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Kale-Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms April 23, 2012

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, quick meal, vegetarian.
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Kale Stuffed Portobella Mushroom

I bought some big portobello caps at the market on Saturday with the intention of making some sort of Mexican-inspired stuffed mushroom, but when I got home and checked the contents of my fridge, I decided on a different route.

I had a container of cooked brown rice (leftover from making this fried rice the night before) that I thought would go well with kale and a tomato sauce.  So that’s what I did, and it was delicious.  Only I know this, though, because even though I made two stuffed mushrooms, I dropped the one in the picture above on the floor right after taking this picture, and Ryan was nice enough to let me eat the one remaining mushroom and scrounge together something else for himself.  Sorry, Ral!

Kale-Stuffed Portobello Mushroooms


Two portobello mushroom caps
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 bunch of kale, cleaned and chopped
1/4 onion, diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper
Mozzarella or some Italian blend of cheese for the top

Pre-heat the oven to 375 Farenheit.

Clean your portobello caps.  I scrape the gills out of mine with a spoon.  In a medium-sized pan, saute the onion over medium heat until it is slightly browned.  Add the kale, and continue to cook until the kale is about half the volume it was before.  Add the brown rice, tomato sauce, and season to taste.

Scoop the mixture into the caps, and top with shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese.  Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned.

Here’s the mushroom pre-cheese:

stuffed mushroom

Don’t Call It a Comeback: Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili February 6, 2012

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dairy free, good for a group, quick meal, soup, vegan.
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Oh, hi.  Long time no recipe.  I almost don’t want to post this because it’s been SO long since I posted a recipe, and this is just a chili recipe.  With an iPhone photo, taken of chili leftovers in the kitchen at my work.  It’s not glamorous or exotic or even all that exciting, but it is good, and that’s what counts with food, isn’t it?  I use this blog a lot as my own personal recipe collection, and even if it’s not the most exciting recipe in the world, it’s one I will want to make again, so I’m putting it here for safekeeping, and for sharing.  Because you can never have enough chili recipes!  I made this last night for three non-vegetarians and everyone devoured it.  It’s a keeper for sure, and super easy, which is my main criteria for recipes these days.  I was able to get it in the slow cooker in about 5 minutes time, and let it simmer there for the better part of the afternoon until it was time for dinner.

Next time, I’ll try to come back with something a little more interesting—but no promises!

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili


1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup frozen corn
½ small can tomato paste
1 small can diced green chiles
½ onion, chopped and sautéed
½ red pepper, chopped and sautéed
½ green pepper, chopped and sautéed
1 cup water
1.5 tablespoons chili powder
1.5 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tsp smokey salt


Saute your onion, red pepper, and green pepper in a little olive oil until tender. Throw everything in a slow cooker and simmer on low for at least 3-4 hours.  Taste for spice level—as made, this is not a spicy chili but you could easily up the spice factor with some cayenne or hot sauce.

Topping suggestions: diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla strips, shredded cheese.  The more, the better!

Veggie Pasta Salad with Peanut Soy Sauce August 19, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dairy free, quick meal, vegan, vegetarian.
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What’s this??!!? A new post!  If you didn’t know, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy a little over a month ago.  You can follow his adventures on Hey Emitt! if you so choose.  Between caring for a newborn and following a new diet (I had to cut out dairy because it was giving Emitt all sorts of tummy trouble; you can read about it here), I have been really, really bad about cooking anything new.  It’s been a little tough figuring out dinners that Ryan and I will both want to eat.  For my part, I’ve been living mostly on cereal and almond milk, toast with peanut butter and jelly, hummus, granola bars (thanks to my friend Grace who made me a big batch of amazing granola bars!), vegan cookies (thanks to my sister-in-law and mother-in-law), pasta, quinoa, rice and beans, avocados, spinach salads, and fruit. I’m also a little addicted to this vegan ice cream and will probably buy out the stock at our local natural foods store.

Still, I feel like I’ve been mostly just getting by rather than really enjoying food lately.  If I had more time, I would love to cook some delicious vegan meals and try new things out but until we get into more of a routine over here (or until Emitt can chill in his baby carrier for more than a few minutes), it’s mostly eat-what-you-can-grab, although we have slowly been making some better meals (pizza, polenta lasagna, and kale chickpea casserole all translate well to vegan form if you use a little Daiya cheese in place of the mozzarella in the original recipes) in both vegan and with-cheese options. I unearthed two small glass Pyrex mini casserole dishes in our cabinet this week that are perfect for making two small separate servings.

Until yesterday.  My next-door neighbor brought by a container of freshly picked veggies from their family garden.  A nice-sized cucumber, a few carrots, two green peppers (which went into fajitas!), and a bunch of super sweet cherry tomatoes. Every time I have a cucumber in the house, my first thought is to make sesame noodles. Every time.  I love cold pasta with sesame sauce, and I wanted to make a variation on that using the rest of the veggies and some odds and ends I had in the house.

It turned out really well and gave me three nice meals to look forward to. I ate it when I first made it warm, and then ate it cold for lunch the next two days, and both ways were tasty. If I wasn’t watching what I was eating for Emitt, I would’ve dressed it up with some sriracha, but for the spice-intolerant, this was a good meal!

Veggie Pasta Salad with Peanut Soy Sauce


8 oz dried pasta
1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, whatever you like)
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup hot water
1 tsp fresh ginger (optional)
A little sriracha (optional)
Vegetables: I used one cucumber, a few small carrots, some cherry tomatoes, and green onions.  Improvise with what you have!


Bring a pot of water to a boil. While you are boiling the noodles, prepare the sauce and chop the veggies.  To make the sauce, mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, hot water, ginger, and sriracha until smooth. Chop up the veggies, and mix well with the sauce and cooked pasta.

Chopped Spinach Taco Salad April 5, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in lunch, quick meal, salad, vegetarian.
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I mentioned this salad briefly a few posts back, but since it is my meal at least 3 times a week, I figured it deserved it’s own post!  I make this for lunch a lot, packing all of the ingredients except the salsa, hot sauce, and chips into one container, and then mixing it all together right before I’m ready to eat.  It’s quick, easy, and really, really good.  I usually get three lunches out of one can of black beans.

Chopped Spinach Taco Salad
(serves 2)

chopped spinach taco salad

3 cups chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed well
Handful of grape tomatoes or one bigger tomato, chopped
1/8 cup walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup feta cheese
1/8 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 salsa
Hot sauce, to taste
Handful of tortilla chips, crunched up

Chop all of the ingredients, mixing in the salsa, hot sauce, and chips right before serving.

Really Easy Baked Parmesan Shrimp January 4, 2011

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, fish, quick meal.
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Sometimes, I am a nice wife and make a fish or chicken dinner for Ryan.  This one was incredibly easy and used ingredients that I always have on hand.  The best kind of meal!  I usually keep a bag of Trader Joe’s large pre-cooked shrimp in the freezer.  Sometimes I’ll add them to pasta or stir fry for Ryan but this was a little departure from the shrimp-norm around our house.  The verdict?  Ryan said he’d “eat ten more plates of this” so I take that to mean it is a keeper.

Baked Parmesan Shrimp

baked parmesan shrimp

Ingredients (to serve one):

8-10 medium or large pre-cooked shrimp
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmesan cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit. If you are using frozen shrimp, thaw them in a bowl of room temperature water for 10-15 minutes.  While they are thawing, prep your marinade and breading.

In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic.  In another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.  When the shrimp are thawed, toss them in the olive oil and lemon marinade, and season with salt and pepper.

One by one, remove them from the olive oil and lemon marinade, and toss them in the breadcrumb mixture.  Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  When all of the shrimp are on the sheet, spray the tops lightly again with the spray, and then bake in the oven for about 7-8 minutes, or until the tops start to turn golden.

Grilled Cheese, in the style of Commonwealth November 30, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, quick meal, vegetarian.
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grilled cheese

Commonwealth is a small coffee shop that opened in downtown Birmingham a few months back.  By all accounts, their coffee is phenomenal, but having never been a coffee drinker (I think I’ve tried coffee once in my life), I cannot comment.  I can tell you, however, that their grilled cheese is DELICIOUS.  Ryan ate there for lunch one day, and couldn’t stop talking about the grilled cheese until we went there together so I could try it for myself.

They serve the grilled cheese on thick, soft-but-toasted bread, with at least three different cheeses inside.  We don’t know for sure, but think Boursin might be one of them.  There’s definitely grilled halloumi, and some sort of melty white cheese tying it all together.  It comes with a little cup of tomato soup, and it costs $9.  It’s worth the money, but considering we don’t leave around the corner, and the fact that two grilled cheeses costs about $20, we decided to make our own version, which I dare say comes verrrrry close to the deliciousness of the Commonwealth grilled cheese.  I served it alongside the best tomato soup ever, and it was a meal that I wished I could eat again and again and again and again.

Warning: this is not the healthiest thing I’ve ever posted on this blog.  But it’s worth it!

Grilled Cheese with Boursin, Halloumi, and Muenster

grilled cheese

4 slices of bread (we used Trader Joe’s sourdough)
A little bit of butter
1/2 block of halloumi
Boursin cheese
2 slices of muenster cheese

You’ll want to grill your halloumi first.   Cut it into 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick slices and grill it either on a grill pan, or just in a skillet.  You don’t need to spray or oil the pan before putting the cheese on it.  It has plenty of oil in it to cook properly!

Once that is done, assemble the sandwich using Boursin cheese as a spread on both piece of bread.  Layer the halloumi on one slice, muenster on the other, sandwich together, butter the outsides, and grill it up!

Gnocchi with Shiitake Spinach Cream Sauce November 2, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, quick meal, vegetarian.
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Sometimes, the best meals come from raiding the fridge and throwing a bunch of odds-and-ends together.  That’s how this meal was born, and WOW was it good.  Comfort food to the max (stick-to-your-ribs potatoes and cream!) but if comfort food isn’t appropriate on a chilly fall night, then I don’t know when it is. Plus, I used half-and-half instead of heavy cream and threw in a cup or so of chopped spinach at the last second, so those were my concessions toward healthy cooking for this recipe.

Ryan said this one’s going on the menu for sure—the ever-growing list of recipes that we’d serve at the restaurant we’re opening only in our imagination.  I would have to concur.

Gnocchi with Shiitake Spinach Cream Sauce
(Printable Recipe)

mushroom gnocchi


1 package potato gnocchi (I had a package of mini-gnocchi in my pantry that were great in this)
4-6 oz. shiitake mushrooms
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth, warmed
1/2 tbl butter
1 shallot
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup parmesan
1 cup chopped fresh spinach (or just a few handfuls)


Melt the butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper and saute for 2 minutes. Add the shiitake mushrooms and saute another 3 minutes.  Add 1 cup warm vegetable broth and simmer at medium-high heat until it is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

mushroom sauce

Add the half-and-half and parmesan and simmer until it thickens, about 2-4 minutes. Add a cup of chopped spinach toward the end of the cooking time.

creamy mushroom sauce

While the vegetable broth is simmering, prepare your gnocchi in a separate saute pan.  Add a little olive oil, and 1/4 cup vegetable broth.  Cover, and steam over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.  Remove the cover and saute, stirring frequently, until the broth has evaporated and the gnocchi start to crisp on the outside.

When both pans are done, combine them, serve, and eat!

Arugula Parmesan Ravioli October 19, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, quick meal, vegetarian.
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Easy dinners rule around our house.  I’ve said it before, but after a full day of work, a trip to the gym, and a post-gym shower, despite my love of cooking, I just want to EAT and I want food to appear in front of me like magic, immediately.  Since that will never happen, I try to find shortcuts that will allow me to make a nice, healthy dinner in a very short amount of time.

I spied these new raviolis in Trader Joe’s over the weekend:

trader joe's arugula parmesan ravioli

Arugula?  Count me in.  I was probably late on the arugula train, but I remember clearly the first time I fell in love with it.  It was during the big blackout of 2003.  I lived in Ann Arbor at the time.  I was getting a weekly share of produce through a CSA (community-supported agriculture) and had just received a brand new box of fresh produce when the blackout hit.  I took part in a cook-out with a bunch of friends and neighbors that night, preparing all of the fresh food I had so it wouldn’t go bad.  In my CSA box that week was a bunch of fresh arugula.  I remember eating it that night and wondering what this spicy green was that I was loving so much.  Since then, I’ve made it a point to buy arugula as often as possible.  I can’t get enough of salads made with the spicy green!

With the raviolis above, I decided to stick with the flavors and toss the cooked ravioli with fresh arugula until it just wilted, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, herbed olive oil, and a little asiago.  I considered adding tomatoes, but forgot, and tossed around the idea of crumbling some crispy Morningstar fake bacon strips in but decided that might be overkill.

This meal, while not the most original, was fresh and delicious and really quick to make.

Arugula Parmesan Ravioli

arugula parmesan ravioli

1 package prepared ravioli (I used the arugula parmesan ravioli from Trader Joe’s)
Two big handfuls of fresh arugula
1/8 cup parmesan
Sprinkling of pine nuts
Drizzle of herbed olive oil
Sprinkling of asiago

Boil ravioli according to package directions.  When done, toss in the warm pot with the rest of the ingredients until the arugula is just wilted.

Tofu Avocado Cheddar Wrap September 30, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in lunch, quick meal, vegetarian.
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It takes a special recipe to make a combination of tofu, avocado, soy sauce, cheddar cheese, nutritional yeast and italian dressing taste like a million bucks, but this one does it.  The basis for this sandwich is a pan full of grit-style tofu, which I first made back in the veggie cobb salad post.  The key to the grit-style tofu is a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast:

nutrional yeast

Take the prepared tofu, chop up an avocado, top with some shredded cheddar (shredded white Vermont cheddar is amazing in this, but use what you have!) and italian dressing (I’m sure homemade would be preferable but Ken’s Light Northern Italian is a good stand-by) and wrap it all up in a nice fresh pita and you have a delicious, fast meal.

Tofu Avocado Cheddar Wrap
(Adapted from the Grit Cookbook)

Tofu Avocado Cheddar Wrap


15 oz block of water-packed extra firm tofu
1 tbl olive oil
Soy sauce (a few shakes of the bottle)
Nutritional yeast (about 1-2 tbl)
1 avocado, chopped
2 fresh pitas
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbs italian dressing


Drain the tofu and press excess water out using a tea towel or paper towels.  Cut tofu into a small dice.

diced tofu

Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, and add tofu.  Cook it, flipping pieces infrequently so the tofu gets nice and brown and crispy on the outside.  When tofu has browned (it takes me about 20 minutes to get it how I like it), turn the heat down to about medium-low and add a few shakes of soy sauce to the pan.  Stir the tofu around, making sure it all gets evenly seasoned.  Add one to two tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the tofu, again stirring it around so it is evenly coated.  It should look like the tofu below when you are done!

grit style tofu

Chop up an avocado, and put a portion of the prepared tofu in a pita, top with chopped avocado, shredded cheddar, and a little italian dressing.

open pita

Roll it up, and eat!

Broccoli Chickpea Baked Pasta September 15, 2010

Posted by Angela @ Making Food for Friends in dinner, quick meal, vegetarian.
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I got home late last night and raided the fridge and cupboards to try to quickly pull together a relatively healthy meal.  I kept adding ingredients as I went along, but the resulting dinner ended up tasting (to me) so good that I want to share it, even though it was just a “pull everything out and throw it in a dish” meal.  I started with pasta and sauce, added some chopped broccoli when I thought of it, decided I needed protein and opened a can of chickpeas, decided the whole thing would be better with cheese, then realized the cheese would be best melted and broiled, and then thought “Spices!! I forgot spices!!” and dumped a bunch of those in.   It looks like a mess but was really, really good when all was said & done, and I know I’ll be making this again in the future.

Broccoli Chickpea Baked Pasta
(serves 3-4)

broccoli chickpea baked pasta

8 oz dried pasta
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 cups pasta sauce
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Sprinkling of parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
Spices: I used a heaping tablespoon of my Jamaican allspice blend, but this could be substituted with a mix of garlic powder, dried red pepper, thyme, paprika, and S&P


Pre-heat oven to 400.  While the oven is pre-heating, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta, and when the pasta is almost done, add the chopped broccoli for the remaining minute or two.

Drain the pasta and broccoli, and put it back in the pot. Add the chickpeas, chopped tomato, pasta sauce, and spices to the pot and stir it all together.

broccoli chickpea baked pasta pre-stirring

Pour the mix into a medium sized casserole dish.  Sprinkle with mozzarella, bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  You can finish it under the broiler for a minute or two if you like your cheese browned & bubbly.  Then eat.