Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Noodleless Bison Lasagna with Zucchini & Cashew Cheeze

Oh - my - word.  This dinner was seriously amazing.  Like give me a second helping and then watch me lick-my-plate kind of amazing.

I had been searching for a good noodle-free lasagna recipe and after seeing a couple, I decided I might be best trying my own recipe based on what I had available.  I never tried bison meat before but I know it's lower in fat, and my husband loves it.  So I figured why not try it!  My version is a Southwest

1 package (approx. 1 lb) bison meat - look for locally raised, hormone free
2 or 3 thick zucchini, sliced lengthwise into flat "noodles"
1 cup packed baby spinach, chopped
1 small yellow squash, diced
6 white button mushrooms, diced
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
3/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 recipe Cashew Cheeze
coconut oil for sautéing
1/4 packet Trader Joe's Taco Seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
Himalayan sea salt, to taste

Prepare the Cashew Cheeze if you're dairy-free (click here for the link: Vegan Cashew Cheeze recipe).  If you are not dairy-free, you can substitute with any other cheese source you'd like.  Preheat your oven to 425.  Slice the ends off of your zucchini and slice lengthwise to form flat "noodles" (see picture below).  Optional:  lightly saute the slices for a minute on each side in coconut oil in a pan or heat for 8 minutes in the oven to soften.  In another pan, saute the diced yellow squash, onion & mushrooms in coconut oil.  When lightly browned, place in a bowl and set to the side.  In same pan, add the bison and brown evenly.  Mix in the taco seasoning and cumin.   Toss in the chopped spinach until wilted.  Remove from heat.  Add the bison mixture to the bowl with the diced veggies and incorporate.

Line a baking dish with some of the zucchini slices, add the bison mixture and top with a thin layer of the Cashew Cheeze.  Repeat all three steps so you have two layers of zucchini, bison & Cashew Cheeze.

Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes.  I served mine with a side salad of fresh broccoli slaw, red cabbage and sprouted beans tossed with GF sundried tomato dressing.

This lasagna reheated very well later in the week and was just as delicious as it was the first night.

Here's what my zucchini slices looked like.

Squash, mushrooms, onion, spinach and parsley before dicing & chopping.

Here's the squash, mushrooms & onion after sautéing.

Bison meat with wilted spinach.

Mixed veggies added to the bison meat & spinach.

Layered Zucchini, bison mixture and Cashew Cheeze before baking.

After baking!

Inside the lasagna.

My serving of lasagna along with the broccoli slaw.

Vegan Cashew Cheeze (dairy free Ricotta-style)

When I was making lasagna last week, I was looking for a dairy-free "cheese" filling to use in place of Ricotta.  I found a few recipes that looked really good (and simple to make), but I ended up going with one I found on The Simple Veganista blog.

This would be PERFECT for recipes in my #MeatFreeMay Challenge group.  Join us!!  Click here to join the free Facebook group: Fit & Healthy Meat Free May Group - we're all just sharing recipes and being accountable to eating a #MeatFreeMay - use that hashtag on Instagram too!

See below for step-by-step pictures while I was making it!

Approx. 1.5 cups Raw Cashews
3/4 cup water
2T Nutritional Yeast
1T Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg's)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Garlic Sea Salt (optional)
1/2 tsp Cumin
Himalayan Sea Salt, to taste (optional)

Soak cashews for about 3 hours in water (I used raw cashews in a container, so I just added water to fill the container).  After 3 hours, drain cashews and place in food processor with 3/4 cup water and the other ingredients.  You may opt to use 1T nutritional yeast to start and add more to your liking.  I like a stronger cheese flavor, so I added the full 2 tablespoons.  You can also add more water if you want to thin out the mixture a bit.  Mine came out pretty thick.  I think I'll add more water next time, and depending on the recipe.

Use right away in your recipe or cover and refrigerate for a few hours before using.

Dry cashews on Left vs. Soaking cashews on Right

Dry cashew on Left vs. Soaked cashew on Right

More Dry vs. Soaked

Cashews added to food processor

Garlic Powder, Garlic Sea Salt, ACV, Nutritional Yeast Flakes, Cumin

After adding spices and 3/4 cup water to food processor

After blending in the food processor

Finished Cashew Cheeze

Monday, April 22, 2013

Meatless Monday Karma Burgers

Happy Meatless Monday, friends!  I confess, it's been a LONG time since I did a meatless Monday.  I thought today would be a great time to start up again because I'm going to be starting a challenge group via my Facebook & Instagram pages where we'll be eating Meat Free for the entire month of May.  (You can search the hashtag #meatfreemay).

Karma Burger served over baby spinach, with a broccoli slaw side

Tonight, I made a recipe from The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook.  Missy has some incredible recipes and this one was one of the best I've tried from her book thus far.  If you don't have this vegan cookbook, I encourage you to pick up a copy ASAP!

I tweaked her recipe based on what I had on hand.  It made 4 large burgers – 2 for tonight and 2 left over for another night this week.

Karma Burgers:
1 – 15 oz can chick peas (salt free, organic – rinsed well)
1 ¼ cup gluten free bread crumbs or panko
½ red onion, chopped
2 cups baby spinach
½ bunch parsley (about 1 cup packed)
¾ cup cooked brown rice
2T tomato paste
cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, sea salt (to your liking)
coconut oil, for frying

Puree onion, spinach & parsley in food processor until wet, nearly liquid.  Put into a mixing bowl and add chick peas & brown rice to food processor.  Pulse until finely ground.  Add to mixing bowl with greens.  Add tomato paste & seasonings.  I didn’t measure but if I had to guess, I’d day 1 tsp each except for the salt which was more like ¼ tsp.  Mix with hands until incorporated.  Add bread crumbs, a little at a time, until desired consistency.  Section the mixture into as many burgers as you’d like.  I made four large patties.

Depending on the size of your patties, cooking time will vary.  I ended up having to put mine in the oven at 450 for about ten minutes to make sure they were heated through.  I cooked them over medium heat with coconut oil in a pan for about 6 minutes per side.  They were not heated through, hence their trip to the oven.  Either way, they were amazing!!
We very rarely eat bread so I served the burgers over a bed of baby spinach and topped them with mashed avocado & Chipotle Vegenaise (dairy-free mayo).  For the avocado mash, I added a sprinkle of sea salt, garlic powder, white pepper and cumin.

As a side, I tossed broccoli slaw with chopped broccoli crowns, red onion, red cabbage, gluten free/dairy free Ranch dressing from Organicville and sprinkled with raw pumpkin seeds.  I made the slaw (minus the pumpkin seeds) about an hour and a half before dinner so the dressing could really settle in. 

We will most definitely have this again!

Pureed spinach, red onion & parsley

Pureed brown rice and chick peas

The mixture, after adding the panko

Karma Burger patties, before cooking

Broccoli slaw

Mashed avocado with seasonings - YUM!

pan frying the patties in coconut oil

inside of the Karma Burger

Broccoli slaw with raw pumpkin seeds

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Baked Stuffed Avocado with Quinoa

Hi.  My name is Debi and I love avocado.  Okay, more than love.  I'm borderline obsessed with it.  Look, I didn't start eating avocado until I was 35 (that was last year) so I have a lot to make up for!!  You get it, right??

Two weeks ago I made fried avocado (which was pretty amazing, by the way).  If I can fry it, I can bake it...that would make sense, yes?  I tried it and it was flippin' fantastic!!  It's a winner, folks.

Yum, Yummo, Yummy, Yum.

This serves 1 person since I dined alone (ah...peace & quiet with my avocado and a beer).  

1 whole avocado
1/4 cup quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup no salt tomato sauce
1/4 cup diced yellow pepper
1/4 cup diced red onion
Scant teaspoon Trader Joe's taco seasoning
1-2T goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook quinoa according to package.  I made 1/4 cup.  After removing it from the heat, I added the tomato sauce, diced veggies and spices.  Stir to combine and cover in pot...let sit for 5 minutes.  While that's hanging out, slice your avocado lengthwise and remove pit.  Score the avocado meat horizontally & vertically (see pic below).  Carefully scoop out the chunks but leave some avocado meat in the skin - trust me!  Add the scooped out avocado chunks to the quinoa mixture and gently stir.  Sprinkle in the goat cheese.  Add the mixture to the hollowed out avocado halves and place in a shallow baking pan.  Heat for about 15 minutes in oven.  That's it!!

Because the Trader Joe's taco seasoning packs some serious heat, I highly recommend serving this with an ice cold beer or margarita.   Again, trust me...It's a perfect combo!!

The ingredients - pretty simple!

Slice avocado lengthwise and remove pit

Score each half horizontally and vertically, then scoop out gently

Leave some avocado in the halves, add the scooped out cubes to a bowl
Add tomato paste, veggies & spices to the cooked quinoa and let sit
add diced avocado and sprinkle of goat cheese, mix gently
bake avocado for 15 minutes at 375
PERFECT with a cold Bud Light Lime!!
One half down...onto the other half!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Fit & Healthy Baked Oatmeal Bowl

Hey fit friends!!  Although I know it's really not the best time to grab my phone and plug into the digital world (i.e. fill my brain with social media mush), I often open Instagram before I get out of bed.  It's kind of my wake-up routine.  Open eyes, pick up phone, check email, check Instagram...and occasionally check Facebook.  Yeah...

As I was scrolling this morning, I saw a picture of someone's breakfast - baked oats.  It looked fantastic!!  I can't remember who's post it was (if it was yours, please comment and share your page) because it didn't really sink in just how good that breakfast would be until a few hours later, post-workout.  As my heart rate was dropping back to normal after an hour of ChaLEAN Extreme and TurboFire (Day 1 of my 90 day hybrid workout), I started thinking about food.  And the oats kept creeping back into my belly.  Er...into my mind.

I figured I'd just make my standard Overnight Oats recipe and, well...toss it in the oven.  Pretty much fool proof.  Preheat oven to 375.  I used a nonstick ceramic ramekin and didn't need to spray or grease it.  In a small mixing bowl add the following:

1/3 cup gluten free rolled oats (I like Trader Joe's brand)
1T chia seed
sprinkle of cinnamon
sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt
1/2 small banana, sliced
4 small strawberries, sliced
1-2T raw nut butter of your choice (I used walnut/cashew)

Add all, except fruit & nut butter, to mixing bowl and cover with unsweetened vanilla coconut or coconut/almond milk and stir to combine.  Add to ramekin and then layer the sliced banana and strawberries.  I added the walnut butter in the center instead of stirring to combine it.  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

This could be made so many ways!!  I think tomorrow I might try it with organic pumpkin and fresh organic blueberries, and in place of the nut butter, use raw slivered almonds.  Decisions!!  If you make it, please share and tag me on Instagram (@FitHealthyMommy) or Facebook (Fit & Healthy Mommy) - Please like and follow me as well!

Simple, short list of ingredients
Fruit - it's a tiny cutting board - it wasn't that much fruit!
Before baking
After baking
A spoonful of Yummy Goodness

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