Tag Archives: Pasta

Vegetarian TVP Beefy ‘Meatballs’

My friend Anne Marie and her little man Emmet were coming over today to hang out as their floors are being replaced in their home. I thought it might be nice to send my vegetarian friend home with some dinner as I’m sure her and husband Rick will be more inclined to move their furniture back in then cook a healthy meal. I scoured the internets to find a vegetarian ‘meatball’ that had a beefy flavour. I found one and decided to give them a try. They come from the blog A Vegan For Dinner  and due to her daunting request to reference her I thought it was in my best interest! 😉 “But this recipe is so fab, if I ever find out you stole it and didn’t give me credit, I will so figure out where you live and sign you up for weird sexual newsletters and/or incontinence catalogs through the mail. That’s a promise.”

These would be great with a simple tomato sauce over spaghetti or sweet and sour sauce over rice as she references. Anything with an asterix * beside it means I’ve either changed her recipe or made an addition to it. I’m hoping she won’t mind!?

Vegetarian TVP Beefy ‘Meatballs’

In a small bowl, mix:
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoon soya sauce
2 tablespoon vegan beef bouillon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
*1/2 teaspoon oregano
*1/2 teaspoon basil
*1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
*1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

*Saute in olive oil till translucent: (I couldn’t help but add a little fresh onion and garlic)
1/2 minced onion
2 cloves garlic crushed

Then Stir In:
3/4 cup TVP crumbles
Allow to sit until cool. *I reheated liquid in microwave before adding TVP.

Vegans: Mix 1 Tbsp ground flax *or chia seeds with 3 Tbsp water. Beat with a fork, then lit sit until it begins to gel. Set aside.
*Vegetarians: Wisk up one egg.

In a large bowl, mix:
2 tablespoon cornmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoon vital wheat gluten flour

When TVP mixture is cool, stir it into the dry ingredients along with flax/or egg and water/TVP mixture. Mix well and knead dough into a solid ball. *Let this rest for around 5 minutes and allow the gluten fibers to form and relax.

Shape into 32 “meatballs” and fry in oil until brown. Alternately, you can bake on an oiled pan at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. *I divided the dough into 4. Then each of those into 8 small balls. I placed the salt shaker in the picture so you can see how small they are. I also forgot to add the chili flakes so i sprinkled them on the balls after putting them on the cookie sheet for baking.

Use as you would any other meatball, like spaghetti or sweet and sour sauce. Do not allow the meatballs to sit in the sauce for an extended period of time; add close to the end of the cooking period, just long enough to heat thoroughly. *I grated a ton of mozzarella and fresh chopped Italian parsley on mine. I seriously couldn’t tell it was not meat. Great recipe Tracy!!



Filed under Meats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Authentic Style Alfredo Pasta with Roasted Veggies

Yes it’s Valentines Day. Zol offered to bring home some burgers for dinner and somehow it just didn’t feel right eating that tonight. I popped Graye in the van (in the POURING RAIN) and headed up to our local Italian specialty shop to see what I could find for a nice dinner. I decided to make an authentic style Alfredo sauce and pasta (no cream) with some extra veggies and pancetta thrown in. In looking up the proper way to make this sauce I found out “Alfredo” created it for his pregnant wife that wasn’t interested in eating much of anything – how appropriate for me right now at 32 weeks! I slow roasted the tomatoes and baby onions and last minute I threw in some asparagus and portobello mushroom slices as well. All the veggies can be made ahead of time and thrown in with the pasta at the very end.

Authentic Style Alfredo Pasta with Roasted Veggies
Serves 2 (images show ingredients for 1 serving. I was doing a test run)


Pasta – your favorite type
Cherry tomatoes
15+ baby onions
2 cloves of garlic
Asparagus spears
1 portobello mushroom
Basil chopped
1/2 cup of butter softened
2 cups finely grated Parmesan cheese
Olive oil
1 cup pancetta diced

Heat oven to 300 degrees.

Slice tomatoes in half and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Lay them out on a cookie sheet cut side up. Season with salt and pepper. Throw halved onions into the same bowl and toss with remaining garlic and oil. Place cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake for 35 minutes and remove onions. They will squeeze out of there skin casings quite easily.

Continue to bake tomatoes until soft and starting to caramelize (another 35 minutes?). You can add your asparagus and mushroom slices for the last 15 minutes (be sure to put some olive oil on them). Remove and set aside.

In a large pot bring salted water to a boil and add pasta. In a sauce pan saute the diced pancetta until it starts to crisp up a bit.

In a large bowl mix grated Parmesan into the softened butter.

When pasta is done drain and place in bowl with all of your veggies (don’t forget the basil!) add pancetta, toss some more. Plate immediately. Sprinkle some fresh Parmesan on top and serve with some toasted or grilled baguette bread.

I brushed mine with garlic con fit and grilled it in a frying pan. Very tasty! The key is to serve it right away, you don’t want it sitting around too long or the butter starts to get greasy.

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Toddler Food – Beety Yammy Cheesy ‘n Tomatoey Pasta!

The last few weeks have been a tad stressful. We moved, and for anyone that knows us that is not a simple task. Having a two year old that doesn’t really understand what is going on makes life that much more difficult – oh and the fact that I’m 7 months pregnant. In the process of the move I ran out of something that has been a  lifesaver for me – my toddler food baggies that i made up a month ago! Here’s a link to them all. I was resorting to Kraft Dinner at some points, as nothing was unpacked for cooking her something healthy. I quickly saw a change in her taste buds and anything healthy was quickly going out the window. Now that we are settled in I decided to spend some time making a crap load of the baggies again. I try to cram as many healthy veggies and protein into them as I can and this recipe is jammed packed with both!

Toddler Food – Beety Yammy Cheesy ‘n Tomatoey Pasta

32 Servings


Veggie Sauce

1 large can or bottle of your favorite tomato sauce
1 large beet
1 medium yam or sweet potato
1 medium onion
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup soft or medium firm tofu (optional)
2 packages of different pasta (rigatoni and penne)
olive oil
salt n pepper

Cheese Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
salt n pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Chop up beets and yams into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with a splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for around 30 minutes, checking half way through and tossing them around. They should start to caramelize and get golden when they are done. (Caramelizing the beets and yams will bring out the sweetness in these veggies)

Following instructions for pasta cook each bag/box separately in salted water. When pasta batch is done, drain and place in bowl and toss with a bit of olive oil to keep them from sticking together.

While veggies are roasting, dice onion and garlic. Saute in a tablespoon of olive oil on medium low heat till soft and translucent. Set aside when done.

Cheese Sauce:
In a medium saucepan melt butter. Add flour and whisk for around a minute. Slowly add milk, stirring till it thickens, then add more. After all the milk is added and the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and add grated cheese. Season with a little salt and pepper.

In your food processor blend the beets and yams, peas, sauted onions and tofu. Add a little pasta water if it’s too chunky. Heat up your tomato sauce a bit in the pan you used for the onions.

Toss pasta with the tomato sauce and blended veggies, then add your cheese sauce.

Mix everything together really well and then separate into mini bags for freezing.

If the mixture seems to saucy, don’t worry. The pasta really absorbs a lot of the sauce. Give it a taste… nice and sweet, but packed full of goodness!


Filed under Pasta, Toddler Food, Vegetarian

The Best Spaghetti and Meatballs

I randomly watch TV almost my entire day as I go about doing other things… cleaning, cooking, child rearing. Oh who am I kidding… The Food Network is an old standby when nothing else of interest is on. A show called ‘Chef at Home’ with Canadian Chef Michael Smith is one of the few shows that doesn’t quite grate on my nerves. His meatball recipe caught my eye a while ago and I decided to try it out. They were AMAZING. So juicy and flavourful. I’ve made them several times since and have come up with a tweaked version that I just love. What makes these little babies awesome is the breadcrumbs that have been soaked in milk and my addition – a mixture of 3 types of meat instead of just ground beef. Sorry my vegetarian friends, this recipe is strictly for meat eaters…


1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup milk
3/4 lb ground Beef
3/4 lb ground Pork
1/2 lb ground spicy Italian sausage
(around .30 kg each. You could use all beef, no pork)
1 ½ onion peeled then grated on a cheese or potato grater
6 cloves garlic finely minced
2 egg yolks
1 small bunch parsley chopped
1 cup grated parmesan optional
salt n’ pepper to taste
2 pinches of nutmeg
olive oil
(picture shows recipe being halved)

Put the breadcrumbs into a small bowl and pour the milk over them. Stir to combine then set aside the mixture until the crumbs have absorbed all the milk. It will look like baby food. The wet breadcrumbs keep the meatball unbelievably moist!

Place all of the ground meat (the spicy Italian sausage is a must!) into a large bowl and add the grated onion, minced garlic and egg yolk, parmesan. Add the breadcrumb mixture, nutmeg and parsley. Season with salt (around 1 teaspoon), pepper and nutmeg and mix well with your hands.

Form into 1.5 inch large meatballs.

Pre-heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When it’s hot add a splash of olive oil (or garlic con fit), enough to cover the bottom. Add the meatballs!

Patiently sear them until they are well browned on all sides, turning every few minutes. I lean them up against each other when I get to browning the sides. Do your best to brown all sides, but if having trouble doing so place in a 400 degree oven and bake uncovered for 15 minutes or until golden brown – keep your eye on them!

Drain off any excess fat and crack a can or jar of your favourite tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs have cooked through about 15 to 20 minutes. Cook the spaghetti in a big pot of boiling salted water, drain without rinsing.

Serve pasta with the meatballs and sauce,  garlic bread and/or side salad to compliment this nicely.

This recipe is doubled up and yields 4 cups or around 34 meatballs. It can be easily halved. I like making lots as I freeze the uncooked meatballs in ZipLocks for future quick dinners. Place uncooked meatballs on a baking sheet and place in freezer until frozen (around an hour). Remove and put them in freezer bags!

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Toddler Food – Pink Pasta!

OK OK i KNOW. Enough about the toddler food right?
Well too bad. Pass this recipe on to a friend that has a little one…

A friend of mine’s baby has a 1st birthday coming up. I can’t make the birthday party but I plan to meet up with her to give her a gift. 20 or more little baggies of goodness for her little one. She has yet to introduce cows milk so this recipe has goats cheese in it – cause babies LOVE the cheese!


1 beet
1 medium yam
1/2 onion diced
1 small zucchini
1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup of goats cheese
1 375 gram box of whole wheat or rice pasta
olive oil
1 clove of garlic (minced) or garlic con fit (for a more subtle taste)
salt n’ pepper

(sorry! forgot to inculde half of an onion in the pic!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice your beets and yam into 1.5 x 1.5 inch pieces. Toss in olive oil with minced garlic and season with salt and pepper. Place on a pan and into the oven. Bake for around 35 minutes or until soft and a little golden brown.

Place a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add your choice of pasta (around 375 grams or a box – use whole wheat or rice pasta for babies!) and cook till soft enough for your child. Save around 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Remove, rinse with cold water and toss with olive oil till ready to use later.

A note about Pasta: It’s important to give your pasta a lot of room to move in salted water. Get your biggest pot out, fill it 3/4 full. Put enough salt in to make it pretty much undrinkable. NOT like sea water, but close. I use 1 1/2 teaspoons per gallon of water. Stir it every minute or so, but especially in the beginning.

Drag out you food processor and insert the blade for grating food. Grate up your zucchini and onion. Remove and set aside.

Now insert the blade for pureeing food. Remove beets and yams from the oven and let them cool for a bit. When you can handle touching them place in the processor. Pulse until till chunky. Add reserved pasta water if it gets too dry.

Heat up 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan. Throw in the onions and zucchini mix. Saute on medium to low heat until soft.

When they are soft add in the beet n’ yam mixture. Add the spaghetti sauce and simmer for 10 minutes on low. Remove from heat and add the goats cheese and salt and pepper to taste (and chopped parsley if you have it).

Toss in a bowl with cooked pasta and separate into mini bags for freezing! Enjoy!

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Toddler Food – Cheesy Yam ‘n Squash Pasta

Yam’s and squash. Two vegetables that were a thorn in my side growing up. Endless gagging sessions at the dinner table trying to appease my parents. They didn’t go by the “just try it” method – more like the “you’re going to finish your plate” method. Oh well! I like them now!

I suppose it was the texture that really got to me. One was stringy and one was pasty. Regardless, I will try to get my little one to eat it without her knowing with this new pasta dish… Oh and this is NOT a dish I would serve to adults… if you get my drift?


1 half of a large yellow squash (a butternut squash would work as well)
1 medium yam peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 onion diced
1 cup cottage cheese
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 half jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
salt n’ pepper
olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice your squash into long 1 inch pieces. With a small paring knife scrape out all of the hairy insides. Cut these pieces in half and place on a baking sheet. Brush olive oil on all sides and season with salt and pepper (you could also toss them in a bowl with the oli). Pop the pan into the oven and bake for around 45 minutes or until soft and a little golden brown.

Peel the yam and cut it up into even pieces, around 1 inch big. Boil in salted water till your fork slides into a piece smoothly. You’ve cooked it too long if the piece falls apart when you slide the fork in. Drain and set aside when done. (You could also roast the yam, just follow the same steps for the squash)

Place a large pot of salted water on to boil. Add your choice of pasta (around 500 grams or a box) and cook till soft enough for your child. Remove, rinse with cold water and toss with olive oil till ready to use later.

Drag out you food processor and insert the blade for pureeing food. Remove squash from the oven and let it cool for a bit. When you can handle touching it, remove the skins with a knife and place in processor. Add cooked yams and pulse till chunky.

Add cottage cheese and pulse until smooth, around 30 seconds.

In a large pan heat up a tablespoon of olive oil and throw in your diced onions. Saute over medium heat till onions are soft (you can do this while pulsing the other veg).

Add the squash and yam mixture to the pan and then add half of the jar of sauce. Simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and add the grated cheese.

Add around 3/4 of the mixture to your pasta. You will have some left over sauce, just freeze it for later. Get out your snack baggies and fill them up, seal them and place in the freezer for later use.

Test kitchen baby photo coming soon… just waiting for her to wake up from her nap! *dalyn

Here they are… she had TWO servings!

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Toddler Food – Veggie Packed Spaghetti n’ Cheese

It’s 12:15pm and somebodies ready for a nap. Sorry make that two somebodies are ready for a nap, or maybe one takes a nap and the other takes a shower and goes to the bathroom by herself for once? But what about lunch for the little one? There’s nothing like pulling out a little baggy of homemade goodness from the freezer, popping it into the microwave for 1 minute and watching your little one devour it. A full belly at my house before a nap means an extra half hour of sleep! And I’m all for that.

The following recipes can be made in tandem (the other one is coming soon. Having touble posting it). It will take around 2 hours but trust me – it’s so worth it. OK to be honest the clean-up SUCKS. BUT you will get 30+ single servings. And that’s GOLD on the days you don’t feel like making anything special. They are also great to leave/give to your babysitter when you are out. Give ‘em a try?


375g of whole wheat rigatoni (1 full box) cooked in well salted water
3 Tbsp of olive oil
1 small head of broccoli
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 small zucchini
1/2 of a medium onion
1 package of soft tofu
1 can or bottle of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cup of grated cheese

Put on a large pot of salted water and start cooking pasta. When it is done, strain it and toss with a little olive oil in a bowl (or pot) and put aside. (i cooked two kinds of pasta separately and then mixed them together afterwards)

You could use any combo of veggies that are on their last legs in the fridge… cauliflower, bell pepper… etc… Put the grater disk on your food processor and cram in all of the veggies. In a big frying pan heat up your oil and add all of the veg and saute for around 8 to 10 minutes or until they are soft and pretty much cooked.

Add spaghetti sauce and tofu (really squeeze the tofu through your hands, you don’t want big thick chunks that baby might get weirded out by!). Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes on low heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn off the heat and add grated cheese. If you still feel the sauce will be too chunky for your toddler, dump it all in the food processor again and give it a few pulses.

Mix the sauce with the pasta, let it cool a little bit and then separate into small snack bags for freezing!

I find it easier to open up a whole bunch of the little baggies beforehand and have a wet cloth on hand when it comes time to try and close them. Good luck and enjoy!

Oh yeah… the clean up sucks… arg!

But a very happy Graye!


Filed under Pasta, Toddler Food, Vegetarian