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It’s Fall Y’all


Fall is finally here. I know, I know… I haven’t posted since spring but being the ringmaster of this circus I call home has been complete chaos. We’re about 3 weeks into our school year and kids are well into their activities. YaYa (my 12 year old) is actually playing in the band this year (the flute) at the middle school near us. I think it’s pretty dope how they’re letting home schooled kids participate in extra curricular activities.
In other news, my baby sister got married a couple weekends ago so the family and I got to take a road trip to Georgia for that, spent some quality time with my siblings, had our typical dysfunctional family moments and witnessed the beautiful union of my sissy and new brother in law.

Now that we’re back to “real life”…. school, home… kids trying to murder each other ever 9 minutes, I figured I’d start blogging again and admit it, y’all missed me…or whatever. I am super geeked that it is fall. This is definitely my favorite season… Cooler weather, hoodies, bonfires, pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING and of course those fall dishes that just warm you right up. And y’all know I love to cook! 

To start the season off right I had to make my  vegetarian chili. It’s a family fave, just the right amount of spicy and just feels so good. AND, something else dope…I served the chili in little pumpkins, saving the seeds to roast tomorrow. Don’t worry, I’ll post a recipe for that as well. But for now, here’s the vegetarian chili recipe. Hope y’all enjoy, let me know how yours turns out if you make it and/or any adjustments you have made, but not too many adjustments… Don’t be messin up my chili y’all. Oh and don’t forget, most recipes I post are for my family size so half it if you need to.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups diced red bell pepper
  • 3 cups diced onion
  • 4 tbs minced fresh garlic
  • 5 Serrano peppers (remove seeds or keep them in if you can handle the heat)
  • 2 large zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups diced portobello mushrooms
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 4 tbs chili powder
  • 4 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 8 large tomatoes, diced
  • 3 cups black beans, drained and rinsed if you’re using canned
  • 2 (15 oz) cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot heat oil. Add onions, peppers and garlic. Stir while cooking for about 5 minutes (yell upstairs for kids to stop running in the house)

Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook for an additional 10 minutes

Add cumin, chili powder, salt and cayenne and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute ( equivalent to the amount of time it will take kids to destroy everything you cleaned)

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, beans and vegetable stock. Stir well and bring to a boil (Yell again for kids to stop running in the house)

Reduce heat, and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. I also use this to time to occasionally check on kids to make sure they’re all still accounted for, in one piece and breathing. I think they all were.

Remove from heat and add any garnishments you like. We use cilantro, green onions, avocados and plain Greek yogurt.

Retrieve any kids that are in time out and serve over rice!

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White Bean and Kale Soup

 

white bean souop

Sooo….yeah, even though Punxsutawney Phil (which is apparently the groundhog’s name) promised us an early spring we are currently in a blizzard right now. I’m not gonna lie, my feelings are kinda  hurt. I was getting used to 50 degree days and wearing light jackets instead of eskimo gear. But nooooo….apparently God felt that the winter we got wasn’t good enough so we’re getting hit with some last minute crap weather.

As some of y’all may or may not know, I usually make a menu at the beginning of the week (I’ll make a future post about that). It just so happened that what I had planned for tonight’s meal was White Bean and Kale soup. Is that not perfect for this weather? I would say that worked out nicely.

This is a pretty easy meal to make and doesn’t take much time at all so if you’re in a hurry or running late to your PTA meeting this would be perfect. Thankfully, they cancelled after school tutoring for my high schooler and gymnastics for my oldest daughter due to weather so I didn’t really need to rush or anything.

This soup is very warming and packed with tons of protein!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 large onions,diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 64 oz veggie broth
  • 6 cups kale, chopped ( I prefer Tuscan but any kale will work)
  • 2 (14.5 oz) cans of diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups cooked cannelini beans (or 2 (14.5 oz) cans drained and rinsed
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp thyme

DIRECTIONS

In a large pot heat oil on medium high

Add onions and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring

Add tomatoes, kale, then broth and cover pot

Cook for 10 minutes or until kale is tender

Add beans and cook for another 5 minutes

Enjoy!

 

 

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Burrito Bowls

burrito bowl

So glad we’re nearing the end of the week. Not that the weekends are much less stressful than weekdays but it is a small break. Between band, gymnastics, ballet, homeschooling and co-op it seems like we’re always on the go. And to think that spring is right around the corner so that means the return of tee ball and bowling. Grrrr….. I try not to make it a chore but sometimes dinner seems like an added sport or activity in this house. Somebody is always complaining about what they don’t eat and then I’m trying to keep it affordable and healthy on top of that. The one thing we do all agree on is Mexican food. is I don’t know what it is about this family that just makes us gravitate towards it but we do. At least once a week we have either nachos, tacos, tostadas or fajitas. I mean, for one it’s quick and easy. Second, most meals are very adaptable to a vegetarian diet..and of course excellent with meat as well. The amount of time it takes you to make this will vary depending on if you’re using store bought salsa (or already have some homemade on hand). We go through a lot of salsa so I actually had to make a jar while the beans were cooking. Also, if you have a big family like mine, it will take longer due to all of the little hands that want to “help.” Miss Olivia likes to press the button on the food processor over….and over….and over, and then I have to deal with the constant arguing over who got more stirs. Like, seriously? Why is that even a thing? But, once I’m able to make it through the sibling rivalry, occasional yelling at the cat (and husband), cleaning up 172 “accidental” spills and get dinner on the table it’s FABULOUS!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups Onions, diced
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbs garlic powder
  • 2 tbs oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  •  Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 cups of black beans
  • 4 tsp hot sauce
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 large avocados
  • Juice of half a small lime
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups long grain brown rice
  • Salsa
  • Green onion, for garnish (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Place rice with 3 cups of water in a medium pot on high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to simmer, and cover, cooking for 35 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving

While rice is cooking add oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Stir in onion and garlic and saute for 7-8 minutes, until onions are softened. Stir in chopped tomatoes, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne and about a tsp of the salt. Saute another 5 minutes until the tomatoes are soft

Stir in beans and hot sauce and heat through. Add salt to taste and turn down to low heat until ready to serve

(For the Avocado Lime Sauce) Place remaining minced garlic clove in food processor with pitted and peeled avocado, lime juice, water and 1/2 tsp of salt. Process until nice and creamy

To serve: A couple spoonfuls of rice on the bottom of the bowl, followed by a couple serving spoons full of beans, a big spoon full of salsa and a big spoon full of the avocado sauce. Garnish with green onions and enjoy!!!!

 

 

 

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Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Lasagna Rolls

Okay, so this has easily become a new fave in The Krazy Eight household. Cheating once again with the cheese….but who doesn’t like lasagna? And I have to add that this was a pretty affordable meal, even for our large family. I made enough for everybody to have seconds (and bought a pineapple for dessert) for under $20! For my meat loving friends, the mushroom could easily be substituted with shredded chicken. Enjoy….and try to fight the urge to sneak several bites of the mushroom mixture while assembling lasagna rolls.

Lasagna Rolls

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups shredded and sauteed mushroom of your choice ( I used baby bellas)
  • 16 whole grain lasagna noodles
  • 4 cups fresh spinach chopped
  • 2 (14.5 oz) jars of diced tomatoes, drained
  • Ground black pepper
  • Himalayan Pink Salt
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 4 1/2 cups milk ( I used almond but whole milk or whatever you drink will work just fine)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add lasagna noodles and cook for 10 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil and spread lasagna noodles in a single layer on sheet.

In a large bowl mix together 2 cups of the spinach, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper and shredded mushrooms. Spread a layer (about 1 -2 tbs) of ricotta cheese along the length of one noodle. Then spoon about 5 tbsp of the mushroom and spinach mixture on top of the ricotta cheese. Roll up noodle and place in a 9 X 9 baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil. Repeat with remaining noodles and mixture.

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for about 90 seconds. Slowly whisk in 2 1/4 cup milk and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking until liquid starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the remaining milk 2 1/4 cup milk and cook, whisking, until desired consistency, about 3 -4 minutes. Stir in lemon juice, the remaining 2 cups of spinach  and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour milk mixture over lasagna rolls and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until cheese is melted.

 

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Baked Vegetable Penne

So, we don’t eat a lot of cheese….or dairy for that matter these days but it’s Sunday so I decided we’d treat ourselves…and I mean, really….who doesn’t love cheese anyway? Having a million kids means that we have to make meals that I can make a lot of and that everybody will like so pasta is a big fave around here. Especially since I have children that will eat 126 times a day and then swear they are starving by the time dinner comes. With all of the fresh sauteed veggies and salad we serve with it, it’s pretty healthy as well. So whether you’re a vegetarian or you’re just looking for something to make for your meatless Mondays this would be perfect. I’d also like to think it would be good if you added diced chicken breasts or maybe Italian sausage. Either way, enjoy and let me know how it turned out for you!PicMonkey Collage

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 cups cooked penne rigate
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow squash, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cups tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves,minced
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 tbs fresh basil, chopped
  • 4 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Salt
  • Crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil to pan. Once hot saute chopped squash, zucchini and onion for 7 minutes

Add tomato, mushrooms and garlic and saute for 5 minutes

Remove from heat and stir in cooked pasta, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, the fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste

In a separate bowl, add ricotta, eggs, and 2 tsp salt. Mix well

Add ricotta mixture to pasta and then spoon into a rectangular baking dish, coating with olive oil first

Sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese and bake for 15 minutes in 400 degree oven

Enjoy!

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Vegetables! Vegetables Vegetables!

There’s no way around the abundance of vegetarian dishes that will be cooked in our house. First, we took this vegetarian challenge on as a family a few years ago….Didn’t last long for  Rj. What do you expect though, he’s a man….gotta have his steak and potatoes right? Actually, it didn’t last long for most of us, except Keja. She’s never returned to eating meat. I spent a long time making her vegetarian alternatives to the food we ate (omitting chicken, substituting with tofu etc.). Yeah, that was very VERY time consuming. Over time we have just started eating less meat. There are weeks we don’t have it at all, but then there are other times I just start craving hot wings and meatballs. Since this change we have dramatically increased our intake of cheese, yogurt, beans, nuts and seeds, ya know, foods that are high in proteins. My daughter always has KIND brand protein bars stocked up in the cabinet and we eat tons of protein fortified foods. So, the protein isn’t really an issue. It’s just that we really prefer not to eat meat. If you know me, you know that I LOVE to cook but I don’t like ordinary meals. I like to try different things and switch it up often. So, I’m really going to try to update often with the recipes we like the most, one of our favorite being Veggie Spaghetti. It is so quick and easy to make and taste omg good. I don’t even miss the beef in this one….not at all.

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VEGGIE SPAGHETTI

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2 green peppers chopped
  • 2 large carrots chopped
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 12 oz tomato paste
  • 2 qt. canned tomatoes
  • 2 zucchini chopped
  • 3 cups chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • Whole Wheat Spaghetti Noodles
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oregano

DIRECTIONS

This is another super easy recipe. Saute the peppers, carrots, onions and garlic in about 1/3 cup of WATER, not oil, until tender. I mean, I guess you you could use oil but I feel like it’s unnecessary so I use water. Once tender add the tomato paste, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms and kale. Mix together and add salt, pepper and oregano to taste. Put a lid on your pot, turn on low heat and cook for about 15 minutes. Serve over spaghetti noodles.