Summer Vegetable Casserole

I have been holding out on you. I’ve been making this side dish for almost a year now and I am just now getting around to posting it. The good news is that this is pretty much the perfect time of year to share/make this recipe.

Back when we lived in Ohio, we would have a nice little vegetable garden every summer. By July I was always trying to come up with new ways to use the vegetables that seemed to be taking over every inch of our kitchen. Luckily, I have learned over the years that vegetables are so, so much more than things you just steam and serve along side dinner. Sometimes, even when they are the side dish, they’re the star of the meal.

That’s pretty much how I feel about this casserole, it’s always the star of our dinner. But don’t get caught up on the title, “casserole” fits because the ingredients are bound together and baked with a little sprinkling of cheese. There are no cans of soup or cups of cream in this casserole. There is however a little bit of a surprise ingredient – cottage cheese. Don’t let that scare you. Mixed in with the rice and vegetables it just acts like a binder. Also feel free to play with the vegetables a little bit. I think the zucchini, corn, and tomatoes are a must, but sometimes (like this time) I throw in bell peppers or eggplant.

Summer Vegetable Casserole

Ingredients
2 eggs
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh black pepper
2 tsp Dijon mustard*
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 cup cooked rice (I used short grain brown rice)
1/2 medium red onion, diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced
1 cup zucchini (1 small zucchini), roughly cut into matchsticks or diced
1 ear of corn, cut from the cob or 1/2 cup frozen corn
1/2 medium bell pepper, diced
4 large leaves of fresh basil, chiffonaded

*Sometimes, for an extra kick,  I use 1 tsp Dijon mustard and 1 tsp whole grain mustard. Just depends on my mood!

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a casserole dish or pie pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper, mustard, garlic, cottage cheese, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Add the rice, onion, tomatoes, zucchini, corn, and bell pepper, stir to coat evenly.

Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish or pie pan, use a spatula to evenly distribute in dish. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the cheese starts to turn golden brown.

Allow to coil for 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh cut basil and serve.

Very slightly adapted from eat love drink

Southwest Stuffed Peppers

This past weekend Jesse and I took another trip to Hong Kong. We had a lot of fun, but it wasn’t all play time – we went to Hong Kong so that Jesse could officially get his Z Visa, basically a resident visa! It’s weird when things feel like they are such a long time coming, then once they happen it feels like it was all so fast! Who would have thought we would be living in China? Crazy.

We had these Stuffed Peppers early last week before our trip, and I was hoping to get this post up while we were in Hong Kong, but I completely forgot to take my lap top with me! Better late than never, though, because we really loved this dinner. Stuffed Peppers are bright, colorful, filling, and delicious.

 




Foil Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn

I’ve been so inconsistent about posting food lately that I’m almost lost about how to even write this post! I really need to get myself back into the swing of things…

In the weeks leading up to “the big move” I pretty much gave up on trying to make and photograph food at dinner time. I was usually too tired after work to put the proper amount of effort into it, the lighting was terrible, and I just couldn’t get into it. It’s also kind of hard to get motivated to make a whole meal when it’s just you you’re cooking for.

On my own, I could happily eat noddles with a little olive oil, garlic, squeeze of lemon and boat load of cheese almost every night for dinner. But during the day (I had a break while the girls were in school) I had much more energy and of course was always looking for an excuse to do anything other than pack my apartment. So I found myself making a lot of my big meals for lunch.

This fish was one of those mid-day meals. I’ve got to tell you, it was one of the best lunches I’ve had in ages. It’s been over a month since I made it and I can still taste it when I think about it.

The chipotle adds a deep smokey flavor that balances out perfectly with the lightness from the citrus in the orange juice. Then there is the punch of cilantro and the little bit of butter makes everything melt together. It’s also great because it’s basically a one dish meal with easy preparation and clean up. Definitely something you should try. I used Tilapia because it was on sale at the grocery store, but pretty much any mild white fish will work. If you’re worried about it being too fishy, try using a fish like mahi mahi since it’s flavor is even milder.

Also, I found this recipe on Pink Parlsey and this week Josie shared a spin-off recipe using chick peas instead of black beans. Sounds interesting!

Foil Baked Fish with Black Beans and Corn
Ingredients
4 skinless white fish fillets (6 to 8 oz each), 1-inch thick
salt and pepper
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce or 1 tsp dry Chipotle chili powder
1 tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16-oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups corn kernels, I used half frozen sweet corn and half frozen roasted corn (from Trader Joes)
1/2 red onion, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and adjust rack to lower middle position.

Pat the fish fillets dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, use a fork to combine the softened butter, 1/2 of the chipotle pepper (or chili powder), orange zest, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and half of the garlic. Spread the butter mixture over the fish.

In a medium bowl, combine the black beans, corn, red onion, 2 tablespoons of cilantro, orange juice, remaining chipotle pepper (or chili powder), remaining garlic, and salt and pepper to taste.

Lay out 4 squares of aluminum foil and divide the bean mixture evenly between them. Place one fish fillet on top of the bean mixture on each sheet of foil. Fold the foil in half over the fish and then seal all of the open edges by folding the foil edges up and in.

Carefully move the foil packets to a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. Carefully open the packets, sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve.

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen, The Best Simple Recipes as seen on Pink Parsley

Quinoa Mexican Soup

>
I’ve been known in the past to have what my friends and family call “Shiny Things Syndrome.” I can be in the middle of a conversation or on my way to another room to do something and all of the sudden something “shiny” will catch my eye and the next you know I’m lost in the conversation or have completely forgotten what I was trying to do. What can I say, I can be easily distracted.

That’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago after I read a post on Branny Boils Over. She’s hosting a blogging event called the “Souper Bowl” and for every entry she will be donating $1.00 to the ASPCA. All you have to do is dedicate a post to a pet and share a recipe for soup. Sounds perfect for me! I love soup. I love my cats. I had a minestrone recipe just begging to be made. Then I posted my soup…. and realized about a day later that I just shared my entry for the Souper Bowl without actually making it an entry. DOH!

Then I found this recipe on Nicole’s blog and fell in love. Soup for me. Dedication to my cats. Post for the Souper Bowl. Win, win, win!


I love everything about this soup. Nicole said she wasn’t sure if she would like it but tried it anyway and liked it a lot. I, on the other hand, knew I would love this soup at first glance. The only thing that surprised me was the fact that I didn’t have to de-veganize it by adding sour cream and cheese. Of course I added a little cheese to one bowl. But I quickly found that it just wasn’t needed. There is flavor jam packed into every square inch of this soup and I love it. Did I say that already?

So in honor of both of my beautiful cats (who have to fly home to Ohio for the next couple of months while I’m in China, SO SAD!!!!!!!) I bring you Quinoa Mexican Soup.

Bigun
Tiffany 

Quinoa Mexican Soup

Ingredients
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 poblano pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 red bell pepper, cut in half, seeds removed
1 jalapeno, cut in half and seeds removed
1 cup dry quinoa
1 Tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 bay leaves
pinch ground cinnamon
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 lime, cut into wedges (I forgot the lime!)

Directions
Turn your oven to broil, the high temperature if you have the option. Lay the poblano, red pepper and jalapeno skin side up on a baking sheet. Broil for 4-5 minutes, keeping an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn, but just the skin chars. When the outsides are charred carefully remove from oven and place in a ziploc bag and let steam. Peel and dice the peppers.

In a stock pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and let cook for 4-5 minutes or until they just start to stick to the bottom of the pot. Deglaze the pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable broth. Cook again for another 3-4 minutes and deglaze again with more vegetable broth. Repeat this process 3 or 4 more times until the onions have caramelized and are dark golden brown with a slightly sweet taste.

While the onions are caramelizing, cook the quinoa according to the package.

When the onions are caramelized, add the rest of the broth, fire roasted tomatoes, poblano pepper, jalapeno, bell pepper, and seasonings. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove the bay leaves, add the quinoa and stir.

Serve with fresh cut avocado and lime wedges (if you don’t forget them like me).

Source: As seen on Prevention, RD originally from Virtually Vegan Mama