Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spinach, Garlic, and Lemon Spaghettini

I love fast foods. Especially when it seems like life in on fast forward! Seems like lately I choose between a clean home, or a good dinner, but absolutely NOT both. Is it an age thing? Having my kids be 4, 3, AND 2, all going through growth spurts and turning new curves in learning  has overwhelmed and exhausted me.
This is what I choose. 
Some days, an immaculate house and simple leftovers or breakfast for dinner. 
Something good for dinner and a disorderly home.
Tonight? I found that with THIS recipe...I can have both! 
An amazingly simple recipe, I spent no more than 20 minutes total in the kitchen. That's with dinner on the table and served! 
I was pretty happy. Especially when the food was actually GOOD tasting. Simple, but good. Not overpowering  but more of a gentle hint of each ingredient melded together into light perfection. 
I served it with my absolute favorite Roasted Broccoli
Here is what you'll need:

Spinach, Garlic, and Lemon Spaghettini

1 box thin spaghetti
6 tablespoons olive oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
zest and juice of one lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 bag spinach

Begin by cooking the noodles per box instructions. Meanwhile, saute garlic in the olive oil. Add the zest and lemon juice. In separate skillet, gently wilt the spinach with a little bit of water on medium heat. Drain the little bit of water and add oil to spinach. Drain noodles, and toss spinach and olive oil/garlic/lemon juice mixture with noodles. Serve immediately.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cinnamon Vanilla Peanut Butter

Sometimes, the best things in life are cheap and easy. This typically doesn't apply to food..unless it's peanut butter. :-) We go through the stuff like crazy over here. My kids down it by the spoonfuls, we top crackers, cookies, muffins, apples, toast, celery, granola bars, brownies, pretty much everything with it. You know what's awesome? It takes a few minutes to make and costs pennies. Literally! Of course, you can make just basic peanut butter...but the fun comes when you add stuff to it. I posted a while back with a few recipes, but our recent favorite is cinnamon and vanilla. Seriously, this stuff on apples is incredible! Especially when using homemade vanilla (which is finally done...yay!!) 

Cinnamon Vanilla Peanut Butter

4 cups peanuts (salted or non, roasted or raw, it's personal preference)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon

Prepare yourself. This is a complicated recipe.
Dump peanuts in a food processor. Process on high until creamy. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Process again for about 30 seconds. Store in refrigerator. 

Difficult, huh? 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sweet Potato Burgers (plus vegan ranch!)

I needed to re-stock my freezer with quick lunch foods so I decided to try a new "burger" recipe. It actually amazes me just what can be baked into a patty. Once you get used to the texture of a meat-free burger, it really is good. It's not even remotely the same, but we are big fans over here. Super convenient to reheat in a skillet, oven, or toaster oven, and delicious with all the traditional hamburger toppings! This is without a doubt one of the easiest patty recipes and made a decent amount. (9 patties)

I am also VERY happy that the traditional ranch dressing I make tastes almost identical when substituting the dairy ingredients with vegan sour cream, veganaise, and rice milk (I omit the apple cider vinegar and up the seasonings a bit). Yay for US! Salads actually taste almost "normal" now! 

Sweet Potato Burgers

1 1/4 cups chickpeas (garbanzo beans) soaked overnight and rinsed/drained
1 sweet potato, peeled and shredded
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp oil
scant 1/2 tsp baking powder

Using a food processor, blend all ingredients until fine, scraping sides of bowl often. Form into patties. Place on oiled baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake on 375 for 20 minutes. Remove foil, spritz with oil, and bake another 15. Flip burgers, spritz with oil again, and bake an additional 10 minutes or until birgers have a nice, crisp top and bottom. Serve with desired toppings! Wrap in foil after completely cooled and freeze. Reheat in skillet spritzed with oil OR in the oven. 

Black Bean Soup

Phew, it feels so good to be back to healthy eating after all the holiday celebrations! Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy my fair share of sugar and stuff, but I also like getting back into the swing of normal living...

I have been wanting to make this soup for awhile now and just gave it a go yesterday. It tasted like super authentic Mexican, not a fast food style, and I think it would be superb with shredded cheese and sour cream on top! The original recipe said to blend half of it and return to pot...I skipped this step and it was just as fabulous.

You know what else would make this recipe incredible? 4 oz of cream cheese stirred into the pot before serving. Try it. I bet you'll agree. ;-)

For the beans, I used my recipe. I make a big batch of it, drain all the broth out, and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet where I then transfer to freezer bags so I always have seasoned black beans on hand. If you don't feel like doing all of this, just buy 2 cans of seasoned black beans. 

Black Bean Soup

3 cups prepared Authentic Black Beans
1 cup (or can) pinto beans (or any kind of bean, really..I just like to mix it up)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 large sweet onion, chopped
2-3 tsp minced garlic
3 tsp chili powder (more to taste)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp basil and oregano
2 tsp brown sugar
2 bay leaves
salt+ cayenne pepper to taste
oil of choice

1 batch of short grain brown rice, prepared
Guacamole (best ever recipe!)
(optional) Sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese, tortilla chips

Put a dash of oil in a pot and saute onion until tender. Add garlic and cook about a minute more. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on medium for about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Trust me, you don't want to blend these guys into your soup! If you want, blend half of the soup recipe to thicken it up a bit. Return to pot, stir, and serve with some rice, guac, cilantro, sour cream, etc. 

We all agreed that it tasted even better the next day!