Main Meals Archives | Stephanie Dreyer

Main Meals

June 22, 2020
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This post contains affiliate links.

Splendid Spoon Summer Collection

Summer is here and I’m ready to reset. How about you? During quarantine, I’ve been turning to Splendid Spoon more than ever for some help in the kitchen with their prepared bowls and smoothies. The variety and flavor is incredible. My favorite is their most recent Mint Chip Smoothie (so yummy!) but I’m really excited about their new Summer Collection, which features 3 new meals, including a Detox Shot! It’s the perfect summer reset. Check out the details on all 3 below.

 

Green Goddess Bowl

A crunchy veggie bowl, topped with a bright, citrus-y dressing with spinach, asparagus and lemon.

This bowl is delicious on its own but I take it to the next level by adding chopped kale and some kind of sauce that I batch cook on the weekend. If I’ve got avocado or sauerkraut on hand, I’ll add that on top too for some healthy fat and probiotics.

 

Mango Guava Smoothie

Tropical & extra-fruity, sip on sunshine in a bottle with guava, mango,  and camu camu (a small bushy riverside tree from the Amazon rainforest which bears a cherry-like fruit).

This smoothie feels like a tropical getaway and I enjoy sippin’ it straight but I also love to turn it into a smoothie bowl, by pouring it into a bowl and topping it with fresh berries, chopped almonds, coconut flakes and chia seeds.

Mango Guava

Detox Shot

A cleansing elixir with antioxidant-rich ingredients to flush toxins away with kale, aloe and moringa (which has antifungal, antiviral, antidepressant, and anti-inflammatory properties).

This is a magic shot for the morning after a summer night full of a little too much rose wine (wink wink!). Seriously though, I love the taste and can feel it work its magic as I shoot it down!

 

I’m loving this new Splendid Spoon Summer Collection but don’t take my word for it. Get $25 off for Breakfast + Lunch and Breakfast + Lunch and Reset here.

Splendid Spoon Summer Collection

Of course, you can still get all their regular smoothies and bowls. These are some of my favorites:

Smoothies:
Blueberry Coconut
Cacao Almond
Blackberry Basil
Raspberry Cacao
Banana Flax
Bowls:
Moroccan Spiced Buckwheat
Lemon Wild Rice and Broccoli
Moroccan Lentil
Cauliflower Tikka
Broccoli Hempseed

Learn more over at Splendid Spoon and get $25 off when you follow this link.

 

Have a question or want to learn more? Drop me a comment below or send me a note at hello@stephaniedreyer.com.


April 17, 2020
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This post contains affiliate links.

Splendid Spoon plant-based meals

Want in on one of my favorite meal discoveries? I’ve been taking some help from Splendid Spoon and am loving the ease it’s giving me for breakfast and lunch.

If you’ve been with me a while, you know that I cook just about every meal EVERY day for me and my family of 5. I love the benefits of home cooked food – fresh ingredients, delicious flavor and healthy nutrition. That’s why I’m so excited to discover Splendid Spoon and their flavorful plant-based meals. Their smoothies, bowls and soups are made just the way I cook for myself with only whole foods and plant-based ingredients.

I plan my Splendid Spoon meals into my meal plan just like I do the rest of my meals. I have found their prepared smoothies, bowls and soups to be the perfect meal solutions for busy days when I have limited time to eat (or meal prep) or when I need something easily portable that I can eat on the go. (Try for yourself here and get $25 off.)

Splendid Spoon plant-based meals

Take a look at some of my favorites from their selections:

Smoothies:
Blueberry Coconut
Cacao Almond
Blackberry Basil
Raspberry Cacao
Banana Flax
Bowls:
Moroccan Spiced Buckwheat
Lemon Wild Rice and Broccoli
Moroccan Lentil
Cauliflower Tikka
Broccoli Hempseed

This is just a small sample of what they offer. (See more here.) These are the only prepared meals that I purchase and I eat out only about once a week so the convenience of having some ready-made meals to go each week has been such a gift to myself. I’d love you to experience the same! My friends at Splendid Spoon are offering my followers $25 off when you register. Just follow this link for delicious, plant-based meals delivered to your door!

Have a question or want to learn more? Drop me a comment below or send me a note at hello@stephaniedreyer.com.


October 7, 2019
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fall meal ideas

I can’t believe it but Fall is here! For me, the cooler weather has me longing for lazier meals that simmer on the stove or in a slow cooker all day. I crave warming, comfort foods that make the most of the Fall produce. If you need some inspiration for what to cook this season, check out the video below for LOTS of plant-based fall meal ideas that are perfect for feeding your family on busy weeknights.

I share several of my favorite Fall fruits and veggies (spoiler alert: squash is at the top of the list!). For a more comprehensive A-Z list of what’s in season, check out the guide here.

As for meal ideas, I’m serving up everything from stuffed squash to pot pies! Read below for the full recap along with links to related recipes.

1. Stuffed squash

Acorn squash makes a great “boat” for your favorite filling (look to what you put on your baked potatoes, wrap in burritos or enchiladas, or spoon on pasta for inspiration). Try my Taco Stuffed Acorn Squash (a great way to get the kids to try this otherwise intimidating vegetable). Grains such as farro, quinoa and barley are all tasty options for filling bases.

This plant-based Taco Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe is reminiscent of the flavors of Fall with the spicy taste of Taco Tuesday! #vegan #dairyfree #meatless

2. Casseroles

Mac and Cheese and other pasta casseroles can be made ahead and yield plenty of leftovers for lunch leftovers the rest of the week. But pasta isn’t the only casserole option: Enchiladas and Mexican casseroles such as this Tamale Pie also offer yummy options to add to your fall meal plans.

And don’t forget to take some help from your appliances to speed up your cooking. This Tofu Salsa Verde is an all-in-one rice casserole and cooks quickly in a pressure cooker.

This Tofu Salsa Verde is a Mexican inspired green rice bowl featuring tomatillo salsa, black beans and extra firm tofu. Topped with avocado, cilantro and lime wedges, this is delicious comfort food served straight from the slow cooker or instant pot.

3. Risotto

This hearty Italian dish easily gets a Fall makeover with chopped butternut squash and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. 

 

4. Soups and Stews

Pureed butternut squash, legumes (including lentils, chickpeas and beans) and roasted Fall veggies all provide a multitude of options for a variety of plant-based fall meal ideas. Chili is one of my favorite meals to make this time of year (and it’s great for potlucks and entertaining a crowd).

This Vegan Beef and Bean Chili is kicking with flavor! Packed with 3 types of beans and Beyond Meat's plant-based protein, this hearty chili satisfies!!

 

5. Sheet Pan Meals

Sheet pan meals are one of my favorite dinners all year round. Add some squash to the pan for a seasonal meal that’s as easy to clean up as it is to cook. Try my Butternut Squash, Spinach and Mushroom Fajitas.

Meals I Make Over and Over

 

6. Pot pies

This quintessential comfort meal has so many possibilities for a plant-based fall meal. Experiment with your favorite Fall flavors.

 

7. Roasted Squash Salads

Fall foods don’t have to be heavy. Roasted squash can make a sweet and savory appearance in salads for lighter fare that still has all the Fall feels.

 

8. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes (or regular potatoes) make a handy “bowl” for filling with your favorite fillings (similar to squashes). Chili is my family’s go to for stuffing our potatoes but experiment with your favorites (or set up a DIY food bar for everyone to choose their own meal adventure!).

Press play below and tell me which meal idea is your favorite?

 

plant-based fall meal ideas


August 26, 2019
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My Favorite Trader Joe's No Cook Meals

My girls start school this week and my son is back next Thursday so it’s back to the dinner rush in between carpools and activities! You know I’m all about a meal plan and my Batch Cook Sundays, which take me a long way in simplifying dinner time and getting meals on the table in 30-45 minutes, but there are still those days where even that planning and prep won’t cut it.

The first few weeks back to school are bananas in my house! So many BTS nights and meetings…and it seems like everything happens on the same one or two nights in the week. On evenings like those, I turn to Trader Joe’s (my favorite store) for help and I pull out of one my favorite no cook meals to get dinner on the table.

Some of my favorite no cook meals tips:

Salads in a bag are my best friend. You can change these up a dozen different ways into more than just salads. (Watch my recent FB Live on this topic with tons of recipe ideas).

Sauces and dips make for easy meals. (This FB Live video offers several meal ideas with my favorites.)

Canned beans are a quick and easy protein add, plus they add texture and heartiness to any meal.

Pre-washed and cut veggies save time and are worth the extra cost if you’re only using them every once in a while.

In my latest video, I show you 3 of my favorite no cook meals utilizing some of my favorite Trader Joe’s products. I’ve listed them all below, along with a few others. 

Taco Salad Bowl

This bowl is quick and easy using Trader Joe’s Southwest Chopped Salad:

Combine the salad kit (omit the cheese and / or replace with a dairy-free alternative) and a can of pinto or black beans, drained. Crush 4-5 tortilla chips in a bowl and and scoop a portion of the salad over the chips.

Top with your favorite salsa and chopped avocado or guacamole. 

Snack Board

You’ve got a lot of options here and none of them take more than 10-15 minutes to throw together. Choose from one of the many ideas I’ve put together here.

 

Mediterranean Pita Pockets

It’s Greek night with this mezze platter:

Set out Trader Joe’s Balela and Tabbouleh in bowls. Serve alongside sliced pita bread, Trader Joe’s stuffed grape leaves, olives, cucumbers, hummus and garlic sauce for everyone to make their own pocket. 

 

Baked Tofu Lettuce Wraps

This is another easy dinner that makes the most of a Trader Joe’s salad kit:

Cut one package of Trader Joe’s Savory Baked Tofu into bite-sized cubes. Prepare one of Trader Joe’s Asian salad kits (they have a few to choose from). Spread out several romaine leaves on a platter. Fill the leaves with the salad and top with the tofu. Serve with lime wedges.

Spiralized Noodles with Bruschetta and Olive Tapenade

 

Keep it fresh with extra veg power with this no cook swap for spaghetti:

Spiralize yellow squash or zucchini (or buy pre-prepared from the store). Toss with Trader Joe’s Bruschetta and Olive Tapenade. Stir in cannelinni beans. Serve alongside a simple dinner salad and sliced bread.

 

Watch the video below for a DIY of the first 3 recipes above:


August 19, 2019
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Summer Meals

Summer is more laidback and unscheduled in my household, as I’m not shuttling the kids around as much and activities are significantly reduced. My kids are also less stressed (no homework or tests!) which means I’m less stressed.  Bedtimes also tend to be later as no one has to be up super early.

As a result, my time in the kitchen tends to be more relaxed, as I flit between enjoying the outdoors and other summer fun. It’s no surprise that summer meals tend to be some of my favorites. As I savor the last few days of the season with my kids, I want to make my time in the kitchen count and minimize my time there so I can spend more time with them outside having fun!

In my latest video, I share some easy summer meals that not only minimize the time in the kitchen, but also take advantage of the bounty of my favorite summer foods (tomatoes, anyone?!!). Plus, you’ll find that all of the recipes in this video are great for eating outdoors, taking on picnics, or packing for the beach or wherever the summer fun takes you!

Check out these easy summer meals:

Wraps

  • They’re versatile! Use a lettuce wrap, flatbread, tortilla or nori sheet.
  • Easily change up your fillings a dozen different ways with some help from the store, using store-bought spreads and dips.

Pasta Salads

  • This is an easy meal pleaser. Who doesn’t love pasta?!
  • Pick your favorite noodle, add in a bean or legume and your favorite veggies.
  • Toss with your favorite salad dressing.

Kebabs:

  • Prep these the night before.
  • Cube tofu, tempeh, seitan or veggies (mushrooms and cauliflower are my favorites).
  • Place protein or vegetables in a sealable container and add your favorite store-bought salad dressing. Marinate at least two hours or overnight.
  • Skewer when ready to grill! (Pairs well with pasta salad.)

Watch the video below for all the recipes:


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I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s a 2 minute drive from my house (super convenient!)
  2. It carries lots of great plant-based products
  3. It features several products (including some of tasty dips and spreads) that make great “meal helpers” for making homemade-ish meals (a homemade meal that’s on the table in less than 30 minutes that use prepared products from the store such as sauces, frozen foods, or prepped produce).

Meal helpers are my secret to getting a homemade meal on the table on those busy days when meal prep is super tight (or I’m super exhausted and just need a little help!). Meal planning and batch cooking take me a long way but a helping hand from the store can bring even more ease and joy to my time in the kitchen.

Below are some of my favorite Trader Joe’s dips and spreads and some easy and delicious ways to use them to create meals and snacks.

Vegan cream cheese + vegan pesto ⁣= veggie wrap

Elevate your regular veggie wrap with this quick and easy spread. Just combine Trader Joe’s Vegan Cream Cheese along with their Kale, Cashew and Vegan Pesto to make a spread. Slather it on a tortilla and layer it with mixed greens and all the veggies. Bonus points for avocado and seasonings! 

Bruschetta + lentils = dip

This easy dip also doubles as a salad and triples as a sandwich filling! Simply combine Trader Joe’s bruschetta (in the refrigerated section next to the hummus) and Steamed Lentils (in the refrigerated produce section) together in a bowl and serve with pita chips and sliced cucumbers⁣. To make it a salad, arrange two cups of arugula in a bowl, top with a scoop of the lentil bruschetta and add chopped avocado and cucumber. For an easy sandwich, slide a leaf or two of romaine into a pita pocket and scoop the lentil bruschetta inside. Add sliced artichoke hearts and Kite Hill dairy-free ricotta cheese or Follow Your Heart dairy-free mozzarella.

 

Hummus + tabbouleh ⁣= Greek wrap

This is a great wrap for your lunch rotation! Pick your favorite Trader Joe’s hummus (mine is the Organic Hummus) and spread it onto a tortilla (or other wrap of your choice). Scoop a few heaping teaspoons of Trader Joe’s Tabbouleh (next to the bruschetta in the refrigerated foods section) on top and add cucumber slices and sliced Kalamata olives. Sliced avocado is optional, but highly recommended! Violife also makes a delicious plant-based feta cheese that is a tasty addition to this wrap.

Hummus + Balela ⁣= dip ⠀

Take your standard hummus to the next level with this easy dip that serves well on a snack platter. Just mix Trader Joe’s Organic Hummus with a container of their Balela (in the refrigerated section next to the Tabbouleh) and serve with pita chips and veggie slices.

 

Cashew Fiesta Dip + beans ⁣+ chopped tomato + sliced olives = nachos

These plant-based nachos are super tasty (no cheese required!). Spread a layer of Trader Joe’s tortilla chips onto a plate or platter. Heat Trader’s Joe’s Cashew Fiesta Dip and drizzle over the chips. Sprinkle with a can of drained black or pinto beans (or both!), chopped tomato, sliced olives (and chopped cilantro, sliced green onions or chopped red onion if you like!).

 

Guacamole (or guacamole hummus) + pico de gallo + refried beans ⁣= burrito⠀

I prefer to make my own guacamole but when short on time, Trader Joe’s Avocado’s Number Guacamole is a quick and delicious substitute. Turn it into a speedy burrito by spreading it onto a tortilla with refried beans. Top it with spoonfuls of Trader Joe’s Pico de Gallo and wrap it to go!

 

Organic Buffalo Style Hummus + Chickenless Crispy Tenders ⁣= Buffalo Chicken Wrap⠀

This wrap has all the flavors of buffalo chicken wings without the animal products! Cook Trader Joe’s Chickenless Crispy Tenders according to package directions. Spread Trader Joe’s Organic Buffalo Style Hummus in a pita or on a wrap or tortilla. Lay a few tenders on top, along with a handful of mixed greens, chopped carrots and celery, and a drizzle of Follow Your Heart dairy-free Ranch Dressing.

 

Garlic sauce + falafel + tabbouleh ⁣= Greek pita pizza

These pita pizzas are prepped in minutes! Spread Trader Joe’s Garlic Sauce across a whole pita. Add a spoonful or two of Trader Joe’s Tabbouleh on top, along with 1-2 Trader Joe’s falafels (that have been cooked and chopped).

Dips and spreads

Watch the video above for a cooking demo with a few of the ideas above and let me know which dips and spreads you like best. For more meal hacks, check out 15 Quick & Easy Meals With Trader Joe’s Bagged Salads (and download my FREE Salad Kit Meal Helper) and My Favorite Trader Joe’s Dinner Hacks.

Want more meal ideas? Check out my weekly meal prep membership, Batch Cooking Club.

 

 


June 24, 2019
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bagged salads

Getting a homemade, healthy dinner on the table for my family five to six nights a week means that I take a little help from the store at least once a week. Thank goodness for Trader Joe’s! It’s the main store I shop every week and offers lots of plant-based foods and meal helpers for making homemade-ish family dinners. 

When it comes to meal helpers, bagged salads are some of my favorites.  I mix these up for lunches and dinners for my whole family with lots of success. Beyond the obvious, salad kits make savory wrap fillings, inventive pizza toppers, pasta mix-ins and more!

Watch the video below for a dozen different ways to use these bagged salads as meal helpers for fun and delicious family meals:

  • Gochujang Chop Salad Kit
  • Organic Spinach and Riced Cauliflower Salad Kit
  • Cruciferous Crunch
  • Organic Mediterranean Style Kit
  • Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit
  • Yellow Curry Chopped Salad Kit
  • Tahini, Pepita and Apricot Slaw Kit
  • Caesar Style Salad Kit

bagged salads

Gochujang Chop Salad Kit

This Korean inspired medley features a powerhouse of crunchy vegetables, including cabbage, lettuce, carrot, celery and radish. Taking a cue from the vinaigrette, the package also contains puffed brown rice and black sesame seeds, adding authentic flavor (and more crunch!) to this delightful salad mix.

Meal idea #1: Spring Rolls

Combine the salad kit and shelled, cooked edamame. Spread on rice paper and roll!

Meal idea #2: Tofu Noodle Salad

Cube a block of Trader Joe’s Extra Firm Tofu and marinate it in Trader Joe’s Carrot Ginger Miso Dressing for 20 minutes or more. Drain and cook the tofu in a medium pan until slightly golden on each side (or bake for 30 minutes). Meanwhile, prepare a package of rice or soba noodles and set aside. Combine the salad with the noodles and stir in the dressing. Toss in the tofu and serve.  

Meal idea #3: Baked Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Cut one package of Trader Joe’s Savory Baked Tofu into bite-sized cubes. Prepare the salad kit. Spread out several romaine leaves on a platter. Top with the salad and tofu. Serve with lime wedges.

Meal idea #4: Veg Sushi Bowls

Prepare jasmine or sushi rice and top with a handful of the salad greens and a cup of chopped baked tofu. Sprinkle with the add ins on the salad, the dressing and chopped avocado.

 

Organic Spinach and Riced Cauliflower Salad Kit

In addition to organic spinach leaves and riced cauliflower, this salad also includes roasted golden beets and California-grown almonds. The tangy balsamic vinaigrette dressing is a perfect complement to the sweet beets and pungent cauliflower.

Meal idea #1: Quinoa Lentil Bowls

Spoon a half cup of quinoa in the bottom of the bowl. Combine one package of Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils with all of the contents of the kit (except the dressing). Spoon a portion of the lentil salad mixture on top of the quinoa and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of the dressing.

Meal idea #2: Vegetable Polenta Rounds

Slice a roll of Trader Joe’s prepared polenta. Brush lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350℉ for about 10 minutes on each side until golden. Meanwhile, saute the spinach and cauliflower in a medium pan with one tablespoon of olive oil and 2 cloves of minced garlic. Cook just until the spinach is slightly wilted. Stir in the beets and almonds. Place rounds on a serving dish. Top each with a few heaping tablespoons of the vegetable mixture. Drizzle the dressing on top.

Meal idea #3: White Bean Salad Pizza

Roll out a premade whole wheat pizza dough and spread with one tablespoon of olive oil, three cloves of thinly sliced garlic and a pinch of salt. Bake at 400℉ for 10 minutes. Combine the salad kit along with one can of white beans (drained and rinsed). Top the pizza with the salad combo. Slice and serve!

 

Cruciferous Crunch

The complete cruciferous family is included in this crunchy blend—kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green cabbage and red cabbage. Aptly named, each bite of these raw veggies delivers a bite.

Meal idea #1: Cruciferous Crunch Chickpea Omelet

Sauté two shallots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil along with the salad. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Meanwhile, combine one cup of water with one cup of chickpea flour to form a batter. Spoon a ladleful of the batter into an oiled medium pan. Cook 3-4 minutes until golden brown on the bottom. Top with the greens and vegan ricotta cheese (such as Kite Hill). Fold the omelet in half.

Meal idea #2: Garlicky Greens, Beans and Pasta

Prepare a bag of Trader Joe’s Organic Italian Artisan Pasta according to the package directions (we favor the Gigli variety!). While the pasta cooks, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan. Sauté two minced garlic cloves until golden. Add the cruciferous blend and saute until slightly wilted. Stir in a can of white beans (drained and rinsed) and the pasta. Add the juice of one lemon, salt, pepper and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.

Meal Idea #2: Cruciferous Slawcos

Toss the slaw with your favorite salsa. Meanwhile, cook Trader Joe’s Beef-less Ground Beef with your their taco seasoning. Spoon the vegan meat into a taco shell, along with a heaping serving of slaw and more salsa. Top with sliced avocado, chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice.

 

Organic Mediterranean Style Kit

 

Meal idea: Mediterranean pitas

Omit the cheese and combine the salad, including the dressing. Add in your favorite plant-based cheese (I love Violife’s feta). Cut a piece of pita bread in half and spread each half inside with a half of a tablespoon of hummus. Prepare 2 frozen Trader Joe’s falafel (or any falafel you love !). Scoop a half a cup of salad into each pita half and top with the falafel. 

 

Southwestern Chopped Salad Kit

I love this salad, complete with chopped green cabbage and romaine, cotija cheese (which I omit to keep it plant-based), roasted pepitas, tortilla strips, green onion, and cilantro. The spicy Southwest avocado dressing is light and 100% vegan.

Meal idea: Southwesthern Black Bean Burritos

Omit the cheese (I sub Follow Your Heart’s Mozzarella) and mix the salad together, along with 1 can of drained and rinsed black beans. Add sliced cherry tomatoes and scoop onto a large flour tortilla along with sliced avocado. Wrap it up and slice in half.⠀

Yellow Curry Chopped Salad Kit

This complete salad kit includes chopped Romaine, crunchy red and green cabbages, shredded carrots and green onions, IN addition to this great veggie blend, crunchy naan chips, cashew pieces and golden raisins also come in this delicious salad blend. The dressing unfortunately includes egg so I ditch that for Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce (100% plant-based) in this meal idea.

Meal idea: Yellow Curry Salad Pizza

Cube a block of tofu and toss with Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Sauce. Roll out Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough and spread with more sauce. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Combine the Yellow Curry Chopped Salad Kit but omit the dressing and toss in 2-4 tablespoons of the yellow curry sauce instead. Spread on top of the pizza and slice! 

 

Tahini, Pepita and Apricot Slaw Kit

This kit includes a blend of shredded rainbow carrots, broccoli stalks, green cabbage, and kale for a crunchy slaw that is different from your typical fare. Pepitas, chopped sun-dried apricots, and a creamy tahini orange dressing make create a truly unique flavor profile for adding to your family recipes. (Note: The dressing has honey in it.)

Meal idea: Chili Slaw Dogs

Mix the slaw kit together and set aside. Meanwhile, prepare a carrot or veg dog. Place the “dog” in a bun and top with vegetarian chili. Spoon a heaping tablespoon or two of the slaw on top.

 

Caesar Style Salad Kit

This kits contains romaine lettuce, croutons, shredded parmesan and a vinaigrette Caesar dressing (which is 100% plant-based).

Meal idea: “Chicken” Caesar Wraps

Prepare Trader Joe’s chickenless nuggets and chop into bite size pieces. Prepare the salad kit. (Omit the cheese. I sub Follow Your Heart’s Parmesan shreds instead.) Toss in the “chicken” and scoop onto a flour tortilla. Roll and cut in half.

bagged salads

For even more meal ideas with bagged salads, download my free Salad Kit Meal Helper.

Want more meal planning help? Check out my weekly meal prep membership, Batch Cooking Club.

 


February 19, 2019

As much as I love trying out new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, I have a list of meals I make over and over again each month. I call it my “family’s favorites” list. Each person gives me their top meal selects and I keep a running list (and add to it whenever I have a winner). This is my go-to list and I reference it each week when I do my weekly meal planning.

I plug those meals into the busier days during my week when meal prep is more challenging. Using a choice from this list of meals I make over and over speeds things up since I’m comfortable with the prep and familiar with the ingredients and timing. I might change things up with a different side salad or veg, but the main entree is a meal that my family loves and expects.

I balance these favorite meals with a few new ones to keep our menus fresh. I also crave the variety of cooking new dishes so the mix of old and new is a nice balance for my creativity and schedule. Read on below for the meals I make over and over again — and then, be sure to share the meals you make frequently for your family in the comments at the end of this post.

10 Meals I Make Over and Over

1. Tacos

Taco Tuesday is a thing in my house! I really like the idea of using themes to plan my menus and this is one that makes it on my meal plan every week. My kids are creatures of habit so they’ve come to expect my Vegan Beef and Black Bean filling, but I’ve also made a Soyrizo and Potato mixture with delicious reviews.

2. Chili

Whether it’s a chili bowl, chili potatoes, or chili tots, my family loves their chili. I mix it up a lot of different ways but it always starts with either a pot of my homemade Vegan Beef and Bean Chili or a couple of cans of Trader Joe’s vegetarian chili.

Meals I Make Over and Over

3. Vegetable Sushi Bowls

Sushi bowls (or rolls) makes the menu for lunch or dinner every other week. I usually serve it with Trader Joe’s frozen vegetable gyoza. My kids LOVE this meal and I love what a great way it is to get vegetables in their stomachs!

4. Enchiladas

We celebrate Shabbat every Friday night and I always try to make something special for the occasion. I usually fall back on some type of enchiladas at least twice during the month. They are so quick to throw together with canned refried beans and jarred tomatillo salsa; or I’ll roast a big patch of potatoes earlier in the week and reserve some for my Black Bean & Potato Enchiladas.

Meals I Make Over and Over

5. Noodle Stir Fry

This Tofu Stir Fry is so simple and delicious that it’s hard not to make this every week! My kids love soba noodles so I can bribe them to eat their veggies with the promise of more noodles!

6. Pasta!

Whether I’m serving a DIY Pasta Bar, some kind of casserole, or a pasta toss with some version of this sauce, pasta is usually on my menu once a week. It’s a family favorite and a comfort food for this half Italiana!

7. Mixed Grill

This is one of  my easy go-to meals for Friday Shabbats or Sunday evenings. I marinate and cook tofu for me and Gaby, while my hubby prepares chicken for himself and my other two kids. I roast potatoes and some other kind of vegetable and serve it alongside some salad I’ve bookmarked on Pinterest.

8. Beyond Meat Burgers

Burgers make the menu once a month (I usually rotate some kind of sandwich / burger into our meal plans twice a month.) Burger bars are always fun and a hit (especially when served with fries!).

9. Pizza

Sometimes it’s a frozen pizza from Trader Joe’s and a simple side salad. Other times, it’s a DIY pizza station where everyone gets to make their own or these fun vegan Pizza Rolls. Caesar Salad is a favorite in our house so I usually make some kind of variation to keep things interesting. It’s also a built-in opportunity to expose my kids to more vegetables. I recently made a Brussels Sprouts Caesar that I swear they only ate because of the Caesar dressing!

Meals I Make Over and Over

10. Soup

Sunday is batch cook day and you better believe that I’ve always got a pot of some kind of soup on the stove or in my Breville Fast Slow Pro. I save it for a day in the week that I have no time to meal prep and eat the leftovers all week long for lunch. I serve the soup with ciabatta bread and a simple side salad.

And there you have it: the 10 meals that I make over and over each week! What makes your meal plans every month? I’d love to hear what your family loves to eat. Please share in the comments below.

P.S. Want more meal planning help? Check out my weekly meal prep membership, Batch Cooking Club.

Meals I Make Over and Over

 


February 12, 2019
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What To Cook When You Don't Want To Cook

Don’t get me wrong, I love to cook but even this meal planning mama has those those days when the last thing she wants to do after a long day is cook it up in the kitchen. I have those days at least once a week so I always plan a “no cook” type meal into my family’s weekly meal plan.

So, what does one cook when you don’t want to cook? Check out the list below and rotate one of the meal ideas into your plan once a week to give yourself a night off from cooking.

What To Cook When You Don’t Want To Cook

1. Snack Board

Snacks for dinner! Who doesn’t want that? Laying out a huge snack platter as the main meal is one of my favorite ways to feed the family when I don’t want to cook. Add a variety of vegetables, dips, crackers and fruits for texture and color.

What To Cook When You Don't Want To Cook

2. Burritos

Turn taco leftovers into big, fat burritos the next day. I love this easy meal solution that repurposes last night’s dinner into something new. I get the huge flour tortillas for easy stuffing and load leftover rice, beans, and filling on top. It’s like our own in house Chipotle!

3. Pasta Bar

Take a little help from store-bought sauces to get an epic pasta bar on the table in less than 30 minutes. Heat up some store bought sauces, boil some pasta and spoon a few add-ins into bowls. My family loves this DIY spread that I serve with sliced ciabatta and a simple salad (or buy a salad in a bag for even more ease).

What To Cook When You Don't Want To Cook

4. Sushi Bowls

These are simple to make if you buy frozen rice and reheat it. I chop baked tofu, cucumber and avocado for toppings and serve alongside edamame (cooked and shelled from the store) along with shredded carrots, peanuts and sesame seeds. Super easy and the kids love it. They often ask for leftovers to eat for lunch the next day. There’s no cooking involved (unless you count reheating the rice) and everyone makes their own bowl.

What To Cook When You Don't Want To Cook

5. Paninis

Instead of cooking, press it! My family loves our panini press. It makes an appearance for dinner at least a couple of times a month when I don’t want to cook. I lay out breads, toppings and sauces and let everyone do their own thing. It’s dinner and an activity! If I’m feeling fancy, I may serve it with a slaw or salad I’ve prepped or batch cooked on the weekend. Otherwise, it’s potato chips and fruit for sides.

What To Cook When You Don't Want To Cook


February 5, 2019
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I was having a DAY last week. You know the ones when you’re running from one thing to the next? I finished work only to rush to pick up the kids from school and then run home to host two back to back meetings. The second meeting was a philanthropy work session with a few girls and their moms. (My daughters and I are in a mother-daughter philanthropy organization called National Charity League). We were writing letters to heroes stationed away from their families. As we wrote, girls and moms popped in and out as they flitted to and from their next commitment on the schedule for the evening.

Half the girls arrived straight from school, attended the meeting, then stayed to write letters and were then off to dance and tutoring. As I watched everyone come and go, I became unsettled. I completely get all the hustle and bustle, and unfortunately have come to accept it as a way of life as a mom of three kids! In fact, my own Gaby would be rushing in late to letter writing because she had theater rehearsal after school.

But something else was bothering me. As I observed these girls going about and doing their thing, I kept thinking: “When are these girls going to eat dinner?” And with that question, followed: “When are these moms going to have time to make dinner in between rushing them to their activities?” What was everyone doing about dinner?

I wrestle with those same questions every week as I map out my meal plan and prep strategy for the week. It’s the only way I know I’m able to get dinner on the table (along with a dinner hack or two!). But beyond meal planning, I worried that the girls wouldn’t actually have time to eat and worse, it looked like dinner would be in the drive-thru on the way to the next thing.

It got me thinking about meal solutions, as I tend to do (!) and I rounded up a few easily portable meals that the kids can eat on the go without having to go through the drive-thru. All of these dinners can be prepped in advance and assembled in minutes before it’s time to head out the door. They’re also easily consumed in the back seat of a car in transit! (A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!) None of them require reheating so no need to worry about keeping the food warm.

Check out the portable meals to feed the kids below. I’ve included suggestions for meal prep to make assembly even quicker, as well as ideas for store-bought ingredients that can save time. Now go feed those kids before the next activity!

Easy Portable Meals to Feed The Kids On The Go

1. Hummus Bowl

My name is Stephanie and I’m addicted to hummus! Seriously, I could live on just that and avocado. One of my favorite easy meals is a hummus bowl. Pack a container of hummus (which is completely shelf stable without refrigeration for hours!) along with a colorful assortment of carrot sticks, cucumber, bell pepper strips and pita chips. For added protein, stir in some chickpeas or steamed lentils (Trader Joe’s sells some in the refrigerated section) into the hummus.

Prep in advance: Hummus (if making your own) and vegetables (store in jars with water)

Store-bought help: Hummus if not making your own

2. Vegetable Sushi Rolls

These not only can be made and stored in advance, but they also travel really well! Make them the night before to save even more time the next day. Spread sushi rice across a nori sheet, leaving a 1/4-inch border all around. Lay tofu and veggies on top. Using a sushi mat, roll the nori as you squeeze the mat. Slice!

Prep in advance: Sushi rice

Store-bought help: Baked tofu, pre-shredded cabbage, carrots, and other julienned veggies

Finger Foods

3. Pasta Salad

Mix it with any pasta and veggie combo for a variety of easy portable meals at your disposal. Some of my favorites are this Mediterranean Pearl Couscous Salad and Kale Harvest Grains Salad.

All you need is your kids’ favorite pasta (macaroni, bow tie, penne), some chopped raw or blanched veggies, some cubed dairy-free cheese, white beans or garbanzos and salad dressing. Toss it all together in a mason jar and watch them eat it on the go!

Prep in advance: You could prep the whole salad ahead of time, or just cook the pasta and veggies and then assemble it all the day of or minutes before you need to go.

Store-bought help: Salad dressing

Who’s ready for carpool?!

4. Hummus Tabbouleh Wraps

These are super simple but full of flavor with the layers of hummus and tabbouleh. Just use a regular flour tortilla and spread generously with your kids’ favorite hummus. Add a few romaine or spinach leaves on top and add a scoop of tabbouli. Roll and slice in half!

Prep in advance: Tabbouleh (if making your own)

Store-bought help: Trader Joe’s has a vast variety of hummus options as well as a tasty tabbouleh if you’re too busy to make it homemade.

If you're shuttling kids from one activity to the next and worried about when and how to feed them, try one of these easy and delicious portable meals that they can eat on the go and you can prep in no time!

5. Mason Jar Italian Chopped Salads

These are just as fun to make as they are to eat! Start by pouring your salad dressing on the bottom of the jar (any Italian, balsamic or lemon vinaigrette will do!). Then layer chickpeas, and chopped vegetables one at a time (cucumber, kalamata olives, tomato, pepperoncinis and / or capers, or any other assortment of your choice). End with chopped lettuce on top. Seal with a lid and store until ready to eat. I recommend assembling these the morning of the same day your kids plan to eat them.

Prep in advance: Salad dressing (if making your own)

Store-bought help: Salad dressing (if not making your own) and pre-chopped lettuce

If you're shuttling kids from one activity to the next and worried about when and how to feed them, try one of these easy and delicious portable meals that they can eat on the go and you can prep in no time!

 


January 17, 2019
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Last week was a busy one. After picking up the kids from school and shuttling them to activities and appointments, I raced off to my own appointments and conference calls. Then, I picked up the kids and raced home to make dinner, with any other spare minute in between used to finalize preparations for Alex’s bat mitzvah in 3 weeks. Every moment seemed to have a task to complete!

The last thing I wanted to do at the end of the day was cook dinner or think about meal prep for the next day. Still, I managed to get a home cooked meal on the table every night (and lunch made for me and the kids). Thank goodness for batch cooking on the weekend! My other saving grace was the sheet pan dinner. I’m kinda new to the sheet pan dinner party. In case you are too, let me explain.

Sheet pan dinners are where you place some combo of veggies and protein on a sheet pan and let the oven do all the work for you. When the sheet pan is ready, dinner is served. It’s easy and convenient (You only have to wash one pan!). It’s also a great way to clean out your fridge and use up whatever produce is lying around.

As I prepped the Italian Roasted Veggie Bowls below, I started thinking about all of the other fun ways you could mix up sheet pan dinners. I challenged myself to come up with four more. Check them out below!

It takes about 20-30ish minutes to roast the contents on your sheet pan. If you batch cook your grains and prep your dressings or sauces on the weekend, you can get your meal on the table in less than 40 minutes. Healthy, homemade and fun. Dinner is served!

Change up what's for dinner with one of these plant-based sheet pan dinners. Your family will love these roasted veggie bowls, pita pockets, nachos (and more!) and you'll love the easy prep and clean up.

5 Quick & Easy Sheet Pan Dinners

1. Italian Roasted Veggies + Tofu Orzo Bowls

On the sheet pan:

Cherry tomatoes

Cubed tofu

Broccoli

Cremini mushrooms

Whole garlic cloves

Toss all of the above with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, an Italian herbs seasoning blend, salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve over cooked orzo and top with one or more of the dressing and toss-in options below.

Dressing and sauce options:

Italian dressing

Caesar

Lemon-garlic tahini sauce

Tasty toss-ins:

Kite Hill Ricotta

Pine nuts

Freshly, chopped basil

 

2. Greek Quinoa “Tabbouleh” Pita Pockets

On the sheet pan:

Cauliflower florets

Chickpeas (drained, rinsed and patted dry)

Kalamata olives (pitted)

Artichoke hearts

Pita bread

Toss all of the veggies and chickpeas with olive oil, dill and oregano (or Greek seasoning blend), garlic powder, salt and pepper. Roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (Place pita on the sheet pan about 5 minutes before the veggies are done. Toss the veggies and chickpeas with the quinoa and serve inside sliced pita halves with one or more of the dressing or toss-in options below.

Dressing and sauce options:

Red wine vinaigrette

Tahini sauce

Hummus

Tasty toss-ins:

Chopped cucumber

Fresh dill

Sun-dried tomatoes

 

3. Southwestern Tempeh & Corn Burritos

On the sheet pan:

Cubed tempeh

Corn (cut off the cob or canned, drained and rinsed)

Red bell pepper, chopped

Red onion, sliced

Toss all of the veggies and tempeh with olive oil and your favorite taco seasoning. Roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. About 5 minutes before the veggies and tempeh are done, place the flour tortillas on the sheet pan. When done cooking, scoop the tempeh and vegetable filling into the tortillas and top with one or more of the dressing and toss-in options below.

Dressing and sauce options:

Salsa

Taco sauce

Dairy-free sour cream

Tasty toss-ins:

Black beans (drained and rinsed) or refried beans

Sliced black olives

Sliced avocado

 

4. Black Bean & Vegan Beef Nachos

On the sheet pan:

Tortilla chips

Black beans (canned, drained and rinsed)

Veggie ground “beef”

Dairy-free cheddar cheese

Spread the tortilla chips out across the sheet pan. Srinkle the remaining ingredients on top, with the cheese last. Bake at 300 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. When done cooking, top with one or more of the sauce and toss-in options below.

Sauce options:

Taco sauce

Guacamole

Dairy-free sour cream

Tasty toss-ins:

Cilantro

Chopped tomato

Chopped red onion

Chopped avocado

What do you think of this fun and easy meal idea for the family?

5. Cauliflower, Potato + Chickpea Curry Bowls

On the sheet pan:

Cauliflower florets

Chickpeas (canned, drained and rinsed)

Potatoes (scrubbed and cubed)

Toss all of the above with olive oil, curry powder and garam masala. Roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve over cooked jasmine rice and top with one or more of the dressing and toss-in options below.

Sauce options:

Bottled curry sauce (My family loves Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry)

Lime juice

Dairy-free Greek-style yogurt

Tasty toss-ins:

Cilantro

Peas

Peanuts

What do you think of this fun and easy meal idea for the family?


January 14, 2019
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My family went crazy for this easy pasta bar that I put together last week! I received countless “Mom, this is really good!” enthusiastic compliments from the kids about how much they loved dinner…and all I did was heat up a few sauces from Trader Joe’s, boil some pasta, and chop up some veggies. That’s it! Easy, healthy, and kid approved. That’s what I call dinner success!

This easy pasta bar is one of my weeknight solutions to serving a healthy, homemade dinner five nights a week. Over the years, I’ve introduced several changes to my family’s meal plans, but food bars are one my favorites. They are fun, interactive, and customizable for picky eaters and family members with different likes and dislikes.

This meal idea came together even easier with store-bought sauces from Trader Joe’s. My daughter, Alex, loves pesto while my son Jake prefers Miyoko’s butter and my eldest, Gaby loves bruschetta. This pasta bar made it possible to please all 3 of them with one meal. Score 1 for me!

When it comes to putting together your own pasta bar, keep the following tips in mind.

DIY Pasta Bar Tips

  1. Presentation is everything: Kids eat with their eyes so lay everything out on a pretty platter. Make a spread that is inviting and fun. Since you’re using store-bought ingredients, you can spend a few extra minutes on setting up your spread!
  2. Variety is the spice of life: Include lots of color and variety in your pasta and toppings options.
  3. Less is more: Variety is great but you don’t have to go crazy. Too many options can overwhelm kids so stick to no more than 3 sauces and 5 add-ins for your pasta bar.
  4. Round out the menu: A simple salad and sliced ciabatta are winning sides to accompany your meal.

The key to this pasta bar is incorporating your family’s favorites. Create your own with these three simple steps.

Easy Pasta Bar in 1-2-3!

1. Select your sauces.

I mentioned above that I catered to my kids’ faves. I used the following Trader Joe’s sauces:

Vegan Kale, Cashew & Basil Pesto (in the refrigerated section)

Trader Giotto’s Fresh Bruschetta Sauce (in the refrigerated section)

Trader Giotto’s Genova Pesto (in the refrigerated section)

(Although Jake loves plain butter on his noodles, he tried the bruschetta and loved it. I reinforced how great it was that he tried something new and discovered he liked it.)

When it comes to making healthy changes to your family's meal plan, do it with ease. Try one or more of these suggestions to clean up your family's diet this year.

2. Prep your noodles.

I did a combo of zoodles (zucchini noodles) and traditional pasta. Although Dave and I were the only ones who ate the zucchini, I always offer and keep reintroducing it (the key to winning over picky palates).

My kids’ favorite noodles are penne and farfalle (aka bowties in our house). I also love all the fun twists and spirals that Trader Joe’s offers in their pasta aisle. I could have included 5 different kinds of pasta in our bar!

Get a homemade meal on the table that your whole family will love with this easy pasta bar using Trader Joe's sauces and your favorite toppings.

3. Choose your toppings.

I kept it simple with sliced cherry tomatoes, olives, and Gardein meatless meatballs. I also included turkey meatballs for Alex, Jake and Dave.

This is where you can have a lot of fun with your pasta bar: sun-dried tomatoes, capers, roasted vegetables, chickpeas, marinated artichoke hearts, hearts of palm…go to town!

And don’t forget the Parm! Violife is my favorite dairy-free brand. I love that you can grate it like traditional Parmesan cheese. You can find it at Whole Foods. Follow Your Heart also makes a great grated product.

With all the options to choose from, you can change up this pasta bar a dozen different ways to refresh this meal idea again and again. It’s definitely going into the my meal plan rotation!

I’d love to hear what you think of this meal idea. Tell me in the comments below and for more plant-based meal ideas, check out my 21-day online course for meal plan ideas and recipes.

Get a homemade meal on the table that your whole family will love with this easy pasta bar using Trader Joe's sauces and your favorite toppings.

 


November 25, 2018
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I’m fiercely committed to getting a home cooked meal on the table for my family every night (well, at least 5 out of 7 nights a week!). But sometimes that means taking a little help from the store. While planning ahead and batch cooking can take me a long way on busy weeknights, sometimes I’m really short on time for meal prep and need one of my go-to Trader Joes meal hacks to get dinner on the table.

Thank goodness for Trader Joes! These dinner hacks make it possible to get a homemade-ish meal on the table. Ready in about 20 minutes, these meals use prepared foods and take advantage of the delicious offerings available at my favorite grocery store. And…these happen to be some of my kids’ favorite dinners.

Watch the video below for some of my favorite Trader Joe’s dinner hacks and let me know which one you’re trying in your meal plan next week!

My Favorite Trader Joe’s Dinner Hacks

Chili Potato Bowls

Vegetarian Canned Chili + Russet Potato + Chili Toppings

This is one of my kiddos’ favorite meals, and it’s so simple. I use the canned veggie chili from Trader Joe’s. Amy’s Kitchen also makes a great one. Bake (or microwave) potatoes. Split and carve them open into a bowl-like shape and top with a ladle full of chili and your favorite accompaniments. This meal also works great with tator tots in place of Russets (and also with sweet potatoes for added nutritional value).

 

Tofu Vegetable Fried Rice

Trader Joe’s Vegetable Fried Rice + Tofu + DIY marinade or Soyaki + kale + broccoli florets

This is one of my favorite comfort food meals. Trader Joe’s fried rice mix is already delicious on its own but when you add more plant power with kale, broccoli and marinated tofu, it gets a major flavor upgrade. Marinate the tofu in the morning while making breakfast to speed up the meal prep even more.

 

Short on time but still want to get a home cooked meal on the table? Try one of my favorite Trader Joes dinner hacks for a delicious and quick homemade-ish family meal.

Falafel Pitas

Frozen falafel + bag of pita + bag of Organic Mediterranean Style Salad Kit + hummus

Hold the cheese in the Trader Joe’s Mediterranean Salad Kit and this meal is vegan! Spoon a heaping serving into a pita, top some chopped falafel and a dollop of hummus.

Trader Joe’s also has a yummy tabbouleh and balela (chickpea salad) in the refrigerated foods section by the carton salads that would also make delicious sides or fillings for the pitas. I serve these with their stuffed grape leaves (located in the spaghetti aisle next to the olives).

Short on time but still want to get a home cooked meal on the table? Try one of my favorite Trader Joes dinner hacks for a delicious and quick homemade-ish family meal.

Italian Sausage Calzones

Trader Joe’s Italian sausage + pizza sauce + pizza dough + dairy-free cheese

This is a fun twist on pizza! Divide the pizza dough into 4 balls. Roll out each ball of dough and spread with sauce. Top with the sausage, cheese (and any other toppings). Fold in half and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spaghetti and “Meat”Balls

Bag of meatless meatballs + can of marinara sauce + spaghetti

This is one of the easiest Trader Joes dinner hacks on the list! Just heat the “meat” balls in a pot with the marinara sauce. (I love their can of marinara sauce.) Serve over your family’s favorite pasta. Toss up one of Trader Joe’s bagged salads for an easy and healthy side dish. (They have a Caesar salad in a bag that’s vegan without the cheese.)

Short on time but still want to get a home cooked meal on the table? Try one of my favorite Trader Joes dinner hacks for a delicious and quick homemade-ish family meal.

Italian Pasta Primavera

Linguine + bruschetta + can of artichoke hearts + olives

My kids love for bruschetta and olives inspired this quick and easy dinner hack. We love the bruschetta from Trader Joe’s in the refrigerated section. Combine cooked linguine with the bruschetta, artichoke hearts and sliced Kalamata olives. That’s it and dinner is served. Sometimes I add cannelinni beans to the mix. The most time consuming part of this meal is cooking the pasta. If you’re feeling fancy, toss together a salad and slice some ciabatta while the pasta cooks.

Pizza Roll Ups 

Trader pizza dough + pizza sauce + dairy-free cheese + sliced olives (or any other topping)

With just 4 ingredients, this fun and easy dinner is prepped in 10 minutes (and cooked in another 10). My kids love these packed for lunch too!

 

Tofu Curry

Bottle of Yellow Curry Sauce + block of firm tofu + bag of cauliflower florets + box of jasmine rice

My eldest daughter, Gaby, is obsessed with this sauce from Trader Joe’s. It’s mild so it’s very kid friendly. She doesn’t love that I add in the cauliflower, but a vegan mom’s gotta do what she’s gotta do! Saute chopped garlic in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, along with the cauli florets. Cook for about 7 minutes and stir in the tofu (chopped into bite size squares). Pour in the sauce and cook until heated through.

My daughter loves it served over the jasmine rice, but it’s also equally tasty served as a lettuce wrap. Top a lettuce leaf with with a spoonful of Trader Joe’s Yellow Curry Chopped Salad Kit. (It’s vegan without the dressing.) Spoon some of the tofu curry on top. Dress with a squeeze of fresh lime.

Short on time but still want to get a home cooked meal on the table? Try one of my favorite Trader Joes dinner hacks for a delicious and quick homemade-ish family meal.

Vegetable Sushi Bowls

Box of frozen jasmine rice + block of teriyaki tofu + edamame + shredded carrots + avocado + Persian cucumber

These are a family favorite and make it in our dinner or lunchbox rotation at least twice a month. The most time consuming part of this Trader Joes dinner hack is chopping up all the veggie toppings (which only takes about 10 minutes).  I serve this salad bar style and let the fam build their sushi bowl as they like. I serve tamari (soy sauce), dulse flakes, nori strips and gomasaio (seasoned sesame seeds) on the side for extra flavor and fun!

Trader Joes dinner hacks

 

Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry

Bag of coleslaw mix + broccoli florets + baked tofu + Asian sauce + frozen Jasmine rice

The teriyaki baked tofu from Trader Joe’s is a tasty choice for this stir fry. I get jasmine rice from Trader Joe’s. Saute a few cloves of garlic in your oil of choice, along with the vegetables. Cook until desired tenderness. Drizzle in Soyaki (or your favorite sauce). Stir in chopped baked tofu. Serve over the rice.

 

Easy Vegan Miso Ramen 

Trader Joe’s Miso Ramen + baby bok choy + edamame + shiitake mushrooms + green onions

With just a few fresh veggies and TJ’s cup of ramen, you’ve got a delicious soup in 5 minutes. Yes…5 minutes!!!

 

I’d love to hear which of the Trader Joes dinner hacks above is your favorite. Tell me in the comments below!

Falafel photos by Canva.


November 8, 2018
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My weekly meal planning success is dependent upon batch cooking. I couldn’t get school lunches made or dinner on the table every night without my Sunday sessions. There’s no feeling like the one after 2 hours in the kitchen when the dishes are cleaned up and stacks of food are packed and stored away for the week.

One of my favorite strategies during these lifesaving Sundays is to batch cook one ingredient and then use it in a variety of ways. I typically make a pan of roasted veggies and some kind of sauce or dressing for easy vegan bowls to eat all week long. I’ve recently been inspired by butternut squash. I’m obsessed, actually!

I roasted it with garlic, cremini mushrooms and Italian herbs for a sweet and savory delight!

Batch cook butternut squash and cremini mushrooms and use them all week long in these 3 delicious meals perfect for the Fall season.

But, don’t stop there! Take those roasted veggies and turn them into 3 different meals. That’s right, cook once and eat 3 times!! Even better, roast some extra squash and get a bonus sauce. That’s 4 recipes:

Roasted Garlic + Butternut Squash Cream Sauce

Butternut Squash + Lentil Fall Bowl

Black Bean, Butternut Squash + Mushroom Enchiladas

Spinach, Mushroom + Butternut Squash Fajitas

First things, first: Roast your veggies.

Roasted Butternut Squash & Cremini Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (about 6 cups) peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 16 ounces cremini mushrooms cleaned, stems removed and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (basil, thyme and oregano)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Toss the squash, mushrooms and garlic with the olive oil and herbs.

  2. Split onto two baking sheets.

  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the squash is fork tender.

Next, make your sauce:

Butternut Squash Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups butternut squash 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cashews soaked overnight if not using a high speed blender
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil

Instructions

  1. Roast the squash and garlic at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

  2. Combine the roasted squash and garlic cloves in a blender, along with the broth and remaining ingredients. 

  3. Blend until smooth.

  4. Season with salt and pepper.

This sauce is savory and sweet all in one. I think it would taste amazing tossed over fresh pasta or baked between lasagna noodles and more butternut squash! But I’ve got more recipe ideas for you!

First up is my Butternut Squash & Lentil Fall Bowl. I’ve been lunching on this all month! The creamy butternut squash sauce is the perfect “dressing” for this scrumptious bowl.

Batch cook butternut squash and cremini mushrooms and use them all week long in these 3 delicious meals perfect for the Fall season.

 

Second on the list are these hearty Black Bean + Butternut Squash Enchiladas. I could eat the filling on its own but nestled between layers of corn tortillas and sauce, it’s indulgent.

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 2 15 ounce cans black beans
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • salt to taste
  • 6 cups Roasted Butternut Squash + Cremini Mushrooms

For the enchiladas:

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
  • 1 bottle / can enchilada sauce

Instructions

  1. Pour the beans (do not drain) and seasonings in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Season with salt.

  2. Stir in the Roasted Butternut Squash + Cremini Mushrooms.

  3. Mix 1/4 cup of Butternut Squash Cream Sauce wit 1/4 cup enchilada sauce. 

  4. Spread 2 tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom of a 9-13-inch casserole dish.

  5. Heat the tortillas on the stove burner for 15 seconds or so on each side until pliable. 

  6. Fill each tortilla with about 2 tablespoons of filling. Roll the tortilla away from you and layer in the dish. Continue until all 12 tortillas

  7. When all tortillas are full, top with the remaining sauce and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes until heated through.

Batch cook butternut squash and cremini mushrooms and use them all week long in these 3 delicious meals perfect for the Fall season.

Last but not least are these Butternut Squash, Spinach & Mushroom Fajitas. I used the Butternut Squash Cream Sauce like a crema dolloped on top. I used mini tortillas which are fun for small hands (my kids love it when I serve them).

Butternut Squash, Spinach & Mushroom Fajitas (with Butternut Squash Crema)

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups Roasted Butternut Squash & Cremini Mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Butternut Squash Cream Sauce
  • 12 mini corn tortillas (or 6 regular size)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan and add in garlic. Cook 2 minutes until fragrant.

  2. Add spinach. Using tongs, saute the spinach until slightly wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Stir in the roasted vegetables and cook for 4-5 minutes until heated through.

  4. Meanwhile, heat the tortillas on a stove burner, about 30 seconds on each side until the tortilla is pliable.

  5. To serve, spoon the filling onto the middle of the tortillas and top with a dollop of the cream sauce.

Batch cook butternut squash and cremini mushrooms and use them all week long in these 3 delicious meals perfect for the Fall season.

Which recipe will you try first?


March 31, 2018
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The Passover seder is my favorite part of the holiday, but we’ve still got a week’s worth of matzah to eat. With so much matzah, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite matzah recipes to share with you! From recipe classics like matzah ball soup, to inspired creations like Mexican Matzah Casserole, you’ll find something for your family’s meal plan this week.

Try one of these family friendly matzah recipes for all the matzah there is to eat during Passover. From recipe classics like matzah ball soup, to inspired creations like Mexican Matzah Casserole, you'll find something for your family's meal plan this week.

Matzah Pizzas

Eat them plain with your favorite sauce and dairy-free cheese, or get creative and try one of my 10 deliciously easy recipes.

Try one of these family friendly matzah recipes for all the matzah there is to eat during Passover. From recipe classics like matzah ball soup, to inspired creations like Mexican Matzah Casserole, you'll find something for your family's meal plan this week.

Matzah Tater Tots

These Matzah Tots (so cute!) from Jewish Food Hero are fun for little hands and taste delish dipped in your favorite sauces.

Try one of these family friendly matzah recipes for all the matzah there is to eat during Passover. From recipe classics like matzah ball soup, to inspired creations like Mexican Matzah Casserole, you'll find something for your family's meal plan this week.

Matzah Nachos

This has to be my family’s favorite way to eat matzah. You can change these up a dozen different ways depending on the toppings, but I love it sprinkled with Tofurky’s chorizo, homemade pico de gallo and guacamole. Oy-le!

Try one of these family friendly matzah recipes for all the matzah there is to eat during Passover. From recipe classics like matzah ball soup, to inspired creations like Mexican Matzah Casserole, you'll find something for your family's meal plan this week.

Mexican Casserole

Matzah makes a great layer in casseroles. This Mexican inspired recipe is a little different than the other matzah casseroles out there.

Try one of these family friendly matzah recipes for all the matzah there is to eat during Passover. From recipe classics like matzah ball soup, to inspired creations like Mexican Matzah Casserole, you'll find something for your family's meal plan this week.

Matzah Ball Soup

This recipe on World of Vegan from Vegan: The Cookbook by chef Jean-Christian Jury is an elevated take on this classic Passover soup and matzah staple.

What are your family’s favorite matzah recipes to eat during Passover. I’d love to hear in the comments below!


January 8, 2018
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Have you seen the new vegan Trader Joe’s dressings? I am super excited about this trio of bright sauces! Bursting with fresh flavors and all-natural ingredients, plant lovers now have 3 ready-made options. I typically like to make my own dressings so I can control the fat and sugar, but each of these salad dressings has 0-2g in sugar and are only 20-60 calories for 2 tablespoons. They are a gift from the vegan gods!

If you have no idea what I am talking about, let me introduce you to the latest and greatest on the refrigerated produce shelf at Trader Joes:

Carrot Ginger Miso Salad Dressing (carrot, ginger, white miso, rice vinegar, shallots) – There’s incredible flavor in this one, guaranteed to perk up anything that it dresses.

Almond Butter Tumeric Salad Dressing (lemon juice, ginger, turmeric, black pepper) – This tastes like a lightened version of a traditional peanut sauce to me.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing (avocado, green onion, cold pressed lemon juice, chives, basil, garlic) – This dressing is everything you’ll find in a traditional Green Goddess – creamy with flavorful herbs throughout.

The new vegan Trader Joes dressings are for so much more than topping salads. Try this inspired list of healthy and flavorful meal ideas #vegan #dressing

These are labeled as salad dressings, but they are so much more! As we start a new year, I am keeping things healthy this month with vegetable focused dishes that are low in calories and carbohydrates. But, I love food and am not the type to eat bowls of steamed veggies and legumes all month. I need flavor and variety, and these vegan Trader Joes dressings are a great choice for adding zest and color to your dishes. Below are a few of my favorite ways to slurp up these dressings.

Change up your favorite meals by deconstructing them! Keep them same flavors you love in lasagna, but turn them into a soup. Layer your favorite enchilada ingredients in a casserole for a change of pace. Sometimes, all you need is a change in perspective to add interest in a tried and true dish. #TuesdayTip #mealplan #mealtip #healthyeating #healthyfood #deconstructed #whattoeat #recipeplan #mealhelp #cookinghelp #cookingtip #inthekitchen

1. Vegan Bowls

The options are limitless when it comes to a vegan bowl, but these dressings will take whatever you pile into your bowl to new levels.

2. Asian Stir-Frys

Dress your wok creations with either the Carrot Ginger Miso or Almond Butter Turmeric dressings for an enlightened twist on a traditional weeknight go-to meal.

3. Grill Marinades

Marinate and grill your favorite plant proteins to change up your usual seasoning routine.

Who else is obsessed with the new vegan salad dressings at Trader Joe's? They are so much more more than salad toppers. I am using them on everything! Get all of my ideas for what to do with these flavorful gifts from the vegan gods today at my blog. Link in bio. #traderjoes #saladdressing #vegan #whatveganseat #mealideas #cookingtip #inthekitchen #healthyfood #healthyeating #recipeideas #mealplanning #whattoeat

4. Dipping Sauces

I love dipping my nori wraps in the Carrot Ginger Miso dressing, but pot stickers, spring rolls and veg sushi would be equally delicious dunked in any of these sauces.

Where else would you pour these vegan Trader Joes dressings? Head over to your local store stat, pick up a bottle (or two) and let me know!

Who else is obsessed with the new vegan salad dressings at Trader Joe's? They are so much more more than salad toppers. I am using them on everything! Get all of my ideas for what to do with these flavorful gifts from the vegan gods today at my blog. Link in bio. #traderjoes #saladdressing #vegan #whatveganseat #mealideas #cookingtip #inthekitchen #healthyfood #healthyeating #recipeideas #mealplanning #whattoeat


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