Our Favorite Vegetarian Recipes

Going vegetarian, even part-time, can help reduce health risks such as heart disease and diabetes, limit exposure to food-borne illnesses found in contaminated meat products, save you money, prevent animal cruelty, and even contribute to a reduction in environmental pollutions and global famine.

Plus, vegetables are delicious.

For these reasons, and more, we at Just Add Cooking love preparing and sharing ideas for meatless meals. Here are some of our favorite ways to go meatless.

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Food and Beer Pairings in Celebration of National Beer Day

The nation's civic leaders in making, celebrating and, of course, drinking hop juice.

Beers come in all flavors and colors. Photo credit: Worthy Brewing Beers

What do Ancient Egyptians, Benjamin Franklin, and Homer Simpson have in common? Probably not much, except an appreciation of beer.

Although the exact date is lost in history, beer is thought to have been invented in about 9500 BC. Beer enthusiasts celebrate their favorite beverage annually on September 28th. While many bars and pubs celebrate National Beer Day, you can have your own celebration at home by pairing flavorful beers with savory meals.

Beers often are categorized by the combination of ingredients and process, which contribute to the flavor and color of the beer. There are no concrete rules for pairing beer with food. Some foodies recommend matching the intensity of flavors – a dark beer with a spicy dish. Others recommend balancing delicate flavors with a heavier beer.

Here are a few suggestions for pairing beers with the Just Add Cooking recipes that may have been delivered to you earlier in the week:

Lager or Pilsner

Lagers and pilsners are lighter beers with a hoppy, sometimes bitter taste. They do not compete with the delicate flavors of pasta, but can balance out a spicier dish, such as a hearty chili.

Examples: Sierra Nevada Summerfest Lager, New Belgian Shift Lager, Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils, Pilsner Urquell, Victory Prima Pils

Pair with: Pasta with Mushrooms,  Red Bean Chili

Allagash White

Wheat beers go well with spicy dishes. Photo credit: Allagash Brewing Company

Wheat Beer

Wheat beers also are light, but often have a cloudy appearance and a fruity, yeasty flavor. Sometimes considered a “summer beer,” wheat beers have a unique flavor that pairs well with spicier, complex meals such as Mexican food.

Examples: Hoegaarden, Allagash White, Harpoon’s UFO Hefeweizen

Pair with: Tortilla Espanola

Stout

Stouts are dark beers, often tasting of coffee or chocolate. The rich flavor pairs well with grilled meats, and gamey or wild meats such as duck or venison.

Examples: Left Hand Milk Stout, Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout

Pair with: Flank Steak and Cheddar Grits, Duck Orange and Lentil Salad

Heady-Topper beer

Vermont beer, Heady-Topper, currently the top-ranked beer in America. Photo credit: The Alchemist

IPA

India Pale Ales (IPAs), vary between the lighter, traditional hoppy IPAs to the Double or Imperial IPAs, which often have a fruity flavor. The currently top-ranked American beer is an IPA, The Alchemist’s Heady Topper.

Examples: The Alchemist’s Heady Topper, New England Brewing Company’s Fuzzy Ducks IPA, Bell’s Brewery Two-Hearted Ale

Pair with: Oven Baked Fish with Fennel and Dill, Pork Stroganoff with Yellow Rice

 

So, go enjoy your Just Add Cooking meal kits this week with a nice cool glass (or can or bottle) of your favorite beer! Comment to us below or on our Facebook and Twitter pages and tell us your favorite food and beer pairings!

Our Favorite Food Sites from Around the Web

We love thumbing through recipe books. Looking up favorite family recipes can be nostalgic. Anticipating a new dish may give you a food high. While cookbooks will always have a place on our shelves, the Internet is a vast and varied source of blogs and websites dedicated to enjoying & preparing food, being mindful about the health and environmental impact of our food choices, and seeing the humor in food-related disasters. Many of these websites have corresponding mobile apps, which enable you to send shopping lists, recipes, meal plans, and more to your smartphone.

Here are some of our favorite food resources from around the web:

General

Searchable indexes; the ability of save, rate, and review recipes; and contributions from many food experts. Whether you are looking for inspiration, or for a choice of recipe ideas for a specific dish, check out these websites:

Health

Many websites exist that enable you to track calories, protein, sodium, and more. MyFitnessPal is a terrific resource. We also love to read nutrition advice and how to make healthy choices, such as incorporating vegetarian and low sodium meals into your diet.

Eco-Friendly

We are lucky enough to have choices in what we eat. Consider the source of your food, know how to read labels, and what think about the impact your choices may have on the environment.

Entertainment

From looking at pictures of beautiful plates to burnt disasters, food has a huge element of everyday entertainment – not just nourishment. Here are a few good websites to browse if you’re in need of a great laugh or to relax your mind.

 

Ways to Enjoy Avocado

Avocado Christmas Ornament

Avocado Ornament. Photo Credit: Russell Rhodes

Is it just us, or do the decorations for National Guacamole Day come out earlier and earlier each year? We had a great time celebrating one of our favorite holidays earlier this week, and one of our favorite foods.

Fish Tacos with Spicy Guacamole

Just Add Cooking: Fish Tacos with Spicy Guacamole

At Just Add Cooking, we like to pair guacamole with our fish tacos, but this versatile recipe can be used as a side dish, salad topper, or dip. Our basic guacamole recipe can be made less spicy by eliminating the jalapenos, or you can add extra heat by using fresh jalapenos, or other hot peppers. Other additions you can make include: crushed garlic, cumin, paprika, or chopped tomatoes. We recommend using fresh limes, or substituting lemons, as the citrus helps retain the fresh, green color and avoid browning.

Just Add Cooking’s Spicy Guacamole:

Ingredients:

2 avocado
4 pickled jalapenos
¼ red onion
1 bundle cilantro
1 cup yogurt
1 lime
salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Mash avocados with a fork.
  • Finely chop jalapeno and red onion.
  • Chop cilantro leaves.
  • Mix all in a bowl.
  • Add yogurt and lime juice from one lime to avocado mix.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

The heart of guacamole is the nutrient-rich avocado, packed with 20 vitamins and minerals. Avocados contain the “good” fats, and have no cholesterol or sodium.

Other ways to enjoy avocados:

  • Dress It: Use avocados to create a rich, creamy salad dressing.

    Guacarita Cocktail - Armstrong Studios / Photolibrary / Getty Images

    Guacarita Cocktail. Photo Credit: Armstrong Studios

  • Drink It:  Power-packed smoothies, or a delicious cocktail.
  • Spoon It: Mashed avocados make a simple, fresh, healthy baby food.

Picking the right avocado and choosing the perfect ripeness makes all the difference. Avocados should be slightly squishy when ripe. If you buy unripe (hard) avocados, store them at room temp until they are softer. Place them in a paper bag to quicken the ripening process. Once ripe, put them in the fridge until ready to use. Refrigeration halts, or slows, the ripening process, and keeps avocados fresh for a few days.

Stock Your Kitchen: Essential Kitchen Tools

Having the right tools on hand is necessary when preparing recipes. Here are some simple, basic kitchen tools you should have on hand to make prepping even the most complex meals easier. Here are a few of our suggestions.

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Is Local Better?

Boston Local Food Festival logo

Looking forward to this event!

Just Add Cooking will be attending the Boston Local Food Festival on Sunday. Come down and visit with us! There are lots of things to love about this event:

  • It takes place on the vibrant, lovely Rose Kennedy Greenway, which took a site of urban construction and turned it into a beautiful public park.
  • The Festival is a zero-waste event.
  • It’s free!
  • All non-perishable food sold is made from locally sourced products, and the event showcases many farmers, fishers, and foodies who all represent the best of our local food sources.

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Back to School: Livening Up the Lunchbox

Efforts to make school lunches healthier are creating headlines, as well as headaches. While school-provided lunches are required to meet certain health guidelines, processed food is processed food. Making your own quick, fun lunches can help your child refuel his or her body, and save you money.

On any given day, your kids’ tastes may change. Or, you may be expected to prepare the exact same lunch in the exact same manner, every single day. While we don’t claim to know which category your child fits, here are some lunch options that might appeal.

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Back to School: Five Fast & Healthy Recipes to Fuel Your Kids’ Day

September is National Breakfast Month! Whether or not you agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, having a healthy, fulfilling breakfast can help your kids (and you!) get off to school energized and ready to learn.

Here are five great choices for breakfast time, along with tips to speed up the prep and save you valuable morning minutes.

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Back to School: Hacks to Make the Transition Easier

Whether the first days/weeks of school make you celebrate, mourn, or panic, we all can agree it is a hectic time for all families. Transitions to new schools/classes, the start of fall sports and activities, and saying goodbye to summer… Life is crazy.

Here are a few suggestions you can use to organize your kids, your home, and your life to make the transition smooth and keep a manageable pace for the entire school year.

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