Simple pasta shells

Though I love experimenting with crazy new vegan ideas, sometimes this causes problems for me.

For example, my attempt to make vegan mayo a few days ago turned out very scary. But then I fed it to my dog, and he liked it!

Sometimes my friends aren’t quite willing to try the crazy concoctions I come up with. My boyfriend has been teasing me for awhile now that I put cauliflower in everything… which is only slightly true. ūüėČ But seriously, I think cauliflower is amazing. (Stay tuned for a new cauliflower recipe soon!)

Anyway, I thought it was about time I made something that was naturally vegan. Making crazy items taste like alfredo or creamy soup is certainly fun, but I think it’s time I get back to the basics. Time to make some dishes that don’t need cream or creamy substitutes to be delicious. Dishes that don’t even need cheese!

I created this recipe because strangely enough, I couldn’t find any stuffed pasta shell recipe that didn’t involve cheese or a cheese wanna-be! Why can’t you stuff pasta shells with other things?? Well, I decided you can!

I present to you, simple veggie stuffed pasta shells. Enjoy!

pasta shells.jpg

Simple pasta shells
1 box large pasta shells
8 oz mushrooms
3 cups spinach
2 small cans of tomato paste
1 medium can of diced tomatoes
1 tbsp italian seasoning
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp onion powder

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Bring water to boil in a pot on stove and cook noodles for 8 minutes (al dente). Drain in sink when done.
  3. Meanwhile, pour 2 cans of tomato paste in a large bowl. Slowly add water and whisk until desired consistency.
  4. Add diced tomatoes and all seasonings to tomato paste/water mixture. Stir to combine. Set aside.
  5. Dice spinach and mushrooms. Add mushrooms to a large pan on the stove. Sprinkle some italian seasoning on them. Cook over low until most of the water has gone. Then add chopped spinach to pan and saute just until wilted.
  6. Pour a small amount of the tomato sauce in a 13×9 in pan, just enough to cover the bottom. Take the cooked noodles & stuff them with the spinach/mushroom mixture. Set these in the pan (you will probably need more than one pan).
  7. Once you have stuffed all the noodles, pour a generous heaping of the remaining tomato sauce over the top.
  8. Cook uncovered in the oven for 30 minutes, or just until desired temperature has been reached.

New page – healthier vegan substitutions!

Hi all,

I just wrote a new page for you entitled “Healthier vegan substitutions“. It’s a new tab up by the home tab & the meet the chef tab.

This new page has lots of fun ideas on easy ways to make a favorite recipe vegan or simply just a bit healthier. I also included some links to other sites that have more extensive lists if you really want to explore all the options available. I just listed my favorites here. I hope you enjoy! =)

Things I’ve learned about grocery shopping

So, I don’t have a recipe for you in this post, I just wanted to share a few tips that I’ve started following lately which have been super helpful!

  1. Eat more vegetables.¬†Meat & seafood are delicious, yes, but they are also expensive! You don’t have to be a vegetarian of course, but if you can bulk up your meals with more vegetables and less meat, it is healthier & cheaper. =)
  2. Watch the price per ounce, not necessarily the total price.¬†If you think about it, the only price that really matters is how much you’re paying for how much you’re getting. There is so many different types of packaging that this is really the only way to accurately compare items to get the most for your buck. I recently decided that I would not buy anything that was more than $0.35/oz. I sometimes make exceptions for this rule as a treat, but I’ve found that most things over that amount end up being really expensive. I just think creatively and replace it with something else that won’t dramatically alter the recipe or simply leave it out if it isn’t essential.
  3. Don’t buy large amounts of something you won’t use up right away, unless it doesn’t expire for a REALLY long time.¬†This probably seems obvious, but sometimes it’s hard when you just want a little bit of greek yogurt or lettuce! My two solutions for this are either a) use the salad bar or b) plan more than one recipe that uses the perishable ingredient.
  4. Whenever possible, buy frozen vegetables instead of fresh or canned. Fresh vegetables just go bad so quickly! Frozen is always my first choice, then the salad bar for small amounts, then creating multiple recipes to use up the ingredient. Canned stays good for a long time too, but frozen has more nutrients and less salt!
  5. Check the sodium content on canned vegetables.¬†If you do need to buy something canned, the sodium can be awful!! Always always always check to see if there is a “no salt added” can of your favorite vegetable. Just today I was looking for canned diced tomatoes, and most of them had upwards of 200mg of sodium per serving!!! I looked around a bit and finally found a “no salt added” version. It has 5mg of sodium. HUGE difference. And hey, if you like salt, you can always add some yourself. Chances are that adding a few shakes of salt will still be way healthier than buying a can of tomatoes that starts with 400 mg/serving!

After following these tips, I’ve had so many fewer things go bad on me in the fridge, and my grocery bill was significantly reduced!! Very exciting. All these little things add up for sure.

Happy shopping! =)