Tag Archives: vegetarian

Mushroom Pesto with Sausage over Fusilli

This one is a warm and hearty pasta sauce, great for a cold night. It’s also very low fat and full of healthy vegetables. This recipe can easily be made vegan or vegetarian by eliminating the turkey sausage or replacing it with a meat-substitute sausage.


  • 8 oz whole wheat fusilli
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 lb of spicy turkey sausage, sliced into bite-sized pieces
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms
  • handful of fresh basil
  • 1 cup red onion
  • 1 cup white wine
  • salt
  • pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomato


In the work bowl of your food processor, add the onion, garlic, mushrooms, basil, olive oil, white wine and a dash of salt. Grind into a thick paste. You may need to work in batches.

In a hot skillet, brown the sausage on all sides. Add the mixture from the food processor and simmer until the sausage is cooked through.

Serve over whole wheat fusilli

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min
Servings : 6


Grilled Olive Oil and Rosemary Flatbread

Today, I decided to experiment with grilled flatbread. I’ve never done it before. I read several recipes and then came up with what I thought would be the best combination of ingredients. I had no idea whether it would turn out.

OMG this flatbread was SOOO good. The outside came out crispy and the inside was chewy!! I’m blogging it today so I don’t forget what I did. It went with dry-aged BBQ’d steak like heaven!


  • 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/3 cup of flour + a little more as needed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt + a little more
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic


Pour warm water and yeast into a small bowl, stir and ignore it for about five minutes until the mixture gets a little foamy.

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 1/3 cup of flour, olive oil, 1 tbsp salt, rosemary and water/yeast mixture. Kneed until it forms a nice ball. You can sprinkle in more water as needed.

Make a ball of dough and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave alone for 30-50 minutes.

Spread a little flour on a wooden cutting board. Roll the dough out until it makes an even disk, about 1/4″ thick.

Scrape the mixture up from the wood, keeping the shape. Re-flour the board and lay it back down. The point is to keep the bottom floured and non-sticky.

Sprinkle chopped garlic and kosher salt evenly on the top.

Toss on the BBQ grill for a few minutes. Flip if necessary. Cook until the bread looks done. Slice into strips and serve with your steak dinner.

NetDiva’s Awesome Hot Sauce

I needed a sauce to put over the fresh tamales we made the other night. I whipped this together with veggies that I had lying around. It was delicious and perfectly spicy.


  • 1 cup chopped red onion (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 pasilla pepper (with seeds)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 jalapeño (with seeds)
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar, (Bragg’s or other natural vinegar is recommended.)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes


Finely chop all vegetables and place in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add all other ingredients. Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium-low, covered, for 15-20 minutes or until all vegetables are very soft and stewed.

Using a stick blender, purée the mixture until it’s a thick, even sauce. If you don’t have a stick blender, a regular blender or food processor will work, too.

Add more salt, sugar or red pepper flakes to taste.

Can be served warm or cold.

Grand Pop!

When I was not quite 18 years old, I went off to college. I started in the summer. My grandpa bought me an air-pop popcorn popper, The Popcorn Pumper. I’ll be 35 next month. That was half my life ago.

My grandpa was a funny old cuss. As a child, he crossed the country from Kansas to L.A. in an actual covered wagon. At least that’s what he told me, but I was never sure what stories were actually true. He also told me about one night when he hitched a truck to an outhouse and towed that shitter through town while his friend was locked inside.

He owned an auto shop his whole life. Not surprising that my mom also married a mechanic.

Grandpa used to withhold pay from his employees in the early 70’s until they got haircuts. He wasn’t payin’ no longhairs.

When you asked him how he was doing, he would either curtly reply, “sick”, or happily exclaim,”finer than frog hair.” If you did something worth praise, he’d emphatically let you know that “you won the fur-lined vinegar bottle.” I have no idea what anyone would want with a fur-lined vinegar bottle, but I heard it so often that sometimes, it still comes out of my mouth.

I miss my grandpa. He died not long after I went off to school.

I still have that air popper. In fact, I have used it several nights a week for almost all of my adult life. Popcorn a staple around here. My husband calls it “Diva Corn”. I can’t stand microwaved popcorn. It’s not the same thing.

Over the past two weeks, the Popcorn Pumper has been starting to go. It’s burning the corn and not blowing it out. I’ve tried cleaning it out but the problem is just getting worse. A new air popper is only about $20. The investment in a new popper is mostly emotional.

So I guess I’m saying goodbye to a kitchen appliance that has lasted through seven cities, about a dozen homes, plenty of jobs, more than one marriage and every other “phase” imaginable. It’s been with me my entire adult life. Plus, it came from my grandpa.

I’m not quite ready to replace it yet; it may take me a while. Here’s one of my many popcorn recipes. I love the stuff!

Diva Corn

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernalshint! try experimenting with other varieties of kernals
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • salt
  • chili powder

Pop the popcorn in an air popper. Melt the butter in the microwave. Pour the butter and squeeze the lemon over your popcorn. Mix thoroughly with two spoons. Sprinkle with chili powder and salt to taste.

White Sangria

Traditional Sangria Pitcher

Traditional Sangria Pitcher

Here’s a delicious twist on a summer classic. White Sangria is very sweet and delicious in hot weather. Try it with dessert like vanilla ice cream. This is extremely easy to make and a great beverage to take to a BBQ or summer birthday party.

  • 2 bottles of inexpensive light white wine like Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Gewurtztraminer, or Sauvignon Blanc
  • 1 to 1/2 cup sugar (to taste)
  • 2 cans Hansen’s Mandarin Lime Soda
  • Handful of green grapes, sliced in half
  • 2 apricots chopped
  • 2 nectarines chopped
  • 1 peach chopped

Pour the wine and sugar into a 1-gallon pitcher. Chop all the fruit into pieces about 1/4″-1/2″ square and add to the mixture. (Grapes should be sliced in half.) Add the 2 cans of soda and fill in any remaining space in the pitcher with more fruit.

Stir until sugar is completely dissolved and refrigerate for an hour or more before serving so that the fruit flavors have time to infuse a little. Pour over plenty of ice in a pretty stem glass & serve with some of the fruit at the bottom of the glass.

Prep time: 15-20 min. Makes 1-gallon.

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Cilantro Cumin Salad Dressing

I whipped up some super yummy salad dressing tonight. Try it over a mixed green salad with bell peppers and red leaf lettuce.

1 bunch cilantro
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
2 drops mega hot sauce like Dave’s Insanity

Put cilantro & apple cider vinegar in food processor and finely chop cilantro. Pour into bowl and add other ingredients. Whisk vigorously until oil no longer separates. Serve immediately or if you store it, whisk again right before serving. Can be saved in fridge or freezer.

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That’s Really Vegetarian Lasagna

Because Cat asked me not to forget vegetarians, here’s what I cook when I really want to impress herbivores. I have a meat variation of this, too, but both get big smiles. The big secret is that I use feta cheese rather than ricotta.

1 onion
olive oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 portobello mushroom chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
6-8 large crimini mushrooms sliced
6-8 large white mushrooms sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 chopped basil
1 small can tomato paste
1 heirloom tomato chopped up
3 8-oz cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
4 or 5 small zucchinis (or equiv) –sliced into long 1/8″ ovals (slice round at an angle)
1 lb lasagna noodles – boiled and drained
1 lb fresh spinach
12 oz crumbled feta cheese
1 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
dash dry oregano

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Toss in the onions and then the garlic and sautée over medium for a couple minutes and then add in mushrooms, oregano, salt & pepper. Sautée over medium until the mushrooms begin to soften –but don’t cook them too much. Stir in basil, heirloom tomato, tomato paste, tomato sauce and red wine. Slowly bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer over med-low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a 9×13 baking pan, lay 3 lasagna noodles across the bottom. Scoop on a nice thick layer of suace. Add a layer of spinach leaves & then a layer of lasagna slices. Then sprinkle on a layer of feta. Repeat this until you fill the pan. Cover with a last layer of noodles and then sauce. Then generously pile on the mozzarella. Finally, sprinkle on a little dry oregano.

Bake for 20-30 min or until the cheese is melted and crispy all the way through. Cool just a little bit and dig in!

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