For those of you who don’t know, I come from an amazing and rather large extended Italian family. My great grandma, Nana, and grandma, whom we call Mima, along with my mom and all of her five brothers are amazing cooks! When I was growing up we used to gather at Mima and Papa’s house for weekly Sunday dinners where we almost always had pasta. I loved Spaghetti dinners so much and these dinners have always been some of my favorite childhood memories. Before I left for college many years ago, I asked my Mima to show me how to make her marinara sauce. She told me that fennel was the KEY to the tanginess, and that red wine really added depth of flavor. I hope you enjoy this simple Red Wine Marinara sauce that is even BETTER the next day and therefore perfect for your Make Ahead of Monday needs! Bon Appetit!
½ yellow onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
1T olive oil
4 - 16oz cans of organic tomato sauce
2 tsp crushed fennel seed (or more for taste)
2 - 3 T of dry red wine
2 tsp dried basil or 4 tsp chopped fresh basil
Dash of salt
Growing up I used to dislike vegetable sides at dinner. I think during most of the 90’s people were eating vegetables out of a can and they lacked flavor, crunch and pazazz. Fast forward to Easter a few years ago when I was asked to bring a veggie side dish. Ugh. So I decided to try something new. I knew that I liked roasted vegetables such as potatoes and carrots and onions, but I wanted them to have more warmth and flavor so I decided to open the spice cabinet and smell all of the spices until I decided on rosemary. This was one of the first recipes I created and I loved how it turned out. Since then I have eaten it as a side, or have even made it my main with the addition of pesto and a cut up veggie sausage. These roasted veggies are perfect for a healthy side dish with lunch or dinner, they last a week in the fridge and can be enjoyed throughout the week!
5 red potatoes peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 large carrots peeled and diced into coins
½ red onion sliced into ½ inch slices
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
2T chopped fresh rosemary or use 1T of chopped dried rosemary
Directions 3-4 servings
When my husband and I first decided to go vegan, one of the first breakfast recipes we sought was something that resembled eggs. We tried several tofu based recipes that we liked and then decided to add some Mexican flavors! What we came up with was one of our favorites and one that CAN be made ahead and enjoyed for days in a variety of ways. We hope you enjoy this Mexican Tofu Scramble this week for breakfast!!
Ingredients (make 4-5 servings)
2 tsp nutritional yeast
½ tsp turmeric
½ tsp smoked paprika
⅛ tsp black pepper
2 T water
1 T olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 block of extra firm tofu pressed to release moisture
2-3 T taco seasoning
Salt to taste
2 T chopped cilantro
Raise your hand if spring break is not going as you had planned... everyone, ok, that's what I thought. I was talking to my Grandma (on the phone), and she said, “in all my 80 years of life, I have never experienced anything like what is happening now.” The world has stopped. Flights have been canceled, schools are online, restaurants are closed, beaches and parks are closed and the Kennedy Expressway is WIDE open (I promise, that NEVER happens!) I found myself looking through an endless stream of photos from spring breaks of the past and checking the weather hour by hour for some kind of sign that spring was going to join us when it hit me. What are the flavors of “spring break?” Why can’t I at least recreate one of the 5 senses of Spring Break? Is it, fresh pineapple by the beach? Or coconut water straight from the coconut? Or strawberry daiquiris? Check, check and check! I got to work and created the easiest and most delicious Spring Break Smoothie! I promise, if you sip it slowly enough, lay your beach towel down and sit by the window (add sunglasses for effect) and close your eyes, you’re ON THAT BEACH! I know it’s not my normal, prepare for your week ahead, recipe. BUT, this will hopefully bring you some sunshine on a cloudy day. Enjoy!
Ingredients (smoothie for one)
1 cup of canned coconut milk
1 cup of fresh or frozen pineapple
½ cup of frozen strawberries
2 ice cubes
This recipe is dedicated to my chocolate loving best friend, Traci. I have countless fun memories of Traci and I going to chocolate shops in college together, sharing chocolate desserts at the Walnut room, drinking sipping chocolate on our yearly reunions and making chocolate desserts in our college apartment kitchen. When we were in Portland together this fall, I was wandering around alone and I found THE BEST chocolate shop. It was wall to wall chocolate!! I wanted to create this recipe for Traci to eat for breakfast during her birthday week. I wish we didn't live so far way so I could make this for her on her on her birthday morning, just like the good old days when we lived together. (Happy Birthday Traci!) I hope you all enjoy this super easy Chocolate Lover's Oatmeal!
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
½ cup steel cut oats
2 + 1/4 cups of unsweetened non dairy milk
½ tsp vanilla
2 tsp maple syrup (or to taste)
1 small square of dark chocolate (optional, but amazing)
Directions (makes two servings)
I have a very fond memory of going to Chicago with my cousins from Arizona, my sister and my mom and grandma a few years ago. We stopped at Eataly and enjoyed an Italian lunch and then wandered around the sweets floor. We happened upon a drink that featured basil and blueberries and I never forgot how refreshing and energizing that made me feel. I decided to recreate it at home and have been making it ever since for a healthy source of immune boosting antioxidants. I usually make this in the summer when I have an abundance of fresh basil in my garden and when fresh blueberries are in season, however, in light of the Coronavirus and flu that have us all feeling panic, I thought that it would be a good time to share this tonic. Blueberries are some of the most nutrient dense berries and I love using wild blueberries because they are even richer in antioxidants!! (see article)
Even though most of us are not headed into our normal work routine this week, I thought I it was still important to share a recipe in hopes that it could be helpful for your week(s) ahead at home. Taking care of our bodies is so incredibly important during this time of uncertainty. Stay healthy everyone!
Ingredients (makes one tonic)
1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries
¼ cup packed fresh basil leaves
Juice from ½ of a lemon
1 cup of filtered water
2 ice cubes
Place all of the ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high until juice like consistency is achieved. Enjoy immediately or assemble in the evening, store in the fridge and re-blend in the morning.
My first memory of cooking, with my now husband, is of him making his Thai Curry pizza creation for me. He showed such pride in this dish and the results were incredibly yummy and unique. Think, stir fry + crispy crust pizza!! The key to achieve the crispiest crust is to slide the parchment lined pizza off of the pan (but keep it on the parchment) and directly onto the oven rack. This creates the crispiest crust EVER and perfectly stands up to the heavy toppings on this pizza. We make our own crust from a recipe in a cookbook Bill has had since college, but you can easily get fresh store bought dough from Trader Joes or Whole foods with the same results! We hope you enjoy this crispy, Make ahead of Monday creation by my favorite Chef Bill!
Fresh raw Pizza dough enough for two pizzas
1 block of extra firm tofu chopped into small cubes
1 T sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste
1 T avocado oil
2 cloves of chopped garlic
2 T of chopped fresh ginger
I head of broccoli chopped into medium sized pieces
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 LB baby bella mushrooms sliced
1 bottle of Thai Red Curry sauce (We used Trader Joe’s brand)
3 green onions chopped
Toasted sesame seeds
A couple of years ago my husband and I tried a Vegan diet. It was supposed to be a two week experiment, inspired by our trip to Veggie Fest, however, we decided to give it a go for six months! It was fun, it was challenging, but mostly, it was a great opportunity to experiment with new foods. These tacos became our favorite for our weekly Taco Tuesday dinners, so much so, that my nickname became, “chickpea.” This taco filling takes less than 15 minutes to prepare, lasts for a week in the fridge, and is perfect for making taco salads and burrito bowls too! I hope you enjoy as much as we did!
½ chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic minced
2 Tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil
1 can of chickpeas (drained, not rinsed)
1.5 Tablespoons of taco seasoning (we recommend Costco brand)
2 T of chopped cilantro
6 hard taco shells warmed in the oven
For most of my life up until a recent heart surgery, I haven’t been able to handle the caffeine in coffee. Instead I turned to green tea for a jolt of energy if I really needed it. Now that I can drink coffee I still prefer the feeling of green tea to the overly intense burst of energy I get from coffee. While I love sipping tea, I thought, why not incorporate it into a smoothie for a healthy breakfast plus a bit of energy. The results were both healthy and delicious! I hope you enjoy this Energizing Matcha Green Smoothie packed with fruit and vegetables that can be prepared ahead for an easy morning breakfast!
1 cup almond or oat milk
2 T vanilla greek yogurt (use vegan yogurt if you’re vegan)
1 green apple cut into cubes
1 frozen banana
¼ - ½ teaspoon of food grade matcha powder
1 T of nut-butter
1 handful of frozen or fresh spinach
Directions to make RIGHT NOW (makes 1 smoothie)
Directions to Make Ahead
I love the heart healthy option of oatmeal in the morning. I recently learned some awesome news about oatmeal, that it can help lower cholesterol and curb inflammation. Eating oatmeal also provides protection from high blood pressure and weight gain and is a good source of fiber too. Check out this article about some of the benefits of eating oatmeal for breakfast.
When coupled with antioxidant rich blueberries, protein packed peanut butter and omega-3 rich chia seed it's such a healthy and delicious start to your morning!
1 cup of steel cut oats
4 cups of unsweetened oat milk
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 t of vanilla
4 dollops of peanut butter
Blueberry Chia Jam
2 cups of frozen wild blueberries
1 T of lemon juice (or orange juice)
1 T of maple syrup
1 T of chia seeds
Directions to make ahead (makes 4 servings)
I am a music teacher, professional musician and a vegetarian. I created this site with the mission to share recipes that make life a little more organized, and enjoyable!