Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

A hummus with some heat and a how-to on roasted red peppers!

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // AND learn how to roast red peppers // www.mesacookingco.com

See this beautiful pepper below? That is a red pepper that has been roasted to perfection: the raw flavor is mellowed and the texture is soft and smooth. Basically, it belongs in TONS of recipes that call for deliciousness and you will love it in this hummus recipe today!

Quick tutorial: How to Roast Red Peppers

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your pepper in half and remove all the seeds and flesh.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and and drizzle or brush with a little olive oil.
  4. Cook until the skin is browning (just like the picture above!!) about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and peel the charred skin off. It will peel off super easy (and will be super satisfying if you’re into that type of thing – haha).

See? Super easy! All of four minutes of active time!

Spicy Roasted Red Pepper Hummus // AND learn how to roast red peppers // www.mesacookingco.com

So, let’s get to this spicy hummus. The hummus is made by throwing tons of goodness into your food processor. I love this part (and so will you) because this is an appetizer/snack that you can throw together in TEN MINUTES. And that’s what we all want (or NEED), right?? Plus, you will love this because hummus is truly just a trick to eat more veggies – a delicious trick, that is.

The base of this hummus is like most hummuses: chickpeas, olive oil, and tahini. Then, we’re gonna add some flavor: lemon juice, cumin, cayenne pepper, and garlic. The cayenne pepper is gonna give your hummus this awesome heat and how much you put in is 100% up to you and your taste buds. I added 1 and 1/2 teaspoons and that gave it a nice spiciness. If you’re not a fan of spicy, reduce it to 1/2 teaspoon or leave it out completely. If you like the feeling of your mouth on fire, add a whole tablespoon! Taste and adjust to your preference!

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Fresh Summer Rolls

How to make easy, colorful, and fun summer rolls!

Fresh Summer Rolls // How to make easy, colorful, and fun summer rolls! // www.mesacookingco.com

You got a sneak peek at these gorgeous summer rolls on Tuesday and I’m excited today to share the recipe with you! Plus, I’ll give you a quick tutorial on how to make those rice papers work for you and not against you!

Summer rolls are SO customizable – you can use all sorts of different ingredients in them! Practically any veggie and I’ve seen some recently with fruit in them too, which also sounds amazing (maybe a post later to come!) But today, I’m sharing my favorite veggie combination for summer rolls!

Wrapped in rice paper, you’re going to put carrots, cucumber, bean sprouts, spring mix lettuce, and bell peppers – an amazing crisp, crunchy combination! The carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers you’re going to julienne, which means you’re going to cut them into thin, long pieces. This makes the veggies pretty, helps them fit well in the rice paper, and also makes them easier to bite! (I mean, you don’t want have to gnaw on a huge, round carrot in your summer roll!)

Find out how to make these beauties!

Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Thai-inspired, perfect for veggies, and so simple to make!

Easy Peanut Dipping Sauce // Thai-inspired, perfect for veggies, and so simple to make! // www.mesacookingco.com

Happy Tuesday to all of you today! I can hardly believe it is already almost July, but boy this has been a fantastic summer so far! We’ve visited our families in SC and MN, gone camping, hiked some beautiful mountains, made some delicious food (obviously!!), helped with snacks at our church’s VBS (those kids were so adorable), planted a mini apartment balcony garden, and soaked up these long summer days.

One part of this summer that I’ve also really enjoyed has been working towards a much more refined-sugar-free kitchen. Yes, I truly have enjoyed it! I’ve done a few weeks with zero refined sugars and I have just been so surprised by how easy it is and how good I feel about it. I mean, come on, of course I love my treats! Just take a look at my dessert archives! But it has been quite easy to teach myself not to expect one of those rich, amazing desserts after every lunch and dinner. I might go for something else sweet, like a small cup of 100% juice, berries, or peanut butter on toast to satisfy my sweet tooth, but overall, my sugar intake is way down and I feel so good not needing treats all the time. Special occasions still call for treats – and so do camping trips and family visits! But I do feel healthier when I eat this way and I’m excited to continue sharing recipes without refined sugar!

I’ve got a recipe here for your today that’s gonna facilitate a LOT of vegetable-eating in your house!

Keep reading and get the recipe!

Fresh Summer Greek Pasta Salad

Fresh Summer Greek Salad // www.mesacookingco.com

It was about a year ago around this time when I really started digging into cooking and baking. I had a lot of time on my hands and I started trying lots of new recipes with new techniques. Instead of sticking with what I knew, I attempted recipes that really scared me! I learned so much from the cookbooks I have and from tons of amazing food bloggers. The wealth of information about cooking online is so helpful!

One of my favorite things about this time was learning how to develop recipes of my own. I didn’t really know it at the time – but by learning how and why we do the things we do while cooking, I was able to start coming up with my own ideas of foods to put together. I loved the beginning stages of learning it because I felt like I gained so much ownership and confidence in my kitchen. I could tweak recipes without fear, because I knew the principles of cooking, I knew my tweaks would probably work. And when I wanted to try to make something completely new, I knew the basics that would help my recipe be successful.

Recipes like this Fresh Summer Greek Pasta Salad were the type of recipes I first began feeling comfortable throwing together. I started with simple ingredients I knew go together well, because I had seen them in so many variations in other dishes. Then, I added a simple olive oil dressing based on what I know about dressing (after making many, many dressings over time). So yes, simple recipe, simple ingredients. But having the confidence to put together ingredients and drizzling a little of this, a little of that, is so fun!

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Blackberry Almond Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

A fresh, light spring salad with happy bursts of blackberries!

Blackberry Almond Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing // A fresh, light spring salad with happy bursts of blackberries! // www.mesacookingco.com

I’ve been on a bit of a healthy eating kick the past couple weeks. I always try to eat healthy, but, for me, that usually just means homemade food. This allows me to avoid things like corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and all sorts of other questionable ingredients. However, homemade food can still be full of refined sugars and refined grains. Those things are great for the occasional special treat, but I’m starting to move those treats to occasional and not twice or thrice daily.

So, new healthy, go-to dishes are what I’m looking for lately! I tossed together this salad on Monday for a light, tasty lunch. And — I’m pretty much all about this salad now. It’s fresh, fruity, and fantastic.

Click to continue reading and for the recipe!

Roasted Garlic with Thyme Goat Cheese

A savory appetizer for garlic and goat cheese lovers

Roasted Garlic with Thyme Goat Cheese // A savory appetizer for all garlic and goat cheese lovers // www.mesacookingco.com



Christmas Morning 2014: Giant family gathering. Introducing my new fiancé to everyone. Loud and crazy in my grandma’s house. Loads of food. Pretty decorated tree. Then — my aunt walks in with a life-changing appetizer — meet this Roasted Garlic with Thyme Goat Cheese, served on crackers and warm, crusty baguette slices. I was in heaven from the first bite.

Doesn’t everyone love garlic? I love cooking with it. That distinctive flavor adds so much to every dish! Although I’m not a big fan of peeling and mincing garlic, I’ll do it for the meal!

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