Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

So asparagus and I are BFFs right now.  I can’t stop buying it – maybe a little excessively so.  When I was at the grocery store this week, the cashier actually stopped to ask me what I was planning to make with all of the asparagus I had piled in my cart.  I politely smiled and answered but really in my head it went something like, why are you questioning my asparagus???  And then two seconds later … hmm maybe it is a little much???  And then stop it, why on earth do you care that the cashier is asking about your excessive asparagus buying???

Because the butcher and I have regular weekly conversations about my cooking plans (and his too), so this is really nothing out of the ordinary.  Apparently I am just very defensive about my asparagus.  Hmpf.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

But it is just so good.  Such as when it is in a creamy cheesy pasta bake with plenty of mushrooms?  With a panko / parmesan topping that gets nice and crispy in the oven?  You betcha.

I’m in that weird phase right now where the weather is starting to get a little bit warmer so I am craving spring vegetables and the like … but I’m also not ready to give up on comfort foods.  Hence this pasta dish.  Combines everything in one.  Winner winner chicken dinner.  But no chicken.  Just veggies.

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta | cookiemonstercooking.com

I hope that all made sense.  It’s Friday and my concentration is long gone and I’m having trouble forming coherent sentences.

So tell me … weekend plans?  Anything fun lined up?  Whatcha got for me?

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Baked Asparagus and Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients

    For the pasta:
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 (8 ounce) package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends removed and cut into 2 to 3-inch chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound your favorite pasta shape (I used shells)
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 8 ounces provolone, shredded and divided
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • dash of pepper
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms, asparagus and garlic to a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to combine. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until the veggies are tender. Remove from the oven and add the veggies to a large bowl. Set aside the baking dish for later. Maintain the oven temperature at 400.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta (you want it to be al dente) according to the package directions. Reserve ¼ cup of the cooking water, then drain and add the pasta to the large bowl with the veggies. Add in the diced tomatoes and set aside.
  4. To make the sauce - in a small saucepan set over medium heat, add the butter. Once melted add in the flour, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for about 2 minutes, until golden brown and nutty in fragrance. Slowly pour in the milk, continuing to whisk constantly. Let the mixture come to a simmer, still whisking fairly frequently, and cook until it thickens up a bit, about 1 to 2 minutes after simmering. Remove from the heat and add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg and parmesan. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the sauce into the large bowl and then add in half of the shredded provolone cheese. Mix until well combined, adding in a little of the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the pasta up (I didn’t need any). Season with salt / pepper to taste. Transfer the mixture to the baking dish you used for the veggies. Top with the remaining provolone. In a small bowl, mix together the panko and parmesan and sprinkle over the top.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is golden and bubbly.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/04/04/baked-asparagus-mushroom-pasta/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Let me introduce you to my new favorite weekend breakfast.  I made this on a whim one morning when I was trying to use up some leftover sweet potatoes I had laying around.  We loved it so much that I made it for the next several weeks straight.  And then I clearly had to make it again to grab photos and share here with you.  Twist my arm.

But one try and I bet that you’ll be hooked too.  And … and … it’s really easy.  Like maybe a little too easy to be sharing but whatevs.  We all love simple recipes right?

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Plus there are eggs involved.  I would probably put eggs on just about everything if I could … runny yolks, I mean come on.  How can you resist?

And then combine them with sweet potatoes spiced up with my other favs (hello cumin and smoked paprika … are you sick of me talking about them yet?) and you have one heck of a breakfast.  Or breakfast for dinner?  I would totally go there except my husband likes to throw a bit of a hissy fit when I try to pull the breakfast for dinner thing.  Correction – a super manly hissy fit since I know he’s not going to like that term.

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet | cookiemonstercooking.com

Awesomeness that only dirties one skillet.  That’s a win right there friends.

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Yield: about 4 servings

Southwest Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into ½ inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ⅓ cup low-sodium vegetable broth, plus extra as needed
  • ½ cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
  • 4 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 to 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • salsa, for serving
  • hot sauce, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the potatoes and then sprinkle with the cumin, paprika, salt and cayenne. Give it a good stir then cover and let cook for about 5 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add in the vegetable broth, give it another good stir then re-cover and let cook for about 10 more minutes, until the potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. If the skillet starts to get too dry (i.e. the potatoes are sticking to the bottom, add in a little more vegetable broth, a tablespoon or two at a time - especially right before you add the cheese/eggs).
  2. When the potatoes are tender, sprinkle the pepper jack cheese evenly over the top. Next, make four small wells in the sweet potatoes (leaving a few sweet potatoes at the bottom of each well) and then break the eggs into the wells. Cover the skillet, turn the heat down to medium low / low and let cook until the eggs are set and the yolks are to your desired doneness (for me this was about 6 minutes).
  3. Remove from the heat and sprinkle with the cilantro and green onions. Serve with salsa and hot sauce, if desired.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/26/southwest-sweet-potato-breakfast-skillet/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

You didn’t think I was done sharing soups with you since it’s Spring right?  Honestly, it doesn’t really feel all that spring-like at the moment anyway.  It’s been flipping back and forth between warmer weather and cold, dreary rain.  And we might get some snow on Tuesday.  I’m soooo over it.  I’m ready for nice sunny days.  Period.  But mother nature doesn’t feel like listening to me I guess.  No soup for her.

But there is plenty of soup for me … and you.  And guess who else?  My not-so-very-well mannered little beagle.  The day I was taking photos of this soup the FedEx guy came and I had to sign for a package.  I was gone for maybe 30 seconds …. 30 seconds!!  And I came back to find her straddling a chair with her two paws up on the table … lapping up the soup.

She didn’t seem to care when I yelled at her for touching the food.  She was too excited about getting some this chard and lentil vegetable soup in her tummy.

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

And I mean it is really tasty so I guess I can’t fault her for that.  This is one of those soups that I think is perfect for the transition from winter to spring – comforting and warm yet still nice and light.

It is full of different veggies, including one of my favorites at the moment – swiss chard.  Can’t get enough.  And then with a good amount of lentils, for a little bulk.  Healthy, filling and satisfying.  It goes perfect with a loaf of crusty bread for dinner … or with some pita chips the next day for lunch.

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup | cookiemonstercooking.com

So go make a big bowl of this soup – but keep it away from any hungry beagles in your life.  They can’t be trusted.  Nope nope nope.

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Chard and Lentil Vegetable Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed and picked through
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion. Cook until it starts to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the carrots and zucchini. Cook for another 5 to 7 minutes, until tender. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  2. Add in the vegetable broth, tomatoes, lentils, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then cover, reduce the heat to medium / medium-low and let simmer for about 35 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Add in the swiss chard and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with some parmesan cheese.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/24/chard-lentil-vegetable-soup/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

Hi!  How are ya?  How was your weekend?  It was beautiful here on Saturday and I soaked up every single second I could outside.  But more importantly, my mom is here!  She flew in yesterday and I have big plans for her week-long visit.  You know, restaurants, shopping at the outlets – all very important things.  Yes yes.  {On that note – just a warning that it may take me longer to respond this week – as we will be busy with said shopping}.

Anywho, I made you some tacos.  And they involve the crockpot so they are super duper easy.  Dump in everything for the filling, walk away and return to a delicious dinner.  Or if you are like me and make it when you are home all day, you can be tortured by the awesome smells wafting from the kitchen that are making you crazy hungry and wanting to eat everything in sight.

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

And this recipe makes a ton of food.  So you can have as many tacos as you want, which is always a very good thing, yes?  I think I like mexican food a little too much for my own good.

These tacos are nice and filling, as they are packed with barley, beans and veggies.  Plus, you can then top them off with a creamy, slightly smoky avocado chipotle cream, some feta and lots of chopped cilantro.

Please excuse the fact that the avocado cream isn’t actually on the tacos in the pictures.  I meant to top them right before I started shooting and then apparently completely forgot.  In my defense I am constantly swatting away one hungry little beagle who likes to try to steal the food off the table while I’m taking photos.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many photos I have with her nose in the shot.  She thinks she’s so sneaky but that snout is hard to miss.

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream | cookiemonstercooking.com

And now I want some more tacos … although that’s pretty much the case all of the time.

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream

Yield: enough filling for at least 20 tacos

Crockpot Barley and Bean Tacos with Avocado Chipotle Cream

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup barley*
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • juice of ½ a lime
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • For the avocado chipotle cream:**
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ½ tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon half and half
  • 1 teaspoon minced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  • For serving:
  • flour or corn tortillas
  • chopped cilantro
  • crumbled feta

Instructions

  1. To make the filling - add all of the filling ingredients to a crockpot. Give it a good stir then cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. You want most of the liquid to be absorbed and the barley to be nice and tender and chewy.
  2. To make the avocado cream - remove the pit from the avocado and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl. Mash well with a fork. Add in the greek yogurt, half and half, minced chipotle and salt. Mix until well combined.
  3. To serve - spoon some of the filling onto a tortilla. Top with some of the avocado cream, cilantro and feta.

Notes

*I used hulled barley for this recipe (I buy it from the bulk bins at whole foods). If you can’t find hulled barley and use pearled barley instead, you will likely be able to reduce the cooking time by about an hour or so since pearled barley cooks quicker.

**The filling that you cook in the crockpot makes a ton of food (i.e. enough for at least 20 tacos!). For the avocado cream, the amounts listed are enough for about 8 to 10 tacos, depending on how much you use. I just made another batch of the avocado cream when we were ready to eat the rest of the filling.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/17/crockpot-barley-bean-tacos-avocado-chipotle-cream/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking. Filling inspired by a recipe given to me by a friend (hi jenna!)

 

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

You didn’t think we were done talking about farro, now did you?  You know my obsessions don’t go away that quickly.  They like to stick around for a while.  To the point where my husband complains that I need to stop making so many meals with whatever it is at a given time.  Hmpf.  Uncool I tell you.  But I just retort with my standard, well I’m cooking so I get to pick what we eat.  I can be so lovely huh?

So this brings me back to farro.  I’ve really been loving playing around with it in the kitchen.  My husband mentioned some time ago that I never make sloppy joes … so I decided to fix that.  Although I replaced the meat with farro.  I don’t think it’s exactly what he had in mind…

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

But!  We actually BOTH enjoyed these.  And they have gone into regular rotation at our house.  Although I should probably ease off them for a bit.  My husband currently has one arm in a sling … sloppy joes are messy to begin with but virtually impossible to eat one handed.  We may have discovered that when I made these not even thinking about the fact that even regular sandwiches are difficult for him to eat at the moment.  Whoops.

Now obviously these are not exactly like regular full-of-meat sloppy joes but the base flavors are there … and quite frankly they are delicious.  The farro is tender but nice and chewy.  And personally I think makes a great substitute to create a nice and “meaty” dish.

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes | cookiemonstercooking.com

And we all know that burgers, sloppy joes and the like make a great friday night meal.  What are you waiting for??

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes

Yield: 4 servings

Vegetarian Farro Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon mustard powder
  • pinch of cayenne, or more to taste
  • 1 cup pearled farro
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • burger buns or rolls, for serving
  • sliced cheese, for serving

Instructions

  1. Set a large stockpot over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion, carrot and pepper. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until the veggies are tender. Add in the garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, mustard powder and cayenne. Cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add in the farro. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add in the broth, tomato sauce, worcestershire, vinegar and brown sugar.
  2. Increase the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, cover, turn down the heat to medium / medium-low and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until almost all of the liquid is absorbed.* The farro should be tender and a little chewy. Remove from the heat, stir in the salt and let stand for about 5 minutes before serving.
  3. To serve, spoon on a burger bun (we like to toast the buns first!). You can also top with cheese, if desired.

Notes

*A lot of brands of worcestershire sauce are not vegetarian - so be sure to read the label / ingredients to check!

**I used pearled farro since that’s the kind I can find at my local stores. If you use semi-pearled or whole farro, you’ll have to increase the cooking time. Just keep simmering until the liquid is almost all absorbed and the farro is nice and tender but still a little chewy.

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/03/07/vegetarian-farro-sloppy-joes/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Spinach and Artichoke Sweet Potato Skins

Spinach and Artichoke Sweet Potato Skins | cookiemonstercooking.com

Spinach and Artichoke Sweet Potato Skins | cookiemonstercooking.com

Oh hi.  It’s Monday.  And I’m not really ready for it to be Monday.  Let’s just jump into a time machine and head back to Friday.  Yes, that will do just fine.  Because this weekend was glorious.

Couch time in the nest.  Homemade fancy (and by fancy I mean more than peanut butter on toast) brunch.  Getting invited to our sweet neighbor’s house for dinner and playing board games with their kids.  And then brunching with friends and going for a nice long walk in absolutely gorgeous weather.

Spinach and Artichoke Sweet Potato Skins | cookiemonstercooking.com

And then bam.  Back to reality.  I need to burrow in at my desk and do a ton of not-so-fun work.  The big push at the end of busy season for my day job is upon us and all I want to do is crawl back in bed.  But instead I have to put on my big girl pants and power through.

So I’ll choose to console myself with a classic dip in totally acceptable dinnertime form.  Sweet potatoes are already the heat and then we can go ahead and stuff them with a spinach and artichoke filling – that’s lighter than eating the actual dip straight up so you can definitely go ahead and call these dinner.  At least we sure did.

Spinach and Artichoke Sweet Potato Skins | cookiemonstercooking.com

I also think these would be super fun for game day food … buttt we have a long time before football returns.  So you can just file that idea away for next year.  You can thank me later.

Spinach and Artichoke Sweet Potato Skins

Yield: 3 to 4 servings as a main dish

Spinach and Artichoke Sweet Potato Skins

Ingredients

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
  • ½ cup chopped artichoke hearts from a can*
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
  • dash of worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut out three squares of aluminum foil and place a sweet potato on each. Drizzle each potato lightly with olive oil and use your fingers to rub into the potato. Use a fork to prick each potato several times then wrap each lightly with the foil. Place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 20 minutes. You can check for doneness by carefully inserting a knife into the potato - it should glide easily into the potato (and not feel resistance). When done, remove from the oven, unwrap the foil and let cool slightly.
  2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each in half and place on a baking sheet. Use a small spoon to scrape out the flesh, leaving a thin layer of potato inside each skin. Add the flesh to a large bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add in the spinach, artichokes, salt, red pepper flakes, worcestershire sauce, ricotta and cream cheese. Mix until well combined.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Scoop some the filling into each of the skins - so it’s slightly heaping. In a small bowl, mix together the panko and parmesan. Top each potato skin with a little of the mixture.
  4. Broil for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the topping is lightly toasted (watch closely so it doesn’t burn!).

Notes

*I used about ½ of a 14 ounce can of artichoke hearts to get this amount. Drain and then chop!

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/02/24/spinach-artichoke-sweet-potato-skins/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Greek Pita Pockets with Hummus

Greek Pita Pockets with Hummus | cookiemonstercooking.com

Greek Pita Pockets with Hummus | cookiemonstercooking.com

It’s Friday.  It’s Friday.  It’s Friday!!  Someone is excited huh?  I have a hot date with my couch tonight and frankly it’s never looked better.  My husband has been home for the last week recovering from surgery and he’s built this “nest” as we’ve been calling it on the couch.  And honestly it’s sort of the best thing ever – tons of blankets and pillows – like an awesome cocoon of soft fluffy goodness.

I may have plans to steal it for a bit this evening.  Would that make me a bad wife??

Greek Pita Pockets with Hummus | cookiemonstercooking.com

But before I park myself in the pile of blankets that is calling my name, we must do dinner.  A quick and easy dinner to be exact.  Like that transition?  I’m so smooth.

Because we need to talk about food for at least a few minutes.  It’s meals like this that have been getting me through the last few days.  Simple, delicious and plenty of leftovers for lunch.

Chop up a few greek salad-esq veggies, add in a light dressing and then spoon it into a pita pocket with some hummus and fresh spinach.  You can’t go wrong with that.

Greek Pita Pockets with Hummus | cookiemonstercooking.com

And then take your plate and go sit inside your fort made of blankets.  I’m seriously considering making the “nest” a permanent fixture on our couch.  No judging until you’ve tried it!

Greek Pita Pockets with Hummus

Yield: 4 to 6 sandwiches, depending on how full you stuff them

Greek Pita Pockets with Hummus

Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • For assembling:
  • 4 to 6 whole wheat pitas, cut in half
  • hummus
  • baby spinach leaves

Instructions

  1. To make the filling - add the red onion, cucumber, pepper, tomatoes, feta, oregano, salt and red pepper to a medium bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Toss until well combined.
  2. To assemble - smear the desired amount of hummus on the inside of a pita. Place a handful of spinach on top of the hummus. Using a slotted spoon to get rid of any excess liquid, spoon in some of the filling. Serve immediately.

Notes

I personally don’t like olives - they are just not my thing. At all. But if you like them, add them into the filling!

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/02/21/greek-pita-pockets-hummus/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pizza

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pizza | cookiemonstercooking.com

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pizza | cookiemonstercooking.com

Let’s kick this week off on the right foot.  Because boy do I need it.  Life has been sort of insane lately.  Without me getting all whiny and complainy, let’s just say that I bit off more than I could chew.  Story of my life.

Combine that with some other factors beyond my control and that equals one stressed out lady.  But it’s cool.  I’m dealing with it … although I’m not sure if my husband would agree with that statement.  He gets to see me all kinds of crazy on a regular basis.  The first step is admitting that you have a problem though right???

But anyway, homemade pizza does do wonders to calm me down … all that cheesy goodness I guess.  True fact.  Cheese = happiness.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pizza | cookiemonstercooking.com

And this flavor combo … is killer.  Hands down my favorite pizza right now.  The “sauce” is a slightly smoky black bean puree and then you can go right ahead and top it will some sautéed sweet potatoes, red onion and plenty of manchego cheese (which let’s just put it out there that I am utterly and completely obsessed with at the moment).

Pull it out of the oven and then throw on some cilantro and creamy delicious avocado.  Gah, I die.  So so good.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pizza | cookiemonstercooking.com

So, stressed out?  Stuff your face with a few slices of this sweet potato and black bean pizza.  You’ll feel all sorts of better, promise.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pizza

Yield: 1 large pizza

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Pizza

Ingredients

    For the pizza:
  • 1 ball pizza dough
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup low sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • about ¾ of a small sweet potato, sliced into rounds about ⅛ inch thick
  • about 1 cup freshly grated manchego cheese
  • ½ of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • For serving:
  • chopped cilantro
  • sliced avocado

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Place a pizza stone in the oven and allow the stone to heat for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and allow the dough to relax for about 10 minutes (but no longer than 30). Roll out and shape the dough and then transfer to a piece of parchment the size of your pizza stone that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.
  3. Meanwhile, add the black beans, garlic, chipotle pepper, paprika, cumin, salt and vegetable broth to a food processor. Process until smooth (and a sort of thick puree forms). Set aside.
  4. Set a small skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the sliced sweet potato and sprinkle with a little salt. Cook for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  5. Brush the edges of the pizza dough lightly with olive oil. Spread the black bean puree on the dough, using a spatula to smear it evenly (it will be a thicker layer). Sprinkle the pizza with the cheese. Top with the sweet potato slices and red onion.
  6. Transfer to the oven (put the parchment paper with the pizza directly on the pizza stone). Bake for about 12 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes, then sprinkle with the cilantro and top with the sliced avocado. Serve immediately.
http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/02/18/sweet-potato-black-bean-pizza/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking

 

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili with Farro

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili with Farro | Cookie Monster Cooking

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili with Farro | Cookie Monster Cooking

Let me share with you my newest obsession.  Farro.  I can’t get enough of it lately.  Why, I have no idea but I am suddenly alllll about it.  My husband is certainly a good sport when I get into one of these crazes – he happily eats whatever I put in front of him (or at least pretends he is happy about whatever it is).  Even if we have had farro for oh, a few times within the last week.  And lentils – I’m on quite a kick with those right now too.

But we’ll talk lentils another time.  For now we’re going to stick with farro.  More specifically this crockpot vegetarian chili with farro.

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili with Farro | Cookie Monster Cooking

Because we’ve had this at least three times lately – and I have more stashed in my freezer for another day (side note – this chili freezes really well!).  And it’s super simple.  Chop a few veggies and throw it all in your crockpot.  And that’s it.  Easy peasy.

And the best part is that this is a nice and hearty vegetarian chili with a spice level that you can adjust to your own tastes.  Filled with plenty of beans, chewy farro and lots of veggies.  And did I mention it was easy?  Oh yes, yes I did.

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili with Farro | Cookie Monster Cooking

So make yourself a pot and then cuddle up on the couch with a big bowl and a blanket.  But don’t spill the chili … not that I know about that or anything.  You really don’t want a messy couch.

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili with Farro

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Crockpot Vegetarian Chili with Farro

Ingredients

    For the chili:
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 1 (8 ounce) package baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup farro, rinsed and drained
  • 1 to 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced**
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Topping / serving ideas:
  • plain greek yogurt / sour cream
  • sliced green onions
  • chopped cilantro
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • sliced avocado
  • tortilla chips

Instructions

  1. Add all of the ingredients for the chili to a 6-quart crockpot. Give it a good stir then cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours (I do 8 hours in my crockpot).
  2. The chili should have thickened up slightly by the time it is done and the veggies should be nice and tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Top as desired.

Notes

The chili will thicken up even more as leftovers. If needed, add a splash of veggie broth when reheating to loosen it up.

**Adjust the amount of chipotle pepper to your taste. If you go with 1, the chili will be really mild in spice. We like to add the full 3, to give it a good kick (but that’s just our preference!).

http://cookiemonstercooking.com/2014/01/13/crockpot-vegetarian-chili-farro/

Source:
Cookie Monster Cooking