Meatless Monday: Vegetable Pancakes with Cilantro Cream


Vegetable Pancakes

This week, with the introduction of Summer Vegetable Pancakes,  I am formally introducing ‘Meatless Monday’ to my blog.  I will regularly post meatless main dishes on select Mondays to help encourage all of us to eat at least one meatless meal each week.

Meatless MondaysGoing meatless once a week can protect our health.  It may reduce our risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Meatless meals can also help our environment by reducing our carbon footprint and saving precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.  For both of these reasons and for great taste, check out Meatless Mondays and look to Myplate2yours for delicious meatless recipes!

Vegetable Pancakes with Cilantro Cream (serves 3)

1 medium zucchini, grated (about 2 cups)

1 cup shredded carrots

1/2 sweet onion, fine dice (1/2 cup)

1/2 small yellow bell pepper (1/4 cup)

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

For Cilantro Cream, mix to combine yogurt, garlic salt, cumin and cilantro in a small bowl.  Cover and chill until ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sauté zucchini, carrots, onion, and bell pepper until tender, about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, use a whisk to beat eggs.  Add breadcrumbs and celery seed, combine well.  Add vegetable mixture, stir to combine.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet.  Measure 1/4 cup batter for each of 6 pancake (cooking 3 at a time). Press down to make 1/4 inch thick pancake.  Cook for 2-3 minutes until pancake sets and golden when flipped.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes on other side.  Repeat with remaining batter.  Serve pancakes with a dollop of Cilantro Cream.  Enjoy!

The recipe was inspired by Fine Cooking’s Fresh & Quick 2013

Shakshuka from College


I don’t know what I appreciated most about this dish the first time I tried it… the great flavor, easy prep, or nutritional profile (lean protein from eggs, phytonutrients from veggies).  Probably the best part for me was that my daughter Becca treated me to it while home on her Spring Break from college.  She usually comes home with a quarterly food publication I thoroughly enjoy, Spoon Magazine.  This recipe was from the Winter issue and I had to share it with you!  Shakshuka (or Shakshouka) is a dish of poached eggs in a slightly spicy and very delicious tomato sauce served with a pita bread. It’s a versatile dish that can be easily enjoyed any time of day: breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I came to find out that it’s a staple in Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt, and also popular in Israel.  It is quickly becoming popular with my family, too!

Have you tried Shashuka before? Please let me know how it compares to this recipe. Enjoy!

Shakshuka (serves 4)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 jalapeño, seeded and minced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 green pepper, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

1- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

4-6 eggs

1 tablespoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

Salt to taste

Whole grain pitas (gluten free, if needed), 4 each

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Sauté onion and peppers until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and spices, and cook another 2 minutes.  Add tomatoes and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add salt to taste, if needed.  Crack eggs over sauce.  Cover skillet and cook until eggs are just set, about 5 minutes.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve in bowls with pita bread.


Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta Bowl

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta

I’ve made this dish several times.  Last night, my kids asked me why I haven’t shared it.  I guess it’s because I never had a picture of the finished recipe…so I snapped this photo right in the middle of dinner!

The butternut squash develops a nice sweetness when roasted which complements the fresh spinach and roasted onions.  The parmesan cheese brings all the flavors together.  It’s so YUMMY!  It’s so EASY!  Enjoy!

Roasted Butternut Squash Pasta Bowl (serves 6)

1 pound pasta (I prefer Barilla Plus Rotini pasta for this dish)

1 medium butternut squash (about 2-1/2 pounds, peeled and diced*  (or 2 pounds packaged/pre-diced)

1 medium onion, large diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cups fresh baby spinach

2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

*A butternut squash can be intimidating to dice.  My method is to divide and conquer!  Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut off the neck of the squash.  Then cut the squash ‘bowl’ in half.  With a large spoon, carve out the seeds and stringy pulp.  With a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off all three sections.  Dice the peeled squash.  I hope you’ll find that dicing a butternut squash is very manageable when the squash is divided into sections.  Another option is to purchase the squash already peeled and diced!  

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place diced squash, onion, and garlic on a baking sheet.  Toss with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast high in oven for 30 minutes.

With 15 minutes remaining, prepare pasta according to package directions.  Place 2 cups of spinach in a large pasta bowl.  Add 2/3 pound of hot pasta.  Add roasted vegetables.  Toss with parmesan cheese.  Add more pasta, if desired.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed.  Enjoy!

Red Beans and Rice Soup

school closedThe kids are home for another day.  It’s too cold to go to the grocery store.  What to make for dinner?  Here’s the perfect recipe: Red Beans and Rice Soup!  I’m hoping you’ll already have these items in your pantry.  What makes this soup special is homemade Cajun spices.  It’s also quick to make!  Sometimes I will garnish this soup with sweet chicken sausage, the kind that is precooked.  Just slice up a package (usually 4 or 5 links) and throw into the soup to heat at the end.  This soup will warm your heart on a very cold day!  Enjoy!

Red Beans and Rice Soup (serves 6)A mixture of beans and spices for cooking

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 small yellow bell pepper, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (recipe* below)

6 cups vegetable broth

3 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cups cooked brown rice

3 green onions, sliced

In a large pot heat oil over medium heat oil and sauté onion, bell pepper, and celery and until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add broth and beans and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.  Add rice and green onions and cook to heat contents thoroughly.  Remove from heat and season as needed.

*Cajun Seasoning

2 ½ tablespoons salt

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon black pepper

2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Combine salt, oregano, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper in small sealed bag.  Shake to mix.  Store unused portion in the sealed bag.

Sweet & Savory Wild Rice Bake

Thanksgiving is upon us!  Next week will mark the 150th anniversary of celebrating Thanksgiving as a national holiday as declared by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.  Sharing a meal of thanks with family and friends is a cherished tradition that keeps our nation truly special.  In the tradition of sharing, I’ve got a recipe for you!  What makes Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Bake unique is that it satisfies many different needs at your holiday table:  it’s vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, and very tasty!  It’s the dish I’m bringing to my family’s feast.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sweet and Savory Wild Rice Bake (serve 4-6)

Wild Rice

1 cup wild rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 stalks celery, diced

1 small sweet onion, diced

2 cloves minced garlic

1 small jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped

1/3 cup toasted pepitas

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/3 cup vegetable broth

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Cook rice according to package instructions.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small skillet, heat oil and sauté celery, onion, garlic, and jalapeno until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add coriander and cook until fragrant.  Remove from heat and add pepitas, raisins and rice.  Season with salt and pepper. Stir in vegetable broth.  Fill a 9-inch square baking ban with rice mixture.  Cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes until fully heated.  Drizzle with vinegar.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin-Pear Soup

Pumpkin-Pear Soup

I’ve been on a roll with posting ‘orange’ recipes in the past few weeks: Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Baked Pumpkin Pudding, and Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil, Apple Salad.  Here’s the one I promised last week, Pumpkin-Pear Soup.  It was featured in a class I recently taught at Marcel’s, Easy Fall Soups and Quick Bread.  My friend Molly attended the class and has made this soup twice since.  The original recipe uses an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Molly uses a stand blender to puree her soup.  I’ve listed both versions in the recipe below.

The finished taste of this soup is rich and creamy.  Your family may be surprised to find there is no cream in this soup.  Molly’s was!

Pear-Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Pepitas (serves 6)

2 ripe pears

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

3 tablespoons sage leaves, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

15 ounce can pumpkin puree

4 cups (1 quart) vegetable broth

Juice from 1/2 lemon (1 tablespoon)

Cut pears in half.  Slice one half into matchsticks.  In a small bowl, combine matchsticks with lemon juice and one tablespoon chopped sage.  Set aside. Dice remaining 1-1/2 pears for the soup.

In a stockpot, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add onion and pears.  Cook until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes.  Add sage, allspice, salt and pepper.  Stir to heat spices.

Immersion blender version:  Add pumpkin and broth.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover partially allowing steam to vent, for 10 minutes.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.

Molly’s blender version:  Blend contents of the stockpot with some of the broth in a blender. Return contents to pot and add pumpkin and remaining broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer.  Cover (allow a slight vent) and cook for 10 minutes.

All:  Portion soup into 6 bowls and garnish with reserved pear and pepitas.  Enjoy!!

Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil, and Apple Salad Bowl

Sweet Potato Lentil Salad

Fall flavors abound in this recipe…roasted sweet potatoes, tart apples, and earthy lentils.  It can be served either as a side dish or a vegetarian main dish. This salad was one of the recipes I taught in class this week at Marcel’s.  It was enjoyed by all!

My next class, on Tuesday, October 29th, 6:30-8pm, is a delicious combination of easy soups and quick bread just in time for these busy fall nights.  On the menu:  Pear and Pumpkin Soup, Cajun Red Beans and Rice Soup, Apple Oatmeal Mini Loaves.  These recipes are vegetarian (although I will have some meat ‘on the side’ for any carnivore guests) and gluten-free, and all very delicious!  Click HERE to register….hope you can make it!

Warm Sweet Potato, Lentil and Apple Salad Bowl

Serves 4-5 (main dish), 6-8 (side dish)

1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peel and dice

1 small red onion, large dice

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)

Salt and pepper

8 ounces mushrooms (button, chantrelle, or cremini), sliced

2 cloves minced garlic

2 stalks celery, sliced

4 small tart apples (Jonathon or Cortland), dice

1 cup cooked lentils

Balsamic glaze, if desired

Preheat oven 425 degrees.  Place potatoes and onions on baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.  Roast high in oven for 20 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, sauté mushrooms, garlic and celery in 1/2 tablespoon oil until mushrooms and celery are softened.  Salt and pepper, to taste.  Add apples and cook until just warm.

Pour contents of sauté pan into a large bowl.  Add roasted potatoes and lentils, stir to combine.

Serve in bowls and garnish with Balsamic glaze, if desired.

Stuffed Poblanos with Corn and Black Beans

Stuffed Poblano PeppersMaybe it was because he had just gotten home from hockey practice, but my picky eater gobbled up this dinner!  He saw me making it before he left for practice- the black beans (he likes them!) and corn cut from the cob- which did pique his interest.  What I didn’t expect was that he would do anything more that just taste this dish.  I was wrong.  He even asked if I would make it again soon!  Is my picky eater growing up?!

I hope your family enjoys this easy recipe, too!

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Corn and Black Beans (serves 4)

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed

2 small onions, 1 halved / 1 diced

3 garlic cloved, 2 whole / 1 minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 can (19 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

kernels from 1 large ear corn (or 1/2 cup canned or frozen)

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 large poblano peppers, halved lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed

4 cups cooked quinoa

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a food processor, purée tomatoes, jalapeno, halved onion, and 2 garlic cloves.  Pour sauce into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine beans, corn, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, diced onions, minced garlic, cumin and 3/4 cup water.  Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon mixture evenly into poblano halves.  Place halves on top of sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Cover the baking dish with foil.

Bake until the poblanos are tender, about 45 minutes.  Uncover, continue to cook until the sauce thickens slightly and cheese in browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve over cooked quinoa.  Enjoy!

Adapted Martha Stewart Living, 2013

Egg, Spinach & Feta Pita

Egg Spinach Feta Pita

Last week I wrote about back-to-school lunches.  I hope you found a few ideas to add ease, flavor and nutrition to your brown bag routine.  The menu I developed was varied but was missing a lunch featuring eggs.  I like eggs because they are quick cooking and portable.  Here is a sandwich that, with the help of a microwave, can be assembled in just a few minutes and boasts a great taste!  Enjoy!

Easy Egg, Spinach & Feta Pita (serves 1)

1 large egg

1/2 cup fresh baby spinach, chopped

1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper to taste

Whole grain pita pocket, split

Using cooking spray, lightly coat the interior of a small microwavable bowl.  Crack egg into the bowl and whisk with a fork to combine yolk with white.  Top with spinach and season with salt and pepper.  Microwave for 1 minute or less, until egg is cooked.  Split egg portion and fill pockets.   Sprinkle with feta cheese.  The pita can be eaten immediately or wrapped in foil for your sack lunch.

Sweet Pea and Potato Frittata

Sweet Pea Potato Frittata

This is an easy breakfast or lunch with flavors of spring:  sweet peas, new potatoes, and fresh dill.  The only requirement is a non-stick, oven safe skillet.  The rest is super easy and so delicious!

Sweet Pea and New Potato Frittata (serves 4)

8 large eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 new potatoes

½ cup sweet peas, fresh (cook with potatoes) or frozen (thawed)

½ large sweet onion, finely diced

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

½ cup shredded parmesan cheese

¾ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper

Fresh dill sprigs, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk eggs in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper and ¼ cup parmesan.  Set aside.

Bring potatoes to a boil in water and cook for 15 minutes until tender (add peas, if fresh, after 5 minutes).  Drain and dice.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large heavy, non-stick, oven-safe skillet.  Sauté onions for 5 minutes until translucent (do not brown).  Add potatoes and peas.

Add eggs to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, 1-2 minutes until eggs begin to set.  Top with tomatoes and remaining parmesan.  Place in center of oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until the center is puffed and just set.  Let sit for 5 minutes out of the heat.  Run a rubber spatula around the edge and beneath the frittata before transferring to a platter.  Garnish with fresh dill and cut into wedges.  Serve with a simple green salad.  Enjoy!!