Posts by Cassie
Brussels sprouts used to have such a bad reputation—mostly as a way that cruel parents torture their poor children. Thankfully, Brussels are working hard to fix their negative press. You’ll find sprouts on the menus of some of the hottest restaurants and a staple in cookbooks and food magazines this time of year. Brussels are the perfect fall veggie! It’s hard to beat simple, perfectly roasted Brussels, but what if you’re looking for something a little more interesting? I thought it would be fun to pull together some of the most delicious Brussels sprouts recipes out there to help inspire us all. Enjoy!
Looking for more Brussels sprouts recipes? Follow my Tasty Brussels Sprouts board on Pinterest.
You know what I’m terrible at? Measuring pasta. I can never get it right. I always cook way too much or way too little. I know they have little spaghetti measuring gadgets, but my problem goes way beyond just one style of pasta. Penne, macaroni, angel hair—I’m horrible at estimating all of it.
Since cooking too little pasta is mega annoying (because by the time you realize it’s too little, you’ve already dumped the boiling water and have to boil another pot—ugh), I like to err on the side of cooking too much. Which means there is a pretty constant supply of leftover pasta stashed in my fridge.
Sometimes I’ll just heat it up with a little sauce or pesto and call it good, but I also like to repurpose the pasta into something new and exciting—like this leftover spaghetti frittata.
If we have spaghetti for dinner, it’s a pretty safe bet we’re eating this frittata for breakfast the next day. I like it best with spaghetti, but it will work with whatever pasta you have kicking around. In the summer (or in Fall, when we’re lucky enough to not have had a frost yet), I’ll use fresh, Italian herbs—parsley, oregano, and basil—and fresh tomatoes. During the winter months, I’ll pull out my dried herbs and use some sundried tomatoes. Both ways are absolutely delicious! The great joy of a frittata is that you can pretty much throw in whatever you have in the kitchen, and it almost always turns out spectacular. It’s a great dish if you want to try to get into more of seasonal cooking—use what you have.
Frittatas are also a great option for lunches. Make up a frittata on the weekend, cut it into small slices, and pack it into containers for healthy, easy lunches throughout the week. I happily eat leftover frittata cold or at room temp (but you can also nuke it if you’d rather enjoy it warm).
I always make frittatas in my old, well-seasoned cast iron skillet. I absolutely love cooking in cast iron because it holds heat so evenly, it transfers seamlessly from the stovetop to the oven, and it also helps increase the iron levels of the food that is cooked in it. If I was told I could only use one pan for the rest of my life, I’d pick my cast iron skillet!
Have some pasta kicking around your fridge from last night's dinner? Use it make this Italian-flavored leftover spaghetti frittata.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 clove garlic, minced
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 eggs
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 cups cooked pasta
- 2 tablespoons fresh, minced oregano (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 tablespoons fresh, minced parsley (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
- 2 tablespoons fresh, minced basil (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)
- Preheat oven to 425°. Heat the olive oil over medium-high in a medium-sized oven-proof skillet. Add in the fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, onion, and garlic. Cook until onion and garlic are fragrant and tender, about five minutes. Add in the tomato and cook until some of the water is released, about 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, eggs, Parmesan, salt, and pepper until light and frothy.
- Add the leftover pasta to the tomato mixture, and stir until evenly distributed. Spread the mixture evenly along the bottom of the skillet.
- Pour the egg mixture over top of the spaghetti mixture—do not stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the edges of the frittata are solid, but the top is still liquidy, about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle top with herbs, and place frittata in the oven to finish setting up. Frittata is done with the top is no longer liquid and it begins to brown. Remove from oven, and let cool for five minutes before slicing.
Back when I was working in an office, we had a reoccurring staff meeting that was a bit like show-and-tell for adults. We’d go around the circle all showing off something that inspired us in hopes that it might inspire our colleagues in a similar manner. I worked in a creative job, and it was always a struggle because we were constantly trying to harness inspiration and use it for business. It’s taxing trying to be creative in a business world. And so we didn’t get totally burnt out (although, I eventually did—hence why I no longer work there), we did just about anything we could do to keep the inspiration flowing.
Sometimes people ask me where I come up with the ideas for my recipes (I have 300+ on the pages of this blog, and an additional 200+ in my two cookbooks), and I’d be lying if I said it’s always easy. Sometimes it is. But more often than not, being inspired takes work. You have to prime yourself for inspiration—really be willing to accept it. And you have to go out and seek it. A lot times, we have this image of “waiting for inspiration to strike,” but I’m a big believer that inspiration doesn’t just strike, you have to work for it.
So that’s why I try to absorb as much food-related content as possible when I’m trying to come up with my recipes. I subscribe to more food magazines than I care to divulge. I read tons of blogs. I spend a good chunk of time each day on Pinterest. I study menus at my favorite restaurants. This makes it sound like that my inspiration is actual thieving of ideas—but it’s different from that. When we were brainstorming at my previous job, we had a no negativity rule—you weren’t allowed to shoot down any idea. Because that idea could birth another idea which could birth another idea which could birth another idea that was the idea you went with. And if you nixed the first one, you might never get down that path. I apply that same logic to food. I see something that appeals to me, and I let it swirl around until it turns into something all mine (and often times completely unrecognizable from the original).
One of the places I’ve been getting inspiration from lately is from Yahoo! Food. Yahoo! has put together a bunch of really fun online magazines that center around one topic. Go figure, my favorite of the bunch is the one that is packed with drool-worthy food! The content comes from all around the internet—bloggers, print magazines, cookbook authors—and is curated all into one place for easy reading. I like to flip through it while I’m trapped under a sleeping baby (thankfully the site is easy to navigate one-handed on my phone).
When I was flipping through Yahoo! Food last week, I was inspired by this recipe for Black Bean and Edamame Burgers. I’m always looking for more ways to bring vegetarian eats into our dinner plans, and these burgers were just the spark of inspiration I needed. One problem—I’m currently not eating soy. That meant it was time to take the rough idea of the burgers, and create something all my own!
These burgers are delicious, meaty, and hearty, but they are not, in any way, shape, or form, fast. They are tasty enough to be worthy of your time, but I wouldn’t put these on your menu for a Tuesday night. What I would do, is devote a few hours on the weekend and make a double batch to freeze. These freeze beautifully after cooking, and make a great office-friendly lunch after a minute in the microwave.
May you find inspiration all around you! Enjoy.
You'll never miss the meat in these hearty, vegetarian, black bean burgers.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups chopped portabella mushrooms
- 1 cup cooked wild rice
- 4 cups black beans (about 2-14.5 ounce cans), divided
- 1-1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add in the onion, carrots, and garlic and cook until tender and fragrant, about five minutes. Add in the mushrooms and cook until they release almost all of their water, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the basin of a food processor, combine the wild rice and three cups of the black beans. Pulse until it resembles a chunky paste. In a large bowl, mix together the mushroom mixture, the rice mixture, the remaining black beans, and all remaining ingredients until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for a half hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- Form the chilled mixtured into 10 even patties. Place on the prepared baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway in between, or until the outsides are just barely golden brown.
Adapted from Yahoo! Food/The Kitchn
This post is sponsored by Yahoo! All opinions and content are my own. Thank you so much for your continued support!
If you and I were to sit down for coffee this morning, I’d start off by asking you how you are doing. I was such a bad listener last time. And I promised I’d be a much better friend this time.
So, how are you doing?
Good? Good! You’re so nice, you’d probably say something like, “You look great!” because that’s the kind of thing everyone says to a new mom—regardless of if it’s true or not. I’d thank you, and tell you that I’m starting to feel much more like myself. I’m still not finding a lot of time to workout, but I do try to walk every single day. And I’m trying to fuel my body with healthy food and drink lots of water. I’m slowly dropping weight (did I tell you I lost ten pounds in the past two months?), but I’m not so worried about that. I’m mostly just happy that I’m starting to feel like myself again!
I’d tell you that you look great, too (and I’m not just saying that, you’re totally gorgeous), and you’d tell me about the new fitness class you’re going to. And then you’d invite me to go with you, and I’d be all over that. We’d make a sweat date for next week.
You’d, of course, ask about the baby girl—because she’s pretty much the most amazing thing on the planet and everyone is curious about her goingson. I’d tell you that she just turned four months old, and her personality is showing like crazy. She laughs out loud, blows raspberries, and screams (not cries…screams) with a fiery passion when she doesn’t like something. She’s a whopping 17 pounds and wearing 6-9 month clothes pretty exclusively. She’s also working hard on her two bottom front teeth.
Since you’re a totally confident parent, you’d probably give me some of your tried-and-true teething remedies. I’d be really thankful for the advice, but then sheepishly admit that teething hasn’t really been that bad for her so far. She’s had a few screamfests where she seems like she’s struggling—and those sucked—but overall, she’s still the super happy, smiling baby she normally is (except with two white-caps in that smile). I’d tell you that we have so much fun everyday with our little June Bug. I had a lot of preconceived notions about motherhood, but I had no idea it would be this much fun.
Then I’d knock on every piece of wood in the coffee shop.
I’d, of course, ask about your family. You’d tell me all about the way cool vacation you got back from. And then you’d give me the most perfect gift you picked up for me at a quirky little shop you found off-the-beaten path on your trip—because you’re thoughtful and sweet and pretty much the coolest person I know. I’d then take the opportunity to pull out a plain kraft paper bag for you and give you a few jars full of canned food from my stash (probably some spiced peaches, bread and butter pickles, and pickled watermelon rind). I hope you like them. I know the pickled watermelon rind sounds weird, but it’s really, crazy good.
I’d then confess that I’ve missed canning so much this season. I didn’t have the mental capacity this year to take on the kind of canning undertaking I like to do each year, but I have socked away a few things. I’m excited to get back to “normal” with food preserving next season. I already am starting garden plans (of course). I’d then ask you if there were any canned goods you’d want next year. I’m always taking requests!
On a not-so-positive note, I’d then rage spiral into complaining about all the things that have broken in our house in the past month. I’d tell you that it started with our washing machine crapping out (pun intended) in the middle of a load of diapers. Followed the next day by our bathroom fan stopping working. And then a few days later by an outdoor water leak (which required an emergency call to a plumber and a whole lot of digging). And now, finally, last week, we found out our chimney needs four-figures worth of repairs.
Since you’re so wise, you’d tell me that things like this happen in cycles and that we’re bound to be near the end of this one. You’d then offer to let me do a load of laundry at your house. I’d thank you, and then tell you it isn’t necessary because we sprung for a new fancy pants machine a few weeks ago, and it’s the bomb dot com. It even has it’s own iPhone app that it can “talk” to. Considering our washing machine that bit the dust was purchased by my grandparents when I was 11 years old—our new model is definitely an upgrade.
I’d tell you that even though I’m raging about all the stuff breaking in our house, it’s actually okay, because the universe gifted me a nicely-sized refund check from my labor (yes, I got a refund for childbirth—go figure) on the same day the washing machine broke. I had about 10 minutes of fantasizing on how I’d spend that surprise money on fun things before Craig told me the washing machine was broken. Life, right?
Then I’d realize how silly it was that I was so upset about life’s minor inconveniences—especially ones that we can afford to fix. I’d quickly change the subject and ask you if you’ve seen any good movies lately.
Speaking of movies, I’d tell you all about our new Friday night ritual. We bring my laptop into the nursery on Friday evenings, and while baby girl nurses to sleep, Craig and I watch a movie. We usually stick to kids movies, because even though logically, I get that June Bug is too young to understand what is going on (and we wear headphones and she’s sleeping), she’s a good excuse to watch all the fun Disney and Pixar movies we’ve missed over the past few years.
I’d move on to asking you about work. You’d probably complain about your boss (I’m sorry you’re stuck with such a jerk!), and I’d listen compassionately while you ranted, while secretly being so thankful that I don’t have to deal with office politics anymore. You ask me how being my own boss is going, and I’d admit that it is about 1000% more stressful than my office gig was, but it’s a healthy stress—if that makes any sense. I’d tell you that I can’t imagine ever going back to an office—I really thrive being able to wear all my different hats. I love that when people ask me what I do, my response is filled with slashes. Graphic designer slash food writer slash recipe developer slash photographer slash awesomeographer.
I’d tell you I’m so proud of my work to make my blog better. I had no idea it would go as well as it has been going. I feel really proud that I’ve been able to turn it into a a successful business without selling my soul. I am having so much fun with my blog again!
Speaking of work, I’d then tell you that I really need to do a better job of figuring out some kind of work-life balance. I’d ask for your advice on how to draw the line. I’d tell you that I desperately want to be an engaged and attentive parent, but I’m afraid that my work life might be detrimental to that. I think it’s good to show my daughter the importance of a strong work ethic, but I also think it’s important to model balance to her.
You’d laugh at me and say, “Welcome to the Mommy Guilt Club. Here’s your membership card.”
Because I can’t go more than 10 minutes without thinking about food, I’d ask you if you wanted to split one of those really decadent chocolate chip scones they have up at the counter. Then I’d remember they probably have dairy or soy in them, but since this isn’t reality, let’s just pretend I can eat dairy and soy in this realm. Let’s split a scone.
Speaking of food, I’d of course ask you if you’ve tried any good recipes lately. You’d tell me all about this super cool cookbook you found, and I’d, of course, ask to borrow it. Then you’d ask me what I was noshing lately, and I’d tell you that I’m trying really, really hard to kick my sugar habit. And try to replace all those sugary foods with some nourishing yummies. I’ve been eating a lot of salads, green smoothies, and anything with protein.
I’d then laugh at the irony of me downing a sugar-filled scone while I tell you all about how I’m trying to cut back on sugar. Hey, at least we’re splitting it, right?
When we both have finished the last remaining crumbs of our scone (it was so good!), I’d reluctantly tell you that I have to get going. I’m having a blast, but I miss my baby girl, and I’m sure she’s getting hungry. Maybe next time I’ll bring her along with me. It’s been so nice catching up with you! Give your family a hug for me. Until next time…
I used to be such a beet hater. I loathed beets so much, I couldn’t even stand to be in the same room while they were cooking! They were just so earthy and yucky smelling (and tasting). Blech.
But as I started to explore more foods in the past few years, beets have slowly made it off my black list—I love how you can evolve your tastebuds. I wouldn’t say beets are one of my most favorite foods, but I will say that I can definitely appreciate a good beet recipe (there is a beet and black bean burger recipe in my new cookbook that is probably my most favorite recipe in the whole book). And these roasted beets have become a staple in our diet.
I think I struggled with beets for so long because they are one of those foods that can be totally hit or miss depending on the quality of the beet and the cooking method. I try not to be much of a food snob, but beets are one of those veggies that I’ll only eat if they are super high-quality (preferably locally grown). I think you can really tell a difference! Ever cracked open and tried to cook a can of beets off the store shelf? They barely even resemble the sweet, nutty taste of high-quality fresh beets. And if you’re already on the fence about beets, eating them out of the can is going to give you a hefty shove onto the “no thank you” side.
I also think what makes this dish such a good one to help convert beet haters is the use of golden beets. Golden beets are becoming increasingly more easy to find (we can get them at our local supermarket), and they still have a lot of beet-y flavor, but less of the earthy taste that turns a lot of folks off from beets. They are very sweet, and I think they look absolutely beautiful mixed in with the deep scarlet beets. If you have a nice farmer’s market in your area, you also might be able to find an even wider variety of beets than just purple and yellow. We have always had terrible luck growing beets in our area—I so wish we could figure out the secret, because there are some seriously cool beet varieties out there that would be so fun to have in our garden.
If you’ve never worked with beets before, let me give you a bit of a primer. First things first, don’t you dare throw out those beet tops! Beet greens are 100% edible and super delicious. They have a mild beet flavor, and work well anywhere you’d use other leafy greens like kale or chard.
A word of warning, you might be surprised by how much those red beets will stain your digits, so if you don’t want to walk around the next day with red hands, you might be inclined to wear a pair of gloves while working with the beets.
Roasting beets is easy work, but it isn’t fast—so this probably isn’t a recipe for your rushed Tuesday evening dinner. Save it for a Sunday afternoon supper. I recommend serving them up with a perfectly roasted chicken, some scalloped potatoes, and some biscuits. And then invite me over. I’ll bring wine.
These bright and colorful roasted beets are a tasty and healthy side dish that will convert even the biggest beet hater.
- 3 medium-sized golden beets, tops removed
- 3 medium-sized red beets, tops removed
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrupo
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350°. Scrub outside of beets, then wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Place foil-wrapped beets on a baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the beets are soft when pierced with a fork.
- Remove beets from oven and let cool until cool enough to handle—about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the vinegar, honey or maple syrup, salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until thick and bubbly—about 3 minutes.
- Using clean hands, rub off the peels of the beets, or alternatively, use a sharp vegetable peeler to peel off the peels. Slice the peeled beets into 1/4" rounds. Layer rounds on a platter, then drizzle with the glaze before serving. Season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.