Broccoli Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese

I just realized that my last three recipes were all full-blown comfort meals…I don’t mind it at all! This time of year certainly calls for warm meals that make you want to stay inside and forget about the cold New England weather outside. This mac and cheese was the perfect winter recipe – it has plenty of cheese while sneaking in a bunch of veggies! Then the addition of crumbled bacon is the perfect topping. Enjoy and stay warm!

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Broccoli Bacon Mac 'n Cheese

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (or more if desired)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 1 10-oz package frozen butternut squash puree, thawed
  • 10 oz uncooked pasta
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

1.) Heat a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook bacon until crisp and remove from pan onto a paper towel-lined plate.

2.) Add onion and garlic to bacon drippings and saute until soft. Add stock, milk, and squash and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.

3.) Add pasta, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then add in broccoli. Cook until pasta is done and sauce is thickened.

4.) Add 1 cup of cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle bacon and the rest of the cheese on top.

Hearty Veggie Chili

I’m finally on winter break from grad school, which means I have time to catch up on blogging! I always say I’ll find time to blog during the semester and then all the homework and work and life gets in the way. So now is my catch up time! I made this chili when it first started getting cold this fall. It is very filling and the addition of grains give it a richer, heartier taste. You’ll forget there is no meat in it! It’s the perfect recipe for Meatless Monday or just for those who love veggies!

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Hearty Veggie Chili

Adapted from: Cooking Light Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cups mirepoix mix (chopped celery, carrots, and onion)
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 10 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked freekeh (or another grain, like wheat berries or quinoa)
  • 1 bottle beer
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained

Directions:

1.) Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the green pepper, mirepoix mix, jalapeno, mushrooms, and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown.

2.) Add the tomato paste and spices (through paprika), cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the diced tomatoes, corn, and beef broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

2.) Cook freekeh (or other grain) according to package instructions. Add the cooked freekeh, beer, soy sauce, and beans to the chili and cook for 20 minutes. Serve topped with your favorite ingredients.

Cheesy Apple Beer Soup

This recipe is perfect for cold fall/winter days, preferably in some cozy sweatpants by a fire. I rarely get a chance to hang around in my sweatpants by a fire, but I certainly have had plenty of cold occasions to enjoy some soup! This soup was really easy to make and is very hearty. It’s got lots of cheese (which is always a good thing), the slight sweetness from the apples, and the rich flavor that comes from the beer. It’s the perfect comfort food! I served it with a roll and a side salad with blue cheese, apples, and walnuts. Delicious and filling!

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Cheesy Apple Beer Soup

Adapted from: Half Baked Harvest

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Pinch brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cooked bacon, chopped
  • 2/3 cup apple cider
  • 1 large apple, chopped (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 12 oz. beer (I used Sam Adams)
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk (I used soy)
  • 12 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz brie cheese, rind removed and cubed

Directions:

1.) Heat a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of brown sugar. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Then add the bacon and cook for about another minute.

2.) Slowly add in the apple cider, let it cook into the onions, add some more and continue to cook. Do this until the onions are caramelized.

3.) Add the apple and thyme to the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until softened. Add in any remaining apple cider, the beer, chicken broth and red pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes or until the apples are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

4.) Meanwhile, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Set aside. Once the apples are soft, bring the soup to a low bowl. Whisk in the milk mixture and boil until the soup thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

5.) Stir in the cheddar cheddar cheese and brie until melted and smooth. Simmer the soup 5 minutes or until ready to serve. Top with a little extra cheese and serve!

Crockpot Beef Ragu over Polenta

It’s officially fall and the time for warm, easy crockpot meals is here! This recipe was so easy and the perfect comfort meal. I think next time I might add some more spices or veggies to amp up the flavor of the sauce. I didn’t drain the tomatoes, and I felt the sauce wasn’t thick enough, so my advice would be to drain them. But I just like things extra sauce-y, so maybe it was just me. I topped with goat cheese and served over polenta. The roast gets very tender and shreds apart – yummm!

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Crockpot Beef Ragu over Polenta

Adapted from: Pinch of Yum

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs beef round roast
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups dry polenta

Directions:

1.) Add beef to crock pot. Add rest of ingredients up until tomato pasta. Stir well and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until beef shreds easily.

2.) Cook polenta according to package instructions.

3.) Top a heaping scoop of polenta with beef mixture and sprinkle with goat cheese. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

Switching up my salads weekly is like a game to me. How can I combine my favorite toppings in different ways to make a delicious salad that I don’t mind eating all week? Usually I try to base them off salads I’ve had in a restaurant or seen on Pinterest. Last week was a Pinterest copy-cat recipe – a Mediterranean salad bowl. I added all my favorite “Mediterranean” toppings (as well as avocado…I just can’t have a salad without it…) on a big pile of greens and it was delicious! Since I topped with hummus, I don’t think it really needed dressing, but I tried to make one anyways. I used tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, a little milk, and some sriracha. Kind of random, I know. It was ok but not fantastic – so Mediterranean dressing ideas are welcome!

Also, I fully planned to make the falafels from scratch, but ran out of time. Story of my life! So the ones I used were in the frozen section at Trader Joe’s and they’re really really good. But if you make them from scratch, I’m jealous of you. Someday I will have time to do that too. 🙂

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Mediterranean Veggie Bowl

Adapted from: The Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups spring mix
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, diced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1/8 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/8 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2-3 falafel patties
  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • Dressing (optional)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven and bake falafel (frozen or homemade).

2.) In a big bowl, add spring mix. Top with the rest of the toppings and the warm falafel. Enjoy!

Roasted Veggie Lentil Bowl

This recipe was sort of based off of this recipe of mine while also trying to recreate a grain bowl I had at B.Good. So what that means is I threw it together, hoped for the best, and it turned out really well! This makes a great lunch and can be served cold like a salad or you can heat the lentils and veggies before serving. You can also add any ingredients you’re in the mood for! I think next time I might try making a spicy vinaigrette to go with it…I like adding some heat 😉

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Roasted Veggie Lentil Bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup lentils, dry
  • 2 cups butternut squash, cubed
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1 cup onions and peppers, cut into strips
  • 3 avocados
  • 6 cups salad mix
  • 1 carton cherry tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries (or another no-sugar-added dried fruit)
  • 3/4 sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup crumbled cheese (feta, goat, etc.)
  • Salad dressing of choice (I like a classic olive oil/balsamic vinaigrette)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray baking sheets with cooking spray and spread out butternut squash, mushrooms, and onions and peppers. Drizzle with a little olive oil and whatever seasonings you’d like. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until soft, moving veggies around every so often. Keep an eye on the mushrooms, which cook quicker!

2.) Cook lentils in a small sauce saucepan by combining 1 cup dry lentils with 2 cups water. Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce to low and let simmer for 20-30 minutes or until fully cooked. Add a little salt and remove from heat.

3.) Assemble salad in a large bowl: add 1 cup salad mix, top with about 1/2 cup lentils and 1/3 cup veggie mix (heated if you’d like), then top with 1/2 an avocado sliced, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and 2 tbsp each of sunflower seeds, dried cherries, and cheese. Drizzle with dressing of choice and enjoy!

Chocolate Overnight Oats – 2 Ways!

When you’re as busy as I am, especially heading into a new school semester, overnight oats are the perfect on-the-go breakfast. You can make them in less than 10 minutes the night before and in the morning you just grab them on your way out. I try to save time anywhere I can – yet I am still always 5-10 minutes late for everything (I’m working on that). I love chocolate, so I usually try to make chocolate-based oats, which ends up tasting like a dessert for breakfast! Here I am sharing my go-to recipe, which can be adapted to fit any chocolate-y craving. My favorites are chocolate, coconut, and almond and chocolate, banana, and peanut butter!

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Chocolate Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

1.) Mix all ingredients together in an airtight container. Top with desired toppings and leave in the fridge overnight (covered).

2.) In the morning, mix everything together. Add more maple syrup if not sweet enough. Enjoy hot or cold!