Oyster Mushroom Pasta

We’ve been on a bit of a pasta kick. This pasta comes together really quickly with minimal ingredients. It’s the perfect dish to follow a long day of work/school when energy and enthusiasm for cooking is far from our minds. The oyster mushrooms add meatiness to the dish, while the double-smoked cheddar cheese grated on top enhances the flavour.

3 cups dried pasta, preferably rotini
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups marinara sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Double-smoked cheddar cheese, grated
Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
2. Saute mushrooms and garlic in olive oil for 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Drain the pasta and return to pot. Add sauteed mushrooms and garlic, marinara sauce, salt and pepper. Stir and heat until thoroughly warmed through.
4. Top with double-smoked cheddar cheese and serve with garlic bread.

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Vegetarian Lasagna

We love gooey cheese dishes, bonus if we can sneak a vegetable in there like zucchini. Usually we’re not really sure what to do with zucchini besides eat it straight off grill or put it on pizza. We love putting vegetables like eggplant in risottos, stews, etc. but the zucchini somehow gets neglected. However, it’s absolutely delicious in this lasagna! This dish is healthier than traditional lasagnas thanks to the vegetables and the low fat cottage cheese.

3 cups organic Marinara sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 package lasagna noodles
2 medium zucchini, sliced
7 oz oyster mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups low fat cottage cheese
2 cups shredded cheese (We used a 4 cheese blend)
1 teaspoon oregano

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat. Saute the garlic for two minutes, then add oyster mushrooms and zucchini. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until zucchini and mushrooms are tender.
3. Cook the noodles in boiling water for a few minutes, rinse in cold water and drain.
4. Cover the bottom of a 9×12 inch baking pan with 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce, then cover the sauce with one layer of lasagna noodles. Cover this with a thin layer of cottage cheese, then add a layer of cooked mushrooms and zucchini and a thin layer of marinara sauce. Repeat 2 times, then add a layer of noodles, a layer of marinara sauce and a layer of shredded cheese. Sprinkle oregano on top of shredded cheese.
5. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the lasagna and bake for another 15 minutes to lightly brown the cheese.
6. Allow lasagna to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa rules. It’s gluten-free, pairs well with everything, cooks in 15 minutes, and is high in protein and other good stuff like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. We like to make this salad Sunday night and have it throughout the week as a side dish, but it would be great on its own as well.

If you buy prepackaged quinoa, it should say if it’s been rinsed or not. If not, then let the quinoa soak for about 15 minutes or longer to remove the bitter coating that contains saponins. Then give it a quick rinse and it’s ready to be cooked!

1 cup organic quinoa
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 stalks celery, chopped
2/3 cup frozen peas
1/2 English cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

Dressing

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger
A dash of freshly ground pepper

1. Soak quinoa in cold water for 15 minutes and then rinse under running water using a strainer or a cheese cloth.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt and water to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until done. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover, and let cool.
3. Chop the English cucumber, mint leaves and tomato and set aside.
4. Boil chopped celery and frozen peas for 4 to 5 minutes, rinse and drain, and then add to chopped vegetables.
5. Whisk together lemon juice, oil, remaining salt, sugar, water and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
6. Combine all ingredients before serving and toss gently.

Serves six.

Garlic Sweet Potato Fries

We love sweet potatoes because apart from being totally delicious, they pack a ton of vitamins and nutrients like vitamin A and C. These are great with any protein for dinner, and also work very well as an appetizer. If you normally don’t like sweet potatoes, give these a try!

We like to leave the skin on for extra nutrition, but peel ’em if that’s your thing. You can also use yams in place of the sweet potatoes in this recipe without a problem!

Garlic Sweet Potato Fries

1 tsp garlic powder or more to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4 large sweet potatoes

1. Scrub sweet potatoes with a coarse brush until clean and free of dirt. Cut 1/4 inch thick and 3/4 inch wide, or however you desire; we prefer steak cut fries.
2. Place sweet potatoes into a bowl with garlic powder and olive oil. Mix until fries are well coated.
3. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper. Rub olive oil on parchment paper so fries do not stick.
4. Place fries on baking sheet and sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10 minutes, watching fries closely to make sure they don’t burn.

Serves 6.

Crispy Breaded Tofu Sticks

Oh She Glows is one of my favourite food blogs. When I first started cooking on my own without parental supervision, I made many of Angela’s recipes. Several of her recipes are sitting in my recipe collector, well-worn and creased – a sign of good eats. Also, she is coming out with a cookbook! Eeek! So excited.

I love that this recipe is made without expensive, hard to find ingredients. The steps are simple and don’t require much work besides draining the tofu, breading the sticks and pressing “Bake” on your oven. My boyfriend and I love to make these when we are feeling lazy because they require so little work. We pair them with sweet potato fries, and DQ’s chicken strip basket comes to my mind. Except that this is a million times healthier.

The tofu sticks are so perfectly crispy and crunchy, that I don’t miss fast food at all. I don’t even remember the last time I had fast food. Fries totally don’t count. Right?? Tofu sticks are dry, so I love to pair these with a honey-dijon mustard sauce. Agave nectar also works nicely with dijon mustard.

Click here for the tasty recipe!

– Silvia