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

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

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

25 Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent #LentenDinner

Lent starts today, which means my annual Meatless Meals for Lenten Fridays series does too. You can check back here every Friday until Easter for a new, delicious meatless meal!

As I started working on this Ash Wednesday kick off post, I realized that I didn’t have many new meatless meals on the blog this year – and roughly half were pizza-related. In an effort to make things more well-rounded, I asked my blogger friends to share their favorite meatless meals, too. Below, you’ll find some from me and some from them – and plenty of variety to please everyone!

You can also check out my previous roundups – 16 Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 16 More Meatless Dinner Ideas for Lent, 12 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent, and 9 More Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent for more ideas.

See you back here Friday for the first meatless Lenten dinner post of the year. (Spoiler alert: it’s pizza related. Of course.)

25 Meatless Meal Ideas for Lent

Meatless meal ideas from Kate’s RecipeBox:

Eggplant and Garlic Pizza

Florida Strawberry Pecan Pizza

Greek Pizza

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns

Enchilada Rice Skillet

Spanakopita Quesadillas

Cauliflower Nachos

Slow Cooker Vegetable Lasagna Soup

Pinto Bean Burritos

Meatless meals suggested by my blogger friends:

Spicy Quinoa Corn Chowder from Mary Ellen’s Cooking Creations

A “Meaty” Stew from I Was Born to Cook

Golden Red Lentil Dal Saag from The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen

Huevos Rancheros Burgers from Joesin’ for Taste

Spring Greens Quiche from Faith, Hope, Love & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Mushroom Stroganoff from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Carbonara from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

Bean Ragout and Crisped Mushrooms from Culinary Adventures with Camilla

Hearty Veggie Meatloaf from Simple and Savory

Falafel Waffles from Cooking with Carlee

Fried Lasagna from Jolene’s Recipe Journal

Warm Pasta Salad with Tomato and Zucchini from Book ‘n’ Cooks

Cauliflower Risotto with Asparagus and Mushrooms from Caroline’s Cooking

Healthy Vegetable Skillet Dinner from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

Easy Vegetable Pot Pie with Fillo Crust from All that’s Jas

Vegetarian Chickpea, Carrot, Cilantro Curry Patty from Shockingly Delicious

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns

I’m sure none of my long-time blog readers are surprised to see that pizza has made it’s way into the Lenten dinner series. I’m a pizza fan. It was bound to happen.

The beauty of these is – like pizza – you can top them however you want. If it wasn’t Lent, I would have added some pepperoni on top. Ham and pineapple would also be good. These are a great idea if you’re looking for a meal that will please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike!

QuinaPizzaBurgers

Quinoa Pizza Burgers with Garlic Bread Buns
(adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
Serves 6

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup tomato paste
2 tsp. oregano
3/4 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. basil
1 cup cooked or canned pinto beans, drained and mashed
6 burger buns
6 slices of mozzarella cheese
6 Tbsp. pizza sauce
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. garlic powder

In a small saucepan, combine quinoa, water, and salt. Bring to a boil and then turn heat to low and cook for 14 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
Combine cooked quinoa, tomato paste, spices, and mashed beans. When well  combined, divide into six equal parts and form into patties.
Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and cook patties over medium heat until both sides are browned and patties are heated through. Top with 1 Tbsp. pizza sauce each and a slice of mozzarella cheese. Cover and let cheese melt.
Meanwhile, spread melted butter over the cut side of the buns and sprinkle evenly with garlic powder. Broil until toasted.
Serve burgers on toasted buns immediately.

Spanakopita Quesadillas

You know what’s tricky about Lenten Fridays with a toddler? Lunch.

He is, in general, really good about eating whatever we’re eating for dinner. I’m one of those mean moms with an “eat it or go hungry” policy. But, lunch is another story. I usually let him pick his own lunch and that means we have a healthy rotation of dinosaur chicken nuggets and cold cuts. So far, Lenten Friday lunches have meant PB&J. For both of us.

I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. Jake ate half of his quesadilla before declaring he didn’t like it and requesting something else. Half of a spinach-filled, whole wheat wrap? I’ll take it.

And, I loved these so I was happy to steal the rest of his. Serve with tzatziki or sour cream for dipping. We added some olives on the side for a light lunch. If this was dinner, I would have opted for a Greek salad or hummus and veggies to round out the meal!

SpanikopitaQuesadilla

Spanakopita Quesadillas
(from Cooktoria)
Serves 4

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic
7 cups baby spinach, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup feta crumbles
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
4 flour tortillas

In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add in the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add in the garlic and spinach and cook for another 3-4 minutes, until spinach is cooked down a bit. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mixture to a bowl and pop it in the fridge.

In a bowl, mix together the egg, feta, Parmesan, and dill until thoroughly combined.

When the spinach mixture is cool enough to handle, squeeze out any remaining liquid and add the spinach to the cheese mixture. Combine well.

Divide the mixture evenly between 4 tortillas. Fold each in half and fry over low heat for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway.

 

 

 

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Another Lenten dinner, another vegetarian take on Chinese takeout. I actually liked this a little better than the Kung Pao Chickpeas I shared few weeks ago for one reason – it’s a from scratch sauce. There is nothing that annoys me more than finding a bottled sauce you like only to have the company discontinue or change the recipe a few months later. Falling in love with a from-scratch sauce is easier. It will never desert you.

I’ve tried a few General Tso’s sauces before, but this one comes closest to the Chinese takeout we’re used to. I’ll definitely be trying this again with chicken at some point.

GeneralTsoCauliflower

General Tso’s Cauliflower
(from Bakeaholic Mama)
Serves 3

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1/3 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Oil for frying

2 1/2 tsp. minced ginger root
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
White rice, for serving
Green onions, for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tsp. sesame oil, egg, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 3 Tbsp. soy sauce until well combined. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until thoroughly coated. Set aside to marinate for about 20 minutes.

After marinating, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add cauliflower. Fry cauliflower until evenly browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate pan, add the 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and olive oil. Over medium-high heat, sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the vegetable stock, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, chili garlic sauce and brown sugar. Cook until it comes to a low boil and has thickened.

Add the sauce to the cauliflower and toss to coat evenly. Serve over rice, topped with green onions.

Kung Pao Chickpeas

Part of Lenten obligation is to abstain from meat on Fridays – so for the Fridays during Lent, I’ll be sharing some delicious meatless meals. Whether you’re abstaining from meat for Lent or just looking to add some new meatless meal ideas, I hope these posts give you some inspiration. I’m so excited to kick off this year’s Lenten dinner series with this recipe because it’s a real winner!

Chinese takeout is one of my favorite Friday night meals – but unlike pizza, it’s harder to do during Lent. Chickpeas aren’t on the menu at our local place but it turns out they make a pretty fantastic substitute for chicken. This meal was one of those times you don’t miss the meat – it was flavorful and filling. Even the often-skeptical husband was a fan!

KungPaoChickpeas

Kung Pao Chickpeas
(adapted slightly from She Knows)
Serves 2-3

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 14oz. chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup kung pao sauce
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Steamed rice and steamed broccoli, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together the first six ingredients. Stir in chickpeas, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to let marinate.

When ready to cook, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. coconut oil in a large pan. Drain and discard the marinade and add the chickpeas to the pan, along with the kung pao sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Saute for 6-8 minutes, until the chickpeas begin to brown slightly. Serve with rice and broccoli.