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Asheville’s Best Recipes

September 23, 2008

Hey There Everyone,

I am cooking.  For real.  I am cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Most days I’m not even adding the additional “coffee and snacks” fourth daily meal so that I can indeed frequent some type of food production establishment.  But I’m at a loss.  Here is what I’ve been eating.


  • yogurt + grapenuts
  • Special K
  • Egg McGrrlmuffin


  • One time I had a salad but then I didn’t for four days and everything went bad
  • Amy’s veggie pocket
  • This is unfortunately the weakest willpower meal, and I usually “do” lunch
  • Leftovers from when I had a weak willpower dinner


  • Spinach quiche
  • Chicken Pot Pie
  • Tuna Casserole
  • Tofu-Veggie Asian Stirfry
  • One mildly successful broccoli and cheese thing
  • Potato-leek soup

I feel fine about my breakfast options, lunch has been a complete nightmare, and I’m in dire need of new recipes for dinner.  The qualifications are: 

  • Must take under 45 minutes to prepare and cook. 
  • Must be healthy and include veggies
  • Must include at least four different colors
  • Ingredients must be cheaper than going to a restaurant

Okay blog peeps and Asheville peeps, send me your recipes!  Game On!

7 Comments leave one →
  1. rascalgrrl permalink
    September 23, 2008 8:13 pm

    Here’s a couple that I love:

    Beans and Rice Extravaganza

    Cook some rice (white or brown) with a couple dashes of cumin.
    As soon as the rice is close to done, add 1 can black beans (or other, I just like black best) to the pot to heat up.
    Rice should be about 1.5 times as much as the beans.

    Put your portion on a plate. Top with cheese of your choice so that it melts as you get the other stuff ready.

    Other stuff: Add as many as you want of the following. I like to cirlce the rice and beans with the extras.
    Chopped tomato
    Chopped jalapenos (jarred or fresh)
    Guacamole or just some sliced avocado

    Eat it with a fork, or you can use tortillas and make it function as a nacho-like dinner.

    Kale and Tempheh with Black Eyed Peas and Sauce

    Steam a bunch of Kale. However much you like. You can use other greens, but I like Kale.

    Take one package of tempeh and slice it into 1/4-inch thick strips. Saute them in a pan with a litte canola or vegetable oil. Be careful to get the pan quite hot because tempeh act like a sponge and will soak up oil before getting crispy if it is too cold.

    Remove tempeh from the pan, and set on a small plate while you pour a can of Black Eyed Peas into the hot pan. Heat through.

    Pile the kale on a plate. Arrange the tempeh on top. Pour the peas over the top.

    For the sauce: You can use a pre-made Chipotle Ranch dressing or (my favorite) you can make your own with canned chipotles and regular ranch dressing. This allows for variations in heat level. Extra chipotles can be put in a ziplock bag and stored in the freezer (be sure to get the air out of the bag) so that you can just break or chop off as much as you want for another recipe.


  2. September 24, 2008 10:07 am

    Sweet Potato Burritos w/Shortcuts

    3-4 sweet potatoes
    2 cans black beans
    1 onion
    2 cloves of garlic
    olive oil
    chiles or red pepper (optional)
    1 jar of salsa
    cheddar cheese
    flour tortillas

    Cook sweet potatoes in the micro (about 6 min per), peel and mash.
    Saute onions, garlic and any of the optional veggies in olive oil until soft. Add drained & rinsed black beans. Mash bean mixture. Add potatoes and combine.
    Lay out tortillas, spread a good 2-3 Tbs of this mixture on each, sprinkle cheese on top, roll and lay in lasagna pan. After you’ve made enough to fill the pan, pour the jar of salsa over them and then add more cheese on top if desired (and who doesn’t?). Bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes.

    These are so yummy & easy. They’re great to keep on hand for lunch.

    Another lunch favorite of mine is tuna melts. Mix up a quick tuna & mayo, put on english muffin with cheese on top. Broil for 5 mins.

  3. September 24, 2008 2:06 pm

    I like this one because I can keep everything but the baby spinach on hand (thanks to those bags of flash-frozen tilapia), so on those nights when I’m all “um…we have nothing to eat,” I can just have the husband pick up a bag of spinach on the way home and we’re ready to roll. (I got this recipe from Cooking Light, but they had it with flounder. I don’t like the flash-frozen flounder; it always seems to come out mushy and wet.)

    (Also, the leftovers taste even better the next day.)

    Tilapia Piccata with Spinach

    1 package long grain and wild rice
    4 6-oz tilapia fillets
    2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1/3 cup dry white wine
    2 tablespoons lemon juice
    1 tablespoon drained capers
    2 tablespoons butter
    4 cups fresh baby spinach

    Cook rice according to package directions.

    Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper and dredge in flour.

    Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fish to pan. Cook 1 1/2 half minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

    Add wine, juice and capers to pan; cook 1 minute. Add butter, stirring until butter melts. Remove fish and sauce from pan; keep warm. Wipe pan clean with a paper towel. Add spinach to pan; saute until wilted (just a minute or two).

    Place 1/4th of the rice on each of 4 plates. Top each with a serving of spinach, 1 fillet, and sauce.

  4. September 25, 2008 12:55 pm

    Love hearing that you are making friends with your kitchen!

    I’m at work now so don’t have access to all my favorite recipes – and all my recipes are quick, cheap, and tasty.

    Here’s one I know by heart:

    African Peanut Pineapple Stew

    Saute one diced onion for 5-7 min. Add chopped kale (Swiss chard and even spinach work well, too). Add one can (20 ou?) of crushed pineapple in juice. Add 1/4-1/2 cup good-quality (no Jif!) peanut butter. I “pat” small spoons over the pan so that it mixes in easier once it gets soft. Cover and steam until the greens are to your liking. Add hot sauce to your liking. Mix everything up so that a sauce is formed from the peanut butter, pineapple juice and hot sauce. Serve over brown rice, or in a time crunch, couscous. (One cup per One cup boiling water. Let sit for 5 min.)

    I got this recipe from Moosewood Cooks At Home back in 1996 (It was a gift from my brother and he wrote the date!) and it is totally dog-eared from constant, much-loved use. I would also highly recommend Saving Dinner by Leanne Ely (in trade paperback, very cheap and fits easily in your shopping bag – I just take it to the store with me) because she gives a week of menus, grocery shopping lists and everything is quick and cheap. I often add a lot more spices, because she is making this very “kid-friendly”, aka rather bland. Like last night I made her Baked Rigatoni but there were NO spices in her recipe – so I sauteed onion, garlic, dried oregano, and chopped up a bag of fresh basil (from my CSA that day) and added that to the jarred spaghetti sauce she called for (and added a jar of my own canned tomatoes and some paste because I like my pasta saucy). It made a huge pan of pasta and we will be eating the leftovers for lunch for the next several days. Doug whipped up a salad from all the lovely produce from our CSA and we were well sated.

  5. September 26, 2008 10:53 pm

    Oops. I forgot to mention to add 2 cloves of minced garlic with the onions. And if you want to gild the lily add chopped peanuts and cilantro to the top. 🙂

  6. queen kirstifa permalink
    September 28, 2008 2:36 pm

    African peanut-pineapple is one of my favorites too!! You can also add some fried tofu too it if you want more protein.

    So, my budget necessitates that i eat at home 95% of the time, but mostly i really love it. For me, the key to good lunch is a making extra quantities of a good dinner. My lunch is almost always leftovers.

    Being in a CSA (and having a garden) makes it easier for me to decide what to make, because i just work with whatever is in season. of course i embellish with other ingredients too. but here are some of my favorite simple things to make mass quantities of for dinner that is also lunch:

    marinated, baked tofu or tilapia with rice pilaf:

    great things about this dish:

    1. after some brief prep, you leave it in the oven to do it’s work while you do other things
    2. you can change it up constantly to use whatever is in season or you have on hand

    rice pilaf:
    i use brown basmati rice.

    1. start by chopping and sauteing whatever you have on hand that would give the rice a nice flavor. i always use some onion/garlic, then any of the following are good: celery, carrot, leeks, peppers, squash, zuccini, corn, even greens…
    2. add 1 cup of dried rice, whatever fresh herbs you want, and saute for 5-8 more minutes (may need more oil)
    3. add 2 cups of broth (we make broth at the end of the week from whatever produce is about to go bad), or just mix up water, tamari/soy sauce, and a little wine–then cook as you would normal rice (bring to boil, then lower heat to a slow simmer until liquid is absorbed)
    **this does take about 30-35 min, but your work is minimal, and the leftovers will last several days

    Baked tofu or tilapia (or other fish)

    I usually just improvise a marinade based on whatever is available. Some staples are:
    –tamari/soy, at least 2 tbs
    –lemon juice or vinegar (red wine, apple cider, etc), at least 2 tbs
    –veg/olive oil, at 2-3 tbs
    –garlic and/or onion

    Other stuff:
    Here’s where you can feature whatever is seasonal or on hand. Sometimes I do cherry tomatoes, basil, and rosemary. Sometimes squash, sometimes leeks, kohlrabi, sometimes peppers–almost always hot peppers for me. And lots of whatever herbs.

    Simply pour all the marinade over your protein of choice and bake at 400. For tilapia, it’s ready in 15-20 min. Tofu takes longer–about 20-30 min on each side, or you can speed it up by putting it on broil for half the cooking time.

    I usually have a salad or some greens on the side too.

    Another good lunch idea:

    Even small amounts of leftovers can be transformed into a quesadilla the next day!! Just stuff whatever remainder you have of something into a tortilla with cheese, and maybe some sauteed onions/garlic/peppers for more filler, fold your tortilla over and heat on both sides and you have lunch.

    Good luck with this! The more you get in the habit, the more resourceful you become and the easier it gets. I will send some more easy recipes soon.

  7. GTart permalink
    October 5, 2008 9:26 pm

    We all love eating in season, so here’s a really easy one for Fall dinner.

    Go to the downtown tailgate market and get some pork from the Warren Wilson farmers 🙂 along with some butternut squash, sweet potatos, beets and whatever other Fall root veggie there is.

    Cube all the veggies, slice an onion for extra flavor, and throw together in a roasting pan. Add some olive oil and a splash of apple juice. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

    Cover and bake at 375 for 40 minutes.

    While that’s cooking, grill or broil the pork (I threw mine in a covered cast iron skillet on the stovetop), sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon and add a splash of apple juice or sliced apples to that, too).
    yummy! Sweet and spicey Fall flavors!

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