Spinach Dip

This warm spinach and cheese dip is delicious on chips (pita chips, bagel chips, tortilla chips, etc) and can even be used to make stuffed mushrooms (shown here).

8 oz fresh baby spinachstuffed mushrooms
4 oz cream cheese
6 oz white cheddar cheese (grated)
4 oz Fontina or Parmesan or Romano cheese (grated)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 handful fresh diced tomatoes

1. Add cheeses and garlic to a skillet over medium heat.  Allow cheese to melt, stirring as needed.
2. Once cheese is melted, add spinach and allow to wilt, stirring to mix with cheese.
3. Stir in tomatoes and serve warm.

For Stuffed Mushrooms

Prepare spinach dip as above
Grated cheese of your choice (I like Parmesan)
Baby bella mushrooms
1/2 Lemon

1. Take the stem out of and wash baby bella mushrooms.
2. Bake mushrooms hollow side up at 400 for 5 minutes or until liquid begins to cook out.
3. Remove mushrooms from oven and dry.
4. Squeeze lemon juice over mushrooms and fill with warm spinach dip.  Top with grated cheese.
5. Place stuffed mushrooms in broiler until golden on top.


Mushroom Risotto

I went home for spring break and a friend made mushroom risotto for us.  I loved it so much that I just had to create my own version.  I chose to use a white wine rather than a red merlot like my friend did because it is what I prefer to drink.  Dried herbs can be substituted for fresh herbs.

24 oz (3-4 cups) baby Portobello mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup affordable dry white wine (I used a Pinot Grigio)mushroom risotto.jpg
1.5 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup onion, diced
about 3 cloves minced fresh garlic
3 oz grated Parmesan
2 tbsp butter
2.5 cups vegetable stock (or water)
1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 tsp fresh oregano
salt, black pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet
2. Add onions and garlic, cook until onions are translucent
3. Add diced mushrooms and cook until they begin to give off liquid
4. Add wine, stock, herbs, rice, salt, and pepper
5. Cook until the rice is done, adding liquid if needed, stirring every few minutes to keep from sticking and burning
6. Fold in butter and Parmesan cheese, garnish with fresh thyme or parsley if desired, serve immediately

This dish can easily be reheated in a microwave safe container.  It is naturally gluten free and can be made vegan by excluding butter and Parmesan cheese.  I suppose you could replace the butter with a non-dairy margarine and add nutritional yeast in place of the cheese, but I haven’t tried.

Hearty Vegetable Soup

This filling veggie soup is a great way to clean out the fridge and have lots of leftovers that make for delicious, easy meals.  I grew up helping out around the kitchen learning to cook by tasting what was in the pot as I added different herbs and spices.  I didn’t use recipes unless it was to bake.  My roommate knows that making soup can be a struggle- she either doesn’t manage to have enough liquid once she adds a pasta, or the taste is pretty bland even after adding what you would think is a lot of seasoning.  So, my point here, is that there aren’t going to be any specific amounts of things to add, just add a bit and let simmer for a minute then taste, and add more seasoning as you see fit.  Just be careful about salt, you can always add more later but if you overdo it, you can’t take it out.  I’ve ruined one or two things with a salt shaker accident before…

I generally start off with a 32 oz box of vegetable broth, but you can always make your own broth by filling a pot with water and adding vegetables (onions, celery, and carrots in particular or a bag of vegetable trimmings you may have saved somewhere specifically for soup).

soup blog post1 box vegetable broth (32 oz)
1 handful fresh green beans, cut into ~1 in. pieces
2 carrots, sliced into rounds
1/2 a medium onion, diced
1/2 a yellow squash and 1/2 a zucchini (or 1 whole of either) cut into rounds and then quartered
1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes in liquid
corn (fresh, frozen, or a small drained can)
3 celery ribs, diced
double handful of cooked, bite-size pasta (I like to cook the pasta separately and add right before serving)
2-3 white potatoes, washed and peeled, cut into ~1/2 in. cubes
oregano/Italian seasoning
minced garlic
black pepper
beau monde seasoning
garlic powder
onion powder
chili powder (just a little bit)
curry powder (just a little bit)
1 tbsp olive oil

Putting it together:
1. Heat olive oil in pot over med-high and add onions, carrots, and celery and cook ~3 minutes until translucent
2. Add minced garlic and broth
3. Add tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, corn, and seasonings
4. Let simmer, adjusting seasoning as needed
5. Once potatoes are nearly cooked, add squash and/or zucchini chunks cook ~5 minutes
6. Add cooked pasta and serve

This recipe can be altered to use the veggies you have on hand, or which ever are your favorites in soup. I find that the longer you let the soup simmer, the more the flavors blend, and the next day it’s typically better than the first day I eat it.

This is a naturally gluten free and plant based meal that is great during cold weather or even as a lighter meal during the summer.


Taco Tuesday!

taco tuesday blog post

It’s Taco Tuesday (but really, everyday I could have tacos).  Today I have a recipe for black bean tacos with plenty of veggies.

1 medium sweet potato, washed and peeled
1 can black beans (14oz)
1 handful diced onion
1 handful diced celery
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
cauliflower “rice” (can be purchased in already prepped in a bag or use the largest hole on a box grater and grate it fresh)
corn (I used frozen, could use fresh cut off the cob, or drain a small can of corn)
1 fresh diced tomato
1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
taco seasoning (ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper, oregano)
tortillas (my current favorite are the flour ones the HEB bakery makes fresh daily)

Taco filling:
1. Cut the sweet potato into small, even cubes and boil until soft
2. Drain sweet potato and set aside
3. Add olive oil, onions, and celery to pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until translucent
4. Pour in black beans without draining liquid
5. Add spinach and allow it to wilt
6. Add sweet potato and taco seasoning and stir to thoroughly combine
7. Let sit until rice is finished
Adapted from Tessara Tucker

Cauliflower Rice:
1. Add frozen corn to a pan and heat until thawed
2. Add diced tomato and cook about 2 minutes
3. Add grated cauliflower and stir to combine
4. Squeeze the juice from half a lime into the cauliflower mix and add a dash of black pepper and garlic powder
5. Cook 5-7 minutes or until cauliflower is done
*this makes a good side dish for other Mexican inspired recipes and can even be modified to have different seasoning to be a great alternative to other rice dishes

Add taco filling and rice to a warm tortilla, garnish with fresh chopped cilantro or salsa if desired.  This is great on both corn and flour tortillas.

This recipe is naturally gluten free if served on corn tortillas and is entirely plant based

A little bit about myself

I am currently attending university and studying to become a civil engineer.  I graduate in a little over a year and will join the workforce.  I will pay off all my student loans.  After all that happens, I plan to eventually open a food truck and have a garden.  This blog, for now, will be in lieu of my food truck.  Long term goals take planning and patience.  I don’t really want to be super patient though, so here I am.