Cilantro Lime Rice

The perfect side dish to any Mexican meal – this Cilantro Lime Rice really packs the punch with flavor. Many think of the traditional Spanish rice as the side dish of choice, but the Cilantro Lime is sure to become a new favorite. It has a fresh and exotic taste, with the cilantro and lime taking control of flavor, but not too over-powering. I paired it with some black beans for side dishes to my wonderful Chicken Tortilla Soup – what meal will you pair it with? 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup – White Rice
  • 1 Tsp – Butter
  • 2 – Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 1 Can – Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup – Water
  • 2 Tsp – Lime Juice/ 1 Tbs – Lime Juice (Divided)
  • 2 Tsp – Sugar
  • 4 Tbs – Fresh Chopped Cilantro

Instructions:

  • In a medium sauce pan, combine rice, butter, garlic, water, lime juice and broth.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Cover and cook on low or until rice is tender. Remove from heat.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cilantro, sugar and tablespoon of lime-juice.
  • Mix into rice..all done! What an easy side-dish with great flavor!

My Week as a Vegetarian

Delightful Discoveries is Vegetarian Friendly!

A class project led to something I once believed would be the ultimate challenge – a vegetarian diet; let’s just say, it didn’t turn out to be much of a challenge at all. Coming from a former lover of meat – that juicy flavorful porterhouse or a zesty lemon pepper chicken – as I’ve grown, my desire of meat has depleted somewhat. As I grow older I notice my strong desire for fresh. I’m quite sure how to explain it; I desire fresh foods from fresh ingredients. Meat lately just seems to be lacking the ability to pack that special punch to my taste buds. Who knows, maybe I’m turned off by the unhealthy facts surfacing and surrounding red meat?

A vegetarian diet was never something I really considered. A past fear of mine always would resurface. . .could I really live without meat? As I’ve grown, of course my fear has decreased.

A class project led to the challenge of a vegetarian diet. I was assigned to either stop, start, or change something within my life for the course of 7 days. Food seems to be a primary factor within my life, why not try a vegetarian diet?? I did allow myself the exception of dairy because I cannot live without cheese and it as my main source of calcium.

Well I went forward with my challenge and guess what?! I was successful! I breezed through my week as a vegetarian, dodging any bothersome obstacles. I was able to really reflect on my diet and eating habits – some of my findings were pretty surprising! I really had no strong desire to consume meat products and I feel great!

While reflecting on my diet and eating habits over my week as a vegetarian, I was able to learn some fascinating facts about myself. Most significantly, the fact that I do not really consume that many meat products. The only meat I really consume is chicken breast; white meat is always better than red meat! For the most part, I was basically already living a semi-vegetarian lifestyle!

The question is now that I’ve experienced a vegetarian lifestyle, should I stick with it? Could I give up meat forever? This is a question that I do not yet have an answer for. When you’re a cooker and an eater like myself, giving up meat may end up with a lack of experiences. So, maybe I am not ready yet? After my week of change, I know that I no longer have a fear of lack of meat, and could possibly consider a vegetarian diet in the future!

Some Helpful Tips:

Either way, my week as a vegetarian was very beneficial. From someone who has experienced this type of diet to someone who may be considering it, here are a few tips I learned while eating a vegetarian diet, as well as some healthy alternatives to your everyday diet:

  • The importance of protein – The only issue I felt during my week as a vegetarian was my small problem of feeling full. Be sure to stock up on your beans and nuts. Protein is your friend. Trade in those burgers & try my delicious Veggie Black Bean Burgers. Also if you are looking for a fun chili, trade in the traditional for my delightful Veggie Black Bean Chili. Whatever it may be, remember to eat your beans!! Also, go to your local market and buy yourself a good large can of mixed nuts.
  • Overload on your Greens – Veggies, Veggies, Veggies! If you’re looking for that fresh that I love, go to your produce section at the market and load up on those greens! Pick yourself up a head of broccoli, bag of carrots, several green bell peppers, cucumbers, etc. A great tip is to substitute your chips for chopped cucumber with a side of ranch.
  • Trade your sweets for fruit – Fruit is your friend kids. It truly is. Nature’s candy is truly much better than mans. Try cutting up your apples and sprinkling them with a dash of brown sugar and cinnamon. Whenever you feel your sweet tooth going nuts, go cut yourself up some fruit. My best tip here is to go to your local market and buy whatever is in season. If you absolutely cannot live without the sweets, add a few semi-sweet chocolate chips to your bowl of apples or other cut of fruit.
  • A Vegetarian Diet can be inexpensive – Coming from a college student on a budget – this diet can be done without breaking the bank! Many people shy away from healthy foods because of high prices, they do not realize that some healthy foods are really cheap! Like I said before, buy your produce that is on sale! Also, many name brand products are available generic for much cheaper with the same great taste.

I had a great experience eating a vegetarian diet and applaud anyone who lives this lifestyle. I have posted several tasty vegetarian recipes on Delightful Discoveries and trust me, you can expect to see many more! I also plan to add a vegetarian category to my recipe selection so those dishes can be easily accessible.

If you are looking for some tasty Vegetarian dishes check out these recipes on my page:

  • Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni
  • Vegetarian Black Bean Chili
  • Black Bean Veggie Burgers
  • Randy’s Veggie Pizza
  • Black Bean Soup
  • & Many many more 🙂

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni

A recipe inspired by rainy days while wandering the market – Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni will be the perfect remedy to your rainy day. While this has always been my favorite soup, the added ingredient of macaroni really does something wonderful to this dish. The cheesy goodness mixed with the flavorful broccoli & other ingredients will not only satisfy your taste buds, but warm you up on those cold & rainy days. Also, an added bonus of this recipe is the health benefits; it is very low in fat and calories and is also vegetarian friendly!

Broccoli & Cheddar Soup with Macaroni:

Ingredients:

  • 8 Oz – Dry Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 1/2 Cups – Onion (Chopped)
  • 2 – Carrots (Chopped)
  • 1 – Celery Stalk (Chopped)
  • 3 Cloves – Garlic (Chopped)
  • 1 Tbs – Butter (Melted)
  • 2 Tbs – Flour
  • 3 Cups – Vegetable Broth (You can also use Chicken Broth)
  • 1 Cup – Milk
  • 2 1/2 Cups – Broccoli Florets (Chopped)
  • 2 Cups – Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Tbs – Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, begin melting your butter.
  • Begin chopping up your celery, carrots, onion, & garlic.
  • Begin sauteing in pot over medium low heat for 5 minutes or until soft.
  • Boil your macaroni in salted water until tender; Drain, set aside.

  • Add in flour & pepper and stir until smooth.
  • Slowly add in your broth & milk while whisking constantly.
  • Set to medium-high heat until it comes to a boil then cover and cook on low for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Add in broccoli and parmesan cheese; stir well. Cook uncovered until broccoli is cooked & soft.

  • Add Cheddar mixing well until cheese melts, then immediately remove from heat.
  • Add in cooked macaroni and add salt & pepper.

Garnish with cheese & a side of cheese bread! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

Now, I am not a vegetarian but I do cook a lot of vegan friendly recipes. I always find them as tasty and healthy alternatives. I also love me some black beans, so that is why you are seeing yet another post containing black beans. This Black Bean Chili recipe could not be more perfect and it’s a simple & healthy alternative to a regular chili recipe. It is simple, fast, healthy, cheap, & oh so tasty. It will only take you about 30 minutes total to make, but will have amazing flavor like you have slow-cooked this meal for hours. Literally, the flavors are explosive, mouthwatering, and delicious! Take my word for it! This recipe also includes easy ingredients you will commonly find are already inside your pantry. It is also perfect as a quick meal for those super busy days when you do not feel like cooking. Either way, I highly recommend it!

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili:

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup – Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 – Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 – Red Bell Pepper (Chopped)
  • 5 – Garlic Cloves (Chopped)
  • 2 Tbs – Chili Powder
  • 2 Tsp – Dried Oregano
  • 1 1/2 Tsp – Cumin
  • 1 – Bay Leave
  • 2 Tsp – Hot Sauce (Or you can use 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper)
  • 3 Cans – Black Beans (Reserve 1/2 cup liquid)
  • 1 16 oz Can – Tomato Sauce

Instructions:

  • Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat.
  • Add onions, bell pepper, & garlic then saute for about 10 minutes (or until tender).
  • Mix in Cumin, Oregano, Chili Powder, Bay Leave, & Hot Sauce (or Cayenne Pepper). Stir for 2 minutes.

  • Add in beans, reserved liquid, & tomato sauce.
  • Bring Chili to boil while stirring occasionally. (This is all going to smell so good!!)
  • Reduce heat to medium low to simmer and to allow flavors to mix for about 15 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt & pepper. Top with cheese and other toppings of your choice!

Black Bean Salad

This is another typical “Randy Recipe” ..it’s quick to make and really tasty. If you are cooking Mexican and need a quick side dish or you need a quick dish to bring to a party, this Black Bean Salad will be perfect for you. It also works great as an appetizer for any meal! Also, it only takes minutes to make!

Black Bean Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can – Black Beans (Rinsed/Drained)
  • 1 can – Sweet Corn
  • 1/2 – Red Bell Pepper (Chopped)
  • 1/2 – Red Onion (Chopped)
  • 1 1/2 tsp – Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp – Hot Sauce
  • 1 – Lime (Juiced)
  • 2 tbs – Vegetable Oil or Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • For extra flavor, add a few chopped leaves of cilantro.

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Let set for 15 minutes for flavors to combine.
  • Enjoy!

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Here is a simple but also healthy meal that is inexpensive and completely vegetarian (I got this recipe from my good friend and room-mate CJ). These turned out so good, tasted better than regular burgers in my opinion. Enjoy 😉

Black Bean Veggie Burgers:

Ingredients:

  • 1 can – Black Beans (Drained)
  • 1/2 – Green Bell Pepper (Finely Chopped)
  • 1/2 – Onion (Finely Chopped)
  • 3 Cloves – Garlic (Finely Chopped)
  • 1 tbs – Cumin
  • 1 tbs – Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp – Hot Sauce
  • 1 – Egg
  • 1/2 cup – Bread Crumbs

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 Degrees.
  • Lightly oil a baking sheet.
  • In medium bowl, mash beans until they are thick and pasty.
  • Add chopped veggies into beans, mix thoroughly.
  • In a small bowl mix together egg with Chili Powder, Cumin, & Hot Sauce.

  • Mix Egg Mixture into black beans.
  • Add in Bread Crumbs until mix can form into patties.
  • Form into patties, it should make about 4.
  • Cook patties for about 10 minutes on each side.

Tip: We used potato buns which made the burgers taste so much better.

Black Bean Soup

Two words for this recipe…So Good. The room-mates were feeling a little under the weather lately, so I thought I would make a good soup for everyone. So I skimmed through my cookbook until I stumbled upon – Black Bean Soup. Simple, easy and quick to make but also VERY good.

Black Bean Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 cans – Black Beans (drained)
  • 3 – Celery Ribs (chopped)
  • 1/2 – Onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 – Red Bell Pepper (chopped)
  • 1 – Jalapeno Pepper (chopped, seeded)
  • 2 tbs – Olive Oil
  • 4 – Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 2 cans – Chicken Broth
  • 1 can – Diced Tomatoes & Green Peppers
  • 3 tsp – Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp – Hot sauce of your choice
  • 1/4 tsp – Ground Pepper
  • 1 – Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp – Lime Juice

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, mash 1 can of black beans.
  • In a large sauce pan, saute red pepper, celery, onion, & jalapeno.
  • Add garlic, cook 1 minute longer

  • Stir in broth, tomatoes, cumin, hot sauce, pepper, bay leaf, and remaining beans (also mashed beans).
  • Bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Discard bay leaf and add lime juice.

Enjoy!

The best veggie pizza you’ve ever had.

If you’re looking for a delicious but also healthy meal, I suggest a…Veggie Pizza. I got this recipe from my sisters and it is so good and of course easy to make.

Veggie Pizza:

Here's what you will need.

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages – Croissants
  • 2 packages – 8oz Cream Cheese
  • 3/4 package – Ranch Dressing Mix (powder)
  • 3/4 cup – Mayonnaise
  • 1 package – Grated Cheese
  • Vegetables of your choice (I used broccoli, cauliflower, green bell-pepper, radishes, cucumber, lettuce, jicama, and carrots)

Instructions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375
  • Spread croissants over casserole dish (cover completely, will be the crust)
  • Put in oven for 10 minutes

  • Chop up vegetables of your choice
  • Mix together cream cheese, ranch, and mayonnaise (until spreadable)
  • Let croissants cool, then spread sauce over (cover completely)
  • Add vegetables and cheese
  • You’re Done!!! 🙂