Remember how I used to make tofu masala relatively frequently? I decided to revamp the recipe to include butternut squash, which means I have another easy fall recipe for you!


  • 1 block of firm tofu
  • 1 jar of Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce
  • 1/2 butternut squash
  • 1 leek
  • 1/2 onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dried red chili peppers
  • Soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil (all optional)


1. Press tofu (you can do this with a tool like the Tofu Xpress or with this method)

2. If desired, marinate pressed tofu with soy sauce (gluten-free if need be), garlic, rice vinegar, olive oil, and/or sesame oil for added flavor

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half and remove seeds (put aside for my next recipe!). Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried red chili pepper flakes. Put in baking pan with about an inch of water on bottom. Roast half of the squash until tender, about 30 minutes. Cut into bite-sized cubes.

4. Trim, clean, and slice leeks. Peel and chop onion. In a skillet over medium low, saute leeks and onion with olive oil and red chili peppers until tender.

5. Add all other ingredients (tofu, butternut squash, and masala sauce) to the skillet and simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Enjoy over rice (gluten-free) or with naan (unfortunately not gluten-free)!

P.S. Ever used a Tofu Xpress? I hadn’t until I moved in with my roommate, who has one. It’s a pretty convenient little contraption that presses the water out of tofu, making it better for grilling and baking. It can also be used to press water out of things like sliced eggplant (I used it for eggplant moussaka the other day) and thawed spinach or kale (which I did for this spiced lentil kale soup from Oh She Glows). It comes for the pretty hefty price tag of about $39. It’s nice to have in the kitchen, but I’m not sure I’d paid that much for it! So thanks, roommate :)

I recently had half a package of firm tofu left over from another recipe, so I decided to make an Indian meal with it. Luckily, I found a jar of Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce in the back of my pantry. After a quick Google search, I stumbled across a recipe for Quick Indian Soup from Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen.

The star of the show

Here is my adapted version:

  • Firm tofu, pressed and cubed
  • Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce (you can use another brand, but I prefer TJ’s!)
  • Onions, diced
  • Carrots, sliced
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Rice (I used Cashew Basmati microwavable rice from Target)
  • Hot pepper, chopped (optional)
  • Canned tomatoes (I didn’t have any but I bet they’d be good!)

In a pot, cook onions and carrots in olive oil over medium until onions are translucent. Add simmer sauce and two cups of broth or two cups of water with two

After a recent trip to the NC State Farmers’ Market, I had leftover tomatoes and cucumbers. Given my new obsession with rice noodles, I decided to whip up an almost no-cook lunch of cold Asian noodles with marinated tomatoes and cucumbers. It’s super easy, but I recommend preparing it a few hours in advance (if not the night before) so the vegetables have time to soak up the marinade.

I haven’t included measurements because this dish is nearly impossible to mess up.

  • Tomatoes, chopped
  • Cucumbers, chopped
  • Onion, finely diced
  • Rice vinegar
  • Sesame oil
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Rice noodles
  • Chicken or firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (for garnish)
  • Sriracha (for added spiciness)

In a Tupperware, combine chopped vegetables with several dashes of rice vinegar and sesame oil. Sprinkle sugar and salt on top, cover with lid, and put in fridge for several hours or overnight.

To add protein and staying power, add chopped chicken. I marinated mine overnight in soy sauce, red chili peppers, sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic powder, and ground ginger, but you could just use salt, pepper, and olive oil. Cook using this fool-proof method. If you choose to use tofu, just marinate it and saute over medium heat with olive oil in a skillet.

Prepare rice noodles according to directions (usually you boil water, toss in noodles, boil for 3 minutes, and drain).

Combine all ingredients and garnish with sesame seeds and sriracha, if desired.

Remember when I mentioned that the July section of my Cooking Light cookbook focuses heavily on peaches? After reading that, I stumbled across flats of peaches at Trader Joe’s for $5.99 and decided to pick one up. Mine has 13 peaches in it, so it equals out to about $.46 per peach- not bad!

Now that I’m a wild child who makes sweet and savory salads {like

When I was trying to figure out pizza toppings, I remembered my recent

Some of my best recipe creations come from cleaning out my fridge and using up leftovers {remember my easy lentil chicken bacon soup?}.

After preparing the

I’ve posted links to sweet potato mac and cheese recipes several times, but I’ve never posted my insanely easy {and gluten-free} version!

I’ve posted this sweet potato mac and cheese and this butternut squash mac and cheese, but I generally make a recipe that’s somewhere in the middle.

I didn’t list measurements because it’s easy to guesstimate as you’re layering the ingredients!

  • Caramelize chopped onions and shallots {combine butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium; throw in onions and shallots; and saute until golden brown, stirring

After purchasing a big package of chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s, I realized I wasn’t going to be able to finish all of it before it went bad. Inspiration struck: I placed the chicken tender in separate snack sized Ziploc bags and added a different seasoning or sauce to each bag :

Photo credit

Craving an insanely quick lunch a la my “

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Did you read “21 seasoning” and feel a little overwhelmed? Don’t! This is the easiest recipe ever.

Remember when I wrote about

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+Cristina Roman