Quick Easy Meal 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!

 

 

Ingredients

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.

 

 

 

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.

-Curt

 

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.

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.

-Jessica

 

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.

-Jodi

 

INGREDIENTS

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

 

DIRECTIONS

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 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!

-Jessica

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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Kale & Walnut Pesto

This Kale & Walnut Pesto recipe is a great twist on the classic. My dear friend Jeanne made this recipe for me, and I was blown away! Enjoy this recipe tossed with your favorite cooked pasta or serve with crackers.

-Curt

Prepare time: 30 minutes (approx.)

 INGREDIENTS:

½ cup walnuts
1 bunch kale, leaves torn. Discard thick stems.
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 small clove garlic (additional to liking)
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil

 

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes. Cool.
2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add kale and cook until bright green. Drain and cool.
3. In a food processor, combine walnuts, kale, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper and process until finely chopped.
4. Add olive oil through top feed and mix through.

Toss with your favorite pasta. 

 

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Zucchini Grinders

This is our most requested vegetarian meal for dinner time. It’s also probably the easiest dinner we have too. A classic favorite: Zucchini Grinders. It’s a sandwich smothered in a zucchini spaghetti sauce and melted cheese. Yum. How could you go wrong? It’s also great with cooked mushrooms. Hope you enjoy as much as we do.

-Jodi

 

Serves 4

 

Ingredients: 

1 T olive oil
2 medium zucchinis, cubed
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup marinara sauce
1 1/2-2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 (6 in) whole wheat sandwich rolls, split

 

 Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Fry the zucchini in oil until browned and slightly tender. Season with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and stir in the marinara sauce. Cook and stir until the sauce is heated through.

3. Place sandwich rolls open-faced on a cookie sheet in the oven and bake for about 5 minutes or until they are toasted. Remove from oven.

3. Place a square of aluminum foil under each sandwich roll. Spoon generous amounts of the zucchini mixture into each roll. Top with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese. Loosely wrap the foil around the bottom and sides of the sandwich.

4. Bake for 5-7 minutes in oven or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

 

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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.

-Curt

 

Corn Tortillas
Vegetarian low fat refried beans
grated cheese

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS
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 sandwich with avocado peppers cucumber tomatoes and sprouts

Avocado Veggie Sandwich

Avocado is truly the king of veggie sandwich recipes.  It is easy and outrageously delicious.  There are quite a few variations of this sandwich that I have sampled in different  natural foods cafe’s while on my travels.   I have made these for guests on many occasions and it always goes over in a very big way.   This is a fairly simple sandwich to make.  It starts with layering a whole wheat bread slice with a seasoned avocado spread.. then is topped with layers of cucumbers, green pepper, and tomatoes, monterey jack cheese and alfalfa sprouts… all on whole wheat bread. It’s totally outrageous!

-Curt

 

Whole wheat bread
Cucumbers (peeled & sliced)
Tomatoes (sliced)
Green and /or red peppers
Alfalfa Sprouts
Sliced Monterey Jack Cheese – (or vegan cheese)

 

PREPARE:  Scoop out avocado and mash in a bowl till smooth.  Season with garlic salt and chopped green onion to taste. Slice remaining veggies and cheese and set aside for the construction of sandwiches.
FINISH:  Layer a slice of whole wheat bread with avocado spread… then simply layer remaining veggies & cheese on whatever order captures your imagination.  Top with sprouts and last layer of bread and cut diagonally.  Pierce with a toothpick and serve!
OPTIONAL:  Spread a bit of low-fat mayo on top layer of bread. (watch out for the fat!)

 

Vegetarian Cobb Salad recipe full of protein and veggies

Vegetarian Cobb Salad

Have you ever had a salad for dinner that didn’t leave you feeling healthy, only hungry afterwards?  This vegetarian cobb salad recipe is the answer.  Besides having lots of yummy fresh vegetables, it also has protein-rich beans, eggs, and cheese to help fill you up and satisfy your cravings for a real meal.  Make just enough for yourself or for a crowd.  Put on more of the toppings you love, dont include the toppings you dont love.  Make this your favorite entree salad!

-Jessica

 

Lettuce
Spinach
Green onion
Carrot
Cucumber
Tomato
Bell Pepper

Corn
Olives
Avocado
Kidney Beans
Hard Boiled Eggs
Cheese (cheddar or bleu)
Dressing

 

MIX:  Mix lettuce and spinach.  Top with the rest!  Try dipping your fork into a side of dressing before stabbing your bite of salad.  It gives you the flavor without too much dressing

 

 

 

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Salade Niçoise

Salade Niçoise comes from the town of Nice in southern France.  This entree salad has the perfect combination of mildly flavored toppings that blend together to form yummy French goodness.  The french certainly have a way with food.

-Jessica

 

1 head lettuce, torn
4 cups cooked brown rice, prepared as directed on label and cooled to room temperature
2 cans tuna fish, drained and flaked
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped or sliced
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
½ cucumber, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1 can whole, pitted olives, drained
Italian dressing or olive oil and vinegar

 

Assemble 4 plates of salad by first spreading lettuce leaves over the plates.  On top each of the lettuce beds, first place 1 cup of rice, then ¼ of each of the other toppings.  Sprinkle lightly with either Italian dressing or simply some olive oil and red wine vinegar.  Bon Appetit!

Serves 4

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!

-Jessica

 

frozen veggie burger patties
whole wheat buns
eggs (1 per burger)
cheese
lettuce
tomato
bell pepper
avocado
red onion
pickles
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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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!

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.

-Curt

 

BASE RECIPE

1 cup lentils

1 cup brown rice

6 cups water

1 cup TVP (meat substitute) (optional)

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

TACO TOPPINGS
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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vegan black bean soup with fresh lime, salsa.Garnish with crumbled tortilla chips

Easiest Black Bean & Salsa Soup

Our friend, Jodi, makes this Black Bean & Salsa vegan soup recipe to go with her tortilla patties for a super quick & healthy dinner. The limes and cilantro give it great flavoring. It would also accompany our spinach tortilla wedges or even a simple quesadilla perfectly.  This soup really couldn’t get any easier or better!

 

2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 cup chunky salsa (experiment with different kinds!)

1 tsp cumin

1-2 limes

cilantro for garnish

sour cream (non-vegan option)

 

 BLEND:  Blend half of the beans and all of the broth in a blender until fairly smooth.

 ADD & HEAT:  Pour the blender contents into a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the salsa, cumin, and the rest of the beans.  Stir occasionally until hot.

 TOP:  Ladle the soup into 4 bowls and top each bowl with freshly squeezed lime juice and cilantro. It is also delicious served with a dollop of sour cream in addition to or in place of the lime juice.

 

 

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)

 

Sauce:

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! 

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.

-Curt

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.

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Southwestern easy salad recipe with avocado & cilantro lime dressing

Southwest Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

The colors, flavors, textures are perfectly pleasing in this southwestern-style entree salad recipe.  But the Cilantro Lime Dressing is really what makes it special.  It is a sweet, tangy blend of cilantro, lime, honey, and jalapeno.  The corn, beans, and avocado provide enough substance to make this salad a meal in itself, but it also goes well with a quesadilla.
– Jessica

1-2 heads lettuce (I like to mix romaine with spinach or red leaf)
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup diced avocados
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup white corn (fresh or frozen and thawed)
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese
1 red onion, cut in half and sliced thin (so pieces look like half circles)
1 bunch cilantro, (coarsely chopped and most of the stems removed)

Dressing:
1 large jalapeno, seeds and rinds removed
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger
1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

  1. SALAD:  Combine all salad ingredients and toss lightly.
  2. DRESSING:  Place all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  If you have a high powered blender, you can put the ingredients in whole.  Otherwise, it may be wise to mince the jalapeno, garlic, and ginger first.  If you plan on eating all the salad in one sitting, pour on just enough dressing to coat as you lightly toss the salad.  You probably won’t use it all.  If you plan on having left over salad, serve the dressing on the side.

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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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Tortilla filled with spinach and melted cheese recipe

Spinach Tortilla Wedges

This is a super tasty recipe that cooks up very quickly. The key is finding a good multi-grain tortilla and some quality cheese. You can use any cheese you want. I usually use Jarlsberg and Gouda. But any will do depending on your tastes. I load it full of finely chopped spinach and grill it in a light dab of olive oil to make it super healthy. Top it with your favorite salsa and this is a sure winner. – Curt

MAKES 2 TORTILLA PIES

3 Cups finely chopped Spinach 1 Cup grated Cheese of choice (Jarlsberg, Gouda, sharp cheddar,

mozzarella)

4 multi-grain or whole wheat tortillas

olive oil

Salsa


1. Heat a cast iron skillet (or any skillet) to medium high temp.

2. Chop spinach up fine, and grate cheese. Then mix together for the filling.

3. Add a dab of olive oil on skillet and spread around. Place first tortilla on skillet.

4. Pile spinach mixture on the tortilla high. It will shrink in cooking. Place other tortilla on top. Then add a tablespoon of water to the skillet and cover the skillet with a lid. This creates a steam chamber that will cook down the spinach. Cook for a minute or so till the bottom tortilla is brown, but not burned. Remove lid and flip tortillas and brown the other side. I usually add a tablespoon of water again and cover to continue the oven like steam chamber process. When done, remover and chop into wedges, and top with your favorite salsa!

NOTE: There is no exact recipe for this as far as this being a perfect science. You have to be creative and just make them as you like them. The key is to chop the spinach very fine, and mix in a little grated cheese. The ratio is about 3 parts spinach to 1 part cheese. The spinach will reduce greatly when cooked. So I load a ton of spinach mixture in between the tortillas as it does cook down in volume. You can also add mushrooms or other vegetables. Just have fun and experiment. I like cooking on a cast iron skillet, but any skillet will do. Covering the skillet with a lid of some sort and adding a touch of water during the cooking will really help the spinach to cook down and the cheese to melt.

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)

DRESSING:
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

SLAW:
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.

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

 

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

VEGETABLES
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!

-Jessica

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

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.

-Curt

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!

-Jessica

 

fajitas
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

 

seasonings
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
½ tsp salt

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

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.

-Curt

 

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

TOPPING IDEAS:

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

Healthy Vegetarian Mini Pizza recipe

whole wheat bun pizza

I created this really quick and easy recipe mainly for my kids. We all love pizza, but making one from scratch is time consuming, and buying a commercial one is usually incredibly unhealthy. This is a great solution. The key is finding a whole wheat hamburger bun, or even a whole grain english muffin. Both work great. Just toast the bun, then load it up with sauce, cheese and healthy toppings!

-Curt

Whole wheat hamburger buns or
whole grain english muffins

SAUCE
Bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce
Garlic
Italian Seasonings
Parmesan Cheese
Tomato Paste

TOPPINGS
Mozzerella Cheese (and or other italian cheeses)
Olives, Pineapple Tid Bits, Green Pepper, Onions, Red Pepper, Zuchinni, Mushrooms (any of your favorite toppings)

 

1.  Lightly toast bun or english muffin
2.  Mix together tomato sauce with seasonings and paste to make a rich flavorful sauce
3.  Place bun or muffin on baking tray. Layer with a generous amount of sauce. Add plenty of cheese and toppings
4.  Bake at 400 till cheese is melted and lightly browned

 

NOTE:  The key to making this tasty is to jazz up the sauce. I buy a bottle of quality spaggetti sauce, then add garlic, italian seasonings and a bit of parmesan cheese. You can also thicken it with tomato paste, which makes for a richer sauce. I really push the sauce on the flavor side, as it is what makes this simple recipe a winner.

fresh basil pesto recipe with basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, olive oil, and parmesan cheese

Basil Pesto

This intensely flavorful sauce is delicious on pasta, pizza, and as a spread for toasted baguette.  A little bit goes a long way with this recipe!  Pesto can even be frozen for later use, which makes for an especially easy meal.

-Jessica

 

3 cups fresh basil leaves, loosely packed
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ tsp salt
½ cups olive oil
1/3 cups freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese

 

BLEND: Place basil and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times until basil leaves are fairly small.   Add in garlic, salt, olive oil and cheese.  Continue to  pulse until well blended, but with some texture remaining.

 

Note: Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days if tightly covered.  It can also be frozen for long-term storage.  The easiest way to freeze pesto is to put it into ice cube trays.  When frozen, remove from the trays and store the pesto cubes in a freezer bag.  When you want to use, it will be ready to thaw in individual portions!