7 Day #MealPlanning with Carolyn: 9/15/18-9/21/18

I meal plan my dinners for seven nights every Friday, so I figured I'd pass along the work I do to help others!

Use my planning as a guide to help you plan meals, or use my plans as is.

Most meals I plan are vegetarian, plant-based or vegan, but when the recipes I choose aren't, I make adjustments to suit our dietary needs. You can do the same!

Here are links to the meals I plan to create for dinner for the week of Saturday, 9/15 to Friday, 9/21

  1. Pasta with Cheese and Broccoli via Oh My Veggies

  2. Vegan Taco Spaghetti via Neurotic Mommy

  3. Herb Zucchini and Kale Egg Bake via Sweet Peas and Saffron

  4. Harvest Power Bowl via Blissful Basil

  5. Now…That’s Good! Lime “Chicken” Wraps via ME! (Recipe coming soon!)

  6. Baked Lemony Oh My Goodness Gnocchi via ME! (Recipe coming soon!)

  7. Night off from cooking

Need more meal plans already created for you? Check out Carolyn's Daily Dishes for a weekly list of "what's cookin'" in my home, plus links to the recipes!

See how my meals turn out by checking out my Instagram feed!

Want to know more about meal planning? Check out this Tips and Tricks guide to see how I meal plan. Use my ideas or be inspired by them!

7 Day #MealPlanning with Carolyn - 9/8/18 to 9/14/18

I meal plan my dinners for seven nights every Friday, so I figured I'd pass along the work I do to help others!

Use my planning as a guide to help you plan meals, or use my plans as is.

Most meals I plan are vegetarian, plant-based or vegan, but when the recipes I choose aren't, I make adjustments to suit our dietary needs. You can do the same!

Here are links to the meals I plan to create for dinner for the week of Saturday, 9/8 to Friday, 9/14

  1. Cucumber Avocado Spring Rolls via Naturally Ella

  2. Sesame Green Beans with Quinoa and Eggs via Naturally Ella

  3. Magic Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potatoes via ME (Recipe coming soon!)

  4. Crispy Lemon Cauliflower via Chocolate Covered Katie

  5. Brinner for Dinner: Better than Paris Crepes via Lauren's Latest

  6. Jerk Chickpea Wraps with Habanero Aioli via Oh My Veggies

  7. Night off from cooking

  8. Snack or breakfast option: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oats with a Protein Punch via ME!

Need more meal plans already created for you? Check out Carolyn's Daily Dishes for a weekly list of "what's cookin'" in my home, plus links to the recipes!

See how my meals turn out by checking out my Instagram feed!

Want to know more about meal planning? Check out this Tips and Tricks guide to see how I meal plan. Use my ideas or be inspired by them!

SMASHED Chickpea Salad with Nuts and Berries

An EASY recipe that I reminds me of a salad I made at my very first real job, LC's Deli in Louisville, KY. The deli no longer exists, but the memory of their Walnut Chicken Salad still lingers in my brain. Actually, all their food does, as it was awesome! Being vegetarian now, I created this version of it, which is very similar to the one I used to make at the deli.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • Two 15.5 oz (or comparable size) cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups red grapes, rinsed
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup mayo (I used Sir Kensington's Fabanaise, a vegan mayo)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How-To:

  1. Place chickpeas in a large mixing bowl. Use a fork to smash them. No need to smash every single one; just the majority. (See the photo below for a good idea on what they should look like after smashing).
  2. Halve the grapes with a knife. Add them to the smashed chickpeas.
  3. Add walnuts, mayo and salt to the grape and chickpea mixture.
  4. Lightly mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Serve with crackers, on a sandwich, on a bagel, or with my favorite, Nut-Thins!

Tips and Tricks:

  • Tailor this salad to fit your tastes. See what other combinations you can come up with! Add in a different fruit, like blueberries or cranberries in lieu of the grapes. Or, try a green grape instead of red. Add almond slivers instead of walnuts. The possibilities are endless!
  • Did you know that a grape is scientifically a berry, but a strawberry is not? Mind-blown! Check out this article to learn more!

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

 Smashed Chickpeas, Photo by Carolyn J. Braden

Smashed Chickpeas, Photo by Carolyn J. Braden

 Food prepared and photographed by Carolyn J. Braden

Food prepared and photographed by Carolyn J. Braden

Put the Lime in the Margarita Salsa

An EASY and refreshing salsa! It's perfect for your next picnic, party or any gathering.

Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 oz (or comparable size) canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 oz (or comparable size) canned corn, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 a red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a green pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • juice from one lime (about 4 tablespoons, depending on the size)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

How-To:

  1. Place all ingredients into a large bowl.
  2. Lightly mix until ingredients are incorporated.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Roll the lime on a countertop prior to cutting and juicing. The rolling loosens the flesh of the fruit to allow you to squeeze the juice more easily and effectively.
  • You could used bottled lime juice for this, but fresh tastes slightly better.
  • Add more lime juice for even more tang!
  • Add some avocado for a creamy addition.

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

 Food preparation and photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Food preparation and photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Vegan Smothered and Covered Ranch Taco Fries

This is a #husbandapproved meal for sure! We eat these fries with a fork and always want seconds!

Servings: 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 1 32 oz. bag of frozen french fries (I used shoestring once and crinkle cut the next-use what you like)
  • 4 tablespoons taco seasoning (I used Simply Organic brand)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 oz. frozen corn (I like to use fire roasted corn)
  • 1 15.5 oz canned chickpeas (Hold onto the liquid (aquafaba) that the chickpeas are in as you'll use it for the fries).
  • 1 tablespoon oil (I use olive oil)
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1 recipe of my Vegan Ranchy-Rancherson Dressing
  • 1 recipe of my Vegan Jala-hollaaa-peno Cheese Sauce

Optional ingredients: Chopped tomatoes, nacho jalapeño slices, avocado

How-To:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Empty the fries into a large bowl. Add the taco seasoning. Toss to combine.
  3. Drain the can of chickpeas OVER the seasoned fries. (Then rinse and set chickpeas aside for later use).
  4. Toss the seasoned fries with the aquafaba (chickpea liquid) until coated. (The aquafaba makes the fries bake to a nice and crispy finish. I don't know why it works, but it does AND it doesn't add any additional flavor to the fries).
  5. Spread the fries out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with the salt. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes. (I always do a set of 20 minutes, then use a spatula to stir them around, then bake for 20 more minutes). NOTE: The type of fry you use may determine a little more or less baking time. Monitor these the first time you make them.
  6. While the fries are baking, add the oil to a large skillet (I used a cast iron). Add the corn. Cook on medium heat until cooked through (about 10 minutes). When the corn is cooked, add the rinsed chickpeas and the rinsed and drained black beans.
  7. Heat the chickpea, corn and bean mixture on medium heat for 5 minutes, or until well-heated. Remove from heat. (At this point, I placed a lid on the mixture to keep it warm).
  8. Make the Vegan Ranchy-Rancherson Dressing (or use your own pre-made ranch dressing) and set aside.
  9. Make the Vegan Jala-hollaaa-peno Cheese Sauce and set aside. You don't HAVE to add this to the fries (as the ranch alone is really, really yummy, but we like it, so we add it).
  10. When fries are done, remove from oven. Place a handful on a plate. Put a couple of spoonfuls of the chickpea, corn and bean mixture on top of the fries. Drizzle some ranch and some cheese sauce on top.
  11. Add any additional toppings as desired, serve and enjoy! We use a fork to eat this dish.

Tips and Tricks:

Make this vegan, or not! If you aren't vegan, add some bottled ranch dressing and some nacho cheese sauce on top of the taco seasoned fries.

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

Carolyn Braden Smothered and Covered Ranch Taco Fries 1.jpg

Vegan Ranchy-Rancherson Dressing

"Ranch! Are you making something for dinner that includes ranch dressing?! I'm up for anything with ranch!" ---Quote from Tommy Braden, my husband, when he saw the menu list for dinner tonight.

Oh, this creamy and deeee-licious ranch is completely vegan and awesome!

Yield: Approx. 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup vegan mayo (I use Sir Kensington's)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (or more if you like dill as much as my husband)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

How-to:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender (high speed or regular) until mixed. You could also just place them all in a bowl and whisk by hand. Do what is easiest for you!

Tips and Tricks:

  • This recipe creates a thinner dressing. If you don't care for the thin consistency, try decreasing the almond milk amount to 1/4 cup. If you do this, you may want to decrease the salt amount a bit too.
  • Serve on salads, baked potatoes, as a dip for french fries or more!

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

 Photography and Food Preparation by Carolyn J. Braden

Photography and Food Preparation by Carolyn J. Braden

Vegan Jala-hollaaa-peno Cheese Sauce

I LOVE this easy cheesy spicy sauce so much! It's very similar to my Easy Vegan Smoky Cheddar Cheese sauce, with some slight variation. It's got a bit of a kick, but it is oh, so yummy!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Milk
  • 3-4 slices of pickled jalapenos (I used  Hatch Organic Nacho Sliced Jalapenos) Add more or less, depending on your level of spicy tolerance.

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks:

  • This recipe makes about 8 oz.
  • If you don't have a high speed blender (like a Vitamix or a Magic Bullet, my favorites!), then soak the cashews in the almond milk for about 30 minutes before mixing in a regular blender.
  • You could also make this in a food processor, but may need to blend a little longer to make it smooth.
  • Serve on tacos, as a dipping sauce for fries or chips! YUM!

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

 Photography and Food Preparation by Carolyn J. Braden

Photography and Food Preparation by Carolyn J. Braden

Vegan Peaches n' Cream Oatmeal

Easy and creamy, peach filled yumminess! And, it's vegan!

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh peaches (peeled and diced)
  • 2 cups rolled oats (I used Bob's Red Mill Organic Extra Thick Rolled Oats, which required 4 cups of water and a pinch of salt for cooking 4 servings)
  • 1/2 cup prepared cashew cream (Click this link for my EASY, 2 ingredient recipe)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or your sweetener of choice)

How-to:

  1. Cook the oatmeal according to package directions for 4 servings. (My package said 2 cups oatmeal with 4 cups water, boil with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes or until creamy).
  2. When the oatmeal is finished cooking, remove from heat.
  3. Mix in the cashew cream, peaches and sugar. Stir well.
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Tips and Tricks:

  • Save some of the diced peaches and place on top of the oatmeal with a little extra cashew cream prior to serving.
  • Add a little maple syrup for a touch more sweetness.
  • You could use frozen peaches if you can't find fresh. Just thaw and dice approximately 10 slices.
  • Use the extra cashew cream in your coffee or over fresh fruit.

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

 Food and Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Food and Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Carolyn's Easy Cashew Cream

A vegan alternative to heavy cream--CASHEW CREAM! It's easy and yummy!

Yield: Approx. 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cups cashews
  • 1 cup water

How-to:

  1. Blend cashews with 2 cups water in a high speed blender (like a Vitamix or Magic Bullet) until white, creamy and smooth. (About 3-4 minutes on a high speed setting).

Tips and Tricks:

  • Don't have a high speed blender? Use a regular blender, but soak the cashews in some water for a couple of hours prior to making.
  • I've used this cream as a "white pizza" base. After I blended it, I added 2 heads of roasted garlic, a pinch of salt, and then blended it some more. It tasted amazing on a pizza crust with spinach and vegan mozzarella!
  • Save the leftover cream and use it as a coffee creamer.
  • Add a touch of a sweetener and pour it over some fresh fruit like peaches. YUM!

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

 Photography and Food by Carolyn J. Braden

Photography and Food by Carolyn J. Braden

Super Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter Chia Pudding

My husband and I love pudding, but we can't handle all the dairy. So, I was super excited when I started to see chia seed pudding start to trend all over Pinterest.

Here's my adaptation of the recipe for Chia Pudding via Chocolate Covered Katie. I was just going to make her version, then I realized I was out of almond milk. I realized I had cashews and yogurt on hand, so I got creative.

Here's what I came up with. My version is vegan, but you could use regular milk and yogurt if you aren't vegan. I give you several choices on ingredients and amounts so you can tailor it to suit you. I love to play with my food to make it fit my taste, and I encourage you to do the same!

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt (I used So Delicious Dairy Free Coconut Milk Yogurt Alternative but you could use regular plain yogurt if you aren't vegan)
  • 1 cup cashew milk (Or, use whatever milk you have on hand. See my Tips and tricks section below the recipe for a note on using milk other than cashew. Cashew milk how-to: Blend 1 cup cashews with 2 cups water in a high speed blender like a Vitamix or Magic Bullet until smooth. Don't have a high speed blender? Use a regular blender, but soak the cashews in some water for a couple of hours prior to making.)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (add a bit more for a more "peanutty" taste)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut sugar (Amount depends on how sweet you like your desserts. If you use regular sugar, I'd stick with 1 tablespoon, as it tends to be a bit sweeter than coconut sugar).
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate chips

How-to:

  1. Place all ingredients in a small bowl (or I use a glass mason jar) and mix very well.
  2. Allow to chill in the fridge for 1-3 hours. The longer you let it chill, the bigger the chia seeds will swell. Bigger chia seeds=thicker pudding.
  3. Eat and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Leave me a comment below! I love to hear how people made my recipes their own! Or, post it to social media and tag it #carolynsdailydishes

Tips and Tricks:

  • If you use a milk other than the cashew milk, I recommend letting the pudding sit for 2-3 hours You'll be able to eat it at the one hour mark, but it will be on the thin side. Cashew milk tends to have a very creamy and thicker consistency, so that 's why I liked it for this recipe.
  • Chocolate Covered Katie had a great tip on her site. She said if you don't like the consistency of the pudding after it's chilled (it'll have a bit of a "bumpy" texture from the seeds), you can blend it in a blender (after the chilling process) to smooth it out. In my experience, you may need to add a tiny bit more milk to the pudding if you chose to do this.
  • Don't like peanut butter? Use another nut butter instead OR remove the nut butter completely. I added it only for flavor. Try adding some vanilla or almond extract instead of the nut butter. If you omit the nut butters, you could also omit the cocoa and add in fruit. See how many versions you can come up with!
  • If you make the cashew milk, you'll have some leftovers. It tastes great as a coffee creamer! I also used it as a cream base for a white pizza I made recently.)
  • I love my Vitamix! I bought a refurbished model and it's done wonderful things for me in my kitchen. It's worth the investment. If you click the link to the one on this page (see below) and purchase it, I'll receive a tiny bit of the proceeds from Amazon.
  • Consider making any purchases using the links I have posted on my website so I can keep the free content flowing!
  • I also love my Magic Bullet. I bought mine new and have used it for so many things, I've lost count!
  • Consider adding more chia seeds to your diet. They are easy to digest and full of nutrients. Check out this article about chia seeds and their benefits via Dr. Axe.
 Food and Photography by Carolyn J. Braden

Food and Photography by Carolyn J. Braden