Veggie Burgers

While I’m not a vegetarian, I really enjoy vegetarian foods. Veggie burgers are one of my favorites because they often highlight delicious vegetarian flavors and are so versatile. In addition to eating them as a burger you can put them on top of salads or crumble them in egg scrambles. Store-bought veggie burgers often are full of salt and additives, so I prefer to make my own. They can be a little time consuming, so I prefer to make a bunch of them and freeze them for use later. I had a.m.a.z.i.n.g. walnut veggie burger at Jac’s in Madison and decided it was time I tried a few few new recipes. These burgers turned out great. J and Eli love them too!

These burgers can be prepped and frozen to be cooked fully from frozen when you are ready. Another option that saves a lot of time later is to prepare them fully, let them cool, and them freeze them individually. The latter option allows you to just warm them up in the microwave, on a GF grill, or in a skillet when you are in the mood. It saves a lot of time and is less messy since they are fully cooked already.

The key to freezing these is to line a baking sheet with wax paper and place the burgers on the paper individually. Be sure they are not touching. Put this in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until the burgers are hard. At this point you can remove them from the paper and place them in a freezer bag. It is critical that you do it this way so the burgers are individually frozen. If you don’t the burgers will freeze stuck together. This isn’t a huge deal if you plan to thaw them all at once, but it makes it impossible to remove individual burgers from the freezer. It is also a problem if they aren’t pre-cooked, because they will need to be thawed and then they will just a be a big pile of mush. This approach of freezing individually has been a live saver and can be used for anything you are freezing. We use it all the time in the summer when berries are in season!

 

veggie burgers-blackbeanSpicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers
Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

 

 

veggie burgers-chickpea walnutChickpea-Walnut Burger
Recipe Adapted from Big Mike Eats

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

It is that time of year that we all love (or at least I do) – squash season! Squash is by far the easiest vegetable to cook. It can be daunting but believe me, it couldn’t be easier. Especially acorn squash.  I usually like to pair spiced items like apples, cinnamon, wild rice, and ground beef with acorn squash and savory things like Parmesan cheese, sage, and spinach with butternut squash, but that’s just me. This dish was just using what we had on hand that sounded like a good combination. J just started a new job and took this for lunch during his 2nd week. He got so many, “what is that?!?” comments. Most of them where shocked that you could use squash as a bowl. Oh men, where is your creativity?

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Stuffed Acorn Squash
(Each squash makes 2 servings. Increase the ingredients as needed for more servings)

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 6 ounces ground beef (lean)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp silvered almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg (if you are feeling adventurous) to taste

Directions

  1. Prepare the acorn squash
    Oven Option: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the center contents. Place face-down on the foil-lined pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash can be easily pierced with a fork.
    Microwave Option: With a sharp knife or fork, carefully poke all over the squash. You need to get deep enough that the holes go to the center/open portion of the squash. Place the poked squash in a microwave-safe glass dish. Place a tiny bit of water in the base of the dish and cover the dish with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 7-10 minutes. Let stand in the microwave for 3-5 minutes and then remove. Test doneness by trying to pierce the skin with a fork. Cut the squash in half.
  2. Prepare the filling while the squash cooks.
    Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add the onion and beef. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the chopped carrot, almonds and saute for 5 more minutes. Mix in the cooked rice. Season to taste.
  3. Fill each half with the prepared filling. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate if you aren’t eating it right away.
  4. To reheat, keep the squash wrapped in plastic wrap and microwave on high for 3 minutes.

Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad

Ahh I am so behind on posts! I promise I have been cooking and have a slew of tasty recipes to share over the next few weeks. I am finishing up my 2nd week of neurology in Madison and am loving it. While I have always thought I would go into family medicine, neurology has been a lingering interest since I’ve started medical school. This week is the end of my outpatient part of neurology and next week I will start with inpatient stroke – exactly what I’m interested in. I am really excited to see how it goes!

Anyway, on to the food (since that is why you visit). This is a recipe I made last month with carrots from the CSA. The roasted carrots and walnuts paired with crunchy barley and sharp feta is amazing. I am a bland girl, so I actually ate this without the dressing in the original recipe. If you are more normal than me and like a little more flavor, I recommend you visit Joanne’s website (linked below) and try out the dressing as well.

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Roasted Carrot and Chickpea Salad by Joanne Eats Well with Others

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried barley, prepared as directed on package
  • 2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 lb carrots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/3-inch slices
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled, and diced
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Directions

  1. Prepare barley as directed on the package (simmer for 1 hour).
  2. Preheat the oven to 425F and spray a baking pan with cooking spray.
  3. Add carrots, garlic, cumin, and oil in a large bowl and toss well.  Roast for 15 minutes and stir. Add walnuts and roast for an extra 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove from roasting pan and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl and add barley, chickpeas, and  feta cheese. Season to taste with salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Breakfast Tortillas

With all the egg bakes I have been posting, I figured I’d post a little variation for serving them – breakfast tortillas! Rewind 5 years – J and I decide to try corn tortillas. A package of small tortillas is $1.19 for 50 – it isn’t often you can find something that cheap that doesn’t have questionable ingredients. We needed to try them. In our naive way, we just put the taco filling in the room-temperature corn tortilla and took a bite. Not a good idea. Corn tortillas are absolutely disgusting if you get them cold or straight out of the package. We thought it was crazy that anyone liked them and never bought them again. Fast-forward 2 years from then and my brother’s wife is making us a meal. She whips out the corn tortillas and we cringe a bit. Memories from the last time flood our minds, but we don’t say anything. Then we taste…heaven. The difference? M warmed up the corn tortillas on a griddle before she used them. I would never have guessed something so simple could make such a difference. Now corn tortillas are the only thing we buy. J was in CA last week and ordered corn tortillas at the local Mexican restaurant his group ate at. Everyone looked at him like he was crazy, asking how he could eat them when they are so dry. He happily explained the simple fact that they need to be warmed – thank goodness he was able to save those 3 people the misery of living life without corn tortillas.

Breakfast Tortillas

breakfast tortillasIngredients

  • 2-3 Corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • Leftover egg bake
    or
    2 eggs scrambled with mixed vegetables
  • 1 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Warm up a non-stick pan over medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add corn tortilla to the pan and let warm for 1-2 minutes, spray the top with cooking spray and flip over. Repeat until the desired doneness.
  2. Warm egg bake while the tortillas are preparing
  3. Once done, add eggs to the tortilla and top with cheese, Wrap sides and secure with a toothpick. Enjoy 🙂

Homemade Protein Bars

Last week was our “Transitional Clerkship” for 3rd year – basically an orientation for them to have one last shot at nurturing us before we are sent to the wolves…I am mean wards 😉 A common theme throughout was to make sure to eat – be sure to eat breakfast, be sure to eat protein, always carry a snack, etc… I found it pretty humorous that we need to tell grown adults to eat, but whatever. All of the talk about snacks and high protein got me thinking I should spend some time over the weekend making a new version of snack bars to carry with me. I love my banana bars, but they are a little too sticky for carrying in a white coat pocket and could use a little protein. After a little searching I came up with the recipe. I am pretty happy with it, because I want something that is healthy, filling, and not too sweet (because then I would just want to eat them all!). If you are looking for something a little sweeter, add some extra sugar, as this recipe only calls for 1/4 cup and makes about 24 bars.

banana protein bars (7)

Homemade Protein Bars
Recipe adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen’s Homemade protein bars and my own Banana Bars

Ingredients

  • 3 cups old fashioned oats, pulsed in food processor for a few minutes to make a coarse flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup protein powder (I used 1 cup ground TVP)
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup nut butter*
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • up to 2 cups of add-ins (nuts, seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, chocolate chips, raisins, dates, etc…)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray
  2. Combine oats, cinnamon, salt,  and TVP in a large bowl.
  3. In a food processor or large bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, nut butter, vanilla, and bananas. Mix/process well.
    banana protein bars (3)banana protein bars (4)banana protein bars (2)
  4. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray. Set aside.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Use the prepared spatula to add all the wet mixture to the well. Mix well with the rubber spatula until thoroughly combined- it will be sticky (hence the prepared spatula)!
  6. Fold in any mix-ins you are using.
  7. Spread the mixture into your prepared dish and bake for 15 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, let them cool a little, and then slice the bars as you want.
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Unbaked Bars

banana protein bars (6)

Baked Bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I didn’t have any nut butter on-hand, so I made my own. This is simple if you have a food processor. I used ground pecans in the freezer that I had left over from some larabars I made last winter. Process the nuts or ground nuts for about 5 minutes, until a ball forms and then smooths out. You might be tempted to stop at the ball stage – don’t! Let the processor smooth out the ball to give you a nice, creamy butter.

Cabbage Rolls

More cabbage for you all. This week we received Napa Cabbage. I had never cooked with napa cabbage before but after a quick search I found a number of recipes for cabbage rolls. Based on what I saw, I came up with these. I only used some of the large leaves for this recipe and used the rest for an asian cole slaw (recipe to come :))

Cabbage Rolls
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Ingredients
– 9 large Napa cabbage leaves, washed and dried
(I found that storing them in the refrigerator for one day made them softer and easier to work with)
– 10 oz lean ground beef
– 1/2 cup onion, diced
– 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– 1 cup rice, prepared

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a baking dish with non-cook spray.
2. Prepare the ground beef with the onion.
3. After the meat is close to being complete, add the oil and soy sauce. Finish cooking until the meat reaches 165F.
4. Add the rice and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Using a slotted spoon, scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture into the top portion of the leaf. Bend the harder part of the cabbage leaf up to the mixture. Fold the sides of the leaf towards the middle and the top of the leaf down. Set into the baking dish and repeat with all 9 leaves.
6. Drizzle the top of the leaves with soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook for 30 minutes.

Looking for more things to do with cabbage? Here are some great sites!

Kitchin Seasonal Spotlight

Beyond Slaw – 8 Things to do with Napa Cabbage

Roasted Cabbage with Bacon

Thai Cabbage Salad

Easy Okonomiyaki (Japanese pizza)

Pickled Napa Cabbage

Banana Oat Muffins

photo (4)These muffins are  so d.e.l.i.c.i.o.u.s. and only contain a few simple ingredients. Plus they are low-fat and flour-free, so they are a great snack or breakfast for people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and well, anyone!

I should call they lazy day muffins, because they are so easy to make. You don’t have to mix anything yourself and you only have to clean 2 things when you are done – a food processor and a muffin tin. I am pretty sure they took 10 minutes from start to oven.

The recipe is a modification from “Keeping up with the Joneses” blog. I made their original recipe last week – it turned out ok but I knew it needed some tweaking. This version turned out perfect, so give it a try!

Simple Banana Oat Muffins

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of fat-free plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and pulse until they are very fine chunks – not quite flour, but very small pieces.
  3. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and sugar. Pulse a few times to mix.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and then let the food processor do the rest of the work! Process until well blended.
  5. Fill the muffin tins nearly full with batter.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the top and edges are lightly browned (I did 25 minutes).

Quinoa Casserole

Crock Pot Quinoa Casserole by a Year of Slow Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups broth
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 sliced or chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
  • 1/2 block feta cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a fine strainer until the water runs clear. Dump it into 4-6 qt crockpot.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix it around. Add chicken or vegetable broth, the salt, and cinnamon. Stir in almonds and cranberries.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours. The quinoa is done when you can fluff it with a fork and it is tender. The liquid should be pretty well absorbed, similar to how you know rice is done.
  4. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and add the baby tomatoes and feta cheese. Stir gingerly to mix. Add a large handful of baby spinach to the top of the crockpot, and close the lid. Cook on high for about 20 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Stir again to distribute the spinach.

Crockpot Stuffing

Perfect Homemade Crockpot Stuffing by A Year of Slow Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf of whole wheat bread, lightly toasted in the oven
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup tart apple, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (we used a canola oil-butter spread)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 T ground sage
  • 1 tsp ground marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp savory
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions 

  1. Spray a 6 qt crockpot with cooking spray.
  2. Toast the bread slices in the oven at 300 degrees for about 20 minutes – watch closely!
  3. While the bread is toasting, chop up the onion, parsley, celery, and apple. Add to crockpot. Add the seasoning, and add melted butter. Stir well.
  4. When the bread is done, cut into 1/2 inch size-or-so cubes and add to crockpot; mix well.
  5. When the bread is coated nicely, pour in 1 1/2 cups of broth.
  6. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours. Stir when finished.
  7. If you’d like it a bit more moist, you can add a 1/4 cup more (or as much as you desire) of broth.

Stuffed Peppers

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers by A Year of Slow Cooking

Ingredients:

  • 6 bell peppers
  • 1/2 cup prepared or premade pasta sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (8-ounce ) can corn
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup water

Directions:

  1. Use a 6-quart slow cooker. Cut the tops off of the peppers and remove the seeds and membranes from the inside of each. In a mixing bowl, combine the pasta sauce, beans, corn, onion, rice, spices, and cheese.
  2. Mix well to combine and fill peppers. Carefully nestle the peppers into the pot. Pour 1/3 cup water around the pepper bases.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4. The pepper will wilt a bit, but still be intact. Carefully remove them with serving spoons.