Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Tempeh Hummus Wraps

I was surveying my fridge yesterday for lunch and wondering what new, healthy combination I could try other than my typical cheese sandwich.  I spied a package of tempeh in the back and Romaine lettuce in the vegetable crisper and an idea popped into my head.  A few weeks ago I was reading Iowa Girl Eats and glossed over a post called Buffalo Chicken BLAT Wraps.  While I would have never have made the recipe because bacon isn’t on a vegetarian’s menu, the Romaine lettuce must have stuck in my mind as an alternative to a wrap, bread, etc.  Voila! I was inspired to make Tempeh Lettuce Sandwiches.

If you have never tried to tempeh, make sure it is on your shopping list right now.  It’s a great protein option for a meal and totally delicious.  I discovered tempeh during my vegan experiment and have been hooked ever since.  This sandwich was a great new way to enjoy it.  The tempeh is  a great protein source to keep you full and satisfied.  The hummus gives a rich and robust flavor.  The red pepper adds a sweet crunch, and the lettuce adds a crisp finish to each bite.


4 oz of tempeh
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Hummus (Sabra is my favorite brand!)
Red pepper slices
Fresh cilantro
Romaine Lettuce leaves

1.  Saute tempeh in olive oil until browned on both sides.  Season with salt and pepper.\

2.  Spread hummus on lettuce leaf.

3.  Add tempeh and red pepper.  Garnish with cilantro.



Potato Casserole – He Had 2 Helpings!

I frequently try new recipes, and they are all geared towards my food interests.  That means they are all vegetarian.  Lately, I have concluded that Steve is either grateful that I am willing to cook or genuinely likes my new cooking adventures because he always tries everything.  Sometimes he isn’t too crazy about what is sitting on the plate before him, but he still tries it.  Everything is edible, and I don’t think that he has ever refused to eat anything.   Noticing this willingness to try new things,  I’ve been entering dangerous waters and throwing in some foods that I know that he isn’t crazy about.  Last night was a good example.

Steve doesn’t like potatoes.  Besides French fries, he’ll eat roasted potatoes but only if they are cut up really small and roasted so long that their insides taste like French fries.  I don’t like baked potatoes either, but I’m a little more flexible in my potato consumption.  I found a recipe on and decided to make a few modifications and give it a go.  I like making dinners that enable me to do early prep work (chopping when a kid doesn’t need to be held), have a short assembly time, and then it bakes in the oven while I go back to playing with the kids.  Casseroles work really well for me.

I call this Potato Casserole despite listing it as Potato Pizza because I cooked it in a 13×9 baking dish, and the end result was that it looked like a casserole.  This dish is fantastic because it has loads of veggies in it, protein from the tofu and eggs, complex carbs from the potatoes, and dairy from cheese.  I used CalorieKing to get an approximate calorie count and was happy to discover that the entire casserole has approximately 2308 calories, which means that 1/9th or 1 serving is only 256 calories!   For all you locals out there, now is the time to make it because it has zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes.  Tis the season for zucchini!

Potato Casserole adapted from Potato Pizza

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: Total 35 minutes

3 potatoes, shredded (used food processor)
1 onion, finely chopped (used food processor)
2 eggs
1/4 cup flour
2 small zucchinis, thinly sliced (used food processor)
2 small yellow squashes, thinly sliced ((used food processor)
1/2 med onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (or ample dash of garlic powder if you don’t have fresh garlic)
7 oz extra firm tofu, crumbled (1/2 a block)
1 jar marinara sauce
2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup mozzarella, optional (couldn’t really taste the cheese while eating)

1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 13×9 dish with cooking spray.

2. Mix the shredded potato, chopped onion, flour, and eggs together. Press into the bottom of the pan and Bake for 20 minutes. Spray top with olive oil (or cooking spray) and broil for 5 minutes.

3. Saute squash, zucchini, sliced onion, garlic, and tofu in 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender.
4. Pour mixture on to top of cooked potato, pour jar of sauce over top, sprinkle cheese over surface and then add the sliced tomatoes. Bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Sorry for the lack of and not so great pictures.  Trying to feed myself, Steve, the baby, and trying to convince my son that yes, he really does like all the food on his plate makes taking pictures low priority!  BTW – he did end up eating everything on his plate.

Calling All Mac & Cheese Lovers!

My commute to work is 45 minutes with traffic and 30 minutes without.  That may not seem so bad when I tell you that I work at a company with true flex time.  What does that mean?  It means that I can come to work and leave whenever I want as long as I work my 40 hours a week (actually, for me that’s only 24 hours a week because I’m part-time).  In my Pre-K (pre-kids) life, I frequently worked 7-3:30pm.  My commute was always without traffic.  Life Post-K isn’t that easy.

The problem is that the later I leave for work, the later I get home.  We start getting our kids ready for bed around 7:15pm and my husband gets home at 6:30pm, so we need to be eating dinner as soon as he walks in the door to give our kids some time between dinner and bedtime.  This means that I need to prepare a healthy dinner while watching 2 little kids that haven’t seen me all day.  My son is all over me and the baby cries unless I hold her. 

How in the world can I get dinner on the table by 6:30 and give my kids all the love and attention that they need? I ask this question every day.  Yesterday, I planned some meals for the week and decided that one of them would be Veggie Mac & Cheese.  While this meal is easy to make, as any vegetarian knows, it takes time to chop all those vegetables (ion non-work days, I usually do my chopping at nap time).  Last night, I had the brilliant idea to make it before I went to bed so I had nothing to do when I got home today except pop it in the oven.  Even better, I made 2 of them and froze one for another crazy and chaotic night.

What I love about this recipe is that it is homemade (none of that processed, powdered cheese) and there are more veggies in it than pasta.  The original recipe was listed in Taste of Home magazine years ago.  I’ve made my own modifications to accommodate my family.   It tastes as good as it looks.

Veggie Mac & Cheese

2 cups whole grain elbow macaroni
3 cups chopped broccoli
3 cups chopped cauliflower
4 carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup flour
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup milk
3 cups sharp cheddar
salt & pepper

Saute the onion in olive oil.


Bring a pot of water to a boil and then add your macaroni.  Cook according to the package directions.  When there are 6 minutes of cooking remaining, add the broccoli, cauliflower and carrots to the boiling water.  When finished cooking, drain and return to the pot.

 When the onion is softened, add the flour and mix well. 

After about 30 seconds, add the milk and vegetable broth.  Bring to boiling, stirring frequently until it starts to thicken.

Add in cheese and stir until cheese is melted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Once the cheese is melted, pour into pot with pasta and vegetables and mix well.

You can either make one large serving of this dish by pouring the mixture into a 13×9 dish or break it up into 2 smaller serving dishes.  I have a 9×9 and an 8×8 dish that I used.  Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin – a Super Vegetable

Summer has come and gone.  We pulled out long sleeves and long pants and even wore sweatshirts yesterday.  Days are growing shorter, and we are forced to spend more and more time indoors.  I will miss daylight until 9pm, fresh fruits and vegetables from our garden, and hot days dipping my feet into the baby pool while Gavin splashes around.  I do look forward to the coziness of fall, especially the food. 

This weekend, I felt inspired to make one of my favorite fall dishes – Pumpkin Black Bean Soup.  Did you know that pumpkins are a super vegetable ? One serving provides well over your 100% daily allowance of beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is known for protecting us against a variety of cancers and heart disease.  It is also chock full of carotenoids which protect your body against free radicals.  Free radicals are unstable atoms that are missing an electron.  If you remember from Chemistry class, electrons are those little things circling around the center of an atom.  Atoms are always striving to be stable, which can only happen when they have the right number of electrons.   These free radicals may steal an electron from another atom causing that atom to become a free radical.  This chain reaction can lead to the damage of a cell.  (That’s about the extent of my Chemistry knowledge.) While these free radicals do naturally occur in the body, the environment can also contribute to them.  Pollution, smoking, pesticides can all generate free radicals.  Carotenoids attract free radicals, making them stable atoms again.  Having a diet rich in carotenoids helps to prevent cell death and destruction, thus protecting us from diseases like cancer.    

Pumpkin is also a rich resource of Fiber and Iron.  I think that we all know why Fiber is necessary in our bodies.  Not everyone knows the importance of iron.  Hemoglobin is formed by iron.  Do you know what hemoglobin is?  Hemoglobin is found in our red blood cells.  Oxygen binds to it, and as our red blood cells move throughout our bodies, that oxygen is deposited to all of our cells, keeping them healthy.  If you do not have enough iron in your body, you won’t have enough hemoglobin.  I’m sure you can guess where this is leading.  Low hemoglobin counts means that your body can’t transfer the necessary amount of oxygen.  This condition is also known as anemia, which has the symptoms fatigue, paleness, irritability and increased heart rate.  Yes, you can take iron supplements which have their own negative side effects, but the most effective way to get enough iron is through our diet.

I’m hoping that I have sold you on why pumpkin should be incorporated into our diets.  The problem with pumpkin is that most of us only think of pumpkin as a baking ingredient.  When I think of pumpkin, I think of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin bar.  All are delicious, with the exception of pumpkin pie (in my opinion), but they are all desserts.  I learned of the super powers of pumpkin while taking a nutrition class a little over a year ago, and since then, I have been on the lookout for pumpkin recipes for main dishes.  I tried a pumpkin pasta recipe once, which turned out to be very disappointing, but then I stumbled on to this soup recipe.  It is delicious!  It’s filled with hearty vegetable broth, black beans for protein, and pumpkin for all the aforementioned health benefits.  It’s simple and easy to make and makes for fabulous leftovers.  By the way, I cannot take credit for this recipe.  As with all of my cooking adventures, this recipe came from someone else.  I have no idea whom, but thank you to who everyone created it.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

2 (15 oz) cans of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes

4 cups of vegetable broth

2 cups of canned pumpkin

½ cup of chopped red onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 tbs cumin

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp salt


  1.  Puree black beans, tomatoes and a little bit of the broth in a food processor or with a blender.
  2. Heat the oil in a soup pot.  Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer for 45 minutes.

Roasted Chickpeas Anyone?

A few months ago, I saw a recipe for a salad that included roasted vegetables.  Included in the roasted vegetables were roasted chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans.  They were so delicious. I ate the remaining chickpeas as a snack and have continued to make them specifically for snacking (although, they are tasty in a salad). 

These are an ideal snack.  One serving has 12 g protein and 11 g of fiber!  You can’t beat that. Chickpeas are the staple of many foods,including hummus and falafel.   They are also inexpensive.  A single can costs less than $1.  My grocery store sells a can of organic chickpeas for $1.29 at full price, and $1 when they are on sale.  Who says you can’t afford to eat organic?

Roasted Chickpeas

Drain the can of chickpeas and toss them in olive oil and salt.  Roast them for 1/2 hour in a 400 degree oven, turning once.  You can’t get easier than this.


You can’t get much healthier than this….Mixed Grain Casserole

I just shared this recipe with my sister.  It is a delicious, simple dish to make.  It’s healthy and has an element from each food group.  Each serving is 187 calories, 4 g fat, 33 g carb, 7 g fiber, and 10 g protein.   I can’t take credit for this recipe.   It’s from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  If you don’t have this cookbook, I recommend adding it to your collection.   It was the first cookbook I ever owned (a gift from my mother), and it is the cookbook that I use the most today.

Mixed Grain Casserole

2 medium carrots thinly sliced (I just use the baby carrots and cut them into chunks)
1 cup of fresh mushrooms, quartered
1 can of black beans, rinse  and drained
8 oz (1 cup) frozen corn
1 cup of veg broth (you could use chicken broth)
1/2 cup pearl barley  (might be a little pricey but will last you a long time; also a good side dish instead of rice)
1/4 cup bulgur
1 small onion chopped
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1.  In a 1.5 quart casserole dish, mix all the ingredients except for cheese.  Bake, covered, in a 350 degree oven for an hour, stirring once halfway through.

2.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Cover; let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Next time I make this, I’ll post a picture of it.

Breaking Bread – A Pictorial

Last night, I made a loaf a bread and decided to photograph the process.  Check out the recipe here.

Here is the dough ball after the kneading process.

That dough ball has been rising for 1 1/2 hours.  It definitely doubled in size.

All that dough has been shaped into a loaf.

That loaf has risen for45 minutes.

Check out that bread after it has baked for 1/2 hour.

Ready to eat!