clean-out the refrigerator stir fry.

What a title, eh? Along with soups, curries, frittatas, and salads, stir-fries are another wonderful way to use up all those odds and ends in your refrigerator. They are especially forgiving to vegetables.

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During my market shopping, I picked up a few red bell peppers because, well, why not? I figured I’d use them one way or another. When it became clear that I was going to have one leftover or go to waste if I didn’t act quickly, I soon decided to throw together a stir fry featuring that bell pepper, kale, carrots, and celery from last week’s market haul that needed to be used up before going bad, and topping it off with some leftover cooked chicken from a dinner party I had on Saturday. I had both rice noodles and brown rice in my pantry, and decided to go with rice, although you could use whatever your heart or pantry desires!

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The most important thing to remember is use what you have, and to add them to the wok or pan in order, starting with the vegetables that will take the longest to cook: carrots and onions, in my case. If using leafy greens like me (bok choy, spinach, etc.), I like to add them when I add the sauce, just to let them wilt a bit. The sauce I’m using is a very simple, all-purpose stir fry sauce, and it can be modified to your liking. I don’t add garlic or ginger to this sauce, instead I fry them in the oil at the beginning of the cooking process to infuse the oil. Garlic, ginger and jalapeño in my case, but you could use a combination of all three, or sub in scallions if you’ve got those to use. The addition of the cornstarch makes the sauce thick and glossy, and you’ll be hard pressed to believe that you aren’t eating takeout!

To make this dish gluten free, please sub dark and regular soy sauce with tamari which is naturally GF, and be use to use a GF cornstarch (you can also just leave it out, but the sauce will not be as thick).

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I hope you enjoy this as much as I do; you can feel especially good about not wasting food while making such a delicious dish!

refrigerator clean-out stir fry. 

ingredients
4 cups mixed vegetables, sorted by vegetable (I used onion, carrot, celery, red bell pepper, kale)
6 ounces cooked chicken or other leftover protein, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil + 1 teaspoon sesame oil

stir fry sauce:
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons dark soy sauce (use all regular, low sodium if you do not have dark soy)
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1.5 teaspoons brown or coconut palm sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper

2 cups cooked brown rice, for serving
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, for garnish (optional)

directions
Heat grapeseed and sesame oil in a wok or deep skillet over medium-high heat.

While the oil is heating, make the sauce: Add together the soy sauces, oyster sauce, cornstarch, sugar, sesame oil and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake to combine and dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.

Once oil is shiny but not smoking, add the ginger, garlic and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently for 1-2 minutes, until the oil is fragrant but the ingredients are not burned. Add the vegetables in order of thickness/hardiness (carrots, onion, celery first for me) and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly softened. Add the bell pepper and any other vegetables besides greens and cook for an additional minute.

Add the cooked protein, greens and scant 1/4 cup of the sauce with 1/4 cup water. Stirring frequently, allow the mixture to cook and thicken up over 2-3 minutes (reduce heat if the mixture is thickening too quickly/starting to boil).

Remove from pan to a serving platter along with cooked rice. Garnish with sesame seeds and/or peanuts if desired.

Serves 3-4.

NOTES: The stir fry sauce recipe will make more than you need for this recipe. Store the remainder in the refrigerator, and it will keep well for up to four weeks.

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roasted beets, cauliflower + sautéed kale over spaghetti squash.

This is the ideal meal to welcome in autumn.

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I went a little vegetable crazy at the farmer’s market over the weekend. Now that it’s the beginnings of harvest season, the offerings are so plentiful of local, fresh produce. Because of this, I walked away with items that didn’t fit into my meal planning for the week but looked so good that I couldn’t leave them behind: baby red beets, spaghetti squash, snow white cauliflower, sweet potatoes, the list goes on. I surveyed what I had, and decided to pull together a decidedly autumnal, vegan meal that looked super elegant and inviting, but was actually very easy to pull together.  Roasted beets, cauliflower and sautéed black kale over spaghetti squash.

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At risk of sounding prideful, I think I did it! This spaghetti squash topped with roasted beets, cauliflower and sautéed kale looks so impressive, is fresh, and is perfect for entertaining. A lot of the cooking time is inactive (roasting the squash and the other vegetables); the only active time is a few minutes spent sautéing the kale, seeding and pulling the squash, and assembling the dish. I used sautéed kale because I had some leftover from the week before, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. You could use spinach of any variety, swiss chard, mustard greens (although these would be spicy!), or even arugula. Use what you have! When roasting the beets and cauliflower, you can do this on one baking sheet as I did, but keep them separate, then I used two spoons to stir them around, trying to be careful to not let the beets touch the cauliflower, as the red color of the beets transfers over so easily. This was mostly for presentation and aesthetics, you don’t need to do this as pink cauliflower won’t change the flavor of the dish. 🙂

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This is vegan, gluten free, filling and uber healthy. Perfect for welcoming in fall.

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roasted beets, cauliflower + kale with spaghetti squash. 

ingredients
1 spaghetti squash
3 small beets (or 1 large), trimmed, peeled and quartered
1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 bunch dinosaur/tuscan kale (can use any hardy green), stems removed and the leaves thinly sliced into ribbons
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1.5 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
zest and juice of one half a lemon

directions
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke two holes on each side of the squash and place on a rimmed baking sheet filled with an inch or two of water. Bake for one hour (check and if soft, remove from oven). Once the squash has cooled for five minutes, cut the squash in half and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Once the seeds are removed, use a fork or spoon to create the ‘spaghetti’ and pull out all the flesh into a bowl. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and toss well. Set aside.

On a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, place the cut beets on one side and the cauliflower florets on the other. Drizzle the 3 tablespoons of oil over the vegetables, and season with the thyme, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix the cauliflower together until the oil and seasonings are well distributed, and then do the same with the beets, keeping them separate. Wash your hands. Roast the vegetables for 20-25 minutes, stirring them once halfway though. Once the beets are pierced easily with a fork and the cauliflower is tender, they are done. Remove from oven.

While the beets and cauliflower are roasting for their last 5 minutes, heat the teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the kale ribbons and cook for 3-5 minutes, until slightly wilted. Sprinkle the zest of the lemon and the juice over the kale and turn off the heat.

To assemble: Divide the spaghetti squash amongst four shallow bowls. Top with the kale. Add the beets and cauliflower to each bowl, season with additional salt or pepper if desired and serve warm, or at room temperature.

Serves 4. *Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

roasted red pepper + tomato soup with gouda.

A long time ago, I wrote about this delicious soup that was served at one of the hospital cafes. It was rich and delicious, and I always looked forward to the day they served it (Wednesdays). <– Is it kind of sad that I knew the soup schedule? While I used that soup as inspiration for a vegan version, today’s version is decidedly more indulgent. I suppose that happens when you add nearly one cup of smoked gouda cheese into the soup pot. Mmmmmm.

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The weather here in NY has taken a firmly fall turn over the past week, and I am not complaining. The brisk air just begs for soup, scarves, chunky sweaters and evenings curled up under blankets. Leslie heaven, you may say!

This soup is great for a weeknight, as we are using jarred fire roasted bell peppers (you know how I love them! Evidenced here, here, and here), canned crushed tomatoes, and jarred spices. Add a few pantry and refrigerator essentials, and in less than 45 minutes, soup is ready! So easy. I served this with a simple black kale salad, but you can serve with bread or croutons. Go on, it’s worth it.

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roasted red pepper + tomato soup with gouda.
inspired by my favorite roasted red pepper gouda bisque. 

ingredients
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil 
12 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, chopped, oil reserved 
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
3 cups vegetable or low sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4-1 cup shredded gouda cheese

directions
Over medium heat, heat the grapeseed oil plus 1 tablespoon of the oil from the jarred peppers. Add the onion, carrot and garlic and let cook, 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, or until the carrots have softened and the onions are translucent but not golden brown. Add the salt, pepper, basil, thyme, chopped peppers, tomatoes and vegetable broth and stir together to combine.

Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a rapid simmer/boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and partially cover, allowing soup to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat. Blend soup smooth using an immersion blender, or using a stand blender. *If using a stand blender, allow soup to cool for 5 minutes, puree in batches, and always cover the lid with a kitchen towel to protect yourself from potential hot splatter. Add the pureed soup back into the soup pot*

Once pureed, heat the soup over medium-low heat and add in the gouda. Stir frequently for 10 minutes, or until cheese is completely melted and fully incorporated (you may need to increase the heat to allow the cheese to fully melt).

Ladle into bowls and serve. Serves 4 as an entree, 6 as a starter.

carrot + apple smoothie.

I’ve been meaning to bring you this recipe for weeks now! A few months ago, one of my dearest friends had me over for breakfast, and made the most delicious blueberry pancakes. Instead of bringing over a fruit salad or some other brunch-expected side, I decided some freshly made juice was the perfect accompaniment. Although this is technically a smoothie, as we are using whole fruits and vegetables, and not discarding the pulp, I tend to think of this as more of a juice, as it lacks the creamy/binding element of banana/avocado/yogurt. This carrot and apple juice was the ideal fresh accompaniment.

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MC loved it, and so do I! The apple and carrot provide the sweetness, the celery adds a nice vegetal element, and the lemon adds the perfect amount of brightness and punch. The ice will help thicken the smoothie and keep it extra cold. You’ll want a high speed blender to properly break down the skin of the apple and blend everything smooth.

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This is such a nice break from green smoothies, and this smoothie allows you to reap the benefits of the whole fruits and vegetables, namely fiber, which will keep you fuller, longer!

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carrot + apple smoothie.

ingredients
2 small apples/1 large apple, cored and quartered
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
juice from one lemon
1/2 -3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ice
to sweeten: 1 tablespoon raw honey, maple syrup, or agave (optional, I do not add)
optional: fresh ginger (about 1/2 inch piece) — completely not necessary, but I love ginger with apple and carrot!

directions
Add the ice, apples, carrot, celery, lemon juice and water to a high speed blender. Blend for 60-90 seconds, or until you have a smooth consistency.

Pour into two glasses and serve immediately. If you want to make ahead, this keeps well in the refrigerator for 48 hours in an airtight jar.

Makes 2 servings.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

copycat Trader Joe’s couscous + arugula salad with pimento dressing.

As much as I absolutely love cooking and cannot fathom a lifestyle in which I wasn’t enchanted and enthralled with recipes, ingredients and kitchen tools, even I get too tired to cook from time to time. Sometimes I just crave a prepared item, whether it’s takeout from a restaurant or a prepped meal from a grocery store. When I’m in those moods, one of my favorite places to stop off at is Trader Joe’s — I love their prepared salads, they have something for everyone! My most favorite is their lemon chicken and couscous salad with arugula and a to-die-for roasted red pepper dressing. I always add extra arugula to it; as the portion they provide is a bit paltry, and you know how I love my salad greens. I figured I had to be able to make this on my own, and a quick search on TJ’s website yielded the ingredients of the salad.

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I played around with what I had, and voila! A salad that is delicious cold or warm (the couscous, that is), and it keeps so well in the fridge for lunches during the week! Just pack the arugula separate from the couscous mixture and the dressing. Alternatively, you can do what I do, a little riff off of mason jar salads: dressing on the bottom (about 2 tablespoons), a cup of the couscous salad, and a generous handful of arugula on top. Remove arugula to a plate when it’s time to eat, shake to mix up the dressing and couscous, pour over the greens and dig in!

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You guys are going to LOVE this dressing — it’s primarily made up of roasted red peppers and they give such amazing flavor and a vibrant orangey red color. You could even serve up just the couscous and dressing for a great party salad; it’ll hold up so well. You can also serve with some pan seared or grilled chicken on the side a la the original, but I kept it vegan. Don’t skip the mint; the freshness is not to be missed! Enjoy!

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couscous + arugula salad with pimento dressing.
inspired by Trader Joe’s; dressing recipe courtesy of Inside Karen’s Kitchen

12 ounces baby arugula
2 cups cooked Israeli couscous
2 cups cooked quinoa (any color)
1 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup dried cherries, currants or cranberries
1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup parsley, minced
1/4 cup mint, minced
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon dried turmeric
splash of cider vinegar (about a teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

roasted red pepper dressing:
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon agave
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 teaspoon each sea salt and black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

directions
Cook the Israeli couscous according to package directions. Fluff, and set aside in a large bowl to cool. Cook the quinoa according to package directions, fluff, and add to the bowl with the couscous. Stir occasionally, allowing them to cool. Set aside.

Make the dressing: Add the roasted red peppers, rice vinegar, lemon juice, zest, water, agave, garlic, salt, pepper and oil and blend in a high speed blender for 60-90 seconds until the mix is smooth. Pour into an airtight container and set aside.

Once the couscous and quinoa are just slightly warm or at room temperature, add in the red bell pepper, carrots, dried cherries, mint, parsley, cider vinegar, turmeric, smoked paprika and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Toss well to combine.

To serve: Add dressing to the couscous salad and mix well (I typically add 2 tablespoons to each 1 cup serving). Serve alongside or over baby arugula.

Serves 6 (one cup of couscous salad + one handful of baby arugula).

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

 

easy refrigerator dill pickles.

These are the fastest, easiest dill pickles EVER. E.V.E.R. Are you hearing me? As in, I didn’t have regular vinegar and went out at 9:30pm on a Sunday and still came home and made them-fast and easy. Are you with me? Good.

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I was at a farmer’s market over the weekend, and kept seeing those little wrinkly pickling cucumbers that were calling out to me. “Make dill pickles” they said. “You’ve been craving pickles”. So I picked up a basket before I left deciding that I would make refrigerator pickles. Sanitizing jars and boiling brine and processing in a water bath was just not on my agenda. Ah, laziness.

I love pickles of all kinds: beets, cauliflower, cucumbers, beans, fish… all very good in my book. A few years ago my dad and I got really into canning and spent several Sundays in a row making all kinds of yummy things, and the whole process was demystified for us both. Growing up, late summer was synonymous with my mom standing over the kitchen counter preserving her garden’s bounty. As I child and teenager this seemed odd to me (why can tomatoes when I can just go the store and buy them?). Now I know how amazing it is to taste a farm fresh tomato or peach in the dead of winter.

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Anyway, back to these easy peasy refrigerator pickles. As awesome as shelf stable canning is, it’s a day long endeavor. Enter this simple, alternative method. All you need is vinegar, sea or kosher salt for a simple brine (no heating required!), cucumbers, some fresh dill and boom! Pickles. Sounds too good to be true, but the hardest part is waiting 2 days before you crack open a jar. Waiting a week is best, but patience is not my strong suit. These keep well in the fridge for several weeks, but if you’re anything like me, they’ll be gone shortly after they’re opened. The level of vinegar will worry you, as it did me, but trust me, this works. The salt and vinegar will draw out moisture from the cucumbers, and voila! Just give the jar or jars a shake or two every time you open the fridge door. Magic will happen in that refrigerator. Trust me.

easiest refrigerator dill pickles.
adapted from Serious Eats. 

ingredients
10-12 kirby cucumbers, sliced 1/8 inch thin
3/4 cup white vinegar
3 teaspoons sea salt
2-3 tablespoons fresh dill, torn or roughly chopped

directions
Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, slice the washed and dried cucumbers into 1/8 inch thick slices.

In a large jar, add all the cucumber slices. Pour in the vinegar, salt and tuck in the dill. If your jar is too small to fit all the cucumbers (as mine was), I suggest mixing the salt/vinegar/dill separately, and then adding appropriate amounts to the jars (half as much to a jar that is approximately half the size, for example).

Place the jars in the refrigerator, and give them a shake every time you remember/open the fridge door/every hour or so. They will be ready in about 8 hours, but try and let them hang out for 48-72 hours. Please? And then? Devour. Now, or three weeks for now.

summer squash pizza.

In case you were like me and didn’t know, zucchini pizza is definitely a thing. A very easy, very delicious dish that is oh-so-perfect for late summer evenings. A side note: how is late summer already?! Wasn’t it just Memorial Day? I suppose that old adage is true, time really does speed up as we get older. But I digress. Today’s recipe is absolutely perfect for your overwhelming supply of fresh zucchini and yellow squash. If you have a garden, I’m sure you’re overloaded with it. If you’re like me and get yours at the farmer’s market, well, they are practically giving them away! This is the perfect use for them. Hello, it’s pizza!

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I used a mix of yellow squash and zucchini, but you can use all yellow, all green, or a combo like I did — whatever is easiest for you. I used gruyere, as the nuttiness adds so much flavor to this pizza topping. If you can’t find gruyere or want a less expensive option, I would use swiss. I would stay away from fresh or packaged mozzarella, as it’ll be a little too bland for this recipe. If you have any fresh herbs in your garden like chives, oregano or basil, go ahead and add them! I particularly think fresh basil torn over the top of the cooked pizza would be divine.

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The squash and cheese mixture should be a little heavier at the edges, where the oven will brown it first. I noticed that I should have rotated the pizza halfway during the cooking process, and will do so next time for a more even all over cook. If the pizza seems a little limp, it may be because you didn’t squeeze out enough moisture from the zucchini before mixing in the cheese; make sure all excess moisture is removed.

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This is before going into the oven… sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese, if using.

Cut after removing from the oven, and serve immediately. This is also delicious at room temperature or even straight from the fridge; making it ideal for leftovers or for easy entertaining!

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summer squash pizza.
slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

ingredients
2 pounds of zucchini or summer squash of your choice (about four small/medium squash), shredded
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic gloves, crushed and finely minced
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups gruyere cheese
3 tablespoons whole wheat panko
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1 pizza dough recipe (recipe below)

pizza dough recipe
2 cups minus 1 tablespoon of all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 teaspoons sea salt
2/3 cup tepid water

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt until well combined. Add the water, and mix for about 30 seconds, using a wooden spoon or your hands, until well combined. Cover, and let rest for 2 hours, or until the dough has more than doubled in size.  Proceed with recipe below.

directions
Shred the zucchini and yellow squash with a food processor fitted with the grating blade or grate on the large hole box grater. Add to a colander nested inside of a mixing bowl and let sit for at least 30 minutes or longer, tossing occasionally. With a clean dish towel, add the squash to it and drain well.

Add the squeezed squash to a large bowl.

Add the gruyere, crushed red pepper, salt and minced garlic to the drained squash and mix to combine.

Spread the tablespoon of olive oil on a half sheet baking pan (9×13) and with oiled fingertips, add the pizza dough. Work the dough with your fingers (it will be delicate) into a thin, even piece, nudging the dough towards the ends of the pan. If the dough tears (mine did), simply pinch together. An even shape is not necessary or easily achieved, you just want to ensure the dough to be an even thickness.

Top the dough with the squash and cheese mixture, piling the mixture a little thicker at the edges, as it will brown first. Sprinkle panko and parmesan, if using, all over the top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after 12, and rotating the pan halfway if needed. Remove from pan, and cut into squares, serving immediately.

Serves 4-6.

*Please use organic/local vegetables and cheese as appropriate* 

chicken egg roll bowls.

Egg rolls are one of my most favorite guilty pleasures. I cannot get Chinese take out without getting an order of those crispy, fried delights. Even bad egg rolls are good egg rolls. When they’re crazy good? They should be illegal. At least the calorie count (which can top 800 calories!) should be illegal. What do I do when the craving hits and I still want to be able to wear my crop tops and fitted dresses with confidence? Delicious egg roll bowls!

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That’s right; we are forgoing the deep fried won ton wrapper in favor of a super flavorful  mixture of ground lean chicken, cabbage and other aromatic vegetables that tastes exactly like an egg roll! If you want to be even more authentic, use ground pork in place of the chicken; I just wanted an extra-lean dish. To make this paleo-friendly, use coconut aminos in place of the dark and light soy. To make this gluten free, swap in tamari or coconut aminos for the soy sauces.

I garnished with fresh cilantro leaves, but you could top with sliced scallions, crushed peanuts or sliced almonds, or those crispy Chinese noodles if you want a little hint of decadence. 🙂 Top with sriracha if you so please, and enjoy this guilt free dinner that will be on your plate in less than 20 minutes!

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chicken egg roll bowls.
adapted from Whole New Mom.

ingredients
1 pound lean ground chicken
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, smashed and minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
16 ounce bag shredded coleslaw mix OR 6 cups shredded green cabbage and 2 cups shredded carrots
3 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon reserved
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin (rice wine) or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
pinch of coconut palm sugar (1/8 teaspoon) optional
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sliced scallions, to garnish
sriracha, for serving

directions
Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat with one tablespoon of olive or grapeseed oil. Add ground chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and cooked through. Add onions, garlic, and ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes until the onions become mildly translucent and soft. Add cabbage, carrots, light and dark soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil and sugar if using. Combine together to allow sauce to distribute and cook for 7-10 minutes longer on medium heat, allowing the sauce to thicken and the vegetables to soften. Taste and add salt if necessary.

Plate, and add cilantro and scallions. Top with sriracha if desired. Serves 6.

**Please use organic ingredients wherever possible**

 

no-knead english muffin bread.

This is a bread recipe for bread-making phobics. Is that you? It was definitely me for a long while…. for some reason, despite the simplest of ingredient lists, the whole kneading, resting, kneading process for most breads made me nervous. The recipe I have for you today however, is as easy as it is delicious! If you like english muffins, well, I guarantee you’ll be delighted by this recipe. Add a small pat with butter, jam, or my personal favorite, a drizzle of honey. Mm. Just try to not eat the entire loaf in one sitting.

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This bread needs about an hour to rest and rise, and then 35-40 minutes to bake. Check the bread at the 20 minute mark; if it looks golden brown, lightly tent foil over the bread for the remainder of the time.

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I think this will be your bread making gateway recipe. There is nothing like the smell of homemade bread – intoxicating!

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no-knead english muffin bread.
slightly adapted from Kitchen Parade. 

ingredients
2 1/4 cups unbleached white flour, 1 1/4 cups reserved
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4-1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons cornmeal

directions
Fit a stand mixer with the bread hook. In the mixer bowl, add 1 cup of flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt and water together. Turn the mixer onto medium, and let mix for three minutes (set a timer to ensure your are mixing for the entire time). *You may need to stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl down to incorporate all the flour*.

After the three minutes, add the additional 1 1/4 cup of flour slowly, allowing to mix together. Meanwhile while the dough is coming together, spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and coat the bottom and sides of the pan with cornmeal.

Once dough is done mixing, dust your hands with flour, and remove the dough from the bowl. It should be slightly sticky but pliable. Shape into a loaf in the pan. Cover with a damp paper towel and let rest for 1 hour to rise. Dough should rise just above the sides of the pan.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the bread for 35-40 minutes, covering the bread with tented foil if the bread is becoming too dark.

Let cool completely before slicing.

Makes one loaf.

*Please use organic ingredients wherever possible* 

five ingredient vegan tomato soup.

Do you ever want soup that tastes like it’s been simmering away in the pot all afternoon, but you’re too tired to even think about preparing dinner? Today’s recipe is just what you need! Five ingredients (plus oil/salt/pepper), a half an hour, and minimal prep will yield a comforting bowl of vegan tomato  soup. *raises hand*.

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The title of this recipe assumes you have oil/salt/pepper as “freebies” in your ingredients list. These are pantry staples, and when choosing an oil, I recommend non-inflammatory oils such as grapeseed, coconut, avocado (<— all great for medium/high heat cooking), as well as olive and sesame oils, which are lovely for lower heat and for garnishing.

If you have those on hand, the following soup needs only vegetable stock, canned tomatoes (try and grab at least one can of fire roasted ones!), garlic, onion, and a carrot and we have a soup that will be on the table in 30 minutes, and tastes surprisingly complex for the simple ingredients. I have a few other tomato soup recipes on this site (see here for a version using fresh tomatoes, and here for a creamy version), but this one utilizes only a few pantry essentials and is vegan friendly! Love that.

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Many tomato soup recipes call for sugar to offset the acidity of the canned tomatoes, but I use the same technique here as I do for my red sauce: carrots. Carrots are naturally sweet, and either dice them small or shred them and cook them with the onions and garlic. The carrots will start to caramelize and offer a natural sweetness which will neutralize the tomatoes’ acidity.

Serve with a slice of toast or a simple green salad. Make a double batch – it freezes beautifully!

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five ingredient vegan tomato soup.

ingredients
28 ounce can whole tomatoes, hand crushed with their juices
14 ounce can diced fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced or shredded
3 cups vegetable stock
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
sea salt and black pepper (about 1/2 teaspoon each)
basil or parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)

directions
Heat two tablespoons oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add diced onion, diced/shredded carrot, and garlic and saute over heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Allow vegetables to cook until they soften and become translucent. Adjust heat lower if the vegetables begin to darken.

Add the 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and pepper, cans of crushed and diced tomatoes and 3 cups vegetable stock. Increase heat to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, and partially cover. Allow the soup to simmer for 20-25 minutes longer, and then turn off heat.

Remove 3 cup of soup to blender, blend and then return to the soup pot. Alternatively, use a stick blender to puree about 1/4-1/3 of the soup. Stir together and add additional salt or pepper if needed.

Split amongst four bowls and garnish with parmesan or basil if desired.

Serves 4.

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible*