Monday, February 27, 2012

Butternut Squash and Spinach Pasta Sauce

Yummy!  This was good.  Butternut squash is a nutrition powerhouse, containing some of the highest amounts of Potassium and Vitamin A.  Potassium can aid in cardiovascular health (reducing blood pressure) and vitamin A is a powerful anti-oxidant that can help prevent some forms of cancer.  Butternut squash has a rich, creamy texture with a slightly sweet taste which makes it ideal for sauces on pasta and risotto.  This recipe is one that the whole family will love (my toddler scarfed it down) and what's even better is that you will be providing healthy nutrition to the ones you love.

This sauce is very versatile!  You could put on top of rice to make a risotto-like dish.  You could place on top of pasta and serve immediately, or you could make a baked pasta (as I did).  Options are endless!

Note: I find butternut squash fairly labor intense to de-seed and cut up.  The thick, hard shell can be difficult to separate from the flesh.  I find that it saves me time to purchase the frozen, pre-cut squash found in the organic section of the grocery.  My grocery also sells pre-cut squash in the produce section as well.  I wait for it to go on sale and then freeze it for later use.

~8 oz rogatoni pasta
1 butternut squash (de-seeded, cut up, boiled, pureed)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/4 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup dairy free milk (NOT the lite version)
1 cup spinach, chopped
1 roma tomato, diced
1 cup dairy free parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp pepper

In a large skillet, saute garlic, mushrooms, onions, and bell pepper in the butter over medium heat until just tender.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until flavors combined.  
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Place pasta in a casserole dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Cover with sauce.  Top with additional Daiya dairy free mozzarella style cheese, if desired.  Place in oven at 350 for 20-30 min.

Bean and Rice Casserole

1.5 cups cooked brown rice
1.5 cups black beans (or bean of your choice), drained and rinsed
0.75 cup Daiya dairy free cheddar style cheese (optional)
~1 - 1.25 cup Tofutti soy sour cream
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 celery stalk, sliced
~1/2 cup shredded carrots (sliced carrots would work fine here, too)
1/2 cup peas, frozen
1/2 cup corn, frozen
1 cup dairy free milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley 
1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 cup Daya dairy free shredded cheddar style cheese (optional)
2 Tbsp Earth Balance butter spread, melted
1/3 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly saute onions, celery, and carrots in a small skillet with a little bit of olive oil until tender.  
In a 2 quart casserole dish, stir together rice, beans, 3/4 cup cheese (optional), sour cream, vegetables, milk, and seasonings.  Spread the mix evenly in the dish.
Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over the dish (optional).  In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs and melted butter.  Sprinkle this mixture evenly over the top of the casserole.  
Bake for 30-45 min or until top is slightly crispy and golden brown.

Artichoke Muffaleta Sandwich

This recipe is definitely a keeper!  It is so tasty, and even better, it is a quick recipe for busy nights with a hungry family waiting for dinner.  I will definitely be using the recipe A LOT!

1 tsp spicy brown mustard
1 loaf of whole grain artisan bread (I used a whole wheat french bread loaf)
8 oz artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed, sliced
~1 cup cherry tomatoes sliced in half 
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
Daiya dairy free mozzarella style cheese
1/2 cup pesto sauce (ingredients below)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dairy free parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp Earth's Balance butter spread
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

To make pesto sauce:
  • in a blender or food processor place all of the pesto ingredients except oil and begin to blend.  Slowly pour olive oil while mixture is blending.  Continue to mix until well blended.
To make muffaleta sandwich:
  • Combine 1/2 cup pesto sauce with the spicy mustard and mix together.  
  • Cut bread in half, lengthwise.  Scrape out the inner portion of the top half of the bread leaving a hollow shell. 
  • Spread the pesto mixture on the top and bottom half of the bread.
  • On the bottom half, layer with artichokes, tomato, spinach and cheese.  Place the top on and put on a baking sheet and place in the oven at 350 for ~5-10 minutes, until sandwich is warm and cheese is melted.
  • Cut into slices and serve.

Bruschetta Chick-Pea Quesadilla/Panini

I adapted this recipe from one that used chicken.  I, instead, used a bit of chick'n alternative and also some chick-peas to re-create a similar, healthy dish.  This picture does not incorporate the changes I made, but it came out looking very similar and tasted REALLY good!  The only change that I would make would be to add a bit of italian dressing to add a little extra kick.

1/2 of a 12oz bag of Quorn Chick'n tenders or other chicken alternative (optional, as you could just use chickpeas instead)
1/2 of a 15oz can of chickpeas (drained, rinsed)
1/2 carton of cherry tomatoes
handfull of fresh basil leaves, sliced into small pieces
balsamic vinegar
garlic powder
onion powder
italian dressing
Daiya dairy free mozzarella cheese (optional)

In a medium skillet, pour 1 tsp olive oil and cook the thawed chick'n breast over medium/high heat.  Sprinkle chicken with pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Cook for 3-5 minutes until lightly browned, stirring occasionally to cook all sides of chicken.  
Slice ~1/2 container of cherry tomatoes in half.  Place them in with the chick'n.  Add 1/2 can of chick peas (drained and rinsed), and fresh basil.  Sprinkle mixture with a bit more pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.  Add a splash of balsamic vinegar (the addition of Italian dressing would also work here).  Let cook for a few more minutes until the tomatoes start to break down to form a light "sauce".
Add mixture to a tortilla sprinkle with Daiya cheese and cook on a panini press or skillet until tortilla is lightly browned.  Instead of a tortilla, you could make a panini using a flatbread or thinly sliced whole grain bread.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Forks Over Knives - Super Bowl Recipe Makeover!

               nachos 182x300 Recipes for Super Bowl XLVI                  hummus 300x182 Recipes for Super Bowl XLVI
Visit this link for Super Bowl recipe makeovers - Enjoy!

Pizza Snack Cups

1 tube of Simply Pillsbury french bread dough, cut into 10 equal sections
1/2 package Yves ground beef-style crumbles
8 ounces pizza sauce, preferably low sodium
2 ounces Daiya dairy free shredded mozzarella-style cheese


  • Preheat oven to 375.  Spay a muffin pan with cooking spray.  
  • Cut Pillsbury dough into 10 equal sections.  Take each section and press between the palms of your hand to flatten into a circle.  Place this circle on the bottom and up the sides of each muffin cup, making a well in the center.
  • Combine Yves crumbles and pizza sauce.  Place spoonfulls of sauce mixture into the center of each dough lined muffin cup.  
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven, sprinkle with Daiya cheese and return to oven for 5 more minutes.
    • These are great for meals/snacks on the go.  They are also the perfect size for little toddler hands!

Breakfast Cookies

2 cups Wheat Flakes (I used Total cereal)
0.5 cup whole wheat flour
0.25 cup wheat germ
0.5 cup brown sugar
0.75 cup soy yogurt
0.25 cup cooking oil
1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water)
0.5 tsp salt
0.5 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries


  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Place wheat flakes in a plastic bag and crush by rolling a rolling pin over them.
  • In a bowl, mix yogurt, flax egg, oil, and vanilla.  Add crushed wheat flakes, flour, sugar, wheat germ, salt, and baking soda.  Mix well
  • Fold cranberries into batter mixture. 
  • Place spoonfuls of batter onto a cookie sheet and bake for ~10 minutes.  Optional: sprinkle tops of cookies with cinnamon and sugar prior to baking.

Teriyaki Honey Chicken

1 package of Quorn brand Chick'n Tenders (or other vegetarian chicken substitute)
0.5 cup honey
0.5 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
0.25 cup water
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp minced garlic


  • In a bowl, combine marinade ingredients.  Place chick'n in a ziploc bag and pour marinade inside.  Seal bag and let marinade in refrigerator for 8 hours
  • Remove from marinade.  Place chicken and marinade in a baking dish (coated with non-stick spray) and cover with foil.  Bake at 350 for 20-30 min.  Uncover and return to oven for another 20-30 min.
  • Serve over top brown rice with roasted asparagus and honey glazed cooked carrots on the side.  Yummy!

Buffalo Chick-Pea French Bread Pizzas

DELICIOUS!!  I didn't take a picture of my creation, however this is a picture taken from one of the recipes that I adapted.  You could also do this on a bagel (as shown above) rather than a ciabatta bread loaf.  Looks good either way!

1 loaf of ciabatta bread, cut in half length wise
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
1/4 cup buffalo sauce
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 red onion, diced


  • Heat oven to 400.  Place ciabatta bread, cut side up, in oven for 5-7 minutes to toast.  Remove from oven.
  • Mix ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, and buffalo sauce together and spread amount to your liking on ciabatta bread.  Top with chickpeas, spinach, red onion and cheese.
  • Return to oven for 10 minutes.  Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from: and

Easy Pleasing Meatloaf with Cheezie Potatoes


1 package Yves vegan beef-style crumbles
2 cups Lentil Rice Ground Beef Substitute (or you can use another package of the Yves crumbles here)
6 oz. stuffing mix (I use the Pepperage Farm brand, as it contains no animal products)
1 cup water
2 flax eggs (1 Tbsp flax meal + 3 Tbsp water)
1/2 cup Barbecue sauce, divided (Sweet Baby Ray's original brand is the BEST)


  • Heat oven to 375.  Mix meat, stuffing mix, water, flax eggs, and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce together until blended.  
  • Place in a loaf pan and top with remaining BBQ sauce.  Bake for 1 hour.

Recipe adapted from:

Cheezie Potatoes

5 medium white potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp salt, divided
1 cup non-dairy milk

Cheezie Sauce:
1.75 cups water
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup roasted red pepper or pimentos
1/6 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/8 cup lemon juice
1.5 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp garlic powder


  • Preheat oven to 350.  Coat a 9 x 13-inch dish with cooking spray.
  • To make Cheezie sauce: 
    • Place all ingredients into blender and blend on high until very smooth.  Set aside for later use.
  • Layer half of the potatoes along the bottom of the prepared dish, top with 3/4 of the onion.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Mix Cheezie sauce and milk together in a medium bowl.  Pour half of the Cheeze mixture over the potatoes and onions. 
  • Top with another layer of potatoes, onions, and Cheeze; sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.
  • Cover with aluminium foil.  Bake 1 hr 15 min.  Uncover and bake 15 min until the top is golden brown.
    • Makes 16 servings

Recipe taken from: Give Them Something Better by Sarah Frain and Stephanie Howard

Lentil Rice Ground Beef Substitute

So, I typically try to limit my use of soy-meat products to a maximum of once per week.  These products are processed and high in sodium which makes me feel that they are not the most healthy option to be using all of the time.  Plus, they are expensive!  Here is a recipe that you can use for a ground beef substitute instead of using the packaged "fake meats".  It is naturally high in fiber and low in sodium.  And best of's cheap!  The lentils and rice pack a nutrition punch making it a healthy substitution to ground beef in recipes.
I find that this mixture does better when combined with some "fake meat".  It retains a better "meat-like" texture that way.  But, I still feel good using it because it is cutting the use of the processed "fake meat" in half and also adding good nutrition through the lentils and rice.
One recipe makes a lot!  I divided it up into 2 cup portions (equivalent to ~1 lb ground beef) and placed into freezer bags for later use.

2 cups brown rice
2 cups green lentils
2 Tbsp Montreal steak seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1 cup rolled oats

Boil rice, lentils, and steak seasoning until mostly soft.  Drain any excess water if necessary. Combine with remaining ingredients.  Spread into a 13 x 9-inch pan and bake at 300 for 1 hr, stirring every 20 minutes to evenly dehydrate the mixture.

Recipe taken from: