Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup with Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta

Though I have two amazingly scrumptious mushroom Brie soups already on the blog, my husband insisted I needed a third. He needed a third.

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup with Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta

My first was a brothy, buttery version of the classic while the second was thick, creamy, and swirled with pureed white beans. This one? This soup was all about the cream! P was craving a big bowl of restaurant-style mushroom brie soup, and when your meat-loving husband requests a vegetarian dish? Game on! Done deal! Let me at that Brie!

While I know many of you are  on the fence about your fungi friendliness, I have to admit that we’re totally team mushroom over here. If you love them too, here’s another shroom-tastic soup for your repertoire!

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup with Garlicky Mushroom Bruschetta

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup with Mushroom Parmesan Toasts

Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¼ diced celery
  • ⅓ diced onion
  • 1 TBSP butter, halved
  • 8 oz cremini or baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 oz white button mushrooms, sliced
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • ⅛ tsp dried thyme [or ¼ tsp fresh]
  • a pinch of optional cayenne pepper [optional but awesome]
  • a pinch of allspice
  • black pepper and any additional salt, to taste
  • ¼ cup dry sherry [or ⅛ cup apple cider vinegar + ⅛ cup water]
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ½ cup [8 oz] brie, rind removed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • garnish with fresh or dried parsley and chopped green onion

  • Recipe yields 2 entree-sized portions [perfect for lunch!] or 4 small bowls as a side to your favorite meal or sandwich!

  • adapted from food swoon
Instructions
  1. First set out your dairy so they can begin to reach room temperature. This way you won't be adding cold cream + brie to hot soup and the soup will cook a bit faster.
  2. In a large pot, melt ½ tablespoon of butter and saute celery and onion until tender and translucent.
  3. Add 12 oz of your favoite mushrooms [wild or domestic] and another ½ tablespoon of butterl.
  4. Once the mushrooms begein to give up a bit of their liquid, add pinch of salt and the garlic.
  5. Cook for a few minutes to brown the mushrooms.
  6. I then scooped out ½ cup of cooked mushrooms from the pot to add to the soup later, if you'd prefer to puree all the mushrooms, feel free to leave them in. See notes below for three different texture options.
  7. Next add ⅛ tsp dried thyme [or ¼ tsp fresh!] as well as a pinch of optional cayenne and allspice [I love the combo!]
  8. Add ¼ cup dry sherry *or* ⅛ cup apple cider vinegar and ⅛ cup water [as a sherry substitute'] and bring to a boil on medium high.
  9. Next add 2 cups veg broth and cup half and half and bring back up to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on medium-low for about 10 minutes.
  10. Blend using an immersion blender until smooth then add reserved mushrooms.
  11. No immersion blender? No problem! Remove the soup from heat, allow to cool a bit and then puree in small batches in a food processor or blender, then add back to the pot.
  12. After adding the mushrooms, bring the heat back up and cook for about 10-20 minutes.
  13. Stir in the brie and heavy cream and simmer for an additional 10 min.
  14. Garnish with green onion and/or parsley and mushroom toasts, if desired. [see below for recipe/instructions]
Notes
There are three delicious ways you can make this soup: You can puree the entire batch making more of a creamy bisque, you can make it as written, with a combination of pureed and sliced mushrooms, or you can saute the mushrooms on the side and scarf a creamy brie-based soup flecked with sliced shrooms. No matter how you slice it, pureeing mushrooms always leads to great texture that reminds me a little of eating oatmeal or super-soupy cheese grits, if you'd rather the soup portion of your soup be completely creamy, I highly suggest option three. All you'll have to do is saute the mushrooms in a skillet and then add them in after you puree the onion and celery into the broth, easy peasy! Whichever method you choose, the mushroom brie flavor of this soup is fantastic! Enjoy!

The soup itself is gloriously gluten-free but in case your a baguette addict, grab your favorite crusty bread and use the remaining mushrooms to make toasty crostini perfect for dunking.

For the Mushroom Bruschetta:

Grab a freshly baked baguette [I always have a few frozen in my freezer for such occasions, it’s such a convenience!] and, slicing at an angle, cut off four slices. Toast if desired or leave fresh and fluffy, both ways are awesome! Saute 4 oz of mushrooms in a little bit of butter with minced garlic and a pinch of garlic powder and, once tender and perfectly browned, add to the bread. Grate some fresh parmesan on top [mozzarella or extra brie works too!] and serve alongside your soup. They’re perfect for dunking!

 Creamy Mushroom Brie Soup with Mushroom Parmesan Toasts

I’m pretty convinced P needs to make meal requests more often. This soup was just what we needed to empty the crisper and fill our faces. This indulgent soup kept us deliciously full til dinnertime and was oh-so-tasty! Hope you love it too!

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Chipotle Panko

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini Squash with Chipotle Panko

Hookay soo… I totally had another post that was supposed to go up today but I had to bump it after I lost my mind over these zucchini boats. Granted, there wasn’t much left of it to lose at this point, but bear with me here!

We’ve been popping cookies over here [until New Years Eve, then we pop bottles! Woot!] and need to cancel out the sweet stuff with a little veggie TLC. Something tells me you’re probably in the same boat. No worries, we shall hop in a zucchini boat and sail away into the sunset! Or just eat them. I think we should eat them.

But first, we stuff them!

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Chipotle Panko
 
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Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 3-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 medium zucchini squash
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus a little extra if needed
  • ¼ cup diced/minced onion
  • ¼ cup zuke filling [taken from zucchini above]
  • 1 large clove garlic smashed and minced
  • ½ cup chipotle-seasoned panko [Italian-style works too!]
  • ½ TBSP parsley
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3-4 oz pepper jack cheese, grated
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and remove stem.
  3. Bring a medium-large pot of water to boil with enough water to cover your zucchini. [don't add them yet]
  4. Once water is boiling, add zucchini slices and boil for 2 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and drain.
  6. Use a mellon baller, spoon, or knife to scoop the inside of the zucchini out [potato-skin style!] leaving maybe ¼ inch or so to maintain shape.
  7. Place filling on a cutting board, chop/mince and measure out ¼ cup to use later.
  8. Place zucchini slices face down on a few layers of paper towels to help drain any extra moisture [no mushy veggies here!] you may also salt them to help the process along if desired.
  9. In a skillet [or you can use the same pot as before!] bring olive oil to medium-high heat and add ¼ cup onion and ¼ cup zucchini filling.
  10. Saute until onion is tender and translucent, then add garlic, panko, parsley, salt, and a little more olive oil if mixture seems dry.
  11. Cook for just a few more minutes, remove from heat, and set aside.
  12. Place zucchini on a greased or non-stick lipped baking sheet or inside your favorite baking dish.
  13. Line with grated pepper jack cheese [a mexican blend of cheeses would work great too!] and then top with stuffing.
  14. Bake uncovered at 350 F for 15-20 minutes or until the panko is crispy and the zucchini is perfectly tender. Mine were perfect at 15, I like the zukes a little al dente so I can pick them up and eat them like a slice of pizza! I'm classy like that.
  15. Enjoy!

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Chipotle Panko

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Chipotle Panko

Mini Phyllo Quiche Cups

In desperate need of breakfast, brunch, or dinner… FAST!? I’ve got your back! Crispy phyllo cups make the perfect base for egg and all your favorite mix-ins! Whip up a batch with spinach and swiss one day, turkey sausage and cheddar the next, bell peppers, broccoli, mushrooms… grab whatever you have on hand and make these super-satisfying egg cups in just 15 minutes.

Phyllo, filo, fillo… however you choose to spell it, these flaky freezer staples of mine are fun, easy, and oh-so-versatile. I can’t make up my mind which I like best. Hello indecisiveness! Call them whatever you like, you’ll barely be able to get a word in because you’ll be too busy munching away!

Mini Phyllo Quiche Cups

Mini Fillo Quiche Cups

This is a little less recipe and a little more mealspiration but I’ll give you some tips and measurements to get you started! Before you know it you’ll be tucking a few boxes of these flaky little lifesavers in your freezer as an edible get out of jail free card. Though I suppose it’s more of a “get out of a boring breakfast” card, which is even better because, food.

Though if you do find yourself behind bars these phyllo wonders are of no use to you, call a lawyer… then ask him to bring you something to eat.

To answer your question yes, my brain is officially broken. I’m breaking out the superglue as we speak. Until then, we have shenanigans to partake in and breakfast to make!

Mini Fillo Quiche Cups
 
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Recipe type: breakfast, brunch, brinner, snack, appetizer
Serves: 15 bite sized quiche cups
Ingredients
  • 15 mini fillo cups [1 package]
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 TBSP half and half
  • a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • a few teaspoons of your favorite veggies [raw or cooked]
  • 1 oz coarsely grated cheese [choose your favorite!]
  • any of your favorite toppings from the list below
  • a teeny bit of oil, spray oil, or butter to prevent sticking

  • a few mix-in ideas:
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • mushroom
  • onion
  • bell peppers
  • jalapeno
  • crumbled sausage

  • tasty toppings:
  • red pepper flakes [they're spicy, but my favorite!]
  • chopped green onion
  • fresh chopped cilantro
  • salsa
  • hot sauce
  • bacon
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prevent sticking by rubbing a mini muffin tin with olive oil or butter, or spritzing it with spray oil.
  3. Alternatively you can line them on a baking sheet or use a regular muffin tin, no worries.
  4. Use cooked veggies if you prefer them soft, or grab your favorite raw veggies if you like the crunch. I usually have a boatload of leftovers in my fridge so I love using them up in these little breakfast bites! I consider it foodie upcycling, hah!
  5. Whisk together your egg and half and half [see below for subsitutions] and set aside.
  6. Line the bottom of each fillo cup with your mix-ins then use a spouted measuring cup to pour the egg into each cup.
  7. Top with cheese and your favorite toppings.
  8. Bake on the center rack for 8-10 minutes. Mine are typically done around 9.
Notes
While the measurements above are perfect for one 15-cup package of phyllo cups [which you can find in your grocer's freezer section next to the pie crusts and puff pastry!] you can easily double, triple, or quadruple the above measurements to make extra! I can finish a 15 bite spread of these babies without batting an eye and usually double the recipe to feed my family.

Since each quiche is itty bitty, stick to around 2 mix ins per phyllo cup. Craving variety? Make a few of each of your favorite combinations!

My favorites so far have been chicken-apple sausage and cheddar, jalapeno with feta and cilantro, and arugula or spinach mixed with green onion, red pepper flakes and topped with habanero cheddar. The latter was the prettiest and the one I used for photos. I play favorites with my food and that combo rocked my socks!

substitution shenanigans: Feel free to use milk or cream instead of the half and half. I grew up on quiche so the richness of the half and half is my favorite. I run out of milk constantly and often make these with just eggs and toppings as well! They come out extra eggy and still super delicious. Try them both ways or just do what appeals most to you! When using egg only, simply use an extra egg.

How perfect are these for Sunday brunch!? I’d be making a batch this morning, but we made them so often last week that we’ve gone through two cartons of eggs without batting and eye. Clearly it’s time to hit up the grocery store, or head over to the farm for some pet chickens! I’m leaning on the latter, though my little chicken of a chickpea insists on saying “buck buck buck bigawwwk!” while she eats her breakfast so really, what’s a little extra clucking around here going to do? Bring on the mama hens!

Pick up a few extra packages of fillo cups and make these no-bake chocolate coconut baklava bites too!

still hungry?

Carrot Whole Grain Butternut Muffins Butternut Baklava Bites in flaky Phyllo CupsChocolate Coconut Phyllo Cup Baklava BitesMini Won-ton Quiche CupsAsparagus QuicheFluffy Homemade Buttermilk Biscuits

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

Is your crisper currently bursting at the seams? Good! There’s a soup for that!

Vegetarian Winter Minestrone Soup

This hearty vegetarian minestrone soup is the perfect use for all your favorite seasonal veggies. It’ll fill you up without weighing you down so take a break from the turkey, put down the pie, and sneak this light and tasty soup onto your weekday menu!

Soup, to me, has always been a warm hug on a cold day. With the winter chill finally starting to set in, I’ll take all the hugs I can get! The recipe below makes a giant pot that’s perfect to share and makes glorious leftovers for the following days. Bring a bowl to work for lunch or curl up with a bowl after a long day for dinner. Add a few slices of crusty baguette with butter and you have the recipe for the most divine comfort food coma.

We couldn’t keep our hands off this soup!

Winter Minestrone Soup



Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: soup
Serves: 2.5 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion [approx ½ a large onion]
  • 1 cup diced celery [approx 2 large stalks]
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper [approx 1 pepper]
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2-4 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 5-6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce [I used Muir Glen's BPA-free sauce]
  • 1 [15 oz] can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp sea salt, or salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried basil
  • ⅛ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 or 1+ ½ cups ditalini pasta, or equivalent
  • 1 french or italian-style baguette [the fresher the better!]
  • softened sweet cream butter

  • feeling fancy? whip softened butter with your favorite pesto and serve with the baguette, dunked in the soup sandwich-style
Instructions
  1. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of your favorite olive oil over medium heat in a large pot.
  2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, butternut squash and bell pepper, and cook on medium, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften, approx 10 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic towards the end to prevent burning.
  4. Next add your tomato sauce and 5 cups of vegetable broth [save the other cup to add later if desired] along with your bay leaf, garlic powder, basil, and oregano.
  5. Save the salt for the end and season to taste.
  6. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.
  7. While your soup simmers, bring a pot of water to boil and cook your pasta if you . Some recipes swear by adding the raw noodles to the soup towards the end to add to the thickness of the soup but I always find the result to be a bit slimy and the noodles soak up a ridiculous amount of the broth. For best taste and results, I cook my noodles separately. It's an extra step [and pot] but 100% worth it to me for the difference it makes with soups like minestrone that are a perfect combination of brothy and chunky!
  8. Discard the bay leaf.
  9. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through.
  10. If the soup is too thick, add an extra cup of vegetable broth.
  11. Depending on the saltiness of your beans, tomato sauce, and broth, you'll want to salt the soup based on personal preference. That may mean no salt at all, just a pinch, or ½ tsp like I used. Let your tastebuds be your guide!
  12. Serve with slices of crusty baguette spread with your favorite butter.
Notes
adapted from Ina Garten

Winter Veggie Minestrone

vegansaurus chefs: skip the butter and beeline for your favorite spread

gluten-free: grab your favorite GF noodles and trade-out/skip the baguette

t-rex chefs: feel free to use chicken broth and even add a little chicken to the soup if desired

so… how was it? AMAZING! I wasn’t joking when I called this soup a warm hug! I had originally intended to freeze the leftovers, but P and I picked up an extra french baguette and scarfed this soup 1-2 times a day for 4 days until it was gone. I think it’s safe to say we loved it!

TIP: To save on time, I used pre-diced frozen carrots and pre-chopped butternut squash, then diced my own onion, celery and bell pepper. Adding a few convenience items can be lifesaver around here and allow me to turn out yummy home cooked meals even on days that are a bit more hectic than usual. Feel free to follow suit if you’re in the same boat!

Winter Veggie Minestrone

Just looking at this bowl makes me want to attack it with a chunk of crusty buttered bread and swoon my face off. Looks like we’ll have a repeat recipe on the menu this week! YUM!

feeling like a SOUPer star?

20 fabulous freezer-friendly recipes

20 Fabulous Freezer Friendly Recipes


So while Paul was gone these past several months, things got a little crazy in my kitchen. I devoted nearly all nap times to recipe testing and meal planning and I cooked my freaking face off! So much so, that I wound up with a multitude of leftovers. The chickpea and I would stuff our faces for a day or two and then into the freezer it would go!

Now that my other half is back, we have the bulk of our meals already made for us! How freaking awesome is that!? Last year we purchased a stand-alone deep freezer for Mia’s milk stash and it’s now serving as my handy dandy  “fast food” freezer filled with blog recipes that I can’t wait to dive back into. In fact, since writing this post we’ve already made a considerable dent in my stockpile, so it gives me an excuse to test a few more! I love a good win-win situation, especially when it’s edible!

Curious about which recipes on P&C are freezer-friendly? Here’s a round-up of dishes you can stash away for a rainy day or make use of during the super-busy holiday season that’s pretty much about to hit us like a freight train in 3…2…

20 fabulous freezer-friendly recipes: Homemade Veggie Burgers

These uber-tasty burgers are all gloriously gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan too!

Cook up the burgers as directed, freeze individually, then bake at 400F for around 20 minutes. Add the essentials and pop them on a fluffy bun, crumble them over salads and sweet potatoes, or even wrap them in lettuce! The possibilities are endless!

Butternut Black Bean Burgers: These are my latest obsession! Hearty black beans and buttery roasted squash are a match made in heaven. The flavor is further amplified with sauteed onion, celery, and garlic and seasoned to compliment. My current track record involves eating no less than four of these a week. I regret nothing. Extra sriracha aioli on mine, please and thank you!

Mexican Veggie Burgers: They’re Taco Tuesday in burger form! I love these crumbled over a fluffy baked sweet potato with a mountain of taco toppings!

Pumpkin Burgers: I only eat pumpkin in savory forms, so these burgers were the perfect opportunity to combine gorgeous pureed pumpkin with garlic, white beans, and a sweet-yet-savory spice blend including cinnamon and allspice. Yum!

Sweet Potato Chickpea Burgers: These beauties are one of the most popular recipes on my blog, and for good reason too! They’re delicious! Serve them up over a crisp salad, wrapped in a giant leaf of lettuce as a wrap, or on the fluffiest bun you can get your hands on. They great every which way!

Triple Bean Veggie Burgers: My first veggie burger has a special place in my  heart, and my freezer! These use a combination of mashed and whole and mashed beans to deliver an amazing texture that will win over vegetarians and carnivores alike!

Vegetarian Chili Burgers: Another one of my chunky textured burgers that tastes like a warm bowl of hearty veggie chili, in sandwich form! Chili-spiced and served with a zesty chipotle aioli, they’re simply amazing!

Freezer Friendly Soup Recipes

Snag a bowl for now, and freeze a few for later!

Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup: I LOVE THIS SOUP! Ok to be fair, I love all my soups [they’re not allowed on the blog unless I heart them dearly] but this one has a special place in my heart. I’m thinking it’s because of the smorgasbord of veggies, beans, and toppings involved. I’m a hussy when it comes to my food and I want it all. The more variety the better. Though this soup is packed with ingredients, they’re all super simple to find and the slow cooker does all the work for you! Easy peasy!

Slow Cooker Veggie Loaded Baked Potato Soup: A vegetarian spin on the classic loaded baked potato soup… in the crock-pot! This soup is a warm hug for your tastebuds and one of my all-time favorites to make and devour. I rarely have enough left over for the freezer so It’s clearly time to make a double batch!

Slow Cooker Mexican Potato Soup: Ole, mofos.

Chicken Parmesan Soup:  Man this soup is dreamy. I think I love the soup more than the dish it was inspired by! As a bonus, this comfort food remix is healthier than the original, which means I get to add more cheese.

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup: Yup! I went there! Another kicked up comfort food in slurpable form that absolutely rocks my socks. Keep it mild or turn up the heat and make it spicy!

Creamy Tomato Soup and Mozzarella Balls: Both elements freeze really well! I typically freeze the soup in one container, and the cubed mozzarella in another [yup! freeze it!] and then while the soup is heating up, I’ll dip the mozzarella in flour, egg, and herbed panko and bake. By the time the soup is warm and bubbly the ooey gooey mozz balls are ready too! Well, assuming you didn’t stand over the stove eating them all first =) Watch out, they’re hard to resist!

I haven’t tested it yet [I totally need to now!] but I’m thinking my slow cooker Black Bean Soup will freeze + reheat like a champ too! I’ll freeze a few bowls next time I make it and keep you posted!

[This site] has some really great tips for freezing soups, like leaving out the pasta in noodle based soups and making a fresh pot of pasta for the soup while you reheat it. Cheese and cream based soups can curdle and look a little different the second time around, so you can absolutely leave out the dairy from the recipe and add it after reheating as well. It’s a small step that requires so little effort that it’s often worth the delicious results! I do this often with my homemade Broccoli and Cheese Soup.

20 fabulous freezer-friendly recipes: fiesta favorites

Baked Black Bean and Sweet Potato Flautas:  I love that one of my most raved about recipes is also gloriously freer friendly! Freeze a batch and reheat in small batches  for speedy snacks or bake up the entire tray for a Taco Tuesday with a delicious twist!

Triple Bean Flautas: a re-mix of my famous SP flautas, these triple-bean flautas rock! I amped up the flavor and maxed out the beans for a fiber filled recipe that serves double-duty as a snack or a meal!

Mexican Pizza Lasagna: I clearly have a soft spot for all things Mexican, and my freezer loves it too! This super easy, super speedy lasagna is as easy to assemble as it is to reheat.

Fiesta Enchilada Casserole: These are hands-down my FAVORITE enchiladas… especially since they nix the soggy corn tortillas in favor of fluffy egg noodles. Game on! I freeze the seasoned meat and veggies as well as the sauce and while they’re defrosting I boil the egg noodles. Then simply combine and top with your favorite grated cheeses! Finish the dish off with your favorite toppings [like cilantro or pico de gallo!] and enjoy!

Lentil Veggie Tacos: The super-flavorful filling for these crunchy tacos can be frozen and defrosted whenever you want a speedy taco night! You’ll never miss the meat!

Something Sweet:

Crock-Pot Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Honey: If you’re craving traditional cranberry sauce this is totally your jam! Er.. sauce! This is your sauce! The apples lend yum-factor while also releasing pectin to thicken the sauce to perfection. A little honey and fresh orange juice lend all the sweetness you’ll need for this delicious condiment. It keeps for four days in the fridge and months in the freezer so make a large pot and put it on everything in sight! Especially Thanksgiving leftovers! Yum!

Apple Strawberry Cranberry Sauce: like all cranberry sauces, this one can be made on the stove or in a slow cooker and both options are beyond easy! Don’t be scared of the strawberry in this one, it’s not enough to turn this flavorful sauce into jam but enough to add a little sweetness and that little something extra that will keep guests guessing as to what your secret is! Orange juice, fresh lime juice and zest, honey, and cinnamon all join the party for a sauce that just plain rocks on everything!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie Cake: Did you do a double take? Heck yes this can be frozen! I wanted to save half of the cake for P’s homecoming but didn’t quite know if it would work. HOLY COW IT DID! It was downright fabulous too! I’m happy to know I can freeze leftover cookie cake for future snacking and celebrations. Cue happy dance.

 There’s a party in my freezer, and you’re invited!

What’s your favorite dish to stash away for a rainy day?

Butternut Baklava Bites

Baklava Bites!

Sometimes I get so ridiculously hung up on a veggie that they manage to find their way into almost everything I make. I humored my fruit fancy earlier in the month with a cranberry-palooza of sorts, but lately it’s all about the butternut. So much so, in fact, that I straight up butternuted my baklava. I regret nothing.

No Ragrets

So what on earth are butternut baklava bites? I filled crispy, flaky phyllo cups with pureed butternut squash spiked with maple and orange, topped them with a medley of toasted nuts and went beyond overboard with my bear-o-honey! They’re a bite-sized indulgence that are not only packed with protein, but are practically a vegetable too! At least I like to think so!

The maple-spiked squash and candied nuts can be made in advanced and assembled when needed, for a speedy sweet treat that is perfect for the holidays!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Butternut Baklava Bites
 
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Author:
Recipe type: appetizer, dessert
Serves: 25 phyllo cups
Ingredients
  • 1 + ½ heaping cups of cubed butternut squash
  • 1 TBSP orange juice
  • 1 TBSP pure maple syrup
  • ¼ cup whole shelled pistachios
  • ¼ cup walnut halves and pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 1 + ½ TBSP unsalted butter
  • 1 + ½ TBSP sugar [brown or regular]
  • a pinch of salt
  • 25 pre-made phyllo cups, thawed if previously frozen
  • approx ¼ cup honey, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a medium-small pot of water to boil and cook squash for 10 minutes or until fork-tender.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine squash with orange juice and maple syrup and puree until smooth.
  3. Next finely chop your nuts. This can be done in a food processor, with a sharp knife, or even by filling a plastic bag with nuts and smashing them with a wine bottle. I've employed all three techniques, choose what's easiest for you!
  4. Bring a small skillet to medium heat and melt your butter. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar and your chopped nuts and saute for five minutes until they're nice and toasty and have a light glaze on them. If you have a major sweet tooth I'll look the other way while you double the glaze. Since I have a heavy hand with the honey I go light on the glaze.
  5. Fill each phyllo cup with a teaspoon of butternut puree and pile on the candied nuts!
  6. Top each bite with a hearty drizzle of honey and dig in!
Notes
Best when served at room temperature. Butternut puree and candied nuts can be made in advance and assembled when needed! I'd avoid filling the cups too far in advance since the squash will eventually soften or soggify the phyllo layers but they can easily sit out on a party platter awaiting hungry guests! Since they're dairy free, there's no need to chill them. Score!

Butternut Baklava Bites: a yummy use for flaky phyllo cups!

You can get crazy with your display…

Butternut Baklava Bites: pureed butternut squash spiked with maple and orange, topped with pistachio, pecans, and walnuts and slathered in honey!

 or simply snag a bite the second they hit the table!

Butternut Baklava Bites: pureed butternut squash spiked with maple and orange, topped with pistachio, pecans, and walnuts and slathered in honey!

The only thing that takes less time than making these, is eating them!

They also make a perfect party pairing with my Chocolate Coconut Baklava Bites!

Chocolate Coconut No-Bake Baklava Bites

Phyllo cups have never been so fun!

Flashback Friday: My Favorite Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes

I started tearing through my archives trying to plan this year’s Thanksgiving spread and realized my eyes are no less than 1000x bigger than my stomach; I want it all! We might have to do this old school and just turn one day of thankful face-stuffage into a week-long feast. Luckily I just found the most amazing pair of stretchy pants that will require zero unbuttoning/accidental flashings this year. I think. I hope. Wish me luck!

Anywho! Here are some of my favorites from the past few years. I’d be beyond honored if one winds up on your plate this year! Keep me posted so I can do my infamous obnoxious happy dance and really test the limits of those jeggings! Love you all like woah!

Flashback Friday: My Favorite Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes


So I totally decided to focus on the veggies for this little round-up, since they need lots of love on the big day!

Diversify your eats and let those colors pop on the table! A colorful plate is a healthy plate, even if one of those colors is CHOCOLATE! Yeah I said it! Above all else, enjoy the holidays even if you’re channeling moi circa 2011 and eating veggie pizza in your pjs. Find your happy and eat. yo. veggies!

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

My Favorite Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes:

 appetizers

Cranberry Goat Cheese Log with Walnuts, Pecans, and Parsley

Party Hummus

Restaurant-Style Olive Oil and Herb Bread Dip

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

sides

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Zucchini au Gratin

Mashed Cauliflower with Caramelized Onion and Roasted Garlic

Sketch-Free Green Bean Casserole

Banana Honey Cornbread

Cranberry Clementine Brussels Sprouts with Brown Sugar Glaze

Fluffy Butternut Biscuits

Slow Cooker Creamy Potato Apple and Brie Soup

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Easy Homemade Candied Walnuts

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

sauces

Crock-pot Honeyed Cranberry Apple Sauce

Strawberry Apple Cranberry Sauce

Slow Cooker Apple Strawberry Cranberry Sauce

fall favorites from around the interwebs

Butternut Squash Stuffing from Real Food by Dad

Cranberry Pumpkin Cornbread via Stephie Cooks

Crock-pot Applesauce from Slim Sanity

Pumpkin Bars from Nourished by Nutrition

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash via Rachel Cooks

Wild Rice and Kale Salad with Smoky Sweet Potatoes by Amuse Your Bouche

Rosemary Roasted Carrots via Oh My Veggies

Apple Pizza with Caramelized Onion and Crispy Sage from Clean Eats Fast Feets

Thanksgiving Hand Pies by Real Food by Dad

Single Serve Caramel Pecan Cookies via The Big Man’s World

Orange Spice Coconut Pumpkin Pie from Dessert for Two

dessert

Apple Cinnamon Banana-Nut Muffins

Cranberry Cheesecake Streusel Bars

Butternut Baklava Bites

White Chocolate Cookie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Peanut Butter Cookie Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

See? Stretchy pants are an essential part of this meal! Stay-tuned this upcoming week for a few ridiculously easy last minute dishes for your holiday line-up as well as some pretty stellar uses for all those leftovers!

What’s your all-time favorite Thanksgiving dish? Leave me a link or a comment! <3

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta: a fabulous Fall side dish for any occasion!

Who has two thumbs and just rocked her self-implemented post deadline!? This girl! Of course it took posting a photo of this plate-o-yum on IG to give me the push I needed. I have some very awesome friends with some very impatient squash [squashes? squashi? I think I’m overthinking this!] awaiting this recipe. I had to deliver!

Without further adieu, here’s my  all-time favorite butternut squash recipe. Hands-down. No question. This savory sweet side dish is perfect for the holidays; make it!

Well, make it now, and then make it AGAIN for the holidays. All of them. Duh.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta



5.0 from 3 reviews
Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta
 
Author:
Recipe type: side
Ingredients
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled + chopped
  • a hearty drizzle of olive oil [approx 1-2 TBSP]
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 2-3 TBSP honey
  • ¼ cup finely crumbled feta
  • ground cinnamon, to taste [optional but delicious!]
  • fresh or dried parsley, to garnish [optional]
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly drizzle or spritz a baking sheet with olive oil.
  3. Add cubed squash to the sheet along with another drizzle of olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle with a light layer of salt, pepper, and garlic powder, based on taste preference.
  5. Roast at 400 F for 25 minutes on the center rack.
  6. At the 25 minute mark, pull out the oven rack, and add your fresh cranberries to the roasting pan.
  7. Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cranberries have started to soften and burst a bit, resembling really juicy craisins vs fresh firm cranberries.
  8. Remove from oven and add a sprinkle of cinnamon [approx ⅛-1/4 tsp depending on preference] along with feta and honey.
  9. Garnish with parsley for a burst of color and dig in while it's hot!

So I read somewhere that when honey is cooked it loses a lot of it’s coveted antibacterial properties, boo. I still bake with it because it’s an awesome natural sweetener and I adore it so, but if I have the option to keep it as close to raw as possible, I do. Hence adding the honey after roasting the squash and cranberries in this recipe. The fruit and veggie medley is still just warm enough to allow the honey to cover the dish as a deliciously sweet glaze, but not so scorching that it’s spending 30+ minutes in my oven losing all it’s fabulous benefits. File this under things I tell myself so I can eat more honey.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Feta

This simple side can be whipped up with just a few fresh ingredients and is loaded with Fall flavor! As an added bonus, as the butternut squash roasts away it fills the house with the most delicious aromas. I had to hold myself back from climbing in the oven with it after the twenty minute mark. It was a little less Sylvia Plath and a little more was more  “LET ME AT THAT SQUASH!” I may have stolen a few cubes to munch on when I added the cranberries. So good!

still hungry?

Black Bean and Sweet Potato FlautasCranberry Croissant SandwichCranberry Cucumber Shredded Sprout SaladApple Cinnamon Banana-Nut Streusel MuffinsBarbecue Ranch Sweet Potato PizzasCranberry Walnut Quinoa Salad

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Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

While I love a good bowl full of Summer, festive Fall salads have a special place in my heart and, quite frankly, my stomach! I’m thinking it’s the change of pace that gets me all riled up. By the end of summer I’m so positively over salads that I eye-roll at the thought of having one for anything other than a side dish to a more exciting main course. Of course those last few weeks of Winter leave me craving a fresh cucumber salad so badly I might die. If you’ve been reading long enough you’re probably used to my end-of-season whine fest and how quickly I throw myself into the next season out of sheer exasperation over the last. I’m a sucker for tradition. [and dramatics apparently]

Now that it’s fall all I want are my favorite comfort foods! Of course I still want salads too! There’s also the fact that I need to get creative if I want to partake in the holiday cookie chomping spree that happens ever year, and that means throwing some lightened up fare into the mix.

Now I know you kids are still cuckoo for pumpkin puffs, but I’m all about that bass those cranberries.

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts

and I’m allllllll about those candied walnuts:

Homemade 10 Minute Candied Walnuts with Honey and Brown Sugar

I’ll never shell out [hah!] for pricey candied nuts again. It’s far to easy to make them fresh AND I get to crack [ha ha!] cheesy nut jokes while I make them. It’s a win-win situation of nutty proportions. Now I’m going to go hide under the bed until I learn how to behave myself.

That… may take a while. You should make this salad to help pass the time.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Candied Walnuts
 
Author:
Recipe type: salad, side
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 + ¼ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup fresh cranberries [or frozen!] or 1 cup dried
  • ½-1 cup fresh broccoli florets
  • 2 TBSP chopped green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

  • for the candied walnuts:
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • the teeniest pinch of salt

  • for the dressing:
  • 2 TBSP light olive oil or grape seed oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, smashed and minced [1/4 tsp]
  • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
  • 1 TBSP orange juice
  • a pinch of salt
  • a dash of black pepper

  • notes and such: If you're using fresh berries, the dish will have an extra burst of tartness that those juicy little buggers are infamous for! For those of you who find cranberries to be super tart when served straight up, grab a bag of dried cranberries. They're sweeter and still deliver amazing flavor to this dish! Both will result in some serious deliciousness!
Instructions
  1. First rinse + drain your quinoa.
  2. Bring a medium saucepan to medium heat and lightly toast the quinoa to remove any excess water. Stir as it toasts for just a few minutes. This step is optional but really adds to the fluff factor of the quinoa!
  3. Next add your broth and bring pot to a boil.
  4. Once it's boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for 12-13 minutes.
  5. If you're using frozen cranberries, add them to the pot after 6-8 minutes; if you're using dried or fresh cranberries add them in around the 9-10 minute mark and recover.
  6. Test the cranberries before pulling from heat to make sure they've had enough time to cook, then remove from heat.
  7. Once your quinoa and cranberries are done, season with a teeny bit of salt and pepper, fluff gently with a fork, and set aside.
  8. Add a little water to that same pot and bring to a boil. Gently blanch your broccoli florets until bright green and al-dente [you want it to still be a bit firm yet tender, not mushy] which should only take a few minutes.
  9. Drain, chop into bite-sized bits, and add to the quinoa along with chopped green onion.
  10. Place quinoa in the fridge while you prep your dressing and walnuts.
  11. DRESSING: Smash and mince garlic into a paste and combine with all remaining dressing ingredients. Whisk well and set aside.
  12. CANDIED WALNUTS: Heat a skillet or saucepan to medium heat and butter to melt. Next add in your chopped walnuts, honey, salt, and sugar. Saute for 5-6 minutes and pour over parchment paper, using a spatula to separate the nuts. Otherwise you'll have yummy walnut brittle that you'll want to break apart over your salad, which is no big deal either! Yum! Allow to cool for several minutes until the coating hardens and you're walnuts have officially been candied! Woot! Try not to eat them all before they hit the salad.
  13. Grab your bowl-o-quinoa and top with the walnuts. Drizzle with dressing just before digging in! Serve this up as a salad for lunch [I ate the entire thing myself, ha! It can easily serve 2 if needed] or serve it up as a colorful side dish to stretch it to 4 servings. Serve it chilled or at room temperature, it's great both ways! Enjoy!

inspired by and adapted from Natasha’s Kitchen and  Juan-Carlos Cruz 

vegansaurus chefs: To whip up a vegan-friendly version of this salad, simply skip the honey in the candied walnuts and use a little extra sugar or maple syrup instead!

t-rex chefs: Feel free to add some chopped or shredded chicken to this salad. It also makes a great use for thanksgiving leftovers, so save a little turkey and use it to make this!

Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Homemade Candied Walnuts

In other news, I wanted to DRINK this dressing! I stole a spoonful while I was taste testing and might have dove back in for seconds or thirds. The combination of juicy lime and orange juice with the subtly fruity undertones of the olive oil and the punch of raw garlic? I just love it. You should probably go ahead and double the recipe so you can pour it on your veggies all week long. Assuming you don’t indeed drink it.

I won’t tell if you do, pinky promise.

Actually, while you’re at it, you may want to double the recipe for the walnuts too. If you’re anything like me you’ll start shoving them in your face the second they’re cool enough to handle. Or while they’re still molten… We live life dangerously around here.

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup

I thought I was seriously living on the edge when I turned my favorite SP&O hoagie into the cheesiest of grilled cheeses. You guys remember that one right? It was a beast! Ever since that sandwich, I’ve been a sausage, pepper, and onion fiend.

Until now.

Now you’re going to need a straight-jacket to get me away from this flavor combo.

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup!

 I’ll eat the spoon if I have to. I mean business!

Well that was dramatic. And awkward.

Continuing along with my penchant for turning comfort food classics into slurpable soups, I give you the most amazing sausage, pepper, and onion soup. I wish you all could smell how amazing my house smells right now. The aromatics off this pot are killer and so is the in-your-face flavor of this dish! I took my go-to soup base [a combination of veggie broth and fire-roasted crushed tomatoes] and added delicious partially-caramelized onion, an array of tasty bell peppers, and the perfect amount of oomph from my favorite, local, hot Italian sausage.

Toss in a little smashed garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and OMGWHYAREYOUNOTMAKINGTHISRIGHTNOW!?

It’s because I’m still talking, isn’t it? I’ll shut up now.

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup

Sandwich Remix: Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup!



5.0 from 1 reviews
Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: soup
Ingredients
  • 3-5 large links hot Italian sausage
  • 1 + ½ yellow onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • ¾ large red bell pepper, diced
  • ¾ large orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 3 + ½ cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes [I used this fire-roasted variety]
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • extras:
  • homemade croutons seasoned with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper
  • freshly grated mozzarella and hot habanero cheddar or pepper jack
  • fresh chopped parsley

  • Add the croutons, the cheese, or both! The soup is also phenomenal all on it's own and is both paleo and gluten-free sans toppings!

  • recipe yields approx 2.5 quarts of soup and serves 4
Instructions
  1. Before you begin: You'll be able to belt out your prep-work while your sausage cooks and your onions start to caramelize away. Once you pile everything together, you'll then have enough time to let it simmer on the stove, allowing all the awesome flavors to meld and intensify. A little multi-tasking goes a long way!
  2. First decide how you'd like your onions! Sliced onions will give the soup a French Onion Soup-esque feel to it while diced onions will be uniform with your peppers and a bit easier to fit on the spoon. I went with sliced, both will work fantastically.
  3. Bring a large pot to medium heat with 2 TBSP of olive oil and add your onions. Stir to coat and reduce heat to medium-low. Stir often.
  4. While your onions are cooking, chop your peppers, mince the garlic and prep the remainder of your ingredients.
  5. Cook sausage via your favorite method.
  6. I boil mine for about 20 minutes while the onions get all gorgeous and golden.
  7. Keep stirring your onions to prevent sticking/burning. Once they start to semi-caramelize and take on a golden hue, add your bell peppers, garlic, salt, and black pepper, then allow them to simmer away until the peppers are tender.
  8. Once they've softened, add the vegetable broth, crushed tomatoes, and sliced sausage [which should be done by now!] and reduce heat so the soup is gently bubbling/simmering.
  9. Prep you toppings while the soup simmers and the flavors deepen.
  10. Grate your cheeses [YUM!] and, if desired, crisp a few slices of your favorite bread [I used a fresh garlic + onion loaf] into homemade croutons by spritzing them with oil, seasoning with garlic, salt, and pepper, and toasting in the oven at 350F until golden.
  11. Back to the soup. Give it a taste, and if you'd like a little burst of heat to the soup, add the red pepper flakes. They're not essential but I LOVE the kick!
  12. Serve piping hot with your choice of extras on top and dig in!

So if you’ve been reading for a while, you know I tend to over-explain my recipes a little. Don’t let that fool you! This recipe is super easy and really really ridiculously good. In fact, chances are that while you’re reading this, I’ll have a leftover bowl in my face.

And for those of you still wondering how I manage to feed your faces with new recipes while a toddler scales my leg…

Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Soup

chickpea-photo-assitant

Each recipe is a team effort!

When she’s not stealing the food off the table, the chickpea actually makes a fabulous assistant. She can frequently be found holding my foam board at ridiculous angles, dropping random objects into the shot, closing the shutters, dancing on the tripod, rearranging my props, texting Maria photos of her foot, and, above all else, eating all my food. It’s our thing!

This soup should be your thing. Get on it!