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NOTE: I’d abandoned this blog for a year, and came back to this gem saved in my drafts. I still make this all of the time (and am currently working through another package of basil).

I really love cooking with basil, but I always end up having to buy a big container when I only need a little bit. My mission this week is to use my package of basil before it goes bad. Last night I had a ton of work to do, and hadn’t even gotten around to cooking dinner. Then I realized I had a bunch of tomatoes from a friend’s garden in my fridge. Perfect!

Here’s how you make this super easy snack/appetizer/meal:

Cut up as many tomatoes as you want to eat into wedges. You can seed them if you like. I always seed half of mine in case some people like the seeds.

Place a small piece of basil on each tomato. The size will depend on how much you like the taste of basil. If you use the size above, it will be a moderately strong taste.

Drizzle olive (or vegetable) oil over the tomatoes.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper if you like (I use crushed red peppers) for some spice.

Put as much cheese on as you want. The cheese will get a bit crunchy and taste amazing. All I had last night was shredded colby jack. I also sprinkled some parmesan on it.

Cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. They will shrivel up the longer you leave them in. If you want firmer tomatoes then only leave in for 30 minutes.

That’s it! Simple, easy and perfect for an appetizer or dinner (if you’re a vegetarian like me). Pro: tomatoes are super high in vitamin C; the same amount as an orange.

Messiness – Possibly the cleanest thing you’ll ever make.

Simplicity – All you’re doing is chopping tomatoes and sprinkling cheese.

Budget – You most likely have cheese in your house so all oyu need is basil and tomatoes (Fresh and Easy has AMAZING deals on tomatoes right now).

Delicious Factor – These tomatoes, despite looking shriveled, come out of the oven incredibly juicy and the melted cheese is crunchy around them. The two factors together are the perfect storm of flavor. It tastes almost like a pizza without the bread. 4/5 (I really like bread)

As a vegetarian, there are three things I try to do with every meal:
1 – Make it healthy
2 – Make it easy
3 – Make it so that it doesn’t make me miss meat

frittata

Luckily, I found a frittata that makes all of  those things happen!

What I love most about this recipe is that it works no matter what produce is in season (if that’s important to you) and it will fool people into thinking you’re a really good chef.

I’d been wanting to make a frittata for awhile (words my 12-year-old self never thought I’d say) and when I got a cast iron skillet for Christmas last year, it was time.

With all that said, I give you this recipe!

frittata 2

What You Need:
6 eggs
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 scallion chopped (if you like the taste of onions then you can use those)
1 tsp salt
1TBSP olive oil (vegetable oil will work, I just like cooking with olive oil)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch thin asparagus, chopped 1/2in long (or any chopped veggies that you like and think will blend well together. If you need more ideas feel fee to ask in the comments :) )
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

What You Do:
Preheat your broiler

Spread the oil around the sides and bottom of the cast iron skillet,  then add the garlic, scallions and veggies. Sautee them until browned, and scallions are translucent

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt and 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese

Turn the burner to medium heat and pour in the eggs and cheese

Mix everything together well in the pan and let cook until it’s almost completely set and not jiggly (while it’s cooking, lift it up from the bottom a few times. This lets the eggs seep under so that everything is cooked through)

Once set, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan cheese on the top and put in the broiler for about three minutes (or until the top is browned).

Take it out, and enjoy!

Messiness - Honestly, it’s no messier than making scrambled eggs or an omelette. The chopping is the messiest part.

Simplicity - If you’re truly a new cook, then this might prove a little confusing, but just because eggs are so tricky sometimes. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it! If you follow the directions, you’ll be just fine! It’s also really easy to wrap up slices in foil and take them to work for breakfast.

Budget - I always find all of these ingredients at the 99 Cent store, except for the parmesan cheese. That will be the most expensive part, but it should still only be around $3 (personally, I LOVE the Trader Joes parmesan which is about $5. If cheese is important to you, then go for the good stuff. It’s worth it)

Delicious Factor – So yummy! And I love that it’s got about the same nutritional value as an omelette. I usually make one and find myself eating it for breakfast and/or dinner over the next few days.

frittata 3

Hello everyone! 

It’s been almost exactly a year, but I’ve finally made my way back to this blog. Over the last 12 months, a lot of my friends and family have approached me, saying that they missed seeing my recipes. So many did, that I’ve decided to start diligently blogging again! For the people! 

And in all seriousness, I didn’t realize how much of a recipe box this blog has been for me. There’s been a ton of times where I’ve thought, “Oh it’s okay that I lost that paper because I blogged that recipe.”

Nope.

In the time I’ve been gone, I’ve still kept to my goal of cooking one new dish a week, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

To start things off, I’m going to show you one of the most amazing things I’ve found… THE MAGIC CAKE!

 

Image

 

I was drawn to this recipe for two reasons: 1 – everyone loves magic, right?! 2- I’m still a terrible baker. So, when I read that this recipe promised a three layer cake with just one bowl of batter, I was in.

An hour and a half later, it was done, and I had a new second favorite dessert (cheesecake will always reign supreme). 

I’d give you the recipe here, but as with my other baking fiascos, just stick to the original HERE.

As for my review of the cake…

 

Messiness – As long as you don’t screw up while beating the eggs, it’s not very messy at all. If I can keep it tidy, I have faith that you can too! The only thing is that a lot of equipment is necessary: egg beaters, two mixing bowls, 8 x 8 pan, measuring cups.

Simplicity – Just follow the directions, and you’ll be a-okay! But make sure to follow them to a T.

Budget – If you are even an occasional baker, you should have most of these things in your house already, but even if you don’t, the ingredients shouldn’t be too expensive at any grocery store.

Delicious Factor – Second favorite dessert behind Cheesecake. I don’t know how much more clear I can be.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you know that breakfast is a bit of a challenge for me. I wake up at 5am and have to be out the door by 5:40, which means whatever I eat has to be quick to whip up. Scrambled egg-filled potatoes and mini breakfast quiches are a solid choice, but during the summer, I want something filling, but less hearty, and more seasonal.

I happened upon this baked oatmeal recipe from So How’s It Taste? and am in love. It’s simple and easy to whip up on Sunday night before you hit the sheets.

(photo via my Instagram)

What You Need:
1 cup rolled oats (Quaker oatmeal works fine)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup skim milk
1 large, lightly beaten egg
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas (sliced)
1 cup blueberries or raspberries (thawed if frozen)

What You Do:
Preheat your oven to 375F

Lightly grease a small rectangular pan

Mix the oats, baking powder, and cinnamon

In a separate bowl, mix the syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla

Spread the sliced bananas over the bottom of the baking dish, then cover with half of the berries

Pour the oat mixture evenly over the berries and nanners, then pour the liquid mixture evenly over that

Spread the other half of the berries over it all

Bake from 35-40 minutes until it’s all set and the oats have browned

Messiness – There are a few dishes involved, but since you don’t use your hand for much, spreading the bananas is about as messy as it gets.

Simplicity – Very simple! It’s one of those great recipes that encourage you in your baking skills. You can fudge a bit on the timing and it still tastes amazing!

Budget – The original recipe called for walnuts, but those are often expensive, and I’m not a huge fan to be honest. Cutting them out, cut out about $5, give or take. Other than that, you can find just about all the ingredients at the 99 Cent store, or for very cheap in your local grocery store. If you make it during the summer when berries are plentiful, then it’s really inexpensive and will give you a weeks worth of breakfasts.

Delicious Factor – So yummy! it’s got everything you could want in a breakfast. Oatmeal, fruit, eggs and milk. Also, all you have to do is heat it up quickly, and it tastes good all week long. I also drizzled a bit of syrup over mine after heating, before eating, because I’m a sucker for syrup.

NOTE: I’d also imagine that strawberries work just as good as blueberries and raspberries, but haven’t tried it. If you do, please share how it turns out!

You know those weeks when you feel like you really don’t have much to say? That would be me last week. The previous weekend was a whirlwind with my family for my little sisters’ 21st birthday! We had SO much fun, but I ended up playing a ton of catch-up. Sometimes I wonder how a tiny studio apartment can get so messy?!

That said, I have a ton of exciting things coming up that I can’t wait to share! But for now, here is one recipe I’m obsessed with!

Simple Homemade Hummus

What You Need:

1 can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano

What You Do:
Combine everything in a food processor and mix until it’s all blended

Taste it and add more lemon juice, pepper and salt according to how you want it to taste. If it’s not smooth and you have the right amount of lemon juice, then add oil and continue mixing until it is smooth.

Messiness – So simple to make and clean up! Everything goes right into the processor so you don’t need extra bowls!

Simplicity - Super simple. I actually made this recipe up myself after perusing a few others. They seemed to need a lot of ingredients, some which were expensive, so I made up my own. You can add and take out indgredients depending on how you want your hummus to taste too. Also, if you want to keep it really super simple, requiring no effort, get pre-peeled garlic.

Budget – I found all the things I needed for this at the dollar store, and had most of it in my kitchen already. Also, even if you have to buy everything, it’s cheaper and will make more than if you bought hummus at the store.

Delicious Factor – SO so yummy! I make about a batch a week and have to struggle to not eat it all up at once!

Hallelujah! I’ve found THE most delicious, simple recipe that I literally make it at work for my lunch. Sure, my lunch bag is filled to the brim, but I assure you it’s beyond worth it. This no-cook recipe just came to me one night, when I was having the worst sort of Mexican food craving. But with Summer around the corner, I would not let myself give into bean burritos.

You probably have all or most of these things in your house too! Since I’m just rambling about my infatuation with this recipe, I’ll get to it…

No-Cook Southwest Veggie Salad

What You Need:
1 can of corn (rinsed)
1 avocado (largely diced)
3 tomatoes (chopped)
2 TBSP packed cilantro (basically a handful)
1 scallion (diced, optional)
2 limes
1 can black beans (rinsed, optional)

What You Do:
Mix corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallion and beans into a large bowl

Squeeze the juice of one lime over it all and toss. Taste it to see if you like it with more lime juice, then cut and squeeze the lime over it all.

Top with avocados and enjoy!

Messiness – Not messy at all! This is all pretty self-contained and very simple to prepare. You know I love anything that is a “no-cook” recipe too.

Simplicity – This is really simple. Again, the key word is “no-cook.” From start to finish, it shouldn’t take you much longer than 10 minutes. And it’s all really self-contained, so there’s virtually no clean-up.

Budget – Super cheap! You can get every ingredient for $1 or less. The tomatoes may be a bit more, but there’s a TON of produce in season right now.

Delicious Factor - So, so yummy! It’s one of those things that tastes really healthy, is healthy but is filling and delicious. Easily a 5/5 and I promise you’ll start making it about once a week.

TIP: To make it even healthier, leave the black beans out (unless you need them for protein like us vegetarians). Also, keep in mind that this will make several servings, so don’t eat the whole thing at once if you’re dieting (*points at self*).

Okay, so I know late night snacking is bad for you, but when it’s late on a Sunday, you have to be up in a matter of hours, but you’re still working on a deadline, you must eat!

I went to the fridge for something, anything and spotted premade pie crust hanging out in the back, so I thought, “Now is as good a time as any to try making some poptarts!”

It’s super easy and takes 30 from start to finish at the most (probably less). You’ll love them!


(Photo taken with instagram)

What You Need:
Premade pie crust (or make your own)
You favorite jelly/jam
Frosting (optional)
Sprinkles (not optional because sprinkles are amazing)

What You Do:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Cut the pie crust into your desired poptart shapes. I was working with a round pie crust so mine were a mixture of squares and triangles

Put a bit of jelly on one side (for filling) and then put a matching piece on top

Use fork tines, or your fingers, and press the two pieces together

Use the fork to poke a couple holes in the top

Bake for about nine minutes, until they golden brown

Frost and sprinkle the sprinkles!

Messiness - It’s as messy as you make it. If you want to get crazy with your poptart shapes, then you may be in trouble. I have a 1ft x 1ft cutting board so I stayed pretty tame with mine.

Simplicity - So easy that I made them on a whim for the first time. And as you know by now, me and baking are NOT best friends, but this recipe was definitely a confidence builder in our relationship.

Budget - Super cheap! You can get each ingredient for about $1. I made them without frosting (since it was a late night snack and all) so it came out to about 6 bite sized poptarts for $2 (I keep sprinkles on hand at all times).

Delicious Factor - Remember me saying my mom forbade us to cook as kids? Well, let’s just say I consumed my body weight in poptarts as a child so I’m a connoisseur of sorts. These tasted even better! Remember how awful the non-frosted ones tasted? Well these had no frosting and were even more delicious than store-bought frosted tarts. I promise you’ll love them! Best part is, you get to pick your favorite filling! Any jam you can find will do. An easy 5/5.

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