Easy and Healthy Dinner Options

Dinners can be a cinch when mystery sauces and spices aren’t an option and the sky isn’t the limit.

Chicken or Fish

Fresh or thawed chicken or fish (favorites: drumsticks cooked with skin on, salmon or cod)

Lightly coat (or spray) with sunflower or safflower or canola oil and lightly salt

Cook in pan at 425 for 20 to 45 minutes, until internal temp reaches at least 165 for fish and 185 for chicken.

Squeeze fresh lime juice on fish (option).

Pasta or Rice

regular or brown rice pasta with a little oil and salt; mixed with a little rice milk can be good, too; and/or with roasted or sautéed fresh garlic

plain rice (or with chopped garlic)


broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, or sliced potatoes. lightly coat or spray with safflower or canola oil, sprinkle with salt. Cook in pan at 425 for 10 to 15 min for broccoli or cauliflower; 20 to 60 mins for carrots or potato slices.

plain baked potato (with a little oil and salt)

chickpeas (if canned, drain and rinse)

boiled peas, green beans, or mixed vegetables

McCain’s smiley fries

Any of the above can be sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley


Lunch Box Ideas

Pick one:

Quesadillas made from: 365 brand flour tortillas, Tofutti cream cheese, refried beans (can get unspiced refried beans at whole foods and trader joes) or black, pinto, or kidney beans drainded and rinsed, canola spray

Roll-ups made from 365 brand flour tortillas, Tofutti cream cheese, and/or cashew butter

Sandwich with bakery/unpreserved bread, and Tofutti cream cheese and/or cashew buter

Bakery/unpreserved bun with leftover roasted chicken and Tofutti cream cheese

Soup (see recipes or Amy’s lentil or Amy’s split pea)

Leftover pasta

Pick one: leftover peas, green beans, mixed vegetables, or carrot slices (the leftover broccoli and cauliflauer are usually not eaten)

Pick one: banana or pear squeezer, bag of dried pears, delmonte canned pear halves (barlette pears in water and sugar), fresh sliced pear, banana, or mangos

Pick one: bag of potato chips or pretzels

Pick one: Natures Best chocolate cream or choc chip cookies, homemade cookie bar, or banana bread

Smores Cookie Bars

Smores Cookie Bars

1 2/3 cup flour (I mix regular and wheat flour)

1 teas baking soda

1/2 teas salt

1/4 cup spectrum shortening*

1/8 cup canola oil*

1/8 cup rice or soy milk*

1 baby jar pears (pear sauce)*

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 teas vanilla

2 1/2 cups oats

8 oz chocolate (use enjoy life choc chunks)

6 oz mini marshmallows (used cut up big vegan marshmallows)

Mix all of the ingredients except chocolate and marshmallows. Add more rice or soy milk if needed to get a moist cookie dough. Line 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Press half the cookie dough into the bottom of the plan. Layer with marshmallows and most of the chocolate. Top with remaining cookie dough and chocolate, pressing down. Bake at 350 for 25 to 35 min (until knife comes out clean).

*note: for a non-vegan recipe, these 4 ingredients can be replaced with 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter and 2 eggs. Recipe is adapted from http://www.spoonforkbacon.com

Vegan Low-Sal Enchiladas

I usually only make one or two at a time when I’m making a different type of enchiladas so don’t have the ingredient amounts sorted out. Ingredients are:
-365 brand flour tortillas
-chopped onions
-refried beans (make sure contain only beans, salt, water)
-rice milk or cashew milk
Spread beans on tortillas and roll up. Sprinkle onions and pour milk on top. Bake about 30 minutes at 350.

Pea Soup

1 teas safflower or sunflower oil
1 small or medium onion, chopped
10 oz bag of frozen peas
2.5 cups water
1 to 1.5 teas salt
optional: carrot or potato
Saute onion and oil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add water and bring to boil. Add peas and salt until heated (if using carrot or potato boil until they are soft). Blend in food processor, blender, or with hand mixer.

Vegan Blondies

1 cup cashew butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 teas vanilla (or maple syrup)
2/3 cup flour (or oat flour)
1 teas baking soda
1/8 teas salt
1/4 cup rice, cashew, soy milk, or water
1/2 cup choc chips (or more)
Mix all ingredients and spread into 8×8 or 9×9 pan. Bake at 375 for about 25 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Or make about 24 cookies – bake at 350 or 8 to 10 min

Teddy Bear Bread

This is an easy and fun bread invented by my daughter’s wonderfully creative preschool teacher.

Trader Joes refrigerated pizza dough (plain – not the herby one)
Shape the dough into several balls – a big one for the body, smaller one for the head, then ears, legs and arms if you choose.
Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 until its a golden brown and cooked all the way through (30 minutes or more).
Of course, this can be made into all sorts of shapes including soft pretzel shapes.

Options: Could be served with vegan cream cheese or use the macaroni and cheese-less sauce for a dipping sauce. Or make into a wreath shape and stuff with some brown sugar to make a kings cake.

Macaroni and Cheese-less

I have made several vegan salicylate free sauces and the sauce for this is the only one my daughter has actually liked. I don’t think you can make something that’s not cheese taste like cheese, but it does look like a cheese sauce and its tasty and creamy like comfort food.

16 ounces dried pasta or rice pasta
1.5 cup peeled/diced potato (russet works well)
1/2 cup peeled/diced carrots
1 small cup chopped onion
3 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 cup water (preferably use liquid from pot of boiled veggies – save some extra in case you need to thin it more)
1/2 cup cashew butter (or use raw cashews)
1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoon lime juice (to taste)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
optional: bread crumbs or cashew meal for topping before baking


Cook pasta according to instructions.
Boil potatoes, carrots, and onion for at least 10 minutes (until tender) in medium to large pot. Add the garlic for the last couple of minutes of boiling. In blender or food processor, blend the vegetables, water, cashew butter, lime juice, and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour sauce over cooked pasta. Serve or bake as you would regular macaroni and cheese (around 20 to 30 minutes at 350).

Notes: This cheese-less sauce is also good on baked potatoes, for dipping vegetables or french fries in, on tortilla chips, etc.. Could also be used as a base for a “creamy” soup like broccoli cheese soup.

Vegan Donuts!

Thanks to my daughters fabulous pre-school teachers, I have some new fun vegan recipes. Here is one for mini-donuts. These are delicious!
2/3 cup soy milk (or cashew milk; rice milk not recommended)
1/2 teas lime juice
1 cup flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
3 tbsp canola oil
1/2 teas vanilla (or maple syrup)
Mix all ingredients with a spoon until the big lumps are gone. Carefully spoon (or pipe into using a plastic bag with a tip cutoff) into baby cakes mini donut maker or mini donut pans. If using the mini pans, bake at around 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.

options: roll in or sprinkle with powdered sugar, or frost by dipping into one of the cake frosting recipes.

Sugar Cookies

3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups Earth Balance
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup pear sauce
2 tablespoons rice milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or maple syrup if can’t use vanilla)
1 teas maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat Earth Balance and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add prepared pear sauce, rice milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Add flour and baking powder; mix well. Split into two flat balls and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to roll out. Roll out as you would regular sugar cookies and cut into shapes. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 2 minutes cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Can be frosted with a frosting recipe from one of the cakes on the blog. (makes 6 to 8 dozen)