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Cooking Corner

Recipes for Healthy Meals, Snacks, and Desserts

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Healthy eating doesn't have to be bland, tasteless, and monotonous.


While rice cakes, celery, and carrot sticks are certainly an option, well-prepared healthy meals and snacks can and should be colorful, nutritious, and -yes- delicious!

After all, if you don't like eating it, you probably won't.


Healthy Meal Recipes


Healthy Dessert Recipes

Healthy Snack Recipes

         Avocado Lime Hummus 













1 can (15-16oz) garbanzo beans/chickpeas rinsed and drained

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1 cup fresh parsley (dried will work too!)

1 large (or 2 small) garlic clove

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lime juice

1/2 tsp maple syrup or honey

1 T black pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 cup grated romano cheese - dairy free option is 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

Tortilla Chips/Bread Bowl/whatever vessel you want to serve it with!


In your food processor/blender, grind your garlic, parsley, cheese/pine nuts slowly with the lime juice.  

Add in the seasonings and alternate with the garbanzos, avocado and olive oil until blended.

Store in an air-tight container if anything is left!


1/4 cup (calculated without chips/bread): 164 calories, 15g fat (2g saturated fat), 2mg cholesterol, 

55mg sodium with cheese/10mg with pine nuts, 6g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 8g fiber), 8g protein.  

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Easy Baked Rutabaga Chips  














  2 large rutabagas or 3 small to medium  (about the size of a fist)

1–1 &1/2 T olive oil  

 1 T  black pepper

1 T  garlic powder

1 tbsp  cayenne pepper

optional:  1 tbsp sea salt


Additional toppings combinations: parmesan cheese & garlic, ginger and curry, mulling spices, lots of options!


1.  Preheat oven to 450F. 

2.   Prepare baking sheet/pan with parchment paper/non stick spray/olive oil.

3.  Wash and peel rutabagas, then cut into manageable sections to slice.


A mandolin slicer works the fastest.  A veggie/fruit peeler works well too.

If you use your spiralizer- anchor it in well.  For those who have never worked with a rutabaga, and want to use a knife, I would suggest sticking with a good paring knife to have the best control.


4.   In a small bowl or ziplock bag, place all your spices and oils; and mix.

5.  Carefully coat the chips and lay them flat on the pan/ sheet and spread evenly. Place in oven


Depending on how thin you made them will determine cooking time, and how crispy you want them.


  • 7.  If your chips are very thin, be sure to check on them often so they don’t         burn. Bake for 15 minutes, turning them half way.

  • 8.  Reduce to 350F and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until crispy.               Cover if they start to burn on edges.

  • 9.  Remove from oven and try to let them cool before eating! 


  • Nutritional Information- seasonings and toppings will change it.  Below is per medium sized rutabaga and with the above recipe :

  • 2 Servings

  • 100 Cal

  • 23mg sodium

  • 4 g fiber

  • 2 g protein

  • 5g sugar

  • 3 g fat from the olive oil (0g of saturated)


Rosemary Cauliflower Soup














2 T olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped fine

2T black pepper

3T rosemary (fresh or dried)

1T thyme

1/4c chopped parsley (fresh or dried)

1 lg head of cauliflower, rinsed, cored, separated into florets.  About 3lbs.

2 stalks of celery, chopped

4-6 c broth or stock (vegetable or chicken; beef for a hearty take)

( Optional:  1 parsnip- chopped if you want a sweetness to the savory)  





Step 1:  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the celery, onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring often, until it softens and translucent, about 5 minutes.


Step 2: Add the parsley, thyme, rosemary and black pepper, stirring for another minute and turn the heat down to low.  Pour in one cup of broth/stock- stand back to not get hit with steam, and pour in 3 more cups.


Step 3:   Add the cauliflower (and any other vegetables), turn to medium high to bring to a soft boil. Then turn to low - cover and simmer for 10-15 mins or until the veggies are fork tender.  While simmering, set your blender/food processor up and grab a large mixing bowl.


Step 4:  Once tender, turn off and remove from heat.  Allow it to cool briefly and work in small batches: blend 1 cup of vegetables with 1 cup of broth/stock at a time.  Once you are finished, place the soup back in the original pan, use additional stock to bring to the consistency desired and salt if desired as well.


Can be served immediately, topped with lemon zest/ drizzle of olive oil/ cheese/croutons/cream/etc.



Nutrition Facts: (using my chicken bone broth- no salt added)

Kcals: 95  -  Fat: 3mg   -  Fiber: 4.7g   -   Protein: 3g  -  Sodium: 59mg   -   Sugar: 4g

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Hamburger Soup with Meat and Vegan


With Meat














2lbs of ground meat or meat substitute

3-4 T olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped   

2 stalks of celery, chopped

4 whole or 2 cups of sliced carrots

1 c riced cauliflower

2 large sweet potatoes diced large (white potatoes work just fine)

14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes; no salt added

6 oz can tomato paste

2T black pepper

3T Italian seasoning 

1T oregano

1T thyme

1/4c chopped parsley (fresh or dried)

5-6 c broth or stock (vegetable or chicken)

1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

( Optional:  1-2T of coconut amino or Worcestershire sauce for vegetarian preparation)  





Step 1:  Brown your meat, whether plant based or not in a non stick pan, or cast iron skillet with 1T of olive oil.  For those using animal protein, drain the fat and rinse if needed to get more fat off.  Do not with the plant based meat!


Step 2:  Heat 3T olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the peppers, celery, onion and garlic.  Cook, stirring often, until it softens and translucent, about 5 minutes.


Step : Add the parsley, Italian seasoning, oregano, thyme, cayenne and black pepper, stirring for another minute and turn the heat down to low.  Add your aminos or Big W sauce now and pour in one cup of broth/stock- stand back to not get hit with steam.


Step 3:   Add the diced tomatoes, 2-3 more cups of broth/stock and stir in the tomato paste.  Add the rest of your broth/stock, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and any meat. Turn to medium high to bring to a soft boil. Then turn to low - cover and simmer for 20-25 mins or until the carrots and potatoes fork tender.  


Can be served immediately, topped with more onion/sour cream/ cheese/croutons/etc.



Nutrition Facts: (This will vary with the type of protein used.  Plant based you will have more fiber and lower calories, fat and protein)

Kcals: 180-220  -  Fat: 3-5mg   -  Fiber: 6 -12g   -   Protein: 15-22g  -  Sodium: 165mg   -   Sugar: 3g



2 c of brown lentils, rinsed                              3/4c of sweet onion, coarsely chopped - About 3/4 of a medium onion                      8oz fresh white mushrooms, sliced or if whole- quartered                                              15oz can of beets sliced or diced coarsely,  drain well                                                            1/2c flaxseed meal                                            1/2c  coconut flour



In a saucepan, cover the lentils with 1" of water and bring to a boil over high heat for 3-5 mins and reduce to low for approximately 10 mins, until they are soft.  Just soft, not mushy!  Remove from heat, drain and rinse in cool water.  While the lentils are cooking, press your beets between layers of paper towel to remove excess fluid.

Place the lentils in the food processor and pulse until most are finely chopped.  Scrape out into a large bowl.  Don't worry about cleaning the food processor!                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Now, put the beets, onions and mushrooms in the food processor and pulse until finely chopped, but not a puree.  Scrape out into the bowl with the lentils.

Stir in the flaxseed meal and coconut flour!  You can store from here, or use for a meal!



Nutritional Information: (per 1/4lb)

Kcals: 180   -   Fat:  1.8g      -    Protein: 12.8   -    Fiber: 12.7g   -   Sodium: 15mg    -  Sugar: 3g


Split Pea & Parsnip Soup














Here's another hearty, comfort soup that is easy and versatile!   You can dice your veggies fine and serve it a little rustic, or not and use your blender/food processor and have a creamier blend.  This can be made entirely in one pot, or 2 and use your crockpot.   


*For those who eat meat, chicken broth or that ham bone in the fridge/freezer will bring out more flavor.  For those who don't;  use aminos or Worcestershire sauce to help bring out some of that richness.  You can roast the veggies to help decrease cooking time, as well as soaking the split peas overnight. 


*If you are using your crock pot, sauté the garlic, onion, celery, ginger (if fresh) in a frying pan and transfer on to your crockpot with the other ingredients on low for 6-8hrs.


Today's kitchen experiment for me is Ziti with the vegan lentil/mushroom/beet meat replacement...  Wish me luck!






2 T olive oil

1 large sweet onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1T chopped ginger (or powdered)

2T black pepper

2T poultry seasoning

2T thyme

2T curry powder

2 bay leaves

1-2T aminos or Worcestershire to taste

1/4c chopped parsley (fresh or dried) 

1lb split peas - rinsed 

2 lg parsnips- diced

1 or 2 lg carrots -diced

2 stalks of celery, chopped

6-8 c broth or stock (you will need the 6 if you plan to blend or if your peas are old or not pre-soaked)






Step 1:  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the celery, onion and garlic (ginger if fresh).  Cook, stirring often, until it softens and translucent, about 5 minutes.


Step 2: Add all of your spices except the bay leaves, stirring for another minute and turn the heat down to low.  Pour in one cup of broth/stock- stand back to not get hit with steam, stir in the parsnips, carrots and split peas, then pour in 3 more cups.


Step 3:   Add the bay leaves and turn to medium high to bring to a soft boil. Then turn to low - cover and simmer for 4-6 hrs or until the veggies are fork tender and peas to the desired texture.  


Optional: Step 4:  Once tender, turn off and remove from heat.  Allow it to cool briefly, take the bay leaves out before blending.   Either use your immersion blender or work in small batches to blend 1 cup of vegetables with 1 cup of broth/stock at a time.  Once you are finished, place the soup back in the original pan, use additional stock to bring to the consistency desired and salt if desired as well.  I like the flavor of from the bay leaves and I put them back in until the soup is cool enough to put in the fridge.


Can be served immediately- always better the next day!



Nutrition Facts: (using my chicken bone broth- no salt added)


Kcals: 240  -  Fat: 2mg   -  Fiber: 23g   -   Protein: 19g  -  Sodium: 33mg   -   Sugar: 10g


Grandmother B's Corned Beef & Cabbage










2 &1/2  to 4 pound brisket 

2 bay leaves

·1 teaspoon sea salt or 2 celery stalks chopped

 1 pound baby carrots

·1 large & 1 small Vidalia or sweet onion  (grapefruit and an orange)

·1 & ½  pounds  whole red potatoes (8-10) or 4 Idaho/Yukon Gold/Sweet Potatoes, chop in ¼’s, approx. 4 medium

1 large Granny Smith Apple, cut in small slices

1 large head cabbage, chopped, approximately 2 pounds


To Corn your Beef:

·Equal parts of Budweiser and Vernors Ginger Ale  ( I use  half of both a 24-25 oz can and a single 16-20 pop) if you don’t want the alcohol, use cider vinegar ½ cup and ½ cup no salt added tomato juice,  1T of black pepper, with the ginger ale.)

·         1 teaspoon thyme

·         1/2 cup brown sugar

·         1 teaspoon fennel

·         1 teaspoon cinnamon

·         1 teaspoon mustard seeds

·         1 teaspoon black peppercorns

·         1 teaspoon ground or 4 whole cloves

·         1 teaspoon allspice

·         2 bay leaves, crumbled

·         1 clove garlic, chopped

·         1 tablespoon both garlic powder and                     ground black pepper

·         1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

·         1 teaspoon tarragon

·         1 (2 to 3 pound) beef brisket, trimmed

·         1 small onion, quartered


Put the above in blue in a tightly covered pan in the oven on 200 for 6-10 hrs (the cut of your brisket will determine this; if it’s a pretty flat cut, 6-8.  If it’s cut thick, more like a pot roast, 8-10hrs.)

Let it cool, then drain off the renderings and either use a large stock pot, or crock pot.   You can use a covered turkey roaster too in a pinch!

Place the remainder of your “mix” (the ginger ale and beer, or ginger ale, vinegar, and tomato in the bottom.) Place the meat, onions, carrots, *celery or pinch of salt, and apple in.  Cover with 2/3’s of the cabbage and add all of the seasonings in for a 2nd time!  Add the potatoes, finish with the rest of the cabbage.   Cover tightly and cook on low for 3-4 hrs or until potatoes are fork tender.   *** if you are using the roaster, put the potatoes in when the carrots start to soften and the cabbage is cooking down. We like lots of veggies…I usually buy a 2nd small head of cabbage to add in towards the end when it cooks down!


Nutrition Facts: 


Kcals: 219  -  Fat: 10mg   -  Fiber: 11g   -   Protein: 17g  -  Sodium: 182mg   -   Sugar: 4g 

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Savory Butternut Squash Soup 


(Dairy Free; Vegan Option)












32oz of vegetable or chicken stock/broth-fat and sodium free

1 medium butternut squash (approx 2 & 1/2- 3lbs peeled and cubed.  Frozen will work too.

1 small sweet onion diced (1 cup)

1 small granny smith apple; cored and chopped

1 large (or 2 small) garlic cloves  

1 celery stalk chopped

1 T fresh ginger diced coarsely or 2T powdered

1/2 cup fresh sage- chopped coarsely or 1/4 cup dried 

1/4  cup fresh rosemary-  chopped coarsely or 2 T dried

2 T olive oil

1 T black pepper

2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp maple syrup or honey if desired

1/4 tsp salt if desired



** Quick time saver and great flavor option...roast the squash, apple, onion, celery, garlic while sauteing the ginger in the olive oil then add to your stock pot!


First, chop your vegetables and then add the olive oil to your stock/soup pot and warm.  Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger, and celery until it becomes translucent.  Then add the squash, apple, 1/2 of your stock/broth and cook until it begins to soften. Then, stir in the herbs and seasonings. Pour half of the remaining broth/stock and simmer until the squash becomes tender, about 20 minutes.  


When the squash mixture is soft, let it cool (or use a water bath) and either transfer small amounts to your food processor/regular blender, using the remaining stock/broth for each batch to blend smoothly. 


Or use your immersion blender in the pot; slowly adding in the remaining stock/broth.

Add the maple syrup/honey and salt to taste if desired.   


* Too Thin?  Add blend in 1 medium cooked sweet or white potato!

* Too thick?  More stock or broth!


1 cup (calculated without additional salt or syrup/honey): 150 calories, 2g fat, 2mg cholesterol, 45mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate (3g sugar, 3g fiber), 1.4g protein with veggie broth/stock, 3-5g with chicken stock/broth.  

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         Butternut Squash Patties














1 large butternut squash, washed.

Parchment paper or non- stick baking pan.

Olive/grape seed/avocado/walnut oil as needed.

Black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, to taste.




1.  Preheat oven to 400F.


2.  Place the whole squash on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, or non-stick pan.  If you are using the non-stick pan, you will need to rotate the squash every 12-15 mins to avoid burning the bottom side.


3.  Roast approx 45mins until the squash pierces easily with a knife.  Cover with a lid/foil/stainless steel bowl and let cool in the pan.


Make your decision if you want to oven bake your patties and prepare the baking sheet with the oil of your choice- oven at 425F, or use a saute' pan and prep with oil, heating medium-high. (a drop of water will "dance" when it's ready, same test as for making pancakes!)


4.  When ready to prepare the patties, slide the skin off and slice the solid round end into 1/2 inch slices, and place on your pan/sheet, cooking for 2-3 mins per side until lightly brown, and sprinkling with the seasoning of your choice!


(Another fun tasty take - egg wash and coat with panko/crushed nuts/etc.     


Lots that you can do with this!)

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Hungarian Red Lentil Soup

Hungarian Red Lentil Soup.jpg

Love lentils and sweet Hungarian paprika?  Here is an easy soup for you.  This can easily become dairy-free using light coconut or regular cashew milk (almond or rice are too thin).  You can soak your lentils overnight to speed up the cooking time.  For the vegetarian option- use vegetable stock/broth.




1 cup yellow/sweet onion, diced

3  cloves of garlic, minced

3 carrots, cut into 1/4" slices

1T olive oil

2T Hungarian sweet paprika

1tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp salt

1T black pepper

6T tomato paste

1 cup dry red lentils, rinsed well

1 cup lite coconut milk/cashew milk/whole milk, well shaken.  You can also use half and half or sour cream to thicken (traditionally used is sour cream)

3 &1/2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth or stock




  • Add the onion, carrots, garlic, and olive oil to a medium pot over medium heat. Cook until tender and then add the carrots with a cup of the broth/stock.  Bring to a simmer, and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring a couple of times during, or until the carrots are beginning to soften. 

  • Stir in the tomato paste, paprika, dry mustard, salt, and pepper.  Then add the rest of the broth/stock and the lentils.   Bring to a soft boil over medium high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.

  • Add the milk, and increase the heat to medium-low; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender yet still firm, and the soup thickens some.               Continue to stir frequently, and do not overcook, so the lentils won't  become mushy.  

  • Calories will vary with the choice of milk product and broth.  The below is based on using the light coconut milk and sodium free chicken broth. Dry mustard is naturally higher in sodium- that's where it's coming from in the below count.

Pumpkin Rice.jpg

Quick Pumpkin Rice














1   15-16oz can pumpkin puree.

2   cups of brown rice. 

2 & 1/2 cups of vegetable broth. 

2 & 1/2 cups of water.    

3 garlic cloves, chopped.  

1 small sweet onion, chopped (approx a heaping cup). 

1T Olive Oil. 

1T of any herbs of your choice- a south of the border take would be one tablespoon of each: cumin, black pepper, and chili powder.  A savory take would be ginger and curry, or sage and rosemary!  Want it not to compete with other foods?  Black pepper and paprika!  




Dice the garlic and let it rest on your cutting board for at least 5mins while you continue to prep.  


Dice the onion,  while doing so, warm a saucepan on medium high with the olive oil in it.  


Turn to medium and add the 2, stirring lightly until translucent.  

Then add the remaining ingredients, stir until combined.  


Let it come to a boil; reduce to low and cover.  

Allow it to simmer for 30-35mins.


Pumpkin can be substituted for any hard squash which is readily available this time of year such as butternut, acorn, or blue hubbard, which cooked, can take the place of pumpkin puree in this recipe.

Cabbage Rolls anyone?












A hearty favorite of many this time of year!  Easy to make & store!  The twist on this is playing "Chopped" in my kitchen with what I had available.  No ketchup, out of tomato sauce and paste.  Out of worcestershire sauce too.  Spaghetti and BBQ sauce worked in a pinch and a new loved flavor.

The rice can be cooked ahead of time to simplify prep!




1 large head of cabbage

1 cup yellow/sweet onion, diced

1lb very lean ground beef (turkey or seitan for a veggie option) (I had 90/10 ground beef)

1 cup long grained rice (I used brown long grained)

1 jar (24oz) garlic spaghetti sauce (I had Meijer brand "Garlic Lovers" on hand)

1 c  BBQ Sauce  (I used Kraft Hickory Smoke)

1 c water or veggie stock

1 T black pepper

1 T paprika

2 bay leaves




1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare for cooking the cabbage:  You will need a large pot, fill with water; bring to a boil.


2.  In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, paprika, pepper, onion, rice, water, & the BBQ sauce


3.  Cabbage prep:  Cut it deeply at a 45 degree angle, remove the core of the cabbage.  Place it in the boiling water and allow to boil for 5mins.  Use tongs to remove from water and to separate 8-10 large leaves to cool completely.  


4. Place some of the remaining leaves on the bottom of a 9x13" pan and cover with 1/2 of the jar of sauce.   What to do with the rest?  (Soup/side dish later in the week!)


5.  Once the leaves are cool, scoop approx a 1/4 cup of the mixture in a leaf, roll it up and place them in the pan side by side.  Cover with the remaining sauce and the bay leaves.


6.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and/or the pan's lid (foil will be needed if it is not a tight seal).  Place in the oven and cook for 1hrs.


7.  Once cooked, remove the dish from the oven and let it cool for 15-20mins before removing the foil/lid.  Serve hot.


The nutritional info will vary with the brand of sauce, rice and protein used.  The above recipe is and meat used is: 


Calories: 350 Kcals -- Protein: 18g- - Fat: 8g -- Sodium:  375mg -- Fiber: 8g -- Sugar 8g 

Cabbage Rolls.jpg

Turkey and Stuffing Balls


Looking for something easy and quick to make with those leftovers from Thanksgiving?   Here's a couple of ideas for you?  One that was suggested (found on Pinterest) was using spring roll wraps to make various little bites of turkey/stuffing/mac & cheese/potatoes.  Another person used puff pastry dough to make pasties!  Below is for my take on turkey and stuffing balls from the Texas State Fair. 


I skipped the final step and did not deep fry! I used what I had in my cupboard- I didn't have enough panko, so I used seasoned bread crumbs to make up the difference.  They had various combinations for different diets, so cornmeal/oats/ground nuts...pick what works for you. Turkey gravy and cranberry sauce were the dipping sauces used on the show I saw.


All of the above suggestions will freeze well, so you can pull out for lunches/snacks/dinner when you need a quick and easy meal!




1 c panko

1/2c seasoned bread crumbs

1T poultry seasoning

1T black pepper

2 eggs

2 T milk (does not have to be dairy and water will work too)

OPTIONAL: 1/2c grated Parmesan cheese

2 & 1/2 c of stuffing

1 cup of turkey; shredded

1 cup of anything you want to put inside...potatoes/mac & cheese/cranberry sauce!



1.  Preheat the oven to 400, and prepare 2 baking sheets with either parchment paper or non stick spray; set aside.  Grab 3 shallow bowls.


2. In the first shallow bowl, combine the seasonings, bread crumbs, and cheese.  Place the panko in the 2nd.  The eggs and milk/liquid of choice goes in the 3rd; beat until smooth and slightly frothy.


3.  Make your balls and stay consistent on the size per sheet; have fun making some the size of tennis balls and some the size of large gumballs using your hands.  Begin with what you want in the middle and either coat with the turkey or the stuffing for the outside.  (For example:  Taking a gumball sized portion of mac & cheese, rolling it in your hands and taking approx the same amount of stuffing to pat around it, forming a ball).


Dredge each ball thru the crumb mixture, shaking off the excess. Transfer to the egg wash to coat evenly and roll in the panko until evenly coated. Allow to sit 5-10mins for the coating to stick before baking.


4.  Bake 10-15 mins to allow the coating to crisp and become golden.  

The other ingredients are already cooked, so don't over cook!


Use the dipping sauce of your choice!  BBQ/gravy/cranberries/ranch/sweet and sour/Dijon mustard...have fun and enjoy!


Cool thoroughly before freezing.

Easy on the waistline Quick Curry!













This recipe can be made traditionally with full fat coconut milk or hit in the middle with low fat, to give it the robust thick texture.    Serve with rice and/or naan to complete and warm up your insides!




1/2 cup sweet red or yellow/sweet onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 inch of ginger root/chopped or 1tsp powdered ginger

1-2T olive oil for the pan

1 T curry

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 T maple syrup

1 14-16oz can diced tomatoes- low or no sodium (2T tomato paste if you prefer it smooth)

1 14-16oz can chickpeas - low or no sodium (rinse and drain)

1 & 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk)

* Salt to taste if desired.





      1.  Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat or cast iron with the olive oil.

  1. 2.  While the pan is heating, combine curry powder, cumin, coriander, paprika, (and ginger if powdered)  into a small bowl and whisk together. 

  2. 3. Once the pan is heated, add the onions, garlic and ginger root along with a couple Tbsp. of water. Cook until all are soft. Usually, just a couple minutes.

  3. 4. Sprinkle the dry spice mixture over the onions and garlic. Mix well until spice mixture covers onions. Let cook for about a minute. Adding a little water as needed to prevent sticking.

  4. 5.  Add the tomatoes (or paste), chickpeas, almond milk  (or coconut) and stir well to combine. Let simmer for a couple minutes. 

  5. 6.  Reduce heat to medium low heat. Add the maple syrup, turmeric, pepper, and salt (if desired). Simmer for a few more minutes.

  6. Remove from heat and serve over rice or by itself as a soup and naan.  This will taste better the next day after the spices really get to go through!


The nutritional info will vary with the milk, and choice of salted items.  The above recipe is: 

Calories: 178 Kcals -- Protein: 7g- - Fat: 3g -- Sodium:  53mg -- Fiber: 8g -- Sugar 10g 


Vegetarian Shepherds Pie
















  • 2 russet potatoes (large, peeled and quartered)

  • 1/2 cup non fat Greek yogurt

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion (medium diced)

  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)

  • 16 ounces mushrooms (chopped)

  • 2 carrot (peeled and diced)

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme (more for serving)

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 2 tablespoons uncooked quinoa

  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable stock

  • 1 cup frozen peas

  • 1 teaspoon salt





DV 740mg

FAT 20% DV13g


CARBS 9% DV28g

FIBER 16% DV4g


Stuffed peppers with a twist!














  • 4 very large red/yellow/orange bell peppers or 6 small ones

  • 15/16 ounces of salsa of your choice

  • 1/2 pound ground beef or turkey- Firm tofu diced for a vegetarian option

  • 1/2 cup chopped onion

  • 1 large or 2-3 small clove(s) of garlic, chopped,  A heaping tablespoon's worth

  • 1 T olive oil

  • 1 cup cooked brown or white rice

  • 1 T black pepper

  • 1 T cumin




1.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and cook        3 minutes, just until the peppers are slightly soft. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside on paper towels to drain.


2.   In a skillet on medium, cook the garlic & onions in the olive oil until soft.  Add the ground turkey/beef/firm tofu.  Cook until the meat has no pink or tofu warm.  Drain.


3.    Stir in the seasonings, then the rice and 1/2 the salsa.


4.  Spoon into the peppers and top with the remaining salsa, and bake in an ungreased baking dish for 25-30mins.  Serve warm, for more zing, top with pepperjack cheese, and         with cornbread makes a great companion!


Want a different twist?  Swap the salsa for pasta sauce, use Italian seasoning in place of the cumin, topping with parmesan cheese!


Nutrition (depends on the protien and if you use cheese, this is cheeseless with turkey or 90/10 ground beef)


Calories: 275kcal | Protein: 16g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 157mg 

Stuffed Peppers.jpeg

Easy and Quick root vegetable soup!















This recipe can be made multiple ways for many different dietary needs.      Take this base recipe and add your own twice of what might be in your kitchen!




8 cups of broth/stock/water

3T olive oil

1 large sweet onion or 2 leeks - chopped

3 celery stalks - diced

3 cloves of garlic- diced

3 rosemary branches

2 T thyme

2 bay leaves

2 T black pepper

1 lb carrots (baby carrot work great and you don't have to chop)

2 large parsnips - chopped

1 large sweet potato - chopped

1 large rutabaga - chopped

1 medium turnip - chopped

(All of the above root vegetables can be sliced/chopped/however it is easiest for you- they are going to be cooked until soft.  You could also roast them until tender and save on the knife cuts!)




1.  Pour olive oil in your soup pot/dutch oven and turn on medium high, along with the onion, garlic, and celery.  Stirring occasionally, cook until tender- approx 10mins.  Add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves; cook 1 more minute.


2.  Add root vegetables,  broth,  pepper; bring to a soft boil, then reduce heat to medium low.  Cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, 30-40 mins.


3.  Remove and discard the bay leaves and rosemary branches.  You can use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or use a food processor/blender to do the same in small batches.  If it is too thick; use a little more broth or water.


You can serve immediately, drizzling with a few drops of lemon juice/olive oil/crushed chilis/grated cheese/parsley.  Salt to taste if desired.


If you are making this ahead, cool by placing in a water bath and stirring to get the steam out.  I personally like to place the bay leaves and rosemary back in to get extra flavor out of it.  Refrigerate when cool.


Nutritional Information: (made w/chicken bone broth and no additional salt)


250 kcal, 5g fat, 9g fiber, 7g protein, 1g sugar, 251 sodium

Root Vegetable Soup.jpg

Having a Chocolate Moment?  This all-dietary-needs friendly, three-ingredient recipe will take care of it!


This recipe can be made multiple ways for many different needs... and what you may or may not have in your pantry!.      




1  small ripe banana (approx. 5")  - if isn't ripe, mash it and give it 30 secs in the microwave (covered) to break it down

1 small egg - Flax egg for vegan

1-3T cocoa powder  (if you like it chocolatey...go for 3!)


Optional ingredients:

1/4 milk if you like a moist cake (coconut, cashew, almond for vegan/dairy free)

1/4 berries to top with afterwards

1-2T maple or agave syrup to drizzle on top if you like a sweeter choc taste.

Chocolate/caramel chips, grated coconut- just extra ideas if you want anything at all!





In a high speed blender or food processor, pulse the banana, egg, cocoa powder and optional milk until a very fine batter is formed.  


Microwave version:


Grease a small microwave safe ramekin/mug/cereal bowl well. Pour the batter in, and cook for 60 seconds or longer, depending on desired texture.  


Conventional Oven Version:


Preheat oven to 200.  Pour batter into greased oven-safe ramekin/mug/bowl and bake for 8-10mins, or until the desired consistency is reached.



Allow to cool briefly so you don't burn your tongue!



Nutrition Facts using just the base recipe with a chicken's egg, and 2T of  regular cocoa powder (vs a dark):

Kcals: 185  -  Fat: 5mg   -  Fiber: 6g   -   Protein:  9.5g  -  Sodium: 63mg   -   Sugar: 9.7g



One Pot Lentil Stew













Here's a hearty one- pot "stew" (I use that loosely) that I use as one of my rotating side dishes throughout the week.  I keep it a little understated so I can have the option of making it into a bowl of soup by adding more broth and veggies/burrito or taco/side dish accompanying steamed/roasted vegetables.  I also use it for a breakfast bowl and burrito, adding egg, avocado, and spinach!  You can add firm tofu, chicken, beef...lots of options!  (Warming it up with a little salsa, sprinkle of cheese and something for crunch makes a tasty and nutritious snack!)


(If you have the time to soak your lentils, rice, beans, and quinoa, it will cook quicker.) 


This recipe can be made multiple ways for many different needs... and what you may or may not have in your pantry!  


I have used green, red, brown lentils. My beans have varied between navy, great northern, and pinto.  I have used my own bone broth, store bought, vegetable stock, & carrot juice mixed in when I didn't have enough whole carrots and juice that needed to be used up.  If it seemed to need more acid and I didn't have tomato paste, I've added canned stewed tomatoes,  barbeque sauce, a couple of chopped up roma tomatoes or...a couple of tablespoons of cider vinegar or chardonnay.   Broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers have made it into the pot when they needed to be used immediately to avoid the compost pile the next day.  (Peppers and broccoli, I  dice up and add in Step 2.  Cauliflower is riced and added in Step 3 with the rest of the spices/seasonings.)   


Taking the time to cook the aromatics & slowly adding in the spices to fully bloom is what will make or break it! 






2 T olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped fine

1 inch of ginger root, chopped or 2T of ground

2 medium carrots, diced

3 medium sweet potatoes or yams (approx 1 &1/2 lbs), peeled and diced large

2 tsp ground cumin

2T black pepper

2T rosemary

2T turmeric

1T thyme

1T fennel

1/4c chopped parsley (fresh or dried)

1&1/2 c of lentils, rinsed

1 c brown rice, rinsed

1/2 c black beans, rinsed

1/2 c quinoa

6 c broth or stock

(2 T of tomato paste/tomato something if you want to take it to a stew)





Step 1:  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot or Dutch oven and add the onion, garlic, and ginger.  Cook, stirring often, until it softens, about 5 minutes.


Step 2: Add the parsley, rosemary and black pepper, stirring for another minute and turn the heat down to low.  Pour in one cup of broth/stock- stand back to not get hit with steam!


Step 3:   Stir in the rest of your spices/seasonings and if you are using tomato products.  Turn the heat back to medium for 5 mins, then add the rest of your broth/stock- turn to medium high to bring to a very soft boil.  Slowly add in this order, the carrots, then the quinoa, beans, rice, lentils, sweet potatoes, and if you are using stewed tomatoes. Again, bring to a soft boil, then stir gently to lightly mix, and turn to low - cover and simmer for 45 mins.  Check occasionally to make sure you still have adequate broth/stock. 


Step 4:   After 45mins, turn off and allow it to set and continue to cook, if you didn't have the time to soak the grains/lentils beforehand. 



Serve as desired when ready!

Lentil Stew.jpg

Baked Ziti - Grandmother's recipe and my version!



(Grandmother B's)

1 lb box of penne

3 cups of homemade sauce or a 24-oz jar marinara sauce

1 (15-oz) container ricotta cheese 

2 eggs

2 (8-ounce) packages shredded mozzarella cheese

1 T olive oil

2T black pepper

1/4 cup italian seasoning or 1T of each: orgengo, rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, & 1tsp sage

Fresh parsley to sprinkle on top when serving



1 lb box of chickpea penne

1 (24-oz) jar garlicky marinara or arrabiata sauce

20 oz water-use the sauce jar

1 (15-oz) container skim ricotta cheese  or 16 oz tofu

1 egg

1 (8-ounce) packages shredded mozzarella cheese

1meduim onion chopped

3 cloves of garlic, diced

2T black pepper

1/4 cup italian seasoning or 1T of each: orgengo, rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram, & 1tsp sage

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 zucchini sliced thinly lengthwise, 1lb spinach

1 & 1/2 lb of the lentil meatless substitute!



Instructions Grandmother Bentley's:


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Prepare a 9x13 or two 8x8 casserole dishes/pans by lightly coat the bottom with olive oil.  Place a medium saucepan with 3-4 cups of water on medium high to bring to a boil.  When the water starts to move; add 1/4 tsp salt and 1T olive oil.

  2.   In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese and the egg; fold in italian seasoning and 1 package of the shredded cheese. Set aside. 

  3.  When the water begins to boil add the pasta.  Cook with enough water to cover the noodles by an inch.  When it is al dente, drain and flash with cold water.  Quickly mix 1 egg in gently and 2T of black pepper.

  4. In your pan(s)/dish, spoon a small amount of sauce to slightly cover the bottom of the dish.  

  5. Spoon in half of ziti, then evenly spread the ricotta cheese mixture on top. Pour more sauce over ricotta cheese (saving about 1 cup of sauce for the final layer).  

  6. Add the rest of the ziti, and layer remaining 1 cup sauce over it. Sprinkle the other package of mozzarella cheese on top.  

  7. Bake covered for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned. 

      Leslie's version


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.    Prepare a 9x13 or two 8x8 casserole dishes/pans by lightly coat the bottom with olive oil.

  • In a medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese and the egg.  Then fold in all of the spices, the chopped onion, garlic and 1 package of the shredded cheese. 

  •  In your pan(s)/dish, spoon a small amount of sauce to slightly cover the bottom of the dish. Add 1/2 of your uncooked pasta, place the slices of one of your zucchinis for the next layer.  1/2 the spinach on top of that, then half the ricotta layer and half of the "meat". 

  •  Pour more sauce over ricotta cheese (saving about 1 cup of sauce for the final layer). Complete with HALF of the remaining uncooked pasta, 2nd zucchini, spinach, ricotta, "meat" then the rest of the pasta, the remaining sauce, and cheese. 

  • Now...take that 24oz jar and gently fill with water to get the remaining sauce; almost all the way full, and gently pour in a side or a corner of your pan. 

  • Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the cheese is lightly browned and the pasta al dente.

Baked Ziti with Ricotta.jpg

"Leftover Hash" Tacos

You need:


Taco shells or small tortillas (just depends on how you like your tacos!)

Salsa or Pico De Gallo

Bagged coleslaw mix (most come in 10oz bags)

Premade coleslaw dressing or make your own:

(Whisk together:  3/4 c mayonnaise, 1T vinegar (I like cider), 1T honey/maple syrup/agave, 1T mustard or 1/4 tsp of celery salt/sea salt, 1/4tsp black pepper.  Store in an air-tight container.)


Slice the corned beef thinly (2-3oz per taco) and warm in a pan using some of the juices from your boil.

Place the beef in the shell or tortilla, follow with the slaw and top with salsa/pico de gallo!

Vegetarian option: Substitute black beans for the Corned Beef.

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