Channeling excess energy… in the kitchen

Clearly, not being able to run has left me with excess energy and apparently I have found an outlet to burn that off: cooking and baking. I did plenty of that this weekend!

I started Sunday morning with delicious vegan whole wheat chocolate banana pancakes and a soy latte. Bliss!

Then for lunch I was inspired to make a vegan version of this recipe from Runner’s World. My recipe is below, adapted from Mark Bittman’s original.

Cauliflower Mac & Cheeze

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 cauliflower
8 ounces whole wheat pasta
1/3 cup Daiya vegan mozzarella
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
salt & black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
2 tablespoons ground flax
4 tablespoons Earth Balance, cut into small pieces

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Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400F.

2. Chop cauliflower into large pieces and microwave on high until tender. I started with 8 minutes then added a few minutes at a time, for a total of probably about 15 minutes. This will vary by microwave, so watch closely.

3. Meanwhile, warm stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for 5 minutes, then turn off heat.

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4. Boil a pot of salted water. Cook pasta for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

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5. Put cauliflower in food processor and process with stock (remove bay leaves first), Daiya, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt & pepper, and 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast.

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You will need to work in batches unless you have a giant food processor. I worked with about half of the ingredients at a time. When done, your sauce should look like this:

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6. Put drained pasta in greased 9-inch baking dish, pour on the sauce, and toss until coated. Spread evenly in dish.

7. Prepare topping. Mix breadcrumbs, ground flax, and 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast in a small bowl.

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Spread evenly over pasta. Sprinkle with pieces of Earth Balance.

8. Bake for about 20 minutes, until top is slightly brown. I spread the Earth Balance around a bit once it was melty, and that helped with the browning.

I forgot to take a picture of the finished meal in the casserole dish, but here it is in my bowl:

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The original recipe says it serves four, but they are large portions. It’s warm, creamy and satisfying, without being weighed down with heavy creams and cheeses. Comfort food at its best!

Next, I baked dessert: healthy deep-dish cookie pie. Don’t let the word “healthy” in the recipe name throw you off. This pie is gooey, chocolate-y and decadent, everything you’d want in a cookie but with about 200 calories per slice instead around 700 in the original. Forgot to take a picture but there are photos on recipe page.

For dinner, I had baked spaghetti squash and vegan eggplant parm. I baked mine a little longer than the recipe said, so they were extra crispy, about 10 minutes per side, then topped with sauce and Daiya and baked until melty. I served it over the spaghetti squash.

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This Italian girl was happy! One change I would make is to use my own sauce, not jarred. I almost never buy jarred sauce (in fact, I am anti-jarred sauce – it’s so easy to make your own!), but I just didn’t have time to make sauce this weekend and I didn’t have any left in my freezer. I do plan to make a big pot of sauce this week, though, so I’ll have plenty on hand.

I’d rather burn this energy off through running, but at least I was able to use some of it to make tasty, healthy meals for the week. Could be worse.

What are your favorite healthy recipes? Do you have any healthy comfort foods?

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2 Responses to Channeling excess energy… in the kitchen

  1. Mandi @ Miles and Mascara says:

    Glad you’re feeling better. Keep the energy positive. Your body will come around sooner rather than later!

    Favorite healthy recipes. Hm. A dish that my main squeeze made a while back. Trader Joe’s Quinoa Duo with Vegetable Melange (zucchini and sweet potato chunks) topped with cut up chicken cooked in TJ’s Curry Simmer Sauce. Mix it all up in a bowl. So good!

    Or a big bowl of homemade turkey chili!

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