Archive for super fast and easy

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes

This is a great recipe for those times when you want to do something different with a head of cauliflower, or when you are trying to get your kids to eat cauliflower, or just when you feel like the comfort of mashed potatoes but want something more healthy. This is super easy to make so this recipe is great for something in a pinch too. Cauliflower is very low in calories and it is super high in vitamin C, and it also has a high fiber content. Red potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin C as well. And the last main ingredient in this recipe is garlic, which has so many health benefits, I will just let you find out more about that here. My family loves this and so do I.

Cauliflower Garlic Mashed Potatoes

4-5 red potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes (I always leave the skins on)

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into medium small florets

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed, optional (I use the back of a chef knife to smash it)

2 tsp. grapeseed or garlic oil

2-3 tbsp. vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add in a little salt and the potatoes and garlic. After the pot comes back to a boil, add the cauliflower and turn down the heat to simmer and cook until the cauliflower is very tender. This takes about 10-12 minutes. Drain the vegetables into a colander and put them back into the empty pan and mash them with a potato masher. Add the oil and broth and continue to mash until they are the consistency of mashed potatoes. In fact, they will look like mashed potatoes, which is a fun secret to have if you don’t want your kids to know they are eating cauliflower. Add salt and pepper to taste. This is such a flavorful dish because of the garlic that I don’t even make gravy to serve along with them, but you can if you want to anyway.


Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Avocado Cream Sauce

I lived in upstate NY for nine years and while we lived there, we went to the best farmers market every week. It was in Rochester, and the fresh farm produce was amazing. We lived in a neighborhood where the deer ruled anything that was green, so trying to garden vegetables was very frustrating. So the farmers became our friends as we went every week. We miss that place and the cast of characters that we came to know, and now we are looking for a new way to find fresh local produce since we once again have moved to a neighborhood where the deer practically live in our back yard. In the meantime, the local grocery stores are quite competitive and for the past few weeks they have been offering the best deals on avocados! We rarely bought avocados in NY because they didn’t really sell them at the farmers market, duh, and the local grocery stores charged a fortune for them. Plus, they had traveled so far and long to get to the store there, that they were usually terrible once you got them home. So imagine our delight at five avocados for one dollar! And, they are amazing! So we have been eating them as much as we can.  This recipe is heaven. It is straight from Angela, on this page, with only a few changes, and that I list it doubled to feed my crew. It is amazing stuff that even my husband that does not like avocados loves. It is such a creamy sauce that you kind of forget that it is avocado. The beautiful thing about this sauce, is that it is so rich and creamy that a little bit goes a long way. Which is good since we all know the fat content of these little darlings. We eat it as a topping on whole grain pasta, as well as on baked potatoes, and anything else we can think of. It is super fast and easy to make too. Put the leftovers in the refrigerator and enjoy later, because it lasts for a while.

Avocado Cream Sauce

2 medium ripe avocados, pitted

juice from 1 lemon, and zest for garnish if you wish

3-6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 tsp. salt ( I only use 1/2 this amount)

1/2 c. fresh basil, optional  ( I only had about 5 basil leaves and it was great)

4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil ( I used 3 tbsp.)

freshly ground pepper to taste

Place the garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor and puree til smooth. Add the avocado flesh, basil, and salt and process til smooth and creamy. Adjust the lemon and add pepper to taste. Use right away or put in a sealed container to keep in the refrigerator until ready to use. Enjoy!




Friday, April 26th, 2013

Easy Delicious Cauliflower

Cauliflower is one of my many favorite vegetables. It is so versatile and nutritious and Delicious! These are two of my favorite ways to prepare it because they can be done so fast. Either one makes for a super side dish! I will be posting other great ideas for cauliflower in the future, but here are a few to check out if you are in the mood. Asian “Mac and Cheese”  and Aloo Gobi.

Easy Delicious Cauliflower Version #1

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

pepper to taste

1/4 c. water (of more if needed)

Heat up a heavy skillet, or non-stick pan to medium high heat and add oil. Toss in cauliflower and stir to distribute the oil. Add salt and stir frequently as it begins to turn light brown. Keep stirring so it does not get dark brown. Once it is lightly browned, (it takes only about 5-7 minutes) add the water and cover with a lid immediately. It will steam like crazy, which is the point, because that is how to finish cooking the cauliflower. I always turn down the heat a little bit so as to not have the pan look like it is going to blast off like a rocket. The cauliflower takes another 10 minutes to steam until it is tender. Make sure that the water does not cook out before the cauliflower is done, because the cauliflower will burn on the pan and turn really yucky! Salt and pepper to taste.

Easy Cauliflower Version #2

1 head cauliflower, washed and cut into small florets

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/4-1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs

1/4 c. roasted almonds, chopped

Follow the directions for Version #1  Once the cauliflower is finished steaming and is tender, put it in a bowl and add the olive oil, bread crumbs and the almonds. Toss well until the cauliflower is well coated with the bread crumbs. This kind of takes a few minutes. Adjust and add more bread crumbs if needed. Serve hot!

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Rosemary Red Potatoes

It is amazing how resilient my herb garden has been this year, especially with all the snow and cold that we had. One of my favorite things to do in the spring, is to go out and see herbs growing in the garden, even though nothing else is. Rosemary is one of those herbs that I have used through the winter, even though it has been cold, I have still gone out and picked the dried leaves and chopped them up for soups and this dish. Last night I made this recipe using some dried rosemary from the winter and some new spring rosemary from this year! This is super easy to make and it is an excellent side dish.

2 1/2 pd. new red potatoes, washed ( I never peel them)

1 tsp. salt

3 quarts water

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. chopped rosemary,according to taste

salt and pepper to taste

Chop the potatoes into eights and put them in a large pot with the water and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to medium high so as to not boil over. Cook for about 5-10 minutes. This is called parboiling. The potatoes will not be done, but just barely tender. Drain them well. Heat up a heavy skillet to medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the potatoes and turn them a bit to coat them with the olive oil. They will sizzle and fry. You can leave them in this shape, or you can mash each one with a potato masher, or sometimes I crumble them in my hand just before putting them in the pan. It just depends on what shape and how big you want them. When they are starting to turn a little brown, add the rosemary and salt. Taste them to see if it is enough rosemary and add more if you like. I use tons, at least the whole tbsp. Stir and brown on the other sides. Taste again to adjust the salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Spinach Salad with Red Onion Dressing

My extended family gets together for a potluck dinner every month. We have a tradition of great cooking that goes way back, so there are always lots of super yummy dishes. My nephews wife always makes something delicious including this salad that has come to be a family favorite. I have modified the dressing a little bit, and lately I have been on a binge, eating this salad, or just the dressing and spinach every day for lunch. Sometimes I just make this dressing and keep it in the refrigerator instead of tossing it with the spinach. This is super easy to make!

Red Onion Dressing

1/4 of a red onion

1 tsp. dijon mustard

3 tbsp. canola oil

3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. sucanat

1/2 c. raw almonds

1/2 c. dried cranberries

Put onion in a food processor and puree. Add the rest of the ingredients, EXCEPT the almonds and cranberries, and puree . Put into a container, but don’t scrape the bowl clear leaving a little dressing in the bowl.ow  Now add the almonds and dried cranberries and pulse a few times. I dump the nuts and cranberries into a small cast iron skillet on low heat and stir to carmelize them. This takes about 5-10 minutes. Then turn off the heat and let them cool. Now you can prepare the rest of the salad.

Spinach Salad

8-10 c. spinach, washed and dried

Choose two or more of the following fruits (at least one cup each) to chop and add to the spinach:

strawberries, mangoes, pears, apples ( you could get creative here and add whatever fruit sounds good)

my favorites are strawberries and mangoes

Toss together the spinach, fruit, cooled nuts and cranberries, and dressing. Server right away!



Monday, April 15th, 2013

Tofu Scramble

I have tried to make tofu scramble a few times and have not loved the result, until yesterday. I found this recipe on ppk. I did not change anything about it except to add the nutritional yeast to the spice blend and to double it to feed my crew of six. It was not hard at all to make and everyone loved it. It was the perfect filling for a crepe, which we did, along with red potatoes, baby portabellas, and steamed broccoli. I also added our favorite soy sausage to the filling and with the vegan hollandaise sauce, it was a feast and so delicious. This made for a very satisfying meal that is meant for breakfast, but we love to splurge and have breakfast for dinner sometimes!

Tofu Scramble

spice blend:

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed

1/2 tsp. ground tumeric

1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pd. extra firm tofu, drained

1/4 c. nutritional yeast

black pepper to taste

First stir the spice blend ingredients together and add water, stir, and set aside.

Preheat a large heavy bottom skillet to medium high heat and add oil. Add the garlic and saute for only one minute. Crumble the tofu in your hand right into the pan to add to the garlic. Stir frequently and cook for about 10 minutes. Don’t let it stick to the pan. The tofu should get browned on one side at least. Let the water from the tofu cook off and then add the spice blend and mix to incorporate. Add the black pepper and the nutritional yeast if you didn’t add it to the spice blend already. Cook for about 5 more minutes and serve warm.

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

My husband requested some sort of tofu scramble filling for crepes for his birthday dinner. I had yet to create or find a super recipe for a tofu scramble, but yesterday, I made a yummy one! I will post about that later, but the sauce I made for the crepe filling was a vegan hollandaise sauce that was the perfect addition to the rest of the filling ingredients. Super simple to make and I know it will be good with other steamed veggies for leftovers. This is from the Vegetarian Times.

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce ( doubled this)

1/2 c. silken tofu

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper ( I used paprika instead)

1/8 tsp. tumeric

2 tbsp. corn oil ( I used canola)

Heat the tofu  in microwave for 30 seconds to just warm through. Put it into a food processor and puree til smooth. Add lemon juice, nutritional yeast, salt, cayenne (or paprika), and tumeric. Pulse til well combined. Add the oil while processing to finish the sauce. (I heated it just a little before serving). The whole recipe takes about 5-10 minutes.



Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Low Fat Hummus

Our family has been making hummus for a long time. When myy kids were really little they would sit on the kitchen counter and peel garlic for me on a regular basis. Then they started adding ingredients to help me out and then when they were older, I would go out for a run and they would make hummus while I was gone. Lets just say that the recipe and list of ingredients has evolved! This is currently the most common, even though it still varies widely. This recipe is also the easiest and fastest. We live on hummus for lunch. Its the best on toast or sandwich with tomatoes, red pepper and lately my son adds smashed avocados!

Low Fat Hummus

3 cloves garlic

2 cans chick peas, rinsed

2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. chipotle pepper from adobo sauce

1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tbsp. olive oil

1/2 c. water, less one tbsp.

Put garlic in a food processor and mince. Add the chick peas and a little of the water, just so it processes. Add the cumin, salt, lemon juice, olive oil. I always add the rest of the water a little at a time just to the consistency that I like, not too thick. Then add the chipotle pepper and process well. Taste for needed salt or lemon, or if you want a little extra zip, more chipotle pepper.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Vegan Ranch Dressing

When my oldest kids were very young, we had family friends that ate ranch dressing on everything. You know, like fries, and veggies, and potatoes, etc. So my kids started asking for it too. I just hated this idea and wanted them to develop the love for veggies without ranch dressing on them, or at least dip them in something healthy. When we moved away, we left that the ranch dressing behind us but every once in a while they have this memory and start asking for ranch dressing again. So I have been on a quest to find a good vegan recipe for something of the sort. I made this the other night and it got very good reviews.

Vegan Ranch Dressing

1 box (12.3 oz.) med. silken tofu, drained

3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp celery seed

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp dill

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

3/4 tsp salt

4 tbsp pure maple syrup or agave

2 1/2 tbsp grapeseed oil

After draining the tofu, put it in a food processor and puree til smooth. Add in all the other ingredients, scraping down the sides, process til smooth again. Check for flavor and tweak it if needed. Keep refrigerated and it lasts for a long time. Enjoy as a dip for anything!


Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Black Bean Dip

Raising a family on a plant based diet has been a challenge at times. Early on I had to discover options for lunch without all the standard fare that I grew up eating (tuna fish, lunch meat, cheese sandwiches). Leftovers from the night before worked while my kids were very little because they didn’t need as much, but as they grew, of course I had to find something more filling and you can only eat so much PB&J! This recipe is originally from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home,  and it turned into a family favorite.  I have made just a few minor adjustments over the years. It is so fast and easy to make that soon my kids started making this on their own. We make sandwiches with this adding fresh veggies, or put it on toast alone, or with cut up red bell pepper slices. Also, super good just for a veggie dip. Yum, it is so good!

Black Bean Dip

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

2-3 cloves garlic

2 tsp. olive oil

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. coriander

1/2 tsp. salt

handful of fresh cilantro, washed

juice from 1/2 lemon, more if needed

Put garlic in food processor to chop for you and then add the rinsed beans and olive oil. Once blended, add the cumin, coriander, and salt. Blend again and add the cilantro and lemon juice. If it is too dry, not like a dip, add a little more lemon juice.