I love pasta! One of my favorite childhood memories is watching my Nonna rolling out long sheets of homemade pasta from her hand cranked pasta machine. Over and over again, through and through, until the pasta got just the right thickness; cannelloni, raviolli, fettuccine, spaghetti-you name it, she made it. She would drape the long sheets of pasta over the back of a chair until she was ready to cut them and fill them. It was magical. Once the heaping bowl was placed in front of me, I would eat as much as I could in hopes that I would never forget the taste and smell of my Nonna's kitchen. Luckily, every time I go home for a visit, there is undoubtebly, pasta waiting for me.
So, it's true that my every day pasta experiences aren't so romantic, but I still do love a good pasta dish. There are about as many sauces you can put on pasta as the number of pasta varieties, but there is something so comforting about a thick, rich red sauce. I love using lentils as a meat substitute because they are hearty and so nutritious that once mixed with the other flavors, you don't even really know that you're missing the meat. You can put this sauce on virtually any pasta shape; semolina or gluten free-it will still be delicious! I hope you enjoy it!
1 lb pasta of your choice; reg or g/f
3 garlic cloves; minced
1 small yellow onion; diced
1 tsp dried oregano
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1-14 oz can brown lentils; drained & rinsed
salt & pepper
Fill a large pasta pot with water and set to boil. Heat a dutch oven or medium size sauce pan on medium heat. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and add onions, along with a generous pinch of salt. Saute the onions for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the oregano, tomatoes and another pinch of salt and stir. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Add the lentils and stir together. Note: if you have any red wine on hand, feel free to add 2-3 tablespoons to the sauce at this point. It will add a nice depth and richness to the sauce and the alcohol will cook out.
Let the sauce simmer together for about 15-20 minutes. Once the pasta water is boiling, add a heavy handed dash of salt. Remember, your pasta water should taste like the ocean-that's how it gives your pasta it's flavor! Cook your pasta according to package instructions. Taste your sauce and adjust seasonings if necessary. Your sauce should have reduced down a little bit and may be a little thick. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add a few spoonfuls of the pasta water to the sauce until you achieve the desired consistency.
Once the pasta is done, use tongs to gently shake the pasta and put it directly into a pasta bowl-DO NOT RINSE YOUR PASTA, PEOPLE! You will wash away all of the beautiful starch and flavor that work into the sauce! Add the desired amount of sauce to the pasta and enjoy! Sprinkle with a little nutritional yeast or vegan parm!
Ok, everyone, here it is! Meal #2. I absolutely love this recipe! It is my go to-last minute-kids are hungry-and I have nothing but rice in the fridge-meal. Not only is it quick (pre-make the rice and this dish literally takes 10 minutes!), but you can feel really good about giving this to your family because it is super nutritious; fiber, protein, carbohydrates; this dish has it all. Enjoy!
Healthy Fried Rice
2 C brown rice (uncooked)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 C frozen stir fry vegetables; peas, corn, edamame, carrots etc
1/2 cashews (or other nut of your choice)
2-3 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 terriyaki sauce (or use the homemade recipe below*)
Prepare the rice first. If you have a rice cooker, now's the time to use it! Cook the rice according to your machine's instructions. Set it in the morning before work and your rice will be ready when you get home!
In a large skillet, warm up a drizzle of olive oil (or oil of your choice) on medium heat. Add the diced onion, a dash of salt and saute for 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add the frozen vegetables and cover the skillet for a couple of minutes to defrost the veggies. Once the veggies have started to soften, add the cashews and stir. Let the cashews fry up a little bit and then add the rice. Crank up the heat to high for a few minutes and let all of the ingredients crisp up a little bit, tossing with a spatula frequently. Add the terriyaki sauce and stir. Remove from heat and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
*Homemade Terriyaki Sauce
2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
Whisk everything together and set in fridge until ready to use.
We asked and you answered! I wanted to know what topics you wanted us to cover most on our blog and overwhelmingly, you all said "QUICK, EASY MEALS"! So, I've created a 5-day dinner menu along with shopping list, that I will post over the next 2 weeks. Most of the prep and even some of the cooking can be done ahead of time and all of the recipes require 30 minutes or less of active cook time. Do your shopping and prep on Sunday or before the week and your meals will be a breeze. These recipes are designed to feed up to 4 people, so if you have a larger family or in my case, a really big appetite, all of these recipes can easily be doubled without loosing any integrity.
Lastly, these meals are so versatile. If a recipe calls for broccoli but you prefer cauliflower swap it in. They can totally be customized to your family’s taste buds! Oh, and don’t forget to post pictures of dinners and post them to twitter or instagram @michysfoods. Enjoy, friends!
We'll be making:
Here is your shopping list for all of the recipes:
12 hard taco shells/soft tortillas (your preference)
1 lb pasta of your choice
2 cups brown rice (uncooked)
2 14 oz cans brown lentils OR 3 ½ C cooked brown lentils
1 14 oz can white beans
1 14 oz can black beans
1 14 oz can pinto beans
2 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 small yellow onions
4-6 large sweet potatoes or garnet yams
1 head garlic
1 bunch green onions
1 package taco seasoning (or you can make your own mix, see below*)
1 packet chili seasoning (or you can make your own mix, see below on "Chili Night" recipe)
terriyaki sauce (or you can make your own, see below on "Healthy Fried Rice" recipe)
½ C cashews (or nut of your choice)
sesame seeds (optional)
1 ½ C frozen stir fry vegetables
Olive Oil, Coconut or Non-GMO vegetable oil (whatever you have on hand)
vegan cheese of your choice
vegan sour cream (optional)
First Up: Lentil Tacos
My family absolutely loves this recipe. I make it almost every week. Once you fill your crunchy taco shell with the hearty lentils and top it with all the fixin's, you won't even realize it's vegan! Enjoy!
1 14-oz can brown lentils (or about 1 3/4 C cooked lentils)
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 packet taco seasoning (OR use the homemade recipe below*)
1/4-1/2 C water
12 taco shells or tortillas
1 avocado, sliced
1/2 C vegan cheese, grated
vegan sour cream
Warm up a large skillet to medium heat with a light drizzle of oil. When the pan is hot, add the onions and a dash of salt. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until they are translucent. Add the garlic and mix, making sure not to burn. When the garlic is fragrant, add the lentils and taco seasoning; mixing well. Add about 1/4 cup of water to loosen up the mixture and bring to a boil. Stir frequently and then lower to simmer for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld. While that is cooking, prepare all of your toppings and warm your shells or tortillas in the oven (325 for about 3-4 minutes). Taste the lentils and adjust seasonings in necessary. Spoon into shell and top with your favorite toppings and enjoy! See, wasn't that easy?!?!!?
*Homemade Taco Seasoning
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp oregano
So last week my husband and I did a juice cleanse. Now, let me start off by saying that although I love juices, green drinks, smoothies and the like, I am a big fan of actual food. In fact, most of my day is centered around what I'm going to eat next-true story. So, when my husband asked if I'd like to join him on a 5-day juice cleanse, I was a little hesitant. Would I be able to go 5 days without eating solid food? What if I got so hungry I passed our in the car? What if I got such bad headaches, I actually lost my mind? What if the world imploded?!?! Ok, so I'm being a little dramatic but similar thoughts did run through my head. Luckily for me, there was a 3-day program that I was able to wrap my brain around. We went with Juice Crafters here in Los Angeles; which has probably the most delicious juices and smoothies on the planet. We often grab a drink or two when we're at the Brentwood Farmer's Market, so my faith was growing in my ability to do this cleanse. My husband went for the ambitious 5-day Master Cleanse where as I opted for the 3-day. (Note: this Master Cleanse is no relation to the other Master Cleanse where in you only intake lemon juice/cayenne pepper/maple syrup water for 10 days. I tried that for a few days many years back and was utterly offended and nearly did loose my mind, but that's another story). Anyhow, each day we had 8 drinks-8-I mean, it's a lot of liquid! And since I still started my day with my cup of green tea, by the time I even started juice 1, I was having a drink almost every hour and a half. The flavors were so thoughtful and unique and yummy, by the way! And the best part was, I actually wasn't even hungry! I know, me, not hungry!?!?! But it was true. My blood sugar was stable and I was surprisingly in a very good mood. Even my kids seemed surprised! The hardest part about the whole cleanse was getting dinner ready for my kids. It wasn't so much that I was hungry but the ritual of eating with them and the smells of the food cooking was hard to resist. But, it was only 3 days so I tried to suck it up. And I'm glad I did. It was a great experience. The best thing about this cleanse is that it isn't a "weight loss" cleanse. So many times I see people do cleanses and then shed a ton of weight but then once they get back to eating food again, the weight just creeps back on. Neither myself or my husband wanted to loose weight. We just wanted to kind of press the restart button after indulging and being sick over the holidays. We kind of wanted to give our immune system and metabolism a little jump start. Because the drinks had a fair amount of calories, neither one of us lost weight but we both finished the cleanse feeling lighter and leaner and our transition back into our whole foods plant based diet has been seamless. It kind of gave us the recharge we were looking for to kick off the new year. Anyhow, that's my experience. Have you ever done a cleanse? What was your experience like?
The raw almond milk with dates & vanilla bean was my favorite flavor and new favorite drink. An absolutely delicious & deceptively nutritious treat!
Are you ready for a super simple, fat free, warm, comforting Fall dish? Did I mention it has 7 ingredients and takes only 5 minutes of active cook time? It's true! The best part of this meal is that all you have to do is put all the ingredients into the rice cooker. Yes, that's right, I said rice cooker! It's amazing. I know, people have been using slow cookers for awhile now, but I don't have one, so I'm always pretty impressed when I can cook something without even being home.
So, I admit, lentils and rice may not be the sexiest dish, but it's definitely hearty and soul satisfying. I remember my Grandma Mary making this all the time, but she spend much longer standing over the stove cooking it. Of course as a child I didn't appreciate Italian peasant food, but over the years I have come to adore this dish and I feel like I'm giving my kids a little piece of my heritage each time we make it. My poor little rice cooker has been with me since high school but it's a trooper and always performs. Since brown rice and brown lentils have similar cooking times, I thought this just might work. And it did! The rice still had a little bite, the lentils were soft and the stock I used, kept everything moist and flavorful. Not to mention that this dish is loaded with protein, fiber and folate. And since it's made without oil, there is no added fat. This dish will help you stay full and satisfied for awhile. I hope you try this recipe at home.
Rustic Lentils & Rice
It's that time again, back to school. For most of us we are excited to get our little ones back into the routine of school and they're usually excited to see all of their friends. But with that often comes the responsibility of daily lunches. For some of us preparing lunches are easy. We thrive on getting creative with different food combinations, designing perfectly balanced meals for our little ones. But for others, we actually have anxiety about what to pack; either over packing with everything but the kitchen sink, or not packing enough. So wherever you are on the spectrum, here are a few ideas that are sure to please both parent and child; they're quick, cheap and packed with nutrients.
Hummus is a food of the gods in our house. Packed with protein, it will keep your little one's energy up and sugar levels steady. Swap out any of the veggies below for what your child prefers.
1 sprouted tortilla
2 Tbsp hummus (any flavor your child likes)
1/4 avocado, sliced
2 long strips of cucumber
2 slices of bell pepper
Spread hummus on tortilla, layer in veggies and roll up. Secure with a toothpick or two.
Pasta & Peas
Using whole wheat or quinoa pasta in this adds protein and heartiness to this lunch. The peas are sweet and the quick cheese sauce is a sure win over any kid! The B vitamins and amino acids in the nutritional yeast are a bonus, too! If your child enjoys beans or lentils, this is a great way to sneak in some extra protein as well.
1 C cooked pasta of your choice
3 Tbsp thawed sweet peas
1-2 Tbsp garbanzo beans or cooked lentils (optional)
2 Tbsp non-dairy butter (We like Earth Balance soy free variety)
1 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
Splash of non dairy milk
In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and add the nutritional yeast and milk and stir to make a sauce. Add the pasta and peas to coat. Can be eaten warm or cold.
These little tofu bites are tasty and delicious. The camoflaged peas give your child a daily dose of veg and also adds more protein and vitamin C. The flaxseed meal adds a nice nutty quality to the panko as well as providing some vital Omega 3s. Pack with a little dipping sauce; my kids like ketchup or teriyaki sauce.
Crispy Tofu Bites
1 16oz package organic sprouted tofu
1/4 C pureed green peas
1/2 C non-dairy milk
3/4 C panko breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. sea salt
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tofu from the package and pat dry with a couple of paper towels, being sure to remove all of the extra liquid. Cut into 16 equal size cubes and set aside. In one bowl add the milk and pureed peas and mix. In another bowl add the breadcrumbs, flaxseed meal, spices and mix together. Coat each piece of tofu in the milk/pea mixture and then roll it in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure to coat each side. Place on a greased cookie sheet and cook for 15-18 minutes (turning once) or until golden brown. Excellent served warm or cold.
What are some of your kid's favorite lunches?
My wife is the founder of Michy’s Foods and she is vegan. She runs a vegan cookie company. We raise our kids on a plant-based diet. When we dine out, we tend to visit vegan establishments or at the very least seek out vegan menu options at non-vegan restaurants.
So, why in the world am I 100% vegan, 80% of the time?
I’m sure that conjures a few questions out of the gate. So, understanding how I approach the issue of diet is probably a good place to start…