Friday, March 9, 2012

Creamy Chick'n Pockets

2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 bag of Quorn Chick'n Tenders, thawed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
3 oz Tofutti brand dairy-free cream cheese
1/4 tsp Mrs. Dash table blend seasoning
2 Tbsp soy milk
1 package Simply Pillsbury bread dough, cut into 8 equal parts
topping: 1 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread, 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375.  Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion and garlic.  Cook ~1 minute.  Add chick'n.  Continue to cook until chick'n is slightly browned and onion is translucent.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl microwave 1 Tbsp butter and cream cheese to soften and combine.  Stir in the cooked chicken, onions, garlic.  Add seasonings and milk.  Mix well.
Cut Pillsbury dough into 8 equal circles and flatten with the palm of your hand to make thin disks.  Place a spoonfull of the chicken and sauce mixture in the middle of each disk.  Bring up the edges and pinch to close. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet.
Melt the remaining 1 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread and brush on top of each pocket.  Sprinkle with Italian bread crumbs.  Bake 11-13 minutes or until golden brown.

I served this with steamed broccoli.

Spinach Tortellini Soup

I try not to use a lot of cheese ingredients, but this was one of those occasions where I did.  You can certainly use vegan ravioli as an alternative to the tortellini (which is often available in specialty stores) or you could simply substitute the tortellini with a small, plain pasta if you are looking for a dairy free alternative.  Either way, it is sure to please!

8 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/4 tsp Italian Seasoning
1, 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with juice, low sodium
2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
1, 22 oz bag frozen tortellini (I used small ravioli because it was cheaper)
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)

In a large pot, sautee onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil until tender.  Add stock, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.  Add tortellini and spinach.  Continue boiling until pasta is done.  Garnish with red pepper flakes if desired.  Serve with warm, crusty bread.

Rigatoni and Zucchini with Basil Pesto


Pesto is so easy, and it's a great way to give variety to sandwiches, pastas, and more.  It can be made many different ways (basil, spinach, red bell pepper, etc.) and all are so simple and delicious.  This is another version of the basil type of pesto that my whole family enjoyed.

1/2 box of Rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions and reserving 1/2 cup pasta water
2 medium zucchinis, diced
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
2/3 cup basil pesto (ingredients below)
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (for a cheaper option, I chose to use sunflower seeds instead - plus this is a great alternative for those with nut allergies)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water for later use.
As pasta cooks, prepare basil pesto as follows: Place all ingredients in the blender/food processor except oil. Begin blending, gradually increasing speed.  Slowly drizzle olive oil into the blender while blending until all ingredients are mixed well.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a medium/large skillet over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add zucchini and stir fry for ~5 minutes, until tender crisp.  Add 2/3 cup of the pesto sauce, cooked pasta, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water.  Stir together until well combined.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tex Mex Calzones with Avocado Salad

Tex Mex Calzone
1 lb Yives ground beef style crumbles (You could also substitute 1-2 cans of beans with this or you could use the Lentil and brown rice beef substitute)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup salsa verde (green salsa)
1 can simply Pillsbury dough (or make your own pizza-style dough)
1 cup Daiya dairy -free shredded cheddar style cheese

Preheat oven to 425.  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add beef-style crumbles (or beans if you choose) and cook ~5 minutes.  Add onion and garlic.  Continue to cook an additional 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  
Add spices and cook for 1 minute to bring out the flavors.  Add chopped pepper and cook for another 3 minutes, until beef has browned and veggies are soft.  Remove mixture from heat and stir in salsa.
Unroll dough and divide into 4 equal parts.  Press and stretch each part into a square shape.  Place 1/2 of the beef mixture in the center of the dough square and top with a sprinkling of cheese.  Fold the dough over the beef mixture and press edges with a fork to seal.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.  

Avocado Salad
1 ear of corn (or ~1 cup frozen corn)
~1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 avocado, diced
2-3 green onions, sliced
1 Tbsp lime juice

sautee corn in a skillet over medium heat in a little bit of oil until tender crisp.
Combine all ingredients into a bowl.  Gently toss to combine

A Little Bit of Everything Smoothie

Green smoothies are the best!  They take potent, green veggies and combine them with fruit to make them more tasty.  My toddler loves them...and that is saying a lot!  I usually make enough to fill a large cup and I find that he usually sucks down 3/4 of the smoothie before I even go to take a sip!  These smoothies are a great way at disguising the vegetables.  You really can't hardly taste them!  I try to use these smoothies on days where it seems that I haven't gotten a whole lot of veggies into my diet.  Give them a try!  Below is one recipe that I typically use to "clean out my frig".

1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup red grapes
1 orange, peeled and halved (I used 2 clementines for this)
2 baby carrots
1/2 peach (I used frozen)
1 cup strawberries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup broccoli
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup pineapple (I used frozen)
1 cup ice cubes (probably not needed if you use frozen fruits)

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth.  If too thick, add extra milk to thin.

Recipe taken from:

Banana, Apple, Oatmeal Smoothie

Have you ever thought of putting oats in a smoothie?  Well, it's delicious...not to mention nutritious! Oats add protein and fiber to the smoothie.  Oats have been shown to help lower cholesterol and promote cardiovascular health.  The oats also add thickness to the smoothie which makes it taste more like a meal.  You can add oats to any smoothie recipe (starting with ~1/4 to 1/2 cup).  Here is a recipe that I used this week.

1 cup dairy-free milk or water
4 oz container of soy yogurt (I used Stoneyfield Farms O'Soy peach flavored)
1/2 banana
1/4 cup quick, uncooked oats
1/2 apple, seeded
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp flax meal (to add a little extra fiber and omega 3)

Blend on high until smooth.  

This is more of a milky consistency, but I am sure you could opt for a frozen banana or ice cubes to make it a bit icy-like.  I liked it just how it was, though.  
My toddler loves smoothies and this is a great way to get good calories, protein, fiber, and fruits/veggies into his diet!

Recipe adapted from:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Taco Pasta

Taco Pasta easy dinner mexican

This was a family (and kid) favorite!

1 package of Yives brand vegan beef style crumbles
8-12 ounces small shell pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can Rotel diced tomatoes with mild green chili peppers, drained
1 packet (~4 Tbsp) taco seasoning
3 oz Tofutti brand dairy free cream cheese
1/2 cup Tofutti brand dairy free sour cream
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Prior to draining, reserve 1/2 cup of pasta liquid and set aside.
In a large skillet, brown beef style crumbles in a little bit of olive oil.  Add chopped onions and garlic.  Cook for ~2 minutes.  Add diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and let simmer over medium heat for 3-5 minutes.
Stir in cooked pasta, cream cheese, sour cream, and reserved pasta water.  Continue to stir until melted and combined.  When serving, top with cilantro.

Recipe taken from:

Risotto Primavera

I didn't get a chance to snap a pic of this one, but please try it anyway!

3.5 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (~1/2 cup)
1/4 cup shredded carrots
1 cup medium grain rice
1 cup broccoli floweretts
1 cup frozen sweet peas
1 small zucchini, diced
2 Tbsp dairy free Parmesan cheese

In a 2 qt saucepan, heat broth over medium heat
Meanwhile, in a 3 qt saucepan, heat oil over medium-high  heat.  Add onion and carrots.  Cook, stirring frequently until crisp-tender
Stir in rice.  Cook, stirring frequently, until rice begins to brown.
Reduce heat to medium.  Pour 1/2 cup of the hot broth over rice mixture.  Cook uncovered, stirring frequently until broth is absorbed.  Continue cooking 15-20 minutes, adding broth  1/2 cup at a time and stirring frequently, until rice is almost tender and mixture is creamy.  Add broccoli, peas and zucchini with last addition of broth.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Recipe adapted from: Betty Crocker Easy Everyday Vegetarian