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How to Build a Cheese Plate for Two

Appetizers, DIY, Vegetarian

I feel like this week is my week of giving you practical thangs to eat (see: Monday and Wednesday)!

And now…this!

I love gawking at those crazy cheese boards all over Instagram but realistically most of us won’t make one of those. Or maybe we will but it’ll be for a big party or around the holidays when we have twenty people over.

But sometimes I want to eat a cheese plate for dinner but it’s just Josh and me. Or maybe it’s just for a girlfriend/dude friend and me. Or just me and my mom.

I could eat appetizers for dinner and do all the time (especially when Josh is working late or out with his friends and I’m on my own).

Seriously, me wanting to eat an appetizer for dinner is Josh’s worst nightmare. Nothing makes him give me a gigantic eyeroll more than when I tell him, “I’m not really that hungry, I kinda just wanna snack.” NO. He is a meal person. I understand. Most of the time I am too but sometimes I just wanna eat this!

For him, this type of situation constitutes as pre-gaming.

Regardless, I figured I’d share how I build a cheese plate perfect for two:

Ok, so the main objective when I go to the store for something like this is to NOT spend a million dollars.

1. Two cheeses. I like to pick two cheeses that are complementary but opposites. One soft cheese and one hard cheese.

For this plate, I went with a an awesome Irish cheddar (for an affordable/delicious option, I love Kerry Gold cheddar—so good!).

The one soft cheese is from Boursin (it’s another affordable/delicious option). But you could also do brie, goat cheese, camembert. (If you’re feeling baller-istic, I love Epoisses.)

2. Nuts. You only need really one kinda nut snack situation. My favorite are macrona almonds. They’re Spanish and fancy and delicious. The bulk-bin is perfect for the right amount of nuts.

3. Carbs. You need a vehicle for that cheese. On this particular day I had grissini/breadsticks so I included those. But these rosemary salted crackers were also a great option. I think one cracker and one bread item is good.

4. Something pickled. Or sweet. Or both. I went pickled on this particular day so that meant corichons, olives and sweet drop peppers (they’re SO GOOD!). The olive bar at a grocery store is your best bet because you can buy exactly the amount that you want/need.

Some sweet options would be dried apricot, honey, dried cranberries, fresh fruit (apricots, pears, etc.) and/or jams.

That’s it!

Oh and wine! Or beer. Or iced tea.

Happy Friday!

xoxo
Adrianna

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Roasted Ancho Chile Cauliflower Sandwich with Spiced Pepitas and Avocado Crema

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Sandwiches, Vegetarian

Why didn’t you guys tell me I’ve been making nothing but pink food lately?! Good gracious, I looked at the first page of this blog the other day and was GIRL, get it together. Consider this dish/post a big gigantic break from all things strawberries/rhubarb/raspberries, etc. Woohoo!

When I went to college, my roommate was this Dominican girl from Queens named Kim. She cooked the best chicken; it was her mom’s chicken. I remember she offered me a plate and I almost passed out it was so good. Whenever she would cook, I would always make sure to linger around so she’d offer me some and she always did because she was the best.

When I finally asked her why it was so good she told me the spices. The one thing she said her mom always told her was to add A LOT of spice to everything.

And I’ll never forget that because my mom cooked with lots of spices too. I also remember thinking oh I guess that what us Latinas do—we cook lots of spices. Ok!

For this recipe, I teamed up with Ozery Bakery and their delicious bread. My favorite part about them is that I keep them in the freezer so I don’t feel the need to eat all of the bread within a few days (because I will).

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Three 15-Minute Healthy-ish Lunches/Dinners

Dinner, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Vegetarian

Low-key….this is what i’ve been eating on a daily basis.

If you follow me on Insta Stories you know that I’ve upped my workout routine this year. I’m currently on week 14 (!!) of Sweat with Kayla and I like it because it satisfies the to-do list human that I am.

I love how the app works because I get to “cross-off” workouts. I also LOVE that I can do the resistance workouts while not having to leave the house. I don’t even belong to a gym so I just do the workouts at home with weights while I watch This is Us or The View or Good Morning America (I also realize I love ABC!).

AND, the cardio workouts are good because I go on 40 minute walks with Amelia, which we both have come to love SO much. For the high-intensity workouts, I head to Soul Cycle (Dani is my favorite instructor in LA).

ANYWAYZ, I feel like the last couple of weeks on this here blog, I’ve been providing recipes that are sort of complicated, indulgent, etc. so I wanted to share what I’ve been eating for lunch (or dinner) that all take under 15 minutes.

Also, for some reason I can spend three hours making a pie or a cake and love every second of it but when it comes to making something healthy for myself, I want it to come together in less than 12 minutes. All of these do!

This is what I’ve been eating A LOT. These posts won’t be Pinned a million times or get all the likes on Instagram but they’re really practical so I figured I’d share them.

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Spring-y Detroit-Style Pizza

Dinner, Pizza, Spring, Vegetarian

If you have talked to me in the past three months, like, in person I have most likely brought up:

1. working out (I’ve been doing a lot of that), specifically Kayla.
2. how fast the year is going (OMG HI APRIL!)
3. how much I love podcasts lately (more on that tomorrow)
4. and how obsessed I am with Detroit-Style pizza
5. how to make detroit-style pizza

I had Detroit-Style pizza, like, six months ago when a pop-up popped up in Chinatown serving just that. I had never had it before. I had seen the beautiful photos of Emmy Squared on the Instagram but since I am allergic to going to New York (and whenever I am there it’s always for a blip), I haven’t been.

But when I went to this pop-up in Chinatown, I thought the pizza was like a dream. The crust is crispy, like a cheese crisp, because the cheese is taken all the way to the edge of the pan, while the center is fluffy, similar to focaccia.

I’m pretty sure it’s taken first place as my favorite style pizza EVER. I even went to Detroit a few weeks ago and didn’t have the chance to eat pizza there and was so bummed. 🙁

I decided to take matters into my own hands and make it! Luckily, when I decided to embark on my journey Kenji Lopez had just posted, a mere two days earlier, a recipe for it! WHAA!

So I tried it, thinking that perhaps I would only half like it. I figured I’d probably move onto another recipe and try a few others. But, guys, it was perfect.

I guess that’s not a huge surprise since his recipes are so dang reliable.

So here’s the link to his recipe. Use that crust recipe AND then get creative.

This is for a very spring-forward Detroit-style pizza. Probably toppings you’d never get in Detroit.

This one has radishes that are tossed in a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper. The sauce is an arugula pesto. The cheese is tons of mozzarella (a must) and dollops of ricotta with sprigs of basil, crushed red pepper on top and peas.

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Creamy, Spring-y, Smoked Gouda Stovetop Mac n Cheese

Dinner, Pasta, Quick and Easy, Spring, Vegetarian

Spring time!! YASS! I feel like the season is in full effect.

I was gone for a week last week so I spent the weekend catching up on work and going to brunch and trying to (unsuccessfully) convince Josh that we needed to go see the new Beauty and the Beast. No dice.

I can’t really blame him; he’s usually such a good sport about seeing all sorts of movies with me so I figured I should let that one slide JUST THIS ONCE.

I love me some stovetop mac and cheese but I don’t believe there’s one single recipe on this lil’ blog!

I needed to fix that so I figured I’d make a very spring-forward version that I pumped up with kale, leeks and peas…all sautéed in a liberal amount of ghee (my continued obsession). Of course you can use plain ol’ butter or olive oil, too.

This mac and cheese is one hundred percent vegetarian but it kinda tastes meaty because of the smoked gouda.

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Snack Board with Three Dips

Appetizers, Healthy, Snacks, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian

Appetizers for Dinner has always been a favorite of mine. I think it started with an episode of My-So-Called-Life when Rayanne’s mother threw some frozen dumplings in the microwave and Rayanne was super bummed about not being cooked “a real dinner.”

Since my mom was always, like, super healthy and demanded we have a very full/healthy cooked dinner, an appetizer-driven dinner always sounded like heaven to me.

I like to think that this snacking board is the best of both worlds because it’s healthy AND filling enough where you can totally eat it, be full and not feel bad about it one bit! It’s kidlike but totally appropriate for us grown-ups.

For this post I teamed up with my favorite, new-to-me vegetable ranch-flavored chips from Pure Growth Organic! You can find them at places like Amazon.com where they’re super affordable and healthy and delicious.

They’re super light; they almost remind me a bit of a rice cracker but a million times better and more flavorful.

The carrot harissa dip might’ve been my favorite because I had never ever made a dip made of carrots before. I was a bit skeptical when I went through the testing process but the texture was amazing; I mean, I ended up adding walnuts because it was borderline too smooth.

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Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Soup

Healthy (ish), Soups, Vegetarian, Winter

Roasted Cauliflower Tumeric Soup

I like to treat January as a reboot month.

I’m currently getting this lil’ blog redone, which is LONG overdue; I’m dyeing white linens (with food!) so I can have the exact colors that I want; I’m going to paint some surfaces all the colors that I think of when I think of A Cozy Kitchen; and of course, I’m eating healthy.

SORT OF BORING. Except this soup is not boring.

Eating healthy for the past few days hasn’t been too bad. I’ve been mainly consisting off of these meatballs, boiled eggs, Korean BBQ, roasted chicken and spaghetti squash. I’m going to post my meal prep for Whole 30 on Monday. I wanted to wait a week because I really wanted to figure out what I ended up being my favorites to grab from this week.

Roasted Cauliflower Turmeric Soup

Roasted Cauliflower Tumeric Soup

This cauliflower soup is healthy and flavorful and the almonds make it part snack, part soup. I have to put lots of toppings in my soup so that it feels substantial.

I’ve also learned that I enjoy chewing foods (if that makes sense). I need soups with lots of toppings so I can chew. It tricks my brain into thinking it’s more of a meal. I always used to eat soup with bread or biscuits so these almonds are a nice healthy option (not nearly as good) but good for the moment. Only 25 more days of Whole 30 lolllll. I CAN DO IT!!

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Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Comté + Caramelized Onions + Rosemary Butter

Sides, Vegetarian

Double Baked Sweet Potato with Caramelized Onions + Comté + Rosemary Butter

Thanksgiving is next week! I kinda don’t have plans. Is that weird? I think it’s going to be a Friendsgiving situation.

Usually Josh and I do something family-oriented for Thanksgiving but this year I wasn’t in the mood to travel (and plus I’ll be in Seattle next Saturday!) so we’re in LA with our friends.

We were thinking of going out to a restaurant, which I did once (I think when I was a kid) and LOVED IT, mainly because that meant zero dishes, but then some friends invited us over and I think it’ll be nice to be in a home around a bunch of people.

Double Baked Sweet Potato with Caramelized Onions + Comté + Rosemary Butter

I made this yesterday because I remember how much I love sweet potato and comté cheese together. But I switched it up by adding caramelized onions into the mix and drizzled a bunch of rosemary butter all on top of ‘em. Dreamy!

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Squash Saltado

Dinner, Healthy, Healthy (ish), Vegetarian

Squash Saltado

About a year ago, I promised myself I wouldn’t say anything about the election. Mainly because it’s EVERYWHERE and so many things make my eyes roll and make me SO angry but it’s over now. And I’m so glad I stuck to it—until now—because I feel like this probably was one of the only places where it wasn’t all about politics.

A Cozy Kitchen is about corgis and pie and meatballs. What connects us–no matter what our political opinions–is our love of food and fun.

I’m the first generation in this country. Recently my tia Cecilia started a private Instagram where she shares really old photos of my family when they first arrived to The States. Everyone was so young, so unknowing and so incredibly brave.

Squash Saltado

Squash Saltado

Squash Saltado

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Smoked Gouda Creamy Mashed Potatoes

Sides, Vegetarian

Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes

I can’t believe the time has come where it is actually appropriate to talk about what we’re making for Thanksgiving. It’s ok to say where we’re going to be for Christmas. And it’s ok to start thinking about what the table is gonna look like and who’s gonna gift who what.

It’s just too much for me. It feels rushed, like too much too soon so I’m starting slowly. I’m warming up to the idea that the holidays are near and I’m starting with this smoked gouda cheesy mashed potatoes. It feels right.

This is also the kinda recipe that doesn’t really require any particular holiday to exist to enjoy.

For this post, I teamed up with ALDI to bring you my new-favorite mashed potatoes, along with spiral cut double brown sugar ham. TIS THE SEASON.

Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potato-making is serious business for me. I have some rules, albeit chill rules.

#1 – They must be boiled to the point where they’re almost a little overcooked.
#2 – And then drained and set out to dry for a bit. We want creamy mashed potatoes, not watery.
#3 – A potato ricer is a must. The texture will be so fluffy and beautiful.
#4 – Don’t be shy with the butter, milk or sour cream

Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes

This smoked gouda is just the ticket to make them a liiiitle bit different but still super classic and delicious.

The trick to adding any cheese (besides super soft ones like brie or goat cheese) to mashed potatoes is grating it very finely. Use the teeny tiny grater on your box grater. This way the cheese will easily melt in the mashed potatoes and you won’t have to do much stirring or heating up.

Pairing it with this ham with ALDI makes everything a gigantic breeze because all you have to do is stick it in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees F and most of dinner was taken care of! This means more time can be spent on making these mashed potatoes pitch perfect.

Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes

I feel like I could write forever how much I love these potatoes but I won’t bore you any longer.

More Thanksgiving stuff soon, soon! This year is gonna be fun.

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