Category Archives: Casseroles

Kids LOVE Red Bell Peppers!

This week was all about red bell peppers. To be honest, every week is all about red bell peppers. The kids just love them. M’s lunchbox last year had raw red bell pepper strips on average 4 out of 5 days. We eat them raw, sauteed in a stir fry, grilled in fajitas, wrapped up in a tortilla, roasted in dips and spreads and the list goes on and on.

Bell peppers just happen to be one of hubby’s favorite foods as well. His favorite recipe growing up (and still to this day) is pepper steak. His mom makes an awesome recipe using red bell peppers instead of green.It’s a nice change and works so well. That recipe contains beef steak, but you can try it using tempeh or seitan instead…or just lots of meaty mushrooms.

Red Bell Peppers are incredibly high in Vitamin C. Just one cup has over 150% of your daily needs. Vitamin A and a few of the B’s are also found in decent amounts in these red beauties. Red Bells also have plenty of antioxidants and anti-cancer benefits.

Peppers of all kinds are super easy to grow at home. My green bells, jalapeno and banana peppers are all doing so great this year. I kept waiting and waiting for my red bells to appear. Upon closer inspection….I forgot to buy a red bell plant. UGH! No wonder they weren’t growing. ¬†ūüôā

Here is how we enjoyed our red bell peppers this week:

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta


The girls and I really liked this. ¬†Hubby and son thought it was just ok. ¬† The sauce is creamier than a tomato based sauce. ¬†You could always add a little veggie stock to thin it out if you like…or maybe just leave out the cornstarch. ¬†And, if you are in a time crunch, feel free to cheat and use roasted red peppers from a jar instead of charring your own.



Veggie Tortilla Rollups


I have made these several times, usually for an appetizer for a party.  They are always a hit!  They also make a great lunch for the littles.  Easy for little hands to pick up and a nice change from the everyday PB&J.



It also makes a great lunch for a grown up…just cut in half as a wrap instead of slicing into bite size pieces.



Stuffed Peppers




I replaced the hummus in this recipe with the leftover bean spread from the Veggie Tortilla Rollups (see recipe link above) and it was delicious. I’m sure the hummus would be great too, I just wanted to use up what we had. Little did I know I would be making hummus the next day anyway. ¬†ūüôā


I served it up with a side of fresh sweet corn bought at the famers market that morning. Can’t go wrong there! ¬†Kids and hubby all loved this as well!



Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


This is so easy. ¬†I just use my favorite hummus recipe and add a roasted red bell pepper (again, you can cheat and use jarred…I won’t tell!)

  • 1-2 ¬†garlic clove, peeled
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp ¬†sea salt
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper

Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  Hummus will thicken when refrigerated.  Enjoy with raw veggies, pretzels, crackers, pita chips or a spoon!


Is anyone growing red bell peppers in their garden?  How do you use them?  Share with me in the comments section!!








This week’s ingredient was lentils¬†because I use them¬†ALL THE TIME. ¬†I love them and they are so versatile. ¬†Lentils are part of the legume family and are high in B vitamins (especially folate), fiber, iron and protein (18g in 1 cup). Lentils can help to stabilize blood sugar, lower cholesterol, increase energy and keep you feeling full.

I often use lentils in place of ground meat when “veganizing” a recipe. ¬†They are great in sloppy joes, tacos, burritos, bolognese, burgers, salads, soups, etc.

Here are a few ways we ate our lentils this week:

Red Lentil Cauliflower Burgers


These held together really well!  I did end up having to add a bit more chickpea flour, but ultimately, it worked out great.



Delicious and the kids ate them up too!

Lentil Grape Salad


I have been making this salad since long before I decided to eat plant based. ¬†It is one of my favorites for potlucks, BBQs or just a big crowd. ¬†The original recipe calls for honey and feta cheese. ¬†You can sub agave or raw sugar for the honey and just leave out the feta. ¬†If you are a salt person (I am not), you may want to add some extra salt to make up for the lack of feta. ¬†Maybe use salted roasted walnuts instead of raw…or maybe add some olives (no idea if that would work, ¬†I despise olives, but they would definitely add that¬†salty flavor).

Massor Dal Tadka (Pink Lentil Stew)

Masoor Dal Tadka

I love lentil soups and stews of all kinds. ¬†I actually wasn’t sure about this one going in. ¬†I usually would chop my garlic very fine…not generally a big fan of bigger garlic slices. ¬†And I was worried about the spice level. ¬†I did use a jalapeno instead of ¬†a Serrano because I have an abundance of them in my garden. ¬†I LOVED this! ¬†I wish I would have doubled the recipe because I ate the whole thing (myself) in one day. ¬†The garlic melts right into the soup and you can’t taste any bits of it or the cumin seeds (another worry I had). ¬†It all just blended so nicely and the seasoning was perfect, not spicy.

Cheeze Lentil Rice Bake

Sadly, I did not photograph this one. ¬†I’ve made it at least 5 times now over the past year and I have not one picture. ¬†Wha? ¬†But, just trust me, you will love this. ¬†My kids all love it too! ¬†In fact, recently, I’ve been doubling the recipe cause we end up eating all the whole thing in one sitting.

In other news: ¬†I am super excited that I have been accepted as a recipe tester for¬†Vegan Richa. ¬†She is a vegan food blogger and working on a new Indian cookbook. ¬†Obviously, I can’t share any recipes with you, but I may post up some pics every now and then about what I’ve been testing. ¬†I’ve already made a few very tasty dishes!! ¬†FYI: ¬†two of the recipes I made this week with lentils were from her blog and I didn’t do that on purpose; I had them on the menu before I even knew of the recipe testing opportunity. ¬†I just really like her food!

Lentil and Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

Growing up with Polish relatives, I am no stranger to Golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls).  Traditionally, cabbage rolls are stuffed with ground beef, white rice, tomato sauce (usually made from condensed tomato soup) and cheese.  They were seriously delicious!  As a kid, while I liked the cabbage okay, it was really the filling I craved.  I remember asking my mom to sometimes make only the filling because it was obviously much quicker without having to stuff and then bake the cabbage rolls.  Yum!

Once I started my own family and started to be more concerned about what we put into our bodies this is how I saw those cabbage rolls: ¬†saturated fat, simple carbs, chemicals and cholesterol. ¬†Ugh. ¬†The good news is that you CAN have your cabbage roll and eat it too. ¬†ūüôā

Over the years, I’ve tried several different recipes with nutritious filling, but the one I tried yesterday is by far is my favorite. ¬†My 5 year old unwrapped the cabbage roll and ate only the filling (that’s still a win in my book!), my two 2yr olds ate all of it ¬†and my hubby and I enjoyed every last bite as well.



Lentil and Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

This were super easy to make. ¬†The filling came together quickly and filling and rolling the cabbage is much easier than it seems. ¬†I didn’t even use toothpicks to hold them together. ¬†My leaves were big enough that I rolled them several times and placed them seam side down in the casserole dish.


I don’t even think I need to tell you how nutritious this lentil/quinoa/kale stuffing is, but if you need more convincing, here you go:

Lentils: high in fiber, folate, magnesium, iron and protein

Quinoa:  a complete protein, good source of heart healthy fats, high in folate, zinc and phosphorus

Kale:  very high in Vitamins K, A and C, anti-inflammatory and antioxident benefits

The cabbage itself is high in Vitamins K and C and also has anti-inflammatory and antioxident benefits. And the tomato sauce will give you Vitamins C and E and of course Lycopene.

From start to finish, this recipe is a nutritional powerhouse.


Polish or not, you will love these!  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Enchiladas

When I first saw this recipe on My Whole Food Life, I KNEW I had to try it. ¬†It took me awhile to get around to making it, but I finally did and it was delicious! ¬†I love all things pumpkin, sweet and savory. ¬†This is a wonderful savory option. ¬†I took the easy way out and used canned pumpkin and canned diced tomatoes. ¬†I simply added everything to a pot and let it simmer away for about an hour to let all the flavors blend. ¬†I’ve even made similar “cheese” sauces before without first having soaked my cashews and they turn out just fine (if you have a high speed blender or food processor). ¬†So, if you want something quick and easy, this actually could be a good option if you take some shortcuts. ¬†I think it’s just as good!

Pumpkin Enchiladas


I used enchilada sauce on the bottom of my baking dish and again over the top of the enchiladas. ¬†I also drizzled some of the “cheese” sauce over the top of that. ¬†


I did like the addition of the pistachio dust, but I don’t think it was a make-it-or-break deal. ¬†These would be great without if you don’t have pistachios. ¬†Avocado would also be a nice addition.


Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas

I was going to link to the recipe I used as a starting point for these enchiladas, but I changed them up so much that I decided to just post my own recipe instead.  The original recipe was meat free, but not vegan.  This recipe is a healthier dairy free version.

Speaking of healthy, you can’t go wrong with Butternut Squash. ¬†This winter squash is super high in Vitamin A, almost 300% of your daily value in just 1 cup. ¬†It also has almost 50% of your Vitamin C daily value. ¬†Potassium, calcium, iron, Vitamin B6, magnesium and fiber are all in this orange beauty as well. ¬†Eat up!


I saw these tortillas when I was at Whole Foods the other day and they were miraculously on sale! ¬†I’ve been wanting to try the Engine 2 brand products, so I decided to give these a go. ¬†I was surprised how soft they were. ¬†I thought they would crack as soon as I tried rolling them up, but they didn’t. ¬†No funky ingredients in these babies, not even oil. ¬†They are low sodium and have 6 grams of protein per tortilla. ¬†Very impressed!


This filling would also be great served simply over brown rice with maybe some chopped tomatoes and avocado.


You can see all the wholesome goodness in those tortillas!


My kids loved these as well, especially my 5 year old who cleaned his plate and then requested leftovers in his lunchbox tomorrow.

Butternut Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas, serves 6

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained if using canned
  • 1 cup corn, frozen or fresh
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 10-12 oz enchilada sauce, your favorite or homemade
  • 6 large tortillas (I used Engine 2 Sprouted Ancient Grains Tortillas)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Daiya mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place cubed butternut squash and onion quarters on a large baking pan.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Roast for 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

In food processor, pulse the squash and onion mixture a few times to chop the onion and break up the squash a bit. ¬†You don’t want to make this into a puree. ¬†In a medium mixing bowl, combine the squash and onion mixture with the black beans, corn, cumin and cinnamon.

Pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking dish. ¬† Place about 1/3 cup of filling onto each tortilla and roll up. ¬†Place seam side down in the baking dish. ¬†Continue until all tortillas are filled. ¬†Top with remaining enchilada sauce and the shredded cheese. ¬†Bake for 20-30 minutes until sauce is bubbly and cheese is melty. ¬†Let cool for 5 minutes.

Garnish with avocado slices.


So many great recipes!

Well, I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. ¬†It’s been a very busy few weeks, but I haven’t been neglecting my scrumptious meals. So, here are several to get your mouth watering.


Curried Quinoa and Wild Rice Savory Cakes

These little cakes were pretty good.  I served them with a non-dairy yogurt sauce alongside green peas and roasted carrots.  Easy peasy.


Southwestern Black Bean Salad and Creamy Coleslaw

I made the Black Bean Salad and used it as a taco filling.  I topped the tacos with a little vegan sour cream and served them in tortillas.  Alongside, I made the coleslaw, which could not have been easier.  Really yummy!!


Stuffed Pepper Enchiladas

These were great! ¬†And what a great idea to stuff peppers with enchilada filling for a hearty low carb dinner. ¬†I swapped out the zucchini for corn and I used actual dairy cheese….gasp! ¬†I had some in the deli drawer because….well, there is no good excuse really….but since you know better, you will use Daiya shreds or better yet, just top it with some creamy avocado slices and you likely won’t miss the cheese anyway!

IMG_6914 IMG_6915 IMG_6916 IMG_6918

Chickpea Pesto Sandwich

I made this sandwich for lunch today after reading EVERY SINGLE blog post from Thug Kitchen. ¬†He put his sandwich filling between two slices of bread, but I chose to wrap it up in a spinach tortilla with tomato slices fresh from the garden. ¬†I have recently discovered Thug Kitchen and am in love with this blog. ¬†Not only does he post wonderful whole food plant based vegan recipes, but he is HILARIOUS as well. ¬†He uses some choice language, but it’s all in good fun….and in good health! ¬†Check it out and once you stop laughing, go make some of his delicious recipes.

IMG_6920 IMG_6921 IMG_6923


Maple Banana Bread Muffins

Delicious!  These were a huge hit with the kids too!

IMG_6847 IMG_6848 IMG_6849

Peach Almond Smoothie

I have been drinking this as I write this post. ¬†I don’t have a pic because I was too busy slurping it down, but trust me, it’s great!

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Handful of ice cubes

Blend well and enjoy!

More Lunchbox Inspiration¬†(*Disclaimer, I don’t guarantee that lunches are 100% vegan)


Whole wheat bagel w/ peanut butter and fig jelly on one…peanut butter and strawberry jelly on the other, string cheese, orange and red bell pepper slices, cubed cantaloupe and 3 small cinnamon shortbread cookies.


A2Z muffin (from My Beef With Meat), orange slices, green peas and cubed cantaloupe.  I think I served this alongside a small thermos of leftover pasta marinara.


Spinach tortilla rollups with turkey slices, cheese and bell peppers, raspberries and blueberries, wheat thins, pickle spear (in parchment paper) and cinnamon shortbread cookies.


Almond butter and banana sandwich on sprouted rye bread, sugar snap peas, red and yellow bell pepper slices, raspberries and blueberries.


Cinnamon raisin bagel, string cheese, leftover Southwestern Black Bean and Corn Salad (see above post), nectarine slices and a few chocolate chips.


Almond butter on a cinnamon raisin english muffin, strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumber slices and a small piece of dark chocolate.


So, I have a confession to make….I haven’t been keeping up very well with my 30 Day Plank Challenge. ¬†I think I got to day 20 and then missed a few days. ¬†I have been running about 2-4 miles 3 days a week, walking 3-4 miles about twice a week and usually once a week I do a TaeBo DVD and full body circuit or tabata workout that I find on Pinterest. ¬†Sometimes, I do those workouts on the days that I walk, so I still generally have 1-2 rest days as well. ¬†But, I would still like to get back to my plank challenge. ¬†So, I think I will just pick up with day 20 today and finish it out from here. ¬†3 minutes is a LONG time to hold a plank and I found I just couldn’t do it the whole time. So, when I felt like I couldn’t hold it for a second longer, I would push up into downward dog for about 5 seconds and then drop back to plank and continue. ¬†That worked out to about 2-3 downward dogs in a 3 minute span.

Happy Monday!

The Dinner That Took All Day

Hello! ¬†It’s Day 2 of the journey and we ate deliciously around here today!


I have suddenly discovered that I’ve been making oatmeal all wrong for my entire life. ¬†Well, not WRONG, but not the yummiest either. ¬†The directions say to bring water to a boil and then add the oats. ¬†I have just recently discovered that by adding the oats to the cold water and bringing everything to a boil together makes for a much creamier oatmeal. ¬†Why have I been in the dark all of these years? ¬†Did you all know about this?

Another favorite thing I have learned is to mash-up a banana and whisk it into the cold water, then add the oats and cook.  It gives it a yummy sweet taste without a lot of overly banana flavor.  I got the idea from a very simple recipe in My Beef With Meat by Rip Esselstyn called Whole Banana Oatmeal.

It took both of these ideas, added some walnuts and fresh strawberries and voila!

Banana Oatmeal with Walnuts and Strawberries (4 servings)

2 cups old fashioned oats

3 1/4 cups water

2 bananas, mashed

1 tbsp cinnamon (more or less to your liking)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

Combine water and mashed banana, whisk together.  Add oats and bring to a boil.  Bring temp to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Take off heat and add walnuts and strawberries.  Dig in!


M decided he didn’t want cooked oatmeal for breakfast and instead made his own concoction. ¬†I have to give it to him…it turned out great and looked awesome!


Grapes, strawberries,  blueberries and raw oats.  Yum!  He ate every bite.


I had already started prepping dinner at this point because I knew it was going to take a long time, so when I got hungry for lunch I didn’t have a lot of energy for anything fancy. ¬†I eat a lot of sandwiches with hummus and veggies on toasted sprouted wheat bread (I like Ezekiel or Trader Joe’s brands) and this sounded perfect and quick for today. ¬†However, I didn’t have any hummus and I didn’t even have the energy to make any (I know it only takes 5 minutes…or less!). ¬†Sooo, I just mashed up some chickpeas with avocado, spread that on thick to both slices of my toast and piled on some cucumber slices (fresh from the garden), thinly sliced radish and thick slices of tomato. ¬†I also had an apple, but no picture of that.



Oh, boy, dinner. ¬†I’m not going to lie, this took a LONG time to make. ¬†I made the Lentil Bolognese Sauce this morning. It wasn’t hard, but you do have to cook the lentils for 20-30 minutes and then add quinoa and cook for another 10-15 minutes and sautee some veggies and then puree some stuff in the blender and then add it all back together to simmer again for another 30 minutes or so. ¬†I also started soaking some cashews for the Fresh Homemade Moxarella. ¬†After lunch I made the “cheese.” ¬†This “cheese” didn’t take long at all to make besides the soaking time and I was fascinated watching it all come together. ¬†A science experiment in the kitchen….LOVE! ¬†After a short nap (YES! ¬†This doesn’t happen very often, but I needed it today) I was back in the kitchen slicing eggplants and zucchini and grilling them (I did this on the stovetop) for the soon to be lasagna. ¬†No noodles needed for this lasagna (which also makes it gluten free for those of you going that route). ¬†Tedious work, but so worth it!!! ¬†It was delicious and quite filling with the bolognese sauce.

Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini Lasagna


I forgot the tomato slices on the top, but didn’t miss them. ¬†But, just look at that “cheese”!! ¬†So melty and gooey and cheesy….amazing!


I’m on day 28 of the 30 day Burpee Challenge¬†so I did 90 burpees. ¬†I will be so happy to NOT do any burpees come this weekend! ¬†Only two more days left.

I also chased the kids around outside for about 30 minutes this morning and got in about 20-30 minutes of catch with a ball and glove with the hubby while watching M play t-ball tonight.  Those things count, right?

That’s a wrap for today.