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.

 

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

Cilantro Lime Hummus 

I made a batch of tahini just the other day so you know I had to follow up with hummus! It is the perfect dip for crackers, chips, raw vegetables, or spread for your toast in the morning. You can even add it to salads, there are no limits. Cilantro lime is one of my favorite flavors because it pairs so well with Mexican cuisine and who doesn’t like Mexican food?

I love making fresh hummus rather than store bought to avoid the plastic container, preservatives, and price tag. It is so much cheaper to make your own rather than buy, especially if you take advantage of dried beans in your bulk section. I personally prefer to use dried beans over canned to avoid BPA lining and It is said that dried beans are at the very least half to two-thirds the price of canned. Not to mention how easy it is to make hummus all you do is blend the ingredients in your blender or food processor and voila!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup of dried chickpeas (makes 1 1/2 cups) or 1 can
  • 1 tablespoon of tahini
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Juice from half of a lime
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cilantro

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients in blender or food processor and run on high for about 45 seconds.
  2. Scrape side of container and stir mixture, run on high until desired creaminess.
  3. Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 5 days.

Carrot Top Pesto

Carrots are the most commonly used vegetable in my home. They are tasty, affordable, and palate approved by my eight year old son. Aside from all that, I love that I can use the entire carrot. Skin, leaves, stems…Everything! If you skin your carrot, clean, season, and roast those skins up to make root vegetable chips or toss them in a bag with the stems and other vegetable scraps to make broth. Carrot leaves are also edible, delicious, and contain high amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals. Carrot leaves can be used in place of parsley in recipes or can be added to salads and dishes for extra flavor. I also enjoy making sauces like chimicurri or pesto out of carrot leaves. Making the most of your food is also making the most of your money, all while reducing food waste.

Just last week I made a batch of pesto. The recipe is creamy and flavorful. It’s also vegan, but If you are not and would like to add cheese to your pesto, cut the amount of salt in the recipe in half and cut out the nutritional yeast. This recipe makes enough to fill an 8oz. mason jar which gave me 2 meals. One meal was pesto tossed with zucchini noodles, diced tomatoes, and a side of carrots. The other with pasta, but you can serve this pesto over potatoes, pizza, with spaghetti squash.. the options are endless.

Notes: I like my Pesto a prefer my on the creamy side. If you don’t, cut the pine nut measurements down to 1/4 cup.

Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup of pine nuts
  • Half of a lemon, juiced
  • 2 cups of carrot leaves
  • 1 – 2 springs of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili flakes (double if you like a little spice)
  • 1/8 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup of evoo

Instructions

  1. Toss all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until your desired consistency.

Roasted Sesame Cauliflower

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.