Meatless Meal Idea Roundup

Have you heard of Meatless Monday?

It’s kind of an unofficial movement that on Monday you make meatless meals. How’s that for alliteration?

If you typically eat meat, going meatless every so often is a great idea. I find that in many cases, even though I’m not a vegetarian, I’m gravitating to the dishes that just so happen to be meatless. It’s a great way to reduce meat consumption, discover new recipes you might not have tried, use new cooking methods, and add new favorite meatless meals to your dinner menus.

Here’s one thing that’s very important: don’t confuse meatless with boring, bland, salads-only, unfilling, or uninspired. You definitely don’t want to make that mistake. These meatless meals I’ve listed below are all very filling, lots of flavor, plentiful meals that will leave you planning for more meatless meals.

Which one will be your favorite?

Sun-dried Tomato Lemon Basil Pasta
Green Beans with Lemon Zest and Toasted Almonds
Curry Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Almond Butter Tahini
Enchilada Twice Baked Potatoes
Curry Coconut Cauliflower
Baked Mac n’ Cheese
Roasted Sweet Potato and Broccoli Rice Bowls
Creamy Curry Pasta
Penne Vodka

Curry Coconut Cauliflower

Your vegan, dairy-free but not even a tiny bit flavor-free dinner has arrived.

I’ve been loving Indian cuisine lately, and saw this Indian Coconut Butter Cauliflower on Half Baked Harvest that had to be on my dinner table. This curry sauce is so creamy, so spiced, and so savory you’re going to want this on everything. Something very important to note, I make my coconut curry sauce without any added heat. You can add up to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, but I love to let the flavors of the sauce shine through on their own without too much heat to cover them up.

Curry powder, turmeric, garam masala…these spices have such strong warm flavor you’ll want that those to be the stars of this show.

This coconut curry cauliflower is the feel-good meal of the summer. Feel satisfied by roasted cauliflower in a thick coconut curry sauce and topped with crispy chick peas. What is not to love about this?

Serve over Basmati or Jasmine rice and warm naan. You’ll be adding this into your dinner rotation!

For the Cauliflower
-1 head of cauliflower, chopped into medium to small pieces
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, grated
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 15.50z can chick peas, drained
-1/2 tablespoon oil
-Dash salt

For the Sauce
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1/2 white onion, diced
-2 cloves garlic, grated
-1 teaspoon ground ginger
-1 13.6oz can full fat coconut milk
-1 6oz can tomato paste
-1 tablespoon water
-1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon garam masala
-2 and 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
-1/2 teaspoon turmeric
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon white sugar
-1 teaspoon salt
– Optional 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chopped cauliflower in a bowl and stir with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 cloves grated garlic, and 1 teaspoon ground ginger, pour onto a large baking sheet. Drain the chick peas and place in a separate bowl, coat with the 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and a few dashes of salt and pour onto the baking sheet with the cauliflower. Roast everything for 20 minutes.
  2. While the cauliflower and chick peas are roasting, begin making the sauce. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat and pour in the diced onion. Saute for 5 minutes, then stir in the 2 grated garlic cloves and the teaspoon of ground ginger, cook for another minute then pour in the garam masala, curry, turmeric, and garlic powder. Stir to combine then stir in the coconut milk, stir so all the spices have blended together. Pour in the tomato paste, the salt, sugar, and the 1 tablespoon water and using a whisk, stir until the tomato paste has completely blended into the coconut milk. Simmer until the cauliflower and chick peas are done roasting.
  3. Once everything is done roasting, pour the cauliflower into the sauce and stir until all the pieces are coated. Place the naan in some foil and place in the oven for about 1-2 minutes so it can get warmed.
  4. To serve, fill a bowl with the rice, top with the curry cauliflower sauce, then the roasted chick peas. Serve with warm naan.


Tahini Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Do you have seasonal eating habits?

In the Fall, I’m more inclined to treat myself with a richer cream sauce pasta or a hearty chowder. But in the Summer, in this way too hot so humid my makeup is melting Summer, I want light and fresh dinners. I want dinners that don’t weigh me down, don’t make me feel sluggish or like I need to pop a button on my jeans to make things a little more comfortable.

In the Summer I want something like these curry roasted sweet potatoes stuffed with spinach then topped with crispy chick peas and an almond butter tahini. These stuffed sweet potatoes are warm, filling, seasoned with curry, and you’ll feel like you did something good for yourself if you eat these for dinner. And this almond butter tahini? I literally dip tortilla chips in it it’s that good.

It’s very important that your sweet potatoes are small….don’t go for those monster sized potatoes that look more like a melon than a sweet potato. Those will be entirely too hard to cut in half before roasting them. Sweet potatoes are quite tough on their own, so get the small ones and you’ll be able to get your knife through them.

Look at all that vibrant green! Nothing to feel guilty about here!

For the Sweet Potatoes
-3 small sweet potatoes
-1/2 tablespoon olive oil
-Curry powder
-1 box frozen chopped spinach

For the Chick Peas
-1 10.5oz can chick peas, drained
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-Dash salt and dash garlic powder

For the Almond Butter Tahini
-1/4 cup almond butter
-1 lemon, juiced
-1 tablespoon soy sauce
-3 gloves garlic, grated
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-3 tablespoons water

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Carefully, carefull, slice your 3 small sweet potatoes in half. Score each with a knife, I cut 3 horizontal lines and one down the center. Brush the tops of each half with some olive oil (it’s OK if you don’t use all the oil, you just want to lightly brush the tops). Sprinkle each with a few dashes of curry powder, and season with salt. Bake for 30 minutes.

2. Drain the chick peas, coat with the 2 teaspoons of oil and lightly season with 1-2 dashes of garlic powder and a sprinkle of salt. Place in the oven with the sweet potatoes and roast for 25 minutes.

3. Place the spinach in a microwave safe bowl and cook for 7 minutes.

4. To make the almond butter tahini, combine all ingredients in a bowl. If it’s too thick, add more water a teaspoon at a time until your consistent is able to drizzle over the potatoes.

5. When the potatoes are done roasting, remove from oven and use a fork to mash each slightly to make a space where you can spoon in the spinach. If the potatoes are too tough, keep roasting in small increments until they can easily be mashed. 30 minutes was perfect for me, but if you’re potatoes are too large they might need more time. Stuff the potatoes with as much spinach as you want, fill with chick peas, then generously cover with the tahini. Eat with rice.


Inspired By: The Last Ingredient
Almond Butter Tahini

Chicken Enchilada Bake

When it’s dinner time, is there anything better than an easy recipe with an easy cleanup?

For me, that’s what does me in at the end of the day is the clean up. I’d wish I had a dishwasher the size of my fridge so I can just shove everything in there, no order or organization needed, press a button and *poof* everything’s sparkling clean. I think most moms will agree with me, sometimes it’s that one lone dirty plate that can turn a happy evening into meltdown.

Don’t be fooled by these photos, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see what my behind the scenes photos look like. Behind this organized photo is 1,001 toys all strewn about the floor, stray puffs that were once contained in a cup, and most likely a sink full of dirty dishes and a dishwasher full of clean dishes that I’ve been too lazy to unload. Sure, I dream about having a picture-perfect home like the ones I see on HGTV, but when I think about it, that’s not a real expectation for real people. Real people, we work all day, we come home exhausted and want to spend those moments with our children, we’re preparing our meal that we’ll share together, we’re reading bedtime stories and finding lovies and blankies and finally pouring a glass of wine. Making my house perfect? That’s just going to have to wait.

This chicken enchilada bake makes an easy dinner that has so much substance and flavor, and an easy cleanup. Onions, corn, beans, and chicken all cooked in an enchilada sauce then baked with pepper jack cheese and corn tortillas and topped with lime juice and queso fresco….are you hungry yet? I’ve made this twice in the same week, and ate the leftovers for lunch that’s how good this is. Your family will be asking for “Chicken Enchilada Bake”!

If you have a cast iron skilled you can make this even easier by cooking everything up in the skillet then placing the skillet under the broiler to bake. For those that don’t have a skillet, no worries, cook everything up in a large pan then pour into a 9×13 baking dish. While the dish is broiling the cheese, wash out the pan to clean up!

-1 large chicken breast
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1/2 white onion, diced
-1 10.5oz black beans, drained
-2 fresh ears of corn
-2 15oz cans crushed tomatoes
-1 cup water
-1/2 tablespoon onion
-1 teaspoon garlic powder
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
-5-6 corn tortillas
-2 and 1/4 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
-Limes and queso fresco for garnishing

1. Diced the chicken breast into small chunks, diced the onion, cut the corn off of the cob (you don’t cook the cob you’re cutting the corn kernels off of the cob and then we’ll cook them) and lastly grate the pepper jack cheese.

2. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Next add the corn, cook an additional 4 minutes until pieces are lightly browned. Pour in the crushed tomato and water, then season with the onion powder, garlic powder, cumin and salt. Then, stir in the chicken pieces and the drained beans. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. You want a slight bubble happening to the sauce as the chicken cooks.

3. After 15 minutes, pour into a 9×13 baking dish. Tear the tortillas into smaller pieces and place over top of the enchilada mixture until it’s completely cover, then cover with the shredded cheese. Place under the broiler for 5-6 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly. Now, if you have a cast iron skillet you can make the entire dish in the skillet, including placing under the broiler. But if you don’t cook everything in a large sauce pan then pour into the 9×13 baking dish for the final baking.

4. To serve, add a generous amount of queso fresco and fresh squeezed limes.

Inspired by: Half Baked Harvest

Raspberry Jello Cake

I know what you’re thinking.

You saw that the title is called Jello Cake and this looks nothing like a cake made of jello. I promise you, this in indeed a jello cake. This incredibly easy, quick, and gorgeously colorful cake is given this deep rosy color by, wait for it, a packet of jello! This recipe was passed down to my mom by her aunt, and it was something she made when we were kids. It’s fun and a little whimsical with the jello and was something I wanted to add into my baking rotation. I can imagine Lilly asking to make the “jello cake”! What kid doesn’t get a total kick out of mixing in a packet of jello into the cake mix, then watching it swirl around as you stir seeing a boring beige vanilla cake turn into this vibrant beauty below? And in case you were wondering, it’s just as fun when you’re an adult.

This wins a prize for being one of the easiest cakes you can throw together but it certainly doesn’t look boring or average, does it? Make this for a party and you’ll have everyone asking for the recipe.

The cake itself is delightfully sweet without being overpowering or unpleasant. The hint of raspberry gives a fresh burst and gives the cake a light and airy flavor. Now, the recipe I’d have has a kid didn’t have any icing, but instead was dusted with powdered sugar. For my spin, I really wanted to give this a subtle almond flavor in an almond cream cheese frosting and garnish with some toasted shaved almonds to add a bit of a crunch.

Oh my this was the perfect combination of sweet raspberry and warm almond.

Make this and it will become a family favorite!

For the Cake
-1 box vanilla cake mix (don’t follow the recipe on the box, follow below)
-1 packet of raspberry jello (don’t follow the recipe on the box, follow below)
-2/3 cup water
-2/3 cup vegetable oil
-4 eggs

For the Frosting
-handful of sliced almonds
-3 oz softened cream cheese
-1 tablespoon softened butter
-1 teaspoon almond extract
-3/4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, and pour on a handful of sliced almonds, up to 1/4 cup. You can find sliced almonds in your baking aisle. Bake for 8 minutes until brown and toasted.

2. In a mixing bowl, with a handhold mixer or in your stand mixer, blend together the box of cake mix, the packet of jello, eggs, water, and oil. Pour into a greased bundt cake pan and bake for 40 minutes.

3. While the cake is baking, make the frosting. It’s very important the cream cheese and butter are softened, blending with them if they aren’t will create lumps and bumps and no one wants a lumpy frosting! So blend together the softened cream cheese, softened butter, the almond extract and the powdered sugar. It might look like there won’t be enough frosting, but you only need enough to cover the top and have a little spill down the edges.

4. Allow the cake to cool almost all the way before frosting then spread the frosting over top. Having the cake slightly warm is good, it helps the frosting melt a little bit and spill over the edges. I find it easiest to spoon the frosting all around the top in a circle, then using my spoon or frosting spatula to press down on it and smooth it back and forth to help it pour over the edges. Lastly, top with as much of the toasted almonds as you like. They really add a warm crunchy flavor so I like a lot.


Easy Pesto Pizza

I’m such a fan of homemade pizzas for dinner.

If  you want a quick, easy, affordable dinner idea for a busy weeknight, pizza is definitely the way to go. There are so many varieties and most of them don’t require extensive prep work. Like this one here: Easy Pesto Pizza.

You’ll only be dicing some cherry tomatoes, that’s it! Everything else is just a basic layering and combining to get this luxurious and colorful pesto pizza. While you could be a total rockstar and whip up your own pesto for this, jarred pesto is completely fine and I use it in recipes all the time. It saves so much time and energy and you’re still getting the robust fresh flavor of pesto. Sizes of the jars are going to vary by brand, you’ll see below the jar I used measured 6.7oz and I used half of the jar. You’ll have to make some adjustments if you get a jar slightly larger, and by all means if you want to add more pesto to your pizza go right ahead! The flavor combination of the garlicky pesto with the cool and creamy ricotta will leave you wanting this every week! And since it’s so easy, you totally can.

Another note, I use bagged shredded Mozzarella cheese on my pizzas. I’ve bought the block of cheese and shredded it myself before and honestly, I found that it was giving a slightly chewier texture when baked on pizzas and I wasn’t loving it. So go ahead, grab the jarred pesto and bagged cheese and call it a day. Haven’t you worked hard enough today?

-1 thin crust refrigerated pizza crust
-2 and 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
-1/2 cup ricotta cheese
-1/2 of a 6.7oz jar of pesto (jarred pesto varies in size, for this recipe I used 1/2 of a jar measuring 6.7oz…you might need to adjust to more or less depending on the size of the jar you use or the amount of pesto you want on the pizza)
-1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
-1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes
-Extra virgin olive oil, salt, garlic powder for the crust

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees, lightly spray your largest baking sheet with cooking spray, then unroll the pizza dough onto the sheet and spread until it covers your sheet. Event the dough breaks and you get a hole, just gently pinch the dough back together. Bake for 8 minutes.

2. After the dough has pre-baked, remove from the oven the cover with the Mozzarella cheese, leaving enough room for a crust all around the pizza. Dollop the ricotta cheese over top in random drops, then spoon the pesto evenly over top, using your spoon to spread it around and swirling it into the ricotta a bit. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the entire pizza, and lastly lightly brush the outer crust with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. I like to do this so the final bites of the crust have just as much flavor as the rest of the pizza!

3. Bake 10-12 minutes until the crust is brown and the Mozzarella is bubbly and browned. Remove from the oven and garnish with the died cherry tomatoes.


Spanish Shakshuka

What is Shakshuka?

Shakshuka, or sometimes spelled Shakshouka, is a Middle Eastern and North African breakfast of poached eggs and a tomato mixture with peppers and spices. It’s rich and abundant in flavor and hearty so that it will keep you full all morning. I first became interested in Shakshuka when a photograph on the dish stopped me in my scroll. The vibrant reds from the tomatoes and the creaminess to the sauce, the photo was too beautiful not to make.

I absolutely love traditional Shakshuka, but I wanted to create a Spanish-inspired version with additional spices and spicy chorizo then topped with a Mexican cheese. This Spanish Shakshuka is the breakfast you need to make if you want a warm, slightly spicy, totally filling breakfast in a good way, you won’t feel over-full or yucky after eating this! Topped with either cotija cheese or queso fresco, the cooling effect the cheese adds really compliments the spice from the sauce and chorizo.

As noted above, traditionally Shakshuka is made by poaching the eggs in the tomato sauce. I make mine by cooking the eggs to over-medium in a separate pan then topping the sauce with the cooked eggs. I do this because:
1. I don’t like poached eggs.
2. I’ve tried poaching the eggs in the sauce several times before and was never able to get it quite right.

So with that, I give you this recipe. You’ll want to make these every weekend it’s that good, and it makes savory leftovers too! I usually have a few servings of leftovers that I’ll reheat the next morning with a fresh cooked egg and some more crumbled cheese. Great way to start the day!

-1 small white onion, sliced thin
-1/2 red pepper, sliced thin
-1/2 green pepper, sliced thin
-3 cloves garlic
-5 chorizo sausage links, removed from casing
-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-1 (28oz) can whole plum tomatoes (I used Tuttorosso, you’ll use the tomatoes and the sauce and I found the sauce had a good thickness), roughly chopped
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 tablespoon paprika
-2 teaspoons cumin
 -1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/2 teaspoon oregano
-2 teaspoons cornstarch
-crumbled cotija cheese or Queso Fresco

1. Mix together the cumin, paprika, garlic powder and oregano. In a large sauce pan over medium/ medium-high heat, cook the chorizo. I like to cook on one side for a few minutes, then flip and cook the other side a few minutes more. Then, using your spatula break up the links into small pieces, continue to cook until no longer pink inside. Once cooked, spoon into a paper towel lined bowl to absorb excess grease. The clean out the pan to remove grease.

2. In the same pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions and peppers. Spread them out into an even layer and let them cook, untouched about 5-6 minutes. Stir and repeat until all the onions and peppers are nicely dark and charred a bit. With a zester, zest in the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Add the spice mixture and stir to coat the veggies. (Keep an eye on your heat, adjust down or up as needed). Now add the diced tomatoes and the sauce from the can, the salt, and the cornstarch. Increase heat until the mixture is bubbling, then reduce heat to low to simmer, add in the chorizo. Simmer for 10 minutes and taste, season with additional salt if needed.

2. While the sauce is simmering, in another pan cook your eggs to your liking. Most Shakshuka is served with poached eggs, but I prefer mine about over-medium. It’s up to you, although scrambled wouldn’t work here.

3. To serve, plate a few spoonfuls of the tomato mixture, top with crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco, and lastly the eggs. Eat with sturdy crusty bread, fresh biscuits, or naan.