Fab Dinner Ideas for Busy People

Hey there lovely readers!

I hope my fellow Northeast peeps are safe and warm from this past weekends snow storm. Luckily the Bronx did not get too effected. I have definitely dealt with worse in Syracuse. I remember tropping it to class in nearly 5 feet of snow. Now just imagine my 5 foot 2 inch self walking in snow nearly as tall as I am. Crazy right?

As I sit here on this lovely Sunday evening I have become inspired to leave you lovely peeps with some potential dinner recipes for the week! These are super easy and delish. You can whip these up in NO time.

Recipe 1: Veggie Pasta Salad with garlic & olive oil sautéed asparagus and bruschetta.

What you need:
(For Pasta Salad)
1 bag of vegetable pasta (available at Trader Joes), cooked to al dente and cooled. Set aside.
1 cup cooked broccoli (I prefer to sauté with garlic & olive oil until tender but with a nice bite to it)
1 cup sautéed spinach (sauté with broccoli)
1 cup sautéed kale
1 vine ripe tomato, diced (or a handful of baby heirloom tomatoes cut in half)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (NOT in oil. You can get them in a bag from Trader Joes!)
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of Italian dressing
Salt and pepper to taste

(For sautéed asparagus)
1 bunch of asparagus, stems trimmed
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

(For Bruschetta)
1 French baguette (or ciabatta bread), cut into one inch slices at an angle
2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil (plus more to add to drizzle on bread)
2 cloves of garlic (for rubbing on hot bread)
2 large beefsteak tomatoes (I used multiple colors for visual pleasure)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup freshly chopped basil

How to make it:
1. Combine all ingredients for pasta salad. Set in fridge until serving time to allow for flavors to combine. Feel free to use any extra fresh basil as garnish.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet, place slices of baguette. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper. Put in oven for 8 minutes or until slightly brown. Let cool for a few minutes before rubbing garlic cloves on the bread.

3. Prepare tomato mixture. Combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper. Toss in basil. Let sit aside until bread has cooled completely. (Note: sometimes I just LOVE adding diced shallot into this. Not very traditional but I love the extra crunch component).

4. Sauté asparagus in a skillet. Sauté until bright green. Do not over cook. The crunch really makes asparagus fab!

Recipe 2: Baked Purple Potatoes with roasted Brussel sprouts and Gardein Vegan Chicken Patties

What you need:
4 purple potatoes (or any other potato you like)
1 bag of Brussel sprouts, halved (the steam in a bag sprouts work great)
1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
2 tablespoons grade A/B pure maple syrup
1/2 cup slivered chopped almonds
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 bag Gardein zesty marinara vegan chicken cutlets (prepare according to package)
**Tip: prepare vegan chicken in a skillet with two teaspoons of olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and any dried herbs for extra flavor and a crunchy exterior**
Vegan butter, sea salt, pepper for flavor

How you make it:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In the mean time prep your veggies. Wash the purple potatoes. Drizzle olive oil or rub vegan butter on the potatoes and sprinkle sea salt on the potatoes. Wrap potatoes individually in aluminum foil. Place in oven and cook until you can poke a fork in the potatoes.

2. On a baking sheet, arrange Brussel sprouts and drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with a small amount of sea salt. Place in oven when potatoes are half way done (after about 10-15 minutes). After about 5-8 minutes, remove baking sheet, drizzle maple syrup and scatter the cranberries. Cook until golden and slightly tender. NOTE: Do NOT over cook these. That’s what gives the sprouts an awful smell. After about 5-6 more minutes of cooking they should be done but this depends on your oven. Eyeball them.

3.Once golden, let Brussel sprouts cool and toss almonds with the sprouts and cranberries.

4. Prepare Gardein patties according to package instructions and my yummy tip. 😉

Recipe 3: Vegan Taco Tuesday/Thursday/Any ol’ day

What you need:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 leek, washed and sliced
2 cloves of garlic
Extra virgin olive oil
Cumin, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper to taste
Homemade guacamole (see my recipe here: http://goo.gl/PvxEX)
Your favorite salsa (I love Trader Joes Pico De Gallo)
Spinach, Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Red Onion diced (all your choice)
Whole wheat whole grain tortillas

How you make it:
1. In a sauce pan, over medium heat, sauté leeks with olive oil and garlic. Let leeks become translucent. Once translucent add black beans. Season with cumin, black pepper, sea salt and more garlic (if you’re a garlic lover like I am). Turn heat to low and let cook for 5 more minutes.

2. While beans are cooking, prepare guacamole, chop other veggies for taco assembly and set aside.

3. Warm tortillas in a skillet. Remove warm tortilla and place on plate and begin assembling tacos!

I hope you are inspired to create some delish dinners this week!

Peace, love and no beef!


(P.S. I actually LOVE Brussel sprouts)


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