Curried Bell Pepper and Egg Salad Sandwiches

Left overs are a blessing and a curse. You have to use them soon, but you probably don't really want to. This recipe will change your mind about your left over Easter eggs. It isn't your typical boring egg salad, that you could buy at any diner or gas station (which I wouldn't recommend anyways). This has crunchy vegetables and colorful spices that really perk up a classic. 

Curried Bell Pepper and Egg Salad Sandwich
4 hard boiled eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons brown mustard
1/4 cup red bell pepper
1/4 cup green bell pepper
1/4 cup white onion
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Makes about 2 cups

1.) Start by peeling all of your hard boiled eggs, and rinsing under cold water. Using a sharp knife or  slap chop (LOL) cut the egg into tiny pieces. Don't turn into mush though! Leave a little texture.

2.)In a medium mixing bowl add mayonnaise, mustard, curry power, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.

3.)Finely chop red pepper, onion, and green pepper and add to bowl, folding into mayonnaise mixture.

4.) Add chopped eggs and stir just until combined. Try to leave some of the yolks in tact if you can.

Serve on toasted whole wheat hamburger sized buns with lettuce, tomato, and red onion!


Avocado and Grapefruit Salad on Baby Greens

If you have ever spent a considerable amount of time in the Sea-Tac Airport (which I am assuming all you west-coasters have) you have probably eaten at the Anthony's restaurant in the "Seattle Marketplace". Every time I have a layover in Seattle (every time I fly anywhere) I eat there just to get the Grapefruit, Avocado, and Crab Salad. It is so good, and the flavors compliment each other so well, I just can't bring myself to order anything else! Since I usually don't have leftover crab laying around, I tried to make this salad a vegetarian dish, and it turned out just as delicious. With a few additions, subtractions, and dressing change ( from creamy to vinaigrette) this salad might even be a *gasp* UPGRADE from Anthony's. If you do have leftover crab, well, then tell your butler to whip this up for you ;)

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad on Baby Greens
1 large ripe avocado
1 large grapefruit
4-5 cups of washed baby greens
2 tablespoons of oil of choice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar or honey
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper to taste

Rinse and pat dry your salad greens. Place into a large bowl, that will allow for tossing. 

Cut avocado in half and score with a sharp knife into a diamond pattern. You can then either peel away the skin piece by piece, or attempt to turn the avocado inside-out, if that makes any sense. This is probably the easiest and neatest way to cut your avocado into cube, and you don't waste any either! Set your avocado cubes aside. 

Cut off the top and bottom of the grapefruit, then cut away the rind. Be sure to leave no white pith. This is what makes grapefruit bitter. Next section your grapefruit by cutting along both sides of each white segment line, all the way to the center. Each section should easily fall out. Set your sections aside, and save the middle section of the grapefruit for the vinaigrette. 

To make the dressing squeeze what you have left after sectioning the grapefruit into a bowl. Get as much juice as you can. Add the vinegar, oil, Dijon mustard, sugar, and salt & pepper. Using a whisk, stir until emulsified and completely combined. 

To assemble, pour your fresh salad dressing over the washed greens. Use tongs or forks to toss, coating every leaf with dressing. Transfer greens to plate, and top with cubed avocado and sectioned grapefruit! A meal in a minute with a chef's touch in it :)


Vegetarian Eggs Benedict

I know this is a bit of a contradiction. Some vegetarians don't eat eggs, because I guess technically they are unborn baby chickens. But not really. They are delicious and a great source of protein :) I eat eggs a lot and eggs benedict is probably the least healthy way to have them. But this hollandaise sauce was just too easy to make for me to not enjoy the egg-y butter-y goodness. It is a great way to get vegetables into your breakfast though. Switching out ham for asparagus is pretty easy too, for all of the meat lovers our there!

Vegetarian Eggs Benedict
2 english muffins, split
8 stalks asparagus
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vinegar
3 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
splash of hot sauce
1/2 cup butter

    Start by cutting your asparagus in half, and then slicing the bottom half length-wise. This will ensure even cooking, and is a little easier to cut in the final product. Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus for 3-4 minutes, just until tender. Remove and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. 

     Split your english muffins and place face side up on a baking sheet.  Place under the broiler for abour 2-3 minutes until nice and toasted. You can turn off the broiler and leave in the oven to stay warm. 

    Next is the hollandaise sauce. I found a great recipe for hollandaise sauce that is made in a blender, and basically fool proof. First separate your egg yolks. I kept the whites in the fridge until the next day for egg white omeletts :)

    1.) Add your egg yolks, lemon juice, hot sauce, and dijon mustard to a blender. Blend for a minute to scramble up the eggs and combine everything else. 
    2.) Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish, that is easy to pour out of. With the blender on high, slowly pour the hot butter into the eggs. It will immediately thicken and *voila* perfect hollandaise! 

    I will never try and make it the old fashioned way again.... this was just too easy. You can place the blender in a pot with hot water to keep it warm and liquid. 

    Next you need to poach your eggs. Which I still have yet to master. You basically bring a pot of water to a simmer, add the tablespoon of vinegar then slowly crack an egg into it. They take about 3 minutes to cook. Mine were not pretty, round perfect poached eggs. There has to be a better way! Right?

    To assemble remove a hot english muffin from the oven and top with a few asparagus spears. Add your poached egg, and then spoon a generous helping of hollandaise sauce on top. You can sprinkle with cut chives or paprika to brighten it up. 


    Happy Easter!!

    All of our eggs on the left... my favorite tie-dye eggs on the right!
     I hope everyone had a relaxing Easter! No work, lots of food, and friends & family were my day today! I cooked up a storm and my husband and I had some of our friends over for an Easter dinner, wine, and charades (my favorite pastime....ever). I had so much fun chatting with friends and eating wayyyyy too much food. I even dyed Easter eggs and really brought out my 6 year old self -still as fun as ever though! I have a few pictures of mine and TJ's Easter eggs, my flowers that I bought at Safeway and turned into a bouquet, and goody tray I put together. I am sure there will be a hard boiled egg recipe soon, there is really no way around it. Maybe some left over ham recipe, you never know. Well actually,  now you do.

    Some beautiful dahlias and a mystery flower I liked. If you know, tell me!!!
    Mini eggs! In Canada though, mini eggs are here year round, so no big deal. Sorry my American amigos :)


    Leek & Cornbread Stuffing Mushroom Caps

    These little gems are one of my favorite appetizers. Whether stuffed with cheese, crab, or stuffing, mushroom caps are always delicious. This vegetarian recipe is a great way to get rid of leftover stuffing, which you may have soon thanks to Easter dinner! If you have ever seen Semi-Home Made with Sandra Lee on the Food Network, this recipe reminds me of something she might make. With store bought stuffing, and a ton of fresh ingredients, this is a time saver that might make you look like a 5-star chef at your next dinner party. 

    Leek and Cornbread Stuffing Mushroom Caps
    10-12 large mushrooms
    1 leek
    1 clove garlic
    1 cup prepared stuffing
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
    1 tablespoon butter
    Salt & Pepper

    Cut the end and top off of your leek. Rinse and cut into 1/4's lengthwise. Then cut into small pieces.  Peel and mince clove of garlic. In a small pan heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add leeks and garlic to hot oil and cook until soft.

    Take your mushrooms and begin to hollow out. I broke of the stem, then used a knife to carve out the rest. But you can use whatever method you like best, just be sure to make enough room for plenty of stuffing. You can discard the stems, or chop some up and add to the cooking leeks and garlic. That is what I did! 

    In a small bowl melt your tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Place your mushroom caps on a baking sheet stem side down, and brush with melted butter. Be sure to cover as much mushroom as possible with the butter. Dry mushroom=wrinkly mushroom :) Place mushrooms 2-4 inches under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Then remove to stuff. 

    Take your cooked leeks, garlic, and mushroom stems and mix into prepared stuffing mix. Flip cooked mushrooms over and spoon about 1 tablespoon into each cap.

    Once all caps have been stuffed, return to broiler for about 2 more minutes or until cornbread stuffing is nice and toasted. Remove from oven.

    Grate around 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and top each mushroom cap with a few pieces. Place under the broiler for the last time, about 1 minute, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Then watch them disappear :)


    Taking a Break....

    Today my husband and I had the rare opportunity of a free afternoon. We took full advantage and went for a walk on the trails with Oscar. Don't be fooled by the picture, only a portion was paved, and the rest was dirt, wood chips, and mud. Oscar loved it. The backseat of our car on the other hand....not so much. But he was so happy to be running free in the woods. I could swear sometimes he thinks he is a wild animal. He sure acts like one. It was so nice with the sun peeking through the clouds, and a spring breeze. If you have the opportunity this weekend or any day to go for a walk or spend some time with someone you love, DO IT!  You can only work some many days in a row before you go crazy...for me it is about 3 days :) 


    Crispy Quinoa Burgers with Flax Seed

    Originally I got the idea for a quinoa burger when I was browsing foodgawker.com, my favorite way to kill time. I decided to step it up a notch and add some flax seed and beans, making this a perfect dish for a vegetarian in need of some serious protein. I also added cream cheese, which makes for some real melty goodness. These crispy and golden patties are full of flavor, and deliciously addictive. 

    Editor of the blog...stealing my seat
    Crispy Quinoa Burgers with Flax Seed
    2 1/4 cup cooked quinoa
    1/2 cup of kidney or black beans
    3/4 cup shredded cheese of choice
    1 tablespoon cream cheese
    2 eggs
    2 green onions
    2 tablespoons white onion, chopped
    1/2 cup carrot, shredded
    2 cloves garlic
    1 teaspoon chili paste or hot sauce
    2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
    1 tablespoon flax seed
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon curry powder
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    Makes 8 Patties

    First you need to cook your quinoa. Don't be afraid! It is very similar to rice. First rinse and drain one cup of quinoa. Heat two cups of water in a medium saucepan until boiling then add rinsed quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed. Let rest for 5 minutes, then remove lid and cool. 

    Next grate your cheese, chop your onions, mince your garlic,  grate you carrot, and slice your green onions. Set aside. 

    Using you beans of choice (I chose dark red kidney) and a fork, mash into a chunky paste. This really helps glue your burgers together.

    In a large bowl add chopped vegetables, beans, eggs, cream cheese, shredded cheese, flour, sugar, flax seed, hot sauce, and all spices. Stir to combine.

    Next add your cooled quinoa. Must be cooled or the cheese will melt now, instead of in the pan. Stir mixture until completely uniform. 

    In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Using hand, form 1/2 cup portions of quinoa mixture into patties and place into hot pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. 


    Laurie's Meatless Monday Miracle

    One of my best friends and hottest mom I know, Laurie, made these tacos for me one night in Phoenix before I knew how to cook. Needless to say I basically stole these tacos right off her kids plate.... they were that good. Laurie, I'm sorry for causing your children malnourishment ;) At first I am sure your reaction will be the same as mine was. "Baked beans on tacos?" But for some reason the sauteed vegetables with the sweet baked beans just works! Trust me and try this recipe. They are my husbands absolute favorite meatless monday recipe, and I am sure they will yours too! The best thing about this recipe is you can use as many, or as little vegetables as you want. You definitely can change the amounts I listed below, it will still be great!

     Laurie's Meatless Monday Miracle
    6-8 whole wheat flour tortilla or corn tortillas
    1 medium zucchini or yellow squash
    1 yellow bell pepper
    1 green bell pepper
    1 red bell pepper
    6-7 large mushrooms
    1/2 yellow or white onion
    2 green onions
    1 cup fresh or frozen corn
    1 can vegetarian baked beans
    Salt & Pepper to taste
    Shredded cheese of choice

    The first step? Get to choppin'! Finely chop all of your vegetables. Put all chopped bell peppers, squash or zucchini, and mushrooms in a large bowl. In a separate bowl place chopped white onion.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil or vegetable oil in large pan over medium heat. 

    First, add chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes, until they begin to soften. This is important because all veggies take a different amount of time to cook. If you threw everything in together you would have soggy squash & mushrooms, and raw onion. Gross. 

    After onions have began to soften, add the chopped zucchini, bell peppers and mushrooms. Cook until the rest of the veggies have begun to soften, then add frozen corn. Cook until thawed and heated through. Finish with a little salt and pepper!

    Secret ingredient!!! Heat up your baked beans in the microwave or over the stove. Pretty simple instructions, right? Your welcome :)

    While vegetable and beans are cooking (or heating up) you can shred your cheese, cut your green onions, avocado, or anything else you would like to top your tacos! You can also heat up your tortillas if you like them warm. 

    Next is the assembly step. Start with a warm tortilla and add a large spoonful of vegetables. Top with a spoonful of baked beans, then add your toppings of choice. 


    Zucchini Croquettes

    I have been pretty busy lately, which I am sure most people are these days! But I honestly made these in 15 minutes, no lie, from start to finish.  These are super quick, and great as a side dish. If you want to trick a kid into eating veggies, I am sure this would work. The ratio of vegetable to cheese and bread is good enough to call this dish a vegetable serving. So enjoy! And don't feel the least bit guilty :)

    Zucchini Croquettes 
    1 Medium Zucchini
    1 large egg
    1/4 of a medium onion
    1 clove garlic
    1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
    1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
    1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    In a large bowl combine cheeses, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Finely chop onion and garlic and add to bowl, along with 1 egg. The smaller the chop here, the better. Mix everything together until egg is scrambled with the other ingredients.

    Remove ends from zucchini and discard. Using a cheese grater, grate the zucchini into shreds. Next place grated zucchini in between a folded paper towel/ You can also put that inbetween a dish towl. This will get rid off all the excess water. I placed a book on top to speed up the process. Once the zucchini is dry, stir into cheese mixture, until thoroughly combines. 

    Heat a medium pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, over medium-high heat. Using your hands, form small patties with zucchini mixture, and add to hot oil. Cook for about 2-3 minutes per side. I like to finish mine in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, to get them extra crispy, but you can eat them right out of the frying pan!

    These can be served with any sauce you like. I made a super quick Greek yogurt and dill sauce, just what it sounds like, yogurt with dill! But they are good with spicy brown mustard too!


    Barbecue Pulled Chicken with Southern Style Corn Cakes

    I have really been craving southern food lately. I don't know if it is because I will be in the south soon for my sister, Ali's, graduation, or because I am looking for excuses to eat barbecue sauce, but I just want some southern cooking. I used to work in a barbecue restaurant, and they had everything from fried pickles to chocolate covered bacon, slow cooked brisket to collard greens. They obviously had pulled pork and chicken, and the dinner plate was served with these nifty little corn cakes underneath. They were sooo good. Sort of like a flat cornbread muffin. I thought I would try to recreate this recipe, with homemade barbecue sauce and homemade corn cakes.....did I mention I am pretty much as far North as you can get?

    Barbecue Pulled Chicken with Southern Style Corn Cakes

    2 skinless, boneless chicken breast cooked and shredded

    Corn Cakes
    1 egg
    1/2 cup milk
    1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
    1/4 cup whole wheat flour
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Barbecue Sauce
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
    3/4 cup ketchup
    1/8 cup soy sauce
    1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
    1 tablespoon mustard powder
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 teaspoon garlic powder
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon hot sauce or Sambal Oelek chili paste

    Your chicken can really be cooked however you prefer. Boil it, bake it, roast it, grill it. I boiled mine, because it was the quickest, but if you want some extra smokey flavor, grilling is the way to go. So cook your chicken (leftover chicken works great too), and set aside to cool. 

    Barbecue ingredients....and....a pouty dog? 

    Next is the sauce. In a medium saucepan, add all of the ingredients for the sauce and bring to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Once Sauce has simmered, combined, and thickened, it is ready for the chicken. I reserved about 1/2 cup of sauce for later, to pour over the chicken. 

    You can shred or chop your chicken. I did a little of both, because shredding gets tedious after about 1 minute! After chicken is all shredded add to sauce and place over low heat. This can cook all day, or just long enough to warm through. The longer the better though!

    Once your chicken is simmered and flavored to your liking you are ready to make your corn cakes! In a small bowl ( I used something easy to pour out of), add your milk and egg and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients and stir until mixture is smooth. Next, heat a medium pan over medium-high heat. Now this is a southern dish, so don't be afraid of the butter :) Add butter to grease the pan and pour in 1/4-1/2 cup of the mixture. Wait about 45 seconds and flip, just like a pancake. They should be nice a toasted brown on both sides. 

    To assemble, place a corn cake on your plate, top with a heaping spoonful of pulled chicken, and drizzle with reserved barbecue sauce. You can garnish with green onions, cheese, and even avocado!

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