Meatless Monday: Zoodles with Spinach Basil Pesto

I love my spiralizer. Have I told you that lately? Okay, I did just last week … But seriously, I’ve even written an ode to my spiralizer.

I love my zoodler.

It makes cooking so much fun.

I feel like a kid.

There you have it – my haiku to my spiralizer. There’s just something about it that makes cooking so much fun and reminds me of when I was a kid playing with play dough and making mystery meals … you know what I mean? Now that that’s off my chest (#awkward), here’s a quick and easy recipe that I made last week for St. Patrick’s Day- a super green, yet healthy, vegan dish for B and me. Sorry, I’m Italian and we had already had corned beef on Sunday  – so for the holiday it was super green noodles.

zoodles and pesto

Zoodles with Spinach Basil Pesto

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 medium-to-large zucchini
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • a large bunch of basil – about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped or slivered almonds (toasting them brings out a nutty flavor)
  • 3-5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (depending on how thin you like your pesto – I like mine a little thicker so I use less olive oil)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Using your zoodler (okay, or spiralizer) cut your zucchini into fun noodle-like pieces. When done, I put my zoodles in a pile on the cutting board and like to cut them in 1/3s or 1/2s so the pieces aren’t so large. Set aside.
  2.  Add garlic, basil and spinach to blender or food processor. I use my food processor and it works just fine. Mix well.
  3. Add in toasted almonds, continue to blend until a thick paste forms.
  4. Add in olive oil, one tablespoonful at a time and continue to blend until paste becomes somewhat creamy. Add in any extra salt, garlic, basil or olive oil to taste, as necessary. Mine makes about 1/3 cup pesto, which is perfect for this recipe. You could probably use a little less pesto but I like my zoodles coated!
  5. In a pan over medium heat, toss zoodles with pesto and heat for about 3-5 minutes or until just tossed and warm. Enjoy! Makes two healthy dinner portions.

Top with any of your favorite toppings – I like mine with parmesan cheese (not vegan), diced tomato, more fresh basil and even sometimes sautéed onions.

I’ll definitely be sharing more zoodle recipes soon – I’ve already made shrimp zoodle scampi, zoodles with homemade tomato sauce … and even used my spiralizer on sweet potatoes to make curly sweet potato fries!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s the next Meatless Monday recipe you have planned? I’m joining with this MM linkup and of course checking out MeatlessMonday.com for ideas!
  • Zoodler fans – what zoodle recipe should I make next? This is my second one shared in a week.
  • How do you make your pesto? I typically use basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and pignoli nuts, so this is a different version for me! 

Meatless Monday: Sweet Potato Zucchini Hash

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted a recent Meatless Monday blog post. I’ve been eating plenty of meatfree meals (I give up meat for Lent every year) but I guess I haven’t been blogging about them! For example, here are some photos of the meals I’ve been enjoying: (these were originally from my Instagram account – feel free to follow me there @koskim for more gratuitous food shots)

Curried lentils with sweet potato and cauliflower

Curried lentils with sweet potato and cauliflower

breakfast for dinner! egg white omelets with potatoes, peppers, onions and avocado

breakfast for dinner! egg white omelets with potatoes, peppers, onions and avocado

veggie burger with a side of  - veggies!

veggie burger with a side of – veggies!

cabbage and papaya salad with peanuts

cabbage and papaya salad with peanuts

spaghetti squash with homemade spicy tomato sauce and tofu

spaghetti squash with homemade spicy tomato sauce and tofu

Anyway, finally, I’m sharing a recipe with you so that you can eat meatless on Monday (or any day!). I LOVE making this recipe and have made it or a variation of it probably too many times in the past month to count – but it’s so simple and so delicious and healthy that you should try it too! Leftovers are great as well – I typically have four 2-cup size servings with this recipe and then have enough leftover for 2 lunches.

sweet potato zucchini hash-icrashedtheweb

Sweet Potato Zucchini Hash

Serves 4

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 TB olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 zucchini, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tsp. cumin, divided
  • 2 tsp. ground paprika, divided
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder, divided
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, divided (or more if you like it spicy! Note – if you have fresh hot pepper – like chili peppers or jalapeño, feel free to substitute with this)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, tofu, sunny side up egg (not vegan)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 and finely dice all your veggies. If you’re like me, this may take a little while.
  2. Place diced sweet potato on a prepared baking sheet (I spray mine with Pam or olive oil spray). Sprinkle generously with 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper. Cook in preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Check often so not to burn and toss potatoes halfway through.
  3. While potato is cooking, heat half of olive oil in a large pan. Sautee onion for a few minutes or until translucent. Add in remaining chopped up veggies – peppers and zucchini. Add in remaining cumin, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne pepper and cook for about 7-10 minutes  or until veggies are browned and softened.
  4. When potatoes are done, add to pan with rest of veggies. Toss to incorporate. Finish until cooked but not mushy!
  5. Enjoy! I like mine topped with cilantro and tofu. Other fun toppings include avocado, hot sauce and/or a sunny side up egg. I’ve also served it over spinach for an extra nutritional boost. The one pictured (above and below) has tofu crumbles in it.
So many veggies!

So many veggies!

sweet potato zucchini hash-icrashedtheweb

Linking to my first MM linkup!

Question for you:

What meatless meal should I add to my repertoire?

Meatless Monday: Quinoa Hummus Patties

I may have a hummus problem. The other day I realized I’d eaten hummus, as part of a meal, 4 days in a row.  I know there are worse things to claim, but 4 days in a row? That’s nearly a week. Wonder if I can keep the streak going (I’ve also eaten chocolate about 40 days in a row) …

Anyway, I digress. The other night for dinner I was happy to have enough time to put together something vegetarian-friendly, flavorful and also that would serve as a side dish for B. I’d seem some recipes for hummus/quinoa tabbouleh and quinoa burgers and decided to combine both. They are somewhat crumbly but mine held together pretty well and were pretty flavorful without too many spices.

Warning – I took these pictures with my phone, per usual. They came out pretty gnarly (yes, worse than some of the other food pics I take) but the recipe was so delicious I had to post it. B asked I could make these again so I declare that a success :)

QUINOA HUMMUS PATTIES i crashed the web

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 c quinoa (cooked)
  • ½ c hummus
  • ½ c finely diced red pepper
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS flaxseed
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1-2 TBS olive oil

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine quinoa, hummus, red pepper, garlic and green onions in a bowl. Mix well.
  2. Add in flaxseed to help bind the mixture. Add in crushed red pepper flakes (optional if you like heat).
  3. Form mixture into four to five even sized patties and place on a well-greased plate. Store in refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour. (I put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes) This will help the patties harden.
  4. Heat a pan with olive oil over medium to medium-high heat and add olive oil once heated. Carefully add patties to pan and brown each side for about 4-6 minutes. Be careful when flipping – patties are crumbly and you may need to reshape them if they start to come apart.
  5. Enjoy!
  6. Serving suggestion: I had 2 as a main meal and served with spinach, roasted red pepper, more hummus, tomato, and hot sauce. They’d also be delicious with a garlic yogurt sauce. B had his as a side dish to some chicken with Greek spices. I’ll be doubling the recipe next time!
I swear it tastes better than it looks

I swear it tastes better than it looks

Some questions for you:

  • Are you on any food-eating streaks?
  • Are you a hummus fan? Yes! I also really love baba ghanoush, its smoky eggplant cousin. 
  • Do you make your own hummus? Actually, most of the time I find it easier and just as tasty to just buy it. If you find a brand you like – stick to it! The hummus from the recipe above was from a stand at the West Side Market and it was delicious.
  • Favorite veggie burger recipe? Come on, I’m looking for a new one!

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies Ever

It may sound cocky – or a little too strong – but I swear to you these are the best peanut butter cookies ever. They’re soft in the middle, crunchy on the outside, and oh so sweet. The original recipe came from my beloved Magnolia Bakery cookbook and I haven’t looked back since. The first time I made them, I shared them with a few of B’s friends and his friend Steve even commented, “These are the best peanut butter cookies ever.” And Steve himself is a good cook/baker!

peanut butter cookies - i crashed the webAnyway, don’t just trust me — or Steve — you should make these yourself.* The below recipe is with slight modifications, but I promise you won’t be disappointed.

peanut butter cookies - i crashed the web

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (I omitted this because I used salted butter)
  • 1/2 c butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup your favorite peanut butter (I’ve made these with creamy JIF peanut butter and with chunky natural Smuckers. In the case of the crunchy, I just cut down on the amount of peanuts I add in the end)
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar + 3-4 TB sugar for rolling the dough
  • 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 TBS milk (I used the only milk I had on hand- unsweetened almond coconut milk)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c peanut butter chips
  • 3/4 c chopped peanuts (If using chunky peanut butter, you can use less nuts here, probably 1/4 c)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter together until creamy.
  4. Add sugars and beat until smooth. Add egg, milk and vanilla extract and mix well until fluffy.
  5. Add flour mixture in about 1/2 c at a time and beat thoroughly.
  6. Stir in peanut butter chips and peanuts.
  7. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into a bowl of 3-4 TBS granulated sugar.
  8. Place cookie balls onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, at least two inches apart. Using a fork, push down on dough balls and lightly indent the balls with a criss-cross pattern. Do not flatten cookies too much – you don’t want smooshed cookies!
  9. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies may seem soft and underdone but DO NOT OVERBAKE. They will bake a little more out of the oven and be PERFECT.
  10. Cool cookies on cookie sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mouth watering yet? All you need is a glass of milk and you can enjoy these yourself. *Or better yet- I will MAIL YOU these cookies! That’s right – as I mentioned earlier this week, I’m participating in a blogger bake sale, to benefit Jordan’s Family Foundation. Since it’s for a good cause – what’s stopping you?

Who wouldn't buy these for a good cause?

Who wouldn’t buy these for a good cause?

Some modifications:

  • Use 1 c. semi-sweetened chocolate chunks instead of the peanut butter chips for a more chocolatey flavor
  • Not a huge chocoholic? Use 1/2 c. peanut butter chips, 1/2 c. semi-sweetened chocolate chips for a peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
  • Flatten cookies out with your hand and omit the fork crossing step. Then press halved peanuts (outer side facing up) to the top of the cookie. That’s what I did on the second photo above.

Halloween Candy Corn Buckeyes

Do you like scary movies? I don’t really. I don’t like being scared. Sometimes after watching the TV series Sherlock I have to go on Instagram or watch Gossip Girl just so I can sleep without nightmares. Yup. I’m a baby. Which is why when we invited our friends Dave and Anson over for a scary movie night to celebrate the upcoming Halloween holiday, I was less than excited. Excited for the pizza from Crust we’d be eating? Yes. Excited for a scary movie? Not really. But I knew I’d suck it up and enjoy it – same as last year when I barely made it through Paranormal Activity. And if I didn’t? Well, at least I’d enjoy the baked goods!

I love peanut butter and chocolate. Especially during Halloween – who doesn’t like a good Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? (Ok, I know a few people who don’t) Which is why when I saw this recipe for White Chocolate Candy Corn Buckeyes, I knew I had to make some Halloween themed Buckeyes. Aren’t they cute? And if you haven’t guessed from my previous recipe (Candy Corn White Chocolate Peanutty Bars), candy corn and peanut butter actually go well together. Who would’ve thought?

Halloween Candy Corn Buckeyes - i crashed the web

Halloween Candy Corn Buckeyes (an update to my traditional Buckeye recipe)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tspvanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup candy corn, about 3/4 of it chopped up
  • 1-12 oz. bag chocolate candy coating wafers (I use the Wilton Candy Melts)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Line a baking sheet with foil or waxed paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar. Mix well (I use my KitchenAid) until it forms a stiff dough. Add in chopped candy corn.
  3. Shape dough into balls, about one inch or 2 tsp wide.
  4. Place on baking sheet and place peanut butter dough balls in refrigerator for 1 hour, or freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. Melt chocolate coating wafers according to package directions. I usually nuke in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Stir occasionally until smooth.
  6. Time to coat the Buckeyes! Remove peanut butter balls from freezer. Insert a toothpick into a ball, and dip into the melted chocolate. Return to wax paper or aluminum foil chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. For eyeball-themed buckeye, add a Candy Corn M&M on the exposed peanut butter area. For the plain candy corn buckeyes, coat entire peanut butter ball and immediately after removing from chocolate add a whole candy corn to top of ball while chocolate dries. Repeat with remaining balls.
  7. Refrigerate Buckeyes for 30 min to 1 hour to set.
Spooky Eyeball Halloween Candy Corn Buckeyes - i crashed the web

Top with M&Ms to make spooky eyeballs

Or just top with candy corn and enjoy!

Or just top with candy corn and enjoy!

A few questions for you:

  • Do you like scary movies? Not really. But I really do enjoy reading the Wikipedia pages to get a snapshot of the plot for them!
  • What’s your favorite scary movie? Saw. It scares the heck out of me but is SO interesting! The rest of the Saws don’t seem as good. I haven’t actually seen them – but reading their Wikipedia plot brings me to that conclusion. I also like Scream. That counts right? I went through a phase in high school where I was obsessed with the names Sydney and Tatum for girls.
  • What’s your favorite Halloween treat?

How can you not like this?!

After watching that I need to go flip through Instagram again. Spooky!

Triple Chip Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

I think I have a pumpkin problem. From baking biscotti, to scones, to cookies, to granola – to just mixing it in plain yogurt and eating it with the pumpkin granola – I’m all over pumpkin this fall. But, the first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem. And with that, here is my last pumpkin recipe for this season. And don’t worry, it’s a good one – similar to the last pumpkin cookies I made but with some oatmeal and white chips for added texture.

pumpkin triple chip oatmeal cookies - i crashed the web

Triple Chip Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup total three different types of chocolate chips – I actually broke this up into 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1/2 cup chocolate chunks and 1/2 cup white chocolate chips – next time I’ll likely try some mini m&ms or even Candy Corn M&Ms!

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, salt and oats – in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars. Mix well. Add in egg and mix thoroughly.
  4. In a small bowl, combine pumpkin puree with molasses and vanilla. Mix well until completely combined. Once the mixture is a uniform, dark brown color, add to wet ingredients in stand mixture. Note: Don’t want to dirty another bowl? You likely could add all these ingredients to the stand mixer one at a time, but I found it easier to have the molasses  and pumpkin mixed together first to ensure they get are thoroughly combined.
  5. Add in dry ingredients with a spatula and mix well, by hand. You may need to stir for 2-4 minutes before mixture is completely combined. Then, add in your your chocolate chips / chunks.
  6. Dough will be sticky! Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet topped with parchment paper.
  7. Cook for 12-14 minutes or until they start to brown.

Enjoy!

pumpkin triple chip oatmeal cookies - icrashedtheweb

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

I’m Italian. You wouldn’t know it by my name, or really how I look — but I swear, I grew up in an Italian household with an 100% Italian mother. For better or for worse, I still find meals without pasta or bread, incomplete. And I can’t stand a canned or jarred tomato sauce that isn’t homemade (I think it tastes like catsup. And I hate catsup!). BUT I do love nearly all things Italian – including biscotti (or as my mom says, “biscott”) – which is why when B and I got invited to a friend’s house during the Feast of the Assumption Celebrations, I decided to bring some homemade biscotti (and Peroni).

I can’t take full credit for this recipe idea. B’s mom has been making biscotti for years and sent them to her kids as part of finals-studying care packages. She made a few different kinds, but one of B’s favorites was always the chocolate pistachio. I didn’t get to ask her for the recipe, but I saw a few recipes online (including one that used cinnamon) and20 thought I’d try a recipe of my own. The verdict? A hit. B loved them! And I may be snacking on some as I write this post.

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

(Modified from this and this)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 c plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate baking chips
  • 1/2 cup pistachios

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mix butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy and creamy.
  4. Add eggs and beat well. Mix in vanilla.
  5. Add flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, and mix well. The dough will be very sticky and you may need to mix for a few minutes until it’s all thoroughly combined.
  6. Mix in the mini chips and pistachios.
  7. Divide dough into quarters. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, shape portions logs, about 8-10 inches by 2-3 inches. Sprinkle logs with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.
  8. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or mostly hard.
  9. Remove logs to a cooling rack and cool for 3-5 minutes. Keep the oven on! After the logs are cool enough to handle, transfer to a cutting board and cut each log into 1/2 inch slices on a diagonal.
  10. Bake the dough again! Take the slices and place with the cut side face down on baking sheet. Bake for 5-8 minutes on each side until hardened. I took mine out after 5 minutes on each side because I like my biscotti a little softer.
  11. Cool and enjoy!
Maybe these should be called "double chocolate pistachio biscotti" because of the mini chips AND cocoa?

Maybe these should be called “double chocolate pistachio biscotti” because of the mini chips AND cocoa?

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Shape the dough into four balls, which you’ll shape into logs

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Enjoy!

chocolate pistachio biscotti ~ i crashed the web

Or share with friends :) I promise they’ll enjoy!