Friday recipes: winter comfort food

So how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along?

For me, making resolutions and expecting myself to fulfill them in the coldest, darkest time of year is a losing proposition (and I’m not talking about weight). I am determined, however, to get back on the exercise track after being, well, lazy over the holidays. I’m grateful that the DMU Wellness Center staff are great motivators, including our new wellness intern, Maggi Schutte. Her High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class this week was just what I needed to kickstart my heart rate, with its fat-blasting bursts of activity combined with short periods of rest to confuse the body and increase metabolism.

This comfort food is delicious and healthy.
This comfort food is delicious and healthy.

A graduate of Truman State University with a B.S. in exercise science, Maggi is a student in DMU’s doctor of physical therapy program. She is certified in group exercise by the National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA) and a health fitness specialist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). In addition to her years of playing tennis, running, teaching fitness classes and serving as a personal trainer, she enjoys cooking and baking. And she truly spoke my language when she shared some healthy recipes for winter comfort foods.

Her delicious-sounding recipes include those for people who follow vegan, paleo and gluten-free diets. Here are two of her own creations that will satisfy you regardless of your diet. Thanks, Maggi!

Vegan pizza

  • 3½ cups flour
  • 2½ ounces fast rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 package Go Veggie mozzarella style non-dairy cheese (or other vegan mozzarella of choice)
  • ½ green apple
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ green pepper
  • 2 packages Lightlife Smart Strips Chick’n (if ovo-vegan use the honey barbecue option, which contains egg, or use other vegan chicken of choice)
  • 2 cups vegan barbecue sauce of choice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Add warm water and olive oil. Knead for 5 minutes or until mixture is well combined. Form a ball with the dough and let sit for 10 minutes in a warm place.

Roll out dough and fit to oiled cookie sheet or pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly browned.

While crust is baking, wash and dice up green apple, onion, green pepper and vegan chicken strips. Combine mixture with 1 cup of the barbecue sauce.

Remove crust from oven and let cool. Cover crust with the remaining cup of barbecue sauce. Cover pizza with the chicken, veggie and green apple mixture. Top with vegan mozzarella cheese.

Bake pizza in oven for approximately 30 minutes until cheese begins to bubble and brown lightly. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes, cut and serve. Enjoy!

Vegan tacosTacos

  • 1 package Lightlife Smart Ground Mexican Crumbles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Taco seasoning
  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ red onion
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • 1-2 ears of corn
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cabbage (or can use vegan taco shells of choice)
  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 2-3 tablespoons water

Wash all veggies and allow time for them to air-dry. Dice veggies except cabbage and avocado. Cut cabbage into taco shell-sized pieces and set aside. Remove kernels from ear of corn.

Prepare a salsa by combining in a medium-large bowl the corn kernels and all veggies except avocado, tomato and cabbage. Add lime juice and toss. After 20 minutes, add tomatoes and cilantro and stir. Cover and store in fridge until ready.

Prepare the “sour cream”: Drain cashews and place them in a blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and water; blend on high until smooth. Add additional water if needed for desired consistency. Cover and store in fridge until ready.

Add olive oil to pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add ground crumbles and taco seasoning to taste. Mix and heat through, approximately 5 minutes.

Take crumbles off heat; add as desired to cabbage shells. Top with salsa mixture, avocado slices and cashew sour cream mixture. Serve and enjoy!

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