Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Bake

Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Bake
Cheesy Broccoli & Rice Bake

This was the last weekend of winter break and I must say I am a bit relieved my son is going back to school tomorrow. I love having him home but with all the neighborhood kids constantly running in and out of the house playing it is hard to, 1. get anything productive done 2. have any alone time 3. listen to my music of choice, lol. Since I have been feeling a little behind I was in need of an easy, yet cozy meal. I get my Imperfect Produce delivery Saturday mornings to help replenish my fridge and pantry for the weekend without having to run to the store, which is such a life saver. Plus, I got most of the items I needed for this cheesy broccoli rice bake.

I’m always on the hunt to find new ways to get the most bang for my buck and produce less waste by utilizing all of my fruits and vegetables. One of my favorite ways to use my broccoli stalks is to make broccoli slaw. But in this recipe we will be incorporating both the broccoli florets and stalks by making broccoli rice. Watch your back cauliflower, broccoli is coming for ya…

Vegan, Gluten free – Serves 6 – Total bake time 1hr 15mins

Ingredients:

Broccoli Bake

  • 2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 broccoli stalks florets cut into small to med pieces & stalks chopped into broccoli rice
  • 1 tsp pink salt

Cheese sauce (makes 3 cups)

  • 2 cups potatoes peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Add short grain brown rice, vegetable broth, garlic, onion and salt to a 13 x 9 baking dish or something similar in size.
  3. Cover and bake for 45 minutes.
  4. Boil carrots and potatoes until soft.
  5. Strain carrots and potatoes.
  6. Toss all cheese sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until you come to a smooth and creamy consistency.
  7. Prepare the broccoli by cutting the tops into small-med sized florets.
  8. Cut the stalks in half or in quarters and toss them into a food processor(or blender), pulse until the stalks are chopped into rice-sized pieces.
  9. After your rice has been baking for 45 minutes, take the baking dish out of the oven and fold in 1 1/2 cups of cheese sauce and broccoli rice. Mix well. Then top the rice mixture with the florets.
  10. Cover and bake for another 30 minutes.
  11. Once the rice is done baking, drizzle the top with the desired amount of cheese sauce and enjoy!

 

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Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

Although the Holidays are over, my son is still on winter break. I love having him home from school but trying to keep him busy and catch up from traveling, house guests, life and household duties, I am having a bit of a difficult time balancing it all and getting back into my daily routine. Anyone else with me on this? With all that being said, I have not been in the kitchen as much as I would like to and needed a quick and easy meal idea. As I was looking around in my bare fridge trying to figure out what the heck to make for dinner, all the pieces came together when I realized with what little I had, I always have Mexican flavors! So I busted out my Instant Pot and got to work with a one pot meal. This dish can be served as a main, side or vegan taco filling. It makes about 8 cups.

Ingredients

  1. 1 can or 1/2 cup of dried black beans (makes 1 1/2 cups cooked)
  2. 2 1/2 cups of quinoa
  3. 3 garlic cloves diced
  4. 1 yellow onion diced
  5. 1/2 cup green pepper diced (about half the pepper)
  6. 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  7. 4 cups of water
  8. 1 cup of diced tomatoes (I used canned but always check for BPA free cans)
  9. 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  10. 1 teaspoon of pink salt
  11. 1 tablespoon chili powder
  12. 1 teaspoon cumin
  13. 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  14. Cilantro and extra lime for topping, maybe some hot sauce if you like it spicy

Directions

  1. Skip this step if using canned beans: Cook dried black bean in Instant Pot for for 15 minutes, when cooked strain and rinse, set black beans aside. (15 minutes slightly undercooks the beans, they will be cooked thoroughly with quinoa)
  2. In your empty Instant Pot, add the avocado oil and use the sauté function to sauté the garlic, onions and green pepper for about 3 minutes.
  3. Toss in diced tomatoes, lime juice and spices, stir well.
  4. Add the quinoa and the black beans to the pot, stir until all quinoa and beans are coated with spices.
  5. lastly, add 4 cups of water to the pot, stir, close the lid and cook on high pressure for 1 minute, then letting your instant pot naturally release pressure.
  6. When your Instant Pot is ready to be opened, stir quinoa and serve adding extra flavor like cilantro, green onions, hot sauce or extra lime.

 

Kale and Mushroom Stir Fry with Soba Noodles

The weather is getting cooler and cooler by the day here in Northern California and I absolutely love it! Cool weather calls for warm hearty dishes like soups, stews, casseroles and noodles. I am such a huge fan of soba noodles. Well, any type of noodles really, but who isn’t? The Soba noodles have such unique flavor compared to others noodles. Their distinct nutty flavor makes a great pairing with earthy flavored vegetables like mushrooms and kale, so that is exactly what I will be using in this recipe. Even though I will be enjoying this recipe warm as a stir fry, this dish can also be served as a cold salad the next day. Soba noodles are so versatile, which makes packing lunch easy for the next day if you double the recipe.

Soba Noodles are a great gluten free noodle alternative if you can get your hands on pure 100% buckwheat flour noodles. Although the name suggests otherwise, buckwheat flour is actually a gluten free ancient grain and surprisingly not even related to wheat at all. So what gives with the confusing name? If you have a gluten allergy or sensitivity I always suggest checking the ingredients on the label to make sure your noodles are made with 100% buckwheat flour. I have found that some soba noodles can be made with a blend of flours which would no longer make them gluten free.

This recipe serves 2-3 people:

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of soba noodles
  • 2 teaspoon of avocado or coconut oil
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 1 bunch of tuscan kale cleaned, destemmed and chopped
  • 2 cups of sliced mushrooms

Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of avocado or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of aminos or soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sriracha (1 teaspoon if you like a little kick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • Juice for 1/4 of a lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add water to a saucepan to prepare the soba noodles per instructions on package.
  2. In a separate sauté pan add 2 teaspoons of avocado or coconut oil on medium heat.
  3. Once the avocado oil heats up add sliced onions, stir around for about 2 minutes, next add the sliced mushrooms and continue to stir for another 2 minutes followed by the kale. Once kale is almost cooked thoroughly, turn burner to low heat to keep warm.
  4. While soba noodles are cooking, whip the sauce ingredients together in a bowl.
  5. Add cooked and strained soba noodles to the sauté pan with your vegetables but turn the heat off completely so the noodles do not continue to cook
  6. Lastly, add sesame soy sauce to the noodles, toss well and serve.

Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

Sundays are for pasta! If it were up to my boyfriend we would eat penne and marinara every single Sunday. Pasta is his all time favorite comfort food, as it is for many Italian’s. Kyle loves to tell me stories about when he was a child. He and his entire family would go to his grandmothers house every single Sunday and eat dinner together, which always consisted of meatballs, sausage, pasta and bread… the bread for dipping in the sauce, followed by pastries. I agree with him, penne and marinara is so comforting and delicious. I love all variations of pasta! In my opinion, pasta is just too versatile to only limit yourself to penne and its red sauce comfort blanket. So every once in a while I like to throw a curve ball on pasta night. This time making a creamy vegan butternut squash sauce tossed with peas and spirals. This recipe can be gluten free or not, I like to use Trader Joe’s organic brown rice and quinoa blend pasta. This butternut squash sauce recipe makes just a little over 2 cups of sauce and is enough for one pound of pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of pasta of your choice
  • 2 teaspoon of avocado oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 full medium yellow onion or 1/2 a large onion, diced
  • 1/2 a medium sized butternut squash, skinned and cubed. Roughly 2 cups
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1 cup of peas

Instructions

  1. Heat the avocado oil in a medium sized sauce pan with the yellow onion and garlic while stirring around for about 3 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
  2. Toss in the butternut squash, vegetable broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cover your saucepan with a lid. Let cook for about ten minutes.
  3. Once the butternut squash is cooked through, start to boil your water for your pasta in another saucepan and add the butternut squash mixture to a blender and puree for about 45 second.
  4. Add Nutritional yeast to the blender and maybe a some more salt and pepper to taste. Here you may need to blend for another 15-20 seconds
  5. Sauté the cup of peas in the same sauce pan you cooked the butternut squash. By the time you are done with the peas your sauce for the pasta should be cooked.
  6. Combine the pasta, sauce and peas. serve

Thai Green Curry Fried Rice

I accidentally skipped dinner the night of Halloween due to the excitement and festivities, I hope everyone else had a blast too!  I really made up for it though the night after when I had TWO bowls of this Thai green curry fried rice. It was so comforting and delicious. I love making different variations of things like fried rice (and frittatas for my boys) when I have a good amount of vegetables in the fridge that need to be used. It is such tasty and Hardy way to clean out the fridge. So here are some of the different veggies I had in my fridge that I needed to use and thank god because this dish turned out so flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rice of your choice, I used brown
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 2 cups of broccoli florets
  • 1 zucchini chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 bell pepper, color of your choice, I used half green and half red because that is what I had
  • 1 cup of peas
  • 1/4 inch knob of ginger, grated
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of green curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of water
  • 1 wedge of lime
  • Cilantro, green onions and bean sprouts for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1. While the brown rice is cooking, sauté your veggies until cooked through, set the vegetables aside in a separate bowl.
  2. In the same pan you cooked the vegetables in add 2 teaspoons of coconut oil on low-med heat, followed by the green curry paste, coconut amigos, rice vinegar, water and lime. Stir well then grate the garlic clove and ginger and continue to stir for another minute.
  3. Once rice is finished cooking fold into the green curry mixture and stir until rice is coated
  4. Toss in your veggies and mix well while adding salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Top with cilantro, green onions and sprouts and serve.

Fall Brussels Sprout and Kale Salad

It is October 25th and the high today in the Bay Area is 85 degrees, I think mother nature has her seasons a little confused. Where is that Fall weather I was enjoying last week? This heat wave is no joke, it looks like it will be hot all week. With that being said I needed to add some cold items to my weekly meal plan to avoid heating up the entire house (even more) with my oven. But I still wanted something Fall-esque, this salad was the perfect solution. As a matter of fact if the heat continues I will probably be having salads all week, and maybe an ice pop or two.

Shaved brussels sprouts, kale, red onion, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate tossed in honey mustard dressing, I am loving these flavors together. This can be served as a great main dish, starter or side for those warm fall days when mother nature does not want to let go of Summer. This recipe can be friendly most diets, if you are vegan just substitute the honey in the dressing with agave or maple syrup. If you are paleo and want some protein add egg, salmon or chicken. It’s that easy!

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, destemmed, chopped & massaged
  • 5 cups (about a pound) of shaved brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 of red onion, sliced
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons of yellow mustard
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of honey, agave or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon diced shallots or minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Wash, destem, chop and massage your kale for 3-5 minutes, I know it sounds silly but you don’t want to skip this step. If you don’t massage the kale it will be very rough.
  2. Shred the brussels sprouts, I used the slicing attachment to my food processor which made this step quick and easy.
  3. Whip up the honey mustard dressing, and toss your kale and brussel sprouts in it.
  4. Slice and top your salad with red onion along with the pepitas and pomegranate seeds.

Coconut Curry Red Lentil Soup

I am part of a soup loving family. We will eat anything soupy or stew-like anywhere, anytime! This recipe in particular is one of my son’s favorites and I can’t say I blame him. Nor do I mind cooking it for him since it is so good and so nutritionally balanced. Providing everything from nutrients, vitamins, and fiber from the vegetables to healthy saturated fats from the coconut milk, and a great source of plant based protein from the lentils. Coconut curry is creamy, flavorful and comforting. Especially this time of year when the weather is starting to cool down.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons of coconut oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 celery stocks, chopped
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1/2 a bell pepper, color of your choice, chopped
  • 2 cups of leafy greens of your choice, destemmed & chopped  (kale, swiss chard, or spinach)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (BPA free) or 1 3/4 cup of fresh diced tomatoes
  • 1 canned full fat coconut milk (BPA free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger or 1/2 an inch knob of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 heaping teaspoons of red curry paste
  • 1 wedge of lime
  • 5 cups of vegetable broth
  • 2 cups of red split lentils
  • Cilantro (optional for topping)
  • Green onions (optional for topping)

Instructions

  1. Place coconut oil to your pot over medium heat. When melted, add chopped onion, sauté and stir around until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, and continue to stir and sauté for another minute.
  2. Now place all of your vegetables except your greens to the pot. Stir around to coat with oil then add your ginger, salt, red curry paste and squeeze in that wedge of lime. Mix around until  all vegetables are coated with seasonings.
  3. Toss in tomatoes, coconut milk and five cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil
  4. Reduce heat and add lentils, simmer for 25 minutes
  5. Remove from heat, add greens and stir.
  6. Optional: Top with more lime, cilantro and/or green onions and enjoy

Roasted Sesame Cauliflower

I can’t think of another vegetable as versatile as cauliflower, can you? It’s one of my favorites.  One of those veggies I never get sick of because it can be dressed so many different ways and compliments every flavor imaginable. My flavor of the week is sesame!

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.  It’s also a great source for vitamin C and K. Unfortunately, vitamin K deficiency is becoming more and more common these days, so eat up! No, really, you can eat up because cauliflower is known to be low in calories as well. But who is counting anyway?

This recipe is made to be flexible.  It can be served over rice, quinoa, or served by itself. Since cauliflower is high in filling fibers I prepared my cauliflower by itself as a main dish using 1/2 of a cauliflower per person.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  While your oven is heating up, cut the cauliflower into florets.  Dice the garlic and onion and chop up your pepper. Mix the garlic, onion, pepper, and cauliflower together with just a touch of coconut or avocado oil to coat.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop in the oven.  My favorite way to roast anything is in a cast iron.  If you don’t own a cast iron, a sheet pan will do. Bake for about 20 minutes. While your cauliflower is roasting, it’s time to whip up our sesame sauce. Whisk all your wet ingredients together and pour over your cauliflower.  Toss lightly and bake for another 7-10 minutes. The timeframe can vary with the size of your florets. The bigger you cut them, the longer they will take to roast. Once your cauliflower is finished roasting, take out of the oven and top with green onions and sesame seeds.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, red, yellow, or orange
  • Green onions
  • Sesame seeds

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of liquid or coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • Dash of salt and pepper

** If you want to make your sauce thick, more like a glaze add 2 teaspoons of arrowroot or non gmo cornstarch  **

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400
  2. Toss your cauliflower, garlic, onion and pepper in a touch of coconut or avocado oil, just enough to coat your veggies
  3. Roast in cast iron or baking sheet for 20 minutes
  4. Drizzle the sauce over your veggies, mix around
  5. Roast for another 7-10 minutes
  6. Remove from the oven and top with green onions and sesame seeds
  7. Serve with quinoa, rice or by itself.

Spinach & Chickpea Tikki Masala With Cauliflower Rice

I had the most satisfying dinner last week and I just have to share it with all of you! Spinach & Chickpea tikki masala with cauliflower rice is all the rage. This dish is thick, creamy, flavorful, and aromatic. I might be a little biased though, I really love anything with coconut milk in it! This recipe is Vegan and gluten free but unfortunately not paleo due to the chickpeas but I am confident that if you wanted to leave the chickpeas out and add some extra veggies this recipe would still be amazing.

First, I would get the masala going that way you give it time to simmer while making your cauliflower rice. Start by sautéing your onions, garlic, and fresh ginger in coconut oil.  Then, toss in your spices and mix around for about a minute.  Mix in diced tomatoes, coconut milk, and chickpeas.  Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.  You want to wait until the very last minute to throw in your spinach since greens wilt quickly. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. While that is working, grab your cauliflower and cut into florets.  Pulse in your food processor until it looks like chunks of snow.  Sauté and serve.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch knob of fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (1/2 teaspoon if you like a little kick)
  • 2 1/2 cups of chickpeas (1 cup of dried chickpeas expands to 2/12 cups when cooked)
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 15 oz can of full fat coconut milk
  • lime wedge
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 big handfuls of spinach
  • Fresh cilantro and green onions for topping

Directions

**Tikki Masala**

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to your pan
  2. When coconut oil melts add diced onion and sauté for about 4 minutes or until translucent
  3. Toss in your chopped garlic sauté for an additional 2 minutes
  4. Add your grated fresh ginger and all your spices while stirring well
  5. Throw in your chickpeas and mix around until they are all coated with your spices
  6. Mix in can of diced tomatoes, coconut milk and squeeze of lime. Stir, cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. This is when you start prepping your cauli rice.
  7. Add spinach and salt & pepper to taste, stir and top on your rice

**Cauliflower RIce**

Hopefully when your Masala was simmering you were getting your cauliflower rice ready.

  1. Cut Cauliflower into florets and place into your food processor and pulse until your cauliflower is broken up into smaller pieces (looks like cauliflower snow)
  2. Add your cauli rice to a warm, oiled pan and sauté for about 7 minutes while continuing to stir. Add a dash of garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  3. When Cauliflower rice is at your desired texture, plate with Tikki Masala and top with fresh cilantro and green onions.

Broccoli Slaw with Creamy Peanut Dressing

 

 On a past blog post I talked about a couple different ways to use your broccoli stalks, broccoli slaw tossed in a peanut dressing is probably my favorite! This recipe is simple, yet fresh and flavorful. You can plate the slaw over some quinoa and make a full meal out of it, or bring it to a summer barbecue as a side. The dressing can easily be made paleo with one simple swap by substituting the peanut butter for almond butter. Keep in mind most recipes can be changed to your liking.

 Ingredients

Slaw

  • 1/2 head of cabbage shredded,  4 to 5 cups depending on size
  • 4 broccoli stalks, 3 cups of match sticks
  • 2 carrots 1 1/2 cups of match sticks
  • 1/2 cup of diced green onion

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup of peanut or almond butter
  • 1/3- 1/2 water
  • 1/2 tsp diced or grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 lime wedge for juice

Instructions

  1.  Using my food processor attachment I was able to create match sticks with my 4 leftover broccoli stalks and 2 carrots, I flipped my attachment over to shred 1/2 a head of green cabbage. I also had some green onions that were recently regrown so I sliced up about 1/2 cup and placed all ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Using a separate mixing bowl for the dressing, stir in a 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/3 cup of water, 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp ginger, 2 tbsp of rice vinegar, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, coconut or liquid aminos, 2 tbsp of maple syrup, squeeze a lime wedge and sprinkle in some salt and pepper. Now, it is time to whisk your wet ingredients together. When making seed or nut dressings the sauce can thicken up while whisking if there is not enough liquid, if this happens, slowly add a tad bit more water to help give it that thinner yet creamy consistency you are looking for.
  3. When the dressing is ready, pour over your slaw and toss together. Garnish with sesame seeds or cilantro if you have some and enjoy.