Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

House update: we were outbid on the house we liked. Womp, womp.

I’m trying to comfort myself by reminding myself of all the negatives. Like, the super pink early-90s kitchen and the extra bathrooms to clean. I’m also trying to relish the fact I no longer have to worry about showings – which means I can actually do some meal planning! And after all the fast food I’m excited about all the vegetables.

This spaghetti squash version of pad thai has been one of my favorite Lenten dinners so far. If you’re a slow chopper like me, this will take a bit to prep – but it’s flavorful and the contrast of the cooked squash with the other raw veggies is great!

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
(adapted from Tasty)
Serves 2

1 spaghetti squash
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp.  sesame oil
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. Sriracha
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large cucumber, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, coin-sliced
1 red bell, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 onion, diced

Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the water, soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, lime juice, Sriracha, peanut butter, and garlic to make the sauce.

When the spaghetti squash is done, shred the inside with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in the sauce and remaining ingredients until well combined. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai

 

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Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Chinese takeout fake-outs have become some of my favorite Lenten dinners. Our local Chinese restaurant has limited meatless options so it isn’t really a great option for us during Lent. Cravings a few year back led me to Kung Pao Chickpeas and then General Tso’s Cauliflower.

All of these sort of hide the bulk of the meal with the sauce, so even if you’re not usually a cauliflower fan, you might like this. Battered, fried, and covered in the fresh orange sauce, you can barely tell you’re loading up on vegetables here. My kids happily gobbled it down!

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Crispy Orange Cauliflower
(adapted from Fork and Beans)
Serves 2

1 small head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 Tbsp. olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tsp. olive oil
Zest of 1 orange + juice of orange
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. brown sugar

Rice, for serving

Mix together egg, water, cornstarch, flour, and olive oil to create a batter. It should be thick enough to coat, but not clumpy – think waffle batter consistency!

In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil on medium high.  When the oil is heated, dip each piece of cauliflower into the batter and then add it to the hot oil. Fry until browned, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.

In another skillet or wok, heat olive over medium-high heat and then add garlic and green onions and cook for a minute. Stir in orange zest and juice and cook for another minute. Add soy sauce and vinegar and bring to a boil.

Toss cauliflower in sauce and serve over rice.

 

 

 

Crispy Orange Cauliflower

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes

I hit on this dinner a few weeks ago and it was a smashing success. I’ve made it twice so far. Leftovers have been served over baked sweet potatoes for lunch. And then I made the barbecue sauce again to go over meatloaf another night.  Considering how often I repeat recipes (read: not very!) the fact that this keeps popping up is a testament to how much we’re enjoying it.

This really couldn’t be easier to pull off on a week night – mix everything for the sauce together, brown up the meat and veggies, combine them and done! It also reheats really well so it’s great to make ahead for nights when you literately just have time to microwave something.

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes
(from The Foodie and the Fix)
Makes 5

1 6 oz. can of tomato paste
2/3 cup water
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
4 tsp. pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. liquid smoke

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
Salt & pepper, to taste
Whole wheat buns, for serving

In a bowl, whisk together the first 9 ingredients – tomato paste to liquid smoke.

In a large non-stick skillet, brown together the turkey, bell pepper, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Break up the turkey as it cooks. When the turkey is cooked through and the vegetables are soft, stir in the sauce and cook until heated through. Adjust seasonings to taste and serve on rolls.

Barbecue Turkey Sloppy Joes

 

Hawaiian Black Bean Sliders

So. Much. Rain. SO. MUCH. RAIN.

Seriously, I’m getting ready to build an ark. I’m not sure the backyard is ever going to dry out at this rate. And let’s not even talk about that our sump pump died  a few weeks back…

Suffice it to say, I’m really, REALLY dreaming of warm, sunny days.  How nice would it be to be on a beach somewhere tropical? So, for this Lenten Friday, I’m cooking up some island-inspired sliders that are – of course! – meatless.

I made these as sliders because they’re the perfect size for the kids, but you could make these as four large burgers too.

Hawaiian Black Bean Burgers


Hawaiian Black Bean Sliders

(adapted from Domestic Superhero)
Makes 1 dozen sliders

1/2 onion , chopped
3 garlic cloves
1
14.5 oz. can black beans , rinsed and drained
1/2 cup rolled oats
1
/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1
green onion , chopped
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup plan breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
12 pineapple slices
12 onion rings
Sweet bbq sauce
6 Swiss cheese slices, halved
12 slider rolls

 

In a food processor, pulse the onion and garlic until finely chopped. Add the beans, oats, corn, green onion, cumin, curry powder, and cayenne and pulse until well mixed – about 20 seconds.  Scrape down the sides, add salt and pepper to taste, and process for another 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl and chill for several hours.

When ready to cook, stir in breadcrumbs and form into a dozen equal-sized patties.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway, until their is an outer crust and the patties are heated through. Top with cheese during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Add the cooked patties to the slider rolls. Top each with a pineapple ring, onion ring, and a drizzle of barbecue sauce. Serve immediately.

Hawaiian Black Bean Sliders

Egg Roll in a Bowl

My friends have been raving about this recipe and now that I’ve tried it I totally understand why. This is super simple – but super good.

The idea here is that you make egg roll filling, but don’t go through actually wrapping it up – which is kind of brilliant. I’ve made egg rolls before, but they’re time consuming and deep fried, so they’re not something I make on the regular. This version is lighter and perfect for a weeknight!

Egg Roll in a Bowl

Egg Roll in a Bowl
(adapted from Mostly Homemade Mom)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground pork
1 bag coleslaw mix
1/2 cup soy sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. Chinese five spice
1/2 tsp. sesame oil

In a large skillet, brown the ground pork, breaking up as it cooks. Once cooked, stir in the coleslaw mix.

Stir together remaining ingredients in a small bowl then add to the pan. Toss to coat. Cook for five more minutes, to let flavors combine.

Egg Roll in a Bowl

 

Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew

This vegetable stew is what we made for Family Dinner Book Club last month, and it’s such a great option for Lenten Fridays. It’s a dump and go slow cooker meal – perfect for the end of the week.

I honestly wasn’t sure how this would be received by the kids since it really is just a big bowl of vegetables – but I was pleasantly surprised that they were happy with it. You could easily switch up the veggies to fit your family’s tastes – or add chicken or pasta.

Vegetable Stew

Slow Cooker Vegetable Stew
(adapted from Chef Sarah Elizabeth)
Serves 6-8

3 red potatoes, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 cup cut green beans
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. paprika
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 lemon, for the juice

 

Add everything, except lemon, to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours, until potatoes are easily cut with a fork. Stir in juice of the lemon and serve.

Vegetable Stew

Pizza Beans

It’s the first Lenten Friday of 2018 and I’m marking it with – you guessed it! – a pizza dish.

For years, our Lenten Friday staples were spaghetti with tomato sauce and pizza. This blog series was born out of my desire to experiment with other options. Now in it’s fifth year, I’ve added so many more meatless meals to my repertoire – but pizza-inspired dishes still hold a place in my heart.

These beans are our pizza representation for the year. They’re not overly reminiscent of pizza, but the tomato sauce and cheese made it totally plausible to the kids – they happily ate it up! I loved that it was loaded with veggies, too.

Pizza Beans

Pizza Beans
(from Smitten Kitchen Every Day)
Serves 6-8

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
2 carrots, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup red wine
4 oz.  curly kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces
2 1/4 cups crushed tomatoes
1 lb. giant white beans
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 lb. mozzarella, grated
1/3 cup  grated Parmesan

 

Soak the beans overnight. Drain, then transfer to an oven-safe dutch oven. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low. Simmer for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, until beans are soft. Drain and transfer the beans to a bowl. Set aside.

Over medium-high heat, add the oil to the same dutch oven. Add the onion, celery, and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Cook until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the wine and scrape up any browned bits in the pan, then continue to cook until the wine disappears. Add the kale and cook for 1-2 minutes, until wilted in. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Stir in the beans and vegetable broth. Simmer for 10 minutes and adjust seasonings as needed.

Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan over the top and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Pizza Beans

Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes #ImprovCookingChallenge

I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but I just bought my first sheet pan this year. As in, 2018. I’ve always just made do with cookie sheets but I was super excited about the idea of sheet pan pancakes so I bit the bullet early last month and ordered one with my holiday gift cards.

And now I’m kind of obsessed with it. It’s so perfect for cooking up a family-sized batch of whatever and, in the case of the dinner, having one pan to clean as opposed to 3 is great.

This month’s Improv Cooking Challenge is steak and potatoes – perfect for Valentine’s day. And since Valentine’s day is on a Wednesday this year, you’re probably looking for something easy. This is a great option. It’s ready in about 35 minutes and it’s delicious!

You can find more steak and potato dishes from the #ImprovCookingChallenge bloggers in the link up below!

improvchallenge
The #ImprovCookingChallenge is a monthly blogging event where two ingredients are assigned to a month. Bloggers can make any recipe they like as long as it features the two ingredients. If you are a blogger and would like to join us, please visit our Facebook page.
You can also read more about the event on our home page.  If you’d like to see previous creations, check out our Pinterest board.
Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes
Sheet Pan Steak and Potatoes
(adapted from Carrie’s Home Cooking)
Serves 6
2 lbs. London broil
2 lbs. baby red potatoes
2 heads broccoli, chopped into florets
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. balsamic
2 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Add the London broil to a large resalable bag and pour the marinade over. Seal up the bag, turn a few times to coat, then set aside for 20 minutes to marinate at room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line your sheet pan with foil.
Place the potatoes in a bowl and add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat again then spread on the baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and push the potatoes to the side. Add the marinated steak to the middle of the pan.
Add the broccoli to the bowl you used for the potatoes, adding the remaining olive oil and tossing to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again.  Spread the broccoli out on the pan around the steak.
Return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and the steak reaches the desired doneness.  Let rest 10 minutes before slicing the steak.
Sheet Pan Steak & Potatoes

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables #SoupSwap

My favorite part of January is upon us: it’s #SoupSwap season! For the fourth year running, my friends and I are getting together for an afternoon of grilled cheese and soup sampling. The event always fills my freezer and recipe box for the season. You can check out recaps of some of our previous soup swaps here and here.

Today, I’m virtually soup-swapping with my blogging friends from #FestiveFoodies. We’re all sharing soup recipes we love to inspire you to make up a pot of cozy comfort food this winter!

This soup comes from Soup for Syria – my Mom gave me a copy for Christmas and I’m totally smitten with it. It’s full of gorgeous recipes and part of the proceeds benefit Syrian refugees – a win-win.

It’s a bit of a time consuming soup, but so worth it. My kids absolutely loved the mini meatballs and I loved how delicious and filling this was. It was outside of our normal flavor profile, but turned out to be a really worthwhile risk!

Whether you’re looking for something outside your norm, or just a great version of an old favorite, you’re sure to find something to fill up your bowl amongst these!

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup with Vegetables
(adapted slightly from Soup for Syria)
Serves 8

1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
8 cups beef stock
1 cup fine bulgur
3/4 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 onions, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. dried mint
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon
3 small zucchini, peeled and seeded, sliced into crescents

Add chickpeas and beef stock to a large pot and cook for an hour, until the chickpeas are tender. Set aside.

Wash and drain the bulgur, then add to it to a food processor along with the beef, salt, pepper and one of the onions. Process until a paste. Roll into marble-sized balls.

Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the oil in a large pan and brown the meatballs. Remove and set aside. Add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the onions and salt and cook until lightly browned. Stir in the mint, tomato paste, garlic, juice of the lemon, and pepper. Cook for two minutes.

Spoon the onion mixture into the broth with chickpeas. Add in the zucchini and meatballs and simmer until the meatballs are cooked through and the zucchini is tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Middle Eastern Meatball Soup

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie #ComfortFood

January. The month when I’m torn between all the comfort food and trying to eat health. (Because, New Year’s resolutions and all that.) This dish is pretty much the ultimate compromise. And right now I’m all about compromise.

I, like 90% of the population, dream big on New Year’s. I’m going to eat better! I’m going to exercise every day! I’m going to be organized! And wash the curtains regularly! And floss! And sleep more! And then mid-January rolls around and I’m like, resolutions? What resolutions?!

This year I’m trying to be more gently with myself. I’ve washed the curtains once, and I’ll put it out of my mind until the summer. I’m definitely not exercising every day, but I am wearing my fitbit to try to be more aware of how much I’m moving (or not). And I’m trying to plan some more healthy meals so when something less than great sneaks on to the menu, I’m not sweating it.

This tastes just like your traditional pot pie, but the secret ingredient is almond milk! The almond milk makes the filling rich and creamy for only a fraction of the calories. It also uses only a top crust, but you won’t miss the usually-soggy bottom crust here. And using a dairy-free pie crust will make the whole thing dairy free! Such a win.

And if you’re looking for more comfort food, I’m linking up with some other bloggers today to bring you some great options.

Enjoy these great #ComfortFood ideas from #FestiveFoodies!

 

TurkeyPotPie

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie
(adapted from Well Plated)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup diced celery
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken or turkey breast
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen pearl onions
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1 prepared pie crust
1 egg, lightly beaten, with 1 Tbsp. water for egg wash

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a 9″ pie dish with nonstick spray.

In a large Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add carrots, celery, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes, until carrots begin to soften.

Sprinkle the flour over and stir in, cook an additional 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the almond milk, scraping up any browned bits from the pan. Bring to a boil and cook 3-5 minutes, until it thickens. Stir in the chicken, peas, onions, and thyme. Spoon the mixture into the pie dish.

Roll the pie dough out so it will cover your dish. Brush the edges of the dish with egg wash, then lay the pie crust over. Gently press the dough into the sides of the dish so it sticks and trim as needed. Cut Egg wash the top of the pie crust. 3-4 slits in the top to vent.

Bake about 25 minutes, until golden and bubbly. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

Lighter Chicken Pot Pie