Mamatoga Meatless Monday Summer Recipe: Portobello Sliders and Watermelon Salad

meatlessmondayssummerIt's hot out. Like REALLY hot out. And chances are you probably ate some sort of barbecued or grilled meat over the Fourth of July weekend, so let's take a break from the steak and make a tasty (and super healthy) Meatless Monday Summer dish. Think outside the boring pasta salad box and try this kid friendly recipe your whole family will love. I tried the watermelon tomato salad for the first time on the Fourth at the Mom and Pop BBQ Competition and it was AMAZING. Kudos to the Kowalewski team who served up this incredibly delicious and refreshing dish. Baby Portobello Sliders (makes 6 sliders)


  • 6 baby portobello mushrooms
  • 6 slider buns
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 2-3 ounces cheese of your choice (try gouda, goat cheese, swiss...), sliced into squares
  • 1 avocado, sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (optional)

Heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. Add sliced onions with a pinch of salt and let caramelize, stirring occasionally for about 8-10 minutes.

While onions are caramelizing, brush mushrooms with remaining olive oil and sprinkle both sides with pepper, paprika, onion and chili powder. Heat a skillet (you can grill them too) on medium heat and cook until mushrooms are juicy and tender, about 5 minutes on each side.

Once they are cooked add your cheese like you would with a burger to let it melt.

Assemble the sliders by placing the mushroom on the bun, then top with onions, avocado, and BBQ sauce (if you prefer). Have the kids build their own mini burgers just the way they like them!

index22Watermelon Tomato Salad with Feta and Pistachios


  • 1/2 seedless watermelon, cut into about 1-inch chunks
  • 2 large and ripe tomatoes (best if they are heirloom), cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tsp large-grain sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic or vinegar
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 3-4 Tbsp chopped herbs (I used fresh basil and parsley)
  • About 1 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup roasted pistachios (try almonds if you're not a pistachio fan)

In a large bowl, combine the watermelon and tomatoes. Combine the salt with the olive oil and vinegar and pour over the melon and tomato mixture. Sprinkle chopped herbs over the mixture to taste, finely chop green onions and toss lightly. Top with the feta and pistachios. So easy the kids can do it (after you've done the chopping, of course)! 

So there you have it, a healthy, delicious Meatless Monday meal for the family, enjoy! xoxo



Mamatoga Meatless Monday Recipe: Cheater's "Risotto"

I absolutely love love LOVE risotto, but I do NOT love to make it all that much. Especially if I'm short on time. This cheater's risotto comes out delicious and creamy like risotto but without all the high maintenance risotto babysitting. The kids love this dish, and the beauty is that you can add whatever you like to this basic recipe: mushrooms, peas, whatever your family is into that night. Make it as a side dish or a cozy fall dinner, this easy recipe is a crowd pleaser. Save the traditional risotto for a special night you can dedicate to taking (and enjoying) your time cooking. Plus, if you make extra or have any leftovers you can use this risotto to make arancinis, which are simply amazing and can be frozen for a future lunch or dinner! Cheater's Parmesan Risotto

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That?”

Serves 4 to 6


1½ cups Arborio rice

5 cups simmering chicken stock, (preferably homemade), divided

½ cup dry white wine

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup frozen peas


1. Heat the oven to 350F.

2. Place the rice, 4 cups of the chicken stock, and the wine in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.

3. Remove from the oven, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, butter, salt, and pepper, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy.

4. Add the veggies if using them and stir until heated through. Serve hot.

Another thing I love to do with this risotto is to make it more fun by adding vegetables or sliced cheese cut into cute shapes to it. We add heart shapes to make it "I Love You Risotto" or stars to make it "Nighttime Risotto" and it makes them that much more excited to eat it up, plus they get to cut the shapes with the cookie cutters themselves and they love taking part in making the meal.

Mamatoga Meatless Monday Recipe: Mediterranean Roasted Chickpea Wraps

I have a new obsession readers. Roasted chickpeas. I've always been a lover of chickpeas but since discovering this new way (new for me) of preparing them I eat a LOT more of them. Use this super easy recipe from This Chick Cooks to prepare them, they are amazing as a snack, the kids love them, and they're healthy!


  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well coated.
  3. Spread chickpeas on a baking pan and bake at 400 for about 20 minutes. Stir and continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, or until chickpeas are crispy.

Like I said these are great alone as a snack or tossed in a salad or on a pizza. My favorite way to enjoy these is Mediterranean style with some feta and some fresh veggies all wrapped up in a tortilla or in a lettuce wrap. This recipe, from The Sweet Life serves two, so change the recipe accordingly if you're making it for the whole family.


  • 1 can of chickpeas prepared as above
  • 2 whole wheat or whole grain tortillas
  • 2 handfuls romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 bell pepper, chopped
  • handful grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into slices then quartered
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • feta cheese as desired (my family happens to desire a LOT of feta)


Prepare the chickpeas as above. Assemble your tortillas (or lettuce wraps, leaving out the extra lettuce if you choose this style), lettuce leaves, and chopped vegetables.  Divide the cooked chickpeas evenly over the two tortillas. Sprinkle with feta cheese, wrap them up and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Tapas and Sangria Edition

This absolutely lush weather has made me start craving tapas and their best friend (and a close one of mine as well) sangria. Now, my all time best sangria was made a couple years back in Palm Springs using some Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joes, but I will try to recreate it here for you sans Chuck. There are so many traditional tapas you can make that are meatless, and here I'm going to give you two of my favorites. Patatas Bravas

The traditional patatas bravas are a little on the spicy side, which I love, but if you're making them for kids just leave out the spice. We like to make two batches of sauce, one spicy and one non and serve them on the side. The kids think being able to eat anything using toothpicks is pretty amazing so we let them stick one in each potato.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large Russet potatoes, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sriracha (more or less depending on taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • chopped parsley for garnish
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil for frying

For the sauce: In a saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft. Turn off the heat, and add the paprika, sriracha, and thyme, stirring well. Transfer to a bowl and add the ketchup and mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the potatoes: Sprinkle the potatoes lightly with salt and pepper. In a large skillet fry the potatoes in 1 cup of olive oil until cooked through and golden brown, stirring occasionally. (Be careful when adding the potatoes to the saucepan because the oil will splatter due to the salt). Drain the potatoes on paper towels, check the seasoning, add more salt if necessary, and set it aside. Mix the potatoes with the sauce immediately before serving to ensure that the potatoes stay crispy. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve warm.

Tomato Bread

This recipe seriously could not be any easier and probably shouldn't even be called a "recipe", but this is a great one to have the kids make all on their own (once everything is sliced of course), plus they just love it. We always grow our own tomatoes and the kids go nuts over being able to eat something they've grown themselves.

  • rustic-style bread (baguettes work best)
  • 2 large, round, ripe tomatoes
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste

First, cut pieces of the baguette about 4-5 inches long. Then, slice the pieces horizontally, as you would when making a sub sandwich. Toast the slices lightly on both sides. Peel the garlic cloves and slice a bit off the ends and rub the cut ends over each slice of bread. The cloves will eventually wear down after being rubbed against the toasted bread and you will end up with stubby little pieces that are impossible to hold. Slice the ripe tomatoes in half across the middle. Then, using the tomato half, rub the cut side of the tomato generously onto each slice. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over slice of bread. Add salt to taste.

Now for the really fun part, the sangria! I prefer white wine sangria, and this recipe is really easy to whip up.

  • 1 bottle dry white wine I like to use a Vinho Verde but you can easily use a Pinot Grigio instead
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 10 strawberries, thickly sliced (you can also use raspberries here if you prefer)
  • orange and lime slices
  • 1 1/2 cups sparkling sweet cider (or use hard cider for some extra punch)

In a large glass pitcher, combine the first five ingredients and set aside for at least 15 minutes. You can make this up the night before and let is chill overnight too. Just before serving, add the sparking cider and some ice. Stir well and serve immediately. More into a red sangria? Click here for a great recipe using red.

Mamatoga Meatless Monday Recipe: Lentil Shepherd's Pie

I absolutely adore Shepherd's Pie, especially on a rainy day like today. Nice and cozy, it is perfect comfort food to tuck into to take off the chill of the day. This version is the Meatless Monday recipe, and we are going to swap out the meat for lentils, which are insanely good for you! Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are also great in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. But there's more! Lentils also provide excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein—all with virtually no fat. Counting calories? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils, this makes for an amazing meat alternative in more than just this dish. Plus this recipe is so easy even the kids can help! You can customize it however you like, you can add cheese on top (or a vegan cheese alternative) or add in your choice of veggies for some extra nutrition. Some good options with this recipe are green beans or corn.


  • 1/2 pound lentils, cooked and drained
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp crumbled fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 3 large potatoes, cooked
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of hot milk (of your choice)
  • butter (or a vegan butter alternative) to taste
  • veggies of your choice (about a cup, depending on taste)
  • cheese (of your choice) sprinkled on top


Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the cooked lentils thoroughly and add the onion and seasonings (add the veggies if using). Put the lentil mixture in a lightly oiled casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, mash the potatoes and add the hot milk, butter and salt. Beat by hand or with an electric mixer until fluffy.

Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the mashed lentils and bake for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are dry on top.

Place the pie under the broiler to brown on top, add the cheese if you are using it on top to melt just a bit. Serve warm.

*photo courtesy of the naked kitchen