Go Green Vegetarian Bake

In last week’s post, Less Meat!,  I told you that I wanted to try going meatless a few days a week. Today was a meatless day. My breakfast and lunch were not creative, but I made up a vegetable bake for dinner. Maybe I should call it an “everything but the kitchen sink” bake. I had a lot of vegetables that needed to be used before they spoiled, so I grabbed everything green in my refrigerator.

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I loosely based the recipe on one I found on Pinterest for spinach artichoke chicken and my own chicken, mushroom, and broccoli casserole. They have become favorites around my house. It has made multiple appearances, so I keep artichoke hearts on hand. I added those to the green veggies above.

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So, what do I have in this mixture? It included:

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 minced garlic cloves

1/2 chopped green pepper

1/2 chopped jalapeno

1 cup kale

1 can artichoke hearts

1/2 head of broccoli

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Next, I added three heaping tablespoons of greek yogurt and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese. I mixed it until everything was coated with yogurt and cheese.

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Next, I made a crumb topping:

1/2 cup of italian bread crumbs

3 tablespoons parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon cumin

a handful of chopped almonds

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I sprinkled the topping on the bake and baked it at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

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I thought the dish turned out pretty well. The jalapenos, garlic, cumin, and cilantro gave it a lot of nice flavors and it wasn’t too spicy. I think next time I will try to add a little yogurt to the topping to make it a little pasty before baking it. It just didn’t get that shell like consistency and brown the way I had imagined before putting it into the oven. The only thing in it that could be considered unhealthy was the cheese, but it wasn’t that much cheese per serving. Also, the only thing that would prevent this from being paleo would be the bread crumbs, which could easily be replaced with a coconut flour mixture or a flax seed and almond mixture as the topping. I want to keep working on this one to perfect it, but I think it will eventually be a keeper. And there were leftovers for my other veggie only days this week!

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One Skillet Jambalaya

The last time we went to the grocery, I pulled out my list to make sure we had everything we wanted. I’m a planner and I like lists. I rarely divert from my list. And on this particular shopping day, my list was complete: chicken, bread, eggs, almond milk, bananas, apples, broccoli, sweet potatoes. But then I saw smoked sausage, and I can’t explain it, but I had to have it. I also had to have the Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Ice Cream…

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I wasn’t sure what I planned to do with it. Should I throw it in the crockpot one day? Nope. Should I use it for a big weekend breakfast? Tempting but nope. I settled on making an easy jambalaya that would only require one knife, one cutting board, and one skillet. The fewer dishes we can dirty, the better.

First I chopped the smoked sausage, one yellow onion, one green pepper, 3/4 of a container of grape tomatoes, and one can of green chile peppers. I sauteed this in 4 tablespoons of butter and 2 minced cloves of garlic until the sausage was brown.

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I added 2 cups of chicken broth and 1 cup of rice. The seasoning is a little tricker because we like it quite spicy and I didn’t exactly measure the spices. I used 4-5 tablespoons of cayenne pepper, 2-3 tablespoons of paprika, a few shakes of oregano, and a few shakes of dried bay leaves.

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To give it a little extra kick, I added Sriracha.

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I let the dish simmer for about 25 minutes to get the rice tender.

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It was so good and definitely warming on a cold winter day. I couldn’t stop eating it. Luckily, I have a little leftover for lunch tomorrow. I learned a few things about Jambalaya after cooking. My jambalaya was the creole style as opposed to cajun style because I included tomatoes. Also, jambalaya typically includes the “holy trinity” of vegetables (onion, celery, bell pepper). However, I did not have celery and I only included one type of meat. With a few changes based on what I had available, I’m still really happy with how it tasted.

I bet it would be fun to go to the annual Jambalaya Festival. Road trip, anyone?

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Venison and Pepper Chili

It is now officially cold outside. With snow in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, I wanted to share my own version of chili. This was also a request in the comment of a friend in my very first cooking post!

While home for the holidays, my dad helped to load me up with fresh venison – the first critical ingredient for my chili. I’ve made chili with beef and turkey, but none of it can compare to the venison. It is so flavorful and lean. You don’t have to drain any fat off of the meat because there isn’t any.  I begin with 2 lbs. of venison and brown it.

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While the venison is browning, chop two bunches of tomatoes ripened on the vine. I like my chili to be chunky, so these are slightly larger than diced.

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I combine the venison and tomatoes into a large pot. I use the same pan where I browned the venison to sautee 2 chili pepper, 2 jalapenos, 1 onion, and 1 green pepper in a little olive oil.

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Next, I add 2 cans of hot chili beans. You can choose mild or original if you don’t like as much heat in your chili.

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Then, I add 2 packets of original chili seasoning. Maybe one day I’ll try making my own. This is the one place where I don’t go “hot” so that I can balance out the other hot ingredients and multiple peppers.

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When you mix this all together, it will look very thick. Too thick.

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However, as it simmers, the tomatoes release enough water to reduce the thickness.

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I let it simmer for 5-6 hours. Top it off with sour cream and shredded cheddar!

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Crockpot Wednesday – Paleo Curry Chicken, Peppers, and Cabbage

I’ve mentioned in a previous post that Wednesdays are crazy busy for me. I need easy but tasty meals that I can put in the crockpot, leave it, and spend my time doing more productive things. I don’t share every “Crockpot Wednesday” meal. I only want to share the really good ones or unique ones. The last one I included on my blog was Beef Vindaloo.

This week we tried a recipe for Paleo Curry Chicken, Peppers, and Cabbage.I found it at a website that focuses entirely on crockpot paleo meals called PaleoPot. I can’t wait to try some of the other recipes!

It was super easy and very good! It would be great over rice because of the curry coconut milk broth, but the rice would ruin the paleo part of the meal. The only change I made to the recipe was using Lite Coconut Milk and chicken breasts instead of thighs.

I didn’t get a great photo…I was hungry and just started eating. I figured the picture on the website where I found the recipe would have to suffice.  =)

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I would love to hear about other crockpot meals you would recommend for me to try on Wednesdays. If I use one of your recipes, I’ll share it with my readers!