Tag: Quinoa Pasta

Taking on Comfort Food

I miss comfort foods. I have Southern roots and nothing says happiness to me like fried chicken with mashed potatoes, homemade mac ‘n cheese and biscuits dripping with real butter. Yeah, since that’s not going to happen (I don’t care HOW BIG of a food magician you are, you are not replicating fried chicken deliciousness into oil-free vegan food in any meaningful way.)

I did take a stab at the mac ‘n cheese tonight and was very pleasantly surprised. It was actually really creamy and tasted close enough to the real thing that I got positive responses all the way around the table.


Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheese by Veggie Inspired was exactly what I was looking for. It has NO nutritional yeast (hooray!) and I had all the ingredients (including the butternut squash) already in my pantry, so I was excited to try it.
It was actually pretty simple, too!I peeled my squash, scraped out the seeds and cut it into 1″ chunks. I then cut up some sweet onion and threw them in a pot with water to boil until tender. It look close to 20 minutes since I chose to double the recipe. While those were simmering I placed blanched almonds into a bowl and covered with boiling water to soften.IMG_3955The recipe actually calls for cashews, but since my daughter is allergic I substituted it out.I loved the spices that’s this recipe called for. Garlic powder, smoked paprika, turmeric, pepper, salt and citrus (I used lime instead of lemon.) img_3957The recipe also called for nutmeg. My family usually isn’t a fan of nutmeg in savory dishes, but I usually try and follow the recipe the first time out the gate, so I did add 1/2 of the called for nutmeg. Fresh is best, but very potent, which is why I didn’t use the whole amount. I’m glad I did. It was perfect! I wouldn’t change it a bit. img_3966Once the squash and onions were soft, everything went into the blender. I blended it for quite a while, probably a good 3 minutes or so to get it light, fluffy and perfectly smooth.

I had pre-cooked the quinoa macaroni so once the sauce was creamy enough for my liking, I blended it all together.

Awesome!

The tangy zing from the citrus and mustard was just the thing my taste buds have been missing. I made a double recipe and we only have one small serving left! I served it with steamed broccoli and fresh fruit.

Everyone agreed this is going into the dinner rotation.

I also loved that this was ready in around 40 minutes, start to finish.

Also, I just busted out the size 12 pants last night. Can I get a woot woot?!?!

Vegan Chili Mac…and TOENAILS?!?! 

Vegan Chili Mac…and TOENAILS?!?! 

My “30 minutes or less” meal game is really stepping up. I am so excited! I am building a nice little repertoire of quick and easy vegan meals that please *most* of us. Since it has been unseasonably cool in Southern California these past few months, many of my go to recipes require baking. It’s supposed to get into the triple digits in the next few days, so unless I can modify them, they are definitely going into retirement until it cools down again.

I knew I needed to find more dinner ideas so I’ve been spending a few minutes every day searching for new ones. Tonight I discovered a great pin on Pinterest that had a collection of recipes that I will be trying in the next couple of days. I let my son pick the first one. Here is the recipe:

Vegan Chili Mac by the Garden Grazer.

It’s so simple and completely delicious.  Here is what I did.  I used 2 cups quinoa macaroni and cooked it up prior to starting. I found this kind at Costco. I highly recommend it. After it was cooked, strained and set aside, I water sautéed one yellow onion with some minced garlic. Once the onions were translucent I added in the cooked pasta, 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, 1 can of drained kidney beans, 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce, 1 tsp. cumin, 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast and 2 tsp. chili powder. I mixed and let that simmer for about 10 minutes. I sprinkled it with a bit of Himalayan pink salt.

Then, I rough chopped a couple of handfuls of baby spinach. img_3774I tossed it in, gave it a stir, covered it and let it sit on low another 3 minutes. img_3776.jpg

YUM! Even my son likes it! He and my husband did say they wouldn’t mind if I made the corn on the side (they aren’t huge fans of the sweetness mixed in, although that was my favorite part. Haha!) although they said it is fine with the corn and wouldn’t mind eating it that way again.

For next time, I would reduce the cumin just a little (maybe 1/2 tsp. instead of 1 tsp.) and I will garnish it with chopped olives and avocados.

Besides being quick, tasty and made completely on the stovetop, another huge benefit of this meal is that it is packed with protein. Quinoa pasta, corn, spinach and kidney beans all are high in protein.

I suppose you are wondering about the toenails reference? Well, that is a bit of a side note: I have been seeing some really unexpectedly awesome side effects of this new life style. I expected the reduction in weight (36 lbs and counting) and the reduction in pain (went on Guardians of the Galaxy at Disney’s California Adventure three times in a row and managed to stay until midnight) but what I didn’t expect? My nails are stronger and thicker than they have ever been. Ever.  I used to just peel my toenails instead of clipping them. (Sorry, I know that is really gross!) Now they are so strong I have to use actual clippers.  Also, my dry skin is gone. I have this glossy, healthy glow, especially on the back of my hands. They used to look like lizard skin most of the time. Surprising since I eat almost NO OIL!!!

I suppose I should mention the everything I buy now, with very little exception, is organic. Spices, fruits, veggies, grains, beans, vinegars, nuts, you name it, it’s usually organic. I do think that helps contribute to my overall improving health.

I can’t wait to share more recipes with you! Until next time.