Recipes Archives | Stephanie Dreyer


December 9, 2019

I’m a huge Trader Joe’s fan. It’s my main store for my weekly shopping because of the abundance of plant-based products it offers, but this time of year, it’s also my go-to for all of its delicious holiday hacks. Their huge selection of meal helpers for making homemade-ish meals is a time saver with all of the holiday cooking and entertaining in my house.

(Homemade-ish a term I coined that means preparing a homemade meal in less than 30 minutes using prepared products from the store, such as sauces, frozen foods, or prepped produce.) During the holidays when we have so much to juggle and cook, I love a little help from the store…and Trader Joe’s is my go-to helper.

While Trader Joe’s offers lots of dinner hacks and meal solutions featuring their spreads, dips and bagged salads, today I’m focusing on the holidays—and specifically, appetizers and desserts! I go big on the meal so that’s where I can use the most help. Check your Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyer because they’re always adding new seasonal products that may surprise you and become the inspiration for your next family favorite dish. Below are a few holiday hacks to inspire you!

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks for Appetizers


Small bites are easy to throw together with everything that TJ’s has to offer. These appetizer ideas are fun and easy.

Holiday Antipasto Wreath or Tree

This was a huge hit with my family last year! Choose from the assortment of marinated vegetables and olives that Trader Joe’s offers and also include raw vegetables, such as sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Secure each bite with a toothpick, arranged in a pattern.

Crispy Vegetable Pouches

Find these in the frozen section and serve with their Carrot Miso Ginger Dressing (found by the salads). I think a bag of Tempura Cauliflower would be a delicious addition to a serving platter with these pouches on them.

Meatless Meatballs with Cranberry Orange Relish

Find the meatballs in the frozen section. Serve with toothpicks for a very simple, yet elegant small bite.

Hold the Corn! Appetizers

These savory cones are the perfect handheld for a cocktail party. Serve with Trader Joe’s Gyoza Dipping Sauce or Soyaki. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks for Cocktails


Everyone loves a festive drink for the season. I’m looking forward to one of these!

Winter Wassail

This “punch” blends nicely with red wine and mulled on the stove or mix it with Prosecco for a lively party libation.

Coconut Milk Nog

This nog is the perfect mixer with Kahlua and vodka…for sipping by the fire. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks


I’m not a baker so I love to take help from the store when it comes to dessert. These are just a few ideas.

Holiday Cookie Plate

Trader Joe’s offers a variety of vegan cookies (chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip, Peppermint Joe Joes, Speculoos cookies, Soft Baked Snickerdoodles and Brownie Crisps are a few of my favorite plant-based options. For the holidays, TJ’s also has Christmas Tree Sugar Cookies and Scandinavian Tidings candies that would add a festive touch to the cookie plate.

Peppermint Marshmallow Brownies

Add flax eggs and vegan butter to TJ’s Brownie box mix and stir in peppermint marshmallows for a chocolate mint treat.

Peppermint Rice Crispy Treats

Swap the peppermint marshmallows for regular in your favorite rice crispy treat recipe. Cut into squares and dip in melted chocolate (use Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips).

Do you have a Trader Joe’s holiday hack to share? I’d love to hear it in the comments below.

Want more plant-based meal planning tips? Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Plant-based Meal Planning. 

Trader Joe's Holiday Hacks


December 2, 2019

Hooray for the holidays! Tis the season of eating and drinking. Who else has a few holiday potlucks on the calendar this month? If you need help figuring out what to bring, you’re in the right place! I’ve got a round up of delicious plant-based dishes that everyone will love (omnivores included!).

First things, first: If this is your first season of holiday potlucks as a plant-powered eater, you may have some questions about how to navigate attending a potluck when you’re the only vegan. I’ve been there (and am still there!). These are a few tips that I follow any time I’m going to a potluck:

Eat something before the party.

Give yourself a small bite to tide you over through the party so that if there isn’t much to eat, you won’t be starving until you get home.

Bring a dish you love that you know will satiate you. 

This is your fail safe: you know that if there’s nothing else to eat at the party, you’ll have this one dish! You might even bring two items instead of one. I like to bring an appetizer (something I can graze on throughout the party – like vegetable sticks and a great dip) and a hearty salad.

Stick to “safe” entrees 

Instead of searching down the host or whoever brought each item to check the ingredient list, focus on dishes that are easy to identify (although more power to you if you want to track down and drill the host and guests!).

Holiday potlucks are a great opportunity to share the deliciousness of plant-based food. This is the time to bring your favorite vegan dish and share your love of it with everyone else. Go for it but keep the following guidelines in mind.

The best potluck dishes are ones that:

Taste great at room temperature

Don’t require reheating or keeping hot

Are easy to eat while talking and walking around (while holding a drink in another hand!)

Don’t use obscure ingredients 

Are familiar (Stick to whole plant-based foods and avoid the faux meats and cheeses.)

Travels well (and requires minimal assembly when you arrive at your holiday potluck)

Are visually appealing (Show stoppers are always a win and great conversation starters…”Why yes, I did bring that. Thank you so much…!!”)


The following round up of holiday potluck recipes are just a few ideas to inspire you. These are some of my go-to’s.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
Photo by Cookie & Kate


This is a healthy but flavorful choice, and depending on the recipe, can be very filling. It’s a great pick because people are eating so much junk this time of year and appreciate something healthy that is delicious. Let the colors of the season inspire the ingredients you use. Some of my top picks are:

Herbed Chickpea and Quinoa Salad by Cookie & Kate 

Brussels & Pomegranate Salad by Blissful Basil  

Pasta Salad by Well and Full 

Crowd-Pleasing Caesar Salad by Oh She Glows 

Vegan Doughnuts
Photo by Healthy Happy Life

Sweets and Treats

If you’re a sweet person, chances are that the desserts will NOT be vegan so bringing your own is a great choice for you contribution to the holiday potluck. You can’t go wrong with any of these:

Cookies: This chocolate chip cookie gets rave reviews all the time.

Donuts by Healthy Happy Life 

Holiday Bark by Sweet Simple Vegan 

Chicken Shwarma Dip
Photo by Minimalist Baker


An amazing dip, spread or hummus is a great conversation starter. Serve with tasty dippers for an easy win win. These spreads will get everyone talking:

Mushroom Pate with Crackers by It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

Chickpea Shawarma Dip by Minimalist Baker 

Artichoke Dip by Healthy Happy Life

Tomato and Basil Pinwheels
Photo by Minimalist Baker


These are great options for that little something you can hold and walk around with as you mingle at your holiday potluck (with cocktail in hand):

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil Pinwheels by Minimalist Baker 

My Vegan Deviled Potatoes 

Garlic Stuffed Olives by The Baking Fairy 

Want more plant-based meal planning tips? Check out my new Ultimate Guide to Plant-based Meal Planning. 

Plant-based meal ideas


November 25, 2019

Turning leftovers into a new meal is one of my most efficient and creative meal planning strategies! I didn’t always enjoy eating leftovers but once I learned a few tricks for turning last night’s dinner into some new and delicious meal, I was hooked! And guess what? It works for holiday meals too!

Thanksgiving leftover makeovers are where it’s at! Transform your Thanksgiving meal into a whole new feast that won’t taste like leftovers at all! How about one of these:




Fritters / Cakes 


Wraps (forget the sandwich!)





A quick Google search for any of these meal ideas with “Thanksgiving Leftovers” will pull up an abundance of meal options. Below are 10 Thanksgiving leftover makeover recipes that I’ve rounded up to save you the trouble!

Thanksgiving Leftover Makeover

Thanksgiving Leftover Poutine by Sweet Simple Vegan

Homemade fries smothered with gravy, stuffing and whatever else you’ve got leftover is like Thanksgiving nachos!

Shepherd’s Pie by The Veg Life

Combine your Thanksgiving favorites into a savory pie crust for a fun way to dish out leftovers.

Mashed Potato Cakes by The Veg Life

I love making fritters and “cakes” with almost anything but leftover mashed potatoes is at the top of my list.

Thanksgiving Leftover Makeover

Cranberry Sauce Bread by Oh My Veggies

Leftover cranberry sauce is a great condiment for cereals, oatmeal, pancakes and yogurt with granola, but it’s also genius as a mix in to a sweet breakfast bread.

Brussels Sprouts Gratin by Yup It’s Vegan

A gratin works with any vegetable but is especially delicious with my favorite, Brussels sprouts.

Stuffing Cupcakes by Chow Vegan

This is a great project with the kids – and what fun to eat!

Leftover Wrap by This Savory Vegan

Forget the Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich and wrap it up instead! I think a burrito would work great too!

Thanksgiving Leftover Makeover

Thanksgiving Bowl by I Love Vegan

I haven’t met a vegan that doesn’t love a bowl. Add in a holiday and it’s a match made in heaven!

Spinach Salad with Roasted Fall Vegetables by Well Vegan 

Need some inspiration for the extra veggies? A salad is always a great pick. Tossed with spinach, arugula or some other zesty green is sure to change things up…especially when drizzled with a tasty dressing.

Tofu Scramble by Well Vegan

Transform a simple and traditional tofu scramble with your Thanksgiving leftovers for a creative and inventive brunch main the next day.

Sweet Potato Cookies by Go Dairy Free

I love a good breakfast cookie! This recipe is an efficient and genius way to use up the leftover sweet potato casserole.

Thanksgiving Leftover Makeover

Pumpkin Pie Breakfast Casserole by Oh She Glows

Can anyone ever have too much pumpkin pie? Just in case, here’s a yummy recipe to take your leftover pie to the next level in a casserole that will make you feel like you’re have dessert for breakfast!

Which one of these Thanksgiving leftover makeover recipes is your favorite? Plan for leftovers in your meal plan by mapping it out in my 7 Day Meal Planner. Download it free here.

Thanksgiving leftover makeover


November 4, 2019

You don’t need a bird to celebrate Thanksgiving, but you do need a menu of mouthwatering dishes and a plan for sharing them if you’re hosting a plant-based Thanksgiving. I’m hosting this year, but even when I’m not, I make a plant-based feast and bring it to my destination!

I have observed that non vegans have a strong emotional connection to their Thanksgiving foods so although you can veganize mashed potatoes, stuffing and many other traditional dishes with an easy swap of vegan butter, milk, etc., many will be resistant. So, I plan ahead to make sure there is a bounty of food for me to eat, which usually means I travel with my own plant-based Thanksgiving!

When it comes to deciding what to cook for a plant-based Thanksgiving (whether you’re hosting or not), I recommend checking off this short to-do list first:

1. Set expectations: Let your guests know what you plan to cook and ask if there is anything missing that they’d like to add to the menu.

2. Set ground rules and compromises about the non vegan foods on your table. (For example, there will be a turkey at my feast, but my brother-in-law is cooking and bringing it so it won’t be in my kitchen or oven.)

3. Make sure your menu includes delicious foods (that you’ve tried and approved in advance!) so that your guests are only talking about how good it tastes (vs that it’s vegan). Good food is good food!

To help with #3 above, let’s talk about what to cook. My go-to cookbooks for any holiday menu planning are:

The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

The Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas

The Super Fun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Below are over a dozen ideas to inspire and help you plan your plant-based Thanksgiving menu.

Plant-based Thanksgiving


For a cruelty-free “turkey” main attraction, try one of these faux turkey roasts: 

Gardein Savory Stuffed Turkey

Gardein Holiday Roast

Field Roast Celebration Roast

Tofurky Holiday Roast

Trader Joe’s Vegan Turkey

The Herbivorous Butcher Stuffed Turkey Roast (This is the vegan turkey I’m feasting on this year. In select areas, you can order from your local Whole Foods. Otherwise, The Herbivorous Butcher ships nationwide.

If a faux turkey, isn’t your thing, try one of these stunning main attractions.

Gardein Turkey Cutlets

Stuffed Acorn Squash


Mini Pot Pies 

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes


Traditional favorites can easily be veganized with easy swaps such as dairy-free butter, mayo, and milk.

Mashed potatoes 

Green Bean Casserole 

Sweet Sweet Potato Casserole

A quick Google search will also yield a plethora of options for vegan versions of old favorites, such as mac ‘n cheese and stuffing.

Don’t forget soups! A butternut squash bisque, and a pumpkin or potato leek soups are all festive choices for a plant-based Thanksgiving meal.

Start planning your holiday menu with this list of plan-based Thanksgiving recipes. From main dishes to sweet treats, enjoy my favorite dishes. #plantbased #healthyfood #healthyeating #vegan


When non vegans think of a plant-based Thanksgiving, vegetables and salads are probably the first thing that comes to mind when what will be on the menu. However, as you can see from the list above, there are lots more options for what to eat…but since we’re talking veggies, how about a few of these?

Roasted Root Vegetables

Garlicky Green Beans 

Brussels Sprouts

Herb Roasted Potatoes and Butternut Squash

Stuffed sweet potatoes:


Salads that incorporate the produce of the season, such as kale, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, apples, pomegranates and cranberries are also a great choice.

Kale & Brussels Sprouts Salad

Kale Harvest Grains Salad

plant-based Thanksgiving


When it comes to a sweet ending, what’s Thanksgiving without pie? (Did you know you can purchase pre-made vegan pie crusts at Whole Foods in the frozen section?) If pie’s not your thing, how about one of these festive treats:

Dairy-free Pumpkin Chocolate Mousse

Pumpkin Bread with dairy-free ice cream

Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Rolls

For more plant-based Thanksgiving recipes, check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest board with over 100 recipes. What are your favorite Thanksgiving foods? Share what you’re planning to cook in the comments below.

plant-based Thanksgiving

Cover image: Cadry’s Kitchen

October 28, 2019

I’ve shared batch cooking tips and ideas before, but today I want to focus specifically on plant-based snack ideas that you can prep ahead on the weekend and eat all week long. If you’re not incorporating a couple of snacks into your batch sessions, you’ll find that adding 2 or 3 into your plan can make a huge difference in the amount of packaged snacks you purchase at the store.

These plant-based snack ideas are healthy and delicious, and they are also versatile for snacking on the go, packing in school lunches or changing up a dozen different ways with different spice blends and ingredients.

1. Seasoned Nuts

DIY your favorite nut with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite seasoning blend. Spread out on a baking sheet at roast at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Some of my favorite sprinkles are: Everything Bagel Seasoning (Trader Joe’s) and a blend of cumin, sea salt and chili powder.

2. Snack / Trail Mixes

My Savory Snack Mix goes so fast in my house that I usually fill up two baking sheets with this mix to last us the whole week!

3. Frozen Grapes

It doesn’t get much simpler than this! Just wash, dry and freeze your grapes in a freezer-safe container. Then, take out a bunch when you’re ready to enjoy them. This is a favorite snack of my son, Jake, who especially likes to eat them on hot afternoons after school.

4. Hummus

In my opinion, hummus and vegetable sticks is one of the quintessential plant-based snack ideas that you can eat. Homemade hummus is simple to make in under 5 minutes, and you can change it up by just adding a few ingredients to play with the flavors: lemon juice, roasted red peppers, artichokes, olives, or sun-dried tomatoes, to name a few!

5. Muffins

Whether I’m veganizing a box mix from Trader Joe’s to make these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins or batching something from scratch, muffins are made for batch cooking!

6. Energy Balls

This plant-based snack is portable and easy to adapt to whatever your family likes. They are a great alternative to the packaged protein bars you buy at the store and much healthier too.

7. Roasted Chickpeas

Use the same method you would for the seasoned nuts above but swap in chickpeas for a protein alternative. You can buy these at the store in a variety of flavors but they’re so much better when they’re homemade.

Change up your snack game with one of these 5 delicious ways to eat popcorn. From Popcorn Bark to Cracker Jacks, these aren't your regular bowl of kernels.

8. Seasoned Popcorn

We LOVE popcorn in my house. We make a pot at least 3 times a week so it saves time to batch a big pot once and portion it out throughout the week. If we’re feeling fancy, we’ll sprinkle on one of my homemade seasoning blends (taco seasoning + sea salt + nutritional yeast) or crush homemade Cheesy Kale chips over a batch.

9. Fruit and Vegetable Chips

If you have access to an air fryer, these are simple to make. Some of my favorite produce go-to’s: Bananas, apples, kale and rainbow carrots.

10. Fruit Leathers

Ditch the fruit roll ups and make homemade fruit leathers instead with a dehydrator. Just peel, thinly slice and let the air fryer do the work. My favorite is mango!

Are you interested in more batch cooking tips and tricks? Check out my Ultimate Guide To Batch Cooking and download my free Batch Cooking Starter Guide below.

Which of the ideas above is your favorite? I’d love to hear your snack ideas too! Share them below.

Plant-based snack ideas

October 21, 2019

I usually call it in for Halloween (literally). With everyone in and out trick-or-treating, pizza has always been the easiest way to feed everyone while getting everyone dressed and out the door for the festivities. This year, however, I’m challenging myself to kick things up a notch or two! I always have a crowd for Halloween so this year, I’ve been scouring Pinterest, Instagram and Google for some simple and fun dinner ideas that are easy to eat on the go as we stroll for treats. I know you’ll be inspired by these plant-based Halloween meal ideas!

But first, a few tips:

    • For instant spooky, use cookie cutters in Halloween shapes. Bats, ghosts and pumpkins in different sizes are all handy to have on hand.
    • Bell peppers and mini pumpkins make great serving “bowls” for your favorite taco fillings, stews, pasta and more.
    • Use strips of dairy-free cheese or pre-made dough to slice strips for mummy wrappings (an easy way to spook-ify a dish.

There is no shortage of Halloween inspiration when it comes to food. A quick Web search will reveal a bounty of creative appetizers, snacks and dessert recipes, but I’m focusing on the main affair: dinner! Since Halloween falls in the middle of the week, I want to be able to prep something ahead of time or be able to assemble it easily while the kids are getting into their costumes. Also, because our festivities always include grandparents, my sis and her hubby and sometimes cousins, I need meals that can feed a crowd. Below are a few plant-based Halloween meal ideas that are up for the challenge.

Plant-based Halloween Meal Ideas

Mummy Meatloaf

How cute is this mummy meatloaf by Annabel Karmel? I’d create a simple vegan version with a plant-powered “meatloaf” using Beyond Meat. Try this one. While the meatloaf bakes, cook the pappardelle. When meatloaf has only 10 minutes of cook time remaining, layer the pasta over the loaf like a mummy. Slice Miyoko’s VeganMozz for eyes and arrange olives inside the slices for pupils. Bake for the last 10 minutes.

Plant-based Halloween Meal Ideas


You can get super creative with pizza! Use cookie cutters to cut out veggies and cheese in Halloween shapes or try these mummy pizzas from Veggies Save the Day or these deliciously creepy skull pizzas from Fork and Beans.

Plant-based Halloween Meal Ideas

Mummy Dogs

These mummies are almost too cute to eat. I suggest using Beyond Meat brats as the mummy stand in and instead of pizza dough, try packaged crescent roll dough (the ones at Trader Joe’s are vegan).

Plant-based Halloween Meal Ideas

Stuffed Pumpkins or Peppers

I love the idea of stuffing one of the cute mini pumpkins you see all over the stores this time of year…or an orange bell pepper that’s carved as a jack-o-lantern. There are many ways you could stuff these…The pumpkins are the perfect vessel for a hearty stew with quinoa, rice, beans or lentils, like this one from Simple Seasonal. I think this chili would also be tasty inside. For the peppers, make your favorite taco filling or spaghetti.

Plant-based Halloween Meal Ideas


A salad isn’t just a salad with this cute graveyard presentation from Fork and Beans.

What are some of your favorite Halloween meal ideas?

Plant-based Halloween Meal Ideas

October 14, 2019

homemade-ish meal ideas

Homemade doesn’t mean you have to make everything from scratch! I’m committed to getting a home-cooked meal on the table 5-7 nights a week, but I take some help from the store when I can to simplify my meal prep and get dinner on the table faster. Homemade-ish is a term I coined for when you cook something but incorporate store-bought prepared foods into your recipe.

When it comes to choosing ingredients for my homemade-ish meal ideas,  I not only look for convenience, but also the opportunity to be creative and inventive with the prepared ingredients from the grocery store. Some of my favorite store-bought recipe helpers include:

Salads in a bag

Salad kits are a plant-based mama’s best friend. You can change these up a dozen different ways into more than just salads. (Check out these ideas for inspiration.)

Sauces and dips

These make for easy meals, such as wraps, entrees and more

Canned beans

When you don’t have time to make them from scratch, a can of beans is a quick and easy protein option, plus they add texture and heartiness to any meal.

Pre-washed and cut veggies

The time saved with these meal helpers and are worth the extra cost if you’re only using them every once in a while.

The homemade-ish meal ideas are limitless once you start thinking outside of the salad kit, can of beans, salad dressing…or whatever store-bought prepared ingredient you’re using in your recipe. Below are a few ideas to inspire you.

Lunch Box Bowls


Use an ethnic salad kit, such as Trader Joe’s Southwest Chopped Salad or Sesame Crunch Chopped Salad and add a can of drained and rinsed beans or chopped, baked tofu (depending on the flavor profile). Scoop over rice or sesame noodles, and top with your favorite toppings, such as salsa, chopped avocado, peanuts, nori strips, etc. to match the flavors in your bowl.

Wraps and Sandwiches

Baked Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Cube a package of baked tofu with an Asian inspired slaw or salad kit. Serve with romaine leaves, lime wedges, cilantro, peanuts and a homemade peanut sauce (mixing 1 part peanut butter with 1 part rice vinegar and soy sauce). 

Spring Rolls

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

Buffalo Hummus Chickpea and Cauliflower Wraps

Let the abundance of hummus flavors inspire a new wrap. The new Buffalo Hummus at Trader Joe’s is tasty when tossed with chickpeas and roasted cauliflower. Layer on tortillas, along with chopped romaine, shredded carrots, chopped celery and dairy-free ranch.


Squash Noodles with Bruschetta and Olive Tapenade

Tapenades and sauces such as pesto and bruschetta are a quick homemade-ish meal with spiralized yellow squash or zucchini (or buy pre-spiralized from the store). 

Polenta Lasagna

Slice a roll of prepared polenta. Layer into a lasagna pan and top with traditional lasagna ingredients, such as Beyond Meat Italian sausage, Kite Hill ricotta, spinach, artichoke hearts, canned tomatoes and marinara sauce. Bake for 20-30 minutes until heated through.


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 your favorite salad kit along with a can of white beans (drained and rinsed). Top the pizza with the salad combo. Slice and serve!

Yellow Curry Salad Pizza

Cube a block of tofu and toss with your favorite curry sauce. Roll out a premade whole wheat pizza dough and spread with more sauce. Bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Combine a salad kit, such as the Trader Joe’s 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!

Greek Pita Pizzas

Spread a store-bought garlic sauce across a whole pita. Add a spoonful or two of prepared tabbouleh on top, along with 1-2 frozen falafels (that have been cooked and chopped).

Get more homemade-ish meal ideas in the video below and tell me in the comments which one is your favorite.


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


homemade-ish meal ideas

October 7, 2019

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

September 23, 2019

plant-based breakfasts

Breakfast! It’s the most important meal of the day but so many of us race through it, lucky to get something in the boiler before rushing off for the day. You know I mean business when it comes to meal planning dinner, but I’m just as serious about preparing healthy plant-based breakfasts (and lunches!) for my family.

I remember what used to be the agony and chaos of breakfast. I was a short-order cook, preparing everyone’s personal requests while I packed lunches and got everyone out the door for school. It was exhausting and stressful. There was no planning or prepping. Something had to change…me! Finally, I got smart and developed a few processes for streamlining our breakfast routine.

Now, I plot out healthy, plant-based breakfasts for me and my kids in our weekly meal planner and do some prep on Sundays so that our morning meal is easy and quick to get on the table.

My latest video shares 5 tips for planning and prepping healthy, plant-based breakfasts, including:

1. Pick only 2-3 options to serve each week.

2. Sync your schedule to your breakfast meal ideas

3. Prep what you can ahead of time.

4. Get the kids involved.

5. Set up your pantry and refrigerator / freezer so that kids can help themselves to foods.

Get more detail and information on these tips in the video below.


Need some breakfast recipe inspiration? Rotate one or more of these meal ideas into your weekly plan for nutritious plant-based breakfasts that you and the kids will love!


This is the quintessential “grab and go” plant-based breakfast (that can be made ahead of time). Choose from one of these several muffin options.

This Mediterranean Tofu Scramble is a great breakfast option. Use this recipe as a template and add in your favorite mix-ins. Serve it as a protein packed breakfast with fresh fruit and hash browns, or enjoy it for dinner with roasted potatoes and a side salad.

Breakfast Scrambles

This is my favorite meal to make on the weekend when I have more time to cook (but also easy to make a big batch on the weekend to eat all week long). I’ve got dozens and dozens of choices for you here.

Breakfast Casseroles

Prep one of these breakfast casseroles on the weekend or the night before and just pop it in the oven while you shower for a hot and ready-t0-serve morning meal. My Chilaquile Casserole is a must try!

Overnight Oats

I love how these jars are assembled the night before and ready to go as soon as you open the fridge the next morning. The kids can even make these on their own and store for later in the week.

Smoothies and Smoothie Bowls

Smoothies are quick and portable so they make a great on-the-go choice. When you have a little more time, make a smoothie bowl, such as my Acai Bowl. (It’s like eating fro-yo for breakfast!)

Breakfast Cookies

Who doesn’t want a cookie for breakfast?!!!

Breakfast Sandwiches 

Whether it’s a waffle, a pancake, or a bagel, there are lots of fun ways to sandwich a plant-based breakfast. Another great option for breakfast on the go.

This vegan and dairy-free breakfast pizza is a fun way to serve up the first meal of the day. #dairyfree #meatless #vegan #plantbased #breakfast

Breakfast Pizza

This has to be my favorite creative idea for what to serve for breakfast! I’ve made a dozen different varieties over the years but this soyrizo breakfast pizza is my go-to.

Energy Balls and Bars

Homemade granola bars and balls are great ideas for family members with small appetites. These energy balls make sure the kids get something in the boiler that’s full of nutrients before they start their day.


So many ways to top a slice of bread (or sweet potato slice!) for a tasty toast breakfast. Serve the toppings buffet style and let the family make their own.

Baked Oatmeal

Dessert cobbler meets breakfast with this hearty breakfast option. Serve warm over dairy-free yogurt.

Breakfast Tacos and Burritos

Reuse Taco Tuesday leftovers or make a savory filling with breakfast potatoes and tofu scramble. The filling can also be prepped and stored in advance for tacos and burritos all week long.

Breakfast Parfaits

These breakfast parfaits are so much fun to serve because they look like sundaes!


Did I miss one of your favorites? Share your favorite breakfast meal below.

September 17, 2019

Tips and Ideas for Meal Planning & Prepping Lunch

It’s back-to-school…and I’m back to planning and prepping lunches for my kids. My girls have given me a slight reprieve as my teens have taken over their lunch packing. (However, I can’t let go just yet so I’m still prepping a few things on my Batch Cook Sundays so they have several healthy options to pack.)

Meal planning and prepping lunch isn’t just something I do during the the school year. I plan and prep my lunches all year long. I find I eat healthier and it frees up a lot of time during the middle of the day when I usually have to force myself to take a break to eat because I’m so busy. Can you relate?

My latest video shares 8 tips for planning and prepping lunch with ease, including:

1. Meal plan!

2. Pick 2-3 meal ideas to rotate throughout the week (and keep a running list to reference again and again).

3. Batch cook a few things on the weekend.

4. Mix up the ordinary.


Get the rest of my tips in the video below, where I also do some “show and tell” with some of my favorite meal prep and lunch containers…but first, meal ideas!


Tortilla, collard green, lettuce leaf, lavash or nori…so many options for wrapping for lunch. Try my Tofu Lettuce Wraps or Black Bean & Corn Romaine “Tacos”.

Pizza Rolls

The pizza rolls are a family favorite in my house and in the lunch rotation at least twice a month!

Pasta and Pasta Salads

Some of my favorites in this category are Easy Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad, Italian Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad, Kale Harvest Grains Salad, or Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad.

Sushi Rolls

My kids love vegetable sushi rolls. They customize theirs with the vegetables they like (carrots for Alex, cucumbers and carrots for Jake and cucumbers for Gaby!), along with baked tofu and avocado.


These are so simple and can be batched easily on the weekend: Marinated protein, roasted vegetables, greens, grains and a yummy dressing. Try my Green Goddess Zucchini Bowl or Butternut Squash and Fall Lentil Bowl, Italian Roasted Vegetable Bowl with Creamy Italian Dressing, or Carrot Noodle Bowl


Simple and easy, this is my go-to option for lunch. Try one of these: Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad, Chopped Asparagus Chickpea Salad, or my personal favorite: Cruciferous Crunch Salad with Tangy Tahini Dressing,


Super fun to eat and stackable a zillion different ways.

Hummus and veg sticks

Deconstructed sandwiches (aka “Lunchables”)

What did I miss? Share some of your favorite lunch meals below!


August 26, 2019

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

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:


  • 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.


  • 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:


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.



April 3, 2019

Food bars are my favorite way to serve a family meal. With a vegetarian, vegan and 3 omnivores at my table every night, it’s an easy way to satisfy everyone. I introduced the DIY food bar concept to my meal plans shortly after I went vegan as a way to make sure there was something for everyone to eat on the table without having to make 2 or 3 meals. What started out as survival mode has now turned into our favorite way to eat!

So, what is a Food Bar?
Think of your classic salad bar or sundae bar where everything is set out “buffet style” for everyone to make themselves. I focus my food bars around a theme with some main dishes and include a few toppings that allow people to customize their meal (that’s where the fun happens!). I also include a couple of side dishes on the bar. I choose things that complement the main dish and make sure there is at least one thing everyone will eat. 

There is no limit to food bars once you get going. Start with foods that your family loves. (In my house, that’s pizza, pasta, paninis and tacos!). Instead of just making one dish, it’s so much more fun to let everyone make their own!

Watch the video below and get inspired to serve this tasty and easy meal idea for dinner. You’ll learn everything you need to add this to your meal plan, including:

  • The best ratio for mains and toppings in your bar
  • The secret to a successful dinner bar
  • My favorite side dishes for several DIY dinner bar ideas
  • Why DIY bars aren’t just for dinner and how I use them to serve breakfast too!

I also share food bars that we love to make in my home, including my favorites:

10 ideas for DIY Food Bars your family will love!


Veggie Sushi Rolls

Pasta (Check out the DIY pasta bar my family loves that uses Trader Joe’s sauces.)

Get the free downloadable here.


Watch the video and comment below with the food bar you’re most excited to try!

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

DIY food bars your family will love.

March 24, 2019

Sheet pan family meals have simplified my meal prep and clean up, infusing my meal planning with new creativity. Watch the video to get my tips and tricks (and recipes) for making the most of this meal idea.

I only recently discovered sheet pan dinners but I’m hooked! This delicious and creative meal idea has simplified my meal prep and clean up—and has infused my meal planning with new creativity.

A sheet pan dinner couldn’t be simpler: Everything goes on one baking sheet and cooks in the oven at once. No other meal prep or dishes to wash (Sometimes, I’ll batch cook rice or chop lettuce to turn my sheet pan into a bowl or salad.)

Watch the video below to get lots of my tips and tricks for awesome sheet pan family meals, including:

  • Why simple is best
  • What to use to make clean up even simpler 
  • What I do to add extra flavor and zing to my sheet pan meals
  • My favorite ingredients for stacking on sheet pans

I also share some of my favorite sheet pan family meals:

Chimichurri Cauliflower + Tofu Steaks and Potatoes

Spaghetti Squash Chili Bake

Bruschetta Portobellos and Gnocchi

Mediterranean Chickpea and Vegetable Nachos

If you want even more ideas, download a free copy of Sheet Pan Family Meals featuring 10 dinner ideas. Get it here!  

Sheet pan family meals have simplified my meal prep and clean up, infusing my meal planning with new creativity. Watch the video to get my tips and tricks (and recipes) for making the most of this meal idea.

Watch the video and get inspired with this easy and delicious meal idea to feed your family!


March 16, 2019

The key to serving last night's dinner is turning it into something new! Try one of these delicious ideas to turn your leftovers into a meal.

I used to dread leftovers, but as a busy meal planning mama of 3, they have become my lifesavers! There are so many reasons to turn leftovers into a new meal:

  • Saves you time since you’re not starting from scratch
  • Saves you money because you’re repurposing food that you already have
  • Makes your meal planning more efficient and gives you a break from cooking
  • Allows you to get creative in the kitchen and hopefully have a little fun while you’re at it!

After a long love / hate relationship with leftovers, I have found that the key to serving last night’s dinner is turning it into something new! 

In this video, I share lots of tasty info for turning leftovers into a new meal. I know that you’ll be able to incorporate these ideas into your own meal plans and family meals again and again.

You’ll hear:

  • The specific ways leftovers have saved me time and money
  • How leftovers have reduced the amount of time I spend creating my weekly meal plans
  • The types of foods that you should purposely plan for leftovers
  • Three meal ideas and recipes for how to turn leftovers into a new meal.
  • Watch the video below and hear me share my favorite ways to turn leftovers into a meal. 

Want more leftover meal ideas? Download a free copy of Leftover Lifesavers: 10 ideas that turn leftovers into a new meal (including 9 plant-based recipes)! Get your copy here.

Free download to turn leftovers into a meal

Watch the video below for my leftover tips!


November 25, 2018

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 18, 2018

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Ever since I was a kid, I loved the “production” of it all: the special occasion dresses my twin sister and I were given to wear; the beautiful, huge table decorated to the nines; and of course, the food. So. Much. Food. And it wasn’t just the eating of the food that day. It was the days of prep before. My mom’s homemade pies were an event in themselves. I couldn’t wait until I was an adult and could host Thanksgiving for my family.

With three sets of parents to rotate amongst each year, I haven’t had the opportunity to host my own Thanksgiving but I typically make almost the entire meal (if not all of it) every year. Part of it is my type A, need to control the menu personality. (Yes, guilty as charged.) Plus, I love to cook. It wouldn’t feel like a holiday to me if I wasn’t in my happy place, cooking in the kitchen with Maroon 5 playing in the background and a glass of wine alongside me. I truly get so much joy from preparing all the dishes I contribute to the festive meal. However, there’s another part: I have a non vegan family. Not just in my immediate family, but also in my extended family.

So, I take charge of the menu and make sure that there is lots of food for me (and my vegetarian daughter, Gaby) to eat. So, what does this vegan feed her non vegan family for Thanksgiving?

The Main Affair

Since we always have Thanksgiving at a non vegan household, someone else always makes a turkey. (Side note: Team Dreyer adopts a turkey each year from Farm Sanctuary. This year, we adopted Spunky. You can adopt one too here.) I have served a couple of different vegan options for me and Gaby over the years. (This will be her third Thanksgiving as a vegetarian. She made that choice on her own, without any pressure from moi and I’m so proud of her.) There are three un-turkeys that you can’t go wrong with: The FieldRoast Celebration Roast, a Tofurky, or Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast. I make my own gravy (and stuffing) and it’s heaven.

I have also served Gardein’s Turkey Cutlets with my gravy and they hit the spot. Gardein also has a Savory Stuffed Turk’y and Holiday Roast that I have never tried. Lots to choose from!


Some other options include my Sourdough Stuffing Vegan Meatloaf and Three Layer Vegan Holiday Meatloaf, both featuring Beyond Meat. These are hit with non vegans too and they feature some of the sides also on the Thanksgiving Table.

The Sides

Mashed Potatoes

What’s Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes? My recipe is free of dairy but full of flavor and my non vegan family enjoys them just as much!

Wondering what I cook my non vegan family for Thanksgiving? From the main event and pies, to everything in between, read on for my Thanksgiving menu.


My mom made a traditional stuffing with celery, carrot, onions and raisins my whole life. Now that I get to make what I want, I go sourdough all the way and I ditched the raisins. This. Is. So. Good.

I have changed it up in the past and made a vegan cornbread and used Lightlife’s Fakin’ Bacon for a vegan bacon cornbread stuffing that was amazing, if I do say so myself!

Mac ‘n Cheese

I added this side to my table last year. I think my craving came about as an excuse to eat all of the gluttonous foods I deprive myself of the rest of the year! Because I was cooking so many other things, I went with Daiya’s box mix and it was amazing!

This year, I’m making this recipe from Pamela Salzman. I’m making it my own by adding a mixture of nutritional yeast and Panko breadcrumb on top.

The Veg

Everyone has their favorites, but my family seems to gravitate to Brussels sprouts and green beans.

Brussels Sprouts

My husband always wants Brussels sprouts. My daughter, Alex loves this salad so I can please both of them with this one dish!

Sometimes, I’ll purchase the shredded Brussels sprouts from Trader Joes, toss them with a lemon-dijon mustard vinaigrette and top with avocado.

Another easy and flavorful way to serve them: Halve Brussels and spread on a baking sheet. Toss with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 35o degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in a serving bowl with pomegranate seeds and roasted hazelnuts.

Wondering what I cook my non vegan family for Thanksgiving? From the main event and pies, to everything in between, read on for my Thanksgiving menu.

Green Beans

My easy, go-to recipe for green beans is to blanch them for 3 minutes and then transfer them to a saute pan with several tablespoons of Earth Balance butter and thinly sliced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Done and delicious!

This year, I’m making a Winter Chopped Salad: greens, fennel, beets, celery, walnuts and Kite Hill almond ricotta cheese. If it’s a hit, I’ll post it on my website! 🙂


Maybe we should call Thanksgiving “Carbsgiving”! I keep things simple with the crescent rolls from Trader Joe’s. They are delicious as is, with just a touch of Miyoko’s European Style Butter or Earth Balance, but I get a little fancy for Thanksgiving. I roll each piece of dough into rosettes and place them together on a cookie sheet before brushing them with melted Earth Balance. Once they are baked, you have a beautiful presentation that everyone can just pull apart and eat.

The Pies

I’m not a baker. But, I challenge myself for Thanksgiving. I was never a fan of pumpkin pie but this Pumpkin Cheesecake with a Hint of Chocolate by Nava Atlas is EVERYTHING. I’ve made it every year for at least the last 5 years. I use a frozen vegan pie crust from Whole Foods to simplify things.

For other pie options, check out my Pies Pinterest board.

I top both of them with So Delicious Coco Whip. It’s kind of a must.

That’s what I feed my non vegan family for Thanksgiving! And although I’m all about the food, I look forward most to the moments when we are all around the table together sharing what we are most grateful for each year (but it wouldn’t be possible without all that great food – hahaha).

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

November 8, 2018

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


  • 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


  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


  • 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


  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.


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


  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)


  • 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)


  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?


It’s the perfect time of year for a spring picnic. Basking in the sun with some delicious food is my kind of weekend afternoon. Although any standard basket would do, I am currently working on my new picture book, NOT A PURSE,  (the sequel to NOT A NUGGET), and have handbags on my mind!! So, today, I am breaking out my GUNAS Kangaroo Saffiano in earthy dark green and filling it with all the yummies for my Spring picnic menu below.

This bag works nicely as a “picnic basket,” with an internal zipper pocket, as well as a zipper divider pocket, (great for storing utensils and napkins.) I was able to fit a picnic blanket and all the food in the bag nicely. It looked so cute packed up that I almost didn’t want to lay out the spread! I have to admit, I felt very chic and stylish with my fashion-forward picnic tote. It definitely won’t be the last time I break it out for a feast in the park. If you love the idea, get one for yourself here.

It's the perfect time of year for a spring picnic. Although any standard basket would do, I'm working on my new picture book, NOT A PURSE, and have handbags on my mind!! So I'm breaking out my GUNAS Kangaroo Saffiano in earthy dark green and filling it with all the yummies for a Spring picnic menu.

As for the menu, I love lots of finger foods and appetizers for a Spring picnic to create a whole experience that can sustain appetites for several hours. One of my dream days is to get lost in a book under a tree on a picnic blanket. I can’t remember the last time I did that. This menu includes several munchies and easy-to-eat food that can sit out at room temperature for a bit and still taste delicious.

Stephanie’s Spring Picnic Menu

Baguette and Miyoko’s Cheese

Chopped Vegetable Salad

Slice 2 Persian cucumbers into rounds, 1 cup of cherry tomatoes in half, and 1 watermelon radish into semi-circles (or use a regular radish). Chop 1 head of romaine and toss with the rest of the veggies. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon on top along with Chile Lime Salt (I get mine at Trader Joe’s) to taste. Top with chopped avocado.

Tempeh “Chicken” Salad

I love this tempeh “chicken” salad filling! It’s great on sandwiches, on top of a bed of greens or scooped up in endive!

Beanfields White Bean Chips and Roasted Garlic Lemon Hummus

Combine 1 can chickpeas, 1 head roasted garlic, 1/4 cup vegetable broth and the juice of 1 lemon in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love Uncle Eddies or any of the vegan ones from Trader Joe’s.

What do you think of my Spring picnic menu and basket? What do you love to pack for a picnic?

It's the perfect time of year for a spring picnic. Although any standard basket would do, I'm working on my new picture book, NOT A PURSE, and have handbags on my mind!! So I'm breaking out my GUNAS Kangaroo Saffiano in earthy dark green and filling it with all the yummies for a Spring picnic menu.

I received a discount to purchase a GUNAS handbag for this post, but all opinions are my own.