Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

Another night, another McDougall recipe this week. His is Baked Penne Florentine, but I added the baby bellas to make it a little more substantial and add some more flavors to this dish and it turned out to be good! It uses cashews as the base of the creamy sauce so it adds protein with a little bit of fat, and you add in different flavors to make it flavorful and the pasta bakes in the sauce. I made a few changes to the recipe (per usual), but it’s generally the same if you want to look up his version online. I have his app on my phone, but you find recipes online as well. Josh said “hey this isn’t bad!”… to which he learned doesn’t sound very nice and then changed it to “hey this is pretty good!” to put a more positive spin on it! I think he still gets surprised how good plant based food can be and every day (well most of them) he gets pleasantly surprised. I roasted some of my leftover cauliflower from a previous night as a side with some garlic powder, salt, and pepper, so sorry for the beige meal but it was much tastier than it looks!

Baked Penne Mushroom Florentine

1 lb whole wheat penne pasta

16 oz frozen chopped spinach

1 10 oz baby bella mushrooms pack, sliced

1.5 cup vegetable broth and 1/4 cup water, mixed

1 onion, diced

1/2 cup raw cashews

1 15 oz can white beans, I used cannelloni

1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 tsp dry mustard powder

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375* and cook pasta to al dente and drain.
  2. Add spinach to drained pasta in a large pot and stir together.
  3. In a skillet, saute onion and mushrooms until tender (about 5 min) and add mushrooms to pasta pot.
  4. In a food processor or high speed blender, process cashews until powder and add half of the broth and blend until smooth.
  5. Add in the other half of broth and water mixture, beans, garlic, soy sauce, mustard, lemon juice, pepper, and onions and blend until smooth.
  6.  Add sauce to pasta, spinach, mushroom mixture and combine, then spread into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle with breadcrumbs, salt and pepper.
  7. Bake uncovered for 10-20 minutes until bottom is bubbly and top is golden.

Easy Falafel Wraps

Easy Falafel Wraps

Easy Falafel Wraps

Today was the last day of school with kids and I feel like I’ve been exhausted for weeks now! There’s been so much going on, and on top of it I’m moving classrooms so I’ve been packing and moving it all down the hall. Luckily my kids helped me move almost everything so they’ve been a huge help! Teachers are so conflicted at the end of the year because you’ve come to love your kids after 10 months of 8 hour days with them, yet you’re so exhausted the break sounds wonderful. One of my students gave me a Vegan Cookbook as my gift and it was so sweet, I can’t wait to recipe test over the summer when I have more time. I’m looking forward to a summer full of cooking, travel, tutoring, fun in the sun and relaxing! It’ll zoom by, always does.

This was a great dinner idea for those busy weeks when you just want to get something healthy on the table. It’s not as quick as I predicted, because you have to let the falafel res before baking and then bake for a while so be more prepared than I was if you want a decent timed dinner. I got this mix from Trader Joe’s and it’s vegan mix and all you have to add is water! Literally, mix-water-stir, you’re done. I made the whole box so that we would have a lot of leftovers to freeze and we can pop them out for wraps and salads later on.

I put the falafel on a toasted whole wheat pita with lettuce, red onion, tomato, and cucumber and made a simple lemon garlic tahini sauce to drizzle on top. YUM!

Easy Falafel Wraps

Box of TJ’s Falafel Mix


whole wheat pitas


tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion diced

Lemon Garlic Tahini Dressing (based off McDougall recipe)

3 tbsp tahini paste (TJ’s)

juice of two lemons

1 tsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp sriracha sauce

salt to taste

water to thin to consistency  you want

  1. Preheat oven to 375* and mix falafel mix with water in a bowl and let sit for 30-60 minutes.
  2. Once mixture is thick, form patties about 1.5 inch wide and place on a parchment or silpat mat lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 30-40 minutes until firm and golden brown and remove to let cool.
  4. Mix all dressing ingredients together with a fork or small whisk.
  5. Toast pita, break two falafel patties in half and place in the middle of the pita. Add toppings and drizzle with tahini sauce and enjoy!

Cauliflower Dal

Cauliflower Dal

Cauliflower Dal

I made another McDougall recipe last night and this was for cauliflower dal. It’s oil free and made from whole foods to make a simple dal recipe. It has potatoes, cauliflower, split red lentils, and spices that come together to make a mild dal, and I actually added more spices to mine than it called for to give it some more flavor. I left out the jalapeno, but added double or more the amount of red pepper flakes. Josh doesn’t like indian food, so I’ll be eating dal for a few days since it makes about 6 servings and I served mine over brown rice, but next time I might have it with a whole wheat pita. McDougall never adds salt in his recipes, but I had to add some at the end to make the flavors pop and I added some soy sauce as well.

Cauliflower Dal

1 large russet potato, peeled and diced

1 cup split red lentils

2-3 cups cauliflower florets

3 cups vegetable broth

1 onion, diced

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp coriander

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp cumin

1 splash low sodium soy sauce

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute onions and garlic over medium heat in a large saute pan until soft then add spices, soy sauce, and cook until fragrant.
  2. Add in tomatoes, vegetable broth, and then potatoes, lentils, and cauliflower.
  3. Bring to a boil and then back down to a simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Once veggies are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, serve over rice or with pita/naan.

Oil Free Lentil Sloppy Joe’s

Oil Free Lentil Sloppy Joes

Oil Free Lentil Sloppy Joes

I’ve made lentil sloppy joe’s in the past several times, but this time I tried the Dr. McDougall recipe who is the founder of Starch Solution. His recipes are oil free, low fat, and are mostly starch based meals. This recipe used more whole food, as where the others had ketchup or BBQ sauce added. I like that there isn’t that many ingredients and it feels more manageable. The recipe said to simmer the lentils for 55 minutes which I thought was a really long time, and then they ended up taking about an hour and 10 minutes and still weren’t as soft as I would have liked. Maybe next time I will boil and cook the lentils ahead of time and then add them in to the mixture, because it shouldn’t take that long.

They weren’t as flavorful as the other recipe, but they were still really tasty on top of a toasty ciabatta roll and I made roasted broccoli sprinkled with nutritional yeast as a side. Lentils are so filling and really healthy for you. They’re packed with protein, iron, folate, vitamin B6, and are a great source of fiber. They’re also super economical, so it’s a cheap, fat free protein source. Here’s how I used his recipe to make mine, they’re a little bit different because I added more/different spices and more veggie broth to cook my lentils.

Oil Free Lentil Sloppy Joe’s

1 1/2 cup green or brown lentils, dry

4 cups veggie broth

2 tsp minced garlic

1 onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp rice vinegar

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp brown mustard

1 14 oz can tomato sauce

1/2 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large saute pan, soften the onion and bell pepper for a few minutes and then add garlic until fragrant.
  2. Add the spices and stir until you can smell their flavors, few minutes.
  3. Add in the tomato sauce, mustard, Worcestershire, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and combine.
  4. Add the veggie broth and lentils (or next time I would cook the lentils in some of the veggie broth separately and then add the cooked lentils into the spiced veggie mix.)
  5. Combine and simmer for 10 minutes until flavors are combined and serve on top of a toasty bun, I prefer open face because it really is too sloppy!



Meal Planning 5.20.18

BBQ Potato and Avocado Salad

BBQ Potato and Avocado Salad

Above: quick lunch of leftovers today! I diced some leftover potatoes with onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper then baked on 425* for 30-35 minutes then put them on a bed of spring mix, carrots, tomatoes, and avocado. I used a little bbq sauce and green goddess dressing as dressing for it.

Today was a good day! I spent most of the day with my parents at their house and we watched the replay of the royal wedding, ate lunch, and I cleaned out my clothes that I still had stashed in my old closet. I kept things that I liked but didn’t fit anymore, so I tried it all on and was so excited that THEY FIT! I was fitting into things that I wore after I lost all my weight after Nutrisystem again… things I haven’t worn in years. SO EXCITING! I’ve been glad to have lost 11 pounds, but also frustrated that I’ve been stuck with weight loss the past month or so but today just confirmed that it is coming off. That I’m doing things the healthiest way for me this time and it’s slowly but surely coming off and that’s an exciting thing. I need to be happy with where I am now and keep eating things that make me feel healthy and happy and it’ll eventually come off.

Onto this week’s meal plan, I got most of the recipes off of my McDougall Starch Solution app I have on my phone. They’re approved by the Dr. himself who created the plan so I know they’re healthy oil-free options.

Lentil Sloppy Joes– These are so delicious and filling. I’m topping a ciabatta roll with this saucy, sweet, sloppy mix and roasted broccoli on the side.

Cauliflower Dal– This looked like a tasty recipe with red lentils, cauliflower, and potato with spices served over rice or pita.

Baked Penne Florentine- This is a cashew based creamy sauce swirled with pasta, spinach, and I’m adding mushrooms and baked.

Falafel Wraps– I’m finally trying out the Trader Joe’s falafel mix and adding them to a warm pita with lettuce, tomatoes, and a tahini based sauce.

Crock Pot Pizza Potatoes– This sounded weird, but interesting and I never use my crockpot anymore so I thought it would be worth a shot. It’s thinly sliced potatoes topped with sauce and toppings and cooked on low for 6-8 hours.

Taco Casserole Tacos– I’m making a mix of beans, peppers, onions and salsa and baking then filling tortillas with this mixture.

Have a great week and hopefully one of these (or more) will be tested by your family as well!

Marinated Portobello & Broccoli Over Rice

Marinated Portobello and Broccoli

Marinated Portobello and Broccoli

Cooking vegan dinners can be so simple, and only a few ingredients are needed to have a well-rounded nutritious meal. A lot of people ask me “So what do you eat?” and there’s so much I do it that it takes a while to answer that question. I focus on all I can eat that is fueling my body instead of focusing on the things I’m not eating, and I’m not eating them for a reason so it’s not hard. I eat whole grains (brown rice, sprouted bread, tortillas, quinoa, whole grain or rice pasta, potatoes, etc.), vegetables, fruit, lentils, beans, dark chocolate, and so much more that I rarely eat the same thing in a month (as you see on my blog, because there are countless ways to incorporate these ingredients.) Pizza, sushi, tacos, buddha bowls, desserts, salads, soups, and so much more!

In this case, a healthy dinner can be made in a few minutes and it’s all you need to keep you satisfied. I made rice in my rice cooker with veggie stock and then marinated the portobellos, broccoli, zucchini, and tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, italian seasoning, pepper, vegan worcestershire, and minced garlic. That takes about 5 minutes to prepare, then you let it marinate for a few minutes and throw it into the oven to bake. I had some sliced apple with it and it’s so filling. Having these simple ideas for busy days will take the dread out of preparing a fancy meal.

For leftovers the next day, I added some leftover tofu to this mix and drizzled with oil free BBQ sauce.

Marinated Portobello and Broccoli Over Rice

3 portobello caps, cleaned and cut into a large dice

2 handfuls of grape tomatoes

2 crowns of broccoli, chopped

1 large zucchini, halved and sliced

2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp italian seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

serve over brown rice

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and dice all of your veggies (except tomatoes) and place in a large bowl.
  2. Add all of the sauces and spices to the vegetables and toss to coat.
  3. Spread them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 35-45 minutes until tender and broccoli is slightly crispy. Add the tomatoes onto the baking sheet for the last 15 minutes of cooking until they are soft and juicy.
  4. Serve over brown rice and enjoy the simplicity!

Creamy Avocado & Asparagus Potato Salad

Creamy Avocado & Asparagus Potato Salad

Creamy Avocado & Asparagus Potato Salad

It’s the week of potato salad! I made a more traditional mustardy potato salad for Mother’s Day, but I saw this recipe in the Oh She Glows cookbook and it looked like it would be worth having potato salad twice this week for dinner. I was correct! It was a really filling yet light dinner and I loved that it had such a creamy fresh taste and tasted like spring! It’s delicious and tasted good warm or cold. Because of the avocado, it’s best right away, but I had leftover for lunch today and the top had turned a little brown but still tasted great. I served it with a side salad with tomatoes, carrots, cucumber and a drizzle of the raspberry balsamic dressing I made earlier in the week. They tasted so much different that it was fine having potatoes twice this week.

Did you know potatoes have been proven to be the most satiating food? They fill you up and make you feel satisfied while still having relatively low calories and they’re very nutrient dense. If you need more potatoes in your life, try this recipe this season!

I changed my ratios a little bit, and I took out the oil but it’s relatively the same recipe from my Oh She Glows cookbook.

Oh She Glows Creamy Avocado & Asparagus Potato Salad

3 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, diced

1 bunch of asparagus, 1″ chop

1/2 cup spring onion, diced


1 large avocado

juice of one lemon

1 spring onion

1/4 cup of water to thin

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 425* and add potatoes to a parchment lined pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes.
  2. When almost complete, add chopped asparagus to the top of the potatoes and roast another 10-15 minutes.
  3. While cooking, add dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  4. Let veggies cool on pan for a few minutes and then add veggies, spring onion, and dressing to a large bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Serve immediately or chill.