Quick meals for the holiday season

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December 15, 2012 by theoghartiens

With the holidays upon us, my goal with dinner is quick and easy and inexpensive! Between running errands to get gifts, planning trips and holiday food preparation – I don’t have a lot of time to cook elaborate dinners for the family on a daily basis. We generally eat out about once or twice a week, but have been trying to cut down on the cost of restaurant meals. I decided I’d attempt to make some of our favorites at home!

Vegetarian Lo Mein Vegetable LoMein

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 large carrot, thinly sliced

1 small onion, sliced

1 head of broccoli (about 2 cups, chopped)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup water

Cilantro, for garnish

Lime, for garnish


2 tablespoons peanut sauce (I use Whole Foods brand)

1/4 cup Tahini (I use Once Again organic brand)

Juice of 1/2 large lemon

2 tablespoons Tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 tsp grated ginger (or 1 tsp ginger powder)

1 tsp red pepper flakes, or 1/4 tsp cayenne pepperRice-Vermicelli noodles

Rice stick noodles, or lo mein noodles if you are not sensitive to wheat

First, prepare sauce by whisking together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Prepare noodles as directed on package. If using rice stick noodles, wait until after veggies are sautéed, as they only take 2-3 minutes to soften in boiling water. Drain and set aside.

In a medium pan, saute onion, carrot and bell pepper in coconut oil for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute, then add broccoli and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and steam for about 2-3 minutes. Remove lid and add tahini sauce. Heat uncovered for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through.

To serve – put lo mein/rice noodles in a deep bowl, top with veggie mixture and chopped cilantro. Serve lime wedge as a garnish. Makes 2 large portions.

Okay, so I know this isn’t the time of year for fresh basil or homegrown tomatoes, but sometimes you just need a little taste of summer to get you through the hectic holiday months! Here is a very simple recipe for my favorite pizza: the Margherita!

DSC_0043Margherita Pizza

(with fresh tomato and basil toppings)

1 premade pizza crust – I use Udi’s gluten free frozen pizza crust

1 large tomato, sliced

1/2 package super sweet baby tomatoes

1 handful fresh basil (I buy the “living” basil from Whole Foods)

1/2 cup Italian blend shredded cheese

For sauce:

1 8oz can tomato sauce (Muer Glen brand is BPA free)

1 tsp dried Italian seasoning

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Optional toppings:

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

DSC_0042To make sauce:*

Add one can of tomato sauce to a bowl and stir in garlic and Italian seasoning. Add salt and pepper. Set aside. (*Save the remaining sauce for more pizza, or store in an airtight contained and use as a quick pasta sauce – will last up to one week in the refrigerator)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare crust with toppings – start with sauce, sprinkle with garlic powder, cover with handful of cheese and spread out to 1/4 inch of the crust. Top with sliced tomato and baby tomatoes. Sprinkle with red pepper and oregano.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, or as directed on pizza crust package. Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil. Let sit for 3-4 minutes so that basil wilts. Serves 2.

Since the kids are out of school for the holiday season, I have been experimenting with my morning smoothies. My son won’t touch them, no matter what they look like, but my daughter definitely appreciated the beautiful blueberry cobbler smoothie I created this week! This is a great way to get a “taste of the holiday” without the added calories, or guilt!

Blueberry Cobbler SmoothieDSC_0238

1 very ripe banana (2 if you like your smoothie sweeter)

2 cups almond milk + 1 cup coconut water

2 tablespoons hemp seeds (or flax seeds, if you have them)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 fresh vanilla bean (or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract)

Dash of Allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 package frozen blueberries

DSC_0236Blend all room temperature ingredients together, then add blueberries. Reserve one or two teaspoons of the frozen berries to use as topping. Makes 32 ounces.

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Honest Toddler

juice, crackers. tv.

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