Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted Veggies

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Did you know you can make pesto out of more than basil? Pesto can be made with basil, arugula, kale, spinach, peas…as long as its bright green it should work (I mean, within reason, no cucumber pesto or zucchini pesto). My problem with basil is that it’s hard to enough on hand to make pesto whenever you want it. Frozen peas on the other hand are easy to find, super affordable, and able to keep for extended period of time.

I prepped most of this earlier in the day so that I could throw it together before dinner time but you could easily make it all at once. Start by dicing all the vegetables: 1 zucchini, 1 yellow squash, 1/2 an eggplant, and 1 onion. Place these in a bowl and add 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil. Stir well to combine. Transfer the veggies to a prepared baking pan. Preheat your oven to 350 and cook for 30 minutes.

While waiting for the veggies to cook, you can prepare the pesto and pasta. Cook 4 cups of peas until defrosted. Once cooked, drain and transfer to a large food processor. Add 2 tsp garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from 1 lemon and 3/4 tsp salt.

In previous posts I’ve mention that I try not to add additional salt to meals. I stand by that generally, but felt that salt was definitely necessary for the flavor in this. However, feel free to adjust to salt to your preferences. Pulse the ingredients until smooth. Set aside until veggies and pasta are done.

Using a large soup pot, cook 1 lb (a full box) of pasta as directed on the box. I used Rigatoni and cooked it just past al dente, about 15 minutes. Once the veggies are done in the oven, the pasta is cooked and drained, and pesto is made, combine all in the large pot and stir to combine. It was a decent arm work out, haha. Once it’s all mixed together, you are ready to eat! Makes a large amount, seeing as you are using a full box of pasta, so plan for a few leftovers or lunches.

Pesto Pasta with Oven Roasted Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1/2 an eggplant
  • 1 onion
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups peas
  • 2 tsp garlic
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 lb rigatoni (1 box)

Instructions:

  1. Dice all vegetables and place them in a large bowl. Combine veggies with 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp olive oil. Place this in a large baking pan and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
  2. While the veggies are cooking, proceed with cooking 4 cups of peas until defrosted. Drain the peas and place them in a large food processor with 2 tsp garlic, 3 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1/3 cup olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, and 3/4 tsp salt. Combine these until smooth. Set this aside until veggies and pasta are done.
  3. In a large soup pot, cook 1 lb of pasta as directed on the box, generally just past al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot once finished.
  4. Once pasta, veggies and pesto are done, add all ingredients to the large soup pot. Stir until fully combined. Serve!

Black Bean and TVP Tacos with Homemade Refried Beans

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Tacos are a common staple in our house. We make them in various ways depending on the time we have on hand and what kind of ingredients and produce we have available. One of my complaints is that when we just throw it together with minimal ingredients and zero measuring is that we don’t have leftovers. Who wouldn’t want leftovers of tacos for the rest of the week or for lunch?

This recipe for Black Bean and TVP tacos is filling, flavorful and makes a ton of leftovers for a small family or plenty for each person in a bigger household. It comes together really quickly. Seriously, the rice took longer than the actual taco filling. It uses a homemade version of taco seasoning (or you could use store bought) and mostly canned goods so you can always have the stuff on hand.

I’ll be honest, no matter what I did refried beans just aren’t pretty and don’t photograph well. I wish they did because the picture doesn’t do them justice. They taste better than store bought and have none of the processed or hidden ingredients (aka lard) found in store bought.

The tacos and the refried beans come together in about the same amount of time so it doesn’t matter which you start first. I’ll start with the refried beans, but feel free to skip on if you are only making the tacos.

Refried Beans: Drain and rinse a 15 oz can of pinto beans. Place the beans in small/medium pot with 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 1 1/2 tbsp cumin.

Bring this to a boil. Once boiling drop the temperature to medium and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. If the broth evaporates before the end of the 10 minutes, add a bit more as you will need it when you blend them. After 10 minutes, place in a glass or metal bowl and use an immersion blender to blend them to your desired consistency.

They aren’t pretty, but they taste good.

Adding a note here that you can use a blender or food processor for this also. If you use an immersion blender, make sure you do not do it in your pot. It will damage the non-stick coating.

Black Bean and TVP Tacos: Dice one bell pepper, then drain and rinse a 15 oz can of black beans and a 15 oz can of hominy. Place the bell pepper, black beans, hominy, 15 oz diced tomatoes, 1 cup of TVP, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt in an extra large skillet. Stir this all until well combined. Bring to a boil and then allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed.

That’s it! You’re ready to serve. Goes wonderful with raw onion on top, fresh cherry tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, guacamole, all the toppings! We served ours on corn tortillas, but they’d go great in store bought shells or flour tortillas.

I chose tomatoes and raw onion on a corn tortilla.

Black Bean and TVP Tacos with Homemade Refried Beans

Refried Bean Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can pinto beans
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin

Taco Ingredients:

  • 1 medium bell pepper
  • 15 oz can black beans
  • 15 oz can hominy
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup TVP
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Optional: Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, taco shells, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, raw onion, sour cream

Refried Beans:

  1. Drain and rinse the pinto beans. In a small/medium pot, combine the beans, 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast, and 1 1/2 tbsp cumin.
  2. Bring to a boil, then allow this to simmer for 10 minutes. If the liquid evaporates before the end of the 10 minutes, add a bit more.
  3. After 10 minutes, place the beans and bit of liquid in a glass or metal bowl and using an immersion blender, blend to desired consistency. You can use a food processor or blender if you do not have an immersion blender.

Black Bean and TVP Tacos:

  1. Dice a medium bell pepper. Drain and rinse a 15 oz can of black beans and 15 oz can of hominy. Then combine bell pepper, black beans, hominy, 15 oz diced tomatoes, 1 cup of TVP, 1 cup of vegetable broth, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tbsp cumin, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt in an extra large skillet.
  2. Bring this to a boil. Once boiling, drop the temperature and allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed.
  3. Serve on choice of tortilla with refried beans and toppings of choice.

Lentil “Meat”Loaf Muffins

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I would never have considered myself a go getter. I’m more of a “is that within arm’s reach?” kind of person. I generally like to find the easy way to do things successfully. So when I am now telling to that these are easy to make, you should take my word for it because I had to make them FOUR TIMES to get them right. If I am willing to retry the same recipe FOUR FRIGGIN’ TIMES, you should assume it wasn’t that much effort.

Now, I have zero plans to eat these again in the next couple weeks because I’ve had to try them a lot, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. You totally should. They are flavorful, fast, and save well! They are very similar in flavor to my Lentil Oat Burgers.

Two recommendations: 1) Pre-make your lentils and rice earlier in the day. That way they are done and ready to go which makes this a super fast dinner. 2) Use a large food processor. If you have a smaller cup food processor, you can cut the recipe in half and it will make about 6 muffins.

So assuming you’ve pre-made your lentils (3 cups water, 1 cup brown lentils for ~20 minutes) and 2 cups rice (2 cups water, 1 cup rice for ~15 minutes), place those in a food processor and slightly blend. Add 1 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp poultry seasoning, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and a bit of pepper. Blend well. It’s fine if you see a few bits of whole rice or lentils but most of it should be “mush” for lack of a better term.

“Mush”

Prepare a muffin tin with cooking spray and preheat oven to 375. Spoon lentil/rice mixture into each cup, filling to the top. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until cooked through. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes before removing. If you remove right away, they will likely fall apart a bit. Giving them time lets them set. Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup or dip of choice.

Lentil “Meat”Loaf Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of cooked brown lentils
  • 2 cups of cooked rice
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • a little pepper

Instructions:

  1. Place cooked lentils and rice in food processor and pulse to combine a few times. Then add the rest of the ingredients, blend well.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 and prepare a muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill each tin to the top with the lentil/rice mixture.
  3. Place in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through. Let sit for 5-10 min before eating to give it the chance to set. Serve with BBQ sauce, ketchup or condiment of choice.

Lentil Taco Salad

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It’s a shame there’s no stock in lentils, or like a lentil sponsor. I’d be a great lentil spokesperson. We literally use them every week in at least one way. They make excellent food for new eaters (aka my 7 month old), great in baked goods, soups, puff pastry fillings, as a meat alternative. Lentil Taco Salad is my go-to for lunch, but the recipe is for the taco flavored lentils in general. They are perfect for tacos, burritos, lentil taco salad, on a bun like a sloppy joe, serve your favorite way! .

You’re basically just making lentils, but it’s the seasonings that do all the heavy lifting. Rinse 2/3 cup of brown lentils and place it in a medium pot with 2 cups of water. Add 1 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, a pinch of red pepper flakes and 1/2 tsp of cayenne. Bring this all to a boil. Once boiling, drop the temp to medium so it simmers for about 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Voila! That’s it, now serve how you see fit!

Note to those who didn’t read the above: While this is titled Lentil Taco Salad, the recipe is only for the ingredients for the seasoned lentils as these can be used for many meals.

Lentil Taco Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2/3 cups brown lentils (rinsed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Greens, taco shells, burrito, or burger bun depending on how you plan to eat it!

Instructions:

  1. Rinse the lentils, then combine in a medium pot with 2 cups of water and all other ingredients.
  2. Bring to a boil. Once boiling drop the temp to medium and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
  3. Serve in your preferred way: tacos, burritos, sloppy joe’s, lentil taco salad, etc.

Spicy Black Bean Burger

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We’ve probably all had the Spicy Black Bean burgers made by MorningStar Farms. They are delish, which is exactly why I wanted to recreate them. These turned out great and are easy to adjust the spice factor depending on your preferences. While they are a bit more work than throwing a frozen burger in the microwave, the flavor, size and good ingredients are worthwhile.

First dice up 1/2 a bell pepper and 1/2 an onion. Place these in the food processor with 1/2 tsp of garlic and a 1/4 cup of corn. Pulse these a few times until they are small bits. This next part may seem unnecessary, but I really recommend it. Put the veggies into a mesh strainer and try to remove as much liquid as you can. This will help prevent the burgers from getting crumbly. You will probably be surprised how much liquid can be removed.

Place the drained and rinsed black beans in the food processor and pulse once or twice. Then combine the rest of the ingredients: the drained veggies, 1 egg, 1/2 heaping cup of bread crumbs, 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 to 1/2 a tsp of cayenne pepper (depending on spice preference), and a little salt and pepper. Combine this all relatively well. It’s okay if there are still visible beans but you want it mostly blended.

Preheat your oven to 375. Using medium handfuls, create burger shaped patties and lay them on a baking sheet lined with a silpat mat or parchment paper. You know I love my silpat mats. Mine are generic and they work great. There are many different brands that sell them, including Silpat. Silicone baking sheets is more work to type than silpat. Anyways, burger patties on a baking sheet then place them in the oven for 20 minutes, flipping half way. Mine made 6 burgers, though 1 I considered “kid sized”

Precooked.

Make sure you have a good spatula to flip the burgers. They do stick a little so you want something with a good edge that won’t stick (ie. plastic/silicone, not bamboo). After the 20 minutes in the oven, they are ready to serve.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can of black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 medium bell pepper
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1/4 cup of corn
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne (depending on spice preference)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Dice bell pepper and onion. Place these in the food processor with 1/4 cup of corn and 1/2 tsp garlic. Pulse a few times until they are little bits. Put the veggies in a mesh strainer to remove an excess moisture.
  2. Put drained and rinsed black beans in the food processor. Pulse a few times, then add all the remaining ingredients into the food processor with the beans: the diced veggies, 1 egg, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs (heaping), 1 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne, and a little salt and pepper. Combine these well. It’s fine if there are still some pieces of bean and veggie visible (see pic above for reference).
  3. Using medium handfuls, create burger shaped patties and place them on a prepared baking sheet (silpat mat or parchment paper). Place these in the oven at 375 for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Trail Mix

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My husband brings a huge lunch to work each day. PBJ, cucumbers, apple, plum (seasonally), cookies, pretzels, cantaloupe, watermelon, and trail mix. Now to be fair, this lunch has to last him from 5-6 am until potentially 8-9 pm. It’s a lot to keep track of grocery wise though. We used to buy the trail mix at BJ’s but after running out and forgetting to buy it multiple times we decided to start trying to make some ourselves.

Buying the ingredients separately has saved money. Store bought was 9.99 and lasted about a week and a half. Our mix lasts us about 5-6 weeks. Comes to about .85 a serving for store bought vs .70 a serving for homemade. Plus the benefit of knowing the exact ingredients that you are adding in. Obviously, as there is no cooking involved, this is hardly a recipe but ratios can be difficult and we find that this one is spot on.

Place 2 cups of Cheerios, 2 cups of Chex, 1 cup of Craisins, 1 cup of raisins, 1 cup of cashews, 1 cup of peanuts and 1 cup of chocolate chips in a container. Place the lid on top and shake. That’s it! All done.

Snack layers, pre-shaking.

Trail Mix

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of Cheerios
  • 2 cups of Chex
  • 1 cup of Craisins
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips
  • 1 cup of cashews
  • 1 cup of peanuts

Instructions:

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a sealable container. Put the lid on. Shake well. Eat!

Cauliflower Chana Masala

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One of my favorite throw together dinners on a busy night is Chana Masala by Tasty Bite. My mom first introduced this brand to me after buying it at Costco. It’s so simple. You can just throw it in the microwave, make a pot of rice and you have dinner. My only complaint was the lack of vegetables, so I set out to make my own similar recipe based off the packet.

Dice 2 potatoes, 1/2 an onion and 1/2 a head of cauliflower. Put these in a large pot with a bit of oil and 1/2 tsp garlic. Saute 5-10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth and continue to saute for 10 minutes until the veggies begin to soften.

Add 30 oz of tomato sauce, 1 cup of vegetable broth, 15 oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed), 1/4 cup of tomato paste, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 tsp ginger. Let this simmer about 45 minutes until the potatoes and cauliflower are cooked through. When there’s about 10 minutes remaining add in 1 cup of peas. Serve with naan or over rice.

Cauliflower Chana Masala

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth (divided)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 30 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup of frozen peas

Instructions:

  1. Dice potatoes, cauliflower and onion. Place these in a large pot with oil and 1/2 tsp garlic. Saute on medium high heat for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup broth to cook it down a little bit (5-10 min).
  2. Add 30 oz tomato sauce, 1 cup of broth, the drained and rinsed chickpeas, 1 tbsp cumin, 2 tbsp chili powder, 1 tsp turmeric, and 1/4 tsp ground ginger. Allow this to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour, until cauliflower and potatoes are soft. About 10 minutes before it’s done, add 1 cup of frozen peas. Serve over rice or with naan.

Grandma’s Apple Twists

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Guys. Stop what you are doing and make these. Now. They are seriously amazing. I did not give my Grandma credit. I admit it. To be fair, she passed away when I was 2 so it’s not like I doubted her abilities of making good food to her face. Maybe that’s not the best way to start. Let me start over.

My mom recently gave me my Grandma’s very old and much loved cookbook. She thought I may want to “vegetarianize” some of the recipes. I looked through and have a few things I plan to try, but most of all was the delicious desserts she has in there. There’s homemade fudge, apple crisp, cold dough cookie and these, the apple twists. Now I am not a baker. I don’t necessarily like to measure or follow instructions word for word, which is usually required for baking. This cookbook seems to be okay with that though, as there aren’t instructions word for word.

The thing about this cook book is that theres a lot of details missing, there’s also a lot of instruction that make me pause, like “um…are you sure?” The instructions for this say “Prepare apples. Make dough. Roll out a 16×10 rectangle & cut into 16 10×1 strips. Arrange without them touching. Brush wrapped apples with butter. Sprinkle sugar & cinnamon. Pour 1/2 cup water over pastry. Bake at 450 for 25-30 minutes.”

My favorite part is the “very good” written at the top.

Multiple things about this gave me pause. “Prepare apples”, I assume skin off? She wrote cored and sliced and some other word I can’t figure out. So I assume skin off? No, I’ve never made apple pie. I don’t know. “Make dough”, I’ve never done that, but I’ll throw those ingredients in and try. That worked out well. The one that really threw me the most was the cook temp, 450. By the time I got to this, the bottom of my pyrex was loaded with butter. I’m like, “Is this going to catch fire at 450? Butter’s burning point is 350.”

Naturally, I called my mom. She said no, but thought dropping the temp would be fine. Experiment with Grandma’s cookbook #1: done! Don’t worry, I’ll provide more detail than her cookbook does.*Side note: I plan to try them again at 450 at a later time, for now this worked perfectly with a little extra time required.*

Preheat oven to 375 and prepare your apples. Peel, core and cut them. You want to cut them into 8 slices from each apple (16 total). Make dough. Place 1 1/2 cups of flour into a mixing bowl. Add 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 a cup of coconut oil (the original recipe called for shortening, so that would work to). Begin to combine this. As it is combining, add 5 tbsp of cold water. Once dough is formed, remove from the bowl and knead a couple times to bring it all together.

Roll out your dough. Now, if you can figure out how to make a 16×10 rectangle, more power to you. Mine only managed like 12×10 and I said “close enough”. Also, if you desire to measure out 10×1 strips, again more power to you. I estimated 16 1 inch strips that varied a bit in length but were pretty close to 10 inches. Wrap each apple in a strip of dough and place it in a very well oiled baking dish, without them touching.

See why I was worried about fire? That’t a ton of puddled up butter.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter (original said 1/3 but I felt this was too much) and brush each pastry wrapped apple well. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar (original said 1/2, but holy..) and 1/2 tsp cinnamon across all the apples. Pour ~1/2 a cup of water over the pastry and bake for 1 hour. These are literally the best thing I have ever tasted. They would make a wonderful appetizer, holiday dish, or dessert. Enjoy!

Adding a note to mention that since you use a good amount of coconut oil these do end up with a hint of coconut taste/smell, which I thought was fantastic. If you aren’t a fan of coconut, you can switch it out for some other kind of shortening, like Crisco.

Grandma’s Apple Twists

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium apples (cored, peeled, cut into 16 pieces)
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 5 tbsp cold water
  • 1/4 cup butter (melted)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Prepare apples by peeling, coring and slicing. Each apple should be cut into 8 pieces for a total of 16.
  2. Make the dough by combining 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 a cup of coconut oil in a mixer. As this combines, add 5 tbsp of cold water. Once dough forms, remove from mixer and knead fully to combine.
  3. Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Roll out the dough until generally about the size of a 16×10 rectangle. *See notes above about sizing*
  4. Cut dough into 16 ~1 inch strips. Wrap each apple slice in dough and place it in a well oiled baking pan, spaced well so they do not touch.
  5. Melt butter and brush each pastry wrapped apple slice. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon all over. Pour in a 1/2 cup of water and bake for 1 hour, removing when lightly browned.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

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When I was pregnant with my second, I prepared a whole bunch of healthy snacks and lunches that are easy to eat one handed in preparation for being alone with two kids full time. My mother-in-law made us a few loaves of zucchini bread also. That’s where the inspiration for this recipe came from.

What she makes us is definitely delicious, but is pretty high in added sugar. While these still have added sugar it has been cut down a good bit. Frankly, I’ll take a bit of added sugar if it get my kid to eat and touch some vegetables once in a while. He helps me make these so is aware of the fact the there is zucchini in them and likes to help grate it. Exposure is key, right?

After a bit of trial and error, these muffins turned out great. They have a wonderful texture, which I find difficult to maintain when using applesauce in a baked good, and a good amount of fluff to make a nice rounded top on the muffin. One note about the flavor: the recipe uses the Crockpot Applesauce, which thankfully has no added sugar, but I also find Crockpot Applesauce has much more flavor than store bought. So while you can absolutely use store bought applesauce, the flavor of the muffin may not be as strong.

Start by preheating your oven to 350. In a food processor, place 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of oats, 1/2 a cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of applesauce, 2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup of grated zucchini (with excess moisture removed), 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp baking powder, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Blend this until smooth. Add a 1/3 cup of chocolate chips and pulse once or twice.

Prepare a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Fill each cup with about a 1/3 cup of batter, they should be pretty full. Place in your oven for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean when tested. They are best kept in the fridge and they can be frozen for 2-3 months. They reheat well in the microwave also.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (see note above about Crockpot Applesauce recommendation)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (with excess moisture removed)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place all ingredients, except chocolate chips, into a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add chocolate chips and pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. Add about 1/3 cup of batter to each cup. They should be pretty full.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean when tested.

Best Ever “From Scratch” Spaghetti

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I’ve already talked about my dislike of jarred pasta sauce in Veggie Loaded Pasta Sauce recipe, but I’ll admit some nights even cutting vegetables is more work than I really want to put into dinner and “from scratch” is loosely used in this recipe. This spaghetti hits the spot. I feel silly even writing this recipe because it’s spaghetti…like not complicated, nothing overly exciting, but it was delicious enough that it was a GOOD dinner with great nutritional benefits, thanks to the lentils and cauliflower, and not half assed which is how I feel with most spaghetti nights.

Again, I feel silly writing this recipe but here we go. First start your lentils, add 1 cup of water and a rinsed 1/3 cup of red lentils to a small sauce pot. Bring this to boil. Once it’s boiling, drop the temp to medium for 15 minutes. Meanwhile boil a large pot of water, once this starts boiling, add 1/2 a box of spaghetti and 16 oz of frozen cauliflower. Boil for 10-12 minutes. Drain when it’s done and move the spaghetti and cauliflower back to the same pot and add in the cooked lentils.

Add 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp Italian seasonings, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp parmesan, 1 tbsp nutritional yeast, a bit of salt and pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Stir well and serve! Seriously so basic, but so good. Doctoring up your own pasta sauce it a great way to increase the nutritional benefits with minimal effort. Note about the lentils: you can totally use green or brown lentils instead. However, the red lentils break down much more which is what I like about adding them to spaghetti. They are barely noticeable but are such a great nutritional powerhouse.

Best Ever “From Scratch” Spaghetti

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 box of spaghetti
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup red lentils (rinsed)
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 16 oz bag of frozen cauliflower
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp parmesan
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions:

  1. In a small sauce pot, boil 1 cup of water with 1/3 cup of rinsed red lentils. Once this is boiling, bring the temp down to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boiling, then add spaghetti and frozen cauliflower. Let this boil for 10-12 minutes.
  3. When done, drain the cauliflower and spaghetti. Add the spaghetti, cauliflower, and lentils into the large pot. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Let this simmer on medium low heat for 5-10 min to heat through.