Recipes

Falafel Pitas

One of my absolute favorite things to eat is a falafel pita. Crunchy balls of crispy falafel, topped with cool, crisp veggies, all dressed up with fresh & creamy tzatziki. There are a lot of really great places to get one, but I love trying to make my favorite foods at home. I’ve bought the frozen falafel from Trader Joe’s before & I love them, but I wanted to try making them from scratch! There are two types of falafel, the traditional style which are fried, or a healthier option, which are baked.

Initially I wanted to fry my falafel because nothing beats that crunch you get when frying them. At first, I made my falafel into patty shapes to shallow fry them because I am not a fan of deep frying, it’s just way to much of a mess.  but after the first attempt, I realized this was not going to work. Maybe I had the oil at the wrong temp, or didn’t cook them long enough. Either way, they did not come out as planned!

That’s the fun part of cooking at home, you get to try new things & adapt to what works best for you & yields the best result. So I quickly realized frying the falafel was not working & decided to bake them instead. Spoiler alert, they were still delicious!

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The first step to delicious homemade falafel? Make tzatziki from scratch. It’s really easy to throw together using very common ingredients (many of which you probably already have) & really elevates this dish. Tzatziki is a yogurt based sauce that goes great with falafel, chicken, gyros & basically anything else. You won’t have any trouble getting through the leftovers & it keeps great in the fridge. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge. The longer it sets, the more delicious it will be! I let mine sit for the amount of time it took to get dinner on the table & it was great. If you have the time to assemble it earlier in the day, by all means, go for it!

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Falafel time! This mix comes together insanely easily using a food processor. Start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.

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Next comes the flavor! To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.

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Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas. I like to top mine with lettuce, tomato, pickles, red onion & cucumber. I chopped up all my veggies & set them aside so they’re ready to use when the falafel come out of the oven.

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To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.

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When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.

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Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom! Not too difficult right?

Falafel Pitas

Prep time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 85 minutes
Servings: 20-23 falafel (depending on the size)

Ingredients: 

Tzatziki-

  • 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt
  • 1 cup grated cucumber, drained of all liquid
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Falafel-

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • oil, for brushing onto falafel

For serving-

  • pita bread
  • lettuce
  • tomato
  • pickles
  • red onion
  • cucumber

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Start by scooping the yogurt into a bowl. Then add in the cucumber, garlic, lemon juice, salt & pepper. Stir to combine & let it rest in the fridge.
  3. In a food processor, start by combining the chickpeas, parsley, cilantro & mint. Pulse until it begins to come together.
  4. To the chickpeas, add paprika, coriander, cumin, garlic & baking soda. Mix on high until all ingredients are combined. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  5. Spoon mixture into a bowl & let it rest for 20-30 minutes before forming. While the mix is resting, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your pitas.
  6. To bake the falafel, form them into small balls & place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bruch the tops with olive oil & bake the falafel for about 30 minutes, until the outside becomes crisp & the inside is still tender.
  7. When the falafel come out of the oven let them rest for a few minutes while you heat your pitas & gather your toppings.
  8. Dress up your pitas to your liking & boom!
Recipes

Creamy Mushroom Pasta

It’s meatless Monday once again! This week I opted for a simpler take on a meatless dish and went with a vegetarian classic. This dish utilizes mushrooms as its main source of protein.

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Creamy Mushroom Pasta is a one-pot meal that comes together in the time it takes to boil some pasta! What else could you want on a Monday night? It’s filling, creamy & cheesy!

As I mentioned in a previous post, mushrooms are a fantastic meat substitute & they pair wonderfully with pasta. When they’re tossed in cream they reach a new level of delicious.

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Cover the whole mess with parmesan cheese & you’ve got yourself an insanely delicious meal! I served this up with some French bread & a delicious crisp white wine.

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Check out Girl Gone Gourmet for the full recipe!

Recipes

Jackfruit Enchiladas

I heard about Jackfruit for the first time about a year ago when I saw a Tasty video for Vegan Pulled Pork. Since then, I was so enthralled by this ingredients & wanted to know more. I watched so many cooking videos of people working with Jackfruit. I wasn’t really sure where to get Jackfruit & working with the entire fruit seemed a little daunting. They’re also very large so I would feel wasteful buying a whole one. Fast forward to just a few weeks ago & I was at a party where someone had brought a whole Jackfruit (I’m still not sure why but I got to go home with some so I never questioned it again).

I was so excited to be going home with this Jackfruit because I finally got to try cooking with it, without having to deal with the whole fruit. All of the videos & recipes I looked at said the same thing, to treat the Jackfruit like any other pulled meat. So I shredded it up, tossed it in a pan & covered it in barbecue sauce. It was delicious.

I knew I wanted to cook with it again but still had no intention of buying a whole Jackfruit. And thats when it happened. I was strolling the aisles of Trader Joe’s, as I usually do on a Monday morning, when I saw something magical in the canned foods section. Canned Jackfruit. It was already broken down & preserved in a brine so all I had to do was take it out of the can & boom, it was ready to use. That is, the detailed version, of how these enchiladas came to be.

Start by gathering all of your ingredients. Drain the Jackfruit & rinse lightly with water to remove any excess brine. Break up the Jackfruit as you would a chicken breast, so it becomes smaller shreds.

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To dry the Jackfruit, line a quarter sheet pan (or a large plate) with paper towels. Cover the paper towels with shredded Jackfruit & lay another paper towel on top. Press down lightly to remove any excess moisture. The dryer the Jackfruit is, the better it will brown when sautéed.

Cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, in a medium skillet set over medium high heat. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Next add the garlic & spices & stir to combine. Cook for another minute until the spices become fragrant. Next add in the dried Jackfruit & stir it all up. Cover the mixture with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce & stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, then set aside on a plate.

While the Jackfruit is cooking, grate the cheese & pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce in the pan that cooked the Jackfruit & heat it on medium low.

To assemble the enchiladas, start by dipping the tortilla into the heated enchilada sauce until it’s coated. Lay on about 2 tablespoons of the Jackfruit & top with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it, rolled side down, in your baking dish. Keep doing this unit you are out of Jackfruit & cheese. Depending on how big the enchiladas are you should get between 7-9.

Once all the enchiladas are rolled, cover them with any remaining sauce & the remainder of the grated cheese. I like to dot the top of my enchiladas with sliced black olives but that part is optional!

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When you’re ready to eat the enchiladas, bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until the cheese is melted & the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let the enchiladas cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving them up. Serve up with any desired toppings (I love to top my enchiladas with fresh guac, which you can find on this post) & enjoy!

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Jackfruit Enchiladas

Total Time: 1 hour (includes baking time)
Servings: 7-9 Enchiladas

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced (about half an onion)
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic (2 medium cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 can Jackfruit in brine*
  • 1 bottle red enchilada sauce
  • 7-9 medium corn tortillas
  • 3 cups grated monterey jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Drain the Jackfruit & rinse lightly with water to remove any excess brine. Break up the Jackfruit as you would a chicken breast, so it becomes smaller shreds.
  2. To dry the Jackfruit, line a quarter sheet pan (or a large plate) with paper towels. Cover the paper towels with shredded Jackfruit & lay another paper towel on top. Press down lightly to remove any excess moisture
  3. Cook the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, in a medium skillet set over medium high heat. Cook until the onions begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Next add the garlic & spices & stir to combine. Cook for another minute until the spices become fragrant.
  5. Then add in the dried Jackfruit & stir it all up. Cover the mixture with 2 tablespoons of enchilada sauce & stir. Cook for another 5 minutes, then set aside on a plate.
  6. While the Jackfruit is cooking, grate the cheese & pour another tablespoon of enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish.
  7. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce in the pan that cooked the Jackfruit & heat it on medium low.
  8. To assemble the enchiladas, start by dipping the tortilla into the heated enchilada sauce until it’s coated. Lay on about 2 tablespoons of the Jackfruit & top with about a tablespoon of cheese. Roll up the enchilada and place it, rolled side down, in your baking dish. Keep doing this unit you are out of Jackfruit & cheese.
  9. Once all the enchiladas are rolled cover them with any remaining sauce & the remainder of the grated cheese.
  10. When you’re ready to eat the enchiladas**, bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes until cheese is melted & sauce is bubbling around the edges. Let the enchiladas cool for about 5-10 minutes before serving them up.

 

*If you are using fresh Jackfruit it would be about 3 cups, shredded.

**These enchiladas are a fantastic make-ahead dish. When you have the time, cook & assemble the enchiladas, then cover them with plastic wrap & store in the fridge until ready to bake. Remove enchiladas from the fridge about 20 minutes before baking to allow them to come to room temperature for more even cooking.

Recipes

Sunday Pot Roast

With temperatures dropping and days feeling shorter, quick & easy dinners that warm you from the inside out are a necessity. There is no dish more comforting than Pot Roast. With just a few simple steps & a slow cooker, this delicious rib sticking Pot Roast can be on your table in just a few hours.

Fall is the time to bust out the slow cooker & let it do all the hard work. Think of all the fun things you can spend your time doing instead of working on dinner! Carving pumpkins? Watching a scary movie? Finishing up those pesky chores you couldn’t get to over the weekend? Spending quality time with a loved one? The list is endless! Make yourself this Pot Roast & see what extra fun things you get to accomplish…

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Start by gathering all of your ingredients & heating 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season all sides of the meat with salt & pepper then coat the meat in flour. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides. This step is not necessary but it is definitely worth it. Browning the meat adds a really nice texture to the finished dish as well as a much deeper flavor.

While the meat is browning, prepare the vegetables. Toss the potatoes & carrots into the slow cooker with the garlic & dried thyme. Place the browned meat over the carrots & potatoes, then pour in the broth.

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Cover the slow cooker & cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours. About an hour before the Pot Roast is done, mix up the water & cornstarch until it becomes slightly pasty. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker & stir around. Finish cooking the Pot Roast for the last hour. When the time is up, remove the meat & either slice it up or shred it to serve. Enjoy!

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Pot Roast

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 3lbs Chuck Roast
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1lb Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks (or baby fingerlings)
  • 1lb carrots, peeled & cut into 1 inch chunks (or baby carrots)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions:

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. Season all sides of the meat with salt & pepper then coat the meat in flour. Once the oil is hot, brown the meat on all sides.
  3. While the meat is browning, prepare the vegetables. Toss the potatoes & carrots into the slow cooker with the garlic & dried thyme.
  4. Place the browned meat over the carrots & potatoes then pour in the broth.
  5. Cover the slow cooker & cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 9-10 hours.
  6. About an hour before the Pot Roast is done, mix up the water & cornstarch until it becomes slightly pasty. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker & stir around.
  7. Finish cooking the Pot Roast for the last hour. When the time is up, remove the meat & either slice it up or shred it to serve.