Tag Archives: cheese

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


Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers

20 Feb

How was your weekend? Ours was packed – Chris and I had date night on Friday at Odd Duck, one of our favorite restaurants in Milwaukee. The food was amazing, and the dessert was even better! We checked out two new breweries afterward for some tasty beer to cap off the night. Saturday was full of fitness and more beer – it’s unseasonably gorgeous outside (61 degrees in February in Wisconsin is unheard of), so I went for a run, followed by yoga at another local brewery, and a walk around the neighborhood with Chris. At night, we poured beer at Food & Froth, a beer festival/fundraiser for the Milwaukee Public Museum. So, all the housework and my long run was left for Sunday.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Left: Date night with Chris, including an amazing flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter mousse. Right: pouring beer at Food & Froth at the public museum – got to hang out with the Eskimos!

I’ve finally jumped on the Sunday food prep bandwagon. I’m not sure what’s taken me so long, as the routine of cooking and baking a bunch of food on the weekend is actually quite relaxing. It’s also satisfying to know that most of the week’s meals are ready to go.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

But you can’t forget a delicious Sunday dinner! Craving something naughty, but wanting something nutritious, I combined the best of both worlds. The flavors of a cheeseburger are packed into these stuffed bell peppers. Traditional stuffed peppers are made with rice, but to reduce the carbs and increase the veggie intake, I replaced rice with shredded zucchini and carrot. You can’t tell the difference and it is SO much better for you! You can’t forget the cheese, and these peppers use two kinds for a delicious meal you can feel good about. It’s high protein, low carb, vegetarian and gluten free; make this vegan with dairy-free cheese!

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers, adapted from Skinny Kitchen

Serves 4

  • 4 bell peppers, washed, tops sliced off and ribs removed – I used a variety of colors, but use whatever you prefer!
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 10 oz Beefless Ground – tempeh would work if you crumble it up
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup – such as True Made Foods, whose condiments are made with all veggies!
  • 1 tbsp mustard – any kind works – I used beer mustard
  • 1/3 C Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 C shredded mozzarella
  • 3 oz shredded aged cheddar – I prefer 5-year aged

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the bell peppers and slice off the tops. Clean out the seeds and ribs. You may need to also slice just a bit off the bottom of the peppers, if they don’t stand up on their own. Place them in an 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking dish; set aside.

Vegetarian Cheeseburger Stuffed Peppers | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

In a cast iron skillet, heat olive oil and saute the onion with the shredded zucchini and carrot. Cook until everything is nicely browned and the water has cooked out from the veggies. Add the Beefless Ground and cook another 5 minutes, to brown.

Stir in the Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, mustard and Bloody Mary mix. Then, mix in the mozzarella.

Use a spoon to pack the cheeseburger mixture into each pepper. Pat down the filling and top each pepper with shredded cheddar cheese.

Carefully pour a cup of water into the base of the baking dish. Sounds weird, but this will help steam the peppers so they’re nice and tender! Bake at 400 for 40 minutes.

Gently remove the baking dish from the oven and use tongs to serve. These taste amazing with beer-soaked oven fries, which can conveniently bake at the exact same time!

Confessions of a Mother Runner

I’m linking up with Confessions of a Mother Runner and A Whisk and Two Wands for #MeatlessMonday!

Cheesy Roasted Vegetable Skillet Baked Pasta

2 Feb

I am totally obsessing over this high-protein pasta lately. Seems like if it’s not homemade, I gravitate toward the red lentil or black bean varieties. They’re just SO versatile and delicious! And no, I’m not getting paid to run on and on about these pastas.

Cheesy Roasted Vegetable Skillet Baked Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

This dish is loaded with flavor. Roasted vegetables, smoked gouda, tomato sauce, and the lightly-flavored red lentil pasta all come together to produce a hearty, savory dinner the whole family will enjoy.

What’s even better: the combination of red lentils and the cast iron skillet, in addition to the other vegetables, make this a wonderfully iron-rich dish. This is a total win-win-win (the third win is because it’s so darn cheesy!).

Cheesy Roasted Vegetable Skillet Baked Pasta

Serves 4

  • 12 oz red lentil rotini (or 8 oz of whole wheat pasta)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1-1/4 C tomato pasta sauce
  • ¼ C vegetable stock
  • 5 oz smoked gouda, shredded
  • 1 oz fresh Parmesan, to serve

Place a cast iron skillet or other oven-safe skillet in the oven and preheat to 400.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While the water boils to cook the pasta, dice the onion, bell peppers and celery. Remove the hot skillet from the oven and grease it with a bit of olive oil. Toss the veggies together into the skillet and drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper and roast in the oven for 20 minutes.

Transfer the drained pasta back to its cooking pot. Stir in the roasted vegetables, tomato sauce, vegetable stock and shredded gouda.

Grease your skillet with some more olive oil and pour the pasta mixture back into it, smoothing the top. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

Remove and let cool 5 minutes before serving with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

22 Jan

Have you ever added up how much you spend on food? The daily coffees, lunches out with co-workers, dinner dates, picked-up meals and weekly groceries all add up to a LOT of money. Whether you’re working on a New Year’s goal related to spending habits, or just want to be able to cook more frugally, the Recipe Redux has you covered this month!

We’ve been tasked with creating a recipe that costs less than $3 per serving. Now, as a vegetarian, this is much easier for me than my meat-eating friends. I noticed the drop in spending immediately after I gave up meat – both at the grocery store and at restaurants. But the bill can still add up and sometimes in a less than healthy way.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

So I wanted to develop a meal that was not only low cost, but high in flavor, protein and fiber. Have you seen those legume-based pastas that are available? Black bean spaghetti, red lentil rotini, even chickpea penne! Yes, they sound a little crazy, and the first time you make black bean spaghetti, I guarantee you will be weirded out by the color of the cooking water. But these are such an incredible alternative to traditional pastas. (Which I totally have nothing against, especially since I began making my own!) Sometimes, you just need a high protein meal that comes together quickly and can be easily dressed up.

This Alfredo delivers on all of the above. Red lentil pasta, which clocks in at a hefty 21 grams of protein per serving, is tossed with a simple yet flavorful goat cheese sauce. Dress up the finished product with a bit of balsamic glaze and voila: a healthy, quick, delicious meal that only costs $2.22 per serving.

Quick Herbed Goat Cheese Alfredo with Red Lentil Pasta

Serves 2

  • 6 oz red lentil gluten free pasta (can substitute for black bean pasta, or another favorite) – ($1.50)
  • 2 tbsp butter ($0.15)
  • 1/2 C soy milk (or other preferred milk) ($0.12)
  • 4 oz garlic & herb goat cheese or chevre ($1.99)
  • 1 oz parmesan, freshly shredded ($0.36)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp Balsamic glaze, to garnish ($0.32)

Grand total: $4.44. Per serving: $2.22!

Cook pasta according to package directions. These legume-based pastas have pretty specific directions, so it’s best to follow them!

While the pasta boils, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Once melted, stir in the milk and then the cheeses. Keep stirring to melt all the cheese into the milk. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

Drain the cooked pasta and immediately transfer into the skillet with the hot Alfredo sauce. Toss to coat completely. Serve and drizzle with balsamic glaze (this is optional, but the sweet tang of the glaze makes the creamy sauce pop!)


Grilled Cheese Curd Sandwich

5 Oct

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

It’s a cool, fall day; leaves of varying color are fluttering to the ground, and you’re heading home to make a warm, comforting and healthy dinner. A sandwich may not sound like it fits the bill, but a toasty one, filled with melty cheese and covered in a layer of flavor is just enough to hit the spot.

Sabra has asked members of The Recipe Redux to develop tasty sandwich and wrap recipes using their new product: Sabra Spreads. Available in three flavors, these spreads come in a squirt bottle for easy use, and add just the right amount of flavor. Like their dips, Sabra Spreads are just hummus – plain and simple. The ingredients list is one that I can get on board with, especially during October #Unprocessed!

This grilled cheese sandwich takes flavor to the extreme. Sprouted bread adds some oomph to the entrée, while mixed cheddar cheese curds melt into chewy perfection inside. Rather than slathering butter on the bread’s exterior, I use the Garlic Herb Sabra Spread to add flavor without extra calories.

A warm, filling dinner is ready in no time! Pair with salad or hot tomato soup, and you’re good to go.

Grilled Cheese Curd Sandwich | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

Grilled Cheese Curd Sandwich

Serves 2

  • 4 slices sprouted grain bread
  • 4 tbsp Sabra Spreads Garlic Herb spread
  • 2 oz mixed cheddar cheese curds

Heat a large pan over medium-high.

Spread one tablespoon of the Garlic Herb spread on each of the four slices of bread.

Grease the hot pan with olive oil spray. Place two pieces of bread spread-side down in the hot pan. Top each with a layer of cheese curds and place the other pieces of bread spread-side up on top. Cover with a lid and let cook a few minutes until the bottom bread browns and the cheese melts. Flip and let the other side brown without the lid on.

Serve hot and enjoy!

Grilled Cheese Curd Sandwich | xtinaluvspink.wordpress.com

As the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians, The Recipe ReDux aims to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Thank you for visiting. We hope you enjoy!

(Please note that this is a closed link-up for Recipe ReDux posts only. Any links added to this collection for non-ReDux posts will be deleted.)

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