Main Dish Recipes

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

I look forward to making this creamy zucchini pasta dish every year when our zucchini is ripe. We headed out to the garden yesterday and picked some fresh zucchini. My daughter especially loves to help hunt for this veggie. It’s so fun when the garden is full of ripe veggies!

We decided to make this light delicate meal for an early dinner on the patio. It was scrumptious!
The soft farmer’s cheese is a perfect complement to the zucchini, and the subtle flavors of this dish make it a good choice for kids. Fresh artisan bread is the perfect compliment to this summer meal. Enjoy!




1.5-2 lbs zucchini (roughly 4 small-medium zucchini), shredded with grater
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 1/2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried savory
4 oz farmers cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
box of thin spaghetti


1. Finely shred zucchini with a grater. Place the shredded zucchini in a colander and let sit. Liquid will drain from the zucchini. After about 10 minutes, pick up the zucchini shreds in handfuls and squeeze out any excess liquid over the sink.


2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly golden (about 1 minute). Add the zucchini and dried savory and cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and fresh herbs. Cook a couple more minutes. Add the cheese; when it begins to melt, pour the sauce over cooked pasta. Top with parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.




Simple Spaghetti

My brother-in-law lived in Italy for some time. He learned how to make exceptionally delicious Italian meals. He taught my husband how to make this cheap and simple meal when we were newly weds. The ingredients are always around our house, so it’s perfect when you’re not sure what to cook and don’t feel like going to the grocery store to get a bunch of ingredients. 




olive oil

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 large onion, finely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons dried basil (varies depending on your taste)

scant 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 box whole wheat spaghetti noodles

freshly grated parmesan cheese



1. Heat olive oil in large skillet on med heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add onion, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, basil, and cook until onions are translucent (about 4-5 minutes). The cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper we usually add a couple pinches of each because we don’t like it very hot, but you can add more to your liking.

2. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

3. While sauce is simmering, cook noodles according to package.

4. Serve sauce with cooked noodles and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.


Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Can I just say, “Delicious!” This vegetarian baked ziti recipe is a twist on a classic recipe with no compromise on flavor. Cheesy, creamy and sauciness all meld to create a luscious savory dish.





1 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp basil
1 small bag baby spinach
1 lb penne ziti pasta
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese
4 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large mixing bowl.

While pasta is cooking, heat 1 T oil in pan on medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and basil. Cook until onions are cooked through and transparent. Remove from heat.

Add cooked onions, spinach, ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce to mixing bowl with cooked pasta. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Gently mix all ingredients together. Pour into 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered in oven for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.


Serves 6



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Light vegetarian frittata with zucchini and tomatoes

Zucchini Frittata

The zucchini Frittata is a light vegetable dish, with a wonderfully fresh taste of basil and thyme. It can be made fairly easily and quickly. This is a low-fat frittata variation, using less egg and dairy than traditional frittata recipes. And above all… it’s a great way to use all that summer zucchini.



1 tablespoon olive oil
6 green onions, including tops, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium size zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 can diced tomatoes, drained well and extra water pressed out.
1/4 teaspoon each dried basil and thyme,
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
2 large eggs
¼ tsp salt (optional)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


PREHEAT: Preheat oven to 350° F.
COOK: In a non-stick 10-inch skillet with an ovenproof handle, heat the olive oil over moderate heat for 1 minute. Add the green onions and cook, uncovered, until soft – about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, basil, thyme, and pepper and cook, covered, until the zucchini is just tender – about 3 minutes. In order for the frittata to set well, drain off excess liquid.
MIX: In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and egg white (eggs) and salt; pour into the vegetable mixture in the skillet. With skillet still on stove, slowly stir mixture until egg begins to barely “set”, almost like an omelette. At this point, pull off of stove and sprinkle with cheese.
BAKE: Place the skillet in the oven and bake the frittata, uncovered, until just set – about 3 -5 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to broil and place the skillet in the broiler 5 to 6 inches from the heat; broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the frittata is golden.
FINISH: Allow to slightly cool. Cut into wedges and serve.

Easy Black Bean Burritos

A few nights ago I didn’t know what to cook for dinner and we came up with this yummy burrito that my 5 year old daughter loved. Yay! This Kid Friendly Black Bean Burritos recipe is great when you are lacking in fresh ingredients, and don’t want to go to the store. It is very forgiving if you don’t have one of the ingredients and need to substitute something else, (i.e. pinto beans for black beans, or can of diced green chills for the bell pepper). It would also be great with pepper jack cheese in place of mozzarella. The options are limitless. Have fun with this one!



4-6 (10 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
2 T canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 cans black beans
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (or 1 can diced tomatoes plus one 4 oz can diced green chiles)
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
3 oz cream cheese
mozzarella cheese, shredded


1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, beans, corn, cumin and oregano. Heat through, about 5 minutes, then add the cream cheese. Let mixture come to a boil while stirring often.


2. Stack flour tortillas on a plate and microwave for about 20 seconds or until warm.


3. Spoon the bean mixture down the center of a warmed tortilla. Add a handful of mozzarella cheese. Roll tortilla up. Wait a minute to allow the cheese to melt before eating. Enjoy!


Vegetarian Burritos with beans, avocado and vegetables

Ultimate Burritos

Ultimate Burritos were an easy staple vegetarian recipe during my college years.  It was just so easy to always keep a package of tortillas and some cans of beans on hand, and I always had a good supply of fresh vegetables to use in them.  My roommates would see me eating these and would be in awe at my gourmet dinner compared to the mac n’ cheese and ramen noodles they were eating.  I didn’t even spend much more time or money on my food.  Besides being inexpensive and easy, this is a fantastically fresh, delicious and balanced meal.  And a balanced meal is what I needed most to keep my body healthy and my mind active.



1 can black beans
1 can kidney beans
1 cup corn
whole wheat tortillas
Monterrey jack, Colby jack, cheddar, or vegan cheese, grated
lettuce, torn
tomatoes, diced
onions, finely diced
green bell pepper, diced
avocados, diced (or guacamole)
sour cream or plain yogurt
salsa or hot sauce


Directions for a crowd: Stir together the 2 cans of beans and corn in a medium bowl.  Microwave the mixture until hot.  Meanwhile, heat the tortillas, one at a time,  in a pan on the stove over medium-high heat.  Have each topping in a separate bowl and let each person create their own ultimate burrito.

Directions for the single college student: Stir together the 2 cans of beans and corn in a medium bowl with a lid that can be stored in the refrigerator (use this mixture all week long!)  Place a tortilla on a plate and line the center of it with a few spoonfuls of bean mixture.  Cook in the microwave for 30-60 seconds or until beans are warm.  Meanwhile, heat a medium fry pan over medium-high heat on the stove.  Remove the tortilla with beans from the microwave and place it in the fry pan.  Cook  until the tortilla has reached your desired level of crispiness.  This process combines the speed of cooking in a microwave with the improved crispiness of heating in a pan.  Place back on your plate and top with the rest of the toppings.  Roll up, and watch the envy on your roommates faces.  Or better yet, make them one too!


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Healthy Chicken Tostadas

My mother-in-law gave us this Green Salsa chicken tostada recipe long ago when my hubby and I first got married. We were juggling work, trying to finish college, and this recipe easily became one of my favorite meals to make because it tasted so good, was cheap, and super fast to make. It has green salsa mixed with shredded chicken on a bed of lettuce. Tomatoes, avocado, and lime juice sit on top of that with a crispy baked whole wheat tortilla and melted pepper jack cheese. Mmm…. It’s really good. I promise.




4 (6 in) whole wheat flour tortillas
3 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese (3/4 cup)
2 1/2 cups 10 oz shredded poached chicken
1 cup green salsa
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 heaping tsp ground cumin
1 cup shredded leaf lettuce or baby spinach
1 avocado, diced
3 plum tomatoes
sour cream



1. Arrange flour tortillas on baking sheet. Top evenly with cheese. Bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees for 8 minutes.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together green salsa, chicken, cilantro and cumin. spoon mixture over cooked tortillas. Bake until heated through (about 7-8 minutes).

3. Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and sour cream. Enjoy!


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vegetarian quiche recipe with broccoli and red peppers

Christmas Quiche

I remember being in first grade and telling the class that my favorite food was quiche.  I still think it is delicious.  This quiche recipe is fantastic and is healthier than most.  I use a large 10 inch, deep dish pie plate instead of 2 smaller pie plates so that there is more filling and less crust overall.  You can also omit the crust all together for a crustless quiche, that is also delicious.  The filling has lots of veggies, no bacon or ham, and less than 1 egg per serving.  It is called Christmas quiche because of the red and green vegetables it contains, but feel free to use you own favorite vegetables in it and to make it any time of the year!



1 prepared pie crust, unbaked, in a 10 inch, deep dish pie plate

1 cup diced or grated swiss cheese 

1 small diced red pepper (about 1 cup)

2 cups broccoli, chopped in small pieces

1/2 cup sliced green onions

6 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup milk

1/2 tsp nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

  1. PREHEAT OVEN:  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. VEGGIES:  Saute the red pepper and broccoli in a little bit of olive oil until most of the liquid has evaporated from the peppers and the broccoli is slightly soft.  There should be about 2 cups veggies after they are cooked.  You can use any vegetables you like – just make sure that once they are cooked there is about 2 cups.
  3. EGG MIXTURE:  Whisk together the eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  4. LAYER:  Sprinkle the cheese evenly on the bottom of the pie crust.  Then sprinkle on the cooked veggies and the green onions.  Lastly, pour the egg mixture over the top.
  5. BAKE:  Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake for an additional 30-35 minutes or until the egg has mostly firmed up in the middle
  6. COOL:  Let the quiche cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.  It can also be served at room temperature or cold.

Serve with some whole grain bread and a side salad or fruit.

Note:  If making a crustless quiche, be sure to spray the pie plate with a non-stick spray before placing the fillings inside or you will have a hard time getting them out!


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Hidden Mushroom Lasagna

A while ago we decided to experiment with our classic lasagna recipe (with ground beef) and substitute veggies instead. The result was fantastic. It was unanimous that we all preferred this Hidden Mushroom Lasagna more than the original with meat. It’s funny because the shredded mushrooms actually cook to look similar to ground beef, so at first glance it looks like normal lasagna. The robust mushroom flavor is also a great substitute for meat.




1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch of red chili flakes

3 zucchinis, thinly sliced

6-8 oz shredded mushrooms

1 tsp basil

32 oz spaghetti sauce

1 T dried parsley

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

16 oz bag shredded mozzarella cheese

1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

*optional- 1 6oz can tomato sauce




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, red chili flakes, zucchini, mushrooms, and basil. Salt and pepper (to taste). Continue cooking until zucchini is cooked through and transparent. Drain most of the water (leave about 1/2 cup remaining with the veggies). Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Cook until heated through. Set aside.

3. Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

4. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, nutmeg, and salt and pepper (to taste).

5. To assemble, spread 1/2 cup of sauce onto bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles. Spread with 1/3 of ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of mozzarella. Spoon 1/3 of zucchini sauce over mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. Finish with a layer of noodles, any remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil making sure to not let the foil touch the cheese.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand an additional 10 minutes before serving.


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Vegetarian Penne Pasta recipe with Butternut Squash and Sage

Butternut Squash Penne

This is a modified version of a favorite recipe given to me while I was in college.  Olive oil replaces most of the butter, and there are almost equal amounts of squash and whole wheat pasta.  Serve with a side of green vegetables or a salad and you have a meal!


1 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 Tbsp. Fresh Sage, finely chopped
½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 3/4” cubes (4 cups), and     boiled just until fork tender
5 cups cooked whole wheat penne pasta (8-10 oz. dry)
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese


SAUTE: Place butter, olive oil, and sage into a large saute pan over high heat.  After one minute, add the broth, toasted pine nuts, boiled squash and cooked pasta.  Stir until all is coated with the sauce.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
FINISH: When thoroughly heated, plate immediately and top with Parmesan cheese.



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vegetarian tortillas with beans and cheese

Tortilla Patties

This recipe has been in our family for years and years. My nephew Justin became a real expert at making these and is responsible for pushing it by making it at almost every family gathering he could.  It is really quite simple, just two layers of corn tortillas filled with beans and cheese and put on the griddle till tortillas are golden and the insides hot and melted. Serve with fresh guacamole and hot sauce. Easy. Affordable. Filling.



Corn Tortillas
Vegetarian low fat refried beans
grated cheese

Fresh Guacamole
Fresh Salsa
Shredded Lettuce


PREPARE: Place tortilla on plate and spread on a layer of refried beans followed by a topping of grated cheese. Top with another tortilla.
FRY: Place on a lightly oiled hot skillet and cook the layered tortilla till golden brown. Then gently flip tortilla and brown the other side. That is it! It’s done!
FINISH: Serve with guacamole, shredded lettuce, salsa, hot sauce etc.


NOTE: These should be really easy and quick to make. Sometimes it works best to microwave the layered tortillas till the insides are hot and the cheese is melted – then transfer the concoction to the griddle and brown the tortillas. It makes it faster and easier not to burn the tortillas while still getting the insides nice and hot.


You Might Also Like

 • Artichoke and Feta Tortilla Wraps from Everyday Health



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vegetarian lasagna recipe with whole wheat noodles and spinach

Vegetarian Lasagna

As a child, my mother gave me my choice of dinners on my birthday.  I always… always chose lasagna. Now that I am much older, I still haven’t lost my affection for this wonderful Italian dish.  In order to appease my insatiable desire for my boyhood favorite, I have come up with my lower-fat, vegetarian version.  It takes a little time but is well worth the effort… and this recipe makes excellent leftovers.


1 Box (8 noodles) of whole grain lasagna noodles.
2 bunches of spinach.  (washed thoroughly and chopped)
1 6 oz.. can olives chopped
1 lb chopped mushrooms
24 ounces cottage cheese
8 ounces of low fat mozzarella cheese
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese


15-oz can crushed tomatoes
15-oz can tomato sauce
Tomato paste to thicken (about 4 tablespoons)
1 clove crushed Garlic
1 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Basil
1 tsp Onion Powder
salt & pepper to taste


BOIL: Cook noodles as directed on package.  Drain and set aside.
SAUTE: Saute mushrooms and spinach in a teaspoon or two of water. When done strain out all excess water and set aside for assembly.
HEAT: Combine all sauce ingredients in a large pot and slowly heat over low temperature.  Set aside for assembly.
PREPARE: Grate cheese and set aside for assembly. To assemble, simply layer noodles, then sauce, then veggies and then cheese in a large (preferably deep dish) cassarole dish.  Repeat until all ingredients are gone or until casserole dish is full.
BAKE: Bake at 375° F for 40 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.  Allow to slightly cool.
FINISH: Serve hot with whole wheat garlic bread & salad. This lasagna “sets up” much firmer after overnight refrigeration.  It makes great leftovers… in fact it’s maybe better the second day!




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tomatillos and black beans are the filling for this tasty enchilada recipe

Tomatillo and Black Bean Enchiladas

Light, zingy and zangy…this enchilada recipe is a break from the norm and you wont be disappointed.



Tomatillo salsa:
12 oz. (¾ lb) tomatillos, chopped
1 bunch (about 8) green onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 oz. can diced green chilies
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup corn

2 15oz cans black beans
zest of 1 lemon (about 1 Tbsp)
½ tsp ground black pepper
12 6-inch corn tortillas
1 cup Monterrey Jack cheese, grated
plain yogurt for garnish


COMBINE: Combine the ingredients for the tomatillo salsa in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine the black beans, lemon zest, black pepper, and 2 cups of the prepared tomatillo salsa.  This will be the filling for the enchiladas.
ASSEMBLE: Place as much filling as can comfortably fit into each tortilla, roll up, and place seam-side down in a 9×13 pan.  Once the pan is filled, sprinkle with cheese.
BAKE: Cover in foil and bake at 400° F for 30-40 minutes or until warm inside and cheese is melted.  During the last few minutes the foil can be removed to better melt the cheese without drying the enchiladas out too much.
FINISH: To serve, top each enchilada with a generous spoonful of tomatillo salsa and a dollop of plain yogurt.


Note: To prevent the tortillas from breaking during assembly, wrap the stack of 12 in a wet dish towel.  Place in the microwave for 40-60 seconds or until warm and moist.


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stir fry recipe made with fresh ginger, bok choy, snow peas, pepper, and onion served over brown rice

Colorful Asian Stir Fry

This Colorful Asian Stir Fry recipe has FLAVOR and is gluten-free! I am picky with Asian food, because I need a lot of flavor.  A little soy sauce doesn’t cut it.  The subtle spiciness of fresh ginger and red-pepper flakes mixed with soy sauce, vinegar, and the natural flavors of the vegetables is quite delightful.  You will also love the variety of textures in this dish – the soft bok-choy leaves and rice, the crisp vegetables, and the crunchy cashews.


4-6 cups prepared brown rice
6-8 ounces shrimp, chicken, or extra-firm tofu (optional)
3 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup water
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 large red onion, cut into large chunks
2 medium carrots, sliced rather thinly (¼”)
3 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
6-8 oz. snow peas, ends trimmed if desired
1 bunch/head bok-choy, chopped coarsely
1 cup whole cashews
¼ tsp red pepper flakes, finely ground or crushed
1 cup canned pineapple tidbits or chunks for garnish


RICE: Start cooking the brown rice before chopping the vegetables for this dish, since the rice can take about 45 minutes to cook (follow package directions).

SAUCE: In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, water, and cornstarch.

PROTEIN: If choosing to include shrimp, chicken, or tofu – cook this first and then add to stir fry during the last few minutes of cooking.  If using tofu, saute in a little bit of oil and soy sauce until it has shrunken and is a golden brown.  This will provide better texture and flavor.

STIR FRY:  Heat oil in a wok or very large fry pan over high heat for about 1min.  Add the onion, carrots, and ginger and cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.  Then add the garlic, red pepper, snow peas, bok choy, and cashews and continue to stir regularly, cooking 3-5 minutes more or until the vegetables start sticking to the bottom of the pan.  If using meat or tofu, add it in once the bok choy has wilted.  Then add the liquid mixture and the red pepper flakes, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thickened and vegetables are tender-crisp.  If you would prefer more sauce, an additional ¼ cup water can be added.  Serve over rice and garnish with pineapple.



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Tropical Stir Fry with cashews, pineapple, coconut and vegetables.

Aloha Tropical Stir-Fry

This recipe is a fun and easy spin-off of the traditional Asian stir-fry.  The pineapple chunks and shredded coconut really adds a delicious twist.  Aloha!


1 lb tofu, cut into 1/2” cubes OR ½ lb chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp soy sauce
¼ cup water
3 Tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch chunks
3 bell peppers (a mix of red, yellow, orange, or green), cut into 1 inch chunks
6-8 oz. snow peas
1 cup whole raw cashews
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks or tidbits in juice (keep the juice!)
brown rice, prepared according to package directions
shredded coconut, for topping


SAUTE: Saute tofu or chicken in a bit of olive oil until thoroughly cooked.  For tofu, cook until golden brown for best texture.
MIX SAUCE: Place cornstarch in a small bowl.  Stir in soy sauce and water slowly to prevent clumps from forming.  Set aside.
STIR-FRY VEGETABLES: Heat oil in a large fry pan or wok.  Add vegetables and cashews and continuously stir.  If starting to burn or stick to pan, add part of the pineapple juice.  When vegetables are just tender-crisp, add the cooked tofu or chicken and the can of pineapple with its juice.  Stir the sauce again to make sure cornstarch is thoroughly mixed, then stir into vegetables.
FINISH: Serve over brown rice and top with shredded coconut.


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Healthy Pasta Vert Stir Fry recipe with Avocado, Zucchini, Asparagus and snap peas

Pasta Vert

This healthy stir-fry type pasta recipe is a simple way to add more vegetables into the pasta-lovers diet without skimping on flavor.


1 box whole wheat pasta (any type works fine), cooked
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups asparagus, woody ends removed, and chopped in 2-inch segments
2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas
1 cup zucchini, cut in half and sliced in 1/4” slices
½ cup pesto (or to taste) – see pesto recipe in the sauces/condiments section
1 large avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)


BOIL PASTA: Cook pasta according to manufacturers directions.
SAUTE VEGETABLES: Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat for 1 minute.  Add asparagus, pea pods, and zucchini and sautee, stirring often for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender and bright green.
COMBINE: In a large bowl (or in the pasta pot), add the pesto to the cooked and drained pasta and stir until it is well-coated. Add sauteed vegetables.
FINISH: When plated, top with avocado chunks and pine nuts.


Grilled Italian Polenta recipe with mushrooms and olives

Grilled Italian Polenta


I heard a great chef once say, that the world was divided into two great categories: those who are polenta lovers and those who are not. A rather simple way of looking at life, but I suppose it is true. I, for one, am a true polenta lover. Polenta is an absolute staple in Italy. It is a thick corn porridge which is allowed to “set”, making a wonderful bed for various sauces and toppings. Polenta is usually cooked over the stove and continuously stirred until it becomes thick – a time consuming process. This recipe is cooked in a slow cooker, which eliminates the stirring and comes out with a perfect result every time! I pour it into a casserole dish and allow it to cool, then slice it off and fry or grill it, then cover it with this rich Italian mushroom sauce.



2 cups whole grain cornmeal
6 cups boiling vegetable or chicken broth
salt to taste (if using bullion  for broth, no salt needed)


1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 lb sliced mushrooms
1 medium zuchinni, chopped
1 medium yellow crookneck squash, chopped
1 15 oz.. can chopped black olives
7 ripe roma tomatoes, diced
2 8 oz.. cans tomato sauce
1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste


PREPARE POLENTA: Spray the walls of a slow cooker crock with non-stick spray and sprinkle in the cornmeal.  Add the boiling broth and whisk until lump free.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 7-9  hours until very thick.  Pour and spread into a large bread pan, sprayed with a non-stick spray, and refrigerate until completely cooled and “set.” This may take a few hours.
COOK SAUCE: In a large skillet, heat olive oil and saute garlic for a minute, then add chopped veggies and seasonings and cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is just tender. Add tomato sauce, chopped olives and parmesan. When hot, set aside.
GRILL OR SAUTE POLENTA: Gently turn the loaf pan with the set polenta over.  Polenta should plop out easily.  Slice into ½” to 1” sections.  Grill both sides on a piece of foil until hot or Saute in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until golden.
FINISH: Place polenta on individual plates and top with tomato mushroom sauce.  Sprinkle with extra parmesan.

Grilled Tofu

Grilled tofu is easy to prepare and is a great alternative to that hunk of meat on your plate.  Tofu easily soaks up whatever flavors it is cooked in, so a quick soak in a delicious marinade is just the ticket for this fully flavored recipe.  Delicious served with brown rice and a side of stir-fried veggies.  For variations, try grilled tofu using your other favorite marinades.



1 14 oz. block firm or extra firm tofu, drained

¼ cup soy sauce or low sodium soy sauce
4 tsp vegetable, canola, or olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 ½ tsp dark brown sugar, packed
1 ½ tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce


PREPARE: Cut tofu crosswise into 6 slices.  Place in a single layer on top of 3-4 paper towels.  Top with another layer of 3-4 paper towels and set a baking pan or cookie sheet on top to press out the extra water.  Take care to choose a pan that is not too heavy.  After about 2 minutes, repeat the process with fresh paper towels twice more.
MARINATE: Stir together all marinade ingredients in a large pie plate.  Place tofu slices in a single layer and let marinade for 8-10 minutes, turning over every couple of minutes.
GRILL: Heat up either a George Foreman type grill or a ridged grill pan over medium heat.  Lightly oil the surface.  With a spatula, carefully place tofu slices onto the grill and let cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until grill marks appear.  Turn only once.

Vegetarian Potato Pot Pie recipe for dinner

potato pie

I discovered this recipe years ago and it has become one of our all time favorite meals. People go absolutely bonkers over it! It is a richly flavored pie and is very filling. It’s heaped with potatoes, spinach and green onions and baked to a golden brown. It stores well in the fridge, and makes excellent leftovers. I use 2 kinds of potatoes, and add cauliflower as an option to make it even healthier. This is a sure-fire recipe, easy to make, and everyone seems to love it. Buying pre-made whole wheat or whole grain pie crusts makes this a snap.



10 medium russet potatoes
(or my preference 5 russets and 5 gold potatoes)
2 cups finely chopped green onion
3 cups finely chopped spinach
3 eggs
16 oz. lite sour cream
24 oz low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup milk
4 tbl butter
2 – 4 cups shredded cheese (Use your favorite cheeses. I like swiss, gruyere, sharp
cheddar and jarlsberg)
4 frozen whole wheat 10-inch pie shells

SEASON WITH: Sea salt, pepper, 2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic to taste.

1. Clean and boil potatoes until tender. Place in a large mixing bowl and crush into small pieces with a potato masher.

2. Mix in the cottage cheese, sour cream, cheese, eggs, salt, pepper, green onions, spinach, butter and chives.

3. Pour into pie shell and bake at 400 for 50 minutes, or until filling is puffed and golden and shell is cooked.


NOTE: If you are making four pies, I recommend getting a huge mixing bowl. We have a 24” bowl which is perfect for mixing all the ingredients and having room to spare. Don’t worry about the exact measurements. A little variations are fine… have fun with this and adjust ingredients to what you prefer.


OPTIONAL: Variations of this classic pie can be had with some optional ingredients like chopped broccoli, spinach, asparagus etc. One of the healthy variations I make, is I boil a cauliflower, and blend it into the milk. Then, I pour that into the potato mixture which gives a nice flavor and the nutrition of the cauliflower.


Vegetarian Lasagna recipe with zucchini, summer squash, garlic, peppers, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese

Vegetarian Lasagna

It’s the perfect time of year for a warm vegetarian pasta dish. This hearty vegetarian lasagna recipe will even have your kids asking for seconds- enjoy!

1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 small red onion
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 cup mushroooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese



1.Cook the lasagna noodles according to package. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
2.In a large saucepan, cook and stir vegetables and garlic in oil. Stir in pasta sauce and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3.Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
4.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/2 each, lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering, and top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
5.Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.


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Healthy Turkey Spaghetti recipe with garlic, turkey, stewed tomatoes, italian seasonings and whole grain spaghetti noodles

Healthy Turkey Spaghetti

Does it get any better than having a nice warm plate of traditional spaghetti?  Here is a delicious meat-based spaghetti sauce with lean ground turkey in place of ground beef. The outcome is just as hearty and satisfying as beef, but much healthier. This healthy Turkey Spaghetti recipe is super filling and is sure to please the whole family.


1 lb extra lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water


Brown the turkey in a large pot; drain off fat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 45 minutes. Let cool. Serve with warm whole grain spaghetti noodles and a side of garlic whole wheat bread.




Adapted from Paula Deen’s Alice Jo’s Spaghetti Sauce

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healthy gluten free vegetarian pizza recipe with brown rice crust and loaded with veggies and pinapple

Brown Rice Pizza

What?!  Make a pizza with a brown rice crust? What has the world come to?  When I first tried this recipe, my eclectic friend Barry Sockat happened to drop in and sampled my strange creation.  At first he was sceptical to say the least but after his third piece he was ecstatic over this marvelous creation.



5 cups cooked long & short grain brown rice  (about 3/4ths short to 1/4 long)
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt


1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
5 Tbls tomato sauce
1/2 tsp garlic
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano


Grated Mozzarella, Cheddar cheeses
Black Olives, chopped
Pineapple tidbits
Mushrooms, sliced
Green Peppers, chopped
Sliced tomatoes, cold


BOIL: Cook brown rice together as directed on package. (Include seasonings while cooking the rice)  Spray a medium to large pizza pan.  Scoop cooked brown rice onto pan and carefully spread out and pack down to make a well formed 1/2” -3/4” high crust.
SAUTE: In a couple of teaspoons of water, saute chopped mushrooms and green pepper until just tender.  Drain off water and set aside.
MIX & ASSEMBLE: Mix up pizza sauce and spread over rice crust.  Add a layer of grated cheese followed by well placed layers of mushrooms, green peppers, chopped olives and pineapple tidbits.
BAKE: Place in preheated oven at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese lightly browns.
FINISH: Cut and serve topped with cold sliced tomatoes.


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vegetarian chivito burger with egg

Chivito Veggie-Burgers

This easy chivito veggie burger recipe is a wonderful exception to a common complaint with veggie burgers that they lack flavor.  A Chivito is a hamburger-type sandwich found in Uruguay.  Besides the regular ground beef patty, bun, and condiments they are piled high with ham, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, a variety of pickled vegetables, and a fried egg.  They are huge, greasy, and admittedly a delicious occasional treat.  The chivito veggie-burger is a spin-off that is much less greasy, has just as many toppings, and is just as delicious.   Best of all, it is easy.  The veggie burger patties and whole wheat buns can be stored in the freezer, and when you need a quick meal they can be pulled out and topped with whatever veggies you happen to have.   And don’t be scared of the egg!  It is actually quite good and helps to keep you full longer!



frozen veggie burger patties
whole wheat buns
eggs (1 per burger)
bell pepper
red onion
dijon mustard
ranch dressing


Grill veggie-patties according to package directions (a George Forman-style grill works well and is easy to use all year round).  While patties are cooking, the toppings can be prepared.  Fry one egg per burger, slice the cheese and vegetables, and toast the buns.  When the veggie-patties and eggs are done, spread the buns with dijon mustard and/or ranch dressing and pile on the toppings!


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Beans & Rice recipe caribbean style with black and pinto beans, cabbage and banana

Caribbean Beans & Rice

This version of a Caribbean inspired dish is an incredible festival of exotic flavors.  The colorful medley of spicy black beans are layered on a bed of brown rice, then accented with a variety of individual toppings such as cashews, bananas and salsas. Not only is this recipe nutritious and full of flavor, but it is also great fun building your own individual creation with the various ingredients. Have at it!



4 cups cooked combination of long & short grain brown rice
1 can black beans
2 can pinto beans
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup red bell pepper diced
3/4 cup green bell pepper diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
5 tsp Piccapeppa sauce (sold at most stores)
1/3 cup raisins
salt & pepper to taste


Lime (fresh cut for squeezing)
Banana, cut
Chopped Green Cabbage
Fresh cut ripe tomatoes


BOIL: Cook rice as directed on package.
SAUTE: After rice is cooked, saute garlic & onions in olive oil in a large skillet.  Just as onions are almost translucent, add minced peppers and  saute long enough for the peppers to just become tender.  Add beans, cooked rice, raisins, cumin, and Piccapeppa sauce.  Heat thoroughly stirring occasionally.  Salt & pepper to taste. salt & pepper to taste. Pull from heat and set aside.
FINISH: To serve, start by making a bed of rice on each individual plate or bowl. Cover with spicy bean mixture and then let person add toppings from bowls of ingredients listed above.  Have fun and enjoy!

Shepherd's Pie recipe with no meat and all veggies

Shepherds Pie

My mother used to make a great shepherds pie.  It was a meat and vegetable casserole in a rich tomato base, layered with cheese and of course the crowning glory was a topping of fluffy mashed potatoes.  It was always one of my boyhood favorites.  It is a hearty meal and always hit the spot.   This is my  vegetarian variation of my mothers recipe.  It is still one of my very favorites, and now a lot healthier!


2 cups cut Green Beans
1 ½ Cups Sliced Mushrooms
3 ½ Cups Corn Kernels
1 ½ Cup Peas
1 Chopped Onion or ½ tsp. onion powder
3 15-oz. Cans Tomato Sauce
2 cups grated cheese (mozzarella, swiss or cheddar… or all 3!)
1  teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
½ teaspoon rosemary
½ teaspoon sage
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Mashed Potato Topping
4-5 large sized potatoes
2 Tbsp. Butter
3/4 Cup Milk
Salt & Pepper to Taste


SAUTE: Lightly saute onion, green beans, mushrooms, Corn and peas.  After vegetables are just tender, add tomato sauce and seasonings to taste.  Consistency should be like a thick stew.  Pour into a large 14” casserole dish.  Top with grated cheese to taste.  Remember  cheese can be high in fat, so don’t overdo!
Mashed Potato Topping:  Clean and boil potatoes until done.  Place in large mixing bowl and mash adding butter and milk until potatoes are the right consistency.  Season with salt & pepper.
FINISH: With a spoon or moist hands, gently layer mashed potatoes on top of vegetables and cheese.  Sprinkle with paprika and parsley.
BAKE: Bake at 375° for 35 minutes.   Serve and eat like a famished shepherd.

Easy vegetarian taco salad recipe with lentil & rice taco filling, peppers, cilantro, corn, beans, and catalina dressing

Vegetarian Taco Salad

Everyone loves this easy taco salad recipe at our house and the best thing about it is that it can be thrown together at the last minute. Use whatever veggies you have on hand. Have fun creating and enjoy!


whole grain tortilla chips
6 cups romain lettuce

 For the rest of the salad choose any of the following:

vegetarian taco filling (see vegetarian taco recipe)
black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
vegetables- colored peppers, cooked corn, diced tomato
diced avocado
green onion, shallots, or red onion
cheese- queso fresco (crumbled), pepper jack, or monterey jack
guacamole or salsa, cilantro


1. Divide lettuce evenly among 4 plates.
2. Top lettuce with desired toppings.
3. Sprinkle with crumbled tortilla chips.
4. Top with Catalina Salad dressing or your favorite dressing of choice.

Quinoa with Roasted Veggies recipe; carrots, zucchini, red and yellow peppers, sprinkled with italian dressing

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

We are excited for autumn in our house. To celebrate the changing of the season, we’re going to roast vegetables with the super grain, quinoa. This easy quinoa with roasted vegetables recipe is good as a one-dish meal or as a hearty side. Feel free to substitute a root vegetable for the zucchini but make sure to allow for a longer cooking time (about ten more minutes).




3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2″ pieces

2 small zucchini, cut into 1/2″ slices

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

Italian dressing


optional topping: shredded parmesan or romano cheese


Directions: Cut carrots and zucchini in half and into 1/2-in. slices; place in a large bowl. Add the peppers, onion, garlic & salt. Pour enough italian dressing on to coat all veggies; toss to coat. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in baking pan coated with cooking spray.


Bake at 400° for 40-50 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Set aside to cool.


Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork.


Transfer quinoa to a large bowl; stir in the vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese; serve with lemon.


Yield: 4 servings.



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Healthy summer squash lasagna recipe, with zucchini and summer squash

Summer Squash Lasagna

This easy summer squash lasagna recipe is a great way to use up that extra garden zucchini or other summer squash.  You won’t even miss the pasta. – Jessica

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion (about 2/3 cup), finely chopped

6 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 lbs fresh or canned whole tomatoes, cut into 3-5 pieces, depending on size.              (If canned, get 2 lbs then drain them)

2 tsp italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup italian seasoned bread crumbs, divided (optional)

2 lbs zucchini, yellow summer squash, or a combination of both – sliced 1/4” thick

1 1/2 – 2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 1/2 – 2 cups ricotta cheese

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan


  1. Tomato mixture: Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium high heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add the tomatoes, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Turn heat down to medium and cook for 8-10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  2.  Layer: Sprinkle 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs (if using) onto the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  Place a layer of sliced zucchini/summer squash, covering the entire bottom of the pan.  Spread 1/4 of the tomato mixture – doesn’t have to be even since it is chunky.  Sprinkle 1/3 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup of ricotta as even as you can.  Repeat the squash, tomato, and cheese layers 3 more times – but on the last layer don’t put any cheese (tomato should be on top).  If it doesn’t come out evenly, just divide things as even as you can.  You should still have 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan, and 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs left.
  3.  Bake: Bake at 400 F for 30 minutes, uncovered.  A lot of the liquid from the zucchini will evaporate during this time.  Then top with the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup italian bread crumbs.  Lower the temperature to 375 F and bake for an additional 20 min. or until the cheese is melted and turing golden brown.
  4. Serve:  Serve with some good crusty bread and a green salad.


Serves 8-10.



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Easy garden fresh pizza recipe with fresh vegetables and whole grain crust.

Garden Fresh Pizza

One of my favorite things about late summer is the produce flowing from the backyard garden.  I have (finally!) learned that its best to create dishes around the produce I gather each day instead of trying to find a million recipes to use up everything I harvest.  Pizza is one thing that I have found you can add all sorts of random vegetables to with it turning out great, though slightly different, each time.  I made this particular pizza with rainbow chard, red onion, yellow summer squash, and fresh basil – but tomatoes, other greens such as spinach or kale, zucchini, peppers, etc can be used with good results.

– Jessica



whole grain pizza dough – enough for a large pizza

1 6 oz can tomato sauce

1 tsp Italian seasoning

about 4 cups of greens (chard, spinach, kale), cut into bite sized pieces

1-2 cups mozzarella cheese

1 small summer squash, sliced thin

1/2 red onion, sliced thin

tomatoes, sliced (optional)

bell peppers, sliced (optional)

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

parmesan cheese, to taste

garlic salt, to taste

parsley flakes, to taste


 PREPARE OVEN, STONE, and PEEL:  Preheat the oven to 425 F with a pizza stone inside.  Cover a pizza peel with cornmeal.

DOUGH:  Roll out your favorite whole grain dough recipe and place it on the prepared pizza peel.

SAUCE:  Stir the Italian seasoning into the can of tomato sauce.  Spread how ever much of it you want onto the dough.

GREENS:  Sprinkle the greens on top of the sauce.  Yes, I know that it looks like way too much.  Don’t worry – it cooks way down.  If you put any less you won’t be able to tell that it is there at all.

CHEESE:  Now sprinkle on the cheese.  It is important that it goes on top of the greens so that it holds them down.

VEGGIE TOPPINGS:  Bring on the rest of the veggie toppings – spread them all over!  This is not your typical pizza – you really shouldn’t see much cheese when we are done with these toppings.

BAKE:  Slide the pizza off the pizza peel onto the pizza stone.  I like to use a spatula and have a helper when I do this since the pizza is so tall 🙂  Bake for about 12 minutes – when the cheese is melted and just starting to bubble, sprinkle the basil on top.  After a minute or so, pull out the pizza.

SPRINKLE:  Sprinkle the parmesan, garlic salt, and parsley on top if desired.  I desire.  It is delicious.  Slice and enjoy!

Summer Sprouted Bean Salad with Avocado

Summer Sprouted Bean Salad

We found this great new product at Costco “Organic Sprouted Bean Trio”  by tru Roots. It’s a quick – cooking and nutritious blend of lentils, adzuki and mung beans. Perfect for soup, salad or side dishes.

These are very easy to cook.  Combine 1 cup sprouted bean trio with 3 cups water or broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes or until desired tenderness is achieved. Drain excess water and serve. If you like lentils and beans, you will love this trio!

Here is a quick summer salad using this bean trio. Enjoy!



Cook 1 cup of beans according to package directions. Cool.



1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half

1 medium avocado, cut into 1/2″ pieces

1/2 cup orange or yellow sweet peppers

fresh cilantro, rosemary or basil chopped

*You can use any fresh veggies and herbs in this salad



Whisk together:

3 T. olive oil

1 T. balsamic vinaigrette

1/8 t. dry mustard

1 t. agave nectar or honey

salt and pepper to taste


Pour dressing over salad and enjoy!

Vegetarian Tacos

I love tacos. I love the crunchy shells. I love the fresh crispy cold lettuce and cool tomatoes along with the hot filling you can easily make in your crock pot or on the stove. Because I think tacos are so dang groovy, I had to create my version of a healthy vegetarian taco. I think these are simply marvelous! They are incredibly tasty, and yet amazingly healthy too. Full of filling and healthy lentils, brown rice and seasonings. Your kids will even be chowing down on these hummers.




1 cup lentils

1 cup brown rice

6 cups water

1 cup TVP (meat substitute) (optional)

1 packet Taco Seasoning
2 tsp chili powder
4 tbls ketchup
salt to taste

Crisp Corn Taco Shells
Shredded Lettuce
Grated Cheese
Light Sour Cream
Salsa or Hot Sauce


1.  Add lentils, brown rice and water into a crock pot.  Add seasonings and slowly cook until thick, tender and full of flavor.  TVP can also be added to this blend.  Just keep adding water if needed.

2.  Serve buffet style with crisp taco shells, fresh cut tomatoes and lettuce, grated cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa, etc.

Note: A quick way to make a variation on this amazing meal is to make a “taco salad”. Simply cook up the seasoned lentils and brown rice. Then layer it in a bowl, and top with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, crumbled multi-grain chips and salsa. It is fantastic!


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Low fat pasta recipe tossed with fresh vegetables and gorgonzola cheese.

Gorgonzola Rigatoni with Veggies

This vegetarian pasta recipe has the quickest, easiest, creamiest and HEALTHIEST gorgonzola sauce ever.  You would never even know how low fat it is.  Using fat free evaporated milk and cornstarch creates a creamy sauce that comes together without butter and without a long, slow thickening process.  Since gorgonzola is such a strong cheese, using a little bit adds a LOT of flavor.  This amount of sauce is perfect for adding some creamy cheesiness to the whole wheat rigatoni and Italian vegetables.  This meal also comes together quickly because the veggies don’t require a lot of prep.

– Jessica



9 oz whole wheat rigatoni pasta

1 12-oz can evaporated fat free milk

1 Tbsp cornstarch

2/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (3 oz)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 lb broccoli florets (about 3 cups)

1 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes (sliced in half if desired)

1/2 cup large whole pitted olives, sliced in half (about 12)

1 6-oz can sliced mushrooms, drained




 RIGATONI:  Cook the pasta according to pasta directions.

SAUCE:  While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.  Mix cornstarch and milk in a large sauce pan.  Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Turn the heat down to low and stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper.  Stir occasionally for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

 BROCCOLI: While the cheese is melting, place the broccoli florets in a microwave safe bowl with about 1/4 cup water in the bottom.  Cover the bowl with syran wrap or some other cover and microwave for about 3 minutes or until the broccoli is bright green, but still crisp-tender.

COMBINE:  Stir the pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms into the sauce.  Serve when everything is hot.



Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking Today pg 124.

macaroni and cheese for grownups with pasta, cheese, tofu, and vegetables

Mac ‘n Cheese For Grown-Ups

This is a healthy one-dish-meal recipe of “macaroni and cheese” that grown-ups can actually enjoy with their kids.  Lightly steamed vegetables and seasoned tofu are added to whole grain pasta and stirred into a highly flavorful sharp cheddar cheese sauce.  I got the idea for this recipe from the delicious “Country Cheddar” Amy’s Bowl.  Sometimes I get these Amy’s Bowls on sale for quick meals that I can pull out of the freezer if I’m in a pinch.  Amy’s products are all natural, organic, and taste great for frozen meals.  This particular variety was so good that I felt inspired to re-create it as a non-frozen variation that the whole family could enjoy together.  – Jessica


12 oz firm tofu

1 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

8 oz whole wheat rotini pasta

1 medium potato, cut into small cubes (1/2” or smaller)

2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small florets

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2” x 2” strips

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks or very thin slices (I use a mandolin slicer)



1 cup milk (fat content doesn’t matter)

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp ground mustard

1 Tbsp flour

8-10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated


 PREPARE TOFU:  Prepare the tofu by first draining out the water it is packaged in and then pressing out some more water by placing the brick between a few layers of paper towels and pressing down on it.  You don’t need to do this for a long time.  Just enough to dry it out a little bit.  This will help the tofu brown quicker and help it soak up other flavors.  Slice the tofu into slices about 1/2”x1/2”x1”.  I simply lay the brick down on a cutting board and since it is already about 1” or 1 1/2” thick, I just make 1/2” slices all the way across lengthwise and then 1/2” slices all the way across crosswise.

 SAUTE:  Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan over medium high heat.  You will want to choose one with a lid.  Stir the tofu in and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides.  Pour the tofu into a bowl and set aside.

PASTA:  Prepare the rotini according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside when done.

VEGETABLES:  While the pasta is boiling, place the prepared vegetables into the pan that the tofu was cooked in.  Stir over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, then stir in 2-3 Tbsp water and quickly cover the pan with a lid.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Start making the sauce while the veggies steam for 3-5 minutes.  Remove the vegetables from the pan and add to the tofu bowl once they are crisp-tender and still brightly colored.

SAUCE:  Place all sauce ingredients except for the cheese into a blender.  Blend until well mixed.  Then pour into the same pan that the tofu and vegetables cooked in.  Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and thickens.  Stir in the cheese.

COMBINE:  Add the tofu, pasta, & vegetables to the cheese sauce in the large skillet.  Stir until everything is well coated and warmed.

Green Bean Tofu Stirfry with almonds - quick & easy

Chinese Green Beans, Tofu & Almonds

This delicious, quick and healthy Chinese Green Bean Almond & tofu stir fry recipe is loaded with healthiness! Cut up a bunch of fresh green beans, and crank up the wok! It starts with browning the tofu cubes, then adding the almonds and green beans with your favorite stir fry sauce. It’s bursting with flavor! Everyone will be coming back for seconds!

1 Package of FIRM tofu
4 cups of cut fresh green beans

1/2 cup raw almonds olive oil or canola oil corn starch
Stir Fry Sauce (your favorite recipe or pre-made from a bottle)

  1. BROWN TOFU: Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes. In a large mixing bowl, lightly coat with corn starch. Gently sprinkle and turn tofu till corn starch is sticking to parts of the tofu. Then, add to a hot wok with oil. Gently stir every minute or so until the tofu is browned. Remove tofu and put back into mixing bowl until after beans are cooked.
  2. GREEN BEANS: Saute cut green beans and raw almonds in wok with heated oil. Stir regularly. I sometimes add a bit of water to the wok and place lid on walk. This creates a great steam chamber which is a way to cook beans without as much oil. When beans are just tender, and almonds toasted, add your favorite stir fry sauce and gently stir in. Add tofu at the end and lightly mix in as to not break up the cubes. Serve and enjoy!

Note: It is so important to eat raw fruits and vegetables. But, sometimes it is just hard to grab an orange or apple or banana and just eat it straight. But, if you can cut it up in little bites and mix it with a few other fruits, somehow it becomes this fun exotic experience of fruit indulgence! Give it a try! Make it a regular in your snacking and cut up whatever you have on hand. You’ll feel refreshed and healthy! 

Healthy & Delicious Cilantro Baked Tilapia recipe

Cilantro Baked Tilapia

This is a healthy, easy and very flavorful Cilantro Baked Tilapia recipe.  Cooking fish can be a little intimidating at first.  It is so delicate and easy to overcook!  Fear not.  This recipe is difficult to ruin.  It is baked in a flavorful cilantro ginger sauce that keeps the fish moist as it cooks.  Start the grains cooking before you prepare the tilapia so when the fish is done you will have meal.


2 large tilapia fillets (or similar thin white fish) – about 1 lb

salt and pepper to taste

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 Tbsp soy sauce (use tamari to make gluten free)

1/4 cup white grape juice

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

green onions, sliced (garnish)

extra cilantro, coarsely chopped (garnish)


 OVEN, FISH, & DISH PREP:  Preheat the oven to 475 F.  Place the fish in a glass baking dish that is just big enough to fit the fish (I use a 11×7” one).  Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.

BLEND:  Place the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, juice, sesame oil, and cilantro into a food processor and blend it up.  Pour the mixture over the fish.

BAKE:  Bake for 8 minutes or until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through (internal temperature of 145).

SERVE:  Serve over quinoa, couscous, or brown rice.  Pour extra sauce over the grains and garnish with green onions and cilantro.


Inspired by theKitchn

Vegetarian Sloppy Joe recipe with lentils & brown rice

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

This is a fairly easy super healthy vegetarian sloppy joe recipe for the slow cooker. Just throw all the ingredients into the large crock pot and it’ll feed a small army! Sloppy joes are kind of a family favorite. Who doesn’t like them? What I wanted to go for is a healthier vegetarian version. Easy to make. Filling. The only thing about this version is it is a slow cooker recipe so it can all be done in a crock pot but it does take time. You have to be a bit flexible when you make this and be willing to adjust this as you go. The main variables are adjusting the water as you go, so you end up with a very thick consistency. Also, feel free to season this using my recipe as the base, but slowly add a bit here and there to get it perfect for your tastes.


1 1/2 cups lentils
2 cups short grain brown rice
1 1/2 cups TVP (optional but good)
8-10 cups water
1/3 cup dried onion pieces
2 packs sloppy joe seasoning mix
2 tsp garlic powder
1 can tomato paste
6 tbls ketchup barbecue sauce to taste
sea salt to taste
whole wheat hamburger buns

1. SLOW COOKER: In a large slow cooker, add water, lentils, brown rice, tvp and dry seasonings and allow to cook on high for a few hours till the lentils and rice are very soft and the mixture thickens up. The water may need to be adjusted as the cooking progresses to ensure you have enough moisture to cook thoroughly.

2. SEASON: When all dry ingredients are soft and thickened to a consistency of sloppy joe mix, add bbq sauce, tomato paste and ketchup to taste. This is where you need to be creative and add slowly the bbq sauce to your tastes. Mix in thoroughly and serve on whole wheat hamburger buns.

Note: As in many of my recipes, I recommend being flexible with the amounts for this recipe. This makes a nice batch. As the ingredients cook in the slow crock pot cooker, keep stirring occasionally and check for needed water if the lentils and rice aren’t soft enough. This usually gets better if it cooks for several hours with the seasonings and the sauces. 

whole wheat pasta recipe with tuna and baby peas for a quick healthy meal

Angel Hair Pasta with Tuna & Baby Peas

This angel hair tuna salad recipe with peas is similar to the famous “tuna casserole,” but light and more elegant.  Fast, too.  This one-dish meal will please kids and adults alike.  – Jessica

1 lb whole wheat angel hair pasta
1 1/2 cups milk (skim or low fat)
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 cups frozen baby peas
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup onion (red or yellow), minced
2  5-oz cans tuna fish, drained
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
Additional salt or freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)

PASTA:  Cook pasta according to package directions.
SAUCE:  While pasta is boiling, add milk, flour, salt, and pepper into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add frozen peas, but don’t blend them.  Set aside.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions and saute until translucent.  Add blender mixture with peas.  Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes.  The sauce should thicken a little.
COMBINE:  When pasta is done, drain well.  Put the pasta back into it’s pot and stir in the sauce and tuna over low heat.  Once pasta is thoroughly coated, remove from heat and serve.  If you cook it all together too long or mush up all the tuna instead of leaving it in chunks, the entire dish will taste like tuna.  I prefer just to have the chunks of tuna to taste like tuna.
TOP:  Serve and top with Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.

Note:  If you are not a big fan of tuna, leave it out.  It is delicious with just the peas!

Recipe inspired by Hodgson Mill’s Angel Hair with Baby Pea Sauce, which is found on the back of their angel hair pasta package.

Green Chili Vegetarian Enchiladas Casserole recipe layered with yams, beans, cheese, corn tortillas and green chilis

Green Chile Enchilada Vegetarian Casserole

Cinco de Mayo recipe!  This layered enchilada recipe is easy and simple to make. I love green chili enchiladas. Having lived in New Mexico I have eaten a fair amount of green chili recipes. I created this as more of a casserole instead of the traditional rolled up enchiladas. Mainly because I am not very good at rolling up enchiladas and having them come out looking so good. And the casserole concept builds super fast which is always big in my book. I create a mixture of roasted yams, black beans, corn and pinto beans. I make these with the best green chili sauce I can buy commercial brand. Hey, it is just easier. These make up super fast and are a sure hit.  – Curt

For more Cinco de Mayo healthy recipe ideas check out Jessica’s awesome Menu!

4 yams

2 cans black beans
1 can pinto beans
2 cups frozen sweet corn

3 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin
corn tortillas
2 20 ounce cans green chili sauce grated jack cheese to taste

  1. YAMS:  Roast yams at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven, cool, and remove skins. Then dice into small pieces.
  2. BLACK BEAN MIXTURE:  In a large mixing bowl combine black beans, pinto beans, corn, diced yams and seasonings.
  3. LAYER:  In a large deep casserole dish, layer ingredients. Start with a layer of green chili sauce, then add a layer of tortillas. Cover that with the bean mixture and top with cheese. Repeat until casserole dish is almost fill. The top layer should have a layer of tortilla, then a bit of sauce, with cheese as the final touch. Bake at 375 till cheese has a light golden brown. Serve with guacamole, green chili salsa and sour cream.


healthy oriental gluten-free salad with rice noodles, tofu and spinach

Oriental Noodle Salad

This healthy Oriental Noodle Salad recipe is a FAMILY favorite – easy, gluten free and vegan! The dressing is really tasty, and forgiving. You can adjust according to taste and it is also good with a little fresh ginger or peanut butter (for a thai peanut flavor). * This recipe makes A LOT of salad! Great for a dinner party or lunch with your friends! This recipe was inspired by our great friend Ali Eisenach’s Oriental Salad in her “When Life Gives You Friends” cookbook, visit her at



1/2 cup oil (you can use olive oil)

4 T. sesame oil

3/4 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup red wine vinegar

4-6 T. agave nectar (adjust to taste)

1/2 t. pepper

Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.  Set aside while you cook tofu and noodles.

1 T. coconut oil

1 lb. extra firm tofu, cut into 1″ pieces

12 oz. rice noodles (or more)

Cook tofu in coconut oil In a large skillet until brown and crisped on the edges (season with a little salt). Remove from heat. Boil noodles until soft. drain and set aside. Pour half of the dressing directly onto the noodles and let marinate while you prepare the salad ingredients.


In a large bowl combine:

6-8 cups spinach

4 green onions, diced

1 large orange, peeled and cut into sections

2 red peppers, sliced (you can use orange or yellow peppers)

2 cups sugar snap peas


Add noodles, tofu and pour remaining dressing on top. Eat right away or chill before serving (I generally like to toss all the ingredients together right before serving…if you need to prepare noodles and tofu earlier in the day, just cover or place in large zip lock bags in the fridge until you are ready to serve). If you choose you could substitute the tofu for chicken. Enjoy!

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Black Bean Burger recipe with Mushrooms and Swiss Cheese

Black Bean Burger Melt

This is a very quick and healthy black bean burger recipe that can be whipped up in minutes flat. You can make your own black bean burgers, but for sheer convenience and speed, you can use any store brand black bean or veggie burger which makes this a snap (see notes below). The avocado adds a freshness to the meal and the sauteed mushrooms add a nice dimension. Without the hassle and extra calories of a bun, this makes a real fun quick tasty meal. – Curt


1 Black Bean Burger

Swiss Cheese (or your favorite cheese)

Sliced Mushrooms

Sliced Avocado


  1.  Thaw the frozen burger, or quickly microwave where it isn’t frozen.
  2.  Heat a cast iron skillet (or any skillet) to medium high temp.
  3.  Add a dab of olive oil on skillet and spread around. Brown the one side of the burger.
  4.  In another skillet, or if there is room in the skillet you are cooking with, add sliced mushrooms and saute till just soft and browned.  Remove mushrooms when done.
  5. Flip burger, and top with sliced cheese. Continue to cook. I usually top the skillet with a lid to assist the cheese in melting. When done, remove the burger and place on plate. Smother with mushrooms and top with fresh sliced avocado. Enjoy!


NOTE:  You can really use any veggie burger for this recipe. But my favorite is the Chipotle Black Bean Burger from Morningstar Farms. I buy them at Costco. They are 1/4 pound and really are great. Again, you can create your own veggie burgers at home but I have found it is a lifesaver to have some alternatives for when you are on the run, or don’t have a lot of time. This is why I love this recipe. It cooks up super fast, and is filling and nutritious. You can also add salsa to this dish for another nice twist.


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Quick and easy Fish Tacos with cabbage slaw and cilantro lime dressing

Flying Fish Tacos

I love fish tacos. They are so quick and easy to make, EXCEPT for the fish part, right? They have the cleanest feel to them- No surprise, as they contain fish and a crisp cabbage slaw.    My brother in-law, Eric, is a wonderful cook and occasionally passes on brilliant cooking ideas to the rest of the family.  He solves the time-consuming-fish-problem by using a high quality fish stick in his fish tacos.  You just throw the frozen sticks onto a pan and cook them while preparing the rest of the meal and setting the table.  And voila! – fish tacos that are so fast to prepare they are FLYING!   – Jessica

8 all-natural high quality fish sticks (I used Trident Food’s “Ultimate Fish Sticks” from Costco)

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, without stems
1 tomatillo, unwrapped, washed and quartered
1 green onion, sliced
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and chopped coarsely
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

3 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup diced bell peppers (I like a combination of red, orange, and yellow ones)
1/2 cup cilantro, stems removed and coarsely chopped

8  6-inch corn tortillas
1 avocado, sliced (optional)
1-2 limes, sliced into wedges (optional)
FISH:  Cook the fish sticks according to package directions.
DRESSING:  Blend all dressing ingredients in a food processor or in a bowl with an immersion blender until completely blended.
SLAW:  While the fish sticks are baking, assemble the slaw.  Mix the cabbage, bell peppers, cilantro and just enough dressing to lightly coat in a medium sized bowl.
TORTILLAS:  Warm the tortillas in either in the microwave with a little bit of water spread between each one, or individually in a pan on the stove with a little bit of olive oil.  On the stove tastes a little better, but the microwave is obviously faster.
ASSEMBLE:  When the fish sticks are done cooking, place one inside of each tortilla.  Top with about 1/2 cup of slaw and avocado slices.  Squeeze fresh lime on top for an extra zing!  Fish tacos are also delicious topped with some fresh mango or pineapple salsa.

Falafel recipe with chickpeas


One of my favorite middle-eastern dishes is the falafel.  Falafel is a ball or patty made from ground chickpeas (garbonzo beans) and usually served in a pita.  They are usually deep-fried, but this recipe version can also be baked or cooked on a George Foreman-type grill.  They are a filling and flavorful meat-replacer.   –  Jessica


1 med-large onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1 tsp minced garlic

1 can chickpeas (garbonzo beans), or 1 1/2 cups cooked ones

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 egg

1 cup dry whole wheat bread crumbs (more or less)


  1.   CHOP & MIX:  In a food processor, mince the onion, parsley, and garlic very small.  (You can also do this by hand, it will just take longer.)  Add the chickpeas and pulse until they are chopped small, but still have some texture.  We don’t want a mushy mess.
  2.   STIR:  In a medium sized bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, salt, black and cayenne peppers, lemon juice, baking powder, olive oil, and egg.  Stir just until evenly mixed.  Stir in the chickpea onion mixture.
  3. THICKEN AND FORM PATTIES:  Slowly stir in the bread crumbs just until the mixture holds together well and you are able to form patties that are not too sticky and do not crumble apart when you try to flip them with a spatula.  Form the mixture into balls and then flatten into patties.  I like to make mine about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick.
  4. COOK:  I like to cook my falafel on a George-Foreman type grill because it is so easy.  Simply spray both sides of the falafel with a spray cooking oil and place then on the pre-heated grill.  Cook until browned on both sides and cooked through.  If baking in the oven instead, spray both sides of the falafel with spray cooking oil, bake them at 425 F for 20 minutes, then flip them and bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Serve in warm whole wheat pitas with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, red onion and cucumber yogurt sauce (see dancing carrots recipe for cucumber yogurt sauce).

Asparagus crepes with white sauce recipe

Asparagus Crepes

This is a mellow, comforting dish that my mom would make when I was young.  I have modified it a bit and you would never guess that this recipe is SO easy – or SO healthy!  The sauce can be whipped up in minutes- and can also be fat free, as long as you use fat free evaporated milk in it.  The crepes are made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour.

– Jessica



1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 cup milk

4 eggs

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbsp butter, melted (optional)



1 can evaporated milk

1 Tbsp cornstarch

salt and pepper to taste


2 bunches of Asparagus, bottoms snapped off


  1. CREPES:  Preheat a medium-sized frying pan over medium to medium high heat.  Lightly oil with a cooking spray.  In a medium sized bowl, whisk the flour, milk, eggs, salt, (and melted butter) together until smooth.  Pour about 3 Tbsp crepe batter into the center of the pan, immediately picking up the handle and rotating the pan until a very thin crepe is formed (as wide as possible, while still retaining a circular shape).  When bubbles start forming, and before the bottom browns, flip the crepe with a spatula.  Repeat until all the batter is gone.  Should make about 15 crepes.  Keep crepes on a plate in a warm oven until ready to eat.
  2. SAUCE:  In a small sauce pan, whisk the evaporated milk and cornstarch together.  Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Once boiling, cover, turn heat down to a simmer, and stir occasionally while preparing the rest of the meal.  Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. ASPARAGUS:  Steam the asparagus for 3-5 minutes – just until tender-crisp and bright green.
  4. PLATE:  Place 3-5 stalks of asparagus in each crepe and fill and/or top each one with about 3 Tbsp sauce


Note:  For an extra quick and easy meal, cook the crepes in advance.  They re-heat well in the microwave.  Make the sauce and steam the asparagus fresh.


Find us at Mandy’s recipe boxPint Sized BakerInside Brucrew life Link Parties!

crock pot polenta with spinach and red peppers healthy dinner

Spanish Polenta and Butter Beans

Spanish Polenta and Butter Beans gluten free recipe. The ultimate spanish comfort food – you will not be disappointed with this mildly flavored, creamy textured dish.  Polenta can be time consuming to make with lots of stirring over the stove top.  This recipe calls for using a slow cooker instead.  This means no long bouts of stirring and no lumps!  For an even quicker and easier version, purchase 2 prepared tubes of polenta.



2 cups whole grain cornmeal
6 cups boiling vegetable or chicken broth
salt to taste (if using bullion
for broth, no salt needed)


2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 red pepper, diced
1 15-oz can butter beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups raw spinach, packed
¾ cup vegetable broth
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ cup shredded Monterey jack cheese (or vegan cheese)
salt and pepper to taste


PREPARE POLENTA: Spray the walls of a slow cooker crock with non-stick spray and sprinkle in the cornmeal.  Add the boiling broth and whisk until lump free.  Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 7-9  hours until very thick.  Pour and spread into a large bread pan, casserole dish, or baking sheet, sprayed with a non-stick spray, and refrigerate until completely cooled and “set.” This may take a few hours.
SAUTE POLENTA: Dice polenta into ½ inch cubes.  Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat, place polenta cubes in a single layer, and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes or until starting to brown.  Transfer to a dish and set aside.  You may need to do this in 2 batches.
MAKE BUTTER BEAN SPINACH MIXTURE: In the same large saute pan, reduce heat to medium, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and garlic and stir for about 30 seconds.  Add onion and red pepper and cook for 3 minutes or just until tender.  Stir in beans, spinach and vegetable broth and cook until spinach is wilted – about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vinegar and cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
FINISH: Place a layer of polenta cubes on each plate and top with butter bean spinach mixture.

Steamed Vegetables with healthy Cheese Sauce for dinner

Steamed Veggies with Cheese Sauce

This is absolutely one of our all time favorite vegetarian recipes. This rich cheese sauce gets a bit of a kick from the sharp cheddar and swiss cheeses. It’s a perfect compliment over a bed of steamed broccoli, cauliflower carrots and white potatoes. While cheese sauce would not be considered “low-fat”, we have tried to make it as healthy as possible, and served over a steamed batch of veggies makes it justifiable! We also serve this dish with a side of whole wheat bread… which is wonderful for dipping into the sauce.

-Curt and Jessica


¼ cup butter
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
4 cups milk (I always use skim)
2 cups sharp cheddar or swiss

1 large bunch of Broccoli
1 head of cauliflower
4-6 large carrots
4 medium white potatoes

STEAM: Cut vegetables into small sections for steaming. Place into a large pot for steaming (with a steamer tray inserted). Add an inch or two of water, cover and steam until vegetables are tender… about 15 to 20 minutes.  Since the broccoli will cook faster than the rest of the vegetables, to prevent it from getting mushy and turning a yucky green color, you can add the broccoli during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
BOIL: While vegetables are steaming prepare sauce. Slowly bring 4 cups of milk to a boil, stirring constantly. Stirring is essential because milk will scald quickly! Combine 1 cup of milk with flour and either shake in a mixing jar or blend and add to the milk. (I recommend having the flour and milk combined and ready to poor before starting to heat milk so that you can continually stir without stopping). Continue stirring over heat until the mixture thickens and immediately remove from the stove.
FINISH: Stir in grated cheese, salt and pepper until cheese is melted and sauce is ready to serve.

easy dinner sweet potatoes with black beans and tomatoes

Loaded Sweet Potatoes

This super easy recipe is filling, fast, & packed with nutrients!  It can be made just as easily for a single person as for a large family (Just reduce or increase the amount of ingredients used). Microwave the sweet potatoes, and load on the toppings!


4 small sweet potatoes or yams
2 cans black beans
1 can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings

Optional toppings:
Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Green onions, sliced


MICROWAVE or BAKE: Microwave or bake sweet potatoes until tender.  This should only take about 4 minutes per potato in the microwave or about 45 minutes in a 400 degree oven.  Be sure to pierce each potato with a fork before cooking.
SIMMER: Combine black beans and tomatoes in a small pot over low heat.  Simmer until hot, stirring occasionally.
FINISH: Slice the sweet potatoes in half and top with black bean mixture.  Sprinkle on additional toppings.


ready in 5 minutes.

Serves 4

Hearty Vegetable Pot Pie recipe with whole wheat crust

Hearty Vegetable Pot-Pie

Hearty and satisfying, this pot-pie is perfect for a cold winter’s day, or if you’re just really hungry!  And because the entire meal is cooked in only one pan, there is minimal clean-up.  The hardest part is just chopping the vegetables!


Pastry Dough
1 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 tsp salt
½ cup cold butter
4-6 Tbsp very cold water


1 Tbsp butter or olive oil
½ medium yellow onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
3 medium carrots, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cups broccoli, chopped
8-12 oz. white mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 small russet potatoes, diced small (about 2 ½ cups)
¼ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas, corn, or soy beans, thawed
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup fresh chives, chopped (or ½ cup scallion greens, chopped)
1 Tbsp white vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 large egg yolk


SAUTE: Warm oil or butter over medium heat in a 3- to 4-quart heavy bottomed omelet pan or cast iron pan that can also be used in the oven. Add onions, carrots, and broccoli and cook until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and potato, and season with salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have shrunken, about 6 minutes.

MAKE IT SAUCEY: Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth.  (If vegetables are starting to stick to the bottom of the pan before it is time to add the liquid, a small amount of liquid can be added in advance).  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, add peas/corn/soybeans, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add herbs and vinegar, and stir to coat.  Taste, and adjust seasonings.

TOP & BAKE IT: Whisk egg yolk with 1-2 tsp water in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Place rolled-out dough over the top of the filling in the pan.  Cut the dough to fit, and tuck it into the edges of the pan.  Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent.  Bake at 400° F for 25-30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the pot-pie is bubbling.

Rainbow Couscous with zucchini summer squash mushrooms and carrots

Rainbow Couscous

Rainbow Couscous recipe is made from wheat and is delightfully light and fluffy.  It is used in middle-eastern countries much like rice is used elsewhere.  In this recipe, the couscous is topped with a variety of bright and flavorful sauteed vegetables.  You’ll feel like you’re somewhere over the rainbow eating this one!


4 cups prepared whole grain couscous, according to package directions
2 Tbsp olive oil
½ pound extra firm tofu or 1 chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cups raw broccoli, chopped
½ medium zucchini, sliced (about 1 cup)
½ medium yellow crookneck squash, sliced (about 1 cup)
½ pound sliced mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped into chunks (about 1 cup)
1 green bell pepper, chopped into chunks (about 1 cup)
1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
¼ cup cold water
1 tsp cornstarch
3 tsp vegetable or chicken bullion
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup cilantro, chopped


PREPARE: Prepare whole grain couscous according to package directions in order to make
4 cups.  While couscous is cooking, the rest of the meal can be made.
SAUTE: Place oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Add tofu or chicken and saute until fully cooked.  If using tofu, cook for several minutes, until it has shrinked and is starting to look golden brown.  This will give it a more firm texture.  Add all vegetables and cook 3-5 minutes, or until tender-crisp, stirring frequently.  Add a small amount of water to the pan, if the vegetables are starting to stick or burn.  Stir ¼ cup water, cornstarch, and bullion together in a small bowl.  Stir the mixture into the vegetables and turn the heat down to low.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and add chopped cilantro.
FINISH: Serve immediately over prepared couscous.  Garnish with pieces of cilantro.


Note: When sauteing vegetables, don’t over cook them or they will turn limp and lose their color.  Shoot for bright, tender-crisp veggies!

healthy baked potatoes stuffed with broccoli mushrooms onions and cheese recipe for an easy meal

Veggie & Cheese Stuffed Potatoes

As a young boy, my mother used to make baked stuffed potatoes which I still remember fondly to this day.  They were always large russets, stuffed with light and flavorful mashed potatoes mixed in with broccoli, cheese and mushrooms.  This simple recipe is a real treat and should become a favorite in your home.  It’s great as a leftover ready for a quick re-heat in the microwave.


5 medium to large baking potatoes
2 cups finely chopped broccoli, stems and florets
1 -2 tablespoon butter
1 cup sliced  mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped green onions
1 cup skim milk
1 – 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. salt
pepper to taste
paprika (optional)
½ teaspoon onion powder


BAKE: Bake potatoes in 425° F oven until tender when pierced with a fork (approximately 1 to 1 ¼ hours).
SAUTE: While potatoes are baking,  chop broccoli up fine and saute  in a few teaspoons of water (see note on water sauteing) until almost tender then add mushrooms and continue until lightly done.  Set aside.
ASSEMBLE: When potatoes are done baking, pull out of oven and cut the top off each potato so that the insides can easily be scooped out with a spoon.  (You may need a hot pad!)   Carefully scoop out insides placing the whites of the potato into large mixing bowl.  Enough sturdiness of the shell should be left to hold the stuffing.
MIX & FILL: Mash with butter and just enough milk until potatoes are light and fluffy.  Add scallions, sauteed vegetables, grated cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper to mashed potatoes and mix well.  Fill potato shells carefully with this mixture and finish by sprinkling top of each potato with a dash of paprika.  They should be stuffed full of the mixture and should taste magnificent!
BAKE: Bake 15 minutes more at 425° F and serve.


Note: The tops of the potatoes can even be layered with stuffing  and baked.  No need to waste anything! If in a hurry, you can boil the potatoes instead of baking them and simply have veggie mashed potatoes.

Three-Pepper-Fajitas recipe, easy

Three Pepper Fajitas

Three Pepper Fajita recipe is quick, filling, healthy, easy, and delicious!  Ole!



2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
1 red onion, sliced
Optional:  Zucchini, Mushrooms, Potatoes and broccoli.

8-10 whole wheat tortillas


1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt

optional toppings:
shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
sour cream or plain yogurt

healthy vegetarian enchilada casserole recipe with beans peppers and olives

Enchilada Casserole

These enchiladas are New Mexico style, which are layered in sections of tortillas, vegetable-bean filling and cheese, then baked.  The inspiration for this recipe came from my time I lived in New Mexico where I gained a real love of vegetarian style enchiladas.  This is a sensational health-conscious version.  You must try this one!  They make fantastic left-overs!



12 corn tortillas
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 15 oz. cans pinto beans
2 cups frozen corn
1 can black olives, chopped (optional)
2 cans green chilies 4 oz.


2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
4 cups grated cheese (colby, mozzerella, jack etc)


2 16 oz. cans tomato sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
5 teaspoons chili powder
3 teaspoons cumin powder
salt & pepper to taste


SAUCE: In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Heat sauce to where it is warm to the touch on stove.  Set aside.
VEGETABLE BEAN FILLING: While sauce is simmering, in a mixing bowl, combine cut peppers, pinto beans, chopped olives, corn and green chillis. Set aside.
CHEESE MIXTURE: In a mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese with 3 cups cheese.  Set aside for assembly. Leave last part of cheese for topping.
ASSEMBLE: Dip tortillas in sauce and  put a layer of tortillas in a large casserole dish.  Spread a couple of spoonfulls of sauce over layer of tortillas.  Follow with layer of filling, then cheese mixture.  Continue until all ingredients have been used. Try to add at least 3-4 layers of torillas as they add body to the casserole.  Top with remaining sauce and cover with remaining cheese.
BAKE: Bake at 350° F for 20-30 minutes.  Serve hot.
OPTIONAL: Top each serving with a spoon of guacamole and cold shredded lettuce.

baked potato recipe with vegetarian toppings such as broccoli, vegetarian baked beans and steamed veggies

Baked Potato Buffet

What a great meal and easy recipe. A large baker potato, right out of the oven with a table full of toppings.  Man could not be in a happier state!  A great meal for large groups… or if you are eating alone, just pick out which topping you want and keep it simple.



Large russet Idaho potatoes, baked in the oven or in the microwave


Barbecued Beans
Shredded cheese
Cottage Cheese
Vegetarian Chili
Steamed Broccoli
Steamed Veggies
Butter (go easy)
Lo-Fat Sour Cream (go easy)
Cheese Sauce

Healthy Macaroni and Cheese recipe

Mac and Cheese Homestyle

Macaroni and Cheese is a classic American favorite.  Who can’t remember sitting down to a bowl of hot macaroni in a rich orange cheese sauce.  This is a lower-fat variation, using whole grain macaroni.  Whole wheat macaroni can be purchased in most health food stores or larger super-markets.


1 16 ounce package whole wheat elbow macaroni

5 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups grated cheese. Use flavorful cheeses such as sharp cheddar, swiss and jarlzburg (or whatever you have)
salt and pepper to taste


PASTA: In a large pot cook macaroni as directed on package and drain.  Set aside in a separate container.
SAUCE: In a blender combine flour and 2 cups of milk and blend till it is thoroughly mixed. In  the same large pot that the macaroni was cooked in (now without the noodles) pour in flour and milk mixture along with the rest of the milk. Slowly bring milk and flour to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stirring is essential because milk will scald quickly if not watched carefully.  Once this boils the milk mixure will thicken into a sauce. Turn off heat and stir in grated cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be rich and flavorful. Feel free to add cheese or seasonings to taste.
FINISH: Pour back in macaroni into the sauce and gently mix in. Serve with side of parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.


NOTE:  Use anywhere from 10 to 14 ounces of cheese in the sauce. Realizing of course, the more cheese in the recipe, the higher the fat content.

Vegetarian Chili Recipe with beans, chilis, and olives

Lost Mission Vegetarian Chili

When I lived in New Mexico I fell in love with the many variations of vegetarian chili that I was able to sample. This recipe was inspired after driving the back roads from Albuquerque to Santa Fe and visiting an old, incredibly romantic looking mission. We had many a bowl of great chili during those great adventures, and whenever I make my chili, my memories go back to the the dusty back roads, lost missions and quaint cafes of New Mexico. This is a very fresh tasting chili, full of hearty beans, grains & vegetables. It can be served topped with a bit of grated cheddar cheese and a side of tortilla chips and salsa.



3 red onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, crushed
4 cups water (adjust as needed)
3 cans pinto beans
1 can red beans
1 large potato, diced
1 yam, diced

1 8 oz Cans Tomato Sauce
4 Tbl. chili powder
1 Tsp. cumin
1 Tsp. garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste

(jazz it up the way you want)
1 can black olives, chopped
2 cups frozen corn
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 – 4 oz cans Diced Green Chilis


1. In a large stock pot, saute diced onions and garlic in olive oil until browned.  Add water, beans, potatoes, & yam and slowly boil until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes). If needed, add a little water.
2. Turn the temperature to medium heat and add the rest of the ingredients and seasonings. Add more water if needed… and Allow chili to slowly cook until all the veggies are just tender and the chili is rich and full of flavors. You may want to adjust seasonings to taste adding more chili powder, cumin, garlic or salt & pepper to your individual preferences.
Serve with a bit of grated sharp cheddar cheese and a side of cornbread and/or chips and salsa.


Note:  Chili Powders can very in flavor and intensity. It is recommended you season gradually. Add most the seasonings then add more if needed. Adjusting the seasonings a bit can vary the flavor. Add more or less of garlic, chili and cumin to give it your preference of flavor. The carmelized onions and garlic are a must to give a rich full flavor.