asparagus risotto

1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-1.5 inch pieces (ends discarded)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs butter
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 C arborio rice
1/2 dry white wine (+ 1 Tbs extra...optional) (Reserve rest of bottle for your drinking pleasure)
3.5-4 C vegetable broth, hot (keep simmering on stove in separate small pot)
3/4 C parmesan cheese
In a large saucepan, bring 4 C water to a boil, add asparagus.
Boil for 2 minutes, remove from hot water and put into an ice bath to retain bright green color.
Remove from ice water.
In a saucepan, melt butter and olive oil.
Add onions and garlic, cook on medium heat for about a minute.
Add rice, stirring and cooking for 2 minutes.
Pour in 1/2 C white wine, stirring until mostly absorbed.
Add broth, in 1/2 C increments at a time, allowing most of the liquid to be absorbed before adding more.
(You will use between 3.5 and 4 C of broth)
Continue to stir and cook until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, adding the extra Tbs of wine if you'd like.
Mix in the parmesan cheese and asparagus pieces and serve hot and enjoy!

basil brownies

These are SO amazing, you have to try 'em at least once. 
1 stick of butter (8Tbs)
3 oz unsweetened chocolate OR 9 Tbs baking cocoa +3 Tbs butter
1 C sugar
1/2 C flour
2 eggs
dash of salt
1 handful of shredded basil leaves (just eyeball it, the more you add, the bolder the flavor you'll get)
Melt the butter and chocolate in a pan over low heat until its all melted together and smooth. 
(If you used the butter/cocoa powder combination just throw it in the pot and do the same)
Pour out chocolate butter into a bowl and mix in the sugar.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time
Add the flour and salt
Stir in the basil
Bake at 350 in a greased pan for about 25-30 minutes.

chocolate strawberry cake
Ingredients: (cake)
2 C sugar
1 3/4 C flour
3/4 C cocoa (baking)
1.5 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs vanilla
1 C milk
1/2 C + 1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 C boiling water
Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl
Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla beating for 2 minutes on med. speed
Stir in the water, don't panic, your batter will look SUPER runny, it's totally cool
Pour into a greased cake pan and bake at 350 degrees for 37 minutes. 
Top with frosting (recipe will follow) and strawberries (the thawed from frozen kind work perfectly) and eat the whole thing!
Frosting Ingredients:
1 stick melted butter
2/3 C cocoa (baking)
3 C powdered sugar
1/3 C + 1 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla (if desired)
Half a tub of cool whip (yeah, I said 1/2)
2 Tbs strawberry juice (as in the type from the bottom of a bag of frozen strawberries)
Frosting Directions:
Mix cocoa powder into melted butter
Beat in milk and powdered sugar in an alternating sequence
Add cool whip and strawberry juice and continue to whip it up until its creamy and delicious

cilantro-parsley pesto

Made with fresh herbs, this has an unexpected but delicious, light flavor. (Plus it looks AMAZING!)
2 bunches of fresh cilantro (not the stuff in plastic snap containers, it should look like a little bouquet)
1 bunch of fresh parsley ("")
1/4 C sunflower seeds (go for salted, no shells)
2-3 cloves garlic
1/4 C parmesan cheese + extra
1/3-1/2 C Olive Oil (you may need a little more, it's a rough estimate)
1/2 onion (I prefer to use a small red onion, but any would work fine)
4-5 roma tomatoes
red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, seasoning salt (optional) for flavoring
Remove the leafy portions of your herbs and toss them in a food processor. Pulse until its all mashed up. (yes, that's my technical cooking term).
Next, add your sunflower seeds, garlic cloves, onion and parm cheese. Pulse until ground and mixed.
Slowly add olive oil to mixture. Stop to scrape down sides if needed. You want it to be a nice bright green with a slightly runny consistency.
Pour mixture into a different container. Season to taste. 
Chop up 2 roma tomatoes and add to pesto.
 Refrigerate at least 2 hours to let flavors blend.
To serve:
Mix pesto with cooked pasta (will be enough for 1 box). I prefer to use either penne or rotini. Chop up remaining tomatoes and add to the pasta, along with some more parmesan cheese. Top each serving with a little sprinkle of cheese and some extra cilantro and ENJOY! :)
*This recipe made enough to serve 6 adults with some leftovers for later*

couscous garden salad

                                   It has feta cheese, need I say more? :)
1 box of couscous
2 C vegetable broth (I prefer Knorr bouillon cubes and water instead of already mixed broth)
1 1/2 cucumbers, sliced lengthwise and chopped
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
2 C corn, fresh (frozen works too)
3/4 C crumbled feta
3 Tbs olive oil
4 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cumin
1/4 chopped parsley
salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic 
Bring vegetable broth to a boil, add couscous, cover and remove from heat and let stand for 5-7 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
In a large bowl mix cucumbers, tomatoes, onion, corn and feta. 
In a glass, rapidly stir together olive oil, lemon juice and cumin.
Once your couscous has cooled, add it to the vegetable mix.
Stir in your dressing, adding the parsley as you mix.
Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and garlic according to taste.
Serve this dish warm or refrigerate it and serve it chilled. It's delicious either way! Now dig in and enjoy!

enchilada pizza

With stunning color and Big, Bold flavor, this pizza is totally a party in your mouth... ;)
2 bags of pizza crust mix (I prefer Mary Lees)
1 can enchilada sauce
3/4 C salsa
2 C mozzarella cheese
2-3 bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 onion, cut into strips
1 diced jalapeno
2 chopped roma tomatoes
sliced olives (optional)
shredded chicken (optional)
1-1.5 C cheddar cheese
oregano, red pepper flakes, garlic, chili powder, taco seasoning
Empty crust mix into a large mixing bowl. Season with oregano, taco seasoning, garlic and chili powder. Prepare according to directions. 
Spread out dough onto a large, greased cookie sheet and pre-bake at 425 for 5-10 minutes.
While pizza crust is baking, add peppers, jalapeno and onions to a small saute pan with 1/4-1/3 C water over medium low heat. Add taco seasoning, garlic, red pepper flakes and pepper to taste. Cook for aprox 5 -10 minutes, so peppers are firm, but tender. (Not crunchy, but not mushy either)
Remove tray from oven, and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
Spread salsa onto crust, covering everything. Then add the enchilada sauce. Spread evenly.
Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the sauced pizza.
Top with cooked pepper mix, tomatoes, olives and cheddar cheese.
Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and you can't bear to wait any longer. And remember silly, Enjoy it!

grilled stuffed vegetable sandwich

1 loaf of ciabatta bread, hollowed out and brushed with olive oil
1 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise
1 sweet bell pepper, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
1 C sliced mushrooms (any kind works, but I recommend portabella)
2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1 C mozzarella cheese (or feta would be yummy)
olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes for vegetable marinade
shredded romaine lettuce or spinach
Mix all of the vegetables (except lettuce and tomatoes) in a bowl with the balsamic marinade.
Roast them on the grill (or in the oven on broil) until soft and slightly charred.
Remove vegetables.
Sprinkle cheese into the bottom of your hollowed out loaf of bread.
Layer all of the marinated vegetables, including tomatoes and lettuce into the bread and top with the upper portion of the loaf.
Grill over medium/medium low heat until cheese is melted and the bread is crispy. 
Prepare to be amazed! :)

* An optional sauce for this sandwich:
Mix 2/3 C sour cream with 2 Tbs mayo. Add lime juice until slightly runny. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and Sriracha.
Spread onto the bread like mayo right before serving.

hot and sour soup

This super spicy soup is awesome for a quick, 
light meal with tons of flavor!
6C vegetable broth                                               
5 Tbs soy sauce
8oz mushrooms sliced

1 8oz can bamboo shoots
5 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sesame oil
12oz extra firm tofu
1-2 tsp chili flakes 
2 Tbs Sriracha
2.5 Tbs cornstarch
2 egg whites
1 lb uncooked shrimp (optional)
1 bunch chopped green onions    
Mix first four ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce to simmer and add lemon juice, vinegar, sesame oil and tofu.
Simmer for a few minutes, then add chili flakes and Sriracha.
Simmer for 5 minutes, test flavor
If it needs more, add 1 Tbs each of lemon juice and soy sauce 
Mix cornstarch with 3 Tbs water, slowly whisk into simmering soup, stirring until soup thickens. 
Drizzle in egg whites and add shrimp (if desired). Continue to simmer until shrimp are just cooked, add chopped green onions.
Serve hot and enjoy!

lentil chili

8 C vegetable broth
1 chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans stewed tomatoes, not drained
1 (16 oz) bag brown lentils
1 C frozen corn
1 C cooked black beans
1 C cooked rice
Oregano, chili powder, cumin, red pepper flakes, pepper to season. Will primarily use chili powder and cumin to attain “chili” flavor. Don’t be shy with them!

Put 1 C of the broth in a large pot, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until tender.
Add the rest of the broth, the cans of tomatoes, lentils and seasoning. Simmer partially covered until lentils become tender, but not quite done.
Remove the lid, let simmer for the last ten minutes and add corn, rice, and beans. Keep testing the flavor, if it feels sort of bland add more cumin and chili powder. Enjoy!

steel-cut oats with berries

So easy and super delicious, I promise!
1 C uncooked steel-cut oats
3 C water
pinch of salt
coconut milk
raw sugar
Bring the water and pinch of salt to a boil. Add oats. Stir.
Simmer covered for 20 minutes.
Scoop some into a dish, pour some coconut milk over the top, a sprinkle of raw sugar and some berries.
Enjoy it, duh!
*Should be more than enough for a few servings, depending on how ravenous you are. :-)

tomato basil pizza

Super easy and super delicious. This is a pretty basic recipe, but it doesn't make it any less satisfying. 
2 bags of pizza crust mix (I prefer Mary Lees, but use whatever you like)
3 Tbs butter
1 clove chopped garlic
1 can tomato sauce
3 C mozzarella cheese
3-4 sliced roma tomatoes
1.5-2 C basil leaves, torn into medium sized pieces
oregano, italian seasoning, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper 
Empty crust mix into a large mixing bowl. Season with garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Mix according to directions.
Spread dough out on a large, greased cookie sheet.
Melt butter, add chopped garlic and season with oregano and pepper.
Brush over dough.
Pre-bake at 425 for 5-10 minutes.
While crust is baking, pour out your tomato sauce into a small bowl and season with garlic, italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper
Remove crust from oven, let cool for 5-10 minutes
Spread your sauce over the crust evenly
Sprinkle 2 C of your mozzarella over the sauce
Sprinkle basil leaves over pizza, then add tomato slices
Top with remaining 1 C of mozzarella cheese
Brush more garlic butter over the pizza crust/edges
Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and your house smells like heaven. :)
 vegetarian couscous soup

Okay, this is a SUPER yummy and SUPER easy soup to make. 
1 can (11oz) mexi-corn mix
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3 baby red potatoes, cubed
2 carrots, cubed
1 diced jalapeno
4 cups vegetable broth (I use water and Knorr bouillon cubes, they have LOTS of flavor)
1/2 C couscous
cilantro, oregano, red pepper flakes, pepper for seasoning
It's soup silly goose, mix it all in the pot and bring it to a simmer until vegetables are soft! I always add the tomatoes and green onions last, just a personal preference though. 

veggie burger

2 cans black beans, rinsed

2 cups cooked rice (cook in broth seasoned with cayenne, oregano, cumin)   3 mini sweet peppers diced
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 C corn
1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro
mashed potato flakes

Puree rice and 2/3 of the beans, set aside
Saute onion, peppers and garlic until slightly soft in olive oil.
Combine the bean and rice mash and pepper mix together in mixing bowl.
Add in corn, cilantro and mashed potato flakes and remaining black beans.
Mix all ingredients together, season with cumin, salt and pepper and cayenne.
Form into patties and cook in hot pan with olive oil. (Or wrap in wax paper, bag 'em up and freeze them.)