Appetizers Vegetarian

Perfectly Crispy Air Fryer Buffalo Cauliflower

Have you ever had the pleasure of eating fried buffalo cauliflower? If not, you are seriously missing out. If you have never tried it, you probably should because FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing. See what I did there? Peer pressure. Besides, I can actually say that I have never heard anyone who has tried buffalo cauliflower say that they genuinely don’t like it. 

Perhaps you think that there is no place for buffalo sauce on anything but wings. I get it. I really do. But sometimes you have to take a risk and expand your horizons. This much healthier, and dare-I-say even more delicious, version of a fried thing covered in buffalo sauce will definitely make you think differently about this little white veggie. And because it’s cooked in the air fryer, you get all of the fried flavor without the grease. Win!


1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into uniform bite-sized pieces

½ c. flour

½ c. water

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Quick and Tasty Buffalo Sauce

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. Prepare the buffalo sauce and set aside.

Whisk together the water, flour, paprika, and garlic powder in a bowl. Add the cauliflower florets and toss to coat evenly with the batter. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the battered cauliflower to the air fryer in a single layer and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, turning or shaking at the five minute mark, or until the cauliflower is crispy. 

Toss the cauliflower in a bowl with a light coating of buffalo sauce until it is evenly coated. Return the cauliflower to the air fryer and cook for 5-8 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Drizzle with additional buffalo sauce, if desired, and serve with ranch or blue cheese dressing, garnished with green onions and cilantro, and a side of carrot and celery sticks. Enjoy hot!


Authentic Chile Colorado

Chile Colorado is definitely near the top of the list of my favorite beef-based meals, and it’s all thanks to the utterly divine, deep-red chile sauce that brasies and tenderizes the flavorful beef to perfection as it cooks.  This Mexican version of beef stew is incredibly delicious, and it’s simpler to make than you might think. 

While some people think this magical stew is named for the state of Colorado, it is actually named for the vibrant, deep red color of the dish. Since Colorado means “colored red,” this meal’s moniker is not just a clever name. Chile Colorado is absolutely gorgeous, and makes an impressive meal to serve to Mexican food-loving friends and family – alongside fresh tortillas, Mexican rice and beans, and any of your favorite toppings. Muy delicioso!


2-3 lbs. shoulder or butt roast, cut into bite-sized cubes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, minced

5 dried ancho chiles

5 dried guajillo chiles

4 c. chicken or beef broth

3 Tbsp. flour

2 bay leaves

3 tsp. Mexican oregano

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 tsp. Cumin

Juice from one lime

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. water

Salt and pepper

Red pepper flakes (optional: for extra spice)

Serve with:

Mexican rice and beans

Fresh tortillas

Chopped cilantro

Sliced green onions

Sliced radishes

To make the chile, remove the stems from the dried chiles and rinse them in cool water. Place them in a saucepan, along with the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the chiles are soft and fragrant.

While the chiles are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Quickly toss the beef cubes in flour, salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Cook until the beef is browned. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside on a plate. Make sure to leave the oil and browned bits in the skillet. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until they are softened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the chile and broth mixture into a blender, along with the onions and garlic, and blend until the chile sauce is smooth.

Add the chile sauce back to the large skillet, align with the meat and bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1.5-2 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. 

A few minutes before serving, combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Pour it into the skillet, along with lime juice, and allow the chile to simmer for 5 more minutes so that the sauce will thicken. Season with salt to taste. 

Serve in a bowl as a stew, or with rice and beans, fresh tortillas, and your favorite toppings.


Chile de Arbol y Ancho Salsa

Are you the person at the restaurant salsa bar who gets really excited when you find the deep red, spicy salsa to add to your Mexican food? Yeah, me too. I just love a picante salsa chock full of dried chile de arbol peppers, with savory add-ins like garlic and onion, and a boost of fresh twist of lime and cilantro. 

That stuff is pure heaven. I swear, I could drink it. Unfortunately, that isn’t acceptable restaurant behavior … so I hold myself back. But here’s the great news: you can easily and quickly make your favorite spicy salsa at home. This recipe makes a good-sized portion, and you can top everything you love with it for a few days. You could even drink it. Nobody has to know what goes on behind doors. 


2 dried ancho peppers

.5 oz. dried chile chile de arbol peppers

4 c. hot, just-boiled water

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 c. onions, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cilantro leaves, chopped

Juice from one lime

Salt to taste

Remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles. 

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and toast the peppers lightly for about a minute. This helps to release flavors, but don’t let them toast for too long because they can become bitter. 

Place the peppers in the hot, just-boiled water and allow them to soak and soften for about 20 minutes. The chile de arbol won’t soften as much as the anchos, and that’s normal. 

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat and cook the onions for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. 

Remove from the heat and add to a food processor. Add the peppers to the food processor, along with cilantro and lime juice. Process until smooth. Add salt and process again to taste. Enjoy!


Restaurant-Style Matar Paneer

Most people who enjoy Indian cuisine have tried saag or palak paneer and thus have had the pleasure of sampling paneer, the wonderfully mild, delicious Indian cottage cheese that takes the greens in those popular dishes to a new level of yumminess. But unfortunately for so many people who love saag paneer, they haven’t branched out and tried other paneer dishes. Paneer isn’t only an amazing addition to pureed and spiced greens, it makes just about anything it touches much more tasty.

This restaurant-style matar paneer envelops the milky-flavored cheese in a complex sauce made of spices, tomatoes, onions, and garlic; and then adds to the flavor profile by incorporating green peas and fresh, clean cilantro. This dish allows the paneer to shine in a much different way than it does in saag paneer, making it an excellent vegetarian option for those who love gravy-based Indian sauces. Serve this with steamed rice and naan for a super-satisfying and warm meal that is sure to please everyone. 



2 Tbsp. olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, minced

1 medium onion, diced

2-3 tomatoes, diced

¼ c. cashews

¼ c. plain yogurt

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. garam masala

1 tsp. coriander

1 c. water

1 serrano pepper, chopped or red chili flakes (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Matar Paneer:

8 oz. package of paneer, cubed

1 c. frozen peas

¼ c. cilantro, chopped

Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute, stirring. Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until soft. Add the tomatoes and cashews and cook for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Remove mixture from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. 

Place the tomato/onion mixture in a food processor and process until smooth. Add yogurt and process again until fully combined. Set aside. 

Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add all of the spices and the bay leaf and cook quickly until fragrant, about one minute. Add the pureed tomato/onion sauce to the skillet, along with 1 cup of water, and heat through, stirring frequently. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Add serrano peppers (if using) and frozen peas and cook until the peas are cooked through. Add the paneer and heat through quickly. Remove the bay leaf. 

Top with chopped cilantro and serve with rice and naan.

Vegan Vegetarian

Crispy Baked Gojuchang Tofu

It seems that all things Korean are ruling the planet right now, and gojuchang is no exception. This wonderful fermented chili paste condiment has crept into the popularity level that sriracha has long enjoyed, and for good reason. It’s spicy, sweet, savory, and spicy all at once, and seems to make everything it touches turn delicious.

This recipe for crispy baked gojuchang tofu combines two of my very favorite things: crispy tofu and a complex spicy, sweet, savory sauce that features gochujang as its base flavor. While tofu certainly tastes awesome fried, this baked version is significantly healthier. When the crispy baked tofu is mixed with the gojuchang sauce right before serving, it actually tastes like it has been fried. Isn’t it funny how you can trick yourself into believing something is much naughtier than it actually is, even if you cooked it? I love when that happens.



1 block of extra-firm tofu, cut into cubes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. cornstarch 

Salt and pepper

Gochujang sauce:

¼ c. gojuchang

2 Tbsp. ketchup

2 Tbsp. honey or agave

2 Tbsp. mirin

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp. sesame oil

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari

Serve with: Steamed broccoli, rice or brown rice, green onions, sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. About 30 minutes before cooking, drain the tofu, wrap it in a kitchen towel and press it. You can do this by placing a plate on top of the tofu, and then a heavy item, like a stock pot, on top of the plate for about 10 minutes. This will help remove excess water from the tofu. 

In a large bowl, mix the tofu with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and add cornstarch. Mix together carefully, coating the tofu evenly with the cornstarch. Spread out the tofu on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip over, and bake for 15 more minutes or until tofu is lightly browned and crispy. 

While the tofu is cooking, combine the ingredients for the gojuchang sauce in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Continue to allow the sauce to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat.

When the tofu is finished cooking, place it in a large bowl. Add the gojuchang sauce and coat to your preference. I don’t use all of it, so pour and stir until the tofu is “sauced” the way you like it. 

Top with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli.


Thai Red Curry Chicken Noodle Soup with Basil

Soup season is the best time of the year as far as cooking goes. Not only are soups super easy to make, they are (usually) healthy and make great leftovers. I love making big ol’ pots of soup on weekends so that I have super yummy lunches at work for the week. That way, I actually look forward to lunch instead of being sad about the boring sandwich or frozen meal I have to eat. Do yourself a favor and make a batch of this next Sunday and portion it out for your weekday lunches. Do the same for a family member, and they will love you forever.


2 Tbsp. avocado oil

2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces 

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and minced

2 Tbsp. red curry paste

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

2 c. cabbage, shredded

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 15 oz. can of coconut milk

4 oz. rice noodles

2 Tbsp. fish sauce 

2 tsp. brown sugar

1 bunch of Thai basil

Salt to taste


Green onions, sliced

Lime juice

Sriracha sauce

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse them, and set aside. 

Heat the avocado oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook through. Add the curry paste, garlic, and ginger and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the sweet potato cubes and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add the cabbage and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are fork tender. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and heat through. Add salt. Add the basil in at the last minute. Stir to combine until the basil is wilted. 

Top with green onions, additional basil, lime juice, and sriracha sauce.

Pasta Vegetarian

Half-and-Half Pasta Zucchini Noodle Mozzarella Bake

Do you ever want a huge serving of pasta, but not the whole serving of guilt that comes with it? Yeah, me too. While I like zucchini noodles, they just don’t have the same charisma that pasta does. That’s why sometimes I make a compromise and make a bit of both, thus tricking my brain into believing that I’m eating all straight-up pasta. And you know what? It actually works! 

This half-and-half pasta zucchini noodle mozzarella bake tastes so great because it showcases the wonderful saucy, cheesy pasta that makes pasta bakes so craveable, but it also has the added color and texture of veggies. Perfect combo, and way less guilt.  


8 oz. pasta

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2-3 zucchini, spiralized

1 ½ c. marinara sauce

1 ½ c. mozzarella, shredded

¼ c. Parmesan, shredded

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Heat the zucchini noodles quickly in a skillet over medium high heat with a little olive oil. Allow the noodles to cook until tender, but not soggy. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine the pasta and zucchini noodles in a large baking dish. Add the marinara sauce and ½ cup mozzarella and stir to combine completely. Top with the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. 

Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted, bubbly, and golden.


Beefy Slow-Cooker Meatballs with Wilted Arugula

Ahhh, the magical slow cooker. It’s one of my favorite ways to cook during the winter. Usually on the weekends in the middle of winter, I’m pretty unmotivated to do anything but watch movies under blankets. And what’s better than spending just a few minutes making a meal and then smelling the wonderful scents of it cooking all day while you’re watching said movies? It really makes you look forward to dinner. 

These beefy slow cooker meatballs not only smell divine while they’re cooking, they taste divine when you finally get to eat them. The addition of arugula takes these traditional meatballs to a new level and is enhanced by the extra peppery taste only arugula can offer. These are a perfect winter meal when paired with pasta, served on a baguette as a meatball sandwich, or all alone. 


⅓ c. seasoned breadcrumbs

⅓ c. Parmesan cheese, grated

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp. basil

1 egg 

1 lb ground beef

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper


1 Tbsp. olive oil 

1 small onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp. basil

1 Tbsp. oregano

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper to taste

2 c. arugula

Combine all ingredients for meatballs in a large bowl and mix together thoroughly with clean hands. Form meatballs in your hands and set aside on a tray.

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until translucent. Add garlic and cook for one more minute. Pour the garlic, onions, and oil into the slow cooker. Then, add crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano and red pepper sauce into the slow cooker. Finally, gently place the meatballs into the sauce.

Set the slow cooker to low and cook for 4-5 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drop arugula into the slow cooker and allow the leaves to wilt for 10 minutes. Serve with your favorite type of pasta, on a sandwich, or alone as an appetizer. 


Mexican Protein Power Bowl

Sometimes I just really need to feel really strong for a workout, but I don’t want to eat chicken breasts and steamed veggies. I want something craveable, flavorful, and exciting, and I definitely do NOT want to feel hungry. You feel me?

This Mexican protein power bowl fools my brain into thinking I’m enjoying a big ol’ bowl of naughty food, but in reality my body is being nourished and fueled by a super-healthy, protein-packed meal that is sure to give me superpower strength in the gym, hiking trail, or ski slope. There is such thing as a win, win – and this meal is a prime example!


2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces or strips

1 15 oz. can of black beans

1 large onion, sliced

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. chili powder

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. oregano

Squeeze of lime 

Salt and pepper to taste

½ c. cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, sliced


Sour cream or dairy-free sour cream

Green onions, sliced

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 5-7, or until browned and cooked through. Add the onions and red bell peppers and cook until they are soft and lightly browned, or about another 5 minutes or so. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and cook until fragrant and spices are well mixed. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat the black beans and season with a squeeze of lime, salt and pepper. 

To assemble the bowls, divide the chicken and veggies and black beans among two bowls. Top with cilantro, guacamole, sour cream, jalapenos, and green onions. Enjoy!


Chow Mein Noodles with Baked Tofu

Saucy, slurpy chow mein noodles are always a hit with noodle-lovers of all ages, which is why it’s such a popular choice for takeout. Kids (and other pasta lovers)  tend to really love chow mein because the noodles are the star of the show. The healthy veggies are there, but they’re a bit disguised and hidden amongst the tender noodles and savory sauce. 

Chow mein often includes chicken as the “star” protein of the dish, but this vegetarian version diverts from the norm a bit and features crispy, umami tofu as the protein. Most of us agree that crispy tofu is king, so the trick is to top the noodles with the tofu when serving so that it stays perfectly crispy and yummy. Perfect! 



⅓ c. oyster sauce or vegetarian oyster sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. sesame oil

2 tsp. sugar 

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

⅓ c. water


1 Tbsp. avocado oil

12 oz. package of chow mein noodles

2 c. cabbage

1 c. shredded carrots

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced 

Asian-baked tofu


Green onions

Prepare the tofu and allow it to cool. 

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 

To make the sauce, combine the water and cornstarch in a small bowl and whisk to make a slurry. In another bowl, mix together the sesame oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar. Add the slurry to the bowl and whisk to combine. Set the sauce aside. 

Heat the avocado oil over medium high heat in a large wok. Add the carrots and cabbage and cook for 3 minutes, or until they are a bit soft and tender. Add the cooked noodles and sauce to the wok and heat through, tossing and mixing until all ingredients are evenly combined. 

Serve hot and top with tofu and green onions.