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

Open-Faced Zucchini & Red Pepper Melts

DSC01883.JPGOn this warm spring day I really wanted something that felt light for dinner, but needed it to be heavy enough to satisfy my husband after a long day’s work. This savory Open-Faced Zucchini and Red Pepper Melts recipe is perfect! It feels light but is as filling as any other dinner meal! It’s easy to make, but takes a little extra time, so plan ahead.

What you’ll need for this recipe:

  • 1 Loaf Ciabatta Bread
  • 2 Medium ZucchiniCookie Sheet Ad
  • 1 Large Red Pepper
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tsp. Basil
  • 1-2 tsp. Oregano
  • 1 tsp. Pepper

Here’s how you make these delectable melts…

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the zucchini and pepper. Then slice the zucchini into uniform slices, about 1/4 inch thick. 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

Better Than Panera…Hearty Quinoa Broth Bowls

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I am a Panera Bread junkie! I love their selection and can always justify getting myself a danish for dessert! That alone makes it well worth the trip to the restaurant. Sometime recently they’ve added an awesome Quinoa Broth Bowl to their menu and I can’t get enough! But, at around $8.00 a pop, I certainly can’t go there everyday. Plus, I’m always a little unsure if things like that are truly vegetarian, or if they have a chicken or beef base. They tell me it doesn’t, but you never know.

Quinoa ad.png     Lentil ad     Olive oil ad     Ramekin ad

Anyway, shortly after trying the dish for the first time I began searching online for a good copycat recipe. I found a few but I am a “little of this, little of that” kind of cook and I’ve created a new and improved version of the bowl that is a little more hearty and makes a great dinner! It’s a quick and easy vegan dish (unless you add the egg, in which case it’s vegetarian) that my husband the meat-eater loves (check out my post on vegetarian cooking for the meat eater here)!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fresh Baby Spinach (enough for about 2 cups)
  • Kale (enough for about 2 cups chopped)
  • Lentils (1 1/2 cups dried…becomes about 3 cups cooked)
  • Quinoa (3/4 cup uncooked)
  • Sun-dried tomatoes (1/4-1/2 cup chopped)
  • Olive oil (2-3 Tbsp.)
  • Vegetable Broth (2 cartons)
  • Onion (1 chopped)
  • Garlic (1-2 cloves minced)
  • Bay leaves, dried (2 Tbsp.)
  • Hard-boiled eggs (optional, 1-2 per person)
  • French Baguette

 

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Now that you’ve got your ingredients together, it’s time to get started! Make sure that you’ve pre-cooked your lentils and this will go very quickly!

If you’re adding hard-boiled eggs to your dish, you’ll want to get those started before you jump into making your main dish.

Start by heating your olive oil in a large saucepan and dumping in your onions. You’ll want Continue reading