Friday, April 27, 2012

Pizza Puffs for Kids

These are great for children!  My toddler loves them...their size makes them great for little hands and mouths.  This is also a wonderful recipe to have your children help you make.  Measuring and stirring the ingredients can be wonderful for educational and developmental learning!  Best of all, kids love helping mom out in the kitchen with these tasty treats on the menu for sampling!

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup soy milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or dairy-free cheese alternative
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup olives
1/2 cup marinara sauce for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 24-cup mini-muffin pan with non-stick spray.

Blanche the broccoli and chop into small pieces, set aside.  Chop olives, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder.  Whisk in the milk and egg.  Stir in mozzarella cheese, broccoli and olives.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

Stir the batter and divide among the mini-muffin cups.  Bake until puffed and golden, 20-25 minutes.  

Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

These can be frozen for later use, too.

Pesto Grilled Cheese

2 pieces whole wheat/whole grain bread (ideally 2+ grams fiber per slice)
1 slice of provolone or muenster cheese, sliced in half
2 slices of tomato
mushrooms, chopped
~1 Tbsp Pesto
~1 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread

Place butter in skillet over medium heat.  

Assemble sandwich by spreading pesto sauce on both pieces of bread.  Place 1/2 cheese slice on each slice of bread.  Place sliced tomatoes and mushrooms in the middle.

Once butter is melted in skillet, place assembled sandwich in the skillet and cook for ~2-3 minutes on each side until butter has browned the bread and melted the cheese.

Enjoy paired with cut raw veggies and dip.

Zucchini Crescent Pie

1 container Pillsbury Crescent Rolls
2 cups Zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
2 tsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
4 oz Daiya dairy-free cheese
3/4 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 roma tomatoes, sliced

Separate crescent dough into triangles, place on a greased 9-inch pie plate with points toward the center.  Press onto the bottom and up the sides to for a crust.   Seal seams and perforations.  Bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute zucchini and onion in butter until tender.  Stir in seasonings.  Spoon into crust.
Combine eggs, cheese, and chickpeas.  Pour over zucchini mixture.  Top with tomato slices.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with a fresh garden salad.

Recipe adapted from:

Italian Grinder Sandwich

These are quick and easy and my family always loves them!

Red, yellow, orange, green bell peppers, cut into slices
Mushrooms, chopped
Onion, chopped
Green olives
Banana Peppers
Tomato, sliced
Lettuce, shredded
Italian dressing
Provolone cheese slices
Whole wheat hamburger buns or sub buns.

Heat skillet over medium-high heat.  Spray with a little bit of cooking spray.  Add all veggies except tomato and lettuce and saute for a few minutes.  

Add 1-2 Tbsp Italian Dressing and turn heat down to medium.  Let cook for 1-2 minutes.  

Scoop veggies into a small pile in the skillet.  Place 1 piece of provolone cheese on top of the pile of veggies.  Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted. 

Meanwhile, assemble sandwich by placing sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce on top.  Scoop veggies with melted cheese into the sandwich.  Enjoy with a fresh garden salad or sweet potato fries.

Homemade Pop Tarts


I tried this recipe for a quick breakfast or snack item for my son to pair with his fruit/veggie smoothie.  Turns out mom and dad like them too :)  I opted to not use the glaze to try to cut back on extra sugar and I found that they were very tasty this way.  This less-processed tart is another option to try when your child is begging for the standard pop-tart.  I chose to use refrigerated pie crusts to save time, but you could certainly make your own wheat pie crust dough if you prefer.

1 box refrigerated pie crusts (or make your own)
1 cup +/- natural, all-fruit jam (try to opt for one with less sugar)

Glaze (optional)
1.25 cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp dairy-free milk

Using a pizza cutter, trip the edges of the pie dough to make a square/rectangle.  Using the pizza cutter, divide each rectangle into 4 squares.  Place and spread ~1 Tbsp of jam onto each square in the middle.  Fold over the dough and seal edges with a fork.

With the extra dough that you trimmed off of the circle pie crust at the beginning, roll into a ball and roll out with a rolling pin to make 2 additional pop-tart squares.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  If you wish to use glaze, allow time for pop-tarts to cool and prepare glaze by mixing in milk until desired consistency.  Spread on top of pop-tarts and allow to cool.

Crescent Dogs

Crescent Dogs Recipe this probably isn't the most inventive or healthiest meal ever but sometimes you just get the urge to have a typical all-american meal...veggie style of course!  

1 can of Pillsbury crescent rolls
1 package of vegetarian hot dogs, thawed 
Ketchup and mustard for dipping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Separate crescent roll dough into triangles.  Wrap each triangle around each hot dog.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

I served with baked beans, corn on the cob, and a fresh garden salad.  YUMMY!

Southwest Chick'n and Rice Bake

Nonstick cooking spray
1 bag Quorn Chick'n tenders (optional)
1 jar (16 oz) mild picante sauce
2 cans (10 oz each) red enchilada sauce
1 can (11 oz) corn and pepper mix
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1.5 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
Tofutti dairy-free sour cream, avocado, shredded lettuce, cilantro for toppings
Flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Combine all ingredients except toppings and tortillas in a large bowl.  

Spread mixture evenly into a 9x13-inch baking dish.  

Bake for 20 minutes until heated through and rice is cooked. (I had to cook a little bit longer because I used brown rice).

Serve with toppings on a plate or place mixture into a flour tortilla and top with toppings.  It's good both ways!

Recipe adapted from: Kroger

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds + 3 Tbsp water
1 jalapeno
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato sauce
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tsp cumin
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup corn (fresh or frozen and thawed)
avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, ranch dressing for topping.
Whole wheat hamburger buns
olive oil

Seed and finely chop the jalapeno.  Add it, the garlic, and one can of the beans (drained and rinsed) to a blender or food processor.  Pulse to combine.  Add cumin and salt.  Continue to blend until mixture resembles a slightly chunky black bean dip.  

In a small bowl, mix together the ground flax and water.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Transfer the black bean mix from the blender to a large bowl.  Stir in bread crumbs, tomato sauce, flax and water mix, and corn.  Stir well until everything is combined.  Add remaining black beans.  

Heat a little olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat.  Scoop up ~1/2 cup of black bean mixture and form into patties.  Fry for about 4 minutes on each side.  

Serve black bean burger on a whole wheat bun topped with avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a little bit of ranch dressing.

I'm not sure where this recipe came from, but it is delicious...someone deserves a round of applause for thinking it up!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ranch Chick'n Sandwich

On the few occasions that I fix "fake meat" for my family, I turn to Quorn products when I am trying to imitate chicken in my meal.  This brand is definietely superior in the fact that it tastes exactly like chicken!  I tried this recipe because I was craving a juicy chick'n style sandwich.  The whole family enjoyed it!

1 box Quorn Chick'n Cutlets (4 cutlets/box)
1/4 cup ranch dressing
2 Tbsp BBQ sauce
1/3 cup italian panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil
whole wheat hamburger bun
2 Tbsp Vegenaise (dairy and egg free mayo)
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chopped parsley
spicy brown mustard

Mix ranch dressing and BBQ sauce together and place in a shallow dish.  Place breadcrumbs in another shallow dish.  Dip each chick'n cutlet in ranch and then in the breadcrumbs, making sure that  it is well coated.
Place oil in a skillet and heat over medium heat.  Once oil is hot, place breaded chick'n in the skillet and cook for ~3-5 minutes or until browned.  Flip and cook the other side for another ~3-5 minutes.
Mix vegenaise, garlic, and parsley together.  Spread mixture on one side of the hamburger bun.  Spread mustard on the other side of the bun.  Fill hamburger bun with chick'n, lettuce, tomato, and onion.  Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:

Vegetarian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1 head of green cabbage
Red bell pepper, diced
Yellow bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1, 15 ounce can of beans of your choice, rinsed and drained (I used black beans)
1, 15 oz can tomato sauce, preferably low sodium
2 Tbsp lemon juice

For the filling, cook rice according to package directions.  Saute onion, peppers, and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through.  Add beans, stir until heated through.  Add cooked rice and stir until heated through.  
For the cabbage, peel away leaves as much as possible.  Heat a large pot of water to a boil.  Place cabbage leaves in the boiling water for a short time (probably only 2-3 minutes) just to get the leaves tender and pliable, not wilted.  Fill each cabbage leaf with ~1/2 cup of the bean and rice mixture.  Roll and place seam side down in a 13x9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  
For the sauce, mix the tomato sauce and lemon juice together.  Pour over the top of each cabbage roll and cover dish with aluminum foil.  Bake at 350 degrees for ~40-45 minutes.

Thai Peanut Noodles

2 Tbsp olive oil 
3/4 box of linguine noodles
1 cup frozen peas, thawed (or you can use snow peas if you prefer)
1 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup baby carrots, sliced
1/2 bag of Quorn Chick'n Tenders (optional)
1 cup water
4 Tbsp lime juice
6 Tbsp creamy peanut butter 
1 Tbsp Sriracha chili sauce (more or less depending on your heat preference)
3 Tbsp honey
4 Tbsp soy sauce, low sodium (or Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
3 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 cup peanuts
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

In a large skillet, saute chick'n and veggies in oil.  Cook linguine according to package directions.  Make the peanut sauce by whisking together all sauce ingredients in a bowl.  Add drained noodles to the skillet with the chick'n and veggies.  Mix the sauce with the noodle mixture.  Cook for ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Top with peanuts and cilantro.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Piada Wrap

This is another recipe inspired by a recent restaurant visit.  This time, the restaurant was Piada in Columbus, Ohio.  The restaurant kind of reminds me of an Italian Chipotle.  You have a very thin, almost tortilla like, bread that is filled with angel hair pasta and your selection of veggies and topped with some sauce of your choosing.  I have to admit that when I first heard of it I couldn't quite picture that it would be so tasty.  But it is so good!  Being almost 45 minutes away from the nearest Piada, I had to try to figure out how to get my fix at home.  Here is what I came up with - it was great!

1 package of La Tortilla Factory Smart & Delicious Soft Wrap Tomato Basil flavor
(or you can make your own authentic Italian piada bread by following this link:, using olive oil instead of lard, of course)
1/2 box of angel hair pasta
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup dairy free Parmesan cheese topping
A few handfulls of each of the following:
    artichoke hearts, chopped
    black olives, sliced
    cucumbers, diced
    zucchini, diced
    mushrooms, chopped
    red onion, diced
    red bell pepper, diced
    white kidney beans, canned, drained and rinsed
Boil pasta according to package directions.  Heat butter in skillet over medium heat and add garlic - cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add cooked pasta to skillet and stir in cheese, basil, and parsley.  Toss to coat and cook for 1-2 minutes.

Decide whether you prefer a cold sandwich or a hot sandwich.  If you want a cold sandwich, leave the veggie toppings raw.  If you want a hot sandwich, take the veggies and lightly saute them in a skillet with a touch of olive oil over medium heat until just warmed and tender-crisp.
Top with store bought or homemade pesto sauce or opt for a roasted red bell pepper pesto (I used the roasted red pepper pesto recipe this time and it accompanied the piada wrap well.)

Warm the tortilla and place a heap of the herbed angel hair pasta in the middle.  Top with veggie toppings.  Finally place a bit of the pesto sauce of your choice.  Wrap it up and enjoy with a side of steamed broccoli for a complete meal.

Pesto recipes taken from: and

Turkish Turlu with Rice

I went to a Turkish restaurant and had this dish.  It was SO good (not to mention so healthy) that I had to try to re-create it at home.  It was such an easy, hearty meal for the whole family!  I will definitely be making this many more times.

1.5 lbs zucchini, cut into large, bite size pieces
1 lb asian eggplants, cut into large, bite size pieces (I omitted because I don't especially like eggplant)
3 large carrots, cut into large, bite size pieces
2 green or red bell peppers, cut into large, bite size pieces
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (3/4 lb), peeled and diced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 red onion, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground coriander
2 cups canned tomato sauce, low sodium
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
season with dried Dill if desired
White or brown rice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a large bowl, toss eggplant, carrots, bell peppers, potatoes, onions, olive oil, garlic, allspice and coriander. Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Transfer to a large cookie sheet with raised edges or roasting pan.  Roast in oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to ensure even cooking.  Meanwhile, toss zucchini in a bit of olive oil to lightly coat.  After the vegetables in the oven have roasted for 45 minutes, add the zucchini to the roasting pan and cook for another 15 minutes.  Stir in tomato sauce and chickpeas and cook for an additional 10 minutes to blend flavors.  Remove from oven.  Stir in parsley and cilantro.  Serve atop rice and garnish with a sprinkling of dill.  Serve alongside hummus and pita bread for an authentic middle eastern meal!

Recipe taken from:

Monday, April 2, 2012

Northstar Burger


I have had many veggie burgers in my life...but this one is EXCELLENT...and probably one of my all time favorites!  It is a staple in our household, especially as warm weather arrives, seeming to beckon my taste buds to crave a nice, big burger.   It is a copy-cat recipe inspired from the famous Northstar Burger at Northstar Cafe in Columbus.  Don't let the ingredients frighten you.  The beets are such an amazing source of nutrition and they add a mildly sweet flavor to this burger.  Seeing that it is packed with wonderfully nutritious beans, grains, and vegetables it is truly a burger to LIVE for...not to die for ;)  This burger is an excellent way to sneak some health veggies into your family's meal without them even noticing it.

3/4 - 1 cup cooked brown rice 
1 onion, diced small
3 large red beets (about 1 lb)
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
whole wheat buns
burger toppings (lettuce, tomato, onion, etc)
spicy brown mustard

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Wash beets and cut off stems.  Place beets in aluminum foil, lightly spraying with oil prior to sealing the foil pouch closed.  Place foil pouch on cookie sheet and roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.  Peel skins from beets (the skins should come off very easily at this point).  Slice the beets.
Meanwhile, place onion and garlic in skillet with a bit of oil.  Heat over medium-high heat until onions are tender and garlic is fragrant.  
Place black beans and sliced beets into a large bowl.  Mash together with a potato masher.  Add rice, cooked onion and garlic mixture, lemon juice, olive oil, and all the spices.  Mix together.  Add flour and continue to mix until you see no more dry flour.  
Heat a large skillet over high heat.  Add a few Tbsp of olive oil.  Using your hands, scoop out about a cup of the burger mixture and shape into a patty using your palms.  Set it in the pan, where it should immediately begin to sizzle (if it doesn't sizzle, then wait a minute or two before cooking any more to allow the pan to heat the oil).  Add as many patties as the pan will allow.  Once all patties have been added, reduce heat just a touch and cook for ~2 minutes and then flip.  You should see a nice crust on the cooked side.  Cook the other side for an additional 2 minutes.  Burgers are fragile, but just reshape with spatula if needed.

Serve burgers atop whole wheat buns with spicy brown mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.  We had these with sweet potato fries, which was a hit for my toddler.  Enjoy!

Risotto with Pesto and Peas

Picture of Risotto With Pesto and Peas Recipe
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3/4 cup pesto (store bought or home made)
1 cup Daiya non-dairy shredded mozzarella style cheese
1/4 cup non-dairy Parmesan style cheese

Bring 6 cups water and 1 tsp salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add sliced leeks and cook until tender, 3-4 minutes.  Remove leeks with a slotted spoon and place into a bowl for later use.  Adjust heat to keep broth at a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add 2 cups of the hot leek broth to the rice.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 6 minutes.  Continue to regularly adjust heat to keep risotto at a gentle simmer.  Add 1 more cup of broth and continue to cook and stir until almost absorbed, about 5 more minutes.  Add leeks, peas, and 1 more cup of broth and cook until almost absorbed, about 5 minutes.  Taste the rice.  If it is not fully cooked, continue to add a little more broth and stir until absorbed and rice is done.
Stir in remaining 1 Tbsp butter.  Remove from heat.  Stir in pesto and cheeses.  
I served this with steamed broccoli and garlic toast to make a meal.  Delicious!

BBQ chick'n pizza

Picture of Almost-Famous Barbecue Chicken Pizza Recipe

For the crust: 
2.5-3 cups all purpose flour (you could also do 1.5 cups white flour and 1 cup wheat flour.  I plan to try that next time)
2 Tbsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp rapid rising yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup very warm water
2 Tbsp oil
       This recipe makes 2, large thin crust pizzas

For the toppings:
When I make a pizza I just try to clean out my frig!  I put as many toppings as possible that seem to go together. I try to make sure there are several servings of veggies on it.  Basically, it should be like a salad on top of the pizza!  This is how I get my son to eat his veggies...and his Daddy, too ;)

For this pizza, I topped with:
Quorn brand chick'n tenders, ~1.5 cups chopped into small pieces (you could also substitute black beans instead of the chick'n)
~1/4 cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (It's the best!)
red onion, diced
tomato, diced
spinach, coarsely cut
parsley, chopped
cilantro, chopped

To prepare crust, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in a large bowl.  Gradually add water and oil to the mix.  Mix with a mixer at low speed until moistened, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the remaining 1.5-2 cups of flour and mix by hand until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
On a floured surface, knead in ~1/4 cup of flour until dough is smooth and elastic.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for about 15 min.  Then, press dough out onto 2, 12-inch pizza pans.  Prick randomly with a fork.  Let rest for an additional 10-15 min.   Brush crust lightly with olive oil.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Spread a thin layer of BBQ sauce onto the crust.  Place chopped chick'n in a cup and coat lightly with BBQ sauce.  Once coated, spread evenly onto pizza crust.  Top with remaining ingredients.  Finally sprinkle a little cheese on top of the pizza.  Place in oven and bake for ~10 minutes or until crust is golden and center is done.

Recipe adapted from: