Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Eggs

Veggie Envy

I am excited to welcome Emily Wilson as a guest blogger. Emily is a trained chef who devotes her days (and I suspect many nights) to developing and testing delicious recipes for Cooking Planit.com. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Emily on several meals I put together for Cooking Planit, and it became apparent that we shared a lot of the same tastes, so this was a natural fit. I’ve asked her to share some of her favorite vegetarian recipes with us. Enjoy!

“You love food!”
“You eat out too often!!”
“You work in the food business!!!”

These are just a few of the reasons people have given me as to why I couldn’t possibly become vegetarian. Well, a few years ago I gave up meat for a health experiment and stayed away from it for over a year. Truthfully, it was still easy to enjoy great food, and while I’ve since returned to meat in moderation, I feel I’ve seen greener pastures. Being vegetarian is awesome!

 Whenever I get on an über health kick, I eat as many vegetables and high-fiber foods as possible. Veggies are naturally low in calories, and packed with satiating nutrients, so you can eat (almost) as many as you want and feel satisfied longer. It’s also amazing how un-gross I feel! I mean, if I eat steak nachos I feel a lot more stuffed and greasy than if I opt for black bean nachos, right?

 In other words, I totally “get” being vegetarian, and while I’m not faithful enough to live it full-time, I like to consider myself an honorary member of the club. That’s how I knew Lauren’s recipes would be right up my alley. Lauren shared some of her Gourmet Veggie dishes with Cooking Planit, like Roasted Beet Salad with Orange-Ginger Dressing topped with fiber-and-protein-dense Farro and Garlicky Kale with Creamy Polenta and Poached Eggs, so you can cook her recipes easily, following step-by-step instructions.

I actually went vegan one summer too (never felt better!). But I agree with Lauren, that cheese is just too delicious to live without. Plus, I love Mexican food too much to give up all the cheesy, creamy, salty, crunchy goodness. Have a hankering? Try one of my favorite recipes – Mexican Tortilla Pizza.

Mexican Tortilla Pizza

Like Lauren, I also love eggs. Poached, hard-boiled, fried or scrambled eggs are welcome at my table any time of day. I love to start the morning right with my favorite omelet recipe – Aunt Mimi’s Marmalade and Cream Cheese Omelet.

Marmalade Cream Cheese Omelette

Another popular recipe on Cooking Planit satisfies a beef-less burger craving. Try out these Chickpea Artichoke Burgers for yourself!

Chickpea Burgers

I genuinely envy people who dedicate themselves fully to a meat-free lifestyle, so I hope these recipes show you some love, from one veggie heart to another!

Breakfast for Dinner

Hey! It’s a post that’s not about running! This is still a food blog, right? Right.

So let’s talk breakfast for dinner. While I’ve been ramping up the miles, I haven’t been devoting as much time or energy to cooking (shocking, I know). So what’s my favorite lazy meal? Breakfast for dinner, of course!

scrambled eggs

Not too long ago, a put together a super-easy dinner of scrambled eggs (with some scallions and parsley thrown in for good measure), sourdough toast, frozen oven reds (thanks Alexia — you always come through in a pinch), plus a quick and easy chipotle-sour cream dipping sauce. The sauce doubled as a great spicer-upper for the eggs, too. In fact, it was such a favorite that I’ve made it several times since, and I’m including the recipe (such as it is) below, so that you can enjoy it, too.

My secret to great scrambled eggs? Cream cheese. I totally stole that idea from an old friend who used to be a line cook. They turn out creamy, fluffy and delicious every time. That is, if you can keep your little kitchen helper from eating all the cream cheese before it gets mixed into the eggs!

Breakfast tacos are always a hit, too. Scrambled eggs, plus some frozen hash browns, sour cream, cheese and salsa? Yes, please.

breakfast tacos

Wrap it all in a tasty homemade tortilla (or even a store-bought one — I won’t tell as long as it’s one of the good ones) and you’re got yourself a tasty meal.

Our recent favorite breakfast-for-dinner is biscuits and gravy, but that’s the hubby’s department. Just a nice ladle of cream gravy on top of a fluffy homemade biscuit, plus a couple of fried eggs, is an awesome meal.

biscuits and gravy

Hubby can’t resist adding a side of bacon to his, but he makes the gravy vegetarian for me. True love!

He recently discovered the recipe for Hisako’s biscuits in The Salt Lick Cookbook and has been going to town making them — which makes me plenty happy. They are awesome biscuits, and the leftovers are great with a little butter and honey for breakfast the next morning.

honey biscuit

I think that makes it breakfast-for-dinner-for-breakfast, right? That just about blows my mind.

Chipotle Sour Cream
Recipe type: sauce
Prep time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • garlic powder to taste (optional)
  • salt to taste
  1. Mix all ingredients well in a small bowl. Add salt to taste. Serve atop breakfast tacos, or scrambled eggs, or as a dipping sauce for oven fries.


Creamy Polenta with Kale, Delicata Squash and Poached Eggs

One of my favorite meal formulas this winter is to throw some greens and maybe another veggie on top of polenta, top it with an egg of some sort, and call it a day. The possibilities are endless, and the results are always tasty.

When I was developing meals for Cooking Planit, I knew one of those combos would be perfect, so I started experimenting. Creamy polenta topped with garlicky sautéed kale, roasted delicata squash and a perfectly poached egg turned out to be our winner, and it was absolutely delicious.

creamy polenta

The delicata squash is optional, and in fact it isn’t included in the Cooking Planit meal, since it can be hard to find. You can easily substitute any other winter squash, but I love delicata because it’s pretty and you don’t have to peel it. It’s a win-win.

Head on over to Cooking Planit to find the recipes for this meal, as well as several others I collaborated with them on. Not only will you get the recipes, but Cooking Planit will organize your shopping list and tell you how to order all the steps so can cook your meal efficiently and with a minimum of stress. Can’t beat that!

Creamy Polenta, Eggs and Kale

Chilaquiles to the rescue!

This has been a heckuva week. I had my first freelance editing job, which involved leaving Nora in the care of others* all day on Tuesday and Wednesday. It was a fantastic opportunity for me with a magazine I’ve wanted to get in with since we decided to move to Austin, and I’m so glad I did it, but it was hard. It was my first time to leave Nora with anyone other than her daddy or my mom for a whole day, and even that hasn’t happened often. Plus, it was two whole days in a row. Yikes! I think it was harder on me than it was on her (I was the one who did the commuting, after all), but we all felt pretty drained by the time the week was over.**

* Austin readers, I heartily endorse Plug & Play as excellent childcare (with workspace attached!). It was started by a friend of mine — check it out if you work part-time, or even if you’re just looking for part-time preschool for your kiddo. Nora goes twice a week and loves it. (I am not being compensated in any way for saying this — I just really love it and want it to succeed.)

** I know that I am, comparatively speaking, in no position to complain. I honestly don’t know how families with both parents working full-time jobs make it all happen and manage to stay sane. I am in awe. 

Each day I had planned to put something in the crock pot before I left, or prepare a meal ahead that would only require a short time in the oven so that we could all sit down to eat promptly after getting home, but, ’twas not to be. After a long day, the last thing I wanted was to cook a meal for the next day. What I really wanted to do was collapse on the couch… but the compromise was scrambling around, packing a lunch for Nora, making sure her stuff was ready to go the next morning, and taking care of all the tasks that had been neglected during the day. And, of course, then it was bedtime. *Zonk*

So it came to pass that it was almost dinnertime, and I was walking in the door with a hungry toddler, a husband close on our heels, and nothing to feed them. Takeout? That’s for the weak (and those with a budget more flexible than mine). Mac and cheese? Nah, I’ve been spoiled by the homemade stuff, even if my toddler might not agree. So what’s quick and easy and still tasty? Chilaquiles!

Now, I had never actually made chilaquiles before, but I keep seeing them popping up in one form or another lately. I can’t remember the blog I saw them on most recently, so if you’re out there, shout out! I want to give credit where credit is due for the inspiration. Chilaquiles come in many different incarnations, but I decided to make something super-simple so we could sit down and eat ASAP.

I heated up some oil to fry a few corn tortilla strips, got the warm water running to defrost a bag of tomatillo sauce I’d made a few months ago (hooray for planning for  rainy day!), and conscripted the hubby into frying a batch of eggs for us. Pretty soon it was dinnertime!


Served with a side of refried black beans, we all had a delicious feast. The original plan was to use queso fresco for topping the dish, but, alas, the half-wheel we had in the fridge was, as the hubby put it, past its prime. Some grated Monterey Jack got the job done, though. I highly recommend this dish when you’re pressed for time, assuming you have the ingredients on hand. Your family will come away happy!


4 corn tortillas, sliced into 1/4-inch strips
1 cup tomatillo sauce***
4 eggs
1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
Canola oil and butter for frying

Heat a good layer of canola oil in the bottom of a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the tortilla strips, working in batches if needed, and fry until crisp, turning over or stirring to ensure even cooking.

Warm the tomatillo sauce in a small saucepan or the microwave. Meanwhile, fry the eggs. Heat a couple of pats of butter in an egg pan over medium-high heat. Crack the eggs into the skillet and cook, flipping once set, until desired doneness is achieved.****

Divide the tortilla strips between plates and top with a good scoop of tomatillo sauce. Top with fried eggs (two per serving for adults; one should do for kiddos) and additional tomatillo sauce. Sprinkle the cheese on top and serve warm with refried black beans and/or Spanish rice on the side.

*** Or substitute other enchilada sauce or even salsa.

**** I like mine over medium, and the hubby opts for over easy.

Family dinner… and migas!

I just cooked dinner for the whole family for the first time since Nora started eating “real” food… and mama needs a glass of wine.

I know that may be a little surprising. You see, ever since Nora was itty bitty, the hubby and I have had dinner after she’s in bed. With her bedtime creeping a little bit later, though, we have been discussing starting to eat dinner together as a family before she goes to bed, and this weekend we decided to try it out.

In theory, it should have been fine. Nora was playing outside with her daddy and some other kids from the neighborhood, and I ventured inside to get dinner started so I could have everything on the table by 6. But, you know what they say about best-laid plans.

Nora has been pretty cranky from teething lately,* and combine that with mounting frustration from her legs just not being quite long enough to ride the tricycle she wanted to ride, and ka-blooey. Inside comes the hubby with a very upset munchkin, and all she wanted was her mommy. Mommy’s lap, and Mommy’s attention — nothing else would do. One can’t very well cook migas with a child sitting on one’s lap on the floor.

* Those two-year molars, I tell ya. No fun at all.

The hubby pinch-hit for a while, with me feeding him instructions, and then eventually Nora was feeling better and ready to play for a while. Daddy was an acceptable playmate, so I took back over the dinner preparations. Of course, by this time, it was nigh on dinnertime, and Nora started begging for crispy tortilla strips the moment she saw them come out of the pan. With a little daddy-run interference and fancy footwork, I was able to heat up some broccoli and get that and some berries on the table for her to munch on while I finished dinner. Whew. Finally it was time for the hubby and I to sit down and eat, too.

And eat we did.

The migas were good, fortunately, despite their haphazard preparation. Nora enjoyed them thoroughly, peppers and all… although she might have preferred a big plate of tortilla strips heaped with sour cream and cheese instead.

More cheese, please!

Mama will be testing out some crock pot and other make-ahead meals soon to try to avert this situation in the future. So, help a mother out: What are your favorite make-ahead meals?

For now, though, it’s time to sit down and enjoy a glass of wine. I highly recommend the migas, as breakfast or dinner, but try to make them when there’s not a clingy toddler around.

Adapted from this recipe from Stella Cooks

2 Tbs butter
4 corn tortillas, cut intro 1/4″ strips
6 eggs
1/4 cup milk or cream
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp smoked paprika**
1-2 minced hot peppers, to taste (jalapeños or serranos work best)
2 small sweet peppers (or 1 large), stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 small red onion (or 1/2 large), finely chopped
grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, for topping
sour cream, for topping
salsa, for topping

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tortilla strips and fry until just crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove the strips to a paper towel to drain. Turn the stovetop heat to low.

Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a medium bowl. Whisk lightly until the yolks are broken, then drizzle in the milk or cream, continuing to whisk. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, and smoked paprika and whisk lightly to mix. Then add the peppers and onions, stir lightly, and set aside.

Pour the egg mixture into the skillet, and allow it to sit for just about a minute, then begin to stir. The mixture will quickly begin to firm up. Continue to lightly fold the eggs over repeatedly until they reach the perfect consistency.

Spread the tortilla strips over two plates. Top with the scrambled egg mixture. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top of the eggs, and add generous dollops of sour cream and salsa to the tops. Serve immediately, while still hot.

** What do you mean you don’t have any? Go get some! It’s my favorite spice ever, and, as a vegetarian, I use it in all kinds of dishes to help substitute for the smoky flavor of bacon.

Eggs poached in tomato sauce with peppers and onions

Our Tuesday got a little hectic. Long story short, I had planned to make a run to the store for some much-needed provisions, but I got wrapped up in another project* and it didn’t happen. So, I found myself at home, getting Nora’s dinner ready at 5:30, and wondering what on earth I was going to cook for the grown-ups to eat.

* I am making the leap to WordPress.org. So far, it is not going too well. I think I have figured out the issue, so stay tuned. The move should not involve too much downtime, and things will be fabulous on the other side… I hope.

I ransacked the fridge and pantry, trying to come up with something quick to make with the ingredients I already had. Then, bingo! We had eggs, we had tomato sauce: poached eggs in tomato sauce! Throw in some sliced peppers and onions, top it with some crumbled queso fresco, serve it atop some wheat toast, and dinner was a done deal.

Ready for its close-up.

The whole thing took about 30 minutes from start to finish, and it was delicious. I love how versatile this meal is, and it never fails to disappoint.

Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce with Peppers and Onions
Loosely based on this recipe from Cooking Light, March 2012

2 Tbs olive oil
2-4 sweet peppers (depending on size), stemmed, seeded, and sliced**
1 onion, sliced***
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 pint jar tomato sauce (2 cups)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
4 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
2 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted
2 oz queso fresco or other mild cheese, crumbled

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the peppers and onion and sauté until softened and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic, and cook briefly, stirring. Add the tomato sauce and oregano, bring to a simmer, and reduce the heat to medium low.

Form four indentations in the tomato sauce mixture using the back of a spoon. Break 1 egg into each indentation and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 6 minutes, or until the eggs are desired degree of doneness. Sprinkle with queso fresco and cover to warm.

Arrange a slice of toast on each of two plates and top each with two eggs. Divide the sauce between the plates and sprinkle with additional queso fresco, if desired.

** I added a roasted and peeled Hatch green chile just for kicks. It was tasty.

*** Pet peeve: receipes that call for “1 cup of onion.” I don’t cook that way. When I say “1 onion,” I mean a medium-sized onion. This time, I actually used half of a mutantly large onion.

Garlicky mushrooms and kale

Not too long ago, I stumbled on a list of great kale recipes. I’ve been cooking my way through them, since we’ve been getting a lot of kale through our CSA,* but I have to say, this is my favorite one so far, and probably my favorite use of kale… well, ever.

* Plus I am a confirmed kale addict. Seriously. Love the stuff.

Although the original recipe would make a good side dish, I wanted to make it a meal, so I latched on to both of the review’s suggestions and served it on a bed of polenta and topped it with a poached egg. It was FAB-U-LOUS.

Garlicky, creamy goodness.

I can’t rave enough about this. Granted, my addition of eggs, milk, and cheese is unkind to this dish’s vegan roots, but I couldn’t help it. Just the combination of the creamy polenta, the deep garlicky flavor of the mushrooms, the slight crunch of the kale, and the perfectly poached egg over the top of it — oh my. Try this one out and you won’t be disappointed.

Garlicky Mushrooms and Kale with Creamy Polenta and Poached Eggs
Based on this recipe from Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

1 Tbs olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 large bunch kale, coarse stems removed, leaves sliced or torn into pieces
2 eggs

For polenta:
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup yellow cornmeal or polenta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup milk
4 Tbs unsalted butter

Heat the oil and garlic over medium heat in a large skillet or sauté pan, stirring. Once the garlic begins to crackle, add the mushrooms and salt. Let them cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until the moisture has released and the mushrooms are lightly browned.

Meanwhile, bring a large, deep pot of water to boil for the eggs,** and make the polenta. Bring 3 1/2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Salt the water generously and then gradually stir in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese, and milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the kale to the saute pan with the garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, for about 10 more minutes. Add splashes of water if the pan seems dry. The kale should be crisp-tender and cooked down pretty well.

Meanwhile, poach the eggs. Salt the boiling water and turn the heat down until just simmering. Crack the eggs into individual ramekins and carefully slide them one by one into the pot. Simmer for 2 minutes, and then remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

Serve the kale and mushrooms on the bed of polenta, and top each serving with a poached egg.

** The deeper the pot, the better, since the eggs will retain their shape better. You’ll need at least 6 inches.

Egg salad

I am always on the lookout for a good, easy, and preferably portable lunch. Leftovers from dinner are the best, as far as I’m concerned, but that’s not always an option, and I need something to feed two hungry adults and an even hungrier toddler most days. If I can make it ahead, I am even happier, since the hubby often takes his lunch to work, and toddlers tend to go from zero to starving (and screaming) in about 3 seconds.

Egg salad is an old go-to favorite that I haven’t made in a while, probably because I associate it with picnics and spring. It’s super-simple, and adding fresh dill really makes all the difference. I like to serve it as a sandwich on lightly toasted rye bread — delicious!

It is hard to make egg salad look good.

I think we can surmise that Nora also liked it.

Nom nom nom.

Egg Salad

6 eggs
3 Tbs mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
fresh dill, chopped

Cover the eggs with cold water and add a dash of salt and a dash of white vinegar (optional). Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for one minute. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 12 minutes. Drain and add cold water to the pot. Repeat until the eggs are no longer hot.

Peel and chop the cooled eggs. In a medium bowl, stir in the mayo, mustard, and dill to taste. Use as a sandwich stuffing, preferably on rye bread.

Oasis in the desert

We just finished a weekend with our friends Bob and Leslie, who have a vacation home in La Quinta (near Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley). Not only do they have a beautiful home with plenty of room for the three of us to stay, they share our taste for good food and good wine, and they are pretty much the best hosts I have ever met. The wine is always flowing, they are both fantastic cooks (who don’t mind accommodating my vegetarian preferences), and there is a hot tub and pool in the back yard. What more could you want?

After two days on the road, this visit was just what we needed. We put Nora to bed* the first night and then sipped wine and munched on olives, almonds, and a cheese plate while Bob and Leslie cooked.

*In her travel crib in a walk-in closet. It was dark and cozy, and insulated from noise.  I am a good parent, I promise!


I offered to help several times, but was told, basically, to fill up my wine glass and shut it, so that worked for me!

Don't mind if I do.

Dinner that first night was Eggplant Marrakech, made using a recipe from Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant. It was phenomenal. Bob added some roasted spicy peppers (grown right there in his yard, no less), and the heat was the perfect counterbalance to the sweetness added by the raisins.

Sweet and spicy.

The second evening, after a busy day of sightseeing and lounging by the pool while the little one napped, we grilled pizzas for dinner. My favorite combination was the mushroom, olive, and tomato with mozzarella, but the prettiest entry (which was also very tasty) was the fennel, mushroom, pesto, and goat cheese pizza.

Gorgeous noms.

On Sunday morning before we left, they bid us bon voyage with a Cretan cauliflower omelet from a cookbook they picked up on their recent trip to Greece. It was delicious. Plus, we even left with cuttings from Bob’s fig trees to start in Texas, and some of Leslie’s homemade jams.

Lovely parting gifts.

This was a bittersweet visit for us, since Bob and Leslie embody pretty much everything we’ve loved about living in California. The wine, the food, the gardening… that’s pretty much the California lifestyle, to me. Ah, well. Hopefully we can do some California livin’ in Texas!

Baby scramble

My new favorite dinners for Nora are egg scrambles. Since dinner is the only meal we don’t eat together,* I’m always trying to come up with new and interesting ideas for her that are balanced and involve plenty of good protein. Eggs are just the ticket!

*She’s an early bird, since she goes to bed at 6:30-ish, and I prefer to enjoy my dinner later, thank you very much.

Scrambles are extremely versatile, since you can throw pretty much any veggies you have into them. I made one the other evening with pieces of quinoa polenta, frozen mixed vegetables (Trader Joe’s Organic Foursome), cheese, and some fresh snipped chives.

Dinner time!

Nora loved it, and it was super-easy to whip up, especially with the frozen veggies.** I’ve also made scrambles with spinach and other greens, peas, squash, potatoes… you name it. As long as there are eggs and cheese, she gobbles them up.

Om nom nom.

**Like many parents of toddlers, frozen vegetables are a staple for us, since they are quick and easy to prepare. Kids this age tend to go from perfectly happy to starving and cranky in 0.2 seconds, no joke.

It’s as easy as making scrambled eggs — just add the veggies, cheese, and any other goodies to the eggs after you’ve scrambled them, and cook over medium heat in a lightly oiled skillet. Frozen veggies can go in without even thawing. How easy is that?

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