I was in the mood to try something new.
I find that being in the kitchen brings out the creative, playful child in me…and when I combine this with fresh, healthy and clean ingredients, I not only enjoy the cooking process but the guilt often associated with food is GONE!
In addition to this, I’ve also realized that when it comes to weight management and overall healthy living, it really is best to make your own food as often as possible.
Going out to eat once in a while is fine. This can be an enjoyable social experience and a nice treat.
However, when we rely on others to prepare our food, it can become a problem.
A few reasons for this are:
- It becomes pricey after a while. Figure it can easily cost between $5-$10 for an inexpensive meal at a drive-thru, or $12-$20 for a pizza.
- You have no knowledge of what’s in your food. Are the ingredients GMO-free? How much sugar is in the pasta sauce? Are the ingredients fresh? Frozen? Local? Expired?
- How do the cooks prepare your meals? Are their hands clean? Do they perspire while they’re cooking your food? (I’ve worked in restaurants before – and I’ve seen a few things).
- Would the establishment you’re relying on for your well-being pass an inspection?
- You are at the mercy of someone else to feed you. You are powerless over your eating habits unless you’re wealthy and can afford to have your meals prepared and delivered to you on a consistent basis.
Preparing your own food is not only a much better way to gain some perspective on what you’re really eating, but it offers you a sense of personal empowerment in regards to your health.
So with this being said, let me share one of the dishes I’ve learned to make using nothing but my imagination.
I didn’t follow anyone else’s recipe. I just allowed myself to be creative and enjoy the process.
Garlic and Herb Vegan Casserole
A friend of mine had given me a bunch of herbs she had grown organically in her own back yard. I was so excited to receive this giant pile of healthy, green goodness that I had to come up with a way to enjoy them.
I decided to leave the bottled sauces and seasonings out of the dish this time so I could truly experience the flavors of the rosemary, thyme, and oregano I was about to use.
But because I was more accustomed to using bottled seasonings, using what my friend sent me home with required some prep work I wasn’t used to.
Not wanting to compromise the quality of the dish, I decided it would be a smart idea to watch a video about how to properly chop and slice fresh herbs.
Thanks to my enthusiasm for healthy living (and youtube), I used what my friend gave me in to make this fabulous homemade casserole.
This is perfect if you are cooking for yourself, or if you’re feeding a family.
You can always add more to the ingredient list if you’re looking to cook in bulk (which I like to do since it keeps ready made food around for convenience).
So without further ado, here is how to make this fantastic dish that my husband enjoyed as well.
Prep Time: about 10-15 mins
- 1.5 cups cooked organic brown rice
- 1 can organic pinto beans (rinsed)
- 3 medium sized boiled potatoes (cut into small wedges)
- Fresh (or dried) oregano, thyme, rosemary (chopped small)
- 1-2 fresh chopped tomatoes
- 1.5 cups fresh green beans
- Ground pink Himalayan salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
- Chopped fresh garlic
Add 1.5 cups of rice to a medium saucepan.
Cut up 3 medium sized potatoes (doesn’t matter if they’re red, brown or baking potatoes). Cut them into small cubes and boil on medium heat for about 30 minutes.
Pour 3 cups of water to the rice and get it cooking (brown rice could take 30-45 mins).
When half of this cooking time is finished, wash, cut and dry the herbs and make sure the rest of the ingredients are out and available.
At this time, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line the bottom of an oven safe casserole dish with the cooked rice. Pile on the beans, cooked potatoes, green beans, tomatoes, garlic and all of the seasonings.
Cover and bake for 20 mins.
Your home will smell AMAZING while this is baking!
Once finished, allow to cool a bit and using a big serving spoon, mix everything together in the baking dish to blend the ingredients and flavors.
Portion and serve.
The herbs add a lovely rich flavor to the casserole. It’s amazing how wonderful food can taste when the ingredients are fresh.
You’ll also get a variety of textures to enjoy in this dish. The potatoes are smooth, the green beans are crunchy and everything else blends together beautifully.
You can be as creative as you’d like with this – just as long as you make it healthy.
Have Fun with Your Food
While I’ve provided you with a recipe for you to follow, you can do just about anything you’d like with this.
Change up the veggies, add a different sauce or use different herbs.
The idea is to make this into a fun and creative project. This is how I’ve learned my way around the kitchen – and this use of my creative nature is as rewarding as the dish is once it’s ready to be enjoyed.
If you try this out, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Do you create new recipes from scratch?