Our Go-To Week Meals

Hello all!

First of all – all parties need a photo booth. It should be just as common as cake.

Anyway, I wanted to post about James and my dinners during the week that are quick, easy, and simple. Some I’ve posted, others I haven’t posted, just for the fact there isn’t much to post. It doesn’t always have to be complicated. It doesn’t always have to be a full course meal. And it doesn’t always have to be a “shared” recipe.

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese or Whole Grain Bread

Creamy Tomato Basil soup was one of our favorite meals before I went plant based, and is now – especially since I made this recipe and I don’t have to cook two different soups! This recipe is so easy to make and is ready in minutes. Not to mention it’s filling since butter beans is what makes it creamy so it’s full of protein!  If you want something more comforting, make a grilled cheese – one with cheddar cheese, the other with your favorite vegan cheese. Or if you want to be as whole food as possible, just get whole grain bread and toast it.

Recipe is HERE.

BBQ Sausage Dinner

This dinner came about when James wasn’t sure how hungry he was going to be and I didn’t want to cook. So I figured I’d get him already cooked all-natural brats, and get me some Field Roast sausages or frankfurters and if we don’t eat it, it will be there. Well we ended up being more hungry than we thought. I sliced up our sausages and put them each in their individual skillets.  I decided to cook the sausages how I saw a friend of mine cook hers and I fell in love with it! Once the sausages are toasted and crispy, I take it off the heat and let it cool for a minute. Drain any excess oil, and then add our favorite BBQ sauce (Stubbs Original) and toss the sausages in it in their own skillets. The leftover heat from the skillet will help the BBQ sauce to attach to the sausages.

You can add whatever sides you want – whether there is left overs, an easy salad, etc. James usually likes making mac n cheese with it, and I’ll grab some type of frozen veggies like broccoli and/or make some skillet potatoes to go with it. And there you have it! A full course meal in about 20 minutes.

 

Pizza – his and hers

This one might seem obvious, but buying a frozen pizza for each, or ordering pizza (mine without cheese) and having left overs for the weekend or the rest of the week.

This picture was when we ordered from one of our of favorite pizza places in Dallas – Pizza Lounge. They have Daiya cheese so I’ll get one of their pizzas that has spinach and mushrooms with the Daiya cheese, and James get’s his pepperoni and sausage.

Other places I’ll just get a veggie pizza with no cheese. There are a few pizza places there that has a vegan crust already without advertising it. Not all, but some.

 BLTs

Pretty easy. I’ll get James bacon, I’ll either make my Coconut Bacon, or I’ll buy vegan bacon, or if I don’t even want to do that, I’ll just add sliced avocado. Then have your toasted bread, lettuce, and tomatoes and some type of spread. DONE! This picture has the Sweet Earth’s Benevolent Bacon and Sir Kensington’s Chipotle Fabanaise. It was awesome!

 

Tapas/Appetizer Night

This is our “whatever” night. We’ll have cherry tomatoes, I’ll get a cashew cheese or hummus with crackers and veggies, he’ll have pizza rolls, little sausages, etc. Whatever snacks we decide we want and just munch. This picture was a party tapas night. Our normal week-day tapas night, definitely does not look this fancy!

 

 Veggie Burger Night

So James has been trying to not have as much red meat (heh…) so he’s been trying to find a burger that he likes. He tried turkey burgers and didn’t like them, and he doesn’t mind chicken sandwiches, but it still isn’t a burger. So I told him that when I ate meat I thought turkey burgers were tasteless and gross, even though I like turkey, but veggie burgers never tasted bad and were full of flavor. I convinced him to try it one night and he was about to go back for another burger before he decided to let it sit for a minute and ended up being stuffed and satisfied and really liking the veggie burger! SCORE! Now all I have to do is toast up the veggie patties, add some additional seasonings and sauces if I want, and he will still add cheese. Easy burger night!

 

Angry Spaghetti with a Simple Salad

This was one of our first shared meals that I continuously make. He has a spicy sausage sauce, and I have a spicy veggie sauce. Easy, quick and satisfying for both of us.

The recipe I have for it is HERE.

Chili Mac

 

This also was put together by one of those nights I didn’t want to cook and I wanted to just throw things in a pot and be done. James like the vegan chili so why not keep this as a meal we can have together? He’ll add his shredded cheese, I’ll have mine or do without.

The recipe is HERE.

 

 

 

What are some of your favorite week day dinners?

Lemon Garlic Rice Pilaf with Orzo

Here is a great and easy recipe that the whole family loved. It’s slightly creamy, full of flavor and something that will go with any summer meal.

Do you know someone who just doesn’t stop moving? Like, where do they get the energy? My mom is one of those people. She doesn’t know how to sit still. Once she is still she’s out for a 5 minute nap and then ready to go again. I mean really?

She told me the other day that on her weekend day (after working overtime that week, mind you) she woke up before her alarm at 5:30 am. Watched some TV. Had breakfast, drank her coffee, and then started cleaning the house. Once she realized she was making too much noise since my Dad was still sleeping, she figured she should leave the house. So she goes to the grocery store and is back by 9:00 am. THEN she decides to start doing house repairs and decorating. And then later that day I went shopping with her.

Why didn’t I get that? Just an ounce of her energy and I’ll be good for a year.

Lemon Garlic Rice Pilaf with Orzo


Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp earth balance butter
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup rice
  • 4 cups water + 2 ‘chicken’ bouillon cubes, or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Melt the earth balance butter in a medium size pot on medium-high heat. Add in the orzo and onion. Stir until orzo starts to brown and the onion becomes translucent. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add in the rice and stir to combine. Add in the water with the bouillon or the vegetable broth. Cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  3. Turn off heat once liquid is absorbed. Add in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Top 2017 Spring Recipes

Summer is here already! Spring went by fast and was super busy. And because of that I didn’t post too much, but I wanted to post my favorites out of the ones that I did post. These are ones that I’ve thought about repeatedly since I’ve made it, or have already made them a second time, OR one that James asks about when I’m going to make it again – so all around “wins”!

So this cheese sauce I’ve made at least 3 times, and I eat it all. I’m going to be working on a few different recipes with “cheese” with this sauce, or the idea of this sauce, soon, so hold tight!

I made this a few times for my lunches, and it’s so light but filling, and all whole food. Even better.

James loves honey Dijon chicken, and it’s one of the recipes I’ve made twice already. There are leftovers, but its one of the recipes we don’t mind leftovers for. Plus how simple it is, just makes it that much more loveable.

Cream, white wine, and cajun spice? What more would you want from a pasta? James wasn’t even finished with his first bowl and was already asking when I was going to make it again. LOL

This I could not get enough of when I first made it. The sweet and juice fresh clementines and then the roasted and savory pecans… NOM! Simple and whole food. Great to go with any heavy and/or spicy meal like the Cajun Pasta above.

The whole family loved this one and there were no leftovers. They talked about that it smelled like lasagna in the oven. A good Italian fix that isn’t pasta that so far as been an overall winner.

Roasted Dill Carrots with Paprika

I love roasted vegetables right now. You’ll probably will be seeing a lot more of it. It makes the vegetables so sweet and they still have some crunch to it!

Now one thing I didn’t think to do with these is to turn them 1/2 way. They still came out really good, but one side was browned and one side was seasoned. So if it want it more even, make sure you turn them 1/2 way through cooking. I didn’t mind it though. Everyone got 2 carrots with a baked potato and then either beans or pork loin for dinner. Not to mention – they make the plate look so pretty!

Roasted Dill Carrots with Paprika

  • Servings: 4-5 servings
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Ingredients

  • 8-10 carrots, washed & peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Dill
  • Ground Paprika

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. On a baking sheet, add your carrots. Drizzle with olive oil & sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Add to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle some dill and paprika on top, turn carrots oven, and put back in the oven for about 10-15 minutes depending on how large the carrots are.
  5. Once the carrots are roasted to desired tenderness, remove from oven and enjoy with your meal!

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

I’m starting to like summer. Not the heat, but for the food. Green beans, berries, watermelon. Give it all to me!!

So while there will be berry and watermelon recipes soon to come, here is one of our new favorite green bean recipes. It’s simple, and would be easy enough for food prep – for those ambitious people.

I’ve been really liking roasting my veggies. It gives it more of an al dente texture, which I love, and it brings out the sweetness in the veggies. Looks like different kinds of roasted veggies are going to be on the menu for a while.

Roasted Parmesan Green Beans

  • Servings: 4 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 lbs. fresh green beans, wash, and tips snapped off
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Shredded Parmesan to taste (omnivore)
  • Nutritional Yeast to taste (plant based)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Toss the green beans in olive oil and salt and pepper. Sprinkle the green beans with either the parmesan or the nutritional yeast. And then sprinkle the minced garlic on top.
  3. Bake the green beans, uncovered, for 10 minutes on a lined cookie sheet. Shake the sheet and cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Serve and enjoy immediately.

Fajita Spice Mix

It’s getting too close to summer here that I’m already calling it summer. And you know what goes with summer?

Fajitas! We are working on getting a grill, but until then I have this nifty little cast iron grill that sets on top of two burners. It’s awesome! For burgers, portabella mushroom caps, and for just straight up grilling veggies for fajitas!

I usually just do 1 green and red bell pepper, 1 large onion, and 2 sliced portabella mushrooms to throw on the grill when we do fajitas. I also came up with my own fajita mix. I love chipotle chili power since it gives it an extra smokey flavor. Next time you fire up the grill, try out the fajita mix I made!

Fajita Spice Mix

  • Servings: makes about 1/4 cup
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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Combine all and mix together. Add to your veggies or meat about 30 minutes before cooking. I put them in a large bag with a small amount of olive oil and mix it all together and let it rest in the fridge until ready to cook.

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sausage, Asparagus, and Potatoes

Since James and I are really looking to be more healthier in a lot of ways, I’ve been trying to see how much I can get him to eat veggies and how he’ll eat them. I’ve always tried to do this, but it’s been more of a goal recently, than just one of the many things rolling around in my mind.

He loves sausages. Whether it’s breakfast sausages, kielbasas, or just smoked sausage. But he’s been trying to eat less red meat, if at all, and cut down on his pork intake now as well. However, I found this chicken sausage (with no added nitrates or other preservatives) that had sun-dried tomatoes, artichokes, and mozzarella. So instead of pasta I decided to try to fill the rest of the plate with veggies.

Don’t look at the oven too closely. It’s an old oven that is still alive after an oven fire… LOL The rest of the family loved it too! They kept saying it smelled like lasagna. Weren’t they surprised! Not even kidding, there was only a little left between 4 people once we were done. And 75% of it was veggies – mission accomplished! Of course I’m sure the garlic, sausages, potatoes and parmesan cheese helped…

Garlic Parmesan Roasted Sausage, Asparagus, and Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-5 servings
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Ingredients

    Sausages
  • 8-10 sausages (2 sausages – meat based or plant based – per person)
  • So for us, I had 2 Field Roast Italian sausages, and for the other three people, there was a total of 8 sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, sliced. Veggies
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 in pieces
  • 16 oz. bag of baby carrots
  • 10-12 red potatoes, quartered into bite size pieces
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, chopped, not too small
  • 1/4 parmesan cheese (omnivore), and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (plant based)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Lightly grease the bottom of the baking dishes you will use. I used a deep 9×13 pan for the omnivores, and an equivalent to an 8×8 pan for the plant based version.
  3. Chop up your veggies and spread them out for each pan including the garlic.
  4. Top the veggies with the sausages and top the plant based version with a small amount of oil since they will usually get more dry.
  5. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese/nutritional yeast on top and salt and pepper.
  6. Place in the oven uncovered. Check after about 20-25 minutes. Depending on the size of the pan and how deep the pan is full, you might need to keep it in for an additional 10-15 minutes to make sure all the potatoes and carrots are not still raw in the middle.
  7. Toss it together and throw it in a bowl and eat!

Power Greens Salad with Clementines & Roasted Pecans

I know there is an app for everything, but did you realize there is an article for everything too?

At work I was sealing a semi-small stack of envelopes and I wondered why we still had to lick or wet the envelopes. With technology the way that it is, you would think we could manufacture more peel-and-stick envelopes and not have to stick our tongue out every time we want to send some mail.

Believe it or not, there’s an article for it. There’s an article explaining the history of envelopes. There’s an article about different methods that are used. There is an article explaining why we still use the “gum” method. Who knew? So while I was sealing the envelopes, I was reading up on all the envelope history. It’s not too exciting, and not too long, but some things are interesting. I mean, China used to use clay pots as envelopes for secret royalty information. Once it was delivered it was smashed. I wish I could smash clay pots every time I got my mail…

Along with there being an app and article for everything, there is a salad with go with everything as well. When I had made the Creole Chickpea/Chicken Pasta I wanted something citrus and light to go with it and kept seeing different versions of a green salad with oranges. This is what I had on hand so this is what I made, and it was awesome with the pasta!

Mixed Power Greens with Clementines & Roasted Pecans

  • Servings: 6-8 servings
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest, or clementine zest
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 3-4 clementines, peeled and in pieces
  • 8-10 oz. Mixed Power Greens (Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Arugula was in my mix)
  • 1 cup toasted chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Make the dressing. Whisk together orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, olive oil, and Dijon. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
  2. If your pecans are not already toasted, heat a small skillet on low heat without anything but the pecans in it. Let it slowly toast with you mixing it around so that the nuts do not burn. Once you start to smell the nuts, turn the heat off and throw the toasted pecans in a bowl.
  3. Take your greens, top with clementines, toasted pecans, and oranges and enjoy!