Spaghetti with Skinny Green Onion Sauce
Welcome to a BONUS Secret Recipe Club posting – this time from Group C! The best part of posting with a different group is being able to explore blogs I wouldn’t otherwise be exposed to as I’m not the best at checking when other groups post. I was sent to Adina’s Where is My Spoon which is full of family friendly recipes. Since I only had a few hours to find a recipe I got straight to work to find a recipe that was already vegetarian as I knew I wouldn’t have the time to adjust it. Luckily a recent green onion series led me to a deliciously fantastic pasta – Spaghetti with Skinny Green Onion Sauce! I had to make a few adjustments as my store did not have any decent looking tomatoes but they did have some great looking mushrooms – so I subbed in a can of diced tomatoes. I also omitted the vegetable stock as I forgot to pick it up (oops).
This sauce was fantastic! It was creamy, tomatoey, and quick – which is key these days. As a bonus, it can easily become gluten free by switching out the pasta. To make things even quicker, I used some Gourmet Garden herb pastes that I had left from Fresh Tasty Valentine. I put this together after working my first post-baby convention and running on fumes. A few other recipes that I flagged for later are her broccoli cauliflower meatballs and her lentil quinoa carrot salad which sounds perfect for summertime.
Welcome to March’s Secret Recipe Club! It feels so awesome to be joining the SRC again after taking my baby break – I missed the fun that comes with being sent a blog to explore. This month I was given Sid’s Sea Palm Cooking, a blog I was very familiar with thanks to Facebook and previous SRC reveals. I had a very hard time picking a recipe this month as Sid’s blog is stuffed to the gills with all sorts of recipes including retro favorites and Danish treats. Two of the “finalists” were part of the Danish block: Baked Omelette and Cauliflower with Herbs. In the end I could not get past her Chicken Acapulco recipe and decided that I had to give it a whirl. I replaced the chicken with extra firm tofu and since I was unable to find the McCormick meat seasoning in the original recipe I made my own.
Fantastic! The spices and the cheese went together perfectly and by giving the tofu enough time to drain it was really able to soak up all the flavors. We enjoyed ours taco style for dinner and as a burrito bowl the next day with some Spanish style rice – adding some fresh avocado and green pepper each time. I had never heard of acapulco chicken (or tofu!) before finding this recipe but now it will be on regular rotation. It might require a number of bowls but it comes together super quick. For a real short cut, pick up some fresh made pico de gallo at the grocery store. Another great recipe thanks to the Secret Recipe Club!!!
In an attempt to get my kitchen mojo back, I’ve once again joined the /52weeksofcooking group in the hopes that their weekly challenge would get me going again. They are now on week 10 while I’m just now doing my second post – needless to say I’m still a work in progress! This week the challenge was Japanese and while I debated doing a tempura I couldn’t get over the idea of trying a Japanese curry similar to one I had in Pittsburgh a few summers ago. Luckily the internet provided me with lots of ideas, so I took the common ingredients from all of them and then winged the rest of it!
I could say this was a huge hit but that doesn’t begin to cover it – this is one of the only curries where husband has wanted seconds! He couldn’t get over how savory it was – all the flavors working together. So good he didn’t believe it was vegan, BIG bonus there.
Make sure to come back Monday for February’s BONUS Secret REcipe Club post. It’s the 5th Monday of the month and this time the special theme is Spring & Bunnies.
Northern Bean Cassoulet
Quick and easy, or in the very least easy, is what I’m all about these days. Which is why each week since the arrival of our little girl, I’ve made at least one of our freezer meals. Just pop it in at some point around lunch (whenever that is) and there will be something warm to eat come dinner (whenever that happens). I tried to add as many vegetables as possible to these meals in an attempt to maintain a balanced diet – even tho there is nothing wrong with having ice cream for breakfast! I’ve made bean casseroles before but for this I want to jam as many veggies in as possible and with it being late fall when I prepped these meals, I went heavy on the root vegetables.
For a gluten free option just use your favorite GF breadcrumbs or go for something like hemp seeds. Protein, vegetables, and the perfect sauce for some crusty bread makes for a fantastic dinner. To really speed things up, use Gourmet Garden garlic pastes and their Italian Herb paste – tho be warned these do contain whey so are not suitable for vegans but are gluten free.
Spinach and Mushroom Stroganoff
In the weeks leading up to little one’s arrival, I tried to prep as much as possible in regards to food so that even if I was functioning on two hours there would still be something edible. With that, about a month before D-day my mom and sister came up from VA for a day of (in my opinion) fun prepping two dozen freezer meals. While a few of them were some old favorites (stuffed shells, enchiladas, and lasagna) that would just need to be popped in the oven, the rest were variations of recipes I had been collecting and tweaking in order to make them freezer AND slow cooker ready. I read soooo many articles about freezer meals, taking notes on what freezes super well (presoaked bagged beans, tomatoes, peppers, etc) and what does not (coconut milk, sour cream, cream cheese) and special items where the other ingredients determined if it would freeze well (tofu is awesome solo or just with veggies but no sauces). Once I had identified what meals I wanted to try I then set out to make the ultimate shopping list while keeping to a very tight under $10 per meal with each meal making 4-6 servings.
Some of these meals, everything is in the bag and it just goes straight in. With others there are things to add day of (extra stock, coconut milk, etc) or a side dish that needs to be prepped. Like today’s dish, Spinach and Mushroom Stroganoff. This was one of the first dishes on my list and is a variation of my standard stroganoff just with more “green stuff”.
One of the biggest tips I can give is if you are having people helping you make sure the ingredients are set up in a way that flows. This is something I did not do and it resulted in lots of extra work until I put my Lean Sigma hat on (yes, I’m a dork) and figured out how to eliminate a good chunk of the transportation/motion waste that was happening. To get the meals out of the freezer bag, place in bag in hot water for 5 minutes then use a knife to cut a slit along the side of the bag, then open the top and peel back from the corner (if using a zipper bag cut the side the zipper is one when closed).
Sweet Garlic Brussel Sprouts
Welcome to day two of #FreshTastyValentines! Today’s post almost didn’t happen, thanks to Mother Nature dropping over 30 inches (!!!) of white stuff last week. Since I had worked with T. Lish products before I had plans for the Sweet Garlic sauce that involved one of my favorite vegetables – but I needed my sauce. Thankfully the snow melted and mail service returned to normal and my sauces arrived. All I had to do was decide if I wanted to marinate the sprouts or start them off with some oil and then caramelize them in the sauce In the end, I decided to caramelize them since my better half does prefer his sprouts VERY well cooked.
This recipe came together in record time – making it the perfect side dish for crazy night. The sweetness of the sauce goes perfectly with the slight tartness of the sprouts, making it hard to resist eating the entire dish. If by any chance you have any leftovers, heat them up in a sauce pan or toaster oven in order to preserve the crunch of the leaves. However I doubt there will be any left!
I received three T. Lish sauces for free as part of participating in FreshTastyValentines. All comments and opinions are my own!
Thai Corn Soup
Welcome to my first of five posts for #FreshTastyValentine! I’m starting things off with a simple and delicious soup that’s delicious hot or cold, so perfect for the insane weather that has been happening here on the East Coast. This soup also works well with my New Years resolution to keep things quick and simple as it comes together super quick – partially because of the fantastic herb pastes from Gourmet Gardens. Inspired by a vegan soup I made years ago from a cookbook Joe had, one that apparently did not make the move to Baltimore, I knew that that lemongrass paste would be the perfect addition. I also used the Thai Seasoning paste in place of the curry seasoning (tho I think the original original recipe called for paste) – always better to go organic and natural!
As a bonus, this soup is super easy to clean up from as the pastes mean no cutting board and the soup is made in one bowl. Perfect recipe for a crazy weekday (or weekend) night. I love that with these pastes all I have to do is unscrew the lid – one less step is always welcome. Huge THANK YOU to Gourmet Gardens for sending me such incredible items. For your chance to win the Gourmet Gardens herb package (or one of the many other prizes) be sure to check out my intro post to Fresh Tasty Valentine!
Quick note that the Gourmet Garden pastes do contain whey so they aren’t vegan but they are gluten free. However, their dried herb are just that making them vegan, gluten free, and perfect.