Category Archives: Vegetarian

Grilled Pizza Margherita

Yesterday was my hubby’s birthday and we made grilled pizza. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound all that special or glamorous, but take my word for it, this pizza was MAGNIFICENT! It  should have a song written about it or something. It was that good. I am still swooning over it.  It is always amazing to me how good it tastes with so few ingredients.  Not only does it taste fantastic, but with a little preparation, it can be thrown together pretty quickly. I think the next time we have people over, I am going to make this and serve it as an appetizer. If you are going to make one thing from this blog this summer, make this pizza.

Grilled Pizza Margherita

1 lb. ball of pizza dough, homemade or store-bought

3 (or more) cloves of garlic, minced

@ 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

2-3 Roma tomatoes, sliced

1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced (DO NOT use regular mozzarella. It won’t be the same.)

A few leaves fresh basil

Coarse Sea Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Hot Pepper Flakes

  1. About 30 minutes before you grill the pizza, mix the garlic and olive oil together and let it stand. Fire up the grill.
  2. Stretch your pizza dough into a round. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It looks rustic if it isn’t perfect. Brush one side of the dough lightly with some of the garlic oil.
  3. Placed the dough on the grill, oiled side down. Grill until lightly charred and the bottom is cooked.  Brush a little more of the oil on the uncooked side and flip it over on the grill.
  4. Brush the remaining oil, along with all the garlic on the grilled top of the pizza. Place the mozzarella and tomato slices randomly all over the pizza. Grill the pizza until the bottom is fully cooked and the mozzarella is melted.
  5. Sprinkle some basil leaves, sea salt and cracked pepper all over the pizza. Cut into uneven slices.  Devour.



Filed under Cheese, Pizza, Vegetarian, Warm Weather Food

Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls are one of my very favorite foods. I love them and could eat them all the time. That being said, I had never made them before because they seemed intimidating.  Now, that I have, I will be making them all the time.  They are not hard at all, but they are a bit time-consuming. I would make these when you are not super pressed for time or are just enjoying a lazy day. Ok, stop laughing. I realize that we, especially parents,  don’t have a lot of those kind of days, but these are so worth making. Also, there really isn’t a recipe, per se. It is more of a technique. Then, you can fill the summer rolls with whatever you like. If you want to add some shrimp, go for it. I really just like to keep mine vegetarian and then stuff my face with Chicken Satay. Be sure and whip up the peanut sauce (recipe here on the blog) to go with it.

Summer Rolls

I am not going to list any quantities because you can just make how many ever you want. Also, we had the best luck with using 2 of the rice paper wrappers at a time even though it made the outside a bit thicker. When we only used one, they seemed to tear and fall apart more. You can try one at a time and maybe yours will do better.

Here is what you need:

Round Rice Paper Wrappers

Rice Vermicelli

Romaine, green leaf or Bibb lettuce (shredded)

Carrots (shredded)

Cucumbers (peeled and cut into strips)

Fresh Basil (shredded or left whole, if desired. I prefer shredded.)

Fresh Mint

  1. Cook rice vermicelli according to the package directions (in boiling water for about 4 mins). Set aside.
  2. Combine lettuce, shredded carrots and the shredded basil. Have a little place with your lettuce mixture, cucumbers, mint and noodles all set up.
  3. Spread a clean, damp towel on work surface. Fill a pie plate or shallow skillet with about an inch of tepid water. Working 2 at a time (or 1 if you are brave), immerse the wrappers into the water until just pliable enough to work with. Lay the wrapper on the towel. Place a little bit of all your veggies onto the wrapper in this order: Vermicelli, lettuce mixture, cucumbers and ending with the fresh mint. Take care not to over stuff them or they won’t wrap properly. Wrap up the summer roll like you would a burrito. Take the ends and fold together and then roll.
  4. Cut in half on the bias. Serve with peanut sauce.


Filed under Appetizer, Vegetarian, Veggie, Warm Weather Food

Orzo with Everything

This recipe is completely and totally awesome. I know I say that about many of the recipes on here, but this one is. Really.  It has so many delicious things in it!! Sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, fresh basil and pine nuts. Oh how I love pine nuts. I love them so much that our friend Matt commented that I must have put $30 worth of pine nuts in this salad because it had so many in it. I buy my pine nuts for a deal at Costco so I might go a tad overboard with them.  If you don’t want to mortgage your house by putting in so many pine nuts, don’t sweat it. Just put the amount called for. But, please, please don’t leave them out. This also has radicchio in it which is not a veggie I normally use. But, it  made this salad taste great. It is pleasantly bitter and added a nice little bite. If the weather is nice for you this weekend, throw some chicken on the grill and make this pasta salad. Your family will love you for it.

Orzo with Everything

from Cook’s Country August 2007

1 TBS salt

1 pound orzo

½ C. sun-dried tomatoes , rinsed, patted dry, and minced

½ C. pitted Kalmata olives , halved

1 head radicchio, cored and chopped fine

1 C. grated Parmesan cheese

½ C. pine nuts, toasted

½ C. chopped fresh basil

¼  C. Balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves , minced

5 TBS extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

1. For the salad: Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot over high heat. Add salt and orzo to boiling water and cook until just al dente. Drain pasta and let cool to room temperature. Combine cooled orzo, tomatoes, olives, radicchio, Parmesan, pine nuts, and basil in large bowl.

2. For the dressing: Combine vinegar and minced garlic in medium bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. (Salad can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

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Filed under Pasta, Salad, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggie

Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

Unfortunately, I can’t think of one clever thing to say about this orzo, so suffice it to say, this is, quite possibly, one of the yummiest side dishes ever. I love it because it is quick, delicious and you can kill two birds with one stone because it has your starch and veggie all rolled into one side dish. Perfect. I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe since it only serves 2.

Orzo with Spinach and Pine Nuts

from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook

2 TBS pine nuts

1 clove garlic, minced (I used more)

1 TBS butter, melted

1 ¾ C. water

¾ C. uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

¼ tsp. salt

1 C. tightly packed chopped fresh spinach

¼ C. grated Parmesan cheese

½ C. crumbled Feta cheese (optional, but awesome)

  1. Spread pine nuts in a small skillet. Cook over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring often.  Set aside.
  2. Sauté garlic in butter in a saucepan over medium heat 1 minute. Add water, orzo, and salt, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and cook 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Stir in spinach, cheeses, and pine nuts. Serve hot.

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Filed under Cheese, Pasta, Side Dish, Vegetarian, Veggie

Grilled Pesto Sandwiches

I  had this sandwich for the first time the other day at a friend’s house. She made this for me and I absolutely loved it. In fact, I loved it so much I decided to make it for dinner last night. The weird thing is, I don’t even like tomatoes and I STILL liked this sandwich. It is so gooey and flavorful. It is definitely a step above regular ole grilled cheese sandwiches. Another awesome thing about this sandwich is for the second night in a row, my kids ate pretty much what Ren and I ate. CRAZY!!!! I hope you like it!! Oh yeah, don’t skimp on the pesto. It is what makes this sandwich great.

Grilled Pesto Sandwiches

From the AJC


6 to 8 tablespoons prepared pesto
8 slices sourdough bread
6 slices Provolone cheese-We used 3 pieces per sandwich.
4 to 6 slices fresh tomato-We used 2 slices per sandwich.
1 to 2 tablespoons butter, softened


1. Spread pesto on one side of each piece of bread. Top with 1 1/2 slices of cheese and 1 to 2 tomato slices. Sandwich the bread, pesto sides inside. On the other sides of the bread, spread the butter to lightly coat.

2. On a stove-top griddle or in a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sandwiches until the bottom is golden and the cheese melts, about 2 minutes per side.


Filed under Cheese, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Broccoli and Garlic Penne with Sundried Tomatoes

This is yet another tried and true recipe I have been making for ages but last night I decided to update it a bit. Even though this is vegetarian and has broccoli in it, it isn’t really super healthy, what with all the yummy olive oil and butter in it. I made it last night with whole wheat pasta to make that a wee bit healthier. And, I cut back on some of the olive oil. The original recipe called for a whopping 3/4 cup of olive oil!!! I also added some sundried tomatoes just cause I love them.  You could probably use some broth instead of the butter if you are really trying to make it healthy, but I love the flavor of the butter and olive oil together. This meal is also great for our family because I have a VERY picky eater and he still ate some of the pasta with butter and Parmesan cheese. It is always a little Christmas miracle when we all eat virtually the same meal.

Broccoli and Garlic Penne with Sundried Tomatoes

Adapted from The New Basics Cookbook

1 lb. penne ( I used whole wheat pasta)

One bag of steam in bag broccoli from produce section

3 TBS extra virgin olive oil

5-8 cloves garlic minced (put as much or as little garlic as your family enjoys)

4 TBS butter (you can use less, but it is good)

¼ c. sundried oil packed sundried tomatoes, drained well (you can rinse them too if you don’t want the oil)

Freshly grated Parmesan, freshly ground black pepper and hot pepper flakes for serving

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
  2. Steam the broccoli in the microwave (or, you can steam 2 heads of fresh broccoli). Do not overcook the broccoli.  Rinse under cold water and pat dry. Set aside.
  3. Pour the oil in the pan you cooked the pasta in or a large skillet, and heat the oil over medium heat until it begins to ripple, about a minute. Add the garlic and cook about 30 seconds, taking care not to burn the garlic.
  4. Add the broccoli to the skillet, stir well and cook about another minute or 2, shaking the skillet.
  5. Add the butter, penne, and sundried tomatoes to the broccoli and cook, stirring often until the penne is well mixed.
  6. Place in a serving dish and serve with Parmesan, hot pepper flakes and freshly ground pepper.

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Filed under Pasta, Vegetarian

Black Bean Quesadillas

Even though I love to cook, I am always in search of something quick and easy to make on those nights that I am tired, busy or just plain at the end of my rope. These quesadillas are perfect for those days. The filling is super easy to mix up and can be made in advance. I usually make the filling and grate the cheese at Lily’s nap time so everything is ready to go at dinnertime. I leave out the cilantro because it makes us want to gag, but feel free to add it if you have it on hand. These are also great because you can add chicken if you like, but this is really a great vegetarian meal if your family doesn’t mind going without the meat.

Black Bean Quesadillas

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (14 ½ oz) can petite diced tomatoes

½ c. finely chopped onion

½ c. finely chopped red pepper

½ c. chopped cilantro-Ok, I know I hate cilantro, but good Lord this seems like a lot.

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. cumin

½ tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne

½ tsp. black pepper


Cheese-We like to  use a combination of Pepper Jack and Cheddar

1. Mix beans, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and seasonings in a large bowl.

2. Heat griddle over medium heat. Place one tortilla on griddle and top with some of the bean mixture and some cheese. Put another tortilla on top and grill until both sides are lightly browned and crispy.

3. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole if desired.


Filed under Cheese, Spicy, Vegetarian