FreshTastyValentine · One-Pot · Quick Weeknight Recipes

Every Sound

Sundried Tomato Pesto

pasta_sun_dried_tomatoes

Greetings and welcome to day four of Fresh Tasty Valentine – the brainchild of always fabulous Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla.  Today’s post features ingredients from two of our incredible sponsors: Gourmet Gardens and Bob’s Mill both of which have products you can win as part of the giveaway.  The hemp seeds used in today’s recipe are easily the most unique product I’ve worked with in a long time and one that I was a bit nervous about due to my hops allergy.  Hemp and Hops are cousins if you will and I’ve had skin reactions to hemp bracelets in the past, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try a potential pine nut replacement.  So I started by pouring a few seeds in my hand (no reaction) before trying a few and waiting an hour – no reaction!  Plus they were just as nutty tasting as the reviews promised.

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For a vegan twist, switch out the chunky garlic paste with three garlic cloves and then toss with your favorite vegan pasta.  For another twist, use as a sauce for pizza topped with some roasted vegetables or a chunky dressing for a salad.

If you haven’t entered the giveaway yet – what are you waiting for?!?  This meal totally fits the bill for quick and easy, can even prep the pesto earlier in the day (or the night before) for an even quicker meal.  I’ve also had luck freezing pesto using ice cube trays, just pop out when frozen and store in a freezer bag until time to use them.

Note: I received these products for free as part of my participation in Fresh Tasty Valentine.  However I was not required to write a review of the products and with that all opinions are my own.  

FreshTastyValentine · Gluten Free · One-Pot · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Side Dish

Prince Charming Would

 Sweet Garlic Brussel Sproutsbrussel_sprouts_tlish

Welcome to day two of #FreshTastyValentines!  Today’s post almost didn’t happen, thanks to Mother Nature dropping over 30 inches (!!!) of white stuff last week.  Since I had worked with T. Lish products before I had plans for the Sweet Garlic sauce that involved one of my favorite vegetables – but I needed my sauce.  Thankfully the snow melted and mail service returned to normal and my sauces arrived.  All I had to do was decide if I wanted to marinate the sprouts or start them off with some oil and then caramelize them in the sauce  In the end, I decided to caramelize them since my better half does prefer his sprouts VERY well cooked.

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This recipe came together in record time – making it the perfect side dish for crazy night.  The sweetness of the sauce goes perfectly with the slight tartness of the sprouts, making it hard to resist eating the entire dish.  If by any chance you have any leftovers, heat them up in a sauce pan or toaster oven in order to preserve the crunch of the leaves.  However I doubt there will be any left!

I received three T. Lish sauces for free as part of participating in FreshTastyValentines.  All comments and opinions are my own!

Hot Summer Eats · Italian · One-Pot

All Over Again

Pasta with Ricotta Herb Sauce

Pasta Ricotta

Welcome back to #HotSummerEats!  When I first started planning recipes for this link-up I had a hard time thinking of my favorite summer recipes as generally during the summer I’m living off of salads which aren’t really that exciting.  To me summer is about light meals with as little “active” cooking as possible and as many fresh ingredients as possible.  Since it’s not yet summer and most of my herbs are still in the youngling stage, I decided to take advantage of the goodies I got from Gourmet Garden.  I grabbed some chunky garlic and Italian herbs thinking they would go perfectly with some grape tomatoes I had picked up at the market – just had to figure out the main ingredient.  With such flexible ingredients, and zero prep, I debated everything from bulgar wheat to orzo to frfalle before going with some thin pasta for fear of picking a grain that would over power the simple herb “sauce” I was thinking of.  A bit of ricotta and I was in business!

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Did I mention there was a giveaway – because there is totally a giveaway!  A few awesome readers will win some of the incredible products featured during #HotSummerEats.  How cool is that?!?!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.jsDisclaimer – Thank you to #HotSummerEats sponsors BenBella Vegan, Caribeque, Casabella, Gourmet Garden, Intensity Academy, Not Ketchup, Out of the Weeds. Pirate Jonny’s, Quirk Books, Spicely Organics, T.Lish , and Voodoo Cheffor providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for#HotSummerEats without additional compensation.All opinions are my own. I’m so thrilled to be participating in another blog round-up, Camilla you are awesome!  Now that you’ve seen my recipe make sure to check out all the others below.

Gluten Free · Side Dish · TripleSBites · Vegan

For Your Touch

VooDoo Fries

voodoo_fries

I can’t believe today is already day 4 of TripleSBites – I’ve had so much fun thinking up recipes that fit the theme of “sexy, saucy, spicy” that I just want to keep going!  The event ends on Monday and my last recipe is a BIG one involving special equipment in order to pull it off – go big or go home right?  Today’s special ingredient also fits the description of “going big” as VooDoo Chef’s RED spice is out of this world!  I first tested it out last week while making my loaded potato soup, adding a bit of smokiness to the dish, but today’s dish really allowed the spices to shine all on their own.

sauces
Saucy Everything Mayo, Roasted Beet Dressing, Caribbean Hot Sauce, Chai Sweet Chili Sauce, VooDoo Chef RED, Salsa de Casa – WahOo Sponsors!!!

There’s no denying that I enjoy potatoes, a quick ctrl+f of my recipe page will quickly prove this point – and with that I’m always trying to find new ways of working with them.  After making the soup, I wanted to try the spices with potatoes in a more intense pairing and with that debating doing a gratin of some form.  Then I caught a glimpse of a very old commercial, and remember the awesomeness of Shake ‘N Bake.  I might be a vegetarian now, but as a kid I loved helping my mom toss the chicken in a bake and shake it all up.  While they did eventually release a potato version, I don’t remember ever trying it – but figured that if it worked for them it would work for me.

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Doing the shaking in two parts really works the best – otherwise the spices and the oil tend to just clump at the bottom of the bag and not join the party.  I served this with some awesome vegan mayo that I got from another TripleSBites sponsor!  Being able to enjoy a saucy spicy mayo that was free of gelatin was fantastic, the consistency is a bit looser than a standard mayo but oh my goodness is it every tasty.   Intensity Academy also offers a fantastic Chai Sweet Chili sauce that I also received as a gift, but so far I’ve only used it on a non-vegetarian dinner that I served the husband (it was a hit!).

Note: While I did receive the VooDoo Chef RED spices for free as part of participating in TripleSBites, I was not required to use or mention the product outside of acknowledging receipt of the product.  All opinions are totally my own.

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52Weeks · Appetizer · Gluten Free · Side Dish · Vegan

Lips are Moving

Beet Dip

beet_dip

I don’t believe in diets – the word alone makes me cringe.   So when I saw that the first challenge for /52weeksofcooking 2015 was diet themed, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.  To me a diet is something where you deprive yourself for a set amount of time from eating a certain type of (delicious) food – only to fail after a certain amount of time because deprivation is never a good thing.  I fully get, and support, eating healthy foods but why not call it “healthy eating” instead of the “d” word.  I’m sure there’s some sort of psychology behind all of it, but it doesn’t change the fact that I associate diet food with bland, boring, and beige dishes.  Which is why I went as far as possible in the opposite direction with this healthy dip.  With the Super Bowl fast approaching (go Ravens!), many people will be sitting down and enjoying feasts of chips, dips, wings, and pizza – with maybe a few vegetable trays.  This dip goes great with chips, crackers, or bread to include being a fantastic addition to an otherwise boring sandwich.   Plus it only involves 4 ingredients, and can be made it advance which adds to the awesome factor.

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I reserved the leaves for another dish, and brought this dip as an precursor to one of the many holiday meals we enjoyed this season.  I found the beanitos chips a friend had brought over for game day went fantastically while others preferred a firmer wheat cracker but as with many things there is no right answer.

Note: Beanitos has no idea who I am, and while I didn’t pay for them my friend did and they were insanely good! 

52Weeks · Appetizer · Home Cooking · Vegan

In the Way

Black Eyed Pea Cakes

black_eyed_peas_cake

I have to admit that some of my favorite challenges are ones where I’m forced to use things already on hand – such as the Cook from your Pantry challenge on /52weeksofcooking.  Not only do they force me to clean out things that might have been hiding in a back corner, but they also cause me to take stock of what all I’ve got – and what I might need.  In this case I had purchased a few cans of black eyes peas with the intent to make Texas Caviar, which never happened.  So I pulled those out and modified a recipe a coworker had given me a few weeks earlier for Black Eyed Pea Cakes.  The original recipe came with some delicious Vidalia Onions (straight from Georgia!) and featured a few ingredients that weren’t exactly vegetarian friendly (again, recipe is straight from Georgia).

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These cakes weren’t the most stable when it came time to cook them, even after chilling in the fridge, but they were delicious!  I served them with some coleslaw which added a nice crunch to the dinner.  A green salad would also work – just need to have something with a bit of a bite so that the jaw doesn’t get bored!  They would also make a great appetizer, just shrink the size to 2 inches and enjoy!  With that the cakes could also be prepped the night before, or the morning of, depending on free time.

Gluten Free · Home Cooking · Quick Weeknight Recipes · Secret Recipe Club · Side Dish · Vegan

Shake Shake

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Hello!  Welcome to my May installment of the Secret Recipe Club!  This month I was sent over to BCmom’s kitchen which is packed with simple and delicious recipes to get you cooking!  I love that her blog focuses on standard pantry staples, don’t get me wrong I ❤ Wegmans but I can only spend so much time shopping – I want to cook!  After much debate (yummy, spinach!), and schedule checking (cuz surgeries requiring bedrest are fun), I decided to go with her Sweet Potato Fries.  I’ll be honest, the little kid in me just wanted to shake the fries up all shake n’bake style (do they still sell that???) and it was totally everything I thought it would be.   I added a few more seasonings since my herbs are starting to explode, and just added them to the bag.

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These fries were fantastic!  The clean up was a breeze and the fact that these were baked, not fried, means they are a nice healthy(ish) alternative to the standard bbq/grill side.   I also have plans to vegetarianize her zucchini hamburger pie – something involving beans I think as I love the idea of baking all that veggie goodness in a nice flaky crust.  Before I sign off just a quick Happy Birthday to my awesome SiL and my incredible BFF who both happen to be Cinco De Mayo babies!  Now, go check out the rest of the recipes from the awesome bloggers of The Secret Recipe Club 🙂

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