by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Meatless Mondays, Plant-Based Eating, Vegetarian
A fresh and simple meal: roasted vegetable hummus tart.
Folks have it in their minds that preparing good food has to be hard. Good food doesn’t have to be complex. Simple is just as good and often even better. We tend to overthink food. Yes, there are some recipes that complex in terms of techniques, tools, and/or ingredients, but for the most part, simpler is better. Making a veggie hummus tart for dinner. Simple, fresh ingredients.
There is nothing easier than making this roasted veggie hummus tart. All the ingredients are stars in this recipe. Start with simple, fresh ingredients you may have on hand. Chopped up some red peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes and/or eggplant with some fresh chopped basil. Add olive oil with salt and pepper tossing. The end result is delicious roasted veg which will be the topping for the tart. Spread hummus – store bought or homemade – on the baked puff pastry then top with the roasted veg. Perfection. This dish can be served warm or cold.
Roasted Vegetable Hummus Tart Recipe
Roasted Vegetable Hummus Tart
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon chopped basil
- 2-4 cups mixed chopped vegetables such as peppers, red onion, tomatoes, and zucchini
- 1 sheet of puff pastry (room temperature)
- 1 container plain hummus
- Preheat oven to 430F.
- Place chopped basil and vegetables in a bowl.
- Drizzle the oil over the vegetables and basil adding a dash of kosher salt and a few generous turns of the pepper grinder then toss.
- Spread the mixture on the medium roasting tray lined with foil roasting for 20-25 minutes.
- Prepare the puff pastry sheet by scoring an inch border around the sheet and prick the middle with a fork a few times to stop it puffing up too much.
- Cover with dish towel and place in the fridge until the roasted veg is done.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and top with the hummus, then top with the roast vegetables.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Plant-Based Eating, Vegetarian
We all have them. The meal that is your go-to dinner when no one feels like cooking, didn’t go to the grocery store, or don’t want to order delivery. For us, it is black bean quesadillas. We can always count on them filling out bellies quickly and easily. It is a simple and quick meal made in 15 minutes with a handful of items I always have on hand:
- minced garlic
- canned black beans
- canned tomatoes with green chiles
- canned “Mexican” corn
- fresh cilantro
- shredded cheddar cheese
- flour tortillas
I do my best to keep my pantry stocked and fridge filled with essential fresh veg for moments listed in the previous paragraph. I always have a bottle of minced garlic, limes, and fresh cilantro in the fridge since I cook them with 3-4 times a week. I don’t know if flour tortillas go off, but they seem to last forever and we haven’t die yet.
Kitchen Tip: To keep herbs fresh put trimmed herbs in a jar filled with cold water, put a plastic bag over it, and keep in fridge changing the water every 3 days or so.
The key to lazy meals is knowing what works for you and building your pantry around it. Our schedules are hectic though we try to keep them in check. There are days dinner is the last on my mind and having a list of go-to meals I can throw together in 15 is wonderful. Take out is great, but it does take a toll on your waistline and wallet.
Back to our go-to meal of black bean quesadilla which was based on a recipe from Real Simple magazine from years ago and has evolved. It is flexible as to how you make it. It is what I call a drain and dump meal. I like to add a splash of lime juice just to the bean mixture for a zing. We add cheese, but it tastes nice without cheese making a good vegan meal.
Looking for other quick meals? Have a look here.
What’s your go-to meal?
- - 1 tablespoons minced garlic
- - 1 can black beans
- - 1 can tomatoes with green chiles
- - 1 can "Mexican" corn
- - Handful fresh cilantro
- - 2-3 handfuls shredded cheddar cheese
- - 4 flour tortillas
- - Preheat broiler.
- - Heat pan with a splash of olive oil.
- - Drain and rise black beans and corn. Add tomatoes on top.
- - Chop cilantro.
- - Add garlic to pan cooking for a minute or until brownish.
- - Add black beans, tomatoes, corn, and cilantro to pan cooking for 5 or so minutes.
- - Using a slotted spoon arrange bean mixture on to tortillas topping with cheese then folding into a half-moon shape.
- - Broil until cheese is melted or until slightly browned.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Plant-Based Eating, Vegan, Vegetarian
A New Classic: Vegetarian Cassoulet
We all know the class French dish, cassoulet, with pork, chicken, and sausage. It is perfect on a winter’s evening for dinner. But what if you aren’t eating meat? A vegetarian cassoulet is a delicious non-meat alternative to this rich traditional version. While is without meat, it doesn’t lack flavor and fills you up. And what makes this dish even better than the original? It is simple to make and can be on the table in under an hour. The dish is respectable enough to serve on Sunday and to company. Even my meat loving guys enjoy this dish not missing the meat.
Simple Ingredient for Big Flavor
Simple ingredients you may have in your fridge and pantry. It is leeks, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, ground clove, and canned cannelloni beans. I like to use fresh herbs even in winter, but you can substitute dried herbs. I bring my herbs inside keeping them in my mud room so I have fresh thyme, parsley, rosemary, and oregano to use in my cooking. I was fortunate when I made this vegetarian cassoulet last I had fresh leeks from my garden. They were little ones, but so good. I took pride in using them in my dish. The cassoulet has a garlic breadcrumb topping. Depending if I have stale homemade bread, I will make my own or I use store bought bread crumbs.
This really is a meaty dish. You can serve it with a salad and a baguette.
- - 3 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- - 4 medium carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
- - 3 celery ribs, cut into 1-inch-wide pieces
- - 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- - 1/4 cup olive oil
- - 4 thyme sprigs
- - 2 parsley sprigs
- - 1 bay leaf
- -1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- - 3 cans cannellini rinsed and drained
- - 1 quart water
- For garlic crumbs
- - 4 cups coarse fresh bread crumbs
- - 1/3 cup olive oil
- - 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- - 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 1. Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces.
- 2. Wash well and pat dry. Salad spinner is helpful.
- 3. Cook leeks, carrots, celery, and garlic in oil with herb sprigs, bay leaf, cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 15 minutes.
- 4. Stir in beans, then water, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.
- 5. Make garlic crumbs while cassoulet simmers.
- 6. Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
- 7. Toss bread crumbs with oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in a bowl until well coated.
- 8. Spread in a baking pan and toast in oven, stirring once halfway through, until crisp and golden, 12 to 15 minutes.
- 9. Cool crumbs in pan, then return to bowl and stir in parsley.
- 10. Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf.
- 11. Mash some of beans in pot with a potato masher or back of a spoon to thicken broth.
- 12. Season with salt and pepper.
- 13. Just before serving, sprinkle with garlic crumbs.
by amvandenhurk | Chicken, Dinner, Soups
Good for the Soul: Homemade Chicken Soup
Most of us growing up when we were sick, soup was what we ate. And the top choice was some form of chicken soup. Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup from a can was in our cupboard growing up. While my Mom was a good cook and did make soup, I don’t remember her ever making a chicken soup. I do make a couple of soups such as Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Rice Soup, but never the traditional chicken soup.
Not that this recipe is very traditional. I’ve made it with some healthy flu fighting ingredients such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, fresh herbs, and orzo pasta. It is a step-up from canned soups. This is a quick and simple recipe. There are the traditional ingredients of onion, celery, carrots, chicken, and chicken broth, but the addition of the garlic, ginger along with fresh rosemary and thyme kicks it up with a more complex flavor.
Now if you are sick with cold, flu, or stomach bug, a more complex flavor may not be what you are going for, but instead something warm and liquid to fill your belly. And that’s fine, but just because you are sick doesn’t mean your taste buds should suffer or the people you share meals with.
Make a big pot of this homemade chicken soup with orzo pasta, it will become a family favorite.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric)
- 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary
- 1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme, stems removed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup small pasta
- 2/3 cup frozen peas
- - Place a large dutch oven over medium high heat and add in oil. Once oil is hot, add in garlic, onion, carrots and celery; cook for a few minutes until onion becomes translucent.
- - Next add in grated ginger and turmeric. Sauté for to let the spices cook a bit for about 30 seconds, then add in chicken broth, chicken breast, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper.
- - Bring soup to a boil, then stir in pasta. Chicken should be covered with broth.
- - Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
- - Once chicken is cooked, remove then shred the chicken with two forks. Add chicken back to pot then stir in frozen peas. If the soup is too thick then add more broth.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Pasta
Luxuriously Pasta Carbonara
Pasta Carbonara was something I always ordered out at an Italian restaurant. It seemed so complicated — a dish I couldn’t possibly make myself at home — silly me. Of course, I could make Pasta Carbonara! I make bread and pastries. Those are tricky to prepare well.
Confidence with Cream
I had nothing to fret about regarding this recipe. Anyone can do it. It is just cream, egg yolks, Parmesan cheese, and pasta water.
Why was I so afraid? No clue. It does take practice to get the consistency right. It is simple. And quick.
Sausage or Bacon
You can make this recipe the more traditional way with bacon. Or you can make it with sausage. Depending on how I feel, I use spicy or mild sausage. That goes for how I prepare the sausage. Sometimes I take the sausage out of the casings frying it up that way or cook them whole then slicing them placing them on top of the pasta.
It is worth trying to find pappardelle. I prefer how the sauce takes to it.
So you can now skip the restaurant and make Pasta Carbonara at home.
Need more pasta recipes? Visit the pasta section of Well Worn Apron.
Pasta Carbonara with Italian Sausage
- 8 ounces pappardelle or fettuccine
- 1 cups frozen peas
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 Italian sausage links - spicy or mild (about 1 pound)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/2 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), plus more for serving
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, adding the peas during the last minute of cooking. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and peas, and return them to the pot.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the sausages, turning occasionally, until cooked through about 10-15 minutes.
- In a mid-sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, half-and-half or cream, Parmesan, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
- Add the egg mixture and reserved cooking water to the pasta and peas in the pot.
- Cook over low heat, tossing gently, until the sauce is slightly thickened and coats the pasta. Serve with the sausage and additional cheese.
by amvandenhurk | Dinner, Pasta
Simple Savory Spinach Bacon Ravioli
Quick and simple doesn’t necessarily mean calling for pizza delivery (though sometimes that is a nice treat). You can make a quick delicious meal that is good on the wallet and the waistline. Spinach Bacon Ravioli is one of those meals that can be made in a jiffy but tastes luxurious.
Spinach Bacon Ravioli is a 15-minute meal. Well, 30-minute if you count stopping at the grocery store to pick up the ingredients. Ok, I’m pretty quick in the grocery store so it may take you a little longer. The ingredient list is short: ravioli, bacon, whole garlic, spinach, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. That’s it.
On The Go
I usually have bacon and ravioli in the freezer. Garlic and lemons are in the fridge. So spinach is what I’m stopping for in the grocery store if I haven’t thought ahead. That said I tried to stock my veggie bin with veg we like, and spinach is one of them. With my schedule going in different directions, I am trying to meal plan more and do a week’s shopping in one go. Am I successful? Not really, but I keep trying. For me, the key is to have essential ingredients that I can create different meals on the fly, depending on what I feel like or the time I have. And time is something I have a limited supply of these days.
Let’s get back to the dish. Super simple. With seven ingredients – five if you exclude the salt and pepper – you can make a fancy restaurant meal at home. I use refrigerated cheese ravioli, but frozen works just as well. Don’t limit yourself to cheese ravioli; get creative. When I’m preparing the bacon, instead of wiping out the pan to cook the garlic and spinach, I use the bacon fat. Why get rid of that super flavor? You can swap out the bacon fat for olive oil, but I say use the fat. Just gives everything a wonderful rich flavor. And it isn’t like there is an inch of fat in the pan, more like a coating. Just enjoy it. (Don’t do it with every meal, every day, OK?)
Looking for more pasta dishes? Visit the pasta section.
- 1 package ravioli
- 6-8 slices bacon
- 2 gloves garlic, sliced thinly
- 10 oz container baby spinach torn
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Boil then cook ravioli to package directions.
- While water is setting to boil, cut bacon into sections using a kitchen scissors then cook in pre-heated pan over medium-high heat.
- When bacon is almost crispy, add sliced garlic cooking until brown.
- Add spinach, salt, and pepper stirring until spinach is wilted.
- Add in lemon juice stirring.
- Drain ravioli arranging on plate topping with spinach bacon mixture.