Bacon Carbonara

Bacon Carbonara | @VeggieConverter glutenfree

My husband, Mr. Meaty, makes a mean Bacon Carbonara. It’s one of the first things he made me for dinner when we were dating. And it is delicious. Bacon has always been my meat weakness. And now that I’m a chicken-and-baconatarian, I am enjoying the flexibility of bacon. Since I’m unfortunately gluten-free as well, we had to come up with a noodles option for me. We went with flat rice noodles and it worked fabulously. The rest of the family has theirs with spaghetti noodles.

The crispy bacon, combined with the salty Parmesan and eggs really make this dish delicious. Enjoy! [Read more...]

Bacony Bolognese & Zucchini Noodles

Bacony Bolognese

I’ve been experimenting with flexitarianism in an attempt to try out a Paleo diet, and eventually an Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Paleo diet. So far, I’ve had success with chicken, and really crispy bacon. This recipe incorporates a new favorite of mine, zucchini noodles, and crispy bacon.

This recipe is adapted from an eMeals.com recipe.

It is fantastic. And the bacon was actually pretty tasty. The noodles were amazing and so much healthier than white flour noodles. Delicious. A definite winner and repeat.

Bacony Bolognese & Zucchini Noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 pound bacon, chopped
4 carrots, minced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
28 ounces diced tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 pounds small zucchini
3 tablespoons  olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped shallot
salt and pepper, to taste

Method

Cook chopped bacon in a deep skillet medium heat until crisp; drain, reserving  drippings in pan. Saute carrots, onion and garlic in hot drippings until tender. Stir occasionally. Add wine, tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer; cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk; return to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Sprinkle with bacon.

Turn zucchini into noodles with a spiralizer or julienne peeler. Combine oil, lemon juice, shallot, salt and pepper in a large bowl; add zucchini, and toss to coat. Let stand at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve Zucchini ”Pasta” with Bacon Bolognese.

We absolutely LOVED this recipe. A definite repeat. The kids were also HUGE fans. Delicious!

Best Ever Whole Food Kids’ Mac and Cheese

REAL food Kids' Mac & Cheese | @VeggieConverter

OK, we’ve tried A LOT of macaroni and cheese recipes in this family since improving our food choices and going without the blue box. I mean A LOT of recipes, check out all our Macaroni Recipes for a few examples. Before now, our family favorite was this Easy Cheese Sauce poured over macaroni. Obviously unbaked macaroni and cheese is a totally different category than baked (on the baked front, we like Fancy Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Tomatoes).

But I do believe, after our unplanned family vacation, we’ve discovered the biggest mac and cheese hit for kids and adults yet. My 2-year-old niece (who is a super picky eater) actually drank the remains of her sauce from her bowl and asked for seconds. Her 4-year-old sister ate a second bowl and then asked that we save the rest for tomorrow so she could eat it again. My girls absolutely love this version, too. And, bonus: all the adults love it as well. It’s especially awesome since Goose (our almost 3-year-old) has developed the family curse: tomato allergy. I’m sure you can imagine how tough that is with a whole foodie vegetarian mommy. Ugh. But I digress.

This version is stupid simple to throw together in about 10 minutes and all you need is butter, cream cheese, milk, a bit of flour and shredded cheese. We use Mexican blend cheese because that’s what we keep around, but it’d be great with mild cheddar, too.

You should try this recipe today, your kids will thank you!

Note: I like to keep the sauce and macaroni separate at the end so the mac doesn’t get soggy when you store leftovers. If you like, you can mix it all together instead. We simply pour our desired amount of sauce on top of our macs and mix it up in the bowl.

You can also use this cheese sauce on other stuff, like broccoli and cauliflower. Yum!

Whole Food Kids’ Mac and Cheese

Ingredients

1 pound macaroni noodles, cooked (we use rice noodles)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1 Tablespoon flour (we use gluten-free)
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1 cup milk
1 heaping cup shredded cheese
Kosher salt, to taste (optional)

Method

If you haven’t boiled your noodles, start those first.

Meanwhile, melt butter and add garlic to a medium saucepan. Saute for about 1 minute at medium heat.
Stir in flour to make a roux. Note: If you’re not good at making a roux, no problem! Just whisk in the flour after the next step instead. I’ve done it both ways (some days Mommy just isn’t feeling the roux) and both work great.

Add cream cheese and milk.

Raise heat to medium high and cook, stirring frequently, until cream cheese is melted, about 7 minutes.
Add shredded cheese and whisk until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Salt to taste, if desired.
Pour sauce over macaroni noodles. (Keep the sauce separate and pour over individual servings if you’re expecting to store leftovers.)

REAL food Kids' Mac & Cheese | @VeggieConverter glutenfree vegetarian

 

Fancy Homemade Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes

MacAndCheeseTomatoes

Mac and Cheese is a vegetarian potluck favorite. But it doesn’t always have the prettiest presentation. The simple, yet somehow I’ve never tried it before solution? Place slices of tomato on top prior to baking for color contrast and bonus nutrients!

I found this little gem of a suggestion in one of my thrift store cookbook finds, the 1965 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New CookBook. You probably know the one. It has a red and white picnic tablecoth-esque cover and is sprial-bound. Notably, this is also where I came across the notion of Everyday Cupcakes! What? Cupcakes every day! (Recipe to come.) But I digress.

Mac and cheese is, unsurprisingly, one of our family favorites, but we love to try new recipes since our toddlers’  tastebuds are always changing. This one is pretty simple, but the tomato slices add that extra flourish for potlucks or company’s-coming-over nights.

The kids and adults all loved it. Though Bug, our 4-year-old, refused to eat the tomatoes once they were cooked. She helped with the cooking and ate the extra tomato slices raw, and agreed the mac and cheese looked especially fancy. But when it came time to eat the cooked tomatoes, she politely asked her little sister if she would like to eat hers for her.

Goose, 2, ate double tomatoes without complaint and Bug ate nearly her own weight in macaroni.

Fancy Homemade Mac and Cheese with Tomatoes

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons flour (we use whole wheat white)
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons dried minced onion
2 cups shredded cheese (we use Mexican blend)
1 Roma tomato, sliced and sprinkled with salt (optional)

Method
Preheat oven to 350F.
Cook macaroni in boiling water.
Melt butter. Blend in flour, mix in milk, salt, onion, and whisk in cheese. Pour sauce over macaroni in a baking dish. Top with tomato slices and bake 35 minutes.

Kid-Friendly Kid-Cooked CrockPot Spaghetti Sauce

KidsMarinara_stir

My girls love helping in the kitchen. Unfortunately, not every recipe is conducive to their particular brand of “help.” Sometimes the help is more of a hindrance, sure, but it’s always an adventure. But my thrift store find, the Fix-It and Forget-It Kids’ Cookbook, makes the adventures simple and slightly less messy.  I adapted the Super Spaghetti Sauce recipe (the original had meat, which we could’ve replaced with Lentil and Rice Ground Beef Substitute, but we prefer our “meat” optional in our sauce so we left it out) to a simple CrockPot marinara sauce.

While we have a favorite Slow Cooker marinara sauce, our kids aren’t as fond of it as we are. It’s a little too adventurous for them. This version is less spicy and they gobble it up even without pasta underneath it. Yes, that’s weird. But hey, I’ve never claimed they’re normal. :)

And of course, the most awesome aspect of this recipe is that I open up the cans for them, chop the onion and then I just hand them the ingredients. They put them all in the CrockPot and stir it up. Wander back into the kitchen hours later and wallah! Spaghetti Sauce!

Kid-Friendly Kid-Cooked CrockPot Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients

1 cup diced onion
2 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes, undrained
6 ounce can tomato paste
8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 bay leaf

Instructions

Mom or Dad: Dice the onion.
Kids: Pour all of the ingredients into the CrockPot.
Drop the bay leaf on top.

Cook on LOW for 8 hours.

 

PS: Those are temporary tattoos on the girls’ arms. They’re not that wild and crazy…yet.

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Pasta Stars

Tomato Soup with Stars

With another of my thrift store cookbook finds, The Fix-It and Forget-It Kids’ Cookbook, I found a pretty simple Alphabet Soup recipe. I had some pasta stars leftover from another dish, so I decided to go with that instead for this simple slow cooker tomato soup. I also swapped in minced onion for onion soup mix and TVP for stew meat. This simple tomato vegetable soup is great fun for the kids to help make and enjoy the stars (or letters). We’ve had a lot of colds lately, so this comforting and fun soup has been great for the kids. And they so love to help make it!

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Pasta Stars

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup TVP (or ground beef substitute)

14.5 ounces diced tomatoes

8 ounces tomato sauce

1 cup water

2 cups frozen vegetable blend

1/2 cup uncooked star or alphabet pasta

Instructions

In a 4 quart slow cooker, add all ingredients except pasta. Cook on LOW for 6 hours.

Add pasta and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes. Serve.

Vegetarian Lasagna Cups

We love lasagna; it’s a holiday favorite and an everyday favorite. And the kids love just about anything in cupcake shape. So when I saw Lasagna Cups recently on Pinterest, I knew I’d have to make them eventually. That was several months ago, but I finally got around to it. Which led to the creation of this beautiful Caramelized Onion Easy Marinara Sauce. Yum. And I went totally simple with the Lasagna Cups recipe, with just one layer of each item. After all, the sauce is packed full of yum, so it didn’t need much else.

Lasagna Cups

Ingredients

6 lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
3/4 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup lentil “beef” crumbles
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese

Method

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut noodles in half and line in cups. Mix other ingredients and fill cups.
Bake 20-25 minutes.

Quick and Delicious Marinara Sauce

marinara

I made this absolutely delicious caramelized onion-based marinara sauce somewhat by accident. I usually have a ton of Slow Cooker Marinara on-hand either on the canning shelf or in the freezer. But somehow I depleted my stock over the holidays without realizing it. And I had all the ingredients for lasagna out and ready to go—with no marinara sauce!

So, I decided I’d whip up a quick batch on the stove instead. And I was in a bit of a rush, so I just threw things together a bit willy nilly. And I even made a big goof when I went to add a little sucanat (brown sugar), pouring in way more than I thought it would need. It turned out absolutely delicious. I’m not ashamed to admit I was licking the pan. ;)

 

Quick & Delicious Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups diced tomatoes (I used Roma)
15 ounces tomato sauce
6 ounces tomato paste
1/4 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
salt, pepper and onion powder, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste

Method

Caramelize onions in olive oil.
Add garlic and cook another few minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.
Reduce to low, simmer for an hour.

Easy Bento Sesame Noodles #vegan @veganMoFo


**Please check out my Lekue kitchen products giveaway and make your own Pumpkin Pie Push Pops.**

It’s National Pasta Day, so I packed Bug’s bento with one of my all-time favorite quick meals. We almost always keep a bag of cooked whole grain noodles in the fridge, so when we need an easy weeknight or lunch box meal, we just pop out some noodles and top them with whatever sauce we feel like.

One of my absolute favorites for myself is a quick Asian-inspired sesame noodles. I splash in some Bragg’s amino acids (soy sauce works, too), garlic powder, sesame oil and sesame seeds. I sometimes top it off with red pepper flakes, too (not in Bug’s version).

It’s stupid simple and incredibly delicious. It’s kind of like having soba noodles when you don’t have the buckwheat to make them. :)
You can definitely get a little fancier and add in more spices, maybe some green onions. But part of the beauty of this dish is it’s simplicity.

Enjoy!

This post is shared with Real Food WednesdayWhole Food WednesdaysWhat’s Cooking WednesdayWorks for me WednesdayThese Chicks Cooked and Bake with BizzyHearth and Soul Hop.

Quick Spinach Pesto Recipe: This Week’s Cravings

I’m sharing my Quick Spinach Pesto Recipe for This Week’s Cravings. It’s delicious and nutritious and a great way to use up slightly wilted spinach. Yummy!

Spinach Pesto

Ingredients

2 cups spinach
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup Parmesan

Method

Blend all ingredients together with a blender or stick blender. Heat and serve.

The Results

My absolute favorite pasta sauce. And it is so great to be able to pop out a cube of sauce for a serving of pasta. Delicious!

My This Week’s Cravings co-hostesses are: Tina at Moms Crazy Cooking and Nicole at The Daily Dish. As hostesses, we will try our hardest to visit as many of the links we can. We all enjoy your links and look forward to gathering recipes each week.The party has a few SIMPLE RULES and all of the themes for the entire year are list here on the THIS WEEK’S CRAVINGS tabat Moms Crazy Cooking. Plan ahead, check out the weeks you want to make sure to link up or just browse them to see what’s going on.

If you are a regular link-up we’re excited to see what you made this week. If you are new please read and follow the simple rules, so that everyone can enjoy the linky party! Thanks a million, we look forward to blogging with you!