Meal Plan Day 3: Quinoa & Kale Quesadillas

Quinoa & Kale Quesadillas

Aaaand meal planning week continues on Day 3 with these Quinoa Kale Quesadillas. Just to recap, I’m trying something new this week where I’m posting easy real-life meals in the order that we actually eat them. What does this mean? I went to the grocery store at the beginning of the week, I prepped a few components while making dinner on day 1, and I’ve been using those components and leftovers from the prior meal to make a different meal each day. One meal leads into the next, which makes cook/prep time a breeze. These meals are not culinary rocket science, but thinking like this helps me stay sane (and fed) every day – maybe it’ll help some of you too!

On day 1: I started with these Mean Green Grain Bowls. This day involved the most prep – I roasted veggies, made quinoa and assembled the grain bowls.

On day 2: I took a small bit of leftovers from the grain bowls, massaged a bunch of kale, and made those leftovers stretch into a Big Green Kale Salad.

Quinoa & Kale Quesadillas For day 3 (today!): Starting with some of the leftovers from day 2’s kale salad, I lightly wilted the kale in a skillet with some quinoa (left over from day 1) and stuffed it between flour tortillas with cheese to make healthier-than-normal quesadillas. If you’re vegan, skip the cheese and spread a layer of refried beans onto the tortilla to act as the glue.

Quinoa & Kale Quesadillas

Serve these with lots of tomatillo salsa for dipping. Not pictured: I like to mash a little avocado with lime juice and a pinch of salt and slather that on my finished quesadillas.

I think these look SO cute as individual servings in these Falcon Enamelware Pie Dishes. While the dishes got me in a picnic type of mood, it was snowing the night we ate these, so I discovered that they also make great TV trays.

Quinoa & Kale Quesadillas

Meal Plan Day 2: Big Kale Salad with Creamy Kale Pesto

Big Green Kale Salad with Creamy Kale Pepita Pesto

Hi, and welcome to my week of meal planning: Day 2!

In case you missed yesterday’s post, here’s what’s happening: I started with one base meal – yesterday’s Mean Green Grain Bowls. For 5 days I’ll be making a new meal each day using those base ingredients and components. So you’re basically seeing our real-life dinner, day to day. These recipes are very simple but this is how we eat in real life – and I thought it would be fun to share that!

Something I love to do with leftovers is make them stretch! We had one leftover container full of yesterday’s grain bowl which included quinoa, roasted veggies (brussels sprouts, cauliflower, parsnips and broccolini), sauerkraut, and pepitas. I massaged a big bunch of kale, tossed it all together and doused it in the creamy kale pepita pesto sauce that I made the other day.

Big Green Kale Salad with Creamy Kale Pepita Pesto

It’s as easy as that! Oh, except I also roasted some of the leftover chickpeas, until crisp, and tossed those in too:

Big Green Kale Salad w/ Creamy Pepita Pesto

Both of these meals (yesterday’s and today’s) are super flexible – swap in any roasted vegetables that you like or feel free to change up the protein if you’re not feeling like chickpeas.

Stay tuned to see what I make tomorrow!

Record your meals in our pretty (new!) meal planner: The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List. It’ll also make a great Mother’s Day Gift!

The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

Meal Plan Day 1: Mean Green Grain Bowls

Meal Planning + Mean Green Grain Bowls

This week, we’re talking (er… I’m talking) about meal prep! Wh? Well first and foremost, it’s because our meal planning journal, The Love & Lemons Meal Record and Market List, is out today! If you missed my post last week, click here to read all about it. If you haven’t pre-ordered one, click here to get one now! (And P.S. it’ll make a great Mother’s Day gift!)

I know, meal preparedness is ALL the rage on the internet lately and maybe you don’t need new ideas or maybe you do – but here’s the thing: I do. Things have been super busy lately and although our work is all food related, you might be surprised to know that as a food blogger, things tend to be “feast or famine” around here. There’s way too much food in the fridge or there’s no food in the fridge, depending on what we’re working on.

I often talk about cooking components on Sundays when you may have extra time to make big batches of things. I like this approach, but this week I’m doing something a little bit different. Starting with one meal – these yummy, easy, Mean Green Grain bowls that we ate for dinner last night – I’m going to transform these components into a new dinner every night for 5 nights so that each new meal builds off of the one previous to it.

The best part about these bowls – the yummy sauce! It’s a riff on the kale pistachio pesto sauce that I made a few weeks ago, but this time I made it with pepitas. Even if you’re nut-free you can play along! Spring is on the horizon, even though it doesn’t feel that way, so I used this spring-but-not-quite-yet feeling as inspiration. I made a monochromatic mix of broccolini (to represent spring) with cauliflower and hearty roasted parsnips (because it still feels like winter).

With these components, I made 2 grain bowls and saved the leftovers for the next meal. Check back tomorrow and each day this week to see what I make next. At the end of the week, I’ll post a recap of each meal and a shopping list.

In the meantime, you can record your own meal plans here in our pretty (and pretty useful) new meal planning journal 🙂

The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

Announcing!! The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

Meet the newest member of our L&L family: The Love & Lemons Meal Record and Market List! Also known as the prettiest meal planning journal you’ve ever seen (of course I’m biased).

This is for all of you who LOVE to meal plan… and also for those of you who think you might want to start meal planning (raising my hand), but were just waiting for the perfect pretty book, with letter-pressed type on the front, to record all of your wonderful plans and goals.

When you open up the hardcover case, it looks like this (below). The pocket on the left holds the removable journal and the market list fits into a pocket on the right. This lets you easily record your meal plans and make your grocery list at the same time.

The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

Inside the journal, there are 52 weeks worth of personal meal planning pages. They’re not pre-dated so if you don’t plan your meals every single week, that’s ok! There’s space to plan your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, and treats for every day of the week.

There’s also some handy info at the front, like this Grains & Legumes cooking cheat sheet. I personally always forget how long I cook my quinoa, and now I can just check my meal journal instead of looking it up online.

The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

In the back, there are 7 pages for planning social gatherings – you can jot down your guest list, menu plans, wine/cocktails, and inspiration in this area.

The Love & Lemons Meal Record & Market List

So there you have it! This comes out next week on April 3rd, but CLICK HERE to go preorder it now!

Happy meal planning!

Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

Happy first week of spring! With summer on the horizon, at least in my still-Austin-based mindset, I really want to be making lighter and brighter food. But then I’m reminded that it still snowed here last week. Sooooo… creamy baked pasta it is! This veggie-ful dish is hearty yet cheese-less – it won’t weigh you down but it will fill you up! 

Instead of a bunch of cheese and cream, I used my secret creamy blender sauce: almonds, Almond Breeze almondmilk, white miso paste, garlic, lemon juice for tang, and a bit of Dijon mustard for the depth you want in a baked pasta. Yes, if you’re a super fan, you may recognize many of these ingredients from the creamy miso pasta recipe in our cookbook… it’s a wonderful combo that I’ve adapted here to make a cozy baked version.

Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

A quick note: I usually keep AlmondBreeze Unsweetened in my fridge at all times, so that’s what I used in this recipe, but their Almond Cashew blend would be deliciously nutty and creamy in this sauce as well.

Once the sauce is made, set it aside and cook your Brussels sprouts. Since the sauce doesn’t contain cream or cheese, it has to have a short bake time so that the sauce stays creamy in the oven. This is why I precook the Brussels sprouts – plus they’re always better with a little sear to bring out their flavor.

Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

After the Brussels sprouts are decently browned, combine with the pasta and pour on the sauce. It will seem like a lot of sauce, but we want creamy pasta, so sauce it up!

Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

So saucy!

Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts

Once you have everything in the baking dish, you could technically top this with a cup of melty mozzarella cheese or a healthy shaving of fresh Parmesan cheese. If you live with picky eaters you may want to go that route. If you’re like me, you’ll top it with a sprinkle of hemp seeds, panko bread crumbs, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Bake, then top with chives and/or tarragon.

Then… dig in!

Creamy Vegan Baked Pasta with Brussels Sprouts