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Veggie Cobb Salad 2
Well, it would be vegetarian if you didn’t add ground turkey like I did. . .

This salad is highly modifiable though so you can feel free to change up the veggies based on your personal taste (especially this time of year when you probably have an abundance of veggies on hand needing to be used up).

I call it a vegetarian cobb salad because of the variety and colors of the veggies on top as well as the smoky sweet taste that is contributed by roasted bbq cauliflower that replaces the usual bacon. It is so satisfying and hearty. Filling enough for dinner yet not so sturdy that you can’t fill in cracks with a little fro yo later like I did :).

Veggie Cobb Salad 1<

Vegetarian Cobb Salad (adapted from here)

INGREDIENTS
•1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
•1/2 c. BBQ sauce
•1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
•1 avocado, sliced
•2 ears of corn, cooked and sliced
•1/2 of a red onion, diced
•2 medium shredded carrots
•6 c. lettuce
•crushed torilla chips

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat over to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil. Place cauliflower florets on the sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
Brush the BBQ sauce onto the cauliflower. Bake another 5-10 minutes. Arrange lettuce on four plates. Top with a “strip” each of black beans, sliced avocado, corn, red onion, shredded carrots and tortilla chips. Serve with you favorite creamy dressing (we used a light ranch). Enjoy! Serves 4


Stuffed Shells 1

I will admit when I first read this recipe from Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows I was skeptical. I didn’t think that stuffed shells could possibly be palatable without even a smidgen of cheese. I decided to bookmark the recipe anyways because I am always looking for something new to try. I also loved the idea of making the “cheese” out of tofu which would add a ton of belly filling protein.

The recipe stayed in my bookmarks for months. Then. . .

My sister has a lot of symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which include food sensitivities to things such as dairy. Whenever  she experiences an increase in her reaction to certain food items I try to be careful about eliminating them from our meals. I thought this recipe would be a great way for her to get some extra protein and nutrients without the addition of excessive dairy.

Still, the tofu filling might be healthy but would it taste good?

The answer is yes.

These stuffed shells taste like the real deal. They are cheesy and rich with a nice kick and body from the fresh herbs, onion and celery.

No one will ever be the wiser.

In fact, I didn’t even tell my dad (and he still doesn’t know) what they were made of and he scarfed them down and declare them “really good.” I decided what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him 🙂 .

Jumbo Stuffed Shells (from Oh She Glows)

Yield: approx. 30 shells or 6 servings

  • 3.5 cups pasta sauce
  • 340 grams jumbo pasta shells (I used 30 shells or 2/3 of the box – but make  extra as some break)

Tofu Ricotta:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 (14oz) package extra-firm or firm tofu, pressed
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4-1 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

 

1. Rinse block of tofu and wrap with paper towels followed by 2-3 tea towels.  Place it on a cutting board or plate and add several heavy cookbooks on top.  Press tofu for about 20-25 minutes to drain out the water. Alternatively, you  can use a tofu press.

2. Grease a very large casserole dish. I used about 30 shells, but you’ll  need to cook more than that as some shells will break during the cooking  process. Cook shells in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 8-11  minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Drain shells and set aside to cool.

3. Preheat oven to 400F. For the tofu ricotta: In a large skillet, sauté the  garlic and onion in the oil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.  Add in the chopped celery, basil, and parsley and sauté for another 5 minutes or  so. Feel free to throw in some spinach for extra greens.

4. For the tofu, you can either crumble it into the skillet with your hands  or you can give it a whirl in the food processor and then stir it into the  skillet. If you use the processor, the texture will be very creamy like ricotta  cheese and if you crumble it with your hands it will be more chunky/crumbly.  It’s up to you how you want to make it. I usually opt to crumble it by hand so I  don’t dirty the processor. Stir in the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, lemon,  and cayenne all to taste. Over medium heat, cook for about 8-10 minutes or until  most of the water cooks off.

5. Spoon about 1 cup of marinara sauce into the casserole dish and spread  around. Add about 2 tbsp of tofu ricotta into each stuffed shell and place  shells on top of marinara sauce. Cover shells with the remaining 2-2.5 cups  marinara sauce and any leftover tofu ricotta. You can add vegan cheese on top,  but I don’t bother. Cover dish with tin foil and poke several air holes. Bake at  400F for about 20 minutes or until heated throughout. Serve with a basic green  salad and garlic bread, if desired.

Read more: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/03/13/jumbo-stuffed-shells/#ixzz2RL0LruKv

Stuffed Shells Close


Chickpea Pot Pie Biscuits

As soon as I saw this recipe posted by Mama Pea on her blog Peas and Thank You I knew I had to make it. All I needed was a free afternoon (preferably a rainy one which isn’t too hard to find here in Ohio). I got my chance yesterday afternoon when I was checking my Medical Nutrition Therapy class webpage and was delighted to see class was canceled for today (I don’t know why but I will take it)!  With a newly freed up afternoon and a rainy weather forecast, I pulled out my crockpot and got to work on this comforting dish (Note: my edits are in bold).

Mama Pea’s Chickpea Crockpot Pie with Biscuit Topping (Makes 8 servings)

Filling:

  • 2 T. olive oil or organic butter, divided
  • 2 c. diced peeled baking potato
  • 2 c. diced carrot
  • 1 c. chopped celery
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 1/2 T. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 c. organic or non-dairy milk (unflavored and unsweetened)
  • 3/4 c. vegetable broth
  • 2 c. frozen petite green peas
  • One 14 1/2 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 t. dried thyme
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1/2 t. dried oregano

Biscuit topping:

  • 1 c. organic or non-dairy milk (unflavored and unsweetened)
  • 2 t. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 c. whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 3/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 1/2 T. organic butter or non-dairy margarine, cut into pieces
  • 1/3 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 t. dried basil

To prepare filling, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil or butter to pan, then add potato, carrot, celery, salt and pepper. Sauté 5 minutes or until vegetables are slightly tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Transfer vegetable mixture to a 5-quart slow cooker.

Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil or butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add the 2 1/2 tablespoons of pastry flour, stirring with a whisk. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Gradually add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thick and bubbly, stirring constantly with whisk. Pour sauce into slow cooker. Stir in peas, chickpeas, thyme, basil and oregano.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low for 3 1/2 hours (my crockpot runs hot so I only cooked mine for 2.5 hours) or until vegetables are tender.

To make biscuit topping, combine milk and lemon juice or vinegar and set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine flours (I totally forgot the all-purpose flour and the biscuits still turned out perfect), baking powder, baking soda, salt and pepper. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cheese or nutritional yeast and basil. Add “soured” milk, stirring just until moist.

Increase slow cooker heat to high. Drop biscuits onto filling in 8 equal mounds. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until biscuits are done. Uncover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Chickpea Pot Pie

This pot pie was outstanding. The herby biscuits reminded me of Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits and were the perfect foil for the hearty creamy filling. We liked it so much that more than one of us could be found scraping the leftovers with a spoon out of the crockpot as we were cleaning up. Serve with a side salad and a cool rainy evening and enjoy!


Butternut Squash Noodles

I am a HUGE pad thai fan. I can inhale untold quantities of that steaming medley of deliciousness but I save that sort of indulgence for dining out.

At home I prefer to make something a little quicker and healthier. This dish is super simple and comes together fairly quickly (once you make the “noodles”)

The original recipe comes from a blog called Cara Cravings (I really dig the blog name 😉 )

I made several modifications to streamline the ingredient list and cooking process.

Butternut Squash Noodles with Peanut Sauce (serves 2)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled, and thinly sliced with a good quality vegetable peeler into “noodles”
1/4 cup almond milk (from a carton)
2 tablespoons all-natural peanut butter
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
2-3 teaspoons chili-garlic paste
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tbsp of agave nectar
2 tablespoons currants (or raisins)
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
fresh chopped cilantro and/or mint, for garnish

Directions:

Grate long, thin strips of butternut squash using a good quality vegetable peeler (this will take about 5 minutes but it is well worth it).
To make the sauce, combine  almond milk, peanut butter, tomato paste, water, soy sauce, chili-garlic paste, lime juice, agave, garlic, ginger and curry powder in a blender. Process until smooth.

Place 1/4 cup water, squash, and raisins in a large, nonstick saute pan. Turn heat to high, cover, and steam for 3-4 minutes. Check and see if the squash is tender at this point. Add more water if needed to keep the squash from sticking to the pan and steam 1-2 minutes more until tender. Remove cover and pour in sauce. Cook for 1-2 more minutes, stirring, until heated through. Divide among serving bowls and garnish with coconut, mint, or cilantro.

Serve hot. I added baked tofu cubes to help round out the meal. All I did was press and drain a block of tofu. Then I marinated it in soy sauce for 20 minutes and baked it at 350 degrees until brown and crispy (about 35-40 minutes).

B Noodles

I loved this dish! It reminded me so much of pad thai but it was much healthier. Whatever you do–don’t leave out the currants/raisins. They really enhance the naturally sweetness of the squash and provide a nice contrast to the coconut and peanut sauce. As one family member said “I could eat this every night for dinner if you would make it.” I appreciated the compliment but I think I might develop some sort of butternut squash peeling related carpal tunnel syndrome. Still, this dish is well-worth the little extra work. Enjoy!

 


What could make this better on a snowy winter night?

Fire

No. Not a new episode of Downton Abbey. Getting warmer though (no pun intended and a new Downton Abbey never hurts)

I was thinking more along the lines of individual servings of baked beans that have been naturally sweetened with cranberries, maple syrup and molasses then topped with crispy warm and lightly sweetened cornbread.

Baked Beans with Cornbread

This recipe earned a 10 out of 10 from my family. It is from Oh She Glows who is such an inspiration to me because of the talented way she combines flavors and textures.

The original recipe calls for baking in a casserole dish but I was short on time so I baked individual portions in a jumbo muffin tin. The results were delicious. The caramelized baked bean exterior was perfectly complemented by the fluffy cornbread.

The delicious and hearty winter meal.

Pumpkin Maple Baked Bean Cornbread Casserole (slightly adapted from OhSheGlows)

Maple baked beans with a pumpkin twist all topped with a lightly sweetened cornbread.

Yield: 8 servings

Cornbread Topped Maple Baked Beans:

  • 3 (15oz) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped finely
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup, to taste
  • 1.5-2 tbsp regular mustard
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, or to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a pot, add a splash of oil along with the chopped onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

2. Now add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook over low heat until thick, about 10-15 mins. You can make this the night before and leave it in the fridge like I did.

Cornbread  Topping (I don’t suggest making this on its own as cornbread, it works as a topping only)

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour (I used spelt flour)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp light-tasting extra virgin olive oil (or canola)

 

3. In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients. Add wet to dry and stir until combined.

4. Grease a casserole dish (I used 2.3 L) or a jumbo muffin tin (makes approximately 8 servings if using a jumbo muffin tin), spread in the maple beans, and spoon the cornbread mixture over top. Bake at 400F for about 35 minutes until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Serve immediately.

Note: Does not keep well for leftovers (it dries out a bit). I suggest serving immediately or halving the recipe if needed. Enjoy!

 

 


BBQ tofu
We are supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow here in Ohio tonight–our first real snow this year. I am not a huge fan of winter but I don’t mind a cozy snow day now and then. Particularly a snow day that ends with a plate of sweet bbq tofu next to a pile of warm cinnamon sweet potatoes and spicy black-eyed peas. Make this healthy nutrient-dense meal the next time you are snowed in and you won’t regret it. You will be warm and full of happiness from the inside out.

I actually stumbled upon this delicious combo of black-eyed peas and sweet potatoes on a blog called Post Punk Kitchen (the bbq tofu was my own addition to help round out the meal). I love how the spicy-sweet flavors complement each other so well–healthy Southern comfort food at its finest!

For the Black-Eyed Peas

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale or collards, rough stems removed, thinly sliced(about 1/2 pound)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-15 oz cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup veg broth
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, a smidge of smoked paprika would be great too)

Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat. Saute the onion in the oil until translucent, about 5 minutes. Use a little cooking spray if needed. Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Add the greens, 1/4 cup of water and salt. Cover the pot and cook the greens down for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add black-eyed peas, tomato sauce and broth and thoroughly mix. Cover pot and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add hot sauce and liquid smoke, then use a potato masher to mash some of the beans, about 1/4 of them, to thicken the sauce. Cook for about 5 more minutes uncovered. Taste for salt and seasoning. Serve hot.

For the Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 pound apples, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • (2 average sized) 2 pounds sweet potatoes or yams, peeled, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon agave (optional, I left it out because my potatoes were sweet enough already)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger

Cooking spray

Preheat a 4 quart pot over low heat. Spray with cooking spray, then add apples, sweet potatoes, water and salt. Cover pot and sweat the apples and sweet potatoes for about 20 minutes, stirring often. What this means, is just to cook them slowly and let them steam. You want to coax the moisture out of them, but if you make the flame too high they’ll burn and cook unevenly.

After 20 minutes, you can turn the heat up just a bit. Add a little more water if needed. Cover and cook 20 more minutes, paying close attention so that they don’t burn, and stirring often. When they’re very tender, they’re done. Mash with a potato masher. Add the agave, cinnamon and ginger, and mash some more. Taste for salt and seasoning. Serve warm.

For the BBQ Tofu (this is more of a technique than a recipe)

  • 1-14 oz package of extra-firm tofu (drained)
  • 3/4 cup of bbq sauce of choice

Line a plate or baking sheet with paper towels and place the tofu on top. Put more paper towels on the tofu and place something heavy on top (like a textbook or a cast iron skillet) and allow the water to drain out for about 30 minutes. Discard the paper towels and slice the tofu into 1/2 inch slices. Cut each 1/2 inch slice into 4 pieces. Pour the bbq sauce in a baking dish and toss tofu with the sauce. Allow to marinate for 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the tofu on the baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, turn half-way through. Brush with more bbq sauce if desired. Enjoy!


I was craving a sweet potato for lunch today. I guess it is the fact that Thanksgiving is right around the corner that has got me starting to think about them again.

Usually, I just pop my potato in the microwave and mash the insides with a Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese wedge. The cheese adds so much creaminess and really enhances the natural sweetness of the potato. However, since today was Sunday I decided to try my hand at making a nutrient and fiber-rich variation on twice baked potatoes.

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Chickpeas (serves 4)

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 finely chopped scallions
  • 4 wedges of Light Swiss Laughing Cow cheese
  • 3/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp of kosher salt
  • Optional: chili sauce, lime wedges

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub and prick the potatoes with a fork. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 45 mins to an hour.

Meanwhile, lightly spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and saute the scallions until wilted and slightly browned. Cut the baked potatoes open and allow to cool slightly  (leave your oven on). Scoop the insides of the potatoes into a bowl and reserve the skins. Add scallions, Laughing Cow wedges, chili powder and salt and mash thoroughly with a potato masher. Evenly distribute the mixture among the reserved potato skins and place on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10-15 minutes.  Sprinkle with crispy chickpeas and drizzle with chili sauce. Serve lime wedges on the side (or sprinkle with more chopped scallions).

To make the crispy chickpeas I followed this recipe by Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean. They turned out perfectly with crunchy shells and creamy insides.

I loved all the flavors and textures in this dish and thought the chickpeas paired well with the sweet potatoes. Add a piece of maple-glazed tofu and you would have a light and delicious fall dinner.

Oh, btw did you know that today was the last day for Starbucks BOGO on their fall-flavored drinks? Since it was a beautiful 60 degrees in Ohio this afternoon, my sister and I decide to walk to Starbucks. We don’t get to hang out as much now that we are both either working or in college so it was great to catch-up over gingerbread lattes.

Hope everyone had an enjoyable Sunday as well!



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