Cookie Monster Cooking http://cookiemonstercooking.com Healthy. Indulgent. Delicious. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:35:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/20/vegetarian-biscuits-gravy/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/20/vegetarian-biscuits-gravy/#respond Wed, 20 Aug 2014 12:34:18 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4844 I’m so excited about today’s post! Because ooooo boy is it a good one! We’re talking classic, delicious biscuits and gravy … made vegetarian and lightened up a bit too. Without sacrificing any flavor. Now that’s a double whammy of goodness right there! Let’s first talk biscuits. Have I told you about my complete obsession…

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Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy

I’m so excited about today’s post! Because ooooo boy is it a good one!

We’re talking classic, delicious biscuits and gravy … made vegetarian and lightened up a bit too. Without sacrificing any flavor. Now that’s a double whammy of goodness right there!

Let’s first talk biscuits. Have I told you about my complete obsession with coconut oil these days? I blow through jars like nobody’s business. So of course I had to go ahead and replace the butter in the biscuits with coconut oil. You guys – mind blown.

You’ll cut solid state coconut oil into the flour mixture just like you would butter. And then proceed like normal, stirring in some milk, forming a dough and cutting out rounds. They bake up into tender delicious biscuits, studded with fresh rosemary for some additional herby flavor. I didn’t even miss the butter – so that’s saying something right there.

Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy

And now for the gravy. Replacing the traditional sausage is a mixture of onions, carrots and mushrooms, which all help bulk it up and add some oompf. We’ll also add in some more fresh rosemary and a little bit of vegan worcestershire to up the savoriness.

It will simmer for a few minutes, thicken up nicely … and then you’ll go ahead and spoon this creamy gravy right on over a biscuit.

I do believe that is one delicious special weekend breakfast. Especially with a good cup of coffee.

Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy

My husband was a little skeptical of this meal at first – i.e. before he had tasted it. And once he did? He said the flavors were spot on to a normal biscuits and gravy and unless he was seriously thinking about it, he didn’t even notice a difference.

Winning at life.

So hop on over to Oh My Veggies, where I’m sharing the recipe! —> Vegetarian Biscuits and Gravy!

 

On an unrelated note – just a heads up that I’m taking a few days off (and will be away from my computer (which I am horribly attached to by the way)) to celebrate my birthday – the big 3-0. Eek! I have a recipe post scheduled for you on Friday but I appreciate your patience for responses to emails, comments, etc.! A girl turns 30 only once : )

 

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Individual Mediterranean Dips & A Summer Party! http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/18/individual-mediterranean-dips-summer-party/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/18/individual-mediterranean-dips-summer-party/#comments Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4803 This is a sponsored post in partnership with Pacific Foods. As always, all opinions and content are my own. It’s party time! And what a party this was. Remember when I told you about how our air conditioning broke right before we had friends over? Yup, that was this day. But see, no one looks…

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Individual Mediterranean Dips | cookiemonstercooking.com

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Pacific Foods. As always, all opinions and content are my own.

It’s party time! And what a party this was. Remember when I told you about how our air conditioning broke right before we had friends over? Yup, that was this day. But see, no one looks too sweaty or anything! It was alllll good (well, other than me just complaining about the heat).

I really did learn to roll with the punches for this summer party. We were planning on having the whole thing outside, setting up some cornhole, you know. Outdoor fun. And then it decided to rain all. day. long. For several days straight. Inside it was!

Summer Entertaining | cookiemonstercooking.com

Build-Your-Own Sandwich Bar | cookiemonstercooking.com

Keep It Casual and Simple

As much as I love elaborate dinners and the like, when it comes to summer entertaining I want simple. Plain and simple. I’m funny, huh?

I picked as many things as possible that could be made ahead of time or required little prep work. A few easy appetizers and a build-your-own sandwich bar. So fun, right? Think mostly picnic-y foods. You’re going to want to eat it all – so good!

Summer Entertaining | cookiemonstercooking.com

Easy Appetizers

All the prep work for these dishes could be done a day or a few hours in advance. All I had to do was heat up the cheesy delicious dip and party!

- Individual mediterranean dips (recipe at the bottom of this post!) served with plenty of pita chips. Sort of along the lines of a mexican seven layer dip but with mediterranean flavors instead! Including yummy Pacific Foods’ hummus and greek salad-esq veggies and feta!

- Pacific Foods’ salsa con queso dip with bread cubes and sliced apples. Cheesy goodness combined with a little sweetness from the apples to get that sweet and savory thing going on. A must. The bread doesn’t hurt either. This platter was completely demolished in no time.

Individual Mediterranean Dips | cookiemonstercooking.com

Summer Entertaining | cookiemonstercooking.com

Build-Your-Own Sandwich Bar

Below is what I served, but this is something you could easily switch up to your own preferences. I tried to pick a variety of options with plenty of combinations – you could go mexican with some tortillas, refried beans and salsa. Or classic, with some chicken and cheese. Or mediterranean with hummus, roasted veggies and mustard! Or you could really go crazy and be adventurous and make the sandwich your own.

Breads:

marbled rye
multigrain
flour tortillas

Proteins:

hummus, such as Pacific Foods’ organic hummus
refried beans, such as Pacific Foods’ organic refried black beans
sliced roasted chicken

Toppings:

roasted summer veggies (eggplant, squash, onion)
mango salsa
alfalfa sprouts
thinly sliced red onion
cheese slices

Condiments:

honey mustard
pepper jelly
plain greek yogurt

Side Dish:

strawberry quinoa balsamic salad

Build-Your-Own Sandwich Bar | cookiemonstercooking.com

Relax and Enjoy

I set up a few printed signs that clearly labeled all the food, put out a disposable tablecloth and everything was good to go. None of the food was anything that had to be attended to during the party, so I could just sit back and relax.

Emma also had a grand ol’ time.

1. Calming observing all the food set up on the table.
2. The agitated “why are you not giving me any of this” look.
3. Please? Don’t you see how cute I am!?

Summer Entertaining | cookiemonstercooking.com

Summer Entertaining | cookiemonstercooking.com

Parting Words of Wisdom?

My advice for summer parties – keep everything as simple and easy as possible.

That way you can enjoy the company. Even if that means sitting inside on a rainy day in a super warm house. It will still be plenty of fun, I promise.

Individual Mediterranean Dips

Yield: about 9 individual cups

Individual Mediterranean Dips

Ingredients

  • 2 small cucumbers, peeled and diced
  • 2 small green peppers, diced
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered if large
  • ½ cup minced red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 9 (9 ounce) plastic cups
  • 2 (12 ounce) packages Pacific Foods’ roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • pita chips, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, add the cucumber, pepper, tomatoes, red onion, olive oil, vinegar, salt, oregano and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
  2. To assemble, in each plastic cup, spoon in some of the hummus and smooth into an even layer. Using a slotted spoon to remove any excess moisture, spoon some of the veggie mixture on top of the hummus. Top with a sprinkle of the feta. Repeat this process to fill the cup. Sprinkle the top with a touch of lemon zest.
  3. Place one pita chip in the cup for garnish if desired. Serve with additional chips.

Notes

You can make the veggie mixture ahead of time. Then all you have to do is assemble!

Olives would also be a great addition - I’m just not a fan!

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Cookie Monster Cooking

Looking for more party ideas? You can check out the Pacific Foods Pinterest board all about foodie parties!

This is a sponsored post in partnership with Pacific Foods. As always, all opinions and content are my own. Thank you for reading and letting me share companies that I love. These partnerships help support this blog and allow me to continue to create new recipes and content to share with you!

 

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Corn Fritters with Tomato Avocado Salsa http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/15/corn-fritters-tomato-avocado-salsa/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/15/corn-fritters-tomato-avocado-salsa/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 10:00:05 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4796 Corn, corn and more corn! I can’t get enough. We’ve discussed this previously but I feel the need to tell you again. Because I love it so. And I have one more recipe for you next week with this delicious vegetable … and it involves pizza. Get pumped! But let’s first get excited for these…

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Corn Fritters with Tomato Avocado Salsa | cookiemonstercooking.com

Corn, corn and more corn! I can’t get enough. We’ve discussed this previously but I feel the need to tell you again. Because I love it so.

And I have one more recipe for you next week with this delicious vegetable … and it involves pizza. Get pumped! But let’s first get excited for these corn fritters with tomato avocado salsa. Because it would be a shame to just blow over these and move right along to the pizza. Even though we all love pizza.

So. Corn fritters. This meal has made an appearance at our table quite a number of times this summer. It’s easy, uses such great seasonal produce and well, obviously it’s delicious or I wouldn’t be sharing with you!

Corn Fritters with Tomato Avocado Salsa | cookiemonstercooking.com

The batter for the fritters is pretty simple, packed with fresh corn kernels and a bit of green onions to give it a little more savory flavor. And the salsa, while nothing extravagant, is just the right topping to compliment the corn base. Tomatoes, cucumber, creamy dreamy avocado. You just can’t go wrong.

And then guess what we’ll drizzle over the top? Are you surprised that I used balsamic glaze again? I didn’t think so. It’s just so pretty and adds the perfect finishing touch … both in looks and taste.

Make a batch this weekend and eat eat eat! Drizzle drizzle drizzle!

Corn Fritters with Tomato Avocado Salsa | cookiemonstercooking.com

Somebody needs to come take away my balsamic glaze. I think I have a slight problem.

Corn Fritters with Tomato Avocado Salsa

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: about 4 to 5 servings

Corn Fritters with Tomato Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

    For the fritters:
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 ½ cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears corn)
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • For the salsa:
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • balsamic glaze, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. To make the fritters - add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Add in the egg, milk, corn kernels and green onions and mix until combined and a nice and thick batter forms.
  2. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. When hot, scoop about ¼ cup of the batter (I use my muffin-sized dough scoop) and drop into the pan (dropping in as many scoops as will fit). Use a spatula to flatten the tops slightly. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy on the outside. Remove the fritters from the skillet and place on a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and remaining batter (I get about 9 patties in total and do half in each batch in the skillet).
  3. To make the salsa - in a medium bowl, add the tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, green onions, olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Toss to combine.
  4. Spoon some of the salsa over a corn fritter and drizzle lightly with balsamic glaze. Serve immediately.
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Vegetable and Black Bean Enchilada Pasta http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/13/vegetable-black-bean-enchilada-pasta/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/13/vegetable-black-bean-enchilada-pasta/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4788 It’s mexican food wednesday! I know, that’s not really a thing. But I get super antsy whenever I wait too long before sharing another mexican recipe with you. And yes, I fully realize it’s only been two weeks since the grape salsa. However, two weeks is far far too long. We all need a mexican…

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Vegetable and Black Bean Enchilada Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

It’s mexican food wednesday! I know, that’s not really a thing. But I get super antsy whenever I wait too long before sharing another mexican recipe with you.

And yes, I fully realize it’s only been two weeks since the grape salsa. However, two weeks is far far too long. We all need a mexican food fix, yes?

Or maybe it’s just me who has a veryyy hard time not eating tacos or enchiladas or something along those lines at least once or twice a week.

Vegetable and Black Bean Enchilada Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

And today we’re doing super simple. We’re talking nice and easy and yet so tasty that you’re going to want to give me a hug. Because this right here is most definitely a weeknight dinner winner. Such a fun phrase to say!

So. We’re going to boil some pasta. Meanwhile, we’re going to cook a few veggies in a skillet. And then! We’re going to smother it all in finger licking good enchilada sauce, cheese (very important business!) and throw in some black beans and cilantro for added fun.

And did I mention that we’re using fresh corn? I swoon all over the place whenever I eat it right now because it is just. so. good. But don’t worry, during the winter you can definitely use frozen corn instead. Yes, you are absolutely going to want to make this all year round.

Vegetable and Black Bean Enchilada Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

Enchilada wednesday! Let’s do this!

Vegetable and Black Bean Enchilada Pasta

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Vegetable and Black Bean Enchilada Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole wheat linguine
  • about 1 ¼ cups enchilada sauce, store-bought or homemade
  • ½ cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 squash, chopped
  • 2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • crumbled goat cheese, for garnish
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add in the linguine and cook according to the package directions. Drain and add to a large bowl. Add in the enchilada sauce and pepper jack cheese and toss until well coated and the cheese is melted. Taste and add additional sauce to your own preference.
  2. Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add in the zucchini, squash, corn, salt, cumin, smoked paprika and cayenne. Cook for about 6 to 8 minutes, until the veggies are all tender. Add in the black beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until warmed through. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add some of the pasta to a serving bowl. Top with some of the veggie mixture, some goat cheese and a sprinkle of cilantro.

Notes

For leftovers - the pasta absorbs the enchilada sauce, so I like to drizzle on a little extra to get it nice and saucy again.

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Cookie Monster Cooking

 

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Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/11/bourbon-baked-peaches-oatmeal-crumble/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/11/bourbon-baked-peaches-oatmeal-crumble/#comments Mon, 11 Aug 2014 10:00:27 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4772 Warning. This is a picture heavy post. Because, I mean, just look at these gorgeous little peaches. I couldn’t stop staring. And narrowing it down would have been like picking a favorite ice cream flavor. I just can’t do it. I love too many to be forced to choose. So let me tell you a…

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Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble | cookiemonstercooking.com

Warning. This is a picture heavy post. Because, I mean, just look at these gorgeous little peaches. I couldn’t stop staring. And narrowing it down would have been like picking a favorite ice cream flavor. I just can’t do it. I love too many to be forced to choose.

So let me tell you a story about these bourbon baked peaches. And encourage you to use bowls when you serve them. Otherwise you’ll end up like me.

And embarrassingly trying to eat them off the floor. Like that episode of Friends with the cheesecake.

Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble | cookiemonstercooking.com

So let me paint the picture for you. I finish taking photos and putter into the living room, where my husband was sitting and watching TV, to ask if he wanted a bite. He says no (I mean really, what was he thinking passing on baked peaches at 10am??). And so I try to grab a big chunk with my fork while still standing there holding the plate you see below.

But these are slippery little peaches and so the entire thing proceeded to shoot right off onto the floor. I may have stood there in shock for a good few seconds. Before scooping it up, asking if it was still okay to eat, and then proceeding to eat it anyway before the husband had a chance to answer. Even though there was an entire tray in the kitchen. But how could you let these pretty little things go to waste?!

So just go ahead and use bowls, yes?

Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble | cookiemonstercooking.com

So this dessert. Warm, tender baked peaches topped with an oatmeal crumble / streusel. So good even at this point just by themselves. But then we need to go ahead and add a spiked bourbon whipped cream and a bourbon glaze. Because why not?

When you first top it with the whipped cream all warm from the oven it looks like that picture right there up above. Totally cool, totally pretty.

But then you give it a few minutes … and this happens:

Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble | cookiemonstercooking.com

Come. to. mama.

Let’s look at it one more time a little bit closer:

Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble | cookiemonstercooking.com

Swoon. That’s the right stuff baby. Especially on a Monday morning.

Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Bourbon Baked Peaches with Oatmeal Crumble

Ingredients

    For the peaches:
  • 4 medium peaches, halved and pits removed
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup raw pecans, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • For the glaze:
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ tablespoon bourbon
  • 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons milk
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. To make the peaches - preheat the oven to 375ºF. Set the peaches (skin side down) in a baking dish (I use a casserole type dish - you can use whatever will fit the peaches).
  2. In a small bowl, add the flour, oats, brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon and salt and mix until well combined (breaking up any clumps of the sugar). Pour in the melted butter and mix until combined and evenly moistened. Crumble the topping evenly over the peach halves in the baking dish. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the peaches are tender.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the whipped cream - add the cream, sugar, vanilla and bourbon to a large bowl. Whip with a hand-mixer on high until stiff peaks form (you can also do this in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment). Set aside.
  4. To make the glaze - whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, bourbon, milk and salt until smooth. Add more sugar or milk to get it to the consistency that you would like.
  5. To serve - set a peach on a serving dish. Top with whipped cream and a drizzle of the glaze.

Notes

These are boozy but if you don’t like bourbon don’t worry! Either cut back on it or eliminate it completely!

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Baked Turkey Meatballs with Polenta Cakes http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/08/baked-turkey-meatballs-polenta-cakes/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/08/baked-turkey-meatballs-polenta-cakes/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 10:00:02 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4764 Meatballs! Meatballs! Now imagine me saying that like my very Italian grandmother. I pretty much always say it that way (you know all accent-like and making crazy hand gestures) and completely crack myself up every time. Is it weird to find yourself hysterical? Don’t answer that. Besides, it’s just fun to say it that way,…

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Baked Turkey Meatballs with Polenta Cakes | cookiemonstercooking.com

Meatballs! Meatballs! Now imagine me saying that like my very Italian grandmother.

I pretty much always say it that way (you know all accent-like and making crazy hand gestures) and completely crack myself up every time. Is it weird to find yourself hysterical? Don’t answer that.

Besides, it’s just fun to say it that way, so you know. It has to be done.

And while these little guys may not be exactly like the meatballs my grandma always makes, they are pretty darn delicious if I do say so myself.

Baked Turkey Meatballs with Polenta Cakes | cookiemonstercooking.com

Added bonus? There’s polenta involved. And we all know I am a polenta junkie. Although I feel like I’ve been cheating on polenta with lentils. And farro. But this dish. This dish finally brought it back to the forefront.

Totally reignited the spark. That’s kind of a strange thing to say about polenta. Don’t judge. I get very excited about food in general.

So let’s chat about food … I mean, this meal. Simple, classic baked turkey meatballs. Which you’ll serve on crispy baked little polenta cakes. And finally you’ll top it all with a quick and easy homemade sauce and of course plenty of shredded parmesan and fresh basil.

If you’re not in the mood for a slightly crispy polenta base, I think this would also be awesome over some creamy polenta. Except for whatever reason I associate creamy polenta with the fall and winter. And it’s still super hot and humid right now. So I just. can’t. do. it.

Although … now that our air conditioning is all fixed up (yay!), I feel like I could absolutely go put on some boots and a scarf and sit on my couch…

Baked Turkey Meatballs with Polenta Cakes | cookiemonstercooking.com

And totally pretend that it’s fall. Take that summer heat!

Baked Turkey Meatballs with Polenta Cakes

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Baked Turkey Meatballs with Polenta Cakes

Ingredients

    For the polenta:
  • 1 (18 ounce) tube polenta, sliced ½ inch thick
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey (I use 93% lean)
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I use fire-roasted)
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • For serving:
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. To make the polenta - line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the polenta rounds on the prepared baking sheet and mist the tops lightly with nonstick cooking spray (I use an olive oil spray). Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, until slightly crispy on the outside.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the meatballs - line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and then spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, onion, panko, egg, salt, pepper, dried basil and dried parsley. Mix to combine (but don’t overwork the meat). Form into meatballs, about 1 ½ inches in size and place on the prepared baking sheet (I get around 22 meatballs). Bake in the same 375ºF oven for about 17 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through (165ºF on an instant-read thermometer).
  5. Meanwhile, to make the sauce - set a medium-large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the crushed tomatoes, sugar, salt, red pepper, basil and parsley. Let the sauce simmer gently for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Remove from the heat. Taste and adjust the salt and red pepper as needed.
  6. Set a few polenta slices on each serving dish. Top with a few meatballs, spoon on some of the sauce and top with parmesan and fresh basil.

Notes

I think this would also be fantastic with ground chicken instead of turkey!

If you want to make your own polenta rounds instead of buying the tube, you can follow the instructions in this recipe ---> Polenta Bites with Ricotta and Shaved Asparagus.

To avoid buying an extra onion for this recipe, use a small portion of the onion for the sauce for the 2 tablespoons needed for the meatballs.

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Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/06/mediterranean-chickpea-lentil-salad/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/06/mediterranean-chickpea-lentil-salad/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 10:00:29 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4752 Spell it with me now. Med-i-terr-an-ean. Fact. I can’t for the life of me get it correct on the first try. Ever. And I’ve had a lot of practice at this point. There were the mediterranean burgers. The mediterranean potato salad. And now this mediterranean chickpea and lentil salad. And yet we still are not…

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Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad | cookiemonstercooking.com

Spell it with me now. Med-i-terr-an-ean.

Fact. I can’t for the life of me get it correct on the first try. Ever. And I’ve had a lot of practice at this point. There were the mediterranean burgers. The mediterranean potato salad. And now this mediterranean chickpea and lentil salad.

And yet we still are not friends. It trips me up all the time. And then I get cranky because goodness gracious how on earth do I not have this down by now???

I have a little problem with being a total perfectionist, if you can’t already tell. But it’s okay, I’ve been this way my entire life. I’m used to it!

And secretly love it.

Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad | cookiemonstercooking.com

You know what else I love? Lentils, that’s what. Smooth transition right there, eh?

Have you tried lentils? For years I thought the name was weird so I stayed away. Totally logical to make a decision like that based off a name right? I have no excuse for my behavior. But seriously, I’m glad I finally caved and gave them a try. Because now I buy bags and bags at a time to make sure I never run out. Apparently there is no middle ground with me.

Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad | cookiemonstercooking.com

But my obsessions lead to things like this salad, so it’s all good. This dish is an excellent make-ahead lunch for the week or an easy dinner. Win win.

With tender lentils as a base, it’s jazzed up with plenty of delicious roasted veggies, like red onion, zucchini and eggplant. And while everything is still warm, you’ll toss it with a slightly lemony dressing, feta and a touch of fresh herbs.

And then serve it with lots of pita chips for a nice crunch.

Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad | cookiemonstercooking.com

Lentils. I totally ♥ you.

Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Mediterranean Chickpea and Lentil Salad

Ingredients

    For the salad:
  • 1 cup green lentils, picked through and rinsed
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • For the dressing:
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. To make the salad - add the lentils and the water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, partially cover with a lid and let simmer gently for about 20 to 25 minutes, until tender but not mushy (if the water evaporates before they are done cooking, add a little more as needed). Drain off any excess water.
  3. Meanwhile, add the red onion, zucchini and eggplant to a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and then sprinkle with the salt. Toss to combine then spread in an even layer. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until tender. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the chickpeas and drained tomatoes to the bowl. When the lentils are done cooking, add them to the same bowl.
  5. To make the dressing - in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, honey, vinegar, salt, oregano and pepper. Add in the olive oil and whisk vigorously until combined. Pour the dressing into the bowl with the lentils and toss to combine. Add in the feta and fresh parsley and toss again. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Crockpot Summer Vegetable Lasagna http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/04/crockpot-summer-vegetable-lasagna/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/04/crockpot-summer-vegetable-lasagna/#comments Mon, 04 Aug 2014 12:24:42 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4744 Hi! How are ya? Happy Monday! So remember the fifteen bazillion times I told you about how much I hate the heat? All that complaining came back to bite me in the butt this weekend. Our air conditioning decided to stop working. You know, just because. And it decided to break a few hours before…

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Crockpot Summer Vegetable Lasagna

Hi! How are ya? Happy Monday! So remember the fifteen bazillion times I told you about how much I hate the heat? All that complaining came back to bite me in the butt this weekend. Our air conditioning decided to stop working. You know, just because. And it decided to break a few hours before we had a party at our house.

Ummm not cool. Not cool at all. Especially when the repair company says they can’t do anything about it until Monday. Hmpf. Clearly they don’t understand my hatred of the heat.

So this time I really melted. Tends to happen when you have lots of bodies in the house, especially after you had the oven on getting the food ready. Thank goodness it was rainy and overcast. If the sun had come out we would have been toast. For real.

What I should have done was turned off the oven, switched gears and made something like this crockpot lasagna. Butttt it’s okay. We all survived just fine.

Crockpot Summer Vegetable Lasagna

So can we talk about this recipe for a sec? And how it’s really awesome because you don’t need to turn on the oven? Which I’m avoiding like the plague until the repair guys get out to our house hopefully sometime today. Fingers crossed.

Plus, this lasagna is packed full of all my favorite summer vegetables … like zucchini, eggplant, fresh tomatoes and even corn. Which gives the dish a slight twist, but oh my word is it good. And is just fueling my current major major obsession with fresh corn. Seriously, I bought close to 10 ears last week. I kid not.

Please tell me I’m not alone in my crazy corn buying??

Crockpot Summer Vegetable Lasagna

But anyway, to get your hands on this goodness, make the jump over to Oh My Veggies for the recipe —> Crockpot Summer Vegetable Lasagna!

Now please excuse me while I go camp out with a boatload of popsicles and continue to complain until the AC repairman comes to the rescue.

 

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The Little Things – July 2014 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/01/little-things-july-2014/ http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/08/01/little-things-july-2014/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://cookiemonstercooking.com/?p=4730 It’s Friday! And it’s time to chat about July happiness! {In case you are new and curious, you can refer to my first little things post to see why I started the series – it involves a story about me yelling at cars. It’s good stuff, I tell you.} Let’s do this! A July 4th…

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The Little Things - July 2014

It’s Friday! And it’s time to chat about July happiness!

{In case you are new and curious, you can refer to my first little things post to see why I started the series – it involves a story about me yelling at cars. It’s good stuff, I tell you.}

Let’s do this!

The Little Things - July 2014

A July 4th potluck with friends. I told you we love potlucks! And the weather was just gorgeous. Cool, breezy, sunny and one of our neighbors set off legit fireworks … like right down the street. So festive! Although it was a little nutty how big they were for something in a backyard.

The Little Things - July 2014

Successfully surprising one of our friends with a giant cake for her 30th birthday. And then getting to eat said cake. Peanut butter + chocolate = amazingggg.

The Little Things - July 2014

Garden cucumber deliveries from our sweet neighbors and their two little girls. These bad boys were consumed almost immediately.

The Little Things - July 2014

Another potluck. Yup, obsessed. This time it was lots of appetizers and there may have been some old school music playing on a CD player (CDs!). Including one ridiculous sing-along to Barbie Girl. Please tell me you remember that song??

The Little Things - July 2014

A visit from my parents. And a trip to the local baseball stadium. I insisted we get covered seats. Which turned out to be a great decision since it decided to downpour. Hard core.

The Little Things - July 2014

A visit from my in-laws. And another trip to the local baseball stadium. We sat in the front row on the first base line right by where the pitchers warmed up. I was slightly terrified that a ball was going to smack me in the face. It didn’t – happy happy!

The Little Things - July 2014

My favorite little beagle, as always. She just makes me smile every single day.

The Little Things - July 2014

A new postcard that I framed and hung up in our foyer. Policies that are strictly enforced at our house. My husband likes to drag me in front of the sign when I get all attitude-like with him. Guess that’s my own fault for buying it!

So tell me about your month! And remember – per the sign, no frowning! Only hugs, smiles and warm fuzzy feelings. Happy weekend friends!

 

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