Bloody Mary Lentils over Roasted Onions

28 Mar

Good ol’ Bloody Mary’s – the perfect hangover drink for that Sunday morning after a party-hard Saturday night. Or perhaps the base for a humble weeknight dinner? Yep! Lentils are given a kick in the pants when cooked in spicy Bloody Mary mix. Sure, you could use plain tomato juice, but where’s the fun in that?

We keep Bloody Mary mix on hand, always. I have had great luck with the brand that Aldi’s sells, and it comes in several flavor varieties. But what happens when you crack open a bottle of the good stuff on a Sunday, and don’t use it all up? With all the spices, it *can* sit in your fridge for a while. Or it can help make a delicious dinner when you’re tight on time.

Split red lentils cook up quickly and really soak in the flavors of the spicy tomato mix. Add some sauteed celery to mimic the hangover cure, and serve atop roasted onions for a meal that’s quick and delicious. No vodka necessary.

Bloody Mary Lentils over Roasted Onions | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Bloody Mary Lentils over Roasted Onions

Serves 4

  • 4 medium yellow onions
  • Olive oil, for roasting
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1 C split red lentils
  • 1.5 C vegetable broth
  • 1 C Bloody Mary mix
  • Hemp seeds, to garnish

Preheat oven heat to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM.

Cut onions in half and remove skins; rub with oil and place cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Roast at 425 for 20 minutes.

Heat olive oil in saucepan. Add celery; cook for 5 minutes. Add the Bloody Mary mix, broth, and lentils; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Serve two onion halves into each bowl. Spoon the stewed lentils over the onions and garnish with hemp seeds. Enjoy with a cold beer!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans

21 Mar

We finally took another trip, and this time, it was centered around bourbon! Yep – Chris and I drove down to Kentucky with our friends, Matt and Ashley, and met up with another couple, Barry and Stacey. We spent four glorious days visiting distilleries, learning about the history and creation of bourbon, and of course: sampling a wide variety of delicious bourbons! We ate good food, drove around Kentucky, and laughed way too much.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Lunch stop on the way to Kentucky at Milktooth in Indianapolis. Mango Michelada, strawberry-kumquat poptart, and a savory Dutch baby pancake with roasted broccoli, hazelnuts, aged cheddar, micro greens, and fennel.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Bourbon flights!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

The crew at Buffalo Trace – definitely the best tour and experience!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Kissing a barrel of what will someday turn into Eagle Rare – my favorite bourbon, aged 10 years!

After four distillery tours and several bourbon bars, I have expanded my palate for bourbon: something I have only been interested in for a year or so now (thanks to Chris!).

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Maker’s Mark has beautiful rolling hills!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Makers Mark also has fantastic artwork and bourbon!

Unfortunately, the trip had to end and we were on our way back home on Sunday in no time. The 6.5 hour drive wasn’t too bad, and we stopped for lunch in Lafayette, IN (nothing to write home about). But that meant that we’d be home for dinner…after four days away and a rather barren fridge.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Bulleit Experience @ Stitzel-Weller Distillery

Luckily, the monthly Recipe Redux challenge asked us to develop a recipe made with at least three ingredients that we had on hand, with the intent to do a little “spring cleaning” of the kitchen. How perfect, given our current situation after several days away!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

As a Wisconsinite, I always have cheese on hand; usually several types of cheeses at any given point have residence in our fridge. Upon returning home, there were full blocks of herbed Havarti and aged cheddar, a half bag of shredded cheddar, and a half tub of whipped cream cheese (Chris’s favorite). What’s more, there were a few fresh vegetables leftover from the week prior, begging to be cooked into a tasty dish.

Finally, I always keep a variety of grains stocked in the pantry. It had been a while since I cooked couscous, so it seemed the best choice in the effort to spring clean the pantry. Add in a high-protein beefless ground, and I have a dinner that’s healthy, vegetarian, and uses up quite a few ingredients!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables

Serves 4

  • 1 C frozen green peas
  • 1 C frozen corn
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • olive oil and black pepper, to roast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1.5 C vegetable stock
  • 1 C medium-grain couscous
  • 2 C beefless ground or other ground meat-free product
  • 4 oz herbed Havarti cheese, diced

Preheat oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with PAM. In a single layer, place all the veggies on the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with black pepper. Roast for 23 minutes at 400.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil and vegetable stock in a pot. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and stir in the couscous. Cover and set aside for six minutes.

Heat the beefless ground in a microwave-safe bowl for two minutes.

Once the couscous is done, stir in the diced cheese and heated beefless ground. Cover with the lid and let sit until the vegetables are done roasting.
Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com
To serve, spoon the couscous mixture onto plates or bowls, and top with the roasted vegetables. Enjoy hot!
Vegetarian Cheeseburger Couscous with Roasted Vegetables, and Bourbon Trail Shenanigans | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree

11 Mar

I received free samples of Toufayan Pita mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Toufayan Bakeries and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Upon taking up a healthier lifestyle, all the sugary, nutrient-empty breakfast dishes had no place in my diet any longer. Donuts, cereals, traditional pancakes doused in syrup, breakfast pastry, French toast – it all had to go.

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

But those tasty items don’t need to become completely obsolete! Using Toufayan Whole Wheat Pita, which are made free of cholesterol and trans fats, and only contain 2 grams of sugar per pita loaf, I created a savory version of an old favorite.

The salty Parmesan in the French toast liquid pairs perfectly with the whipped walnut pea puree for a breakfast (or lunch or dinner) that will satisfy all your nutrition and taste buds’ needs!

And, if you’re looking to buy some Toufayan Pita, just check out their site for a complete map!

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree

Serves 4

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C nondairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan, plus more to serve
  • 4 Whole Wheat Pita breads

Whipped Walnut Pea Puree

  • 3/4 C frozen peas, cooked and drained
  • 1/2 C walnut halves
  • 1/4 tsp roasted dried garlic (regular granulated garlic will work as well)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tbsp nondairy milk
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Grease a shallow, flat-bottom baking dish that’s big enough for the pita breads. You may need to use two dishes.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and spices. Whisk in four tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan. Place your pita loaves in a shallow, flat-bottomed dish. Pour the mixture over the pita breads and lift them up to make sure the egg can coat the bottoms as well. Set aside to soak while you make the puree.

Cook the frozen peas in the microwave, following package directions. Drain out the water and transfer to a mini food processor. If you don’t have a mini food processor, you can use a fork and a bowl, or mortar and pestle.

Add in the walnuts, garlic, olive oil and one tablespoon of milk. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently. Add more milk as necessary to reach desired “whipped” consistency.

Transfer the puree to a small serving bowl.

Now that the oven is hot and the pita loaves have been able to soak, transfer the pitas to the prepared baking dish(es), pouring any remaining egg mixture over the pitas. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, turning the dish around halfway through.

Remove from the oven and carefully transfer pita breads to plates. Top with a scoop of of the whipped puree and more freshly grated Parmesan. Enjoy hot for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Parmesan Pita French Toast with a Whipped Walnut Pea Puree | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com
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Cheesy BBQ Tempeh Pita Pockets

7 Mar

I received free samples of Toufayan Pita mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Toufayan Bakeries and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Bring the BBQ indoors, and into winter, with these cheesy BBQ tempeh pita pockets! This quick weeknight meal will satisfy everyone, and evoke flavors of warm summer evenings.

Cheesy BBQ Tempeh Pita Pockets | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Toufayan Pita pockets are a great way to bring the sticky mess of BBQ inside – simply roast everything together in the oven, melt some cheese into halved pita pockets, and stuff with the sweet and savory BBQ goodness.

I used Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat pita pockets for this recipe, to add an earthiness to the BBQ flavors. If you’re looking for something simple, delicious and healthy for a dinner that the whole family will love, this is the solution!

What’s better is that Toufayan Bakeries is a family-owned bakery that makes more than 100 delicious products available across the nation. It is the largest Pita company in the U.S.! Toufayan Bakeries uses old-world recipes with only top quality, wholesome ingredients, making Pita that are naturally cholesterol free and trans fat free.

Cheesy BBQ Tempeh Pita Pockets

Serves 4

  • 1 block tempeh
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 C prepared BBQ sauce – I used Stubb’s
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • dash of sea salt
  • 4 Toufayan Sprouted Grain Pita breads, halved into two pockets
  • 4 oz gouda, thinly sliced (use vegan cheese if desired)
  • Hot sauce, to serve – optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with PAM; set aside.

Slice the tempeh into two thin squares. Then cube into bite-sized pieces. Toss this with the diced veggies and halved tomatoes. Stir in the BBQ sauce, oil and sea salt; coat completely. Spread in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Cheesy BBQ Tempeh Pita Pockets | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

In the meantime, halve the pita breads and fill each half with a layer of cheese slices. Place on another lined baking sheet and heat through in the oven for a few minutes – long enough to warm the bread and begin melting the cheese.

Remove both baking sheets. Transfer pita breads to four plates. Use a spoon to fill each pita half with the BBQ tempeh mixture. Top with hot sauce if desired. Serve and enjoy hot!

Cheesy BBQ Tempeh Pita Pockets | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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Soy Chorizo Tacos with Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce and Homemade Corn Tortillas

21 Feb

Happy Taco Tuesday! Chris and I love going out for tacos as much as anyone. A local chain of restaurants celebrates both Taco Tuesday AND Taco Thursday, so we’re pretty spoiled – hard to beat cheap and tasty tacos, paired with $2 Mexican import draft beers! But, this can be rather unhealthy, which is why I also love making taco dinners at home.

The Recipe Redux challenge this month is to develop a healthy, creative take on the taco. It doesn’t get much healthier than making everything from scratch – right down to the tortillas!

Soy Chorizo Tacos with Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce and Homemade Corn Tortillas | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

If you’ve never made corn tortillas at home, don’t be afraid! They’re actually really easy and taste SO MUCH BETTER than store-bought corn tortillas which, let’s be honest, taste like nothing. Buy a bag of Masa Harina at almost any grocery store (it’s cheap) and make a fresh batch of tortillas to go with these tacos! If you’re tight on time, it’s fine to use store-bought, but you’ll be doing your taste buds a disservice.

The filling of these tacos is simple and just a bit spicy – soy chorizo is heated up with some frozen corn for a high-protein filling that tastes amazing. Finally, these tacos are drizzled with a charred jalapeño yogurt sauce for a creamy, cool element.

Tacos that are made from scratch, are high protein and taste amazing really do make for an amazing Taco Tuesday. But I won’t tell if you make these any other day of the week 🙂 Tell me – how do YOU taco?

Soy Chorizo Tacos with Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce and Homemade Corn Tortillas

Serves 4

  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 1 C plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1-2/3 C Masa Harina
  • 2/3 hot water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 package soy chorizo, thawed – I love Trader Joe’s brand
  • 3/4 C frozen corn kernels

To make the tortillas, mix the Masa Harina with the hot water, remaining sea salt and juice of one lime. Stir to combine completely. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Return dough to the bowl and cover with a towel. Set aside to rest while you make the yogurt sauce.

Wash the jalapeño and slide a fork into the top (stem side). Carefully hold the pepper over an open flame on your stovetop. Alternatively, you could use the broiler if you have an electric oven. Keep turning the pepper until it’s mostly blackened, making sure it doesn’t catch fire.

Turn off the flame and run the pepper under water, scraping off the blackened skin with the blade of a knife. Transfer to a cutting board and cut off the stem. Slice it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs. Put the charred pepper halves into a small food processor with the yogurt, 1/4 tsp sea salt and honey. Puree until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a jar or bowl and refrigerate until serving.

Soy Chorizo Tacos with Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce and Homemade Corn Tortillas | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Now you can make the tortillas! Cut a freezer zip-top bag down the sides so it folds open. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high on the stove. Use your hands to roll the dough into balls the size of a ping pong ball. Place a ball of dough between the cut-open plastic bag and use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a round tortilla. Place the tortilla into the hot skillet (no oil necessary) and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, being careful not to let it burn. Remove with a fork and place on a plate beneath a warm, damp towel. Repeat this process of rolling out the dough and cooking it until all the tortillas have been made. (For more detailed instructions, check out The Kitchn.)

Soy Chorizo Tacos with Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce and Homemade Corn Tortillas | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

In the same hot skillet, cook the thawed chorizo with the corn, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the tacos, place three tortillas on each plate. Spoon the chorizo filling into the center of each tortilla. Spoon or drizzle on the jalapeño yogurt sauce. Enjoy with a refreshing drink!

Soy Chorizo Tacos with Jalapeño Yogurt Sauce and Homemade Corn Tortillas | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

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