recipe

“Creamy” Red Sauce

I’m not a big red sauce person but was really in the mood for something different on my pasta. I knew of a great vegan “cheese” sauce recipe so I was inspired to tweak it and created this “creamy” red sauce. I made it with pantry staples so it was easy and quick to throw together. Plus, the flavor really surprised me. It truly felt like I was eating a dairy-based creamy red sauce and it completely tricked my taste buds.

This would be great over my Pasta with Veggies & Chicken recipe!

You need a high speed/powerful blender, and a couple of specialty ingredients such as nutritional yeast and miso paste, but once you have these items in your pantry you can use them in a number of ways. For example, anytime you want to add a “cheesy” flavor to something without adding diary, nutritional yeast is a great substitute. I sprinkle it over my pasta like parmesan, top popcorn with it (yum!), and add it to sauces to add richness. Miso paste can add a nice salty component to Asian sauces, or you can simply add a spoonful to a cup of hot water for a nutritional broth or soup.

THE WHAT:
1/2 diced red onion
2 cloves garlic (diced)
2 Tablespoons EVOO 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
 
2 handfuls (appox 1/3-1/2 cup soaked raw cashews)
14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
2 Tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 Tablespoons miso paste (I used red, but any would do)
  1. Fill a mug 3/4 full with water and microwave for 1 -1.5 minutes then place raw cashews in hot water and let soak while you prep the blender.
  2. Sautée the first four ingredients in a small skillet on low to medium heat until onions are translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic (you can add it at the end if you start out with too high a heat).
  3. While sautéing, add the last three ingredients to the blender.
  4. Add the sautéed ingredients to the blender.
  5. Drain the soaking cashews and add cashews to blender.
  6. Blend all ingredients until super creamy and smooth.
  7. In my Vitamix I blended it approx. 2 minutes which also warmed the sauce so I didn’t have to transfer it to a pot to heat it.
  8. Sauce will keep in fridge for a week, or it can be frozen and used later.

    Serves 4-6

ENJOY!

recipe

Easy Custom Flavored Yogurt

I find most store sweetened yogurts to be way to sweet for me. I tend to like the tartness of plain yogurt and get my sweet from fresh fruit, or for a quick fix, local honey or even a little organic jelly (homemade if I have any left). I’m sensitive to cow’s milk, but have found that I can tolerate sheep milk and goat milk yogurts. They are a little more expensive, but OH so good if you cant have regular yogurt and find yourself craving that creamy dairy goodness that only a dairy based yogurt can provide. It’s often a dessert for me and it doesn’t take much to get my “fix”.

Another reason I was looking for a good way to control the sugar of my yogurt is my toddler. He doesn’t mind his yogurt a little tart as well. His favorite is some Greek yogurt with a little local honey mixed in. I even found some fun reusable pouches that I can put it in to help control the mess a bit!

Play around with your own sweetness level and toppings. Add some nuts or granola, some hemp seeds, shredded coconut, or chia seeds.

Please share your favorite yogurt toppings in my comments section!

self sweetened yogurt (1)

THE WHAT:
1 cup of your favorite plain yogurt
2 teaspoons of a "no sugar added" jelly (sweetened with fruit juices)
1/4 cup of your favorite fruit
Other toppings as desired - get creative  

THE HOW:

This one is pretty self explanatory –

  1. Add 1 cup of plain yogurt to a bowl or to-go container. I love 16oz wide mouth mason jars.
  2. Stir in 2 teaspoons of your favorite jelly.
  3. Add fresh fruit on top.
  4. Add additional toppings as desired.
  5. Enjoy now or later.

Serves 1
ENJOY!

self sweetened yogurt (2)

recipe

Mexican Caviar (black bean and corn dip)

If you google “Mexican Caviar” you will find many versions of a black bean and corn dip/salsa. Some have longer lists of ingredients, but mine is paired down and simple. If you have extra time, and want to get creative, please do so. You cant mess this up.

Some great optional ingredients include: avocado, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, your favorite hot sauce, tomatoes, the list goes on and on…

This stuff is so good/addictive that no one will realize how easy and affordable it is to make! I promised this recipe in my last post Southwestern Style Burgers since it pairs really well with the burgers. However, this dip is a perfect party side dish anytime of the year. I suggest those scoopable chips for this one.

SW style burger bowl w salsa

 

Below I’ve listed the full sized (aka party sized) portion, but if you are making this with the left over partial cans of black beans and corn after making the Southwestern Style Burgers, then just add the following to the partial cans and mix well:
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
3-4 Tablespoons EVOO (or avocado oil)
2 green onions (finely sliced)
salt and pepper to taste

THE WHAT:

2 cans corn (rinsed and drained) - "Mexicorn" works well
2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
3-5 green onions (finely diced) - red onion is also great
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO (or other mild oil)
2-3 dashes cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl add all ingredients listed above and mix thoroughly.
  2. Refrigerate for 20 mins to overnight.
  3. Serve with chips, over the Southwestern Style Burger bowls, over grilled chicken, etc.

Serves 6+

ENJOY!

black bean & corn salsa

 

recipe

Southwestern Style Burgers

Who doesn’t love a good grilled burger in the summer? Today I want to share a healthier ground chicken burger, but I want to give you one that will still satisfy that burger craving!

The ingredients are simple pantry staples so these burgers are quick and easy to throw together. I added a bonus recipe of a quick slaw that you can optionally make as well. And, for those leftover black beans and corn, I have a great corn and bean salsa recipe (aka Mexican Caviar) that Ill share in an upcoming post. But if you want to keep it extra simple, just throw some of the extra beans and corn into your rice bowl.

I served my burgers over rice (I’m kinda hooked on burger bowls lately), but these burgers can obviously be served on a traditional bun as well (I recommend a whole grain bun). I would recommend topping with some guacamole and a dab of salsa. Serve the slaw on the side, or as an additional burger topping. Yum!

Please share any other ideas you have for enjoying these burgers in the comment section. I love to hear new ideas!

SW style burger ingredients

THE WHAT:
1 cup cooked brown rice

BURGERS
1 lb ground chicken meat (or turkey works great too) 
1/4 cup ground flax seed  
1/2 cup black beans (If using canned, drain and rinse first)
1/3 cup corn (If using canned, drain & rinse first)
1 large minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3 Tablespoons salsa of choice
1 avocado (Optional)

Quick Lime Slaw
Juice of 1 lime 
3 Tablespoons avocado oil (or EVOO) 
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
1/2 head of small green cabbage finely sliced
 

THE HOW:

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. Use bone broth instead of water if you have any on hand.
  2. In a medium bowl add all of the burger ingredients and ‘squish’ together by hand to blend well.
  3. Press into 4-5 patties and set on plate. If you have time to let them marinate, stick the patties back in the fridge for 30 minutes (or as long as overnight). It really helps make them more flavorful, but they are good even if you throw them right on the grill.
  4. drizzle a little EVOO on each side so they do not stick to the grill.
  5. Place burger patties on a hot grill.
  6. Cook the burgers 7 minutes the first side and approximately 6 minutes the second side.  Check the internal temperature of the burgers if you are unsure, but do your best not to overcook as this will dry them out.
  7. While the burgers are grilling, add all slaw ingredients to a small bowl and toss thoroughly to fully coat the cabbage. Set aside.
  8. Once peppers cool a bit, you can peal the skin (if you like) and slice them long ways.
  9. Slice or cube your avocado.
  10. Once burgers are done, let them rest approx. 5 minutes.
  11. Assemble your burger bowl:
    • Place a 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice in the bottom of a bowl
    • Add a burger
    • Top the burger with some Quick Lime Slaw
    • Add the Mexican Caviar (if you opted to make it), or just sprinkle some of the extra beans and corn into the bowl
    • Add some avocado slices and drizzle with some salsa

Serves 4-5
ENJOY!

SW style burger bowl w salsa

recipe

Simple Summer Cucumber Salad

This salad reminds me of summer. It’s a perfect side for burgers or any BBQ as it’s light and refreshing. My Dad always grew a really large garden and come mid-summer, the cucumbers were out of control, so we looked for any possible use for cucumbers. This was my favorite way to use up those fresh cucumbers, my Mom made something similar (though I never saw her measure anything). I’ve added dill for a fresh twist. Plus, it doesn’t get any easier than this and you can’t mess it up. Add extra mayo if you want a thicker base, or less if you want it lighter. If you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand, I’m sure that apple cider vinegar, or some other variety would work as well. Let me know if you try something else that hits the spot!

For your next picnic or family BBQ gathering, whip this up and I promise you won’t have any complaints!

THE WHAT:
¼ cup mayo (your favorite kind will work fine) 
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar 
1 teaspoon fresh dill (finely diced) 
½ teaspoon fine sea salt 
¼ teaspoon ground pepper 
¼ cup very thinly sliced red onion 
1.2-2 medium cucumbers (deseeded and sliced) 
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the mayo, vinegar, dill, salt, and pepper.
  2. Peal your cucumbers and slice open long ways. Take your knife and score the perimeter of the seeds and scoop out with a spoon or your fingers.
  3. Slice the cucumber into approximately ¼” slices and add to the bowl with the sauce.
  4. Slice a red onion in half (from the stock end) and peal the outer layer. Slice very thin until you have approx. ¼ cup and add to the bowl with the sauce.
  5. Toss the cucumber and onion in the sauce until evenly coated.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes to 3 hours to let marinate.Serves 4-6

ENJOY!

cucumber salad (2)