Meatless Monday: 15-Minute Bean and Corn Tostadas with Simple Mango Salsa

The theme of my week and meal plan is as fast as possible but still fresh and healthy (and delish of course!). It’s just one of those weeks. Activities and appointments and just general adulting responsibilities abound. But I still want to sit down at the end of the day with my sweet little family, and so quick is key. This one is basically as quick as a meal could be. With little effort, a simple delicious tostada meal is on the table in about 15 minutes, maximizing table time, which is really what I’m going for–a few dedicated moments with my people. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* tostada shells
* 15.5oz can low-sodium refried beans
* 2C frozen sweet corn
* olive oil
* 1 mango, pitted and peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
* 1/4C red onion, diced
* handful fresh cilantro, rough chopped
* juice of 1 lime
* pinch sea salt
* crumbled cotija cheese for serving

WHAT TO DO
Heat the beans over low heat.

SautΓ© the corn in a little olive oil over medium-high heat until slightly browned.

While that’s happening, prep and add the mango, red onion, and cilantro to a bowl. Squeeze the lime over the bowl and add a pinch of sea salt. Mix to combine.

Assemble your tostadas: spread a tostada shell with the received beans. Top with some warm corn. Add a spoonful or two of the mango salsa, and the finish with a sprinkle of cotija crumbles and enjoy!

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Meatless Monday: Pesto TBM w RRP Sandwiches

I’m traveling for work this week, so for the two days Im home I planned easy, quick meals to minimize stress and maximize family time. This post title’s in code, but the secret is out now (ouch… that one was rough): pesto tomato-basil-mozzarella with roasted red pepper sandwiches were a big winner. A five minute meal! And delish times a million! Can’t beat that! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* fresh hearty loaf of bread of choice (I did a fresh Italian loaf), cut into thick slices
* your favorite jarred or homemade pesto sauce
* fresh basil leaves
* jarred roasted red peppers
* fresh roma tomatoes, cut into thick slices
* slices of fresh mozzarella (I bought the presliced package)
* balsamic vinegar

WHAT TO DO
Lightly toast your bread slices.

Spread each slice generously with pesto. For each sandwich, top one pesto-ed half with large basil leaves in a layer, followed by roasted red pepper pieces, then fresh tomato slices, and finally fresh mozzarella slices. Drizzle the cheese with a little balsamic vinegar and then top with the other pesto-ed slice of bread. Slice in half and serve! Try it with homemade garlic fries!!

Meatless Monday: Orzo Veggie Bowls

I made this for our dinner tonight and it was delicious as a dinner. But note this would also make a great side dish or potluck contribution, served warm or cold. This is adapted from this recipe from the Kitchn. A friend shared it recently and I wanted to try it right away. When I got to it, I made some changes for convenience and because of ingredients and stuff, and I was really happy with the result. All that said, this is a very interchangeable recipe. Don’t like mushrooms? Leave them out or substitute another veg. Have some broccoli you need to use up? Throw it in! You get the gist. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* Salt
* 8-12oz orzo pasta
* Grapeseed oil
* 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
* 2 sweet onions, diced
* 4t minced garlic
* 1T ginger paste
* 4-6oz shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps diced
* 1T balsamic vinegar
* 2T low sodium soy sauce
* 2C chopped kale (about 3 big leaves, stalks removed)
* ~1 bag baby spinach
* Shaved Parmesan cheese (optional, for garnish)
* Crushed red pepper flakes (optional, for garnish)

WHAT TO DO
Heat a pot of water to a boil. Cook the orzo until 6 minutes, to barely al dente. Drain the orzo and toss with a generous drizzle of oil so the grains don’t stick together. Set aside.

Heat a very large pan over high heat. Drizzle in some of the oil to cover the bottom of the pan. When it’s very hot, add the sweet potatoes in a single layer and cook until they begin to turn brown, about 4 minutes. Stir and toss the sweet potatoes and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

Move the sweet potatoes aside in the pan and then add the onions. Season with a little salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to brown. Add the garlic and ginger paste and stir them together with the onions. Then move the onions to the side of the pan, too.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook 4 minutes. Stir everything together in the pan until well mixed.

In a small bowl, quickly whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons of oil. Pour it into the pan and mix everything together.

Add the orzo gradually, stirring it in with the veggies as you add it.

Add the kale and spinach and cook, mixing constantly, until they wilt, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and season as needed.

Serve hot, with shavings of Parmesan and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes.

Meatless Monday: Broccoli Lasagna

We’ve hit the part of winter when I just want deep, heavy, rich comfort food all the time. Chicago has this terrible sweet spot at this point in the season when it’s just grey all the time. Like, grey-grey. And indulgent comfort food seems like the only proper response. Except that, sigh, it’s not (isn’t it?).

This lasagna kind of turned out to be the best of both worlds. It’s lasagna, and if that’s not comforting, I don’t know what is. But it’s fresh and much lighter than a traditional lasagna, so you can feel better about the third and fourth helpings you’re definitely going to want. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 15oz package part-skim ricotta cheese
* 1 egg
* 1t salt
* 1/2t ground black pepper
* 1T oregano
* 1 small head broccoli, broken down into tiny florets
* precooked lasagna noodles
* 1 jar your favorite marinara sauce
* 1 8oz package shredded cheese (mozzarella or an Italian blend)
* garlic powder

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, egg, salt, pepper, oregano, and broccoli florets.

Spoon a bit of the marinara sauce into the bottom of an 8X11 to just cover the bottom.

Place a layer of noodles over the sauce. Spoon half of the ricotta mixture into a layer over the noodles. Pour half the marinara sauce over the mixture. Sprinkle garlic powder generously over the sauce, and then add half of the cheese on top. Repeat.

Bake in the preheated oven, uncovered, until the cheese melts and begins to brown, 30-49 minutes or so. Allow to sit/cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.