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Dinner Rolls

Wow these were super good and pretty easy.  You can make this vegan by using almond milk, vegan butter, and sugar instead of honey.

Difficulty:  Easy
Prep Time: 1 hr
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 1 hr 20 min
Yield: 12 rolls
Taste:  Great!


2 Tbsp honey (can use sugar instead)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 packet rapid-rise yeast (~2 1/4 tsp)
up to 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (sub up to 1/3 with whole-wheat pastry // plus more for kneading)
1/2 cup milk (can use unsweetened almond milk)
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp butter (can use vegan butter)


  1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, yeast, sugar and salt.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl (or small saucepan over medium heat), microwave the water, milk and butter until warm – about 110 – 120 degrees F / 43 – 48 C (~55 seconds). It should be the temperature of bath water. If it’s too hot, it can kill the yeast.
  3. Add wet to the dry ingredients and whisk or beat for 2 minutes, scraping sides as needed.
  4. Add 1/4 cup more flour and beat for another 2 minutes. Then, add only enough remaining flour to make a soft dough (I added 3/4 cups more for a total of 1 3/4 cup flour).
  5. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Then let rest 10 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, shape into balls, and place in a greased 8×8 dish or 8-inch round pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size – about 30-45 minutes (I did 1 hour)
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush the tops with additional melted butter (optional). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until fluffy and light golden brown.

Store them loosely covered with a kitchen towel for up to 3 days on the counter.

Source: Minimalist Baker

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)
Serving: 1 rolls
Calories: 110
Carbohydrates: 19.6 g
Protein: 2.4 g
Fat: 2.3 g
Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.53 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.95 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 135 mg
Potassium: 34 mg
Fiber: 0.7 g
Sugar: 2.2 g
Vitamin A: 21.22 IU
Vitamin C: 0 mg
Calcium: 23.23 mg
Iron: 1.01 mg

Carrot Top Pesto

During this quarantine world I’ve been trying to be more resourceful and minimize trips to the grocery store.  Our CSA box helps on that front.  I finally dabbled into researching what I can do with my carrot top greens from that box and decided on a pesto.  I’ve made this twice now changing the original recipe a bit and think it’s quite good!  Typically cheese is included in pestos making it creamier and heavier.  I like this version without which also makes it vegan.  If you want it a bit more viscous for a pasta add some pasta water or veggie stock to it to dilute it to your desired consistency.  I’ve used this pesto both as a sandwich spread and as a pasta sauce.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: 1 cup
Taste: Good


1 clove garlic chopped
2 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
carrot tops from 1 large or 2 smaller bunches of carrots (yields 1 cup blanched)
~10 leaves of fresh mint (original recipe called for 1/4 cup loose packed and I thought that was too minty)
4 green onions fresh green parts only
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup pecans (original recipe was walnuts)
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL: pasta water or veggie/chicken stock to dilute for use as a pasta sauce


  1. Blanch the carrot tops: Remove the lower thick stem pieces of the carrot tops. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water in it. Once boiling, add the carrot tops to the pot. Stir occasionally, cooking for about 3 minutes or until bright green and tender. Immediately remove from the pot, drain the hot water, and add the carrot tops to the ice cube bowl to stop the cooking process.
  2. Drain the carrot tops, wring out excess liquid, and spread them on a plate to dry while you do the remaining recipe prep.
  3. Add all of the ingredients from garlic through nuts (wait to add the olive oil) to the food processor. Blend until a chunky paste forms with small bits of carrot tops. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to stop frequently to scrape down the sides. Add the olive oil a tablespoon at a time until combined. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice if desired.
  4. To use as a pasta sauce, cook your pasta in salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Add the reserved cooking water and carrot top pesto, stir to combine, and cook over low heat until warmed. Serve right away.
  5. Otherwise, once cooled to room temperature, store the pesto in the fridge in an airtight container for several days. The bright green color may fade to a slightly darker green, and this is totally normal.

Source: adapted from

Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving (3 tablespoons)
Calories 107
Calories from Fat 90
Fat 10g, 15%
Saturated Fat 1g, 6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 4g
Carbohydrates 2g, 1%
Fiber 1g, 4%
Sugar 1g, 1%
Protein 1g, 2%


Baked Tortilla Chips

I bought some tortillas that were really bland and bad texture.  I don’t think it’s hard to make a good tortilla.  So I opted to re-purpose them and made tortilla chips!  I found a baked approach that worked pretty well and the end result was WAY better than the original tortillas.

Difficulty:  Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 12-15 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield:  Dependent on tortilla count.  Yield 8 chips/tortilla
Taste:  Good


Corn tortillas
Neutral vegetable oil (grapeseed and canola work as well)
Flaky sea salt


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 deg F and spray your baking tray with non-stick spray.
  2. Pour a few tablespoons of oil into a bowl
  3. Place one tortilla on the cutting board and brush the top with a light layer of oil. You don’t need a lot of oil, but do pay attention to the outer edges of the tortilla, an area that’s easy to miss.
  4. Place another tortilla on top of the oiled one and brush the top with oil. Continue in this manner until all your tortillas are oiled and stacked in one pile.
  5. Using a large, sharp knife, cut your tortilla stack in half using one firm chop, if possible. Cut one of the halves in half and cut each of those halves in half again, forming wedges. Repeat with other side. This will give you eight stacks of tortilla wedges.
  6. Arrange the tortilla wedges in a single layer on the oiled trays. Place the wedges with the un-oiled sides facing down so that they have contact with the oil on the tray. A little overlapping is fine, but don’t overlap too much or they won’t crisp. Sprinkle a pinch or two of flaked sea salt over the tops, being sure that all of the wedges get a touch of salt.
  7. Place trays in the oven and bake for 8 – 12 minutes. Check your chips at 8 minutes and rotate your pans. Be aware that very thin tortillas are vulnerable to your oven’s hot spots and can start to char.The chips are done when the edges are crisp and dry and slightly lifted from the tray. They should be a few shades darker, though not completely browned. (Chips made from handmade tortillas will often have a few brown spots on them so don’t worry if you see a few.) The chips will still be slightly flexible in the middle, but will crisp further as they cool.
  8. Remove trays from the oven and let cool slightly. As they cool, the chips will continue to crisp all the way through. Test one and if it isn’t as crisp as you would like, return the trays to the oven for another 2 or 3 minutes.Once the chips are fairly cool, remove them from the tray and serve. If you’re not eating them right away, store in an airtight plastic bag or container. Homemade chips are especially susceptible to getting stale, so be sure to bag them up as soon as possible.

Source: Kitchn

Butternut Squash Walnut & Sage Pasta

I don’t make a lot of non-tomato based pasta dishes.  This was a sauce light pasta, but lots of different flavor elements.  You can adapt the ingredients easily to what you have on hand.

For protein I have used beans, chicken, prosciutto, and ground turkey before.  Although, when I used beans the pasta dish seemed to be a lot drier.  I wasn’t sure if that was because the beans absorbed more of the liquid, or the other meats provided more liquid, or because I had the pan on simmer for a longer time than normal.  Maybe all of the above…

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 5 min
Chill Time: 20 min
Total Time: 25 min
Yield: ~3 servings
Taste: Good


2 cups cubed butternut squash
8 ounces spaghetti or linguine (and save some pasta water)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (or more olive oil)
1 small shallot, sliced
¼ cup chopped sage leaves
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup cooked chickpeas, or other protein if non-vegetarian: prosciutto, chicken, etc.
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbs lemon
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
A few handfuls of chopped spinach (or kale or chard)
½ cup chopped parsley
Grated pecorino cheese (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roast the butternut squash cubes with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper for about 20 minutes, or until they’re soft and mostly cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2 Cook pasta in salty water until al dente and reserve at least 1 cup of the starchy pasta water.

3 Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter, then add the shallot and cook until translucent.

4  Add chickpeas (or other protein) cook until chickpeas brown a bit, or protein is cooked.

5 Add the chopped sage and cook for another 30 seconds, then add the walnuts, butternut squash cubes, garlic, salt, and pepper.

6 Add lemon and balsamic and stir.

7 Add the cooked pasta and spinach. Use tongs to gently toss the pasta with everything in the pan, allowing the greens to wilt. Add pasta water to help loosen it (~about ¼ cup).

8 Add some grated pecorino at this step if you wish.

9 Remove from heat, then stir in the chopped parsley.

10 Taste and adjust seasonings and serve with extra grated cheese.


Whole Grain Bread

The latest trend is baking your own bread.  Not really by choice, but because stores ran out in this Covid-19 craze.  I finally went down that path.  It wasn’t particularly hard, it just takes a lot of time with several lengthy rise times.  I didn’t initially read the directions properly so I shorted myself some rise time and still was 2 hours later than when I wanted it for dinner.  Lessons learned…

The original recipe called for mixing in the oats and seeds not until after the first rise and before kneading the dough.  I didn’t do a good job of mixing which I knew, but didn’t know how to easily correct without over working the dough so I ran with it.  I modified the recipe below to incorporate the oats and seed into the first mixing step.  I might increase the oat volume next time too.  It was a fairly dense bread and I’ll be curious to see if more rise time lightens it up.  I think I have time in this Quarantine period to perfect it.

Difficulty:  Easy for bread but medium in general just due to yeast complexity
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 26-35 min
Inactive Rise Time: 5 hours max or 2 hours 45 min minimum
Total Time: 5.5 hours
Yield: 1 loaf, 12 slices
Taste:  Good, dense


1 1/2 cups warm water
3/4 Tbsp fast-acting yeast (1 packet yields ~3/4 Tbsp or 2 1/4 tsp)
2 Tbsp maple syrup, agave, or honey if not vegan
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Whole-Wheat Pastry Flour
1 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (plus more for rolling / dusting)
2 Tbsp raw or roasted sunflower seeds (I used poppy seeds, you could sub just about anything)
2 Tbsp rolled oats


  1.  Combine warm water (like bath water, or 110 degrees F / 43 C), yeast, maple syrup (or other sweetener), salt, flaxseed meal, flours, oats, and seeds in a large mixing bowl and stir. The result will be a sticky, rough dough. If using a stand mixer, beat at medium speed for about a minute. Otherwise just use a spoon to stir until well combined and when it can no longer do the job, knead and turn it in the bowl with your hands. Add flour until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides – about 3 3/4 cups total (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
  2. Lift the dough out and lightly grease the bowl with nonstick spray or olive oil. Cover and let rise for 2 hours at room temperature and 2 hours in the fridge. Alternatively, if you only have 2 hours, let rise at room temperature and skip the fridge (though a longer rise is best).
  3. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead about 20 turns or until elastic. Form into a loaf-like shape.
  4. Place seam-side down in a lightly greased loaf pan or baking sheet and sift a very light coating of flour over the top to help keep the dough moist. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 45-60 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C)* toward the end of the dough resting time and place a metal or cast iron pan (not glass, Pyrex, or ceramic) on the lowest oven rack. Also have 1 cup of hot water ready.
  6. When the oven is preheated, slash the bread 2 or 3 times with a knife, making a cut about ½-inch deep.
  7. Place in oven on middle rack. Then carefully pour hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. Expect it to bubble and steam; then close oven door quickly.
  8. Bake the bread for 26 to 35 minutes, or until deep golden brown and risen.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven and let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Then carefully remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack to cool. Let it cool completely before slicing for best results (otherwise it can be doughy in the middle).
  10. Store leftovers in a plastic bag at room temperature for up to a few days. Transfer to freezer for longer term storage.

Notes: Keeps for 3-4 days, freezer for 1 month


Greek Farro Salad

A good adaptable recipe to throw in what you have.  I’ve made it multiple times now and have used both farro and quinoa versions.  The original dressing was a bit too much volume so I cut it down by ~25%.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Total Time: 40 min
Yield: 4 servings
Taste: Good


1 cup dried farro, rinsed
2 cups lightly packed arugula or spinach, chop to break it into smaller pieces if desired.
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas).  Alternatively I used 4 oz salami, chopped for protein
1 large cucumber (about ¾ pound), seeded and chopped (to yield about 1 ½ cups chopped cucumber)
1 cup chopped roasted red bell pepper. Used raw
20 kalamata olives, sliced into thin rounds (about ½ cup)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup olive oil
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. To cook the farro: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed farro with at least three cups water (enough water to cover the farro by a couple of inches). Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the farro is tender to the bite but still pleasantly chewy (pearled farro will take around 15 minutes; unprocessed farro will take 25 to 40 minutes). Drain off the excess water and return the farro to the pot. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and a little splash of the dressing. Set aside for just a few minutes to cool.
  2. In a large serving bowl, combine the arugula, chickpeas, cucumber, peppers, olives and parsley.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup or small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, oregano, salt, red pepper flakes and pepper until emulsified.
  4. Add the warm farro to the serving bowl and drizzle in the remaining dressing. Toss to combine. Add the feta, toss again, and season to taste with additional salt and pepper.


Sheet Pan Lemon Chicken with Potatoes & Carrots

I think I originally got this idea from a podcast, but not sure which.  I liken these “sheet pan dinner” equivalent to a crockpot; all the real work is time spent chopping and making some quick seasoning and the oven or crockpot does the rest.  With the sheet pan option the overall cook time required is a lot less Than a crockpot.  There are lots of combinations of other sheet pan dinners to play off of here modifying the spice and veggies.   I really liked the lemon rosemary combo here.

Difficulty:  Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Total Time: 1 hr
Yield: ~4 servings
Taste: Good


Nonstick cooking spray
¼ cup olive oil
2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 pound new potatoes, quartered
5 medium carrots, cut into ½-inch coins (about 1 pound)
2 medium parsnips, cut into ½-inch coins (about ½ pound)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425-degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Add the chicken, potatoes, carrots, and parsnips to the dressing and coat to toss.  Gently pour the vegetables and chicken onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are in a single layer. Top with the lemon slices.
  3. Place in the oven and roast for 20 min and tossing vegetables and cook remaining 20 to 25 more minutes until the chicken reaches a minimum internal cooking temperature of 165-degrees Fahrenheit.

To freeze, place freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to 2 months. To defrost, refrigerate overnight. To reheat individual portions, microwave uncovered on high for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes.


Pineapple Chili

Our local gathering for Super Bowl Sunday has a Chili competition.  Two years ago I made this one thinking that the vegan appeal would earn me some extra credit points.  It was a spicy one, but I did not win.  All the textures are too soft it needs something to mix it up so tortilla chips are a good adder in that one.

Here, again, I wanted to go different.  After some interneting I came across this one which sounded interesting.  It was good, and even better the next day, but I wouldn’t say it was going to win.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 4-8 hours
Total Time: 4-8 hours
Yield: ~10 cups (3/4 a full size crockpot)
Taste: Good


20 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage (bulk, or links with casings removed)
1 medium onion, chopped to equal about 2 cups
1, 20-ounce can pineapple tidbits in juice (divided)
2, 28-ounce cans seasoned diced tomatoes
1, 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1, 6-ounce can tomato paste
3 roasted and de-seeded green chile (adjust quantity for desired heat level)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
4 teaspoons ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 green chili
cayenne for extra spice

Optional: shredded reduced-fat cheese, reduced-fat sour cream and hot sauce for serving, if desired


  1. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, cook sausage and onions, stirring to crumble sausage. Once sausage is cooked through, drain off any fat and transfer the sausage and onions to your slow cooker.
  2. Drain the pineapple, reserving both the juice and the fruit separately. Add the juice to the slow cooker. Cover and store the fruit in the refrigerator (it will be added toward the end of cooking).
  3. Add tomatoes, black beans, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and garlic to the slow cooker.
  4. Stir everything to combine. Cook on low (6-8 hours), adding reserved pineapple during last hour or two of cooking, or on high (4-5 hours), adding pineapple during last ½ hour – hour of cooking.
  5. Serve topped with cheese, sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.

Pineapple: The texture of the cooked pineapple is completely controlled by when you add it. I prefer to add it toward the end of cooking time so that it’s still fairly firm. If you prefer it to be more melded into the chili or you simply won’t be able to add it toward the end of cooking, then you can toss it in at the beginning – it will be cooked down and much less pronounced in texture, but still very good.



Asian Cabbage Salad

I recently got a cabbage in my CSA box.  And a head of cabbage is a lot of cabbage!  So I split it into two dishes; this one and a slaw topping for fish tacos.  I halved the dressing from the original recipe and took out the romaine lettuce.

Difficulty:  Easy
Prep Time:  15 min
Cook Time:  0 min
Total Time:  15 min
Yield:  8 servings
Taste:  Good


6 cups cabbage roughly 1/2 head
1 carrot cut into matchsticks
1 can mandarin oranges drained (or 3 clementines)
1 red bell pepper sliced thin
1/4 cup almonds toasted
1 tablespoons sesame seeds toasted

Asian Cabbage Salad Dressing
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar plain (if using seasoned, omit honey & salt) – I incorrectly used red wine the first time and it still tasted good.
4 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoons raw honey or sub date syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoons sriracha or other chili sauce


  1. After chopping the veggies, add the cabbage, carrots, and mandarin oranges to a bowl or storage container.
  2. Add all the dressing ingredients together in a jar, and shake well until the honey is combined.
  3. Pour about 3/4 of the dressing over the cabbage mixture, and put in the fridge until ready to serve. You can also serve it immediately.
  4. Keep the red bell peppers stored separately until right before serving.
  5. Toast the sliced almonds and sesame seeds in a small frying pan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the nuts are lightly browned ~<5 min. Be careful not to burn.
  6. Mix the peppers with the cabbage mixture, and top with almonds and sesame seeds, right before serving.
  7. Add more dressing if desired, or serve the extra dressing on the side.NUTRITION
    Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 295mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 4050IU | Vitamin C: 48.3mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1.1mg

Source:  modified slightly from

Southwest Tofu Scramble

I’m not a egg person, so breakfasts are usually pretty limited options for me.  I do like tofu, however, and had a scramble like this at a brunch recently so I found this recipe that is really easy and pretty quick to make.  I actually used it for a “brinner”.

You can easily swap mix in different veggies.  The original recipe called for mushrooms which I stomp all over…so they are not included below.

Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 30 min
Yield: original recipe states 4, ~3 for us
Taste: Good


16 ounces extra-firm tofu
2-4 Tbsp olive oil
0.5 red onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 cups kale (loosely chopped)

1 tsp sea salt (reduce amount for less salty sauce)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp chili powder
Water (to thin)
0.5 tsp turmeric (optional)

FOR SERVING (optional)
Hot Sauce
Breakfast potatoes, toast, tortilla, and/or fruit


  1.  Pat tofu dry and roll in a clean, absorbent towel with something heavy on top, such as a cast-iron skillet, for 15 minutes.
  2. While tofu is draining, prepare sauce by adding dry spices to a small bowl and adding enough water to make a pourable sauce. Set aside.
  3. Prep veggies and warm a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil and the onion, red pepper, broccoli. Season with a pinch each salt and pepper and stir. Cook until softened – about 5 minutes.
  4. Add kale, season with a bit more salt and pepper, and cover to steam for 2 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, unwrap tofu and use a fork to crumble into bite-sized pieces.
  6. Use a spatula to move the veggies to one side of the pan and add tofu. Sauté for 2 minutes, then add sauce, pouring it mostly over the tofu and a little over the veggies. Stir immediately, evenly distributing the sauce. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until tofu is slightly browned.
  7. Serve immediately with the breakfast potatoes, toast, tortillas, or fruit. You can add more flavor with salsa, hot sauce, and/or fresh cilantro. Alternatively, freeze for up to 1 month and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.



Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 4 servings)
Calories: 212 Fat: 15.1g Saturated fat: 2.4g Polyunsaturated fat: 4.8g Monounsaturated fat: 7g Sodium: 600mg Potassium: 376mg Carbohydrates: 7.1g Fiber: 2.1g Sugar: 3.3g Protein: 16.4g Vitamin A: 2550IU Vitamin C: 80mg Calcium: 460mg Iron: 4mg