The Daily Beet

20 Dec Saving Time with Char: Double Duty Recipes

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Screen Shot 2012-10-23 at 9.47.52 PMI really like to cook.  I enjoy the challenge when my cupboards are bare and I am able to create a nourishing and delicious meal.  Most of the time, though, I have a meal plan/menu that I follow to keep life easy and simple.  For me, simplicity is the key to staying plant-strong.

It’s fun to add double purpose to what you make, because in the long run, you will have extra time to exercise, read, and play with friends!

Here are some quick and easy time-savers I use every day in my kitchen:

-When I make a “Jeff Novick Meal,” I do not season until the end.  I allow the beautiful mixture of vegetables to cool, then, I divide the meal into two. I season each one differently.  For example, one might be Italian, and the other Mexican.  You can really change it up each time.  This way, you have more of a variety of delicious foods to choose.  Whatever your spice fancy, you will create two great meals!

-Soup making is always fun.  Make your basic soup recipe.  If, for example, you are making a minestrone, when the soup is finished, divide it into two, and use whole wheat pasta in one, and brown rice in the other.  You have made two soups in one.

-The Mighty Muffin is a staple in my house, and everyone loves them.  When I make the batter, and all ingredients have been assembled, I then divide the batter in half.  One half might contain raisins and walnuts, and the other might contain blueberries.  On super-special occasions, I might even use grain-sweetened, vegan chocolate chips.  Or, have half of them plain.  Other add-ins can also include currants, dried cranberries, cherries, dried mango, etc.

ALSO, and TAKE NOTE…Mighty Muffins can also be savory!  Use a can of pumpkin (instead of bananas) and make sure you use a Granny Smith apple (they are surely tart).  Add to the batter, low sodium Tamari (a teaspoon), garlic powder, and nutritional yeast (1/2 cup).  I play with spices, but these savory Mighty Muffins are great with pasta dishes.

-I like ROMA, a grain beverage, coffee substitute,  I will make a few cups of it, then put the brew into ice cube trays. I keep them in the freezer for making “coffee cream” in the Vitamix, or for making a “Romacchino” which is my version of a frappaccino.  Sometimes, I will just use them in a glass, and a pour over of vanilla, unsweetened almond milk.

-Pizza is always fun.  And, like the pizza place at the corner, when I make whole wheat pizza, I make a pizza where one half might be loaded with veggies in a red sauce, and the other side might be a nice pizza bianco with basil, kale, and a paste made from nutritional yeast.

Hope these tips add some fun to your day and that you are creating fun and delicious meals for you and your family and friends.

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Char Nolan for Engine 2
Char Nolan

Char Nolan is a blog contributor and Engine 2 Extra Coach. She's been plant-strong for almost five years. From Philadelphia, she works in the plant-based whole foods arena, and is also the "vegan features writer," for the "Town Dish." She's lost a great deal of weight from being plant-strong, practices yoga, and is always dabbling in her kitchen to create new, plant-strong recipes. Armed with a degree in public health, Char also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from e-Cornell.

  • Christy
    Posted at 17:32h, 20 December

    Would you mind sharing the recipe for the nooch paste?

    • LARK
      Posted at 11:40h, 21 December

      I’ll tell you my own nooch thickener: I use a one-to-one ratio of nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds in a blender/food processor, then add in warm/hot water to desired consistency. Of course, season with S/P, herbs, & spices to taste.

      • Christy
        Posted at 21:27h, 21 December

        Thank you, Lark!

  • Karen
    Posted at 19:57h, 20 December

    Wow, brilliant Char! I am totally using these 🙂

  • Plantasia
    Posted at 19:39h, 07 January

    Wonderful simple ideas! I usually make a very big pot of soup and then freeze half, but do get sick of the same soup even though it;s good. Now I know I’m going to try this and the other suggestions from now on. So simple . Why didn’t I think of that!! Dlee

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