The grilled cheese series continues! This grilled cheese has some legit Thanksgiving flavors. They’re healthy, cheap, and quite filling. Win. Win. Win. This is what you need on Black Friday! Forget that 3am shopping shenanigans. Mash up some of those leftover sweet potatoes, chop the sage from the stuffing, and pillage those cheese plate leftovers!
Sweet Potato & Sage Grilled Cheese
2 slices sourdough bread
1/4 of a sweet potato, cooked and fork mashed
2 slices sharp white cheddar cheese
~3 leaves of sage, chopped chiffonade
2 teaspoons butter
Assemble the ingredients and heat a large pan to medium-low heat with a tablespoon or two of olive oil.
Layer the sandwich with a slice of bread, 1/2 the cheese, the sweet potato, and sage, then the rest of the cheese and the other slice of bread.
Spread a little butter on the bread and turn the sandwich into the pan. Cover and cook for ~3 minutes. Spread the remaining butter onto the other slice of the bread.
Flip and cook for another ~3 minutes.
I love the sweetness of the sweet potato with the sharp cheddar and the sourdough bread. My sage plant is going strong so this came locally!
As the only mushroom-eater in my house, I alone can testify that these have such great flavor. The marsala wine is unique and a fun addition to salads, as a side, or anywhere! Mushrooms are like little sponges for the flavor around them so marinating them is perfect!
Marsala Marinated Mushrooms
8 oz mushrooms
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.
In a glass jar, mix together the marsala wine, oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme.
Boil the mushrooms for 2 minutes then add into the jar.
Refrigerate 6+ hours.
They pack a punch of legit flavor. I put a few into salads and plan to use the rest in some meatless lunches.
This mac and cheese is veggie packed while still delightfully cheesey. Plus, the squash adds that iconic orange pop of color! This would be the perfect fuel before trick or treating!
Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese
1/2 pound pasta
1 1/2 cup butternut squash puree (10 oz frozen, or 1/2 butternut squash, roasted)
2 tablespoons cream cheese
4 oz Velveeta mini-block
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper
1 cup shredded cheddar
Bring salted water to a boil for the pasta. Add the pasta in and cook until al dente.
In a large pot over medium heat, mix together the squash puree, velveeta, cream cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Stir until smooth and all combined. Spoon 1/2 – 3/4 of the sauce onto the drained al dente pasta.
Mix well and add in more sauce, as desired.
Add in the shredded cheddar.
Serve hot, or bake with cheese or breadcrumbs on top.
This was a good meal to feel like a treat, like true comfort food, without guilt. The little one loved it. I had some extra sauce so I froze it for a quick dinner another time to throw over some pasta.
Once again, my go-to appetizer that doesn’t need reheating comes into play, with a Greek twist! I love greek flavors and this was a great vehicle for it! I added fresh oregano and caesar dressing to the filling and topped them with cucumber, feta, and tomato.
Greek Deviled Eggs (makes 24 halves)
1 dozen eggs
1/4 cup mayonase
1/4 cup creamy Caesar dressing
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
salt & pepper
1/4 cucumber, chopped
6 cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons feta
Hard boil the eggs, then put into an ice water bath and completely cool before cracking the shell. Overnight!
Crack the shells, slice in half, and pop the yolks into a bowl. Add in the mayo, dressing, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Stir well until fully blended, then spoon to a ziplock bag.
Snip the bottom corner and pipe into the egg white halves.
Top with cucumber, tomato, and feta. Enjoy!
These were a hit! I think the toppings gave these a fresh element and told everyone what flavors were in here. I loved the oregano and caesar in there. Hmm. What’s next? I don’t have any more in mind right now, but they go quickly at a party and span a bunch of dietary restrictions…plus, they don’t need reheating making them a star.
My other deviled egg variations:
Taco Spiced Deviled Eggs
Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Sour Cream & Onion Deviled Eggs
My boss made this for a potluck and it was delicious. I knew I had to whip it up immediately. I liked it warm-ish and it’s great cool. I could live in a container of ricotta, but I also LOVED the mint, basil, and oregano with the lemon zest. It is so easy and so so so full of flavor! Also this is the world’s fastest dinner.
It seems like everyone has made this, but here’s one more
Martha made a similar one, though hers uses sliced zucchini & fettuccine.
Food & Wine made a similar one, with zucchini chunks.
Epicurious made a similar one, with fewer herbs.
Zucchini, Ricotta, and Herb Pasta (for 2 entrees or 4 sides)
1/2 pound short shaped pasta
1 large zucchini, shredded
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup ricotta
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 lemon, zested
Salt & Pepper
Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dante.
While the pasta cooks, shred the zucchini and add to a medium skillet with the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add salt & pepper and remove from heat.
Mix the pasta, ricotta, and zucchini mixture.
Add in the herbs, lemon zest, and salt & pepper.
Serve & enjoy, or refrigerate until serving if making in advance!
I like the creamy ricotta. Of course, ricotta is my fav! Zucchini doesn’t have tons of flavor alone, but with the garlic and all the herbs. I think it needed salt and pepper throughout: in the zucchini and mixed throughout. The herbs and the lemon are truly what make this special. Maybe I should turn the same flavors into a pizza!
‘What I Ate’ is a series of posts for so-easy-this-doesn’t-need-a-recipe but I’m sharing with you for the idea or inspiration.
More toast! I’m challenging myself to come up with more interesting toast toppers for June, thus, #ToastedTuesday ! With the weather warming, these are great meal ideas beyond breakfast…despite my quest for different breakfasts every day! I went savory and for this breakfast, I’d totally eat this for lunch or dinner! It is practically summer! Eat all the basil/pesto!
There aren’t really local tomatoes around these New England parts yet, but I’m chomping at the bit for gooooood tomatoes. Mine were fine, but I’m glad the burrata was steller and the pesto was addictive!
Italian Toast with Burrata, Pesto, & Tomato
Ingredients: (for 2)
2 slices of good bread
2 tablespoons pesto
1 tomato, sliced thin
1 small burrata ball (or fresh mozzarella)
Toast the bread to your likeness.
Spread on the pesto and sliced tomatoes. Then slice the burrata and place on top of the toast.
Sprinkle with pepper & kosher salt and serve immediately.
Ohh yes. This is the perfect way to start the day. Burrata is softer and filled with a luscious cream for a gooey center. It is perfectly mild and creamy to contrast the pesto and crunchy toast. I was surprised to find it at the grocery store, but can’t wait for the farmer’s market go get it from local cheese folks.
I thought the salt was necessary and used a rosemary seasoned salt. This felt special, despite it taking only 2 minutes to make. Go ahead! Make a Wednesday special!
(today is Mr. J’s birthday so stay tuned for his special Birthday Burger! We’re on year 6 of this tradition: here are the years past, get caught up! Happy happy birthday to my always-taste-tester!!)
This broccoli salad is a staple with our fam and is over due to be blogged! It is crunchy the light dressing is just enough for the raw broccoli. It is still pretty good the following day, or easy enough to make just enough for a few servings…or a lot.
Broccoli Salad (serves ~6)
1-2 heads of broccoli (about 2-3 cups)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2/3 cup raisins (or dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cherries)
Chop the broccoli into bite size pieces.
Whisk together the dressing of mayo, sugar, and vinegar.
Mix together the broccoli, dressing, and raisins. Let it come together in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or 4 hours before serving.
I love this one. I used 1 1/2 broccoli heads and thought maybe there wasn’t going to be enough dressing, but it was perfect. Mr. J most often makes this and thought the ratio would be right. He advised it often looks like not enough but to toss it together and wait till dinner. (I do the same with pad thai and too much dressing isn’t great on that either!)
It is a good one to prep in advance, even if just mixing up the dressing and chopping the broccoli. I’m all about working to prep dinner in advance. I’d totally shake up the dressing and in the morning before heading to work.
The little one wanted to help so I was going to have him put the chopped broccoli into the container, but he was only in it for the snacks. He munched the broccoli & raisins and whisked the dressing with me. We got this from my mom and we keep it on a regular rotation through the summer.
Ohh so good. I looove mushrooms but I get there not everyone’s fav. I found a nifty mixed mushroom pack and whipped up a mushroom spread. I wanted some texture but a spread to get some flavor in each bite without whole mushrooms. I’m psyched to have leftovers for toast, or burgers, or whatever!
Truffle Mushroom Spread onto a Grilled Cheese (for 2 & leftover spread)
4 oz mushrooms (mine was a mix of crimini, shiitake, & oyster)
1 oz butter
1 oz olive oil
1 teaspoon truffle oil
1 teaspoon mayo
4 slices of bread
2-3 slices white American cheese
1-2 slices Fontina cheese
Saute mushrooms, butter, oil and truffle oil over medium low heat with a generous sprinkle of salt & pepper.
Pulse half in a food processor a few times to chop then scoop into a bowl. With the 2nd half of the mushrooms in the food processor, add a dollop of mayo and salt & pepper and pulse more into a smaller chop. Add into the bowl and mix together with the coarsely chopped mushrooms. Make in advance & refrigerate until serving or make and enjoy right away.
In the pan where the mushrooms cooked, heat to medium with a little olive oil.
Assemble the grilled cheeses with mushroom spread on one slice and the duo of cheeses on the other. Spread a tiny bit of butter onto one side and butter side down into the pan. When it is in the pan, spread the other side with a bit of butter.
Cook 2 minutes on each side, until cooked to your liking and all the cheese melts. add a cover to the pan to help melt the cheese before the bread toasts too much.
Let sit for 3-5 minutes. Flip once on the cutting board before cutting. Seriously, give it a few minutes before slicing.
Enjoy! Serve with some greens tossed in balsamic. The decadent and gooey grilled cheese with a little tang of the balsamic greens is perfect. I loved how oozy this was. I have some awesome wheaty & nutty bread but used oatmeal bread. American cheese provided the melt factor and the fontina provides a nutty flavor which is strong enough to stand up to the truffle oil and butter. Loved it.
Specialty grilled cheeses make great dinners for speed, variety, and this is not your lunchbox sandwich. I’m ready to put this spread on everything. Can you imagine butterflying a pork loin and stuffing with this spread and some spinach? Ohh yeah.
I was wanting something beyond pasta with sauce and was thinking I’d make some tweaks to up the veggie quotient. I used wheat pasta. Gasp! I never do that. Never. This was a good spot to do so. You can’t even tell here – otherwise, I really wouldn’t have.
Veggie-Loaded Baked Pasta
Ingredients (for 5-6 servings):
28 oz can Kitchen Ready tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 sweet potato (fully cooked)
1 large zucchini, diced
1/2 pound wheat pasta (penne, ziti, rigatoni)
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup ricotta
Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
In a large pot, add in the canned tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic, and mashed sweet potato. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low.
Chop then roast the zucchini in a single layer on a sheet pan, drizzled with olive oil for 20-30 minutes – until golden. Stir a few times & leave the oven on.
Bring salted water to a boil for the pasta. Then cook to al dente, according to the package. When cooked, mix about a cup of the tomato sauce into the pasta.
Spray a baking dish with non-stick spray. Spoon a cup of sauce onto the bottom, add a 1/3 of the pasta, then sprinkle with spinach and zucchini.
Sprinkle with 1/3 of the mozzarella and a few spoonfuls of ricotta.
Spoon half of the remaining pasta on top, then add remaining spinach, remaining zucchini, half of the shredded mozzarella, and remaining ricotta.
Top with remaining pasta and some more sauce (reserve the remaining mozzarella for the last few minutes of baking).
Bake 40 minutes, covered.
Remove the cover, top with remaining cheese, and bake about 5 more minutes, until melted.
Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
I loved this! Count ‘em: sweet potato; spinach; zucchini. Plus wheat pasta. It is delightfully cheesy and flavorful without seeming veggie focused. The sweet potato thickened the sauce and added a bit of sweetness. It was leftover from the little one and I popped it into the freezer awhile back…not even sure what I was going to do with it!
Gnocchi is a fav to have stashed in the freezer for speedy dinners, such as this! I made a really quick sauce and really focused on this dinner being meatless and flavorful!
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes
17 oz frozen gnocchi
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon garlic
1 tablespoon cream cheese
1/4 cup chicken or veggie stock
1 tablespoon basil, chopped
Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper then roast in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, until they blister and pop.
Boil salted water and add in the gnocchi. Cook until they float.
In a large skillet, melt butter and add garlic, and cream cheese to a medium heat. Bring to a simmer and add in the tomatoes and the gnocchi when cooked.
Simmer and stir in the basil. Cook for about 5 minutes to thicken and reduce a little.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan.
I loved the slight creaminess from the cream cheese but the lightness from the broth. I think this is a good trick to keep up my sleeve!
Tip 1: use a slotted spoon to scoop the gnocchi out, then there’s no colander to clean. Tip 2: I had a bit too much sauce so I used the slotted spoon to dish the pasta so the excess sauce stayed in the pan.