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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Polenta Pesto Heaven

Wow is all I really have to say here.  I've been venturing out lately in about everything I've created recently.  It's all been edible but nothing has stood as vibrantly flavored as this dish.  And the best part?  It was SOOOOOO simple.  All of these ingredients could be made from scratch and it would probably taste even more fantastic but given certain time constraints...I.E. Having a toddler running around, I think recipe taste amazing as it is. 

1 tube polenta (I used an herbed variety)
1 jar Classico Alfredo sauce
1 jar Classico Marinara sauce
1 bag shredded Italian Cheese
Pesto (I used about 3/4 of the pre-made kind)
1 medium onion - chopped
1 small pepper - chopped
6 oz mushrooms - chopped
1 tsp marjoram
1 tbsp butter
1/4 c. dry white wine

Preheat oven to 400.  Slice polenta about 1/4' thick.  Prepare baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.  Bake polenta till crispy and flip to other side.  This should take about 6-8 minutes per side.  Once crisped, remove from oven and let cool.
  While baking polenta, heat olive oil in medium skillet over med-high heat.  Saute onion 3-4 minutes and add pepper.  Saute an addition 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms, butter and marjoram.  By this time you should have some nice brown spots on the bottom of your pan.  Deglaze the pan with the wine and make sure you stir frequently to get all those yummy bits off the bottom.  Continue sauteing an addition 2 minutes. 
  Prepare 8x10 (ish) baking dish by coating bottom of pan with 1/2 c. marinara sauce.  Layer in polenta. Spread a tsp of pesto on each polenta slice. Top with mushroom mix.  At this point you could add a protein of your choice.  I used about 1/2 c. veggie crumbles.  You could omit this altogether if you want it to be completely gluten free.  Top with about 1/2 c. alfredo and 1/2 c. marinara.  Sprinkle on 1/2 c. cheese.
  Repeat with remaining polenta, pesto and sauce.  You'll want to make sure the sauce on top covers all the edges of the polenta.  Bake uncovered about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle 1 c. cheese.  Move pan closer to heat source in the oven and continue baking an additional 10 minutes until top is melted and bubbly all over. 
  Let stand 10 minutes before digging in! 

*I will definitely up the quantities next time.  This would probably serve 5-6 for dinner if accompanied with a salad and some garlic bread.  In my house it lasted barely 24 hours. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

This one is a staple in my house.  So easy.  So quick.  So delicious!  You could sub out zuchini and onions for the base.  Or perhaps mixed veggies?  Onions and green chilis for a mexican flare?  I have never tried any of these but I don't see how you could go wrong.


2 10 oz packages frozen chopped broccoli - cooked till crisp tender and drain
2 packages Morning Star Farms chicken nuggets
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. mayonnaise
cheddar cheese
3 1/2 tbsp melted butter
3 c. cornflakes (measured and then crushed)

Layer in drained broccoli in bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Top with nuggets.  Mix together soup and mayonnaise and cover nuggets.  Sprinkle cheese.  Combine cornflakes and melted butter till fully coated.  Cover cheese with cornflakes.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes till bubbly.  Cool 15 minutes before serving.

**Original recipe calls for 4 chicken breasts - boiled and shredded.  I have done this and it sees to take forever.  If you are a meaty family, I believe you could just as simply use some natural alternative...frozen chicken strips?  frozen chicken nuggets? This would speed up assembly greatly if you could skip the boiling and shredding process. 

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

So I've mentioned the Bountiful Basket and I've mentioned Vegetarian Times but I haven't mentioned how great it is when the recipes from the Times coincide with the ingredients received in my basket!  The Times had a whole section on poblanos this month.  Unfortunately most of their recipes called for double the amount I had on hand.  They did give me some inspiration though and thus we have...

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

3 poblanos - sliced in half and seeded
1 lb Ground meat *your choice.  Chicken, Turkey, Beef?  I used Morning Star Farms Crumble*
1/2 onion chopped
Red bell pepper - diced
3 cloves garlic - minced
1/2 c frozen corn
1/2 c. shredded zuchini
Juice of one lime
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Shredded cheese (I used a mexican blend)

Sour Cream

  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Parboil sliced pobalanos for about 6-7 minutes until a little tender.  Remove and drain. 
  In the meantime, heat a med skillet and toss in onion.  Satue 2-3 minutes and add all other veggies and meat*.  Continue cooking for about 3-4 minutes.  Sprinkle in spices and juice.  Cook till all veggies are done.  Gently stuff peppers with veggie/meat combo.  Top with cheese and bake in preheated (350) oven till cheese is melted.  Top with sour cream and cilantro and serve!  To make this dish a little more hearty you could serve this over quinoa or rice. 

*Only add meat in this step if it is some form of mockmeat.  Otherwise you will need to brown your meat first.  Drain and remove from pan.  Set aside and continue with onion saute.

Glazed Carrots

I recently was treated to an amazing culinary course this past weekend thanks to my most amazing friend.  Though not what I expected, I left the class feeling better then ever about my refrigerator and it's contents.   My relationship with recipes has never been too strict but I still always get the nagging feeling of "Well nope!  Can't make that one...I'm missing that one ingredient."  Michelle Reynolds helped to allow me feel even more confident when I open up the doors to that chilly box.  Anything is possible with what you have on hand...unless of course your pantry, cupboards and freezer are completely empty.  Then you're S.O.L. Sorry.
  But on the upside, I participate in the most unbelievable program called Bountiful Baskets.  If you don't know what it is...stay tuned.  I'll be posting pictures.  Quick run down is that you pay a contribution fee every week or two and you get a large supply of fresh regional produce.  It is then up to you what to do with it all!  That's the exciting part for me because *insert Forest Gump voice here* you never know what you're gonna get.  I recently received plantains which sat next to my potatoes for a few weeks until I discovered that nothing can taste bad with rum, butter, maple syrup and a few fresh cracks of cinnamon!  Especially when drizzled with vanilla yogurt.  : )
  Now keeping this all in mind...I went to go make dinner last night.  I opened up the doors and checked out my carrots that are near their end.  I hate throwing away food so I decided this would be the staple of my side dish.  That's when some Balsamic Glazed Carrots came to mind.  I had some cabbage, also from my basket, that had been sitting around a while and some frozen french cut green beans.  Sounds like the making of a healthy yet satisfying accompaniment. down so there won't be pictures for a while but let's just say this dish was so tasty that my son was begging for more!  Yay!!  Success!!

Balsamic-E Veggies
4 carrots - peeled and cut into 2" sticks
3/4 c. thinly sliced cabbage
1/2 c. frozen french cut green beans
2-3 cloves garlic - chopped
2 tbsp hoisin sauce (from the amazing Teriyaki know the one I'm talking about.  I accidentally purchased this flavor variety but was shooting for the veri teriyaki so use that if it's in your cupboard)
1/4 c. balsmic vinegar
2 tbsp unpacked brown sugar
Sprinkle of kosher salt

Heat oil in skillet and add carrots.  I had some wok oil sitting around and thought that would add a nice flare.  Get a nice sear on the carrots and add remaining veggies and garlic.  I covered my carrots and sauteed about 5-7 minutes.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes and add in Hoisin sauce and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt, sugar and toss.  Place in preheated oven (350) for about 15 minutes while you finish up the rest of your meal.  Serve over rice, couscous, quinoa for even more satisfaction.

Old pictures...

While I can't remember the exact recipes of these, I just wanted to share some old food pictures of composed dishes I've made.  These are pretty much the reason I started this blog.  I would make something, take a picture, it would taste delicious and I couldn't remember how to make it again!  It was and still is truly maddening.  Hopefully I will get better at this and keep better track of what I add to these dishes to make them so scrumdillyumptious!

                                          Some type of potato corn chowder with veggies.

                                      Stroganoff...where is the darn recipe?!?!?  This was soooo good.

                    Can we say YUMMY?!?!?!  These were from Vegan with Vengeance (I think)                        Banana oatmeal waffles? 

Tofu scramble

There is simply no better way to start your day than this delicious tofu scramble.  I have tweaked and will continue to tweak this recipe so remember to have fun when composing your own version.  Tofu is extremely versatile because it soaks up all the delicious spices you have to offer giving it just about any flavor you desire.  My initial winning dish was adapted from Vegan with a Vengeance.  With the addition of a few elements, you can have greatness here.

Easy Breezy Tofu Scramble

1 pkg extra firm tofu - lightly squeezed and drained
2 links Tofurky sausage (or Morning Star Farms patties or omit completely)
1/2 onion finely - chopped
2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
Grated carrot
1/2 c. mushrooms - sliced and chunked
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp lemon pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp Bragg's
1/4 c. nutritional yeast

Heat oil in large skillet.  Add onion and saute about 3-4 minutes.  Add garlic, sausage, mushrooms and carrots.  Saute 4-5 minutes till veggies are crisp-tender.  Add spices and saute, stirring constantly about 1 minutes.  Crumble in tofu and stir until spices have permeated all sides of tofu.  Add braggs and about 1/4 c. water.  Cover and simmer about 10 minutes.
Once water is almost evaporated add yeast and stir till dissolved.  Serve at once.  Top with parsley and cheese of your choice or as is.

Garden Veggie Pita Burgers

Oh. My. Goodness.   This one is always a winner.  I've had it up my sleeve for years and use the sauce in numerous applications.  As a dip to tortilla or raw veggies, on top of Indian (i know it's sooo not traditional but it tastes soooo good!), on top of tacos or burritos...pretty much anything that would require a delicious creamy kick.  The veggies can be substituted out for anything that you have in your fridge.  This one is a piece of cake for families that are in crunch time. 

Oh!  One more thing...this can easily be made vegan by using Vegannaise and Tofutti Sour cream in the sauce.  


1 med onion - sliced
1 red bell pepper - sliced
1 8 oz package mushrooms - sliced
Lawry's season salt (or which ever you choose)

Veggie Burgers (I like morning star farms)
Pita pockets
Grape tomatoes

1/2 c. finely chopped English Cucumber
1/4 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sour cream
Dash of garlic powder and onion salt
3 tbsp dill
Few cracks of pepper

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix up sauce ingredients. Cover and put in fridge to chill.
Prepare baking sheet with aluminum foil and nonstick spray.  Arrange bell peppers and onions in rows.  Don't worry if they're touching but do try to keep them somewhat apart as some folks don't like onions and vice versa.  Lather with nonstick spray (or drizzle of lightly flavored oil *not olive*) Sprinkle generously with season salt and a few cracks of pepper.  Bake in oven for about 10 mins.  Add mushrooms.  Toss and sprinkle again with season salt. Bake an additional ten minutes.  Toss and see that most of the liquid has evaporated.  If it hasn't continue baking in increments of 5 minutes till done.

  At this point you'll want to start assembly.  I am a fan of microwaved veggie burgers.  I find the oven dries them out a little too much.  *yes, meat lovers, you can use a regular patty in here...or chicken even* 
  Microwave veggie burgers according to manufacturers directions.  Slice into strips.  Microwave pita pocket till pliable and snip into strips.  Arrange along the bottom of a salad bowl.  Lay down lettuce.  Place a dollop of roasted veggies on top of lettuce.  Smear a few tablespoons of sauce on veggies and top with sliced veggie burger.  Arrange tomatoes along outer part of pita for a beautiful presentation.  Enjoy!

It's Apple Season!!

Upon the arrival of my new Vegetarian Times, I immediately begin to flip through the pages.  The front cover shows a delicious pasta with only 5 ingredients *i made this and it didn't turn out as delicious as the cover made it look*  I continue flipping to find this amazing bread pudding recipe.  To me, however, it sounds a bit more like a french toast bake than a bread pudding but I thought I'd venture out and try this.  While I have posted pictures of a recipe, it is not of this exact one.  Continue on below and find out my adaptation...
Apple Cinnamon-Bread Pudding


Ingredient list

Serves 12
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2    tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. butter or margarine, melted
  • 1/2 baguette, cut into 1-inch-thick slices (5 cups)
  • 4 apples, peeled and quartered, each quarter cut into 4 slices (4 cups)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk


1. Preheat oven to broil. Coat 10-inch round casserole dish or 4 1/2-qt. Dutch oven with cooking spray. Combine sugar and cinnamon on small plate. Put melted butter in shallow bowl. Set aside.

2. Halve each baguette slice. Dip each halved slice first in butter, then in cinnamon sugar, and set cinnamon-side up on baking sheet. Set remaining cinnamon sugar aside. Broil bread slices 1 to 2 minutes, or until cinnamon sugar gets dark and bubbly on top.

3. Spread 2 cups apple slices on bottom of prepared casserole dish. Top with 2 1/2 cups bread slices, cinnamon-side down. Repeat layering with remaining apples and bread slices. 

4. Whisk together eggs, egg whites, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk in milk until smooth. Pour over bread and apples. Weigh down pudding with salad plate to keep bread submerged, and let stand 1 hour in refrigerator, or overnight.

5. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle bread pudding with remaining cinnamon sugar, and bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until set in center and puffy and golden brown on top. Serve warm.
Cammie's Version:
Cinnamon Raisin French Toast and Apple Bake
Use the above recipe as your model...but...

6 cinnamon raisin bagels - cut down to about 1" chunks - brush with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and broil till carmelized

Add to your liquid mixture:
3/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp cinnamon
1 extra egg
1/2 c. chai (i used the protein version from bolthouse farms)

Cover and let soak overnight.  Bake covered till bubbly. Uncover and sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and continue baking extra 10 mins.

It's been a long time...

I'm afraid life simply doesn't allow the time to blog every recipe.  I've taken pictures up until the point of my camera breaking and I will be posting those recipes soon!  But for today...a crowd pleaser.  Kids and adults will enjoy these delicious pancakes!!

Banana Nut Pancakes
*check for allergies before continuing.  The nuts can easily be left out to please those who are not a fan of the nuttiness*
1 c. pancake mix (yes you can make your own)
1 ripe banana - mashed
1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg and cloves
pinch of salt
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. raisins
1 tbsp flax seed

Mash banana thoroughly and add spices.  Measure milk and add egg. Lightly beat and add to banana.  Sprinkle in pancake mix, nuts, flax seed and raisins.  Mix till just moist.  Cook up like regular ole pancakes...bubbly in the middle and a little dry around the edges and flip for an additional 45 seconds of cooking time. 

Yummers! Top with your favorites...maple syrup and strawberries?  blend of cream cheese and whip cream for a sweet treat?  Just plain??