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Michy's Foods

Quick, Easy Meal # 2: Healthy Fried Rice

Posted on March 04, 2014 by Michelle Della Penna | 0 Comments

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.

 

 

Posted in 30 minutes or less, kid friendly meals, plant based, quick healthy meals, vegan, whole foods

Easy Weeknight Meals

Posted on March 03, 2014 by Michelle Della Penna | 1 Comment

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:

  • Lentil Tacos
  • Healthy Fried Rice
  • Vegan Chili
  • Lentil Bolognese
  • Loaded Sweet Potatoes

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

2 avocados

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)

dried oregano

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

salsa (optional)

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!

Taco Filling:

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

Taco Toppings:

12 taco shells or tortillas

1 avocado, sliced

1/2 C vegan cheese, grated

vegan sour cream

salsa

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

 

 


 

 

 

Posted in 30 minutes of less, easy dinners, kid dinners, kid friendly, quick meals, vegan, weeknight meals, whole foods

A Tale of a Juice Cleanse...

Posted on January 27, 2014 by Michelle Della Penna | 1 Comment

All 8 juices. Each flavor was really, really delicious!

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? 

This almond milk was my favorite.  I ended each night with it and I would savor every last drop. I will never make almond milk without dates again. So delicious!

The raw almond milk with dates & vanilla bean was my favorite flavor and new favorite drink. An absolutely delicious & deceptively nutritious treat!

Posted in fat free, juicecleanse, low fat, plant based, raw, vegan, whole foods

Super Simple-5 minute-Powerhouse-Hemp Seed-Avocado-Sweet Pea-Basil Pesto

Posted on January 16, 2014 by Michelle Della Penna | 0 Comments

Ok, folks, are you ready for dinner tonight? Seriously, this pesto recipe will change your life.  Fry up some tofu, boil up some pasta, saute your veggies, or just grab a spoon because this pesto recipe is so delicious that it will go with anything that you already have on hand.  It's bright and fresh and packed (I mean packed) with nutrients! Did you know that hemp seeds are super high in protein and have all 9 essential amino acids?!? If you're unfamiliar with hemp seeds, check them out.  They have a delicious, nutty bite and can thrown in practically anything.  Especially important with little ones who can sometimes be picky.  Hemp seeds hidden in pancakes and smoothies? Sure, why not!  Obviously avocado, sweet peas and basil also have a ton of health benefits so really, this recipe is a win-win! Check it out and let me know what you think!

 

5 minute Powerhouse Pesto

Makes 1 1/2 Cups
3 heaping C basil, rinsed
1/4 C nuts; cashews, almonds or pine nuts
1/2 avocado
1/4 C frozen peas, defrosted
3 Tbsp raw hemp seeds
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
Generous pinch of salt; very generous
1/4 or more Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or water/veg broth if you don't do oil)

 

In your blender or cuisinart, pulse together nuts, seeds and garlic until evenly chopped.  Add basil, avocado, peas, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt and pulse until everything starts to break down.  Slowly stream in EVO or water while pulsing, making sure to scrape down the sides as you go.  Blend together until a nice cohesive sauce forms.  You can add more or less EVO/water depending on how watery you like your pesto.  If you like it more like a hummus, stop at about 1/4 C, if you like it more like a chimichurri, add a little more until you reach your desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasoning in necessary.  Then, grab a spoon and indulge!

 

Posted in vegan gluten free hemp pesto simple suppers quick dinners

Rich & Savory Cabbage Soup

Posted on January 13, 2014 by Michelle Della Penna | 0 Comments

Welcome to 2014! I know I'm a little late to the game (about 2 weeks late) but right before the New Year we all got hit with this pesky little cold and cough.  It was an inconvenient way to spend my last few days on vacation but it did help me create a delicious and soul satisfying soup to help clear out the remnants of illness and give my body the dose of vitamins it was needing.  This is soup is so super easy and gets better the longer it sits-it's kind of a win win.  The base is cabbage but you can throw in whatever additional veggies, herbs and spices you have on hand.  I think you should go ahead and try this recipe out tonight!

Rich & Savory Cabbage Soup

Serves 4-6

1 small napa or savory cabbage; sliced into strips

1 leek, sliced

1 onion, sliced

2 medium red potatoes, diced

4 carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce

1 bay leaf

2 Tbsp fresh herbs; rosemary, dill, oregano, tarragon etc

1/2-1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

1-2 Tbsp olive oil

4 C vegetable broth or water

Salt & Pepper to season

Heat a large stock pot or dutch oven on medium heat and add 1 Tbsp on olive oil.  If you are avoiding oil all together, put a thin layer of water on the bottom of the pot.  Once hot, add the onions and leeks and a generous pinch of salt.  Let cook down for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft.  Stir frequently to avoid burning.  The leeks are such a beautiful and vibrant green.  I want to put them in everything!

Once the onion and leeks have cooked down, add the carrots and garlic with another generous pinch of salt and cook for another few minutes until the garlic is fragrant. 

Then add the potatoes, cabbage, bay leaf and herbs. Toss to coat with the other ingredients and then add the veggie broth (or water).

Bring everything up to a boil and then reduce down to a low simmer for about 45 minutes, partially covered. 

Once all of the vegetables are very tender and the cabbage has reduced it's size to about half (45 minutes or so), season with additional salt, pepper, cayenne (of using) and worcestershire sauce.  Gently stir everything together and remove from heat.  Serve immediately or let sit.  Grab a piece of crusty buttered bread and you're good to go.  Enjoy!

Posted in vegan gluten free savory soup

Make Meal Time Easy: 5 ready to go must haves in your fridge!

Posted on November 18, 2013 by Michelle Della Penna | 0 Comments

People are always asking me for tips on how to make quick and healthy meals for their families.  They just don't have the time.  By the time they get off work, pick up the kids, eek through traffic and finally get home, the last thing they want to do is spend an hour getting dinner on the table.  I get it.  So, here are 5 must haves in your fridge to make meal time much more manageable. 

On Sunday night once my kids have gone to sleep, I start to make a loose map of meals for the week and make sure that I have some things cooked and on hand in the fridge to make meal time easier.  By washing, prepping and cooking things on Sunday, I find that my week nights are much more manageable.

1. Baked Sweet Potatoes/Russet Potatoes: We love potatoes at our house, especially sweet potatoes.  I usually bake up 6-8 big potatoes (roast at 425 for 30-40 minutes depending on how big) at the beginning of the week.  I store them in my glass tupperware and they are ready to go.  Sometimes we make baked potato night with all the fixins' or sometimes I'll dice up the sweet potato and make a quick hash.  You can also slice them up, toss in a little olive oil and herbs and through under the broiler for some quick fries.  Potatoes are also great taco fillings.  Saute with some taco seasoning and stuff inside a crispy taco shell. Potatoes are actually quite nutrient-dense, help keep your sugar levels steady and leave you feeling full. 

2. Rinsed Greens: I always, always, always have my salad spinner in my fridge full of greens; red leaf, kale, spinach-whatever.  It may not sound like much, but having greens ready to go is one of my best practices.  It doesn't seem like much, but rinsing and sorting through a bunch of spinach can be really time consuming, especially if it just came from the ground.  With ready-to-go greens, you can make a quick salad, saute up some greens and garlic or make a smoothie.  We all need to make sure we're getting our greens and making them accessible is one of the best ways to make it easy to do so.

3. Cooked Brown Rice/Quinoa: This is a must! I try to cook up a bunch of brown rice at the beginning of the week and just keep it in the rice cooker bowl in the fridge.  Brown rice can take 40 minutes to cook and even quinoa can take 20 so having this already done is a huge life saver.  You can do a quick fried rice with veggies and tofu or saute it up with your "pre-cleaned" greens and sweet potatoes!  You can even sprinkle it on top of your salad for a heartier meal.

4. Cooked Lentils: We love lentils in our house and substitute them for pretty much everything but they can take awhile to cook.  Having them cooked and ready to go will cut out a lot of prep time.  You can use them in a bolognese sauce, taco filling or sloppy joes.  You could also saute them with your cooked rice.  Lentils are so filling and are rich in protein, folate and iron.  They may be the healthiest food out there!

5. Ready-Made Sauce: Ok, here is where we can tie all of these things together; with a sauce.  I always have a vegan cheese sauce and tahini dressing ready to go to top off salads or rice bowls.  But use whatever is your favorite; terriyaki sauce, hot sauce, hoisin-whatever you and your family likes best.  And if you don't want to make it yourself, take a little help from the store and keep your favorite topping in your fridge.  A good sauce always ties the meal together so pick out your favorite and keep it on hand.

I hope this little list helped.  What are some of your favorite things to have on hand?

 

Posted in dinner time, easy meal prep, kid friendly, vegan food

One Pot Meal: Lentils & Rice

Posted on October 01, 2013 by Michelle Della Penna | 0 Comments

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

1 C uncooked brown rice, rinsed
1/2 C dry brown lentils, rinsed
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 bay leaf
3 tsp tomato paste
3 1/2 C No Chicken Broth (or any veggie broth)
2 tsp salt
Start by rinsing your rice and lentils, picking out any discolored lentils. 
Add to the bowl of your rice cooker.  Dice up the carrot and onion and toss into the bowl.  Add the bay leaf, tomato paste, broth and salt and gently stir together. 
Put the lid on and let it go! 
I like to top mine with a little avocado for some green and creaminess, but you can also top with green onions, vegan parm or hot sauce.  Enjoy!

Posted in fat free, italian food, kid meals plant based, nutritious, vegan, vegan comfort food

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