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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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



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


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


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.

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)


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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Healthy Roasted “Chicken” and Veggies

I found a pin on Pinterest that was all about different chicken recipes for meal prep. Do you know about this? Lots of people make all their food for the week on a Sunday and package them up in little containers for the week. I decided to try some of these recipes, but use vegetarian chicken instead of real chicken. This is the first recipe I tried, and even though it was really simple, I really liked it! My 10 year old did not like the Italian seasoning AT ALL, so he made himself a PB &J. Yes, the rice was plain (I just used plain white rice), but I thought it was good mixed up with the “chicken” and the veggies. The standout for this dish was the broccoli. We couldn’t stop eating the broccoli! So good.

rating: 8.5

Healthy Roasted “Chicken” and Veggies

Time needed: 30 min.
serves 4


2 medium chicken breasts, boneless skinless cut into ½ inch pieces (I used 1 bag of Quorn Tenders)
1 cup broccoli florets, frozen or fresh
1 small red onion, chopped
1 cup grape or plum tomatoes
1 medium zucchini, chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
½ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 cups cooked rice of choice


Pre-heat oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.

Place the chicken and veggies in the baking dish. Sprinkle all the spices and garlic evenly over the chicken and veggies. Drizzle with the olive oil.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the veggies are charred and chicken is tender.

Place ½ or 1 cup of cooked rice of choice on plate. Divide chicken and veggies evenly on top of the rice. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer up to 2 months.


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