Thursday, May 30, 2013

No Boil Easy Manicotti

This recipe took the pain out of filling floppy manicotti noodles by not boiling them ahead of time and using a ziploc bag to squirt the filling into the shells.

Filling Ingredients (Place inside a gallon size freezer bag):
2 1/2 cups cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

1 package of Manicotti
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese
32 oz jar of marinara sauce (low sodium)
cooking spray

Combine filling ingredients in a gallon freezer bag and knead until thoroughly mixed.
Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread with a thin layer of marinara sauce to coat the bottom of the pan.
Clip a small corner, about 1/2", of the bag and proceed to fill manicotti and place in baking dish.
Pour remaining sauce over the top of the manicotti and cover with aluminum foil.  
Bake at 375 for 1 hour, until shells are tender.  Remove foil and top manicotti lightly with shredded cheese.  Return to oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Serve with a tossed green salad or steamed veggie and garlic bread for a complete meal.

Veggie Pot Pie Cupcakes

1 cup frozen mixed veggies (I used frozen green beans, carrots, corn, and peas but I think it would be better with fresh carrots and green beans next time)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese or Daiya dairy-free cheese
1/2 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 can of Pillsbury Grands biscuits

Homemade Cream of Mushroom soup (filling):
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 small onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
1/4 cup flour
1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer (you can also use plain, unsweetened soymilk)
3/4 cup broth (you can use veggie broth or make "chick'n broth" from McKay's Chicken Style Seasoning)

**I chose to make my own Cream of Mushroom soup, as this is a much healthier option than the canned variety which is loaded with sodium, fat/cholesterol, and ingredients I prefer not to use**

For the Cream of Mushroom Soup:
Saute garlic, onion, and mushrooms and set aside.  Melt butter over medium heat.  Whisk in flour.  Cook for ~2 minutes.  Add milk/cream and broth.  Add sauteed garlic, onion, and mushrooms.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, stirring regularly, until it reaches desired consistency (about 10-15 min).  Set soup aside for later use.

For the Pot Pie:
Preheat oven to 400.  In a large bowl, combine Cream of Mushroom soup, veggies, cheese, and herbs.  Lightly grease a muffin tin with Earth Balance buttery spread and place the Pillsbury biscuits into each cup, pressing into the bottom and up the sides.  Evenly spoon the pot pie mixture into each cup.  Slide into the oven and bake until golden brown and bubbly, checking after 10 minutes.

Baked Spaghetti

Such a quick and easy meal.  I basically made this recipe up as I went along, adding extra ingredients here and there to get some more veggies in.  Turned out pretty good and so simple.  Taking the extra step to bake the spaghetti took it from "just another spaghetti night" to something a bit more special.  I served this with a tossed green salad and garlic bread for a complete meal.

8 -10 oz angle hair pasta
32 oz spaghetti sauce (low sodium)
1 small onion, diced
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
Any other veggies that you might want to add (zucchini would be good, too).
Handfull of fresh parsley, chopped
Generous shakes of dried basil and oregano
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or Daiya brand dairy-free cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook onion, green peppers, and garlic in a bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for ~3-5 minutes.  Add mushrooms and any other veggies you are using.  Cook until veggies are soft and tender, about another ~2-3 minutes.  Add spaghetti sauce, spaghetti, and herbs.  Stir together until well mixed.  
Place in a 9x13 inch baking dish, coated with non-stick spray.  Top with shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

These were delicious! We didn't have enough skewers to put all the veggies into "kebob form" so we grilled the rest of the marinated veggies in a foil packet and that turned out delicious too!  I served the veggies over a bed of brown rice with a side of grilled corn on the cob.  A perfect summer meal!

2 medium red potatoes
1 cup extra-firm tofu chunks
1 cup red, yellow, or green bell pepper chunks (I used a variety)
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 cup red onion chunks
1 cup white button mushrooms
1/2 cup zucchini chunks
1/2 cup yellow squash chunks
1 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon or lime juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Cut potatoes into cubes (with the skin on) and place in boiling water.  Cook until fork tender.  Drain and set aside. 
Whisk all marinade ingredients together until well incorporated. 
Place the potatoes and the vegetables in a shallow dish or container (I used a gallon ziploc bag).  Pour marinade over vegetables.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat outdoor grill to medium heat.
Remove vegetables from marinade, reserving the extra marinade.  Thread vegetables onto skewers, alternating colors.  Cook skewers on grill until vegetables are slightly charred all over, about 10 minutes, basting with reserved marinade and turning occasionally.  

**Note: I placed some of the veggies on skewers and kept some of the veggies loose in a foil packet on the grill.  Both ways turned out great.  I also did not include the pineapple in the marinade.  I simply put the fresh pineapple on the skewers unmarinated.**

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Granola Parfait with Fruit and Yogurt

5 cups rolled oats
2 1/2 cups nuts (I used chopped pecans and walnuts)
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup sesame seeds
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Vanilla yogurt
Fresh fruit (I used strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and pineapple)

For the granola, preheat oven to 300.  In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.  In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce, honey, maple syrup, and oil.  Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well.  Spread evenly onto rimmed baking sheets in a single layer.  Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring and rotating the pans every 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven, stir to mix well.  It will crisp as it cools.  Store in an airtight container.
For the parfait: 
Place a bit of the granola in the bottom of a dish.  Top with a generous amount of yogurt.  Top with fresh fruit.  Sprinkle a little more granola on the very top.  Enjoy!

This recipe can also be made to freeze.  Follow this Link for further instructions.

Pesto, Goat Cheese, and Arugula Pizza

Goat Cheese Arugula Pizza - No Red Sauce! Recipe

1 tube of refrigerated whole wheat pizza dough
6 Tbsp prepared pesto sauce
4 oz goat cheese crumbles
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh arugula
1 Tbsp lemon juice
splash of olive oil

Roll/stretch pizza dough to desired size.  Brush lightly with pesto sauce.  Evenly top with a light sprinkling of the goat cheese and mozzarella.  Add cherry tomatoes and sprinkle with garlic.  Cook at 400 for ~10 minutes or until center is done and cheese is melted.  
In a small bowl, toss arugula in a little bit of lemon juice and olive oil.  Place this on top of the cooked pizza.  Enjoy!

Easy Black Bean Enchiladas


1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced (any color)
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 ear of corn, kernels removed (or 1 cup frozen corn)
2 tsp chili powder (or +/- based on how "spicy" your family prefers)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup monterey jack shredded cheese (optional)
2, 16 oz jars of your favorite salsa, mild
12 tortillas (flour or corn)

In a medium bowl, mix together onion, pepper, black beans, corn, spices, and 1/2 cup of cheese.  
Spray a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray.  Coat the bottom of the pan with about 1 cup of salsa.  

Scoop about 1/3 cup of the bean mixture into one of the tortillas, roll it up, and place it in the baking dish.  Repeat with remaining tortillas until pan is filled.  When pan is full, top tortillas with salsa and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.  Remove foil, top with a sprinkling of cheese and cook an additional 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. 

This recipe can also be prepared in a crockpot.  Follow this Link for how to prepare using this method.

I served these enchiladas topped with a few slices of avocado and a little dollop of Tofutti dairy free sour cream.  I also served with a chopped green salad to complete the meal.  

Vegetable Lasagna

Vegetable Lasagna

This was actually a really easy and fairly quick lasagna recipe!

8 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 large yellow summer squash, chopped
8 oz package white mushrooms, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup light ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
2 cups pasta sauce, low sodium
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onion.  Cook, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes or until tender.  Remove from heat and set aside.  
In a small bowl, combine ricotta cheese, parsley, Parmesan cheese.
Spray a 2 quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.  Place 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in the pan to coat the bottom.  Place 3-4 lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan.  Spoon half of the ricotta cheese mixture over the noodles.  Top with half of the vegetable mixture, half of the sauce, and half of the mozzarella cheese.  Layer with remaining noodles, ricotta cheese mixture, vegetable mixture, and sauce.
Bake, uncovered, at 375 for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with tomato and the remaining mozzarella cheese.  Bake 5 minutes or until heated through.

Creamy Tortellini with Kale

Le ricette

This recipe originally called for heavy cream.  Given that we know heavy cream is not good for our health, I substituted it with the coconut milk creamer.  You still get a wonderfully thick and creamy dish but with a significantly improved nutrition profile.  Now you can provide rich and tasty white sauces for your family without the guilt!

1 large package of refrigerated ricotta and spinach tortellini
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch of kale, chopped
1/2 cup prepared McKay's Chicken Style Broth
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pine nuts
Handfull of chopped sundried tomatoes, soaked in water to re-hydrate

Cook tortellini according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, saute garlic in olive oil until fragrant.  Add kale and saute for 5 minutes.  Add sundried tomatoes and chicken  broth; simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  Add coconut creamer and simmer, stirring regularly, until sauce is thickened.  
Add cooked tortellini to the skillet along with the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.  Toss with sauce and continue to cook on low until heated through.  Top with fresh parsley if desired.

Skillet Ravioli Toss

Picture of Skillet Chicken and Ravioli Recipe

1, 9oz package of small cheese ravioli (I used the kind found in the refrigerator aisle)
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
3-4 large handfulls of fresh spinach or kale, coarsly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/3 cup prepared McKay's "Chick'n" Broth
2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

Cook ravioli according to the package directions.  Drain and set aside.  
Heat olive oil in the skillet.  Add mushrooms and cook until slightly softened, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes, garlic and vinegar and cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, about 2-3 minutes.  Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes.  
Return the ravioli to the skillet.  Add broth and Parmesan cheese.  Bring to a simmer, cook stirring well until heated through.  Top with parsley.  

Santa Fe Beans and Rice

This recipe was quick, easy and made great leftovers.  You could even put the filling in a tortilla and make a burrito to change it up.

2 cups brown rice, cooked
8 oz tomato sauce, low sodium
1/2 cup mild salsa
2 Tbsp taco seasoning mix, low sodium (or make your own)
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ears of corn, kernels removed (you can also use frozen corn instead)
1 cup Tofutti Dairy Free Sour Cream
1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese, divided (or Daiya dairy-free shredded cheese)

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, tomato sauce, salsa, taco seasoning, black beans, corn, sour cream, and half of the cheese.  Pour into a 2 quart baking dish (coated with cooking spray).  Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and bake for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melted.