What's Cooking

I have been getting lots of request from my friends on Facebook and Instragram for some of our new yummy recipes that we have been cooking up around here lately.  I love when I find new favorites that are a success!   I thought I would post them on here for everyone to enjoy and take a look.  Hope you love them too!

Now you might notice 2 things about these recipes.  #1 - they are meat free!  I can't believe it but as we move towards a healthier more organic lifestyle the more we read about meat, the less impressed we are.  In fact Justin and I have been an entire week this week with no meat.  Are we vegans? No.  But by eliminating a lot of meat daily we are able to buy better quality, more organic, meat for the boys and for occasionally.  #2 - 3 recipes feature these sweet loves of my life. 

Can you believe that I went 32 years of my life HATING tomatoes.  If I had only known what I was missing?  The more I eat, the more I love.  Especially these sweet delicious bites of heaven.  They are SO expensive at our regular grocery store but that huge container is only $5 at Costco. I know they will be out of season soon so I am eating as many as I can right now.  Every time I open the fridge, I pop a handful in my mouth!

We are actually having this yummy dish tonight and I can't wait.  I found it on Pinterest and adapted it from Proud Italian Cook.  She calls it Zucchini Tomato Gratin.  It is fabulous! Oh and pop over to her blog.  Her pictures make it look even more tasty than mine :-)

It works great in a large skillet or paella pan and it cooks in the oven in one pan.  So easy!  Set your oven to 425 and cover the bottom of the skillet with a a nice big drizzle of olive oil.  It caramelizes the onions and is TOO. DIE. FOR. Really.

Layer - 
Sweet vadalia onion ring slices - I used one large one
sliced zucchini (I used 2) 
handful of Parmesan cheese (Eli at the other handfulls!)
bread crumbs (I used whole wheat panko crumbs)
small cherry tomatoes 
drizzle again with olive oil
more cheese
more breadcrumbs
garnish with a shake of italian seasoning all over (or fresh herbs) 

Put that dish in the oven and it will look like this when you are done!  

Going into the oven
In my tummy!  We ate almost the whole pan 
The crispy crunchy onions paired with the roasted sweet tomatoes. My mouth is watering typing this.  LOVE IT.

I do love some pasta but generally most pasta recipes are bad for you.  Justin's hands down favorite is Oh She Glows 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta but I found one that I am in love with too.  We are always looking for ways to create "creamy" without any dairy products.  The solution?  Goat cheese.   And of course this recipe has the tiny little sweet bites from heaven in it to.  I adapted it from Writing Her Life and also from Giada on Food Network that I was watching one day.

1 lb of whole wheat pasta (whatever shape of form that you like)
nice drizzle of olive oil.  We have $1 a box whole wheat spaghetti at our grocery store so thats what we eat.
1 small package of mushrooms
1 large garlic clove, minced
6 cups of fresh spinach leaves
1 cup of cherry tomatoes (or more). Cut them if they are big
6 oz soft goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Boil and prepare pasta as according to package.  In a large skillet saute mushrooms in olive oil until nice and soft.  Add garlic, spinach and cherry tomatoes on med-low.  Saute until the spinach is slightly wilted.  I think putting the top on for a few minutes helps steam it a little.  Take off the heat and mix in the goat cheese until nice and smoothy and creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Delicious!

A super easy meal that we do is quinoa or brown rice with lots of different yummy toppings.  I will make a big batch of either (usually quinoa) in the rice cooker on Sunday.  Then during the week we just take it out of the fridge and add to it.  We make "burrito bowls" with avocado, tomato, black bean, corn, cilantro, lime, and garlic.  I new one we tried this week was with roasted tomatoes and broccoli.  Tossed the tomatoes in olive oil and honey and put them in the oven for 20 minutes at 400 until the burst with flavor.  Then the broccoli tossed with olive oil, garlic, and salt in for 25 minutes at 400.  Both of these topped our quinoa with a squirt of lemon.  Simple meal but so good.


The one that shocked me the most was the RAW VEGAN TACO.  Justin mentioned doing a 28 day plant strong challenge.  I knew that to get protein and nutrients to sustain him while working out I would have to get creative.  So I started researching meat alternatives.  Vegan tacos came up on site after site of recipes that I follow.  We had almost all of the ingredients so I went for it.  With amazing wonderful yummy results.  Justin's face was a little skeptical when he sat down.  He took one big bite and looked at me and said. "this is awesome! what is this??"

I used several sites to make my meat because I didn't want to have to buy a lot of items. I just combined a few recipes and it came out great.  My meat recipe was adapted from Chic Vegan.  It makes enough for 2 people.  Make sure to double if you want more.  It keeps in the fridge so I can think of tons of dishes to make with this.  I will make more next time because we ate every last bite. 

"Raw Taco Meat" 

2 cloves of garlic - minced
1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes (I used packed in oil)
1 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
1 tsp or so of olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice ( I used 1/2 a lemon)
1.5 tsp of cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
Can add cayenne if you want it hot.  I did not :-)

Pulse it all in food processor until crumbly.  Kinda chunky. Hamburger like texture.  

cooking with the Ipad.  My everyday event :-)
Lots of websites call for soaking the nuts first, I did not.  Lots of websites use almonds.  I did not because they are a migraine trigger for me so I have to be careful.  It also said you could use cashews or macadamia nuts. I did not have those on hand.

The meat
Then to serve, I made a taco salad.  They are my favorite and we use to eat box tacos all the time before we got healthier :-)  I found a great looking salad on one of my favorite sites Oh She Glows Layered Taco Salad.  How beautiful does hers look?  And she used a some natural creamy sauces too.  I didn't make those but I might next time.

I layered greens on the bottom, then guacamole, then salsa, then taco meat, then green onions, and tomatoes.  We ate ours will all natural corn chips.  I did put a little sour cream on mine but Justin said his was just as yummy without.  These were shockingly good.

Raw Vegan Taco Salad
You may ask if the boys ate these veggies dishes.  Out of the Gratin, Eli loved the crispy crunchy onions.  The noodles out of the pasta and the broccoli and quinoa. On raw taco night, the boys had veggie night themselves.  Whole wheat quesadilla's stuffed with black beans and corn with a side of peas.  They did great.  I put  a little of the "meat" on their plate but they didn't want to try it.  And that's okay.  It took me 33 years to try it! 

We love trying new recipes and anything that makes it easier is a plus too.  I love fresh herbs but sometimes mincing them or chopping them can be a pain.  I was super excited when I received a $10 gift certificate from Sur La Table in the mail.  I took it in and got these amazing herb scissors I eyed months ago.  They are so worth the $12.  I use them almost every day.  Love finding new time savers.

I hope that you will enjoy these and find new favorites as well.  If you have any great new recipes, send them my way!  Bon Appetit!

The Riley's