Healthy(ish) Green Macaroni & Cheese

GMC Final.JPGI love macaroni and cheese! Give me blue box, homemade, or anything in between and it’s sure to be a hit! I’ve tried lots of different versions of this ultimate comfort food and this recipe has evolved to become my favorite! Not only is it delicious, but it’s also pretty and Continue reading

Vegan Sunshine Linguine

SF Finished in PotThe last few days here in Pennsylvania have been cold, damp, rainy, and cloudy. It’s really putting a damper on my gardening plans and my ability to take the baby to the park. And after being stuck in the house for a few days I was starting to feel a little BLAH. So, I decided to make a fresh and colorful dinner that I hoped would cheer us all up. Well, it did!

This Vegan Sunshine Linguine recipe is not only delicious, but healthy and although it has a very “light” feeling, it’s quite filling! If you aren’t vegan/vegetarian, this would pair well with sautéed chicken or shrimp!

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Here’s what you’ll need to get started…

  • 3/4 lb. Linguine
  • 3 Tbsp. Olive Oil (plus a few extra tsp)
  • 2 Yellow Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
  • 2 Orange Bell Peppers, sliced into strips
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1 Cup Black Olives, sliced
  • 1 Red Onion, sliced into strips
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 Cups Yellow bite-sized Tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup Vegetable Stock
  • 2-3 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper

And here is how you prepare this delicious dinner… Continue reading

Warm Italian Veggie Bake

DSC01969.JPGToday is primary voting day here in Pennsylvania, and after having stressed over political and social issues and deciding who to cast my ballot for, I needed a comfort meal for dinner. This Warm Italian Veggie Bake was just that meal! Packed with savory, filling veggies, and flavored with robust Italian dressing, this meal is like a comforting hug for your taste buds! What’s even better is that it’s super easy to make and it can be prepared up to a day ahead of time and baked just before mealtime.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup Italian Dressing
  • 1 large Onion, diced
  • 1 medium Zucchini, cubed
  • 1 small Eggplant, cubed
  • 1 medium Red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 8 oz. White Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 14.5 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, drained (I use Hunts Fire-Roasted Tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup (plus extra for sprinkling) Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. Dried Basil

And here are the easy-peasy instructions…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start with a very large skillet. You’ll want lots of room for all those veggies! Heat the Italian dressing on medium heat, until just warm and toss in the Continue reading

Vegan Spinach & White Bean Soup

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With the recent passing of pop icon Prince, I decided to pay homage to his legacy by preparing a vegan meal. For those of you who didn’t know, Prince was not only a musical genius, but a vegan. I didn’t know him personally, but I like to think that his status as a vegan is a good indication that he was also a kindhearted person who loved animals. Just guessing. Anyway, I immediately thought of this soup because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Orzo pasta, and I had some leftover Spinach from when I made my Better than Panera Quinoa Broth Bowl. This is an easy vegan dinner that can be prepared easily and quickly for a weeknight dinner, but has a flavor profile that can rival dishes at high-end restaurants. Plus, the ingredients are those that I usually have on hand for last-minute meal planning!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, minced (not pictured)
  • 2 Small Sweet Onions, Diced
  • 1 Can Cannelini Beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 Pound Orzo Pasta
  • 3 Cups Fresh Baby Spinach
  • 4 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 2-3 tsp. Dried Basil
  • 2-3 tsp. Bay Leaves
  • 2-3 tsp. Dried Thyme

And here’s how you make this delicious meal…

Heat olive oil in large saucepan. Add onions and sauté’ until they become somewhat Continue reading

Summer Cucumber Salad

DSC01836.JPGWe’ve been having absolutely beautiful weather here in Pennsylvania this week and it has put me in the mood for the summer foods that I’ve been missing all winter. I guess my husband is feeling the same way because he requested my summer cucumber salad for part of his lunch this week, and I was happy to jump in and make it! Pottery Dish Ad.png

The problem that I have always had with cucumber salad recipes is that they usually call for sour cream. Unfortunately, I don’t really care for sour cream and we rarely have it around the house. Since we grow cucumbers in the summer I like to be able to just pop out to the garden, grab some cucumbers, and make salad with what I already have around the house. This is my sour cream free, summer cucumber salad recipe!

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This is what you’ll need to get started:

And here’s how you’ll make this cool, creamy, salad… Continue reading

DIY Baby Food…Healthy and Frugal!

I’ve known since I was pregnant with my little girl that I wanted to make her food myself. The idea that I prefer fresh and homemade for myself but would feed my baby only store-bought, processed foods didn’t make sense to me. And, since my dear husband had already gifted me a super-awesome Ninja Blender I knew I could do it!

Baby Food Storage Ad.pngAs a side note, making your own baby food really isn’t a very difficult process, but it could be if you don’t have a good quality blender. I am as frugal as they come, but there are times in life when we just have to spend a little more money to have a good quality product. Blenders are one of those products that are worth spending a little more on. I LOVE my Ninja Blender! From pureeing baby food, to smoothie making, to food processing it does it all and does it well! I have a friend who swears by her Brevel, and I’m sure it’s great as well, but I’ll stick with what I know for now.

Before you get started on your baby food project, do your research on foods that are safe for your baby at his/her current age and get an idea of what consistency your food should be. My daughter is 7 months old and still mostly enjoys purees, but at times can tolerate some lumpiness so I make her food accordingly.

My guess is that if you’re reading this, you already have a list of reasons why you want to make your own baby food. Maybe you’re concerned about additives or processing, maybe you want all organic ingredients, or maybe you want to save a little money. Well, if you’re on the fence, let me just push you onto the side of savings. I’ve broken down today’s cost for you in this cute little chart…

Baby Food Cost Comparison

Here I’m going to show you how to make Butternut Squash puree, Apple puree, Apple Baby Bullet Ad.pngBanana puree, and Apple Blueberry puree. I tend to make a nice big batch of Continue reading

Creamy Spinach & Artichoke Pasta

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One of my favorite appetizers to order when my husband and I go out is Spinach and Artichoke dip. I’m also a huge fan of the homemade version that often makes an appearance at family barbecues throughout the summer. I seriously cannot get enough of the stuff! So upon review of a few recipes, I decided that I had to make a vegetarian Spinach and Artichoke Pasta recipe that was quick and easy enough for dinner. This warm and cheesy dish is definitely it!

For this recipe you will need:

  • Penne Pasta (1 box)
  • Vegetable Broth (about 2-3 cups)
  • Butter (3 Tbsp.)
  • Garlic Cloves (4, minced)
  • Mushrooms (1 pkg sliced white)
  • Flour (4 Tbsp)
  • Heavy Whipping Cream (3/4 cup)
  • Parmesan Cheese, finely shredded (1/2 cup, plus some for sprinkling)
  • Artichoke Hearts (1 can quartered)
  • Frozen chopped Spinach (1 box, thawed)
  • Thyme (dried, about 1 Tbsp)
  • Pepper (to taste)

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Start off by gathering your ingredients and ensuring that your frozen spinach is properly thawed. You’ll also want to press it onto a plate with paper towels to soak up excess water or you’ll end up adding the water to your sauce later. If you don’t want to deal with the frozen spinach, feel free to use fresh. I’m sure it would be delicious!

Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients, get the water ready to boil your pasta so that it will be ready when you need it. Once it’s boiling, go ahead and prepare your pasta Continue reading