Summer Veggie Recipe Roundup

RecipeRoundupHeader It's the time of year when fresh produce is spilling out of gardens left and right. Farmer's Markets are occurring a couple times a week. This month's roundup focuses on recipes that are utilizing that bounty of summer produce. A couple are vegetarian entrees with a good solid protein, so it is actually a filling meatless meal (which I sometimes find difficult in vegetarian dishes). Hope you will give a few a try!

summer 1


1. Roasted Zucchini and Ricotta Sandwiches

These are seriously divine. It's such a simple recipe but it packs a lot of flavor and tastes like summer on a sandwich. I kept mine open-faced and used the buns from Number 3 as my bread. Also, her blog is amazing. You will for sure see more recipes from this website because I can't stop!

2. Ricotta Cheese

I've made my own yogurt before, so making cheese has kind of been in the back of my mind for a while now. Having tried Number 1 and Annie suggesting homemade ricotta cheese for that recipe, I gave it a whirl. Super, super easy! It tastes way better than store bought. I am really looking forward to making stuffed shells or lasagna with it once it gets a bit cooler out.

3. Cheese Burger Buns

King Arthur Flour has a fabulous website with hundreds of recipes that are worth trying. If you are new to bread making, make sure to check out their blog, Bakers' Banter, which is linked in the recipe (usually in the top description). The blog gives step by step instructions along with pictures, which can be really helpful when trying to follow the recipe. This particular recipe is a basic burger bun with cheese added in. I used part grated parmesan cheese with part finely shredded sharp cheddar. My only advice after making these a few times is to measure to 3 inches when flattening the buns before their final rise instead of just winging it. Three inches is smaller than what you might think, or at least what I thought it was, and that gave me a rather flat bun.

summer 2


4. Mexican Bean Dip

I made a few changes to this recipe, but went with the overall idea. I used canned pinto beans and sautéed them with onion (then omitted the onions from the tomato salsa), and added a few sprinkles of chili and cumin powder before smashing.  I added a clove of garlic to the guacamole layer. Finally, instead of sour cream I used plain yogurt. We ate this as a light dinner on a hot day, but it would be a great appetizer to bring to a party.

5. Veggie Quesadillas

I love how versatile this recipe is! This recipe totally works swapping out veggies that you have on hand in the fridge and also whips up rather quickly (especially if you get the veggies chopped during nap time). Feel free to add chicken--though I never have and have never felt that it needed it with the black beans and mushrooms in it. We have made these as quesadillas many times, but last time I added about a half cup of cooked quinoa and served it as a taco layering a tortilla with the veggies, then cheese, and topped it with diced avocado and tomato. I think I preferred this way over the quesadillas. Any which way though, it's delicious!

6. Award Winning Zucchini Bread

Oh my zucchini. Make these. Soon. (And add sprinkles!)

Have any recipes to share? Please comment with the link for everyone to use!


Butternut Squash Soup

Like probably everyone in the Midwest, I look forward to fall every year. The changing leaves, the crisp fall air, the smell of campfire, the oranges, the reds, the pumpkins and squash! Fall brings Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving brings family, making Fall remind me of family.  Let's pick apples and pumpkins. Let's carve them together. Let's sit around the fire. Let's drink some cider together. Let's eat soup with fresh bread, and let our noses run in unison. I digress of course, but my point is that I love fall! Every fall I have a squash hoarding problem. Butternut, acorn, and sweet potato squash are scattered around my pantry floor for pretty much the entirety of winter (that's how many I get.) I attribute a large part of this hoarding to this particular soup recipe. It's a blend of a bunch of fall flavors and is unique in a traditional way. Quite frankly, who cares! It's fall, and fall calls for soup! So let's dig in!


The recipe is originally from here, though be warned that my version is different. Feel free to vary the amounts of the vegetables in your version depending on what meets your fancy.


Psalm 67: May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us so that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, God; may all the peoples praise you.

The land yields its harvest; God, our God, blesses us. May God bless us still, so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.


What are some of your fall traditions and recipes  in your family? Please share!



Quinoa Lunch Jars

I have a confession to make. I don't really like sandwiches that much. This really isn't a new thing for me, as I can remember as a kiddo packing the strangest things for lunch (hard salami sans bread anyone?).  While I can and do enjoy a good old PB&J on occasion, I find that I am regularly scrambling to figure out what to pack for lunch when I have to work. When I am at home, I find it a little easier to quick cook something up, but that's not an option at work. Today I am going to share with you a recipe step by step with pictures. The idea originated from The Yummy Life, though I think I just looked at the picture. What I love about this is that it's totally versatile. You can be creative with your spices and herb combinations, use whatever vegetables you have on hand, and change it up easily. For example, in my pictures shown, I used a combination of carrots, celery, red pepper, frozen corn, and broccoli. I ventured into the taco side of things and used a mixture of cumin and chili powder. I topped it with some spinach (which wilted when I microwaved it) and some cilantro. There are truly endless combinations of what you could do here, which is what I need when I am in a lunch rut.

I used about a half cup of dried quinoa, and probably about a cup and a half of vegetables to make about 4 smallish jars. Feel free to increase these quantities. Also, make sure to switch up seasonings between jars to really spice up your lunch week.

So without further ado, please enjoy my recipe "slideshow."











Are you a sandwich eating kind of family? Do you also struggle with everyday lunch ideas? Have any to share with us? Please share!


March's Mouth-Watering Meals



Click on the photos or here to see and print the recipes.

My family loves rice. All kinds of rice: wild, brown, basmati, risotto, arborio, jasmine... the list goes on. In fact, there are over 40,000 varieties of rice in this world. whoa. I love the ways I can use it in different cuisines. Mexican rice with cilantro and black beans. Sticky jasmine rice with flakes of coconut. Brown rice with broccoli sprinkled with grated parmesan. Wild rice in my Chicken soup. Hot rice cereal.

Now, there is one rice that I will not eat again if I can avoid it. Can you guess? Minute rice. Minute rice is pre-cooked and is equally an empty sugar carb like other white rice. I do love some nice sticky Jasmine rice with my stir frys... so what's the catch? The texture and taste. It's lacking to say the least! I'll never forget the time when I returned to the US after living in China for 10 months and someone offered me an American-Chinese dish served on Minute rice. I was thinking "Eh? Wha-? This isn't rice!" I was spoiled eating fresh cooked white rice for two meals a day along with drinking boiled rice water... I was hooked and forever changed. Go ahead and stick the label on my forehead - I'm a rice snob.

Now, I'm sure you can assume correctly that brown rice is more healthy than white rice but it can also take more time. Unfortunately, white rice is over processed which kills off the healthy parts, the germ and the bran. Brown rice on the other hand is packed with minerals, vitamins, it is high in fiber, and is naturally low in fat. The battle of quality vs. convenience.

This is where meal planning can be crucial. The bulk section at grocery stores offers some good affordable options. Prepping rice on the stovetop only takes a couple minutes. You add the water, salt, rice, and butter/oil. While the rice is simmering (from 30 minutes to an hour depending on rice) you can prepare the meat and vegetables of your meal and even cut up some fruit for dessert. Sounds great to me!

But what about the nights when you did not plan ahead, or something unexpected comes up, and you have only 30 minutes to cook dinner and eat it? argh! There is a solution to keep in your freezer for times such as these and it is far above Minute rice. I'm talking about Rice Expressions Brown Rice - it's 100% organic - and it takes 3 minutes to make! What? what?! Our grocery store was having a sale where if you bought two frozen bags of organic vegetables you received a box of Rice Expressions frozen organic rice for free. I was planning on getting the vegetables anyway so the sale reward was a plus! If you don't have Rice Expressions in your grocery freezer you may have a Trader Joe's nearby and they also have frozen rice varieties (with high reviews) that cook up in a jiffy.


I was a bit skeptical (remember I am a rice snob) but the rice turned out just as good as if I had it bubbling in my dutch oven for the last 45 minutes. Now all you have to do is fry a couple of fish filets, steam vegetables, and you have dinner ready in 10 minutes. Yee haw! If you are at all concerned about cooking in the microwave you can still cook microwavable rice without the microwave. It will take 5 minutes on the stove top instead of three.

You do not have to sacrifice the quality of food for convenience of time.

I want to know: What quick but healthy meals are your favorite? Do share!