EAT YOUR VEGGIES AND LOVE IT!
Just around the corner from our house, my mom participates in a community garden.
They grow everything from sunflowers and herbs to raspberries and tomatoes. The tomatoes are my favorite. Nothing tastes as good as a homegrown tomato, and I will never be able to go back to the cold pale ones at the store.
1 store bought roll of dough for crescent rolls
3-4 large heirloom tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
16 oz ricotta cheese
10 oz feta cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with nonstick baking spray, then line with crescent roll dough, patching up any gaps where necessary. Use a fork to pierce crust. Chop tomatoes into thick slices and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl combine ricotta cheese, feta cheese, red onions, basil, salt and pepper. Season to taste. Spread cheese mixture into the pie crust. Top with tomato slices. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
In the late afternoon we set off to the gardens – a nice walk for the dogs and a chance for us to replenish our kitchen. The poor little pups are banned from entering, so they whined outside the gates as we collected a wheelbarrow full of produce.
I love having eggplant on hand and banana peppers are my new favorite addition to stir fry. And the squash – just wait until you see the recipe we’ve created to help us devour loads of squash since they’re growing like crazy.
yellow or orange squash
spices of your choice
This recipe is extremely simple and can be adapted to use a variety of vegetables and flavors.
Preheat oven to 525 degrees on the broil setting. With a mandolin, slice the squash into thin round “chips.” Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then spread the veggie slices across the sheet in one layer. Sprinkle with spices of your choice. Place baking sheet in the oven on the middle rack. Check every 5 minutes or so until chips look golden brown, then flip chips to broil the other side.
Simple salt and garlic – generously cover chips with McCormick’s garlic sea salt grinder
Fiesta lime – top chips with chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne, black pepper, garlic powder and a squeeze of lime (Mrs. Dash makes a similar seasoning blend)
Indian curry – sprinkle chips with a curry powder, cinnamon and salt
Italian blend – generously cover chips with Rachel Ray’s Italian season grinder
Ragin’ Cajun – toss chips with your Cajun season of choice (we use Weber’s)
I’m extremely proud of my mom for her revived healthy lifestyle. She has always been one busy little lady, but since the spring she has buckled down to a real diet, weighs out her portions, eats lots of veggies and has lost about 50 lbs! Soon we’re not going to recognize her.
As part of her diet she doesn’t eat beans, so we had a whole cabinet full of them to clear out. She may not be eating them, but I still am (they’re an important source of protein in my vegetarian diet) so I whipped up a huge bowl of Mexican bean salad. I found the original recipe here but modified it a bit. This dish was a real crowd-pleaser with my three picky siblings.
MEXICAN BEAN SALAD
15 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz kidney beans, rinsed and drained
15 oz sweet corn
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 banana pepper finely chopped
1 red onion chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp sugar
1 clove crushed garlic
1/2 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chili powder
Combine beans, corn, peppers and onion in a large bowl. Whisk all remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Toss together and chill.
And in our household, protein from eggs is an integral part of our morning routine. I decided the best way to cram my breakfast full of veggies was with a veggie-ful breakfast burrito. This was such a hit with my brother.
VEGGIE-FUL BREAKFAST BURRITO
olive oil cooking spray
1/2 small red onion chopped
1/2 banana pepper finely chopped
1/4 green pepper chopped
1/4 tomato chopped
1/4 avocado chopped
dash of cumin
dash of paprika
dash of chili powder
dash cayenne to taste
1 whole wheat tortilla
veggie cream cheese (optional)
hot sauce (optional)
Sauté onions, banana peppers and green peppers in oil over high heat. Sprinkle vegetables with cumin, paprika, chili powder and cayenne. Push veggies to side of pan, lower heat and crack in 1-2 eggs into pan. Scramble eggs, slowly mixing veggies into scramble as the egg cooks. Remove scramble mixture from pan when thoroughly cooked and return pan to stove over low heat.
Place a tortilla in the pan and flip after a minute. Remove tortilla when it appears golden and begins to bubble. Spread a small amount of veggie cream cheese in the middle of tortilla. Top with scramble mixture, tomatoes, avocado, shredded cheese and hot sauce. Roll up tortilla and enjoy!
When I don’t do the burrito I simply settled on a plate like this.
So don’t avoid you’re veggies, they are the foundation for some very delicious meals (I promise)!
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