Falafel Frenzy

April 10, 2013 at 11:30 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Recipe time!

Last week, Scott and I made our regular trip to Trader Joe’s and picked up some frozen falafels, which inspired the meal.  Actually, everything here was purchased from Trader Joe’s but if you’re not lucky enough to have one near you, I bet most if not all of this could be found just about anywhere.

Yum!

Yum!

Disclaimer: I know it’s not plated very prettily but it still tasted delicious.  Also, yes, that is a wine sippy cup in the background and I bet you wish that your awesome little sister bought you one too.

So we bought a bag of the frozen falafels, which basically went into the oven per the directions on the bag.  We also purchased: pita pockets, garlic hummus, kale salad, avacados and a container of tabouli.  The hummus and tabouli went inside the pita bread, then we broke up the falafels and stuck them in there too.  Kale salad was served as a side along with actual pita chips which we dipped in more hummus.  The avacados were kind of a random addition, I’ll admit, but we eat them just about every night and I was really hungry so they were added to the plate.

The whole thing took maybe 20 minutes to put together and that includes time in the oven.  It was super easy and super full of protein, which is awesome for our vegetarian selves.  We actually bought the same ingredients again last weekend and plan on having a friend over later this week to help us enjoy another meal.  Maybe I’ll take a better looking picture then?  Or maybe I’ll be too busy stuffing my face to care.  Again.

 

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Squash This x 2

November 1, 2012 at 11:13 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

I know I recently posted about my forays into the world of spaghetti squash and I made another, better meal last night that I had to share.  In my previous attempt, I simply added some olive oil, spices and some random veggies and called it a meal.

Look what I can do!

It was good but last night I was in the mood for something a bit more hearty.  Scott had class so he wasn’t around but a good friend of mine came over as I got busy in the kitchen.  Since Scott had been nice enough to slice the squash in half lengthwise before he left for the night, all I needed to do was remove the seeds (which I did after taking the squash from the oven last time…I highly recommend removing the seeds before cooking, since it saved me from burning the prints off my fingers…again), put some tin foil on a baking sheet, add a bit of olive oil and pepper and place them face down in the oven for about 40 minutes (at 350 degrees).  Once they were tender, I scooped out those insides and put it all into a big pot while I simmered marinara sauce and sauteed some garlic along with diced broccoli and carrots.  I also put a package of veggie meatballs in the oven so everything was finished cooking at roughly the same time.  I then tossed it all together, added some feta cheese and voila!  A healthy, nutritious and delicious Halloween dinner.

It was fairly quick and very easy, plus those squashes produce so much…squash…that it fed both of us and Scott when he got home, while leaving probably two more meals worth of leftovers as well.  Not bad for a gourd that costs less than $2.  I kind of enjoy this whole cooking thing when it’s this simple and tasty so I’ll likely make this dish again pretty soon.  After I enjoy those leftovers for dinner tonight, of course!

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Squash This

October 2, 2012 at 10:48 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last week (or two weeks ago…man time flies), I prepared a dish using a vegetable I haven’t messed with in a long time – spaghetti squash.  It was super easy and surprisingly healthy, so even though I neglected to take any photos of my final creation, I thought I’d share with you just what I did.  For those of you who don’t know, spaghetti squash gets its name because its insides look and taste somewhat like spaghetti, at least once they’re nice and cooked.  Scott didn’t believe me that one squash would yield enough to feed three or four people and he was convinced he could eat an entire one himself, so we bought two for the whopping price of $2.  Boy, was he surprised when he saw how they turned out.

Crazy, huh?

To cook them, Scott took a huge knife (because I don’t trust myself with such things) and sliced them lengthways down the middle.  Then I put some oil on a baking sheet and placed them on there face down before setting them in the oven for about half an hour.  Then I proceeded to have a dance party in the kitchen to kill some time.  30 minutes later, after letting them cool so they weren’t too hot to touch, I removed the seeds much like I would do with a pumpkin (note: I believe you can do this before cooking them and as I was in a hurry and didn’t wait until they were really cooled down, I kicked myself for not doing it sooner.  Steaming hot squash insides burn when you’re wrist deep in them).  After I removed all of the seeds my delicate hands could handle, I took a large spoon and basically scooped out the innards, again much like a pumpkin.  Those insides are what became the “spaghetti” and Scott was amazed at how much there was (we ended up having leftovers for a week).  I then took whatever else I had in my fridge that I thought would pare well (this is my preferred method of cooking) and sautéed it: orange peppers, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, black olives and feta cheese.  I threw it all into the squash, along with some olive oil and seasonings, and voila!  Dinner!

This is a great substitute for pasta, although it has a bit of a squash taste instead of that of grain (shocking, I know).  It’s still really good and the dinner guests we had that night seemed to enjoy it, or at least were able to lie well enough that I believed them.  Scott really did like it though, as did I, and next time we’ll add some marinara sauce or something to spice it up even more.  So if you’re feeling hungry and lazy, pick up one of these bad boys and give it a go.  Your stomach will thank you – and so will your wallet!

 

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Dinner Guest!

February 20, 2012 at 1:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

The very first dinner guest to sit at our new dining room table was entertained last week and I was so proud of my meal that I had to share:

Mmm

What we have here is cheese stuffed manicotti that had been sitting in my freezer for entirely too long (hey, I’m all about honesty here).  I used a food processor to shred some broccoli, spinach, carrots and mushrooms and added that to the marinara sauce then poured all that over the manicotti, which I had placed in a glass baking pan.  I threw that all in for about an hour and then poured a glass of wine as I set about the rest.  Not pictured is the salad with goat cheese, cranberries and walnuts that I made but that’s because it was devoured before I had a chance to take the pic.  I did manage to snap the photo while the flat bread was still around, though.  I took that and covered it lightly with olive oil, black pepper, basil and oregano and then baked it for a while with the pasta.  Then I added the olive oil/pepper dipping combo here and was able to present it nicely before the boys dug in.  Both Scott and our house/dinner guest Nate told me they thought the meal was delicious and I definitely agreed, especially considering most of it was pulled from pantry or freezer shelves.

Gotta love grown up dinners – perhaps this table will inspire me to get off my ass and cook even more!  Although carryout fits nicely on it as well…

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Birthdays, Buddies, Booze and Boobs

February 9, 2012 at 12:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Does it get any better than that?

It seems that there’s been a theme to my birthdays over the last few years.  First it was Dirty Bingo, followed by a gender-bending burlesque show (complete with clowns) last year and then this year was the Indiana Jones: Temple of the Boob burlesque show.  For some reason it appears that I like celebrating my birthday by watching others talk about or get into their birthday suits so I guess I’ll just go with it.  Who knows what next year will bring!

We started out the night at The Southern, which turned out to be a great venue for a large dinner with a group of my nearest and dearest.  I’m always a little nervous when hosting a gathering of my friends because most of them don’t really know each other and the only thing they really have in common is well…me…which can kind of put me on the spot.  But the restaurant sat us at these large leather couches that were arranged in a sort of circle, which made it easier to converse with everyone and created a friendlier atmosphere.  It also prevented people from being forced to talk to their direct seatmate (not that that’s always bad).  It did make it a bit more awkward when it came time to eat, as there was only one low table, but as most of us ordered their signature macaroni and cheese anyway so it wasn’t too tough.  The food was great, the atmosphere appealing and the company was the best.  I have some really awesome friends and I was so glad everyone was able to make it.

Good, not so clean fun

The entire group didn’t go to the next stop, the burlesque show, but there were a handful that made it out.  The show wasn’t cheap ($20) and didn’t last too long (about an hour) but it was hilariously entertaining and well worth the cash.  Basically, scantily clad women enacted a story about Indiana Jones that was a summary of all of the movies combined into one new tale.  They did a good job and anyone familiar with the movies could pick out recurring gags and jokes along the way.  It was also refreshing because these were women who looked like normal females – extra skin and stretch marks did nothing to deter them from putting on a great show and it was good to see ladies who looked more like myself than Heidi Klum up there on stage (though I wouldn’t have minded Heidi…).  I won’t get too detailed but I will say that I saw one girl use her boobs in a way that had simply never occurred to me before.  And based on the laughter and other various reactions she got, I don’t think I was alone.

All in all, it was a great birthday treat.  On my actual birthday my sweetheart boyfriend woke me up with a beautiful necklace and then treated me to brunch at one of my favorite spots.  After the adoption of that cat (which will be expanded upon soon), we went out for a nice dinner at Basil Leaf, a delicious Italian restaurant that made strong drinks.  I can’t think of a better way to ring in a birthday and thanks to all who came out and made it a blast!

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Food for Thought

August 29, 2011 at 9:29 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Someone thought it would be a good idea to turn me loose in the kitchen Friday night but I must admit, the meal I came up with was pretty darn good.  I was inspired as I had an eggplant and some basil lying around so, after finding a few various recipes online, I meshed them together and came up with my own little eggplant baked dish that I’m happy to share today:

Contrary to what my mother thought, this is made atop linguine noodles and not squid tentacles...

So I started this whole thing off by making some pesto from scratch.  Actually, to be totally honest, I started the whole thing off by pouring a glass of wine but you get the idea.  Pesto is surprisingly easy to make and after mixing a cup and a half of fresh basil, a cup of olive oil, three cloves of garlic and a cup of pine nuts (walnuts are used traditionally but those bad boys are expensive; I improvised with what I had and was not disappointed), I was ready to roll.  I blended it all with my handy food processor and before I knew it, pesto was born.  After being thrilled with my taste test and pouring another glass of wine, I was ready to tackle the eggplant.

Eggplant and I don’t have much of a history – it’s good and I eat it but mostly at restaurants because cooking it is a little intimidating.  At least, it was.  Friday I mastered that vegetable and fried it’s rubbery skin into submissiveness.  I basically just sliced it up and tossed it in some egg before coating it with Italian bread crumbs and frying on the stove.  As that was all sizzling, I boiled some water for the spinach and chive linguine that was the base of my dish (mostly because it had been in my cupboard for a ridiculous amount of time).  Once the eggplant and pasta was finished, I got to work layering my concoction in a baking dish.  Which I forgot I owned, so that tells you how often I make meals from scratch.  I used the linguine as the bottom layer and mixed in some tomato and basil marinara sauce as well.  Then came the eggplant and I put slices of provolone cheese on top of that.  I sliced up tomatoes and put them on top of the cheese and the whole thing was covered with a light layer of the pesto I had ready and waiting.  That whole pan was baked for roughly half an hour, along with some butter and garlic rolls.  Then – chow time!

Next time I’ll be a bit quicker as I wasn’t really sure what I was doing this go-round and had to stop and take many breaks from the labor intensive cooking process.  It was more than just edible (not to toot my own horn but it was delicious) and maybe I can plan one of those fancy dinner party adult type things and make it again.  Or I could just eat the whole thing myself while sitting in my underwear and drinking milk from the carton.  Decisions, decisions…

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Dinner Party

August 18, 2011 at 9:04 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

Last night, I had two lovely lady friends over for dinner and drinks.  My picture of the meal didn’t turn out how I wanted but I’m going to describe it here anyway because it was quick, easy and delicious.  We had:

That's what I did

  • Pita bread with two types of hummus (pesto/basil and sun-dried tomato for the extremely curious)
  • Vegetables roasted with a balsamic vinaigrette
  • Mashed potatoes with garlic, red pepper, Parmesan cheese, basil and oregano
  • Veggie burgers with spinach and pepper-jack cheese

This dinner was brought to you by Trader Joe’s.  Seriously, everything we wound up with came from there in one way or another.  And while the vegetables was/are amazing and seemingly fancy, I should admit that I simply heated them up out of the frozen bag they came in.  Still totally worth it.  The veggie burgers were tossed on the George Foreman to perfectly toast the bread and melt the cheese and then we sat down to feast.  Paired with a couple of bottles of wine and some entertaining conversation, our dinner was a great way to end a Wednesday night.  I was excited for some leftovers today but sadly, nothing made it out of my kitchen uneaten.  I guess that’s a sign they liked it?

I’ve said this before but I really enjoy this whole having-a-kitchen-with-counter-space thing!

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Recipe Time!

October 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s been a while since I posted a meal on here and since I made a truly delicious dinner earlier this week, I figured it was time to share.  Bon appetit!

You will need:

  • Rice.  Any type will do.  Since I am the Queen of Lazy, I chose frozen brown rice from Trader Joe’s that cooks in the microwave in 60 seconds flat.
  • Some source of protein.  My meal featured a vegetarian chicken cutlet covered in a sun-dried tomato sauce.  If you’re among the majority and are carnivorous, feel free to use real chicken, a type of fish or something else.  I don’t really know what I’m talking about in this department so use your own judgment.
  • Vegetables.  I raided my fridge and used whatever I had and if you have more than one type of veggie on hand then you can easily do the same.  Don’t have any vegetables in the house?  Well, then you can’t exactly follow this recipe now can you?  Go eat some potato chips or ice cream because you’ve already ruined your dinner.  And try buying a carrot sometime.
  • Spices – whatever adds a little flavor to your life.
  • An oven (must work).

 

Finished product should somewhat resemble this

 

My aforementioned laziness often comes into play during the whole dinner-making process, so I tend to get in and out of the kitchen as quickly as possible.  There are nights that this means I eat cookies for the last meal of my day and I’m okay with that.  Since I was feeling particularly grown up the night I made this dinner (and particularly worried about certain foods going bad before I could eat them), I decided to spend more than five minutes in the kitchen.  I spent 25 and it was totally worth it.

I stuck the pseudo chicken product in a baking dish, covered it with the sauce it came with and stuck some foil on top.  Then I cut up some zucchini, squash, mushrooms, carrots and spinach leaves, drizzled them with a bit of olive oil, sprinkled some garlic salt, crushed black pepper and red pepper on top and put it on a baking pan.  The pan went next to the dish and I stuck it in the oven on 350 to let it do its thing.  Meanwhile, I set my table (I even ate at my table that night!) and heated up the rice.  I also had enough time for an impromptu dance party.  I opened the oven about 10 minutes through to turn the chicken and add some goat cheese to the top of my vegetable medley.  10 minutes after that I was ready to eat!

Easy, tasty and fast – just like I like my dates.  All joking aside, it was a great meal and inspired me to try this whole cooking thing more than a few times a month.  Perhaps my next job will be a chef of some sort…or maybe I’ll just stop eating so much cereal for dinner.

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