Smoky Carrot Dogs with Nacho Sauce

I have heard of carrot dogs before, and was a little curious about them, but when I saw this recipe in Cooking Light and saw it was marked as a “staff fave”, I knew I had to try them. I thought the actual “dog” was really good! I wouldn’t eat it plain (I mean, I would, because I like carrots), but with toppings, it was really good! I thought the texture was great! My problem was with the nacho sauce. I used my food processor instead of a blender, and my sauce never got creamy. It was really chunky, but it tasted okay. I just couldn’t drizzle the sauce over the dog. Everyone thought they were pretty good! I had some carrots left over, so I ate them in a salad the next day, and they were excellent.

rating: 8.5

Smoky Carrot Dogs with Nacho Sauce
(Cooking Light, June 2017)

serves 8

Ingredients:

3/4 cup raw cashews
8 large carrots, rinsed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons liquid smoke (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup jarred salsa
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon water
8 whole-wheat hot dog buns, lightly toasted
2 small jalapeños, thinly sliced
1/4 cup diced red onion

 

 

Directions:

Place cashews in a bowl with water to cover by 1 inch. Let stand 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil. Trim ends from carrots to fit hot dog buns. Using a vegetable peeler, peel carrots, and round edges to create a hot dog shape.
Place oil, tamari, liquid smoke (if desired), paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl. Stir with a whisk. Place carrots in a single layer in prepared baking dish. Pour oil mixture over carrots; rub to coat on all sides. Bake at 450°F for 35 minutes, tossing every 15 minutes.
Drain cashews. Place cashews, jarred salsa, almond milk, yeast, cayenne pepper, cumin, turmeric, and salt in a high-powered blender. Process until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in up to 1 tablespoon water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.
Place 1 roasted carrot in each bun. Top each with 2 tablespoons nacho sauce; top evenly with jalapeño slices and diced red onion.

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Minestrone Verde

This soup was okay. None of us really loved it, and I didn’t save the leftovers. It sure is healthy, though! 🙂

rating: 6

Minestrone Verde
(Cooking Light, June 2017)

serves 4
time needed: 30 min.

Ingredients:

1 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil (from about 3 bunches)
2 tablespoons shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced leeks
2 small zucchini, sliced into half-moons
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
8 ounces refrigerated tortellini
3 cups coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach (about 3 oz.)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Process basil, cheese, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons oil; process until very finely chopped and fully combined, stopping to scrape sides of bowl as necessary. Set aside.
Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium. Add leeks; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes. Stir in zucchini; cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini is just tender but not browned, about 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook tortellini in a stockpot of boiling water 3 minutes less than package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.
Add tortellini, spinach, and peas to soup. Cook until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Ladle soup evenly into 4 bowls. Top each serving with pesto, and sprinkle evenly with pepper.

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Kicky Black Bean Burgers

I’ve eaten my share of black bean burgers, but I have to say, this one is one of the best ones I’ve ever had! Not sure what makes it so special! My 10 year old loved it as well. I used white hamburger buns instead of the wheat, because that’s what I had on hand. Easy and delicious!

rating: 9.5

Kicky Black Bean Burgers
(Cooking Light, June 2017)

serves 4
time needed: 30 min.

Ingredients:

1 (15-oz.) can unsalted black beans, drained
5 (1 1/4-oz.) whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted and divided
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 ounces sliced pepper-Jack or Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup fresh refrigerated pico de gallo
4 lettuce leaves

Directions:

Place beans in a large bowl; mash with a fork. Place 1 toasted bun, torn, in a food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. Stir breadcrumbs, cumin, and next 5 ingredients (through egg white) into beans.
Divide and shape bean mixture into 4 (1-inch-thick) patties. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add patties to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned.
Divide cheese evenly among patties; cook 1 minute or until cheese melts. Top bottom halves of remaining 4 buns evenly with patties, pico de gallo, lettuce, and top halves of buns.

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BBQ “Chicken”-and-Black Bean Tacos

My 10 year old loved these tacos, and said he was going to ask me to make them again during his birthday week (when I make all his favorite food). I used Morningstar Farms vegetarian chicken strips for the chicken in this dish. I heated them up in a pan, then let them cool a bit and put them in a food processor to shred them. I also used flour tortillas in place of the corn. These were just REALLY good, although husband said he didn’t care for the yogurt sauce (I agreed).

rating: 9

BBQ “Chicken”-and-Black Bean Tacos
(Cooking Light, June 2017)

serves 5

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil
2/3 cup diced red bell pepper (from 1 bell pepper)
3/4 cup frozen whole kernel sweet corn, thawed
3/4 cup canned unsalted black beans, rinsed and drained
12 ounces skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded (I used Morningstar Farms Chick’n Strips)
1/3 cup organic barbecue sauce
10 (6-in.) corn tortillas (I used flour tortillas)
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add bell pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in corn and black beans; cook until warmed through, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
Place shredded chicken and barbecue sauce in a microwave-safe bowl. Mix until thoroughly coated. Loosely cover, and microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until warmed through.
Warm tortillas according to package directions. Place 3 tablespoons chicken mixture in center of each tortilla. Top each tortilla with 3 tablespoons bell pepper mixture.
Place yogurt, cilantro, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Dollop each taco with about 1 tablespoon yogurt mixture. Sprinkle tacos with cilantro.

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Jerk “Chicken” Bowl

I made this recipe up after looking through a bunch of meal prep bowl recipes. All of the amounts are up to you. I used 1 bag of Beyond Meat vegetarian chicken strips for the chicken. I just warmed them up in a pan and sprinkled a little bit of the jerk seasoning on them. My 10 year old said this was one of the best things I have ever made! I would do this again, but maybe leave out the pineapple. It didn’t add too much to the dish.

rating: 9

Jerk “Chicken” Bowl

Ingredients:

vegetarian chicken (I used Beyond Meat)
Jerk seasoning
diced pineapple
black beans
lime juice
yellow rice
avocado

 

Directions:

Pan fry the vegetarian chicken until lightly brown and sprinkle with jerk seasoning to taste.  Put can of beans into a pot with a splash of lime juice. Cook until hot. Cook rice according to directions. Assemble bowl.

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Yellow Squash Soup with Parm & Herbs

WOW. This soup was excellent! My yellow-squash-hating-husband LOVED this soup! I doubled this recipe and I am glad I did, or we wouldn’t have had enough! GREAT SOUP.

rating: 9.7

Yellow Squash Soup with Parm & Herbs
(Everyday with Rachael Ray, April 2017)

serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lbs. yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock (I used vegetarian “chicken” broth)
3/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp lemon zest
4 tbsp grated Parmesan
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or tarragon

Directions:

in saucepan with a lid, cook first 5 ingredients, covered, over medium, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender, 15 minutes. Working in batches, puree in blender; season. Divinde among bowls; top with cheese and parsley.

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Tortellini, “Chicken”, and Arugula Salad

Need a fast recipe for dinner? This was really good (although my 10 year old hated it). My 6 year old ate just the pasta. Husband and I thought it was great, and even though I was a little hesitant to save the leftovers for the next day, they were great, too! If you don’t like arugula, you could use a different salad green.

rating: 9

Tortellini, “Chicken”, and Arugula Salad
(Cooking Light, April 2017)

serves 4
time needed: 20 min.

Ingredients:
1 (9-oz.) pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini, cooked according to pkg. directions
8 ounces skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded (about 2 cups) – I used Morningstar Farms Chik’n Strips
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallot
3/4 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

Place tortellini and chicken in a large bowl.
Combine garlic and salt on a cutting board. Mash with the side of a knife to form a paste. Place in a small bowl. Add oil, rind, juice, sugar, and pepper; stir with a whisk.
Add 2 tablespoons dressing to tortellini and chicken; toss to coat. Gently fold in arugula, shallot, and remaining dressing. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese.

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