Category Archives: Vegetarian

Real Simple + One Pot = Happy Momma

Soooooo, I know I’ve said it here before and it’s pretty good odds that I will say it again but, being a parent is all at once terrifying/exhilarating/exhausting/priceless. One area where I’ve noticed a big difference is dinner. By the time we get her home, fed, bathed, rocked and put to sleep it doesn’t end there. While David is folding laundry, I’m taking out the trash, cleaning the cat litter boxes, putting up dishes and wiping toddler food crust off my new work shirt, I’m practically drooling looking at my menu plan and what I have to make for the night. I have learned to plan ahead and let me just say, my days of a chicken a la something on a bed of wilted something or other with a foam of blibbity blob is loooong gone. Enter the days of dishes I can braise or roast, half prep in the morning or are super quick or no cook. And I’ll take it if it means more time with her and David as I know these moments are going to whiz by and I can get back to my gourmet meals while fretting about my daughter in college. It will be here before we know it.

Enter these fantastic dishes from Real Simple magazine in a section called One Pot Wonders and wonderful they were. We tried three out of the five and all of them were delicious, once again in order of favorites:

Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew: this was super fast and DELICIOUS. For something so quick and easy, the depth of flavors were insane. The leftovers were even better the next day.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Almonds and Raisins: the Moroccan infused ingredients in this were killer, from the turmeric to the ginger and crunchy almonds everything was just perfect. And y’all, it’s braised chicken thighs, come on.

Loaded Bacon-Potato Soup with Cheddar and Chives: You would think with a name like that this would be first on my list. Don’t get me wrong, this was good but I think I’ve made too many Baked Potato style soups in the past that just can’t be trumped. Do give this one a try as it was easy, breezy and perfect for any baked potato lover in the house.

Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew from Real Simple
Chunky Italian Vegetable Stew from Real Simple

Guess Who’s Back?

Oh no pandas! It’s been two months since my last post. Yoikes! While I have been doing some serious Cooking Inside the Lines my poor little blog has suffered at the hands of new and good things from a new gig (at Wellington Group – love those ladies over there!) and of course, our awesome kiddo Lila who is now one. One! Can you believe it? I have to admit I was crying like a big old baby when we sang her happy birthday. Who knew you could feel such sweeping emotion of happiness and being totally overwhelmed in the span of two minutes. Parents, you’re feeling me right?

So, let’s get to some of the great dishes we’ve had in the past few months. I will admit, there was a two week span where everything I made was meh and since “meh” just won’t cut it, I will not share here. I will say David and I were praising the recipe gods because the drought of just ho hum dishes was starting to feel like a curse upon our house.

Oddly enough, my first recipe comes from BuzzFeed (Really???!!!) for the hands down best way to roast a chicken by the one and only Chef Thomas Keller (I feel like I should put “bow down” between Thomas and Keller every time I type his name). Now, I’ve roasted some chickens in my day because, as the hubs knows, it’s one of my favorite things to make…ever. So when I saw “How To Make The Best Roast Chicken Of All Time” roll-up in my Facebook feed I gave a look to the computer screen and said “BRING IT!” (that might be a bit over exaggerated. Who me?). Well, they brought it and all that was left were some chicken bones and empty plates. This was simple, delicious and perfect. Heck, use the best way to cook a steak post and you will have your chicken and steak bases covered for forever. Seriously though, I do think I will use this method until the sun explodes. Loved it.

Photo from Buzzfeed


Moving on!

This Gardener’s Pie from Cooking Light was fantastic to the max. It was so good that I made it on a Monday night and David requested it for the next week’s lineup to try it again. And yes, it was still fantastic to the max. It’s creamy, ooey, gooey with delicious roasted vegetables that are all cooked and season juuuuust right. Make this. Inhale your dinner. Inhale the leftovers. Repeat.

Finally, a super fast and family friendly meal was this Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Cilantro Shallot Relish from Food & Wine. We only had six thighs so the cooking time was a lot less than 45 minutes and we had just enough time to make the Cilantro Shallot Relish, heat up some Naan and boom, dinner was done. I did have some Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice and Garam Masala and we found ourselves mixing the greek yogurt blend and cilantro shallot relish together and dipping our warm, delicious (store bought as I’m not making that from scratch) Naan. Yumm. The chicken was super, duper moist and had just enough oomph from the spice blend without being too overpowering (I mean it looks like it could have that potential right?). Oooh man, I will make this again.

Photo from Food & Wine Magazine
Photo from Food & Wine Magazine

I promise to not be away for this long again – seriously!  Love to you all and have a wonderful holiday season and break…ahhhh, a break. Can’t wait to spend it with our amazing family and friends.

Tomato Ricotta Tart

It’s no secret that I loathe ricotta cheese. Seriously, give me a gallon of gasoline and a match and I will torch a batch at a time. So why, oh why, did I choose to make this Tomato Ricotta Tart from Cooking Light that has 3/4 cup of the yucky stuff in it? Because I’m a ricotta martyr? Because I’m a glutton for punishment? Because I like to prove myself wrong? Ding, ding, ding!

I was proved very wrong indeed lambs and I’m grateful that I tried this because we out-of-this world loved this dish. The crust was perfect, a little crumbly but in a good way and the tomatoes with the ricotta filling were so perfectly balanced, we were slap your knee happy. Also, it was so easy to put together and with a simple spinach side salad, dinner was done in no time. As an added bonus, we ate the leftovers for the next two days for breakfast. I told David the next time we hosted a brunch I was going to be make sure this stunner was at the table. Yum!

Photo by Becky Luigart Stayner


A Delicious Failure

It’s rare that I review a dish that doesn’t work out perfectly, since (obviously) I test recipes that work to ensure you have a great experience at home. Alas, last night we had a real conundrum on our hands. I made this Crabless Cakes with Hearts of Palm & Corn from Food & Wine and while they maintained their shape when formed, boy did they fall apart once they hit the pan. It was so bad it looked like I was making a hash instead of crabcakes. I kept reviewing all of the steps and ingredients to make sure I hadn’t missed something glaring, but I didn’t. At first I thought it was my pan, so I moved to another non-stick pan and the same thing happened with the remaining cakes. Oooh, I was not happy lambs. I was about to scrap it but then decided to give it a taste. It was GREAT! So great in fact that I had seconds, which I rarely ever do. Granted,  I was eating a veggie/breadcrumb hash instead of crabcakes, but the flavors were outstanding.

Photo by Con Poulos
How the Crabless Cakes are Supposed to Look…Photo by Con Poulos

I am somewhat comforted that another fellow cooker tried this recipe and had the same outcome. Her idea was to add a bit of mashed sweet potato as binder, and it worked. Or, if you are OK with it, you could use two slightly beaten eggs. I would also suggest placing them in the fridge once formed to let them set up. I’m going to go back and try a few of these steps and report back to you on what works. These were awesome in flavor and pretty easy in assembly, so I definitely want to give them another try to make them perfect. I’ll keep you posted!

Vegetable “Ceviche”

Guys I have been digging the heck out of vegetables recently. Don’t get me wrong, I love veggies of all kinds, and even tried to make them the center of the plate at least a few times a week. But, I’ve really concentrated the past month on making them more of mainstay in our diet than red meat and even chicken or pork, and I’m loving it.

This bad boy from Food & Wine magazine was PERFECT. I love the ceviche style preparation and the colors and flavors were out of this world. Seriously, look at this…


This is great for end-of-summer/back-to-school parties as I think kids and adults will dig it, plus the vegetarians will love you! David, who is from the East Coast/Canada is our in-house fish expert, had been wanting to make me his “fish fry” for some time. It’s basically fish (we used Tilapia) coated in Saltine cracker crumbs, salt and pepper, dredged in egg and fried in olive oil. It was light, delicious and a nice balance to the intense flavors of the Vegetable “Ceviche.” I’m definitely making this again before the summer runs out. I can’t believe summer is almost over but you know what that means? COLLEGE FOOTBALL. Squee!


Ratatouille Tian

They are so many food blogs I love on the intertubes but one of my favorites is from Clotilde Dusoulier (I also love her name) of Chocolate & Zucchini. From the recipes to the photography and her writing, I am so inspired by what she does and now she has a cookbook! I can’t wait for it to arrive at our house and I didn’t have to wait to try one of her recipes since Daily Candy had a sneak peek of a few of them, including her delectable Ratatouille Tian.

This dish, made famous by the Pixar movie Ratatouille, has been one of my favorites for a long time. I love the blend of zucchini, tomatoes, onions and eggplant. Yes, even eggplant, the one veggie that I really don’t dig, but in ratatouille, I can do it (so can David since he hates eggplant too). Also, I didn’t know that Tian translated into any kind of casserole-style baked dish, thank you Yumsugar.

I will say this dish took a long time. From cutting the vegetables on the mandolin to roasting for a good hour and a half. Speaking of, have you ever cut yourself on a mandolin? YOWZA. I did one time and from then have worn safety gloves after one small cut. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain and the cut was deep. Sorry, I went on a mandolin rampage but it seriously hurt so bad. This is my PSA for you to be careful with those things, OK?

So, after cutting all the veggies, and layering and roasting and more roasting, I thought my love for this dish might be slowly dwindling, but we took one bite and it really was like the scene from Ratatouille when Anton Ego takes one bite and is shot back to his childhood memory of him having a rough day and his mama making this dish for him. Happiness wells up inside him and tears begin to flow. Well, I’m from East Texas and definitely don’t have that memory, but I was shocked at how delicious it was and happiness did well up! It was perfectly balanced, cooked to perfection and so deliciously satisfying, just as this dish should be.

Tasting the ratatouille
Anton Ego taking the first bite of ratatouille from Pixar’s film, Ratatouille

This can be a bit of work but it definitely is worth the prep and time. Lovely, lovely, lovely, Coltide. I can’t wait to try more of your delicious work.

The Salad Only Married (Or Extremely Close) Couples Should Eat


Heed my advice on this one pandas, this salad is covered with cilantro, three types of beans, and grilled onions and jalapeños. Mmmhmmm. Not really the first date type of salad or heck, even the 15th but after almost two years of marriage and a kiddo – who cares! It’s damn good!

This Pinto, Black and Red Bean Salad with Grilled Corn and Avocado was insanely yummy and super simple to put together. It doesn’t even have a dressing! The fresh lime juice was just perfect with the almost caramelized onions, spicy jalapeños, sweet corn and buttery avocados. I have to say our veggie only week is going splendidly so far!

Tonight I’m making a watermelon and cucumber salad and yes, a spice-rubbed pork tenderloin – it’s just a little bit of meat, I promise! Stay tuned…

Sufferin’ Succotash

I always know it’s a Kealey house favorite when David gets excited about the leftovers the next day. We’ve decided to go meat-light/almost vegetarian the next few weeks since the two of us love meat and I think it’s always good to push the reset button every once in a while.  What a fantastic dish to start with! If this is how our vegetarian adventure is going to be for the next few weeks I’m pumped!

This Summer Succotash Gratin recipe by Chef Michael Romano is super simple and I liked that you can easily tweak it to include any kind of veggies you might have laying around. I know there are times that we just haven’t gone through all of our veggies in the crisper and this is a perfect way to use them up deliciously. I included some ripe tomatoes and mushrooms to our mix and then followed everything else just as it called for. This is definitely my go-to recipe when I’m in a time crunch and a perfect summer vegetable dish. Yum!


Summer vegetable succotash gratin A130326 FW Handbook July 2013


Sweet Potato and Cheese Gratin

Sweet potato

So, we’ve had a tumultuous past few weeks with my husband and I both attacked by RSV/sinus infections but even way worse, our little one was admitted to the hospital for an infection. Hospitals are never fun, but watching your four-month old being set-up with an IV and poked and prodded made me an absolute basket case. Thankfully, we are all home and on the mend but oy lambs. I’m hoping for a lot of normal (whatever that means right?), for the next few months after this little sickness dance we’ve been doing.

With said sinus infection, I couldn’t taste or smell a thing. I kept telling David this should be the time that I just eat kale at every meal since I can’t tell the difference one way or another. Today, I finally got back some of my lost senses and actually could taste the dinner I made! Now, you might be taking this review with a grain of salt considering I haven’t tasted my food in four days and therefore cat food might actually taste good, but fear not y’all, I can tell you that this Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese Gratin was all that and then some.

This was an absolutely satisfying vegetarian dish and perfect for all the sickness going around. Did you know a sweet potato has more Vitamin C than an orange? Perfect timing! There were two changes I made to this. First, I had some fresh thyme on hand and included it in the milk/cheese mixture and placed some on top after baking and second, I used panko bread crumbs since I forgot to pick some up the store and I was not packing up the baby and all that jazz for breadcrumbs when crunchy panko would do the trick. I served this with a simple hearts of romaine salad and my lemon shallot dressing. Yum!

I did make another recipe on Monday but since I couldn’t taste it I really can’t tell you much about it, however my husband raved on and one and said I should let you know from a flavor standpoint it rocked. From a assembly standpoint, it was easy breezy so, hey, give this Tarragon Chicken with Spring Greens recipe a try too!

Italian Vegetable Stew

“A bowl full of health” is what David calls this Italian Vegetable Stew from Bon Appetit.  I made this a few weeks ago for the two of us when the plague was attacking everyone and everything in Austin, including the three of us. It was the first time little Lila was sick and I was on pins and needles but just like everything else with kids, you get through it and you learn that your “gear” is everything. Bless the NoseFrida, the humidifier and saline spray is all I can say.

David and I were so impressed with this stew the first time around we decided to make it again for friends last night for dinner and once again, it didn’t disappoint.  I did make this without adding in the bread since two of our friends are gluten-free and served up toasted garlic bread on the side so everyone else could dip as much as we wanted. Also, I did add a splash of red wine vinegar at the end just to give a hint more acidity, which seems counterintuitive given all the tomatoes but actually, we all agreed it needed it.  Winter does seem to be winding down so be sure to put this into your rotation before the hot summer months get to you…heck, it’s already 80 degrees here today, yeesh. Mangia!italian-vegetable-stew-646