Mushroom & Artichoke Lasagna

Mushroom Artichoke Lasagna

A common misconception of vegetarians is that we took on this diet because we really love vegetables. As in, you could just steam up a bunch of vegetables and serve them on a plate and we would be happy as clams. This is probably why so often the token vegetarian dish in restaurants has the generic “vegetable” in the title, like “vegetable pizza” or “vegetable lasagna” or ” pasta w/ vegetables.”  They’re basically saying, we’re not even going to tell you what exactly you’ll be eating, but it’s veggies and clearly that’s all that matters.

The truth is that most of us non-meat eaters like vegetables as much as anyone else, we just happen to not be big fans of meat. So yes, we end up eating more vegetables as a default, but it isn’t like our taste buds have changed. When I became a vegetarian, I didn’t suddenly decide that I just LOVED eating my pizza with squash on it, or that lasagna tastes so much better when it’s stuffed with broccoli and carrots. If you’re cooking for a vegetarian, here’s something to keep in mind: if you think it sounds weird and gross, there’s a good chance they will too, but they’ll suck it up politely because being called out as a picky eater is never fun, not even the 100th time.

So look, if you want to make a vegetarian lasagna, that’s awesome. But don’t take it as a chance to finally clean out your vegetable drawer in your kitchen. Think that shit through for a second. This recipe actually works. First off, save yourself some trouble and buy no-boil noodles and a jar of good marinara sauce. Vegetables do not have to be difficult. Then you’re mixing some meaty sauteed mushrooms with the marinara and pairing it with artichoke hearts in heavenly ricotta.   No broccoli. No carrots. No yellow squash. This is how you do vegetables.

Mushroom Marinara 2

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Broccoli and Cheddar Whole Wheat Pasta

Sometimes I need comfort food. Sometimes I need food that is dripping in cheddar cheese. Sometimes I need pasta. I need to eat food that is served in a big bowl that I can curl up with.

The only problem is that sometimes I also need to be in bathing suit condition. As much as I love mac and cheese, it just isn’t an option a week during the summer, when a trip to the pool could happen at a moment’s notice. So I do what I usually do: take the dish I’m craving and beef it up with some whole grains, fresh veggies, and hope it balances out the cheddar cheese.

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Cheesy Cornbread

Hey friends! How has your week been? I’ve got a post coming up that should explain why I’ve been a bit absent, but here are a few updates from the last few days:

Caught up on Downton Abbey and cried and tried to hide it from Chase because I ALWAYS cry during sad scenes and feel like a sap.

Watched the premiere of Smash. Does anyone else watch this show? Anyone? Buehler? Look, regardless of your thoughts, it was totally worth watching for this song, which I have been listening to on repeat for the last 48hrs.

I may or may not have eaten a mix of potato chips and cookies for more than one of my meals. But since I was home alone during these alleged meals I will maintain my innocence until proven guilty.

I am entirely unprepared for Valentine’s day this year. No dinner reservations, and no recipes for heart shaped food or anything involving red food coloring. Sorry, I know it’s a disappointment.

But..I made cornbread! With cheese! This is good, right? You’re not too disappointed I hope? And really, what could be better to share with a loved one on Valentine’s Day then carbs and cheese? Hope you enjoy. xoxo

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Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Shells

This was one of the last dishes that I photographed before the move, so it will be the last recipe post with photos taken from a maximum 2 feet away because I had no room in my kitchen. Watch out world – wide shots are coming soon!

Even though this was one of the last recipes I made in my LA apartment, it is also possibly  the first dish I’ll make in the new home. These shells are simple to make and great comfort food during the winter months. If you have a couple of casserole pans to spare I recommend doubling the recipe and freezing some shells for later use; they should be fine in the freezer for at least a month. There are few things better than coming home after a long day, dreading the thought of cooking and then remembering you have some delicious pasta shells waiting for you to just throw them in the oven.

And in case you were wondering – no, we’re not in our new home yet. Our fingers are crossed that we’ll finally be moving in tomorrow and Chase and I will be able to resume an activity that has been missing from our lives for far too long:

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Smoky Pepperjack Potato Soup

I know, I know. This is another “smoky” soup that owes it’s flavor to smoked paprika. What can I say? That shit is awesome and I just can’t get enough of it. I intend to make regular old soups, but then remember that everything is better after you’ve added smoked paprika. I have spice jars in my cabinet that have remained full for over 5 years, but I’m on my 3 bottle of smoked paprika this year alone. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t be upset if Santa put some in my stocking.

Speaking of spices – I cleaned out my spice cabinet this week and threw away anything that I knew had been there for too long. The determining factor was if I could remember having bought the spice in college, and I’m not going to say how long ago that was but it’s enough time to make me feel old. And to want to throw those spices out stat. I’m struggling to remember why I bought cumin seeds (the bottle is so full it’s almost overflowing), and I also cannot comprehend why I have 2 bottles of ground ginger and 3 bottles of curry powder.

Until I can figure out what to do with all that ginger & curry, please enjoy this soup from the Smoked Paprika files.

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Tomato and Parmesan Benedict

Seriously, this post was meant to go up like, a month ago. But no one told me it was September so I just totally missed it. I mean…it was August for a minute and then I wake up and suddenly it’s the middle of October. Ummm…is there someone I can blame for this? Shouldn’t a memo have gone out or something??

Thank goodness this recipe is just as good in October as it was in August. Roasting the tomatoes means that this will taste good year round since it develops the flavors of even the most bland grocery store tomato. And honestly, anything tastes good if it’s drowning in a cheese sauce, am I right?

I’ve been hesitant of making a benedict due to the fact that recipes with more than 3 steps often overwhelm me. However, this dish might seem complicated, but it looks much scarier than it actually is. Let’s do this, shall we?

First we’ll discuss the one step I don’t have a picture of since I just spaced out on the whole “photos/camera” thing: roasting the tomatoes. I would do this first since it takes the longest and the tomatoes can be set aside until you’re ready to use them.

Slice a tomato into 1/4 inch slices. Lay flat on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 450˚F for about 25-30 minutes, or until they have cooked down and are beginning to caramelize. Set aside until you’re ready to use them.

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Super Simple: Feta Potato Salad

Ya’ll, I had planned on writing a post about how I had this feta potato salad at The Corner Kitchen in Asheville last summer and it totally rocked my world and I had to come up with my own recipe and so I made this and it was awesome and I hope want you all to enjoy it too. But then I found out today that I have to have a ROOT CANAL. TOMORROW. And so instead of an entire post you just get one really long run on sentence because I can’t focus on anything else.

This is totally lame and I should be able to focus better and write what I had originally planned. And I actually am feeling better now that I found out I’m going to have to pay less than I originally thought, because when the girl this morning gave me the itemized list of my expenses she left out a period, and so instead of one item reading $24.20 it read $2420. Punctuation counts kids, stay in school.

Of course, maybe someone who knows more about dentistry would know that an item that should only be $24.20 couldn’t possibly cost over 2 grand, but I don’t know this and so basically every time I go to the dentist I feel like a prime candidate for financial rape. Like, if she had told me that it would cost $10,000, and if I got it to them in cash by this afternoon they might be able to save my life, I probably would have been screaming at a bank teller within the hour. Same goes with my car – I can’t help but feel violated every time I leave my mechanic. I mean, how can a fucking battery cost $400?? But then of course they make me feel like if I don’t pay the insane cost they’ll give me back my defective car, and my breaks will probably fail and I’ll end up killing some poor pedestrian or myself and it will all be because I didn’t pay the $200 ransom for the battery. So I pay. Every time.

(This is probably not something I should be writing on a public site. It’s like I’m asking for it. Like, in a financial sense I have just put on a skimpy red dress and left my drink unattended at a party. A party filled with my future dentists and mechanics)

Sorry, this has absolutely nothing to do with feta potato salad. But this potato salad is really good and you should totally make it. And please don’t associate it with root canals. It’s probably best if you just look at the photos and forget this post ever existed.

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Super Simple: Gnocchi with Pesto and String Beans

I have a love of cooking, but what I don’t love spending long hours in the kitchen. Although I enjoy experimenting with new flavors and relish the rush I feel when a recipe turns out just right, I’ve never been one to enjoy slaving away over recipes that involve hours of simmering, or precise instructions in which a shaky hand can ruin an entire dish in seconds. I want recipes that get me in and out of my kitchen and on with life, but still leave me with plates of food that were not prepared from a box or in a microwave.

So, instead of trying to convince anyone of my superior kitchen prowess (which I don’t have), I’m trying to embrace my love of simpler recipes. This is a new favorite that is definitely going to be showing up in my kitchen quite a bit more: gnocchi cooked with some chopped green beans and tossed with a fresh pesto. If you’ve never made pesto – don’t be afraid of it. The food processor makes everything for you and no matter what ratio of ingredients you add, it is incredibly difficult to make it taste bad. Trust me, I would know. As for the gnocchi, I didn’t make these from scratch, but I’ve found some really great packaged ones that you simply cook for a few minutes in boiling water. Saves me time and still tastes just delicious. Winner, winner, gnocchi dinner. (I know, right? I am stunningly clever today.)

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Say it with me now: en-FREE-hoe-lah-dahs.

I’m not gonna lie, this recipe has been on my list for a while and I really dragged my feet to make it. Then I really dragged my feet even more to post it. Not because these aren’t delicious – nothing could be farther from the truth. But I’m into simple and easy recipes and this is neither of those things.

The first time I tried to make these, I failed. Miserably. The bean sauce was too thick, causing half of the tortillas to tear. The few that survived long enough to make it to the pan tore in half when I folded them because I hadn’t let them soak long enough, and so I stood in my kitchen doing everything in my power not to take a pan of bean/tortilla/cheese mess and throw it into the kitchen wall. And then we went and got In-N-Out for dinner.

This time, I was successful.


After I ruined about half of the tortillas I bought.

I just feel like I have to warn you – if you are a kitchen clutz like me, this recipe is gonna be a struggle, but it CAN be done. For the safety of your kitchen wall, you might want to have extra ingredients on hand…and a back-up dinner plan.

Okay, let’s do this:

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Beans on Toast Egg Bake

Okay, just give me a chance with this one. Even I was completely unsure as to whether this was going to work out, but let me tell you – this dish is GOOD. So good that I thought Chase and I would have leftovers but somehow we polished off the whole skillet in one breakfast. No leftovers + satisfied bellies = winning dish. Fact.

I came up with this when I saw Giada make an Italian sausage and egg bake, which sounded awesome except I don’t each sausage, but if that’s your thing you should totally give it a try cause it looked way yummy. So then I thought, “What about beans or something? Is that weird? Don’t people in the UK eat beans on toast for breakfast? If they can do it, so can I.” Aren’t you amazed by my reasoning skills?

I wanted to use a recipe for baked beans that I’ve made before, except the full recipe has a bit of a spicy kick to it, which is great at a barbeque but more than I want to deal with first thing in the morning. I need “mellow” in the morning, not Sriracha. After omitting the chili paste and most of the ginger I felt I had the perfect accompaniment for eggs and toast.

VERY IMPORTANT – You MUST make the beans ahead of time. Otherwise you’ll get up in the morning and realize your breakfast might be ready in time for dinner. But if you have these beans chilling in the fridge (they should last for a week) this comes together in a snap and is comforting start to the day.

Also – in case anyone is keeping track this is the first recipe for my resolution to cook at least one dish a month with dried beans. And yes, I KNOW it’s February but I made this a week ago and was then knocked out by a cold so I’m a little late getting it up on the web. But IT STILL COUNTS.

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