Recipe: Hot Honey Ginger Carrots!

This recipe is so easy and so tasty. You probably already have some (if not all) of these ingredients in your kitchen.

We get carrots in our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box every week, and with a few extras we have hanging around in our fridge, I make these weekly.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 lbs of carrots
  • 2 T oil of your choice, I used Yasukochi Farms Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Yasukochi Farms Honey
  • Pinch Ground Ginger
  • Pinch Pepper Flakes

Directions:

  1. Place a foil-lined baking sheet in a cold oven. Pre-heat to 425 degrees.
  2. While the oven and pan heat, peel and cut into spears or bite-sized pieces, and toss carrots in oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Roast carrots in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring mid-way.
  4. Once the carrots are cooked, toss in a bowl with honey, ginger, and pepper flakes, as serve right away.

These carrots are so good. If you don’t want the heat from the pepper flakes, omit them. The honey and ginger plays nicely with the natural sweetness from the carrots.

Family Recipe: Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

This recipe is easy to make, and amazing. It uses Red Pesto, which has a tomato base. It’s warm, filling, and comforting.

The first thing you need to do is roast some veggies. Check my recipe here. I roast 5-ish lbs of veggies each week, so we usually have some in the fridge.

 

Baked Red Pesto and Roasted Veggie Pasta

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil salted water and cook pasta per package directions. As you drain, reserve some of the pasta water (about 1/2 cup).
  3. In a large baking dish (11×13) mix roasted veggies, pasta, red pesto, and add pasta water a little bit at a time, until all the pasta is coated. You may not need all 1/2 cup.
  4. Mix in 1/2 of the cheese.
  5. Smooth the mixture down into the baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes covered.
  6. After 20 minutes, top with the remaining cheese and continue to bake uncovered for 10-ish minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly.
  7. Serve with garlic bread and a green salad.

Serves 6-8. This re-heats well, if there are any leftovers.

Notes:

  • This dish is vegetarian, but not vegan. This is a vegan red pesto, but I’ve not tried it. To make it vegan, use a vegan red pesto and vegan Italian Cheese blend.
  • Pesto is not a nut-free product! If you have a nut allergy, be careful!
  • Feel free to use your favorite pasta (high protein, gluten-free, made from soy, etc). I do not recommend shirataki noodles- They have a weird texture and smell (seriously).

 

Veggie Loaded Zuppa Toscana Recipe!

I’ve posted my copycat Zuppa Toscana recipe before and it’s good, but this recipe is better! Heartier, more filling, and best yet- Loaded with Veggies. We got all of the veggies from our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box. To learn more about these awesome produce boxes, check out my post here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of Italian Sausage (hot or mild, your choice)
  • 3 T. crumbled cooked bacon (I like the kind from Costco)
  • 2 T. Butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 ribs of celery, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 T. Italian Seasoning
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 medium potatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces (I left the skin on- it’s up to you)
  • 1-quart chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bag triple-washed spinach
  • 1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk (or 12 oz milk of your choice)

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, cook and crumble Italian Sausage
  2. Add in bacon and heat  until sizzling
  3. Add butter, onions, carrots, and celery. Cook until onions are translucent (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add garlic, and herbs/bay leaf- cook until fragrant.
  5. Add broth, and scrape brown cooked bits off the bottom of the pot.
  6. Add Potatoes, cook on medium with the lid on the pot until the potatoes are soft (about 15 minutes).
  7. Remove lid, turn the stove up to high, add spinach. Stir and incorporate the spinach until wilted.
  8. Turn the stove down to low, add milk, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Remove Bay leaf prior to serving.

This makes 10-12 servings. Serve with bread of your choice. I like to top with a little parmesan cheese.

Notes/Substitutions:

  • If you prefer Kale, substitute for the spinach and add another 5-10 minutes of cooking time.
  • This soup keeps well in the fridge for up to a week, and it freezes well.
  • If you are a vegetarian, substitute 2 cans of rinsed/drained cannellini beans in place of the Italian sausage (or meat-free Italian sausage), and use crumbled vegetarian/vegan bacon. Use Vegetable broth, and 12 oz. alternative milk (I like almond or hazelnut for this recipe). Add in 1/2 t. Fennel Seed, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (to mimic the flavor of Italian sausage) when using beans.

 

Vegetarian Recipe Round Up

It’s time for some yummy veggie meals!

Most of these are vegetarian, not vegan. These are recipes that I feed my family, so they are kid-approved and don’t require any weird, expensive ingredients.

And as a bonus, many of the ingredients for these ingredients are frequently given out in Neighborhood Distributions.

Trying to Add Veggies to Your Meals?

Is one of your New Years Resolutions to eat better or increase your intake of fruits and veggies?

Since we have been getting CSA boxes from Yasukochi Family Farms we’ve been adding tons of fresh fruit and veg to our diet. It’s fun to get the kids involved in preparing and tasting new and different fruits and veggies.

I’ve made a round-up with some of my favorite fruit and veggie recipes to inspire you to add a little more “green” to your family’s meals!

New Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

This is a super easy, yummy recipe. My kids love it because it’s cheesy, and vegetarian (important for my big kid). I’m making a big batch for dinner this week, with plenty of leftovers!

It freezes well so you can make a bigger batch and have some for later.

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles (12 oz)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I use Mexican blend)
  • 1 large (28 oz) enchilada sauce (I like green)
  • 16-19 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bag (12 oz-ish) fajita blend (that’s onions and peppers)
  • spray release

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with spray release.
  2. Layer torn tortillas, black bean crumbles, fajitas blend, tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  3. Layer until pan is filled, top with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.
  5. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and diced black olives (optional, but a family favorite). I serve with a Mexican Caesar Salad, or Cilantro Lime Rice-a-Roni.

To make this dish vegan, use vegan cheese.

Mexican Cesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of your favorite lettuce/lettuce blend (romaine and bibb is great!)
  • 2 tomatoes cubed/sliced
  • ½ cup purple onion, cut into rings
  • 1 small can corn, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ c ranch dressing
  • ½ c your favorite salsa

Directions:

  1. Combine the salsa and ranch together, chill in fridge 6-8 hours before servings. This allows the flavors to blend.
  2. Toss the veggies in a chilled salad bowl with the dressing.
  3. Top with ¼ c crushed corn chips/tortilla chips for some added crunch!

Serve topped with grilled chicken breasts for an entree or without meat as a side dish.  Serves 3 as an entree, serves 6 as a side dish.

 

Tutorial: Meal Prep with Protein Bowls!

We don’t eat a lot of meat. Partially because our fridge/freezer is still broken, and it’s getting really expensive. So we’ve been eating more non-meat proteins lately.

This tutorial is more like a choose your own adventure. Depending on your dietary restrictions, food likes and dislikes, and what you have in your pantry and refrigerator will greatly influence how your protein bowls turn out.

The base of your bowl is going to be a grain. We used red and white quinoa, but you can use brown rice, bulgur, Right Rice (which isn’t actually rice), you could use high protein pasta like the kind made with lentils, or if you don’t like any of those you could just use regular pasta, noodles, or white rice. It won’t be as high in protein. We prepared 8-ish cups of quinoa cooked per package directions with vegetable broth.

Your next step is to prep your vegetables. The vegetables will take up the bulk of this dish. Because we get a variety of veggies each week with our Yasukochi Farms CSA box, it was easy to select our veggies. We used onions, carrots, celery, peppers (bell peppers), zucchini, mushrooms, and bok choy. We added cherry tomatoes uncooked directly to the bowls while packing. 

Cut your veggies into bite-size pieces (you want to end up with about 8-10 cups of veggies, and sauté them in about a tablespoon of oil (I love avocado oil, but it’s up to you).

Because you will be re-heating these veggies before serving, cook them until they are al dente, or still slightly crisp. Otherwise, they can get mushy.

I started with the onions, cooking them until translucent, then adding the mushrooms, and cooking the moisture out. After that, add the remaining veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes.

While your veggies are cooking, in a separate pan you’re going to heat 2 tablespoons of oil, your choice. This is where we’re going to cook our protein and sauce. We cooked salmon. The salmon was cut into bite-size pieces and then lightly sautéed in oil until it was about 3/4 of the way cooked.

Then we added a jar of Private Selection tikka masala curry sauce (it’s available at Kroger brand stores). I’m usually not a big fan of premade sauces, but in the case of Indian food, the sauces are so much more financially savvy. I believe the sauce was three dollars or less for the jar, and it tastes delicious. Like restaurant quality mild tikka masala sauce. If you wanna add heat, you can add some chili oil or red pepper flakes. But I don’t recommend doing it while you’re cooking, because it will just infuse it with so much heat.

We cooked the sauce with the salmon pieces for about 10 minutes added bok choy and allow that to cook down for another five minutes.

And now the assembly!

We set out eight of the Rubbermaid storage containers (these are the ones that we use).

 

 

Each container contains:

  • one cup of cooked red and white quinoa
  • one and a half cups of vegetables
  • 2 6-oz ladles full of salmon and sauce

Once the containers had cooled to room temperature lids were put on, and they were stored in the refrigerator. When it is time to eat, we will then to the lids and reheat them in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Here are some other options if Salmon Tikka Masala isn’t your bag:

Meat/non-meats (you need 1- 1 1/2 lbs of meat/non-meats for this recipe)

  • ground beef/chicken/turkey
  • lamb chops
  • boneless chicken breasts/boneless thighs
  • beef (cut of your choice)
  • veggie crumbles/other faux meat
  • pollack/tilapia/fish of your choice

Sauce- All of these sauces are pre-made. Feel free to use your own recipe for your favorite sauce.

Kevin’s Sauces has a wide variety of sauces that would be GREAT!

Talk Back: I’d love to hear about your protein bowls- What combination of sauce and veggies would you use?

 

Get Cookin with Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto (Review and Giveaway)!

Disclaimer: I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links. For more information about the use of affiliate links and partnerships, visit my disclosure page. 

Yesterday we had an amazing dinner! We’re still without a full-size fridge, so we’re without meat or a lot of our usual ingredients, thankfully Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto to the rescue! I paired the pesto with farfalle (bowtie pasta), and roasted veggies. It was tasting, filling, and a great way to get veggies into your kiddos.

I wrote down the recipe to share with you. The Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto sauce is so rich and creamy and pairs really well with the veggies I chose.

 

 

 

 

Roasted Veggies and Farfalle with Creamy Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 1 6.2 oz jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto
  • 1 box of pasta (I used Barilla Farfalle)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1/2 sweet onion, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1 red bell pepper, deseeded, and cut into slices
  • 1 zucchini, cut into coins
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • parmesan to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast Veggies (complete directions can be found here)
  2. While veggies are roasting, bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Cook pasta per box directions.
  4. Reserve 3 T. of pasta water when draining cooked pasta.
  5. Mix a jar of Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto into the cooked pasta.
  6. Add roasted veggies to the pasta/sauce mixture. Stir to combine.
  7. Serve with a little extra parmesan cheese, as needed.

This is a great, easy dish that’s perfect for meat-free nights. This Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto is so versitile. In addition to using on pasta, it makes a great veggie dip (I might be guilty of dipping some of the raw veggies into the jar while I was cooking), a sandwich spread (in place of mayo or mustard), or for marinating meat. Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto does not need to be heated prior to eating, and it’s shelf-stable prior to opening. You can find it in the store near the jarred pasta sauces. I found it at Target, but you can also find it on Amazon.

Giveaway: I want to share Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto with you! I’ve got 2 coupons each for one free jar (up to $3.99) of Barilla Pesto (expiration 12/31/2021). I will choose 2 winners on 10/8/2021 and notify them via email. 

Entering is easy: Leave a comment on this blog post with how you would use Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto!

 

2021 Summer Lunch Programs for Kids (And Other Free Food Resources in San Diego)

file0001360139839

I have been working on this post for weeks, making phone calls and researching. I wanted to get this post up as soon as I could. Unfortunately, there are still some areas that haven’t posted their plans for free summer meals for kids.

Santee School District will be providing summer drive-thru meal distribution from June 14 through July 30, Monday-Friday, from 10:00-10:30 am, at Pepper Drive and Rio Seco schools.  Extended school year (summer school) and students attending Project Safe will be provided with food.

San Diego Unified School District has partnered with San Diego Parks and Recreation to have food available at neighborhood schools and Recreation centers throughout the city of San Diego. The complete list of locations can be found here. Times vary by location.

Grossmont Union High School District will be providing lunch for kids 2-18 all summer. Kicking it off, they will be giving out meal boxes on Monday June 7 from 11:30 to 1:30 on a first come first serve basis in the same area where lunches are distributed.  Summer meal distribution starts on June 14th 11:30-1:30 Monday through Friday.

Other school districts may be offering free lunches this summer, but currently there isn’t much information available.

If you don’t find any facilities near you offering free lunches, I recommend contacting 211, they may have more updated information.

And the San Diego Food Bank is continuing their neighborhood distributions– Lots of produce and goodies are available each week. No proof of need or residency requirements.

There are all sorts of organizations looking to help families in need.

Even if you are not in dire need, if you need help stretching your budget, these resources are here for you!

Talk Back: How are you stretching your food budget this summer?

5/23/2021 Weekly Meal Plan

0a5e9dab796cea8a07eabe4eb4795b9e.jpg

The fridge was fixed on Tuesday and I filed claims for the lost groceries through the warranty, however, the check hasn’t yet arrived yet.

I have yet to shop for groceries this week, but at least I know what’s in our CSA box that arrives tomorrow.

The CSA emails us in advance to give us a heads up as to what may be in our boxes each week, and that really gives me an upper hand when it comes to meal planning for the week.

Veggies and fruit are delivered each Monday by Yasukochi Family Farms CSA. For $25, it’s a great deal. I don’t have to pick anything, go to the store, or carry it upstairs. I can’t go to the store and get the same amount we get weekly for $25. Seriously. It’s a deal. I spend about an hour on Monday afternoon cleaning and prepping veggies for the rest of the week.

I’ll be hitting up the grocery store this afternoon. Today I’m making a big batch of bolognese sauce today- I’ll be using it a few times this week, and freezing the rest for future use.  Tomorrow once the CSA box arrives I’ll prep the veggies and fruit for the rest of the week.

For those of you that are new to meal planning, I’ve got an easy 101 style post here with super easy tips and steps. After you get that down, here is info about batch or freezer cooking.

I’ve gotten a pretty good inventory of the pantry, freezer, and fridge done (I try to update it after every shopping trip), so I’m able to plan meals and use up what we’ve got with little waste. If you are looking for a kitchen inventory printable, I like the kitchen inventories here. They are great printables.

I only post our dinner plans for the week, because our other meals are usually the same each day.

Breakfast: Coffee with 1/2 and 1/2  for me, and pancakes or something along those lines for the kids.  The kids are nuts about pancakes. The Big Kid has been on a protein shake kick in the AM.

Lunch: Kids take lunch to school. I eat leftovers. Everyone rejoices.

Dinner: Usually, I do a crockpot meal on Mondays, but now that we are home all the time, we’ve been having an odd combination of fully home-cooked, scratch meals, and frozen entrees and veggies. I have been posting our meal plans on Instagram too- As well as pics of stuff we are doing to keep busy.

  • Sunday:  Bolognese Sauce, pasta, roasted cauliflower
  • Monday:   BBQ chicken, salad, texas toast
  • Tuesday:   Soup Night: Soup, biscuits, fruit salad
  • Wednesday:  Nugget night (nuggets, fruit, crackers, milk)
  • Thursday:   Baked Ziti (with bolognese sauce, cheese, and veggies: zucchini, carrots, onions, celery)
  • Friday:  Pizza/Takeout Night
  • Saturday: Meal o’ Snacks and /or leftovers

Please stay safe you guys!

Talk Back: What are you cooking for dinner this week?