I had to scrape the frost off of my car windows yesterday morning. What the heck, spring!? This is just not okay. To cope with the little bit of a chill that’s been in the air, I made up a big batch of hearty vegetarian chili. Chili and soup weather is almost out the door (thankfully), so I figured I might as well make the best of it by making (and eating!) lots of warm comfort food, like this creamy potato muhsroom soup and brownie caramel cheesecake. Okay, maybe brownie caramel cheesecake isn’t soup or chili, but it is definitely comforting! It wont be long before I can put away the winter coats and wave goodbye to frosty windows, mountains of snow, and that annoying patch of ice in front of my door!
I love this vegetarian chili recipe, and chili/soup recipes in general, because they are so easy to make. Throw everything in a pot or slow-cooker and let it cook; it doesn’t get too much easier than that! You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand, or add chicken or beef. This was the first time I added cinnamon and cocoa powder to chili, and it added a subtle depth to the flavor that really took this recipe to the next level.
I usually add a box of macaroni noodles when I make this vegetarian chili, but this time I decided not to. Do you want know what I did instead? I mixed the leftovers with leftover baked mac and cheese I had in the fridge and packaged it up for the husband and my lunches. It was super delicious and cheesy! We all know that mac and cheese doesn’t reheat the greatest and this was the perfect solution!
- 1 14.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes and juice
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped carrots
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, diced
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 1/2 cups tomato juice
- Sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and chopped green onions for garnish
- In a medium pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook until onions begin to turn translucent.
- Add the onions and garlic to your slow-cooker, followed by the rest of the ingredients and give it all a mix.
- Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours.
- Spoon into bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, and green onions.
You can add the onions and garlic raw if you'd like, the flavor of will be slightly stronger. You can use tomato sauce or stock/broth/water instead of tomato juice; add enough to just cover the vegetables. You could also prepare this on the stove, just cook the onions and garlic in your soup pot, add the remaining ingredients and simmer until vegetables are tender.
I love quinoa. Why? More like why not! It’s full of protein, fiber, iron, calcium, phosphorus and- yeah yeah, we all know it’s super healthy. But what I really love is the texture it adds to a dish; whether it’s cold, tossed with pesto and veggies, or smothered in cheese and baked into a warm casserole. It’s so versatile and and can be substituted for pasta or rice in almost anything. This is especially important to me, being a vegetarian who doesn’t care much for milk or nuts…to have a superfood like quinoa with all those essentials? Yes, please! What’s your favorite way to eat quinoa?
This quinoa and spinach pizza casserole was fabulous! It was cheesy and flavorful, and the leftovers held up great in the fridge for reheating as weekday lunch! It’s even compatible with children and picky eaters because the flavors of the tomato sauce and spices are so powerful. This dish is a winner!
Spinach Pizza Quinoa Casserole
Yield: 9 servings / Prep Time: 15 minutes / Cook Time: 30 minutes
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 16 oz tomato sauce
- 2 cups frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- optional: cheese for topping (I used shredded cheddar and slices of mozzarella)
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. While it is cooking, chop your vegetables and thaw your spinach. Let the quinoa sit for five minutes while you combine the vegetables and seasoning.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Add quinoa and mix again. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Pour into a 8×8 baking dish and cover with cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes covered, uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes until cheese is completely melted.
I found this alfredo recipe from My Simple Blessed Life and was intrigued by the use of cream cheese; I’ve never seen that before so I had to give it a shot (I added a little nutmeg too). It was great; thick and creamy, as it should be! I will say that it didn’t taste like a traditional alfredo, but a perfectly wonderful cream sauce. I served the sauce over spaghetti with homemade garlic breadsticks. It was incredibly easy to make and I will definitely make it again, I think as a base for a mushroom cream pasta dish! I cooked up some garlic and tomatoes and tossed it with the leftovers, which was fabulous as well.
Creamy Alfredo (serves 4)
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
- Heat the cream cheese until it just begins to melt, then add the butter. Once the butter has melted, mix them up a little bit.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a whisk.
- Allow mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes with constant stirring, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook for 5-7, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat when it is slightly thinner than you’d like it to be; it will thicken up as it cools.
After our wedding, my husband and I stored most of our gifts in his parents basement, as our apartment was pretty small. Well, we recently moved to a bigger place and got to go through all of that fun stuff again. I came across the mini pie maker I received at my bridal shower and knew it would be one of the first things to get used. I’m a vegetarian so I made vegetable pot pies, but you could add cooked chicken and mix it in with the veggies if you wanted to!
- 2 cups flour
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cold and cut into pieces
- 1/4 ice cold water
- Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Add butter and cut with a pastry knife or fork until crumbly.
- Add water by the tablespoon until the crumbs begin to pull together (I only used 3 Tbsp of water).
- Place dough on a piece of plastic wrap and knead gently to form a flat round.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (if you refrigerate longer than an hour just let it sit on the counter for 15 minutes before you begin rolling it.
- Prepare crust for pie maker as directed by machine instructions. For my Sunbeam pie maker, you roll the dough out to 1/8 in thickness and cut circles out using the cutters provided, 4 1/2 in for bottom, 3 1/2 for top. Let pie maker preheat, then press bottom crust into the bottom crust plates and place 1/4 – 1/2 cup of filling into pie. Cover with top crust and trim off excess.
- Bake for about 10 minutes. You could also use mini pie tins and bake them as you would a normal pie.
Notes: Work quickly when putting the crust in the pie maker, it starts to cook the bottom crust almost immediately. The instruction manual advises using cold pie crust, I’m guessing that this is the reason why. While I waited for the first batch, I re-rolled the dough and placed it in the fridge to cool. Make sure you fill the bottom crust a bit overflowing with filling or the top crust will not be in contact with the top part of the machine, preventing it from cooking/browning properly. This made enough crust and filling for 6 mini pot pies.
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 3/4 cup potatoes, diced
- 1/3 cup green beans
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 3/4 cup milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- First, cook the potatoes and carrots. You can do this in the microwave, in boiling water or by steaming them. Place the carrots in a microwaveable bowl with 1/4 cup water, covering with plastic wrap (with a slit) and microwaving for 3 minutes. Do the same with the potatoes except with only 3 Tbsp water.
- Melt butter in a sauce pan, add flour, and stirring with a whisk, cook until it starts to turn a golden color.
- Add milk and cook until it thickens up.
- Stir in the veggies, salt and pepper.
- Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling into each mini pie.
Crockpots are the greatest thing. Nothing beats coming home to a prepared meal, still warm, after a long day!
I had a bunch of produce from the farmer’s market that I wanted to use before it started to go bad, so I threw it all in a crockpot and added some tomato sauce, more or less. My husband said it was one of the best things I had ever made – quite the compliment! He had devoured most of it before I got home from working a night shift, and we packaged the rest for him to take to work for lunch. So unfortunately, there are no pictures of it after it was cooked.
Crockpot Vegetable Casserole
- 1 24 oz jar tomato sauce
- 1 Tbs Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 3 large carrots, sliced (~2 1/2 – 3 cups)
- 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (~2 cups)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (~1 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/2 cup frozen broccoli, thawed
- 1 cup frozen beans, thawed
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups shredded cheese (I used a blend of mild cheddar and white cheddar)
- In a small bowl, combine the tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
- Spray the inside of your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the potatoes on the bottom; they can overlap (if you use a smaller crockpot, you could use half of the potatoes and add another layer of potatoes later).
- Do the same with the onions and half of the carrots.
- Pour half of sauce over the veggies and top with half of the cheese.
- Layer the broccoli, beans and the remaining carrots.
- Pour the remaining sauce over the top and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
- Program crockpot to cook on high for 3 1/2-4 hours.
Freezer Meal: Chicken Enchiladas
It happens to us all. Working late, exhausted from the day, or just busy…whatever the reason, there just isn’t time to make dinner. On nights like those, you can’t beat the convenience of having something stashed away in the freezer. These enchiladas are perfect for that. You can bake it right away or freeze it, I like to bake it, let it cool, portion it out into microwaveable tupperware and then freeze it – makes a great lunch for the husband when he’s running late!
- 3 tbs cooking oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 4 cups cooked chicken, shredded
- 2 packages taco seasoning mix
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups sour cream
- 1 jar salsa
- about 20 8-inch tortillas
- 3 cups shredded cheese, reserve 1 cup for topping
- 2 cans red enchilada sauce
- Heat oil in a pan and saute the onions and green peppers until cooked.
- Add chicken, taco seasoning, and water; stir and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream and salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired and set aside.
- Wrap tortillas in paper towel and microwave until soft. I usually microwave a few at a time, so it only takes about 10 seconds.
- Spoon ¼ cup of chicken onto each tortilla. Top that with 3 tbs of the sour cream mixture and sprinkle with shredded cheese (about 1 tbs, reserving 1 cup for topping).
- Roll each tortilla and place in a baking dish – I used two metal 9×13 pans.
- Once the baking dish is full, pour enchilada sauce over the top and sprinkle with shredded cheese. If you are going to freeze before baking, wait until the day of to top with enchilada sauce and cheese.
- Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.