Spaghetti Squash Veggie Bake

I have been lovin’ Mondays this semester. I get up super early to take Devin to school, work out for an hour, eat breakfast, take a shower and then it’s still not even 9 o’lock yet! Travis goes to work and I have the house to myself until I leave for my 4 o’clock class. It’s usually a “write papers, make presentations and do home work kinda day”. In between studying, I cook.

Last week I roasted a spaghetti squash at 400 degrees for about an hour. Let it cool for a few minutes so you don’t burn yourself! Then use a fork to scoop it into a small baking dish (about a 8×8 size).

roasted spaghetti squash

I looked around in the fridge for some ideas for what to put on the squash. At first I was just going to dump some jarred sauce on it but then I decided to add some veggies to my veggies. I got out a half an onion, 1 zucchini and 2 cloves of garlic, then chopped, diced and sauteed them up in a skillet until almost tender. Then I added a 14 ounce can of organic diced tomatoes and a little oregano, salt and pepper and let it simmer for 10 minutes or so while I went back to my studying.

Then I dumped it over the squash and mixed it around…

spaghetti squash

Covered it with some freshly shredded parmigiano-reggiano…

cover it with cheese

and baked it at 350 for 15 minutes until the cheese melted into the veggie crevices!

Spaghetti Squash Veggie Bake

Lunch is served!

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Crispy Quinoa Sliders with Zucchini and Chives

Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Today I was all by myself. No class. No boyfriend working from home. No appointments or anywhere to be. What did I decide to do? I worked out. I cooked a homemade lunch and dinner. I hung pictures. I planted some house plants and worked in my herb garden. I relaxed with my laptop. I also looked up recipes that included chives because with 3 plants growing I have plenty.

These quinoa sliders were a bit of work but well worth it. They are crispy, a very flavorful. Cheesy, garlic-y and onion-y…they didn’t need the buns that the orginal recipe suggested. As I ate them, I imagined making them for family or for a get together with friends. It’s one of those things you would make that would impress people because they wouldn’t expect vegetarian burgers to taste so good!

Here’s a look at the mix before it was fried up:

Quinoa Sliders mix

I placed the sliders on parchment paper to cool after cooking:

Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Today for lunch I ate two of the quinoa sliders with a baked sweet potato! They were perfect together and gave me the energy I needed to work around the house!

Crispy Quinoa Sliders and a sweet potato

Crispy Quinoa Sliders with Zucchini and Chives

  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • Two slices of wheat bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Method

  • In a medium saucepan, cook the quinoa in 1 1/3 cup vegetable broth until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with fork and leave uncovered to cool for about 15 minutes.

  • In a food processor, pulse the bread until coarse crumbs form; you should have about 1 cup. In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Squeeze the liquid from the zucchini and add the zucchini to the eggs. Stir in the cheese, chives, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix in the quinoa and bread crumbs. Let stand for 10 minutes.

  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Using a 1/4-cup measure, form 1/2-inch-thick patties.¬†Add 6 patties to skillet and cook until golden on the bottom, 3 minutes. Flip and cook for 3 more minutes. Remove first 6 sliders and place on parchment paper. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the skillet, and form the 6 remaining patties. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until crisp. Serve with buns, lettuce, tomatoes, onion and pickles if desired.

Recipe Slightly Adapted from Food and Wine

Creamy Swiss Chard and Shrimp Pasta

Thursday night is my favorite night of the week right now. After 4 long days of classes and studying it’s a relaxing feeling to know tomorrow is FRIDAY. I have tons to do tomorrow…a contractor is coming over to mount 3 TV’s in our house and connect a new security system, I have to meet with our tax person, I’m meeting with a group of 5 girls in the library for an hour or so in the afternoon to get started on a group project and then my mom, grandma, sister and nephew and my brother and his girlfriend are coming over to hang out, have dinner and see the Friday sunset with me. Menu TBA!

This is the chopped garlic and shallot ready to be sauteed:

After sauteing the garlic, shallots and swiss chard stems I added the leaves to wilt down:

The finished sauce:

Lots of garlic, yummy pasta, creamy sauce (that’s mostly good for you), your dinner veggie requirements thanks to leafy-green swiss chard and completed with juicy shrimp. I’m ready to dig in!

Creamy Swiss Chard and Shrimp Pasta

  • 1 lb. frozen, raw, peeled & deveined shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 – 8 ounce box De Boles Organic Angel Hair pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 bunch swiss chard (5-6 large leaves)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup light cream
  • Freshly shaved parmesan cheese, to taste
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  • To be updated soon.

Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

The cool weather and gray skies this week called for some comfort food in my house! I had 3 exams and a group project due this week so it was nice to have this easy to put together dish actually work for dinner for 2 nights (for the 3 of us). I have a little study break the next 3 days! Looking forward to it!

 

I’ve made this recipe multiple times but this is the first time I added sauteed garlic and mushrooms. They add a special flavor note to the dish that was just incredible. I especially like the flavor and texture of the¬†shiitake¬†mushrooms. They are a little more pricey than other types of mushrooms but since this is a meatless dish (and it lasted for 2 dinners) they are SO worth it!

Spinach and Mushroom Manicotti

  • 1 – 10 ounce box frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 package of shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, halved then sliced thinly
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 – 15 ounce container, organic part-skim ricotta
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, to taste
  • 16 ounces fresh¬†mozzarella, divided
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 – 25 ounce jar spagetti sauce
  • 1 box manicotti pasta, uncooked

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray the bottom of a 13×9 glass baking dish with non-stick olive oil spray; set aside.
  • Prepare¬†mozzarella by cutting off about 1/3 of the log and dicing it up (this will get added to the filling). Slice the remaining¬†mozzarella; reserve¬†to be added to the top of the filled pasta.
  • In a small saute pan melt the butter. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until the mushrooms are soft.
  • In a medium bowl combine spinach, mushroom mixture, ricotta, the diced¬†mozzarella,¬†nutmeg, salt & pepper.
  • In the bottom of the baking dish add 1/3 cup water and about 1/3 of the jar of spaghetti sauce and stir around a bit to mix. Fill the uncooked pasta shells with the ricotta mixture and place in the baking dish. Top the pasta with the rest of the spaghetti sauce then the sliced¬†mozzarella and the shredded parmesan cheese.
  • Bake covered with foil for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake another 10-15 minutes or so. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.