Strawberry and Spinach Salad

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This is another recipe from my family cookbook, which also happens to be one of my favorite salads.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup strawberry preserves
  • 1/3 cup grape seed oil
  • 1/4 cup raspberry vinegar (strawberry is ideal, but it’s really difficult to find)
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 1 pound of strawberries (halved and sliced)
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced (I don’t like shallots, so I leave them out
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
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vinaigrette

In a small bowl, whisk together the strawberry preserves, grape seed oil and raspberry vinegar. Divide the spinach onto 4 serving plates, arrange the shallots and strawberries over the spinach. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salads and sprinkle with pistachios.

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Dairy-Free Stuffed Shells

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Another food that I miss like crazy is stuffed shells. I can still eat ricotta cheese in moderation- but let’s be real… who actually can eat stuffed shells in moderation- normally I eat them until I’m stuffed.

This recipe is great! One thing I would recommend for the next time I make them is having more pasta sauce to cover the shells afterwards. The recipe comes from Oh She Glows

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Yield: approx. 30 shells or 6 servings

  • 3.5 cups pasta sauce
  • Box of jumbo shells (I cooked them all and then used as many as I had ricotta for) 

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Tofu Ricotta:

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 (14oz) package extra-firm or firm tofu, pressed
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4-1 tsp fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Rinse block of tofu and wrap with paper towels followed by 2-3 tea towels. Place it on a cutting board or plate and add several heavy cookbooks on top. Press tofu for about 20-25 minutes to drain out the water. Alternatively, you can use a tofu press.

2. Grease a very large casserole dish. I used about 30 shells, but you’ll need to cook more than that as some shells will break during the cooking process. Cook shells in a pot of boiling water until al dente, about 8-11 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Drain shells and set aside to cool.

3. Preheat oven to 400F. For the tofu ricotta: In a large skillet, sauté the garlic and onion in the oil for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add in the chopped celery, basil, and parsley and sauté for another 5 minutes or so. Feel free to throw in some spinach for extra greens.

4. For the tofu, you can either crumble it into the skillet with your hands or you can give it a whirl in the food processor and then stir it into the skillet. If you use the processor, the texture will be very creamy like ricotta cheese and if you crumble it with your hands it will be more chunky/crumbly. It’s up to you how you want to make it. I usually opt to crumble it by hand so I don’t dirty the processor. Stir in the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, lemon, and cayenne all to taste. Over medium heat, cook for about 8-10 minutes or until most of the water cooks off.

5. Spoon about 1 cup of marinara sauce into the casserole dish and spread around. Add about 2 tbsp of tofu ricotta into each stuffed shell and place shells on top of marinara sauce. Cover shells with the remaining 2-2.5 cups marinara sauce and any leftover tofu ricotta. Cover dish with tin foil and poke several air holes. Bake at 400F for about 20 minutes or until heated throughout.

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Vegan Brownies

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So I was looking for a dairy-free brownie recipe for a dinner party I went to a few nights ago. I thought I was going to have an easier time finding just dairy-free, but most of them were also vegan, which works just as well!  This recipe comes from All-Recipes, and I added a few other spices to the mix.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (next time I’ll add more to give it a little more of a kick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a greased 9×13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for a bit and then cut into squares before devouring the whole tray.

Chicken-Avacado Salad

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Ingredients:

  • chicken
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 avocado
  • spinach
  • pine nuts
  • balsamic vinegar

Directions:

  1. Cut up the chicken and put it in a frying pan with a little oil. I seasoned it with pepper, salt, turmeric, garlic powder, chili powder, cajun seasoning and lime juice, but feel free to season it however you like.
  2. On a plate, put spinach, a few sliced cherry tomatoes and 1/2 an avocado
  3. Add the chicken.
  4. In the frying pan, toast the pine nuts and then put on salad
  5. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and enjoy!

Ground Beef and Vegetable Stew

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Boston gave us a taste of Spring this past weekend- a thunder storm and multiple days in the 50s. And while it is not spring yet, I figured that I needed to get some last minute stew in before it is too warm. This recipe comes from Southernplate.com  and I improvised to make it my own!

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs ground beef, cooked and drained
  • Carrots, diced
  • Onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2-3 Cups frozen green beans
  • 28 ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Cans Spicy Hot V-8 juice
  • 2 C water
  • 4 Beef Boullion Cubes
  • 1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
  • mushrooms
  • cup or so of peas
  • cup or so of kale
  • seasonings of your liking (I used italian seasoning, adobo, black and white pepper, chili pepper, oregano)

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Instructions

  1. Place everything in a pot except for ground beef (cook before hand) and kale. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmering. Cover and cook for an hour until vegetables are tender.
  2.  Add ground beef, cook for another fifteen minutes.
  3. Add the kale, cook for another fifteen minutes

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