Vegetarian Pot Pie

This recipe doesn’t call for a meat substitute, but I took the liberty of adding one. I found Morningstar Farms Steak Strips recently (I haven’t seen those in forever), so I used those. I just browned them in a pan and cut them in to bite-size pieces. I used two sheets of puff pastry (instead of one). This turned out to be really good! It wasn’t the prettiest dish I’ve ever made, but it was very tasty! And I ate leftovers for lunch for a couple of days, and the leftovers were even better!

rating: 9.3

Vegetarian Pot Pie

serves 6


3 medium Yukon gold potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 large onion, finely chopped
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick (about 1 ½ cups)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups milk
2 cups vegetable broth
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup white wine
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed and unfolded


Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Pierce the potatoes several times with a fork or knife, and microwave until cooked through, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes and the power of the microwave. Allow potatoes to cool slightly so that you can handle them, and chop into ½-inch to 1-inch dice. Transfer cubed potatoes to a large bowl, and set aside.
Heat a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Once the oil is hot, sauté the onions until starting to brown and caramelize, about 15-20 minutes. Add the carrots to the onions, and continue to cook, and until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer cooked vegetables to the large bowl with the potatoes, and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, and add the butter and 2 tablespoons oil to the same pot. When the butter has melted, stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Slowly and gradually stir the milk, broth, thyme, salt, and pepper into the flour mixture. Continue to stir constantly as the sauce thickens. Stir in the white wine, and cook for an additional minute.
Turn the heat off, and stir the cooked vegetables and the peas into the sauce, until well combined. Taste for salt and pepper.
Pour the filling into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, and bake in 400° F oven for 18 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven (keeping the oven on and close the door behind you), and place the puff pastry over the top of the filling, gently folding some of the pasty over the sides of the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut 3 slits in the top of the puff pasty to allow steam to escape. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until the puff pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.


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Fried Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Mustard and Cider Dressing

Wow, I don’t think I have ever enjoyed brussels sprouts as much as I did with this recipe! These  are GOOD! While frying them, it was hard to stop nibbling on the fried ones and dipping them in the sauce. My kids even ate these! I need to practice my matchstick cutting skills, though.

rating: 9.5

Fried Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Mustard and Cider Dressing
(Food Network magazine, Nov. 2016)

serves 4
time needed: 20 min.


2/3 cup creme fraiche (couldn’t find, used sour cream instead)
1/3 cup whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil
4 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (quartered or cut into sixths, depending on size)
1 Granny Smith apple, cut into matchsticks



In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the creme fraiche, mustard, vinegar and honey. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a straight-sided shallow saute pan, heat the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts; they should begin to sizzle and fry immediately. Continue to cook, rotating the Brussels sprouts on all sides, until crispy, about 5 minutes.
Drain the Brussels sprouts and toss in enough vinaigrette to dress them. Top with apple. Season with salt and pepper and serve.


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Crock Pot Cheesecake

I thought this recipe was too good to be true. I made it and let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours. It was *okay*, but it didn’t have the texture of cheesecake to me. It tasted like custard. So, my kids liked it, so I kept it in the fridge for them to have more of the next day. It sat in the fridge overnight. When I got it out to give my kids some, I tasted it again and OH! It had changed! It suddenly had the texture of cheesecake! So I would totally suggest to make this then refrigerate overnight. I used a canned cherry topping. Let me tell you, I will never make this again because I almost ate the whole thing myself. EIGHT SERVINGS all for me! This is so so good, but I am so so bad.

rating: 9.9

Crock Pot Cheesecake

serves 8


3 – 8oz Packages of Cream Cheese (softened)
3 Eggs
¾ Cup Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup of Graham Cracker Crumbs
3 Tablespoons of Stick Butter, melted (I had to use about 5 tbsp)
Fruit Topping (optional)


Add softened cream cheese and sugar to a large bowl and mix until creamy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time until well blended.Stir in vanilla.
In a separate bowl mix together your graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. The crumbs should stick together when pressed between your fingers, this will be your crust.
Find your largest crock pot and a separate pan/baking dish that will fit inside with a little room left. You don’t want it too be so snug you can remove it later.
Press the graham cracker crumbs evenly into the bottom of the removable baking dish/pan.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the top of the graham crackers.
In your crockpot add 2 to 3 cups water. We are creating a water bath. We don’t want to overfill and get water in the cheesecake. just enough for the pan to sit in the water.
Place the cheesecake pan in the crock-pot and place the lid of the crock-pot on.
Cook on high for 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes or until the center does not have a watery consistency when you stick a knife into it.
Let cool for 30 mins to an hour at room temperature. Then refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving
Top with fruit if desired.


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Garlic Cheese Pull-Apart Bread

This was really good! It’s pretty simple, but it does take some time. We all liked it, but were only able to eat about 1/4 of it! This would be great for a group or large dinner.

rating: 9

Garlic Cheese Pull-Apart Bread


16 frozen white dinner rolls
½ C butter, melted
1 C grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 tsp dry parsley flakes
1½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp Italian seasoning
½ tsp onion powder


Remove frozen rolls from freezer and loosely wrap them in plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.
Cut rolls in half with a clean pair of scissors.
Combine melted butter and seasonings together. Pour over dough and gently mix. Add ½ C of grated cheese and combine. You want each piece of dough to be coated.
Line the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan with the pieces of dough and then top with remaining grated cheese.
Allow to rise in a warm place for 1½ – 2½ hours. Cover bottom of pan with foil to prevent butter from leaking out.
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until center is completely done.



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Cavatelli with Artichokes, Olives & Leeks

I happened to have another pasta on hand for this, so I didn’t use cavatelli. This was pretty good, although I have learned that I no longer care for tarragon. Isn’t it funny how your tastes change? This was easy to make.

rating: 8

Cavatelli with Artichokes, Olives & Leeks
(Everyday with Rachael Ray, Oct. 2016)

serves 4


1 cup green olives, such as Cerignola
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 box (9 oz.) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and sliced lengthwise
2 leeks, white and light-green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon lemon zest plus about 1/4 cup juice
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup chicken stock (I used vegetarian “chicken” stock)
1/2 cup white wine
1 pound dried or fresh cavatelli
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (a handful), plus more to pass at the table
1/3 cup fresh tarragon (a handful), coarsely chopped
EVOO, for drizzling


Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
On a work surface, using the flat side of a chef’s knife, crush the olives [1]. Pull out the pits [2], then chop the olives [3].
Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high. Add the olive oil, two turns of the pan. Melt the butter into the oil. When the butter foams, add the artichokes and leeks; cook, stirring often, until the leeks soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the thyme, garlic and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper; stir until the garlic softens, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the olives, stock and wine; reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer, stirring often, while the pasta cooks.
Salt the boiling water, add the pasta and cook until almost al dente. Reserve a ladle of the starchy cooking water; drain the pasta. Toss the pasta, cooking water, lemon juice, 1/3 cup cheese and the tarragon with the sauce; season. Drizzle with EVOO. Pass more cheese at the table for topping.


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Huevos Rancheros Tacos

My son and I love huevos rancheros, so when I was searching for recipes and saw this one, I knew I had to try it. We liked it, but I prefer regular huevos rancheros better. I didn’t love the beans in this recipe, and it ended up being kind of messy. But they were okay.

rating: 7

Huevos Rancheros Tacos


2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1 can (15-ounces) dark red kidney beans, well rinsed and drained (I used 2 cans)
1/2-teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
1/4-teaspoon chili powder, or to taste (I omitted because I was out of chili powder)
1/2-teaspoon dried oregano
salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
8 eggs
8 (6-inch) whole wheat tortillas, warmed
1 can (10-ounces) Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican-Blend Cheese
1 avocado, diced
fresh lime juice
fresh parsley or fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish


In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Add diced onions and season with salt; cook for 3 minutes, or until translucent.
Add minced garlic and continue to cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
Stir in beans; season with cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper.
Continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans have softened.
Remove from heat, and using the back of a fork or a potato masher, mash the beans until they resemble chunky mashed potatoes. Set aside.
If you want smoother beans, return to heat and add 1/4-cup water; simmer until beans are thick and of spreading consistency. Set aside.
In a large skillet, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.
Break eggs and gently slide into skillet, one at a time. (In my skillet, I can fit about 4 eggs at a time.)
Reduce heat to low and cook slowly until whites are completely firm and yolks begin to thicken but are not hard.
Carefully slide a spatula under each egg and flip; Cook until desired doneness. Add more olive oil as needed.
Evenly divide and spread prepared beans on warmed tortillas and top with cooked eggs.
Add diced tomatoes & green chilies over the eggs.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Add diced avocados and squeeze fresh lemon juice over each prepared taco.
Garnish with parsley or cilantro.


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Swedish “Meatball” Noodle Soup

I used frozen veggie meatballs for this soup. Husband said this was one of the best soups I have ever made! My 9 year old had 3 bowls of soup, and my 6 year old picked out all the noodles. This didn’t take too long to make, and even though I was out of corn starch, it still turned out fine.

rating: 9

Swedish Meatball Noodle Soup

Serves: 6


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
8 oz. Egg Noodles, cooked al dente according to package directions
1/4-1/2 cup sour cream (personal preference)

Swedish Meatballs:
2 slices bread, toasted and torn into pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 large onion, minced
2/3 pound ground beef
1/3 pound ground pork
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

5 tablespoons butter
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, chopped
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup flour
7 cups beef broth (I used vegetarian “beef” broth)
1 cup heavy cream mixed with 2 tablespoons cornstarch**
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I omitted)

To make the meatballs, place the bread into a small bowl and mix in 1/2 cup cream. Allow to stand until bread absorbs the cream, about 15 minutes, then add bread to food processor and pulse until completely broken up (it will look like mushy bread). Add pulverized cream bread to a large bowl.
While the bread is soaking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add onions and sauté until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add to large bowl with bread.
To the onions and bread, add remaining meatball ingredients and mix. Form meat into 1 tablespoon meatballs, approximately 40 meatballs.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, add half of the meatballs and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned on all sides, approximately 5 minutes. Remove meatballs to paper towel lined baking sheet. Add remaining meatballs to skillet and repeat.
Melt 5 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven/large soup pot over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery and mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
Turn heat to low and gradually stir in beef broth followed by heavy cream. Add Worcestershire sauce, parsley, paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, stirring frequently until thickened to desired consistency, approximately 5 minutes.
Add meatballs and lower the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for 5 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through, stirring occasionally.
Stir in sour cream until smooth, followed by noodles. Taste and add additional salt, pepper, red pepper flakes if desired.
Garnish with fresh parsley (optional) and serve.


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