decided to revisit a Spinach and Tomato Tart I made for Meatless Monday, last year. If you click on the link I just gave you that leads to the old recipe, you will notice I originally used a store bought pie crust to make my tart. This time I wanted to use the new recipe for pastry dough and make this tart again with a more tasty crust. I was also hoping to improve on the presentation. The first time I made this tart, I cut it while it was too hot and it just didn’t look all that appetizing (How embarrassing!).
I made the pie crust the day before, covered it in plastic and placed it in the refrigerator, until time to make the tart. The recipe makes two 10″ pie crusts. My original plan was to make the crust for the tart and save the unused 1/2 of the dough for a pie for a dessert this coming weekend.
Things to did not go as planned. I wanted to use an actual tart dish this time. The problem was that the tart dish was not deep enough and didn’t hold as much filling as the dish I used last time I made this tart. My plan fell apart when I started pouring in the egg mixture into the tart. It was about to overflow and I hadn’t even added the tomatoes yet!
I paused for a moment to think about what I was going to do. Then, I quickly opened a utensil/gadget drawer and pulled out the turkey baster. Using the turkey baster, I siphoned out enough of the egg mixture from the tart to allow me to put the tomatoes in the tart. I didn’t expect was having left over filling and tomato. What was I going to with the rest of the filling and tomato slices? Luckily, I had already blind baked the second crust, with the intention of using it for a dessert pie. Not anymore!! I pulled out some parmesan cheese, feta cheese and some Caesar dressing from the fridge and concocted a tomato pie! Here are the two recipes for you to try. Oh, and don’t worry, they are portioned out properly so you won’t run into the same issues I did. 😉
Both the Tart and the Pie were delicious, even if the pie was unexpected. 😉
To me, these were better than the ones with meat in them. The texture was creamer and was sure comfort food after returning to work from Staycation last week.
Inspired by Ina Garten’s Grown Up Macaroni & Cheese, here is my version of Homemade Adult Mac & Cheese.
This is the best macaroni and cheese I have ever eaten. Try it and see if you feel the same way!
Last week, for Meatless Monday, I decided I was going to create my own version of Vegetable Lasagna. Most recipes I saw still used noodles in the layers. I wanted the vegetables I used to be the layers between instead, not realizing at the time, this makes this particular recipe gluten free. I hope this will appeal to any Mountain Kitchen Fans that are allergic to gluten.
This recipe may seem complicated, but it can easily be simplified by substituting store bought ricotta and using a jarred sauce if you do not have the time to prepare those ingredients. However, I do not recommend it, because fresh is better. But you know what? Every now and then I cheat too! 😉
Here’s how I made Veggie Lasagna:
SALT THE EGGPLANT: Cut off both ends of the eggplant; then cut eggplant lengthwise into 1/8 inch thick slices. Put the eggplant pieces strainer in the sink and sprinkle both sides generously with salt. Let the eggplant sit with the salt on it for at least 30 minutes to draw out the liquid.After 30 minutes or longer, rinse the salt off the eggplant and pat dry with a paper towel. (Read more about salting eggplant HERE)
MAKE THE RICOTTA (skip if using store bought)
Homemade Ricotta Cheese – Ina Garten’s Recipe
Ricotta Cheese Directions:
MAKE THE SAUCE (skip if you are substituting)
I knew we wouldn’t eat the whole lasagna and I planned it that way. I took the left over lasagna and divided it up into individual servings. Placed each on a piece of wax paper and wrapped them for the freezer. Now David and I will have Meatless Monday lunches on the go for work! 🙂
David and I were inspired by one of Bobby Flay’s shows we watch recently. We had hit the local farmers’ market again, so when we saw him grill veggies for a grilled Ratatouille salad we decided to make a similar salad but we put our spin on it.
As you can tell by the picture above, the rain held off just until we could get the last of the veggies off the grill. We could see it coming across the valley. We got everything off the grill and in the house. Then it poured for about 5 minutes. We were glad we were able to get our veggies grilled before the rain came. And I was glad it was over so quickly, so I could get my plated shot on the deck rail before eating. 😉
Here is our recipe for Grilled Summer Veggie Salad:
This is a perfect summer grilled salad. It can also help use up some of those extra veggies you have on hand before they go bad. Give it a try for Meatless Monday or any day of the week!
*Dressing: Feel free to use any dressing you would like. David does not like the one I use (he’s cray cray) for this recipe. He made a quick vinaigrette with red wine vinegar and oil.