Chipotle Chili Mac N “Cheese”

Happy 4th of July!  I hope you are enjoying the day off and participating in all the fun festivities!  I am spending the day with family, but I still wanted to leave you with a recipe today!  I know it’s not very “4th of July-y” but it is delicious whenever you make it.  This is kind of a grown up mac n cheese because the chipotle adds a little bit of a kick.  Also, if you have an Aldi near you and are gluten free, you need to go and stock up on their gluten free pasta.  They have two types of corn flour pasta, penne and fusilli, and brown rice spaghetti.  They all cost less than $2 for over a pound of pasta and the only ingredients are corn flour and water or brown rice.  Considering most gluten free pasta costs well over $4 and sometimes has more ingredients than I can count, this is a fantastic deal.  Aldi is really doing a great job of adding better quality products to their store, including a line of organic food called simply organic.  I have been able to find honey, almond milk, and even almond butter at one, all for reasonable prices.  Ok, public service announcement over, on to the recipe!

 

Chipotle Chili Mac N “Cheese” 

 

  • 1 package of whole wheat or gluten free pasta (I used penne but obviously macaroni would work too)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 3 chipotle chili’s soaked in warm water for at least 30 minutes (save the water!)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1/2 cup reserved chili water
  • 1 tbsp tapioca starch (corn starch could work too, but I haven’t tried it)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • smoked paprika, as a garnish (optional but really tasty!)

 

1.  Cook the pasta according to the package instructions and then drain and set aside

2.  While the pasta is cooking, remove the chili’s from their soaking water (but remember to keep it!) and chop into bite size pieces.  Saute the onion over medium high heat until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Add in the garlic and saute for another 1 to 2 minutes.

3.  Place the onion and garlic into a blender along with the rest of the ingredients, except the smoked paprika.  Blend everything until you have a smooth and creamy sauce.  The sauce will be thin and liquid-y at this point, don’t worry that’s ok!

4.  Pour the cheese sauce into the pot that you cooked the pasta in and heat over medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken up.  Add the pasta back into the pot and stir to combine with the sauce.  Sprinkle the smoked paprika over the pasta after it has been served if desired.

This is a fairly quick meal to throw together as long as you remember to soak your cashews before hand.  If you forget though, have no fear.  You can do a quick soak by boiling some water and then pouring that over the cashews and letting them soak for at least 30 minutes.  You can also double this and serve to a hungry crowd, so if you’re looking for a healthy and tasty dish to bring to your 4th of July BBQ, this might fit the bill!  Enjoy!

Mac N’ Greens

In one week, Adam and I will officially live in Chicago.  Technically our lease started yesterday but we won’t be moving until next Thursday.  This move has come really fast and while I still have a to do list a mile long, I don’t feel as stressed as I usually do when we move.  Although that could all change in an instant, talk to me next week!  This will probably be my last post for a few weeks while we get everything moved and settled in our new place.  Once we’re in Chicago though my blogging will be much more regular and there will be some changes happening to the site!  Excited for all the new things that we are going to do and experience in the next few weeks!

 

This meal is a quick and easy meal to throw together and it makes a lot of leftovers.  It’s kind of the perfect meal to make when you’re moving to a new city…

Mac N’ Greens

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  • 1 package of pasta (I used brown rice pasta to keep it gluten free.  Whole wheat would be good too)
  • 1 bag of frozen kale or spinach, thawed (could also use fresh and whatever green you want like collard or mustard)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans (or 1 can)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp brown mustard

 

 

 

1.  If you’re using dried beans, soak them overnight, then drain and rinse them and cook them on the stove for about 20 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Make sure your greens are completely thawed.  If you are using fresh, chop them up and set aside.  Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package.  Once the pasta is cooked, drain and set aside.

3.  In a medium skillet saute the onions in olive oil for about 5 to 7 minutes until they are soft.  Add in the garlic and saute for another minute or two.

4.  In a blender or food processor, grind the cashews until they are a fine powder.  Add in about 1 cup of the broth or water and blend until smooth.  Add in the onions and garlic, beans, lemon juice, and mustard.  Combine until smooth and add in salt and pepper to taste.

5.  In a large pot, combine the pasta and greens until fully mixed together.  Pour the sauce into the pot and heat over medium heat until everything is warmed through.

 

Enjoy your delicious and nutritious pasta dish, and I’ll see you in Chicago!

Dairy Free Lasagna

I don’t eat dairy anymore, and for the most part, I really haven’t missed it all that much.  But every once in awhile, I get a hankering for something gooey, cheesy, and delicious.  Those hankerings usually lead to creative and tasty recipes.  This one is no different.  You might be thinking to yourself, “There is no way that you can have a delicious lasagna without wonderfully yummy ricotta cheese.”  And I say to you, nay nay.  You can have a delicious lasagna without wonderfully yummy ricotta.  Just ask my husband who has no problem with dairy and would love it if there were more of it in the house (there’s none).  He loved this meal and devoured second helpings.  I may have too…

 

Dairy Free Lasagna 

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  • 1 batch of my tomato sauce, or store bought sauce (just make sure to read the ingredients!)
  • 1 package of lasagna noodles (I used brown rice to keep it gluten free but whole wheat would work well too)
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 1 to 2 tsp italian seasoning
  • 1 to 2 cloves garlic

*If you’re using my tomato sauce, you can prepare it ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.  That way you can just assemble everything.

1.  Cook noodles according to instructions on the package.  Once cooked drain and set aside to cool a little bit.  You might want to undercook your noodles just a little so they won’t turn to mush when you cook them in the oven.

2.  While the noodles are cooling, drain soaked cashews and place into a blender or food processor.  Add in water, lemon, salt, rice vinegar, italian seasoning, and garlic.  Pulse to combine everything and then let it run to smooth everything out.  You can leave it a little chunky or totally smooth, it’s your preference.

3.  Preheat oven to 375 and get out a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Line up the tomato sauce, noodles, and cashew cheese for easy assembly.  Pour a little tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan so the noodles don’t burn.  Then put a layer of noodles down, then a layer of cheese, and finally a layer of tomato sauce.  Keep layering everything until you run out of noodles.  You might have a little cheese and sauce leftover, that’s fine  You can use it to dress up another dish!

4.  Cover lasagna with aluminum foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and take of the aluminum foil.  Place back in the oven for another 5 minutes.  Take lasagna out of the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes (this helps it set so when you cut it, it doesn’t fall apart).  Cut into squares and eat up!

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This lasagna tastes even better the next day once the flavors have melded and really set.  So make sure that you leave some leftovers for later!

Sunbutter Sauce

I am a firm believer in sauces, dressings, dips, and spreads.  They are super simple to put together, totally customizable to your tastes, and they can make a meal taste ten times better.  Many of my meals are planned around some type of sauce.  For me it’s kind of the best part of the meal!  This sauce came about because I had bought a jar of sunbutter (sunflower butter) and still had yet to really use it.  So I looked in my pantry/fridge and put this together.  I poured it over leftover brown rice noodles and vegetables I stir fried.  You can put it on whatever you want.  You can even eat it by itself, I won’t judge!

Sunbutter Sauce

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  • 1/3 cup sunbutter (or peanut butter, but I like the sunbutter better with this sauce)
  • 1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (don’t sub in olive oil, the flavor will be off)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced

This is going to be really simple.  Put all ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl and whisk until fully combined.  Yup, that’s it.  If you like a thinner sauce you can use it right away, but it you want it a little thicker put it in the fridge for about an hour or so.  This tastes fantastic with noodles and shredded carrots.  I’ve also used it on stir fried green peppers, onions, zucchini, summer squash, and cabbage.  Like I said before, put it on anything your little heart desires and enjoy!

Turmeric Scented Mushrooms and Brown Rice Noodles

This was a meal that was really easy to put together and I made it with stuff that I already had in my kitchen.  Those are pretty much the best meals ever, minimal work and minimal shopping. Not that I am lazy or anything… This dish also is packed with good for you spices and vegetables.  Turmeric is a powerhouse of good things as is spinach and mushrooms!

Turmeric Scented Mushrooms and Brown Rice Noodles

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  • 1 package of mushrooms, sliced (you can use whatever mushrooms you would like, I used baby bella)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • zest and juice from 1 large lime
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp dill
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil (or more olive oil)
  • Salt

1. Prepare your brown rice noodles according to the package and set aside while you put everything else together

2.  In a large skillet or wok, heat your olive oil and sesame oil on medium high heat.  Add the turmeric and toast for about 1 minute.  Next add your mushrooms and sprinkle with a little salt.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until they are soft and brown.  Add the garlic, onion, rice vinegar, lime juice and zest and dill.  Saute for about 3 minutes, then fold in the spinach and cook until the leaves have wilted down.  Put your noodles in a bowl and cover with mushroom stir fry!

This meal was good the first time around, but it was even better as leftovers.  That extra time really let the flavors come together deliciously.  It also tastes just as good cold as it does hot, so try it both ways!  Enjoy!