- Fresh (or fresh frozen) veggies & fruit as much as possible
- Whole grains
- Minimally processed food
- Organic when possible and affordable
- Lower calorie dishes preferred
Mia’s Contribution: Eggplant Caponata
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for grilling
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons golden raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons sugar, plus more if needed
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
2 cubes TJ's basil
2 cubes TJ's garlic
1. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion, raisins, pine nuts, garlic, and red-pepper flakes; cook stirring occasionally, until onion has softened, 4 to 6 minutes.
2. Add tomato paste, cocoa powder, and sugar; cook, stirring, until tomato paste is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggplant, vinegar, and 1/3 cup water.
3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is tender and mixture is thick, 7 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and more sugar (up to 1 tablespoon), as desired.
4. Serve with crostini as an appetizer or over pasta as a meal.
Note: Raisins were not included in our version of this recipe and it turned out delicious.
Jasmin’s Contribution: Quinoa With Toasted Almonds & Dried Cranberries
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube
1/2 tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1. Soak the quinoa 15 minutes in cold water
2. Stir the quinoa with your hand, pour off most of the water and drain through a fine mesh strainer
3. Shake dry in the strainer, then set the strainer over a bowl or pitcher
4. Heat a wide bottomed pan on medium heat and add the oil
5. Stir and toast the sliced almonds until golden, then remove from pan
6. Add the quinoa. Stir and toast until dry and turning color
7. Add boiling water, veggie cube, salt, bay leaf and cinnamon stick, and dried cranberries
8. Bring back to boil, cover, turn the heat to simmer, cook for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed
9. Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with the lid on
10. Fluff gently with a fork and serve
Note: Cooked chicken was added to our version to up the protein content of the meal.
Rachael’s Contribution: Slow-Cooker White Bean and Kielbasa Stew
1 pound dried white beans (such as great Northern or navy)
14 ounces kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 large onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
5 ounces baby spinach (6 cups)
country bread, for serving
1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the beans, kielbasa, broth, tomatoes (and their juices), onion, garlic, rosemary, and 1 cup water.
2. Cover and cook until the beans are tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
3. Just before serving, stir in the spinach. Serve with the bread.
Note: Turkey kielbasa was substituted for regular kielbasa and the spinach was left out.
Gretchen’s Contribution: Easy Lasagna
1 28 oz. jar plain Ragu or other spaghetti sauce
1 ½ lb. browned ground chuck (or leaner beef)
1 6 oz. can tomato paste
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 lb. low-fat ricotta cheese
1 lb. grated mozzarella cheese
Lasagna noodles, uncooked
1. Combine first 4 ingredients to create sauce.
2. In 9 X 13 pan: layer of sauce (1/3), layer of noodles, layer of sauce (1/3), layer ALL ricotta cheese, layer ½ mozzarella cheese, sprinkle parmesan cheese to taste, layer of noodles, remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella cheese, sprinkle parmesan cheese to taste.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 – 50 minutes. If top is dry, add a little more sauce. Let sit about 15 min. before cutting.
Note: Lots of substitutions were made with this dish. Organic marinara was used instead of Ragu. Ground turkey was used instead of ground chuck. Fat free ricotta was used instead of low fat. Low fat mozzarella was used instead of regular. Also the first layer of sauce did not have meat in it and two layers of fresh baby spinach were added after the ricotta cheese and before the final layer of mozzarella. The spinach didn't add much but was an easy way to sneak in some veggies. Next time I would add more spinach. This is also to adapt for vegetarians too. Just leave out the meat!