What’s For Dinner?-Mar’s Favorites

One of the many reasons Stephanie and I began The Kitchen Remix is our shared value for feeding ourselves and our families healthy meals.  Like so many of our friends, however, we are busy, working moms. It can be challenging fitting in meal planning, grocery shopping, food preparation, and cooking time between workouts, soccer games, swim meets, and piano recitals. Whether you are cooking for one or for six, it can take great coordination and commitment to eat healthy, home-cooked meals.

The Kitchen Remix is passionate about delicious, nutritious, whole-food cooking. One of our specialties is sharing great food ideas that require minimal prep and cooking time so you can spend more time enjoying your meals with family and friends. Here are some of my favorite recipes. You may be surprised what a hit they will be with your fellow diners.

Make a big salad or fresh vegetable tray as a starter. Having the veggies available while you are working in the kitchen will prevent hungry family or friends from asking for other snacks right before meals. (If you have ever had a cranky kid hanging on your leg while you make dinner, you know what I mean!)

Eat well. Be well.


Mar’s Veggie Marinara Sauce

This is my “go-to” sauce. Most kids (and adults) like good old fashioned spaghetti. This sauce packs vitamins, minerals, fiber AND great taste. I often whip this sauce up when I do not have much time for cooking. Feel free to try your own version, adding seasonal veggies or whatever you may have available. If you own a super-charged blender, like the Vitamix, make this right in the blender on “soup” mode or the highest speed. If you are the type who doesn’t like pasta, use this yummy sauce over brown rice, lentils, or broccoli.


1 pound pasta

1 carrot

1/2 onion

1 stalk celery

3 cloves fresh garlic

1 teaspoon olive oil or coconut oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1 head of cauliflower

1 sweet potato

4 tomatoes

1 red or orange bell pepper

1 tsp. oregano

1 tsp. basil

1 tsp. thyme

Shake of sea salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare pasta of your choice. We recommend multi-grain, flax, quinoa, or brown rice rice pasta.

In a large pot, saute chopped carrot, onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic in the oil. Add broth, chopped cauliflower, chopped sweet potato, and tomatoes. Season to taste. Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce heat. Cook on low temperature for 15-20 minutes.

Add full pot of sauce to blender or use hand blender to puree.

Pour sauce over pasta and serve.


Veggie Roll-ups 

This is always a fun meal in my house. Be creative and feel free to substitute with your favorite ingredients.


1 cup of cooked green lentils (according to recipe)

2 carrots

1 zucchini

5 shitake mushrooms

1 large bunch of chard (Rainbow chard is fun because the stems are colorful, but whatever you choose is fine.  You may also try romaine or kale.)

Bragg Liquid Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)

Prepare the lentils in advance or as you are chopping your veggies. As a norm, lentils are 3 cups liquid to 1 cup lentils. Bring the water (or veggie broth) and lentils to a boil, reduce to low heat, cover pot, and cook until all the liquid is absorbed (about 15-20) minutes.  I like to chop an extra cup or two of greens (like spinach, chard, or kale) and throw it into the cooking lentils, rice, or other grains.

Slice the carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms in matchstick sized pieces and set aside. Cut off the stems of a large piece of chard. Place chard on a cutting board or plate, and spoon 1 tablespoon of cooked lentils onto the leaf. Add some vegetable sticks and a squirt or two of Braggs (or your favorite dressing). Fold the side corners of the chard in, and then roll from the bottom until you have a nice burrito style roll up. This recipe make about 6 roll-ups.

Variation: You could also make a quick peanut sauce by mixing one tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of Braggs, and a dash of honey.


Shitake Mushroom and Bok Choy Stir Fry

Recently, I have been experimenting with macrobiotic cooking. I also have been getting a weekly supply of bok choy in my CSA box from a local farmer. Here  is a recipe that I have created, experimenting with the Ying and Yang style of macrobiotic cooking.  This dish is so tasty and simple that you will feel like you ordered “take-out”.   

1 cup vegetable broth

2 bunches of baby bok choy, chopped

1 cup shitake mushrooms, stems removed

1 cup bean sprouts

1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped in quarters

1/4 cup red bell pepper, sliced in thin strips

1 teaspoon ginger, cut into matchstick slivers

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon spicy yellow curry powder

2 teaspoons Braggs

In a large fry pan or wok over high heat, add all of the ingredients and stir fry. Add extra vegetable broth, if desired. You may control the spice in this dish. I like it HOT! Eat it as a side dish or on a bed of brown rice.


Veggie Meat(less) Loaf

This is a favorite dish among our family and friends. We have made this meal with a few of The Kitchen Remix clients, and it is a big hit.  Serve it with a side of steamed broccoli or asparagus. Another yummy vegetable with this is pureed cauliflower and a dash of sea salt.  

3 cups cooked lentils

2 cups uncooked, old fashioned (not instant) oats

2 carrots, diced in small pieces

1 red pepper, chopped

1 yellow pepper, chopped

1 zucchini, chopped

1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely

1 tomato, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons fresh parsley

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. I like to use my hands for this mixing and then form a ball (like making bread) once the ingredients are well combined. Place the “ball” into a glass or silicone standard loaf pan and press into shape of pan. Bake, uncovered, for about 50-60 minutes. Halfway through the baking, I often squirt a little ketchup (organic, no sugar) in a fancy design on top. Watch the loaf and do not over cook. It will be golden brown when finished.

Remove from oven and let sit about 10 minutes before serving. Experiment with condiments. This is great as left overs!


Patty’s Quinoa Salad

This is a salad I often make. My lovely friend Patty asked for the recipe, so now it is named in her honor. It makes a colorful side dish or can be scooped on top of  a salad for a more hearty meal. This is also great as left overs and can be wrapped inside of a kale or chard leaf for a light lunch.  

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa (pre-soak overnight and drain before using)

1 cup black beans (either from a can or pre-cooked dried beans)

1 avocado, chopped in small pieces

1 red bell pepper

1 yellow bell pepper

1 radish

1 turnip

1 tomato


Basic Vinaigrette Dressing:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Black pepper to taste


Bring the water to a boil in a medium sized pan. Add the quinoa, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to a very low temperature. Cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). Once it is finished, fluff the quinoa with a fork and set the pan aside.

Chop all of the vegetables in small, uniform pieces and add to the quinoa (I mix it right in the pan). Add the beans and stir until all of the veggies are combined. Mix the dressing ingredients and gently stir. You may chill this salad for several hours or serve immediately.


“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.” Brillat Savarin


















  1. Cory Briggs
    July 5, 2012

    Mary Ellen– I’m making the veggie marinara tonight for dinner. Let’s hope my 4 kids like it–wish me luck! Thanks for sharing these awesome recipes 🙂

    • The Kitchen Remix
      July 6, 2012

      Well, Cory, how did it go?

  2. Walker
    February 11, 2013

    Really liked what you had to say in your post, What’s For Dinner?-Mar’s Favorites | The Kitchen Remix, thanks for the good read!
    — Walker



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