In case you didn’t believe me about my pumpkin excitement on Friday, these goat cheese pumpkin tacos should clarify. I know. I know. Two pumpkin recipes in a row. It’s a little extreme. But I’m an extreme girl, especially when it comes to pumpkin (ummm, hello, I created a Pumpkin Recipes Pinterest board). Also since yesterday was officially the First Day of Fall, I figured, ’tis the season, right??? It might be hard to believe but these are even easier to make than Friday’s recipe (you’re looking at 10 minutes max, if your pumpkin is already cooked, of course). Also, these tacos are a little bit on the lighter side than the enchiladas were. But don’t let the word ‘lighter’ fool you. These are 110% pure pumpkin deliciousness!
P.S. I’ll be sharing a video soon on how to roast a pumpkin. Stay tuned on my Youtube channel.
Goat Cheese Pumpkin Tacos
A Fall-inspired taco topped with fresh, colorful ingredients and creamy goat cheese
Pumpkin cubes (roasted pumpkin that has been skinned & cubed)
Corn (I mixed mine with chili powder, about 1 tsp. for every 1 1/2 c. corn)
Red onion, chopped
Green chili salsa
Taco shells (I love the corn & wheat mix soft shell ones from Trader Joe's)
These tacos are super easy to assemble. Simply lay out your taco shell on a plate then add on the ingredients of your choosing, doing as little or as much as you'd like of each ingredient. For my tacos I did pumpkin, then beans, then corn, and finished it off with a sprinkling of cilantro, red onion and goat cheese as well as a drizzle of green chili salsa.
These should be served immediately. Any leftovers should be stored separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Serve with a spicy margarita or a pumpkin beer and a big salad or a side of guacamole and corn chips.
Butternut squash (or any other squash) can be substituted for the pumpkin cubes.
For a gluten-free option use corn tortillas.
For a dairy-free/vegan option omit the goat cheese.
The only consolation that summer is pretty much gone is that football season is here. And by football season I mean tailgating season. And by tailgating season I mean stuffing-my-face-with-ridiculous-amounts-of-insanely-delicious-and-absurdly-bad-for-you-food season. While I love to catch parts of Chiefs games (Go Chiefs!), and I worked as the football team manager for my college, I just don’t have the attention span to watch an entire football game (hence why I failed miserable at my team manager job). But eating, now that is a sport I have the attention span for. Let me assure you that if eating was truly a game, I would score a bazillion touchdowns every single time. I’m not even sure how you score a touchdown in eating, but I just know I would. So while everyone else is focused on the football game, I’m focused on the tailgate game, plotting my next play to score a touchdown at the food table. My biggest concern? Protecting my waistline. Now don’t get me wrong I love a good plate of nachos, french fries dipped in ranch, and I would probably kill for some good boneless buffalo wings, but a diet like that won’t get me very far in the game so I like to mix in a few healthy treats or modified takes on unhealthier favorites every time there’s a tailgate spread. These spiced tofu nuggets are just one example. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “Tofu?! Gross!” but believe it or not these actually taste almost exactly like chicken nuggets. They can be served alone with the orange chili dipping sauce or dressed up with a little orange coleslaw and a tortilla chip (almost like a mini taco) for a completely delicious guilt-free treat (or as guilt-free as something that is fried and covered with a mayonnaise sauce can be).
Spiced Tofu Nuggets with Orange Chili Aioli
A spicy tofu take on the chicken nugget served either alone with a orange chili dipping sauce or mini taco style
2 tablespoons of mayonnaise (can also use a Vegan mayonnaise)
2 tablespoons of sweet chili sauce
1 teaspoon of sriracha
3 tablespoons of orange juice
For serving (optional)
Corn chips (I used sweet potato ones from Trader Joe's)
Coleslaw (shredded cabbage mixed with a few tablespoons of OJ, mayo & apple cider vinegar & sprinkled with salt and pepper)
Avocado or guacamole
Begin by making your breading mixture. Combine all the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir until well mixed. Set aside.
Add about 1/4" of oil to a medium-sized skillet and begin heating it over medium heat. Then cut the tofu into thick cubes. Begin rolling them in the flour mixture until they are well coated. Once the oil is nice and hot and sizzling, begin dropping the tofu cubes in. Cook until crispy and golden brown, turning it every few minutes until you have cooked it on each side (this should take about 10-12 minutes total). Remove the cubes from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Repeat this process until all the cubes have been cooked.
To make the aioli, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until well combined and smooth. Feel free to adjust the amounts of ingredients based on flavor preference.
To serve the tofu nuggets, either leave them as is or assemble them into mini tacos by layering a chip with some coleslaw adding a nugget and then topping it with the aioli.
Serve immediately. If there are any nuggets leftover, store in an airtight container then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes (although be warned that they will not be as crispy). Also do not store any of the mini tacos assembled as they will get soggy.
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for a larger group of people.
From here until the end of time (ok, just the end of summer) don’t be surprised if I talk about how sad I am that summer is basically over in every single post. Guys, I’m so sad! Like, how did this even happen?! Can’t deal. Summertime sadness aside, there is one thing that I won’t be sad to see go- eating in swimsuits. I know that sounds weird, but I have to be totally honest, there is nothing that I dislike more than being dripping wet in a bikini for a cook-out at someone’s pool/beach/lake. I always feel weird, gross, and judged 10 times more than usual for eating that second cheeseburger….with bacon….with potato salad (it’s ok, I know you’re just jealous because you want to be eating that too!). Also, I find it highly comical that girls won’t eat to fit into bikinis to wear to places where they’re going to be eating. Anyone else with me on this? Obviously, barbecues in bikinis are nearly unavoidable so this grilled vegetable salad is part of my solution. It’s quite possibly one of the easiest salads you can make as it is simply grilled vegetables chopped up then topped with a light dressing made from hummus (a great base for creamy dressings when you don’t want to use mayonnaise). This salad is healthy, light and fresh and definitely swimsuit approved! And since swimsuit season is almost over, don’t worry, this salad is also clothing approved!
P.S. This would make a healthy side dish for this coming Labor Day weekend’s barbecue and cookout festivities!
Grilled Vegetable Salad
A vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free vegetarian salad that's perfect on it's own or as a healthy side dish
First, wash and slice your squash, zucchini, and eggplant. Toss it with a little olive oil and proceed to grill as you normally would. The vegetables should take about 5-7 minutes per side. Once they're done, remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
To "grill" the corn, add a dash of olive oil to a medium-sized skillet set over medium heat. Add the corn and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until it begins to char, making sure to stir every few minutes. Remove the corn from the pan then toss the tomatoes in and cook for a few minutes.
Once the grilled vegetables have cooled, chop them into small pieces. Add to a serving bowl and toss with the corn and tomatoes.
To make the dressing mix the hummus, olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice together. Stir until well combined.
Drizzle the dressing over the salad, sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with shredded dill on top. Toss right before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.
This salad is tasty on it's own for a lighter meal, but it would also be good with a nice crusty bread (almost like a bruschetta), served alongside fish or steak, topped with grilled tofu, or sprinkled with some goat or feta cheese.
This recipe can easily be doubled or cut in half. The vegetables can also be substituted based on preference.
The vegetables can be grilled the night before and stored in the fridge until you are ready to use them the next day.
If you do not have a grill, or it's too cold outside, you could also use a grill pan or roast the vegetables in the oven.
What I’m about to say is going to sound a little odd, especially since part of my job is writing recipes, buuuut……I almost never follow a recipe (don’t worry, I do test all the recipes that make it onto this blog). I have a folder full of recipes that rarely get touched, magazines that only get browsed through, and cookbooks that are used for decorative purposes. About 95% of what I cook, I just wing. I throw in a little of this, a little of that, and a pinch of this (I rarely measure things either) and it just works. This is how I’ve cooked most of my life as has my Mom. I do get inspiration from magazines and cookbooks, but the recipes that inspire me are ones that I usually follow more as guidelines than as an actual recipe. Obviously, then, for me to say I found a recipe that I like and follow almost to a ‘T’ is a big deal. Such is the case with this zucchini casserole recipe. My Mom found this recipe a while back and started making it all the time. When I moved out, it was one of the recipes I made sure to take with me. Mr. RC and I now have it on a pretty regular basis. It’s healthy and light enough for summer but comforting enough for cold winter days. And in case you’re worried about satisfying the carnivores in your life, you’ll be happy to know Mr. RC loves his meat but is constantly requesting this dish. Whether you follow recipes or you don’t, this is one I highly suggest you add to your arsenal.
A tangy and nutty casserole that is both healthy and light while also being the perfect comfort food
6 cups thinly sliced zucchini or summer squash (about 3 small or 2 medium/large zucchini)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
A dash of black pepper
1 cup feta cheese crumbles (5 ounces)
1 cup cottage cheese
1/4-3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (depending on tastes preferences)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (or a handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced)
1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame seeds (optional)
In a small bowl place the bulgur and the boiling water. Stir and set aside until the water has been absorbed.
In a medium-sized skillet, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are just translucent. Add the zucchini, dried herbs, and black pepper and continue to sauté on medium to low heat until the zucchini is tender. I sometimes cover the pan with a lead to help the veggies cooke faster.
In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then mix in the cottage cheese and feta cheese.
To the bulgur, add the tomato paste, soy sauce and parsley and stir until combined.
To assemble the casserole, grease a 9x9" pan. Then layer the bulgur mixture on the bottome, the sautéed vegetables in the middle, and finish with the feta mixture. Top with the cheddar and the tomatoes.
Cover with foil then bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. I usually take the foil off after about 30 minutes so that the top gets crustier.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes for easier serving. Store leftovers tightly covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This pairs nicely with a tossed salad, some crusty bread and a nice glass of red wine.
To bake this in a 9x13" pan, I only double the bulgur mixture.
I think I may have been drooling all over my keyboard while writing this post. I mean, have you ever seen so many good-looking veggies, er should I say veggie burgers?! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE vegetables and we eat them every day, but sometimes they just aren’t the most appetizing things to eat. In fact when I was making our dinner menu for the month, I thought I’d have to work extra hard to plan some delicious meatless meals for Fridays (due to Lent), but to my surprise we actually eat mostly vegetarian meals as it is. Despite our menu being all “vegged out”, veggie burgers were nowhere to be found. So needless to say I was a little overly excited for this month’s 3×3 food post. Whether it’s for Meatless Mondays or No-Meat Lenten Fridays, Luci’s sweet potato veggie burgers (because we all know my obsession with sriracha can’t be stopped), Grace’s bulgur quinoa burgers (because I can’t get enough quinoa in my life) and my mediterranean mushroom burgers (lemon aioli, feta cheese, phyllo dough “bun”? Yes, yes & yes!) are sure to be on heavy rotation. Hop on over to Luci’s blog and Grace’s blog to get their recipes and continue scrolling down for mine.
Are you a fan of veggie burgers? If so, what is your favorite kind?
Mediterranean Mushroom Burgers
A portabella "burger" topped with mediterranean flavors and served on a phyllo "bun"
2 large portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and dried
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic
Dash of salt & pepper
4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 a tablespoon of fresh dill, minced
2 tablespoons of feta cheese, crumbled
Phyllo dough, unthawed
Grilled pepper strips
Place the mushroom caps in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle generously with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (I did about 3-4 tablespoons of each) along with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cover and let marinate for 3 hours up to 3 days.
When you are ready to eat the burgers, first make the sauces. For the parsley pesto, mix all the ingredients in an immersion blender or cuisinart and puree until smooth and well-blended.
For the aioli, mix the mayonnaise, lemon juice and dill together in a small bowl. Stir in the feta crumbles.
To make the buns, carefully cut at least 10 sheets of phyllo dough to a size a little bigger than the mushroom cap. I cut mine about 1/3 of the way down the sheet, then cut that in half. Feel free to make it as big as you would like and as thick as you would like. Start stacking the phyllo squares on a foil lined baking sheet. In between every couple layers, brush on some melted butter. Finish the top off with melted butter, as well. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-12 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly puffed.
While the "buns" are cooking, place a non-stick or well-oiled grill pan (a regular skillet will work too) over medium heat. Cook the mushrooms on each side for 3-5 minutes.
To assemble your burgers, first place a "bun" on your serving dish. Next spread on about 1 tablespoon of the pesto. Top that with your mushroom patty, the sautéed peppers (if you like), a dollop of the aoili, and garnish with a little dill and some more feta crumbles. Serve immediately.