Spring Pasta Salad

Today really felt like SPRING! So amazing outside!!!!! While we were playing outside I got the idea to make a pasta salad! It just felt right, so seasonal and perfect! LOVE!
I normally make things on a large scale but this was just for my kids’ lunch and husbands’ dinner 😉 So if you want to make this bigger, double or triple the recipe! This salad will taste great right away but also will get more tastier as the flavors get to mingle in the fridge! Yum!

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Spring Pasta Salad

1/2 a box of pasta (1/2 pound) elbow or other
1 cup of cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, diced
1/2 a cucumber, diced
1/2 a can of black olives, quartered
1/2 a can of chickpeas
1/2 an avocado, chopped
1/8-1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/8-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Bring water to boil and cook pasta according to the pox.
2. While pasta is cooking prep and chop all the veggies and place in a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and give a good stir.
3. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and cool for a few minutes. Then add to the bowl and stir to incorporate.
4. Chill further and enjoy!

And here it is as lunch for my littles 🙂 Fun!!!

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Guest Post: Aunt Apple’s Apples

My sister makes these delicious apple treats all the time for my kiddos (and everyone else). Think an awesome healthy version of an apple pie. Since they are such an unbelievable hit (they have even caused a name change ;)) we wanted to share them with you! Perfect time for the Autumn and Jewish Holidays too! My kids will eat these at any meal, any time of day! Enjoy!!!

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Aunt Apple’s Apples

I’m Marisa’s sister Jillian, but my wonderful niece and nephew know me as Aunt Apple. I started making my special apple dessert about two years ago, and they love it so much, I give it to them for every family get-together. It’s vegan, very low fat, low sugar, low carb, high fiber, and most importantly, it’s delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 6 apples (I like using organic Fuji or Gala, but any type will do)
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of Bisquick
  • 1/4 cup of butter flavored Crisco (or other vegan butter substitute)
  • 3 tbsp boiling water

The very first thing you want to do with this recipe is make the dough for the crust; the more time it has to hydrate, the easier it will be to work with. Mix the Bisquick with the Crisco and boiling water, then knead it all together. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator.

The next step is to plump the raisins. You can do this really easily by microwaving the raisins for two minutes with half a cup of water, then draining whatever water is left. If you want the raisins to be even sweeter, you can use fruit juice instead of water to plump them.

Then, you take the apples and cut them in half horizontally. Then, using a sturdy melon baller, scoop out the core, making sure not to puncture the skin of the apple. After you’ve thrown away the core, use the melon baller to scoop out as much of the fruit as possible, and set it aside for the filling.

When you’ve hollowed out all the apples, roughly chop all the scooped out pieces, and mix them with the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and raisins. Toss everything thoroughly to combine.

Now, fill each of the apple with the filling up to the brim.

(If you want to make your dessert gluten-free, your prep work is over, and you can just skip down to the baking specifications.)

Next, take your chilled dough out of the fridge, and roll it out on a non-stick surface or a floured surface. Slice it into thin pieces about three inches long for your lattice crust. And then make a little hashtag on each apple half. Gently press the ends of each dough strip on to the apple.

When these are all completed, put them in a casserole dish. Now, pour a tiny bit of water on the bottom of the dish between the pies, cover the whole thing with tin foil, and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Then uncover the pan, and cook the apples for another 20 minutes, or until the crust is nicely browned.

You now have your very own Aunt Apple’s Apples! There will probably be some water left at the bottom of the pan, so move those treats to another vessel, and enjoy!

 

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes

We have been all about weekend pancakes lately and are always all about apples! And seriously who doesn’t love pancakes!! These were super easy and quick to whip up. Just had the urge and then 20 minutes later we were all eating pancakes.

Cinnamon Apple Panca

Cinnamon Apple Pancakes
Makes 12-15 pancakes

2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 – 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
1 cup almond milk (or any non-dairy milk)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Combine dry ingredients, then add the rest and mix well
  2. Spoon batter (~ 2 tablespoons) onto a hot griddle. Cook until pancakes have a bubbly surface and slightly dry edges (1-2 minutes). Flip pancakes and let cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until golden.
  3.  Serve with Maple Syrup and Enjoy 🙂

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Greens and Quinoa Pie

This is a delicious recipe that was perfect for Passover and will definitely be repeated throughout the year! SO good! We love to use quinoa since it is such a super food and so delicious! It is not a grain so totally great for Passover as well 🙂 I doubled this to feed the whole table. Super protein-riffic meal!
Greens and Quinoa Pi
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Greens and Quinoa Pie
Recipe adapted from http://www.vegetariantimes.com
Serves 6
  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 10 ounces chopped spinach
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (¼ cup)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh dill
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese (1 oz.)
  • ¼ cup grated aged goat cheese (1 oz.)
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place quinoa in small saucepan, and toast over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, or until almost dry. Add 1 cup water, and season with salt, if desired. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and transfer to large bowl.
  3. Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté 10 minutes, or until browned. Add spinach and cook until wilted, stirring frequently or tossing with tongs. Stir greens into quinoa. Add cooked onions, green onions, dill, feta cheese, and goat cheese to quinoa mixture. Stir in eggs; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Grease a 9-inch pie pan, then spread quinoa mixture in pan with spatula. Bake 40-50 minutes or until golden brown.

Roasted Root Vegetable Potpie

Vegetarian Thanksgiving is not just sides of green beans and tofurkey. There are so many great recipes out there and so many amazing dishes to get creative with. I love seeing all the posts and mentions all over the web these days about it! Here is one that would make a great dish for the holiday or anytime this fall & winter!

We LOVE pot pies!! I have made many over the years with all kind of filling and all kind of crusts. Here is one I made a few years back. I typically like to make the dough but this one was deelish with just a simple flaky puff pastry topping. Also love how root vegetably deelish this was!

What are you cooking up this Thanksgiving? Please share your Thanksgiving plans & recipes with us! 

Roasted Root Vegetab

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Roasted Root Vegetable Potpie
Recipe adapted from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
6 servings

1 large yellow onion, quartered and sliced crosswise into ½- to ¾-inch-thick pieces
1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided, plus extra if needed
2 cups vegetable broth, divided
12 large garlic cloves, peeled, plus 2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias into ½-inch pieces – chopped
1 medium rutabaga, peeled and chopped into ½-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1¼ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
5 fresh thyme sprigs plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme, divided
2 tablespoons earth balance, at room temperature
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 medium radishes, trimmed and quartered
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
1/4 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk

1. Adjust an oven rack to the uppermost position (about 3 inches from the broiler element) and preheat the broiler to high. On a rimmed baking sheet, add the onion in a single layer. Broil the onions until they are charred, rotating the baking sheet midway through cooking, 6 to 8 minutes (watch the onions closely, as broiler intensities vary). Remove the baking sheet from the oven, sprinkle the onions with ½ teaspoon of the salt and pour 1 cup of vegetable broth over the onions, then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.

2. Reduce the oven temperature to 425°. To the baking sheet used for the onions, add the 12 whole garlic cloves, the carrots, rutabaga, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the oil and toss to combine. Place the thyme sprigs on top. Tightly cover the baking sheet with aluminum foil and roast the vegetables until tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and discard the foil. Use tongs to gather all of the roasted garlic cloves, then use a fork to smash them into a paste.

3. In a small bowl, mash together the earth balance and flour. Heat a large, deep, oven-safe skillet (cast iron works well) over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Stir in the radishes, the 2 cloves chopped garlic and the chopped thyme, and cook until the cabbage is wilted completely and the garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes longer.

4. Stir in the remaining 1½ teaspoons of salt and ¾ teaspoon of pepper, then pour in the remaining 1 cup of vegetable broth. Add the roasted vegetables, mashed roasted garlic and onion-broth mixture and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the butter-flour mixture, cooking until the sauce thickens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, taste and adjust with more salt, if needed.

5. Whisk together the soy or almond milk with a pinch of kosher salt.Place the puff pastry on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to lightly mark the dough with a crosshatch pattern, making sure you don’t slice all the way through the dough. If your skillet isn’t oven-safe, transfer the vegetables to a baking dish. Lay the piece of dough on top of the vegetables in the skillet and lightly brush with the milk mixture. Sprinkle with thyme and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until the pastry is golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Polenta Shepherds Pie

When the temperature drops we just want warm and cozy foods (yet I am always happy with a Kale Salad!).  This one was great and warmed us right up!

Michael has always apprecaited a good Shepherds Pie so I have made a few Veg variations on them over the years. This one was super good because of our shared love of polenta!

Polenta Shepherds Pi

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Polenta Shepherds Pie

Filling
1 lb veggie crumbles
1 onion, chopped
3 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 cups mushroom gravy – recipe below
cumin, salt & pepper, to taste

Polenta

1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup polenta
1 tablespoon Earth Balance
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley, oregano)
salt, to taste
havarti or parmesan cheese (optional)

  1. Saute onion until translucent, then add veggie crumbles and mushrooms and cook 5 more minutes.
  2. Add frozen veggies and cook until thawed. Add cumin, salt & pepper and gravy.
  3. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
  4. Meanwhile begin polenta, bring almond milk, water, earth balance and herbs to a boil.
  5. Slowly whisk in the polenta and continue to stir until thick, a few minutes. Remove from heat. If adding cheese do so now, stirring till melted.
  6. Oil a casserole dish and pour filling mixture in.
  7. Top with polenta and smooth with a spatula.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 deg oven. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Mushroom Gravy

3/4 cup white or button mushrooms, chopped
1 yellow or white onion, chopped
1/4 cup earth balance
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons tamari
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and marjoram
salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large skillet, melt the earth balance and add onion and mushrooms. Saute for just a minute or two over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and add vegetable broth and tamari. Slowly add flour, stirring well to combine and prevent lumps. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat.
  3. Add spices, salt and pepper, stirring regularly for 8-10 minutes until gravy thickens.

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