Tortellini With Squash, Egg, and Breadcrumbs

This pasta was surprisingly really good! I didn’t think it would be that great since there isn’t a sauce, but it was really flavorful, and we all liked it. Two thumbs up!

rating: 9

Tortellini With Squash, Egg, and Breadcrumbs

serves 4
time needed: 25 min.


12 ounces refrigerated cheese tortellini
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3½ cups chopped zucchini
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
½ small baguette, torn into small pieces and toasted
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ ounce parmesan cheese, finely grated (about ¼ cup)


Cook pasta in a large, deep saucepan according to package directions. Drain, reserving 2 tablespoons cooking water in the pan. Return tortellini to the pan.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add zucchini; cook until just beginning to brown, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in vinegar and salt, then add to pasta pan and toss to coat.
Return skillet to medium-high and add remaining oil. Fry the eggs, covered, until whites are just set, 3 minutes. To serve, top pasta with toasted baguette pieces, pepper, eggs, and Parmesan.

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Family-Style “Chicken” Spaghetti

This was okay. It was a little bland to me, but the family seemed to like it.

rating: 8

Family-Style Chicken Spaghetti
(Cooking Light, July 2016)

serves 4


8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat spaghetti (I used regular spaghetti)
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 pt. cherry tomatoes
1 medium onion, cut into 1-in. wedges
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (about 2 cups)- I used a bag of Quorn Tenders
3 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat broiler. Line a jelly-roll pan with foil.

2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.

3. While pasta cooks, combine oil, garlic, tomatoes, and onion on prepared pan; toss. Broil 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer mixture and any liquid from pan to a blender. Add 2 tablespoons basil and tomato paste; secure blender lid on blender. Remove center piece of blender lid; cover with a kitchen towel. Blend until smooth.

4. Drain pasta; return to pan. Stir in tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and chicken. Cook over medium heat until heated. Place spaghetti mixture on a serving platter. Chop remaining 2 tablespoons basil leaves. Sprinkle basil and Parmesan evenly over spaghetti.

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Silky Tomato Soup with White Beans and Garlic Oil

This soup was really good. It didn’t take too long to make, and hey, it’s vegan! The beans really made this tomato soup different, and when I had leftovers the next day for lunch, it was even better than before.

rating: 9

Silky Tomato Soup with White Beans and Garlic Oil
(Cooking Light, Sept. 2016)

serves 6


3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (14.5-oz.) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces whole-wheat bread, torn


1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil and garlic in a skillet over medium for 4 minutes or until garlic is golden. Add red pepper and beans; toss.

2. Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion, carrot, and thyme; cook 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Stir in stock, salt, tomatoes, and bread. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes.

3. Discard thyme sprigs. Place tomato mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with beans.

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Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Corn Salsa

These were surprisingly good! My 9 year old said they were one of the best things I have ever made (!) and had seconds! These were easy to make and held together well while frying. My only complaint is that I felt they needed a sauce of some kind (they were a tiny bit dry). These would even be good as a sandwich.

rating: 9

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Corn Salsa
(Cooking Light, Sept. 2016)

serves 4


2 (15.5-oz.) cans unsalted black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained, and divided
1/2 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Place 1/2 cup peas in a bowl; set aside. Place remaining peas in a food processor; pulse until coarsely mashed. Combine mashed peas, panko, 3 tablespoons onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper, and eggs in a bowl. Divide and shape pea mixture into 8 (3-inch) patties.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add 4 patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove patties from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining 4 patties.

3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add corn to pan; cook 2 minutes. Place corn in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes.

4. Add reserved 1/2 cup peas, remaining 1 tablespoon onions, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients to corn, stirring to combine. Spoon evenly over cakes.


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Orzotto with Peas

I really thought my kids would be all over this. They were not. Husband and I, however, thought it was great! This is almost like risotto. It’s very creamy and rich-tasting. I had some leftovers for lunch and it was even better. If you don’t like peas, you could substitute other veggies.

rating: 9

Orzotto with Peas
(Food Network magazine, Sept. 2016)

serves 4
time needed: 30 min.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups orzo or pearl barley
1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock) – I used vegetarian “chicken” stock
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth – I used vegetarian “chicken” stock
1/2 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil – I omitted
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus the juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo and toast for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine (or stock) and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Gradually add 3 cups chicken stock, stirring frequently. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover. Cook until the liquid is almost absorbed and the orzo is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the peas, Parmesan, basil, heavy cream and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with more Parmesan.

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Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Lime Sauce

These tacos were great, but these black beans, WOW! These are the best black beans I have ever had! I am making a big batch of these beans this week to eat on top of my salad every day! The beans are easy to make and are so flavorful. The tacos were really good and everyone but my 6 year old loved them. Once you have the beans made, the tacos can be made very quickly. The only thing I didn’t love was the avocado-lime sauce. It was too sweet for my taste, and I would have just preferred guacamole or plain avocado slices.

rating: 9.8

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Lime Sauce

makes 12 tacos

Avocado-Lime Dipping Sauce

Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Serves: 2 cups


2 avocados
½ bunch of cilantro
3 limes, juiced
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired
⅓ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water


Add all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.



Crispy Black Bean Tacos

Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 12 tacos


3 cups Best Ever Mexican Black Beans
¾ cups Mexican Cheese Blend
12 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, separated


Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add two tortillas to the skillet and allow them to heat in the oil for about 10 seconds.
Cover one side of each tortilla with ¼ cups of beans, and top beans with 1 tablespoon Mexican Cheese Blend.
Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla in half, on top of itself and press down with the spatula to shape the taco.
Cook 3-4 minutes, then using a spatula flip the tacos and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned.
Continue the process until all the tacos are done, adding additional oil as the pan dries out.
Serve immediately.



Best Ever Mexican Black Beans


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 15.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
5.5 fluid ounces (about 2/3 cup) tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

In a non-stick skillet, over medium heat, heat olive oil, garlic, taco seasoning, and onion powder for 2-3 minutes.
Add black beans, tomato juice, and salt and stir until combined.
Let beans cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat, stir in cilantro, and serve immediately.

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Product Review: Hampton Creek Just Cookie Dough

I had the rare opportunity to go grocery shopping by myself last weekend, so I had more time to browse the aisles. These caught my eye. I love everything I have had from Hampton Creek so far, so I decided to buy the chocolate chip cookie dough. Then I saw they had other flavors, too, so yeah, I just bought one of each flavor. Along with the chocolate chip, I also got peanut butter and birthday cake. This is a vegan cookie dough that comes in a little tub with a screw off lid. You keep it in your fridge for when you have a craving. You just put a spoonful on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes and you have AWESOME warm cookies! So far, I have made about 6 cookies every night. My 9 year old loves the peanut butter the best, and my 6 year old loves the birthday cake the best. Me? I love the chocolate chip, once I have sprinkled some crushed nuts on top. These are excellent with a glass of almond milk. Note: I don’t have a pic of the birthday cake ones, but trust me, they are really good!

rating: 10

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