Next Good Meal Presents ... how to Pad Thai?

Pad Thai Sauce Discovery

Good Day – Pad Thai

So… been a while, but I’m trying to wrangle up the different iterations of Pad Thai and Pad Thai Sauce that everyone has been asking about. So first time Dizzle had Pad Thai as in the Lou, U-City specifically with some friends planning a music festival. First time he ever brought himself to eat tofu… now the fool doesn’t eat meat! What a difference 10 years makes!

So when Weezy began keeping a diary of sorts online, we began to notice Pad Thai was the most popular thing people read – how-to, sauce, etc. She keeps a purple, three ring binder in the kitchen – not everything on the online diary makes it into NGM. Heck, most of the last few years has yet to be posted to NGM

  • Bread
  • Sourdough starters
  • Refinements of the standard whip-whips (easy meals, yes including Pad Thai)
  • Garden padawan under the vigorous tutelage of Anita
  • Another baby boy is coming to our house this Summer

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Vegan School Lunch – Pizza


The little dude is making this lunch thing way too easy for me. No complaints! Yesterday he took burger bites again. I didn’t even make fries. He took rotini instead along with grapes. How easy is that? Then he announced that he wants to take pizza the rest of this week. Hmmm. O…K? He couldn’t decide a vegetable, so I made it easy and put a hefty dose of spinach in the pizza crust. Here’s the potentially embarrassing part….tofurky. I think I bought the pepperoni once as an attempt at a “treat”. I’ll admit it’s actually not that bad. It’s a little too heavy on the fake smoky flavor for me, but whatever. Anyway, the little guy randomly asked me to buy some. Alrighty. Now we’ve got spinach dough, tofu pepperoni, and another of his little inventions coconut “cheese”. I was using coconut in an Indian recipe once, and he thought it was great fun to sprinkle it on his pizza like cheese. Go for it! I guess I can relax the rest of the week. I already made enough dough and sauce. We’ve got topping options if he happens to change his mind, so it looks like we’re all good!

Pizza Crust with Spinach
Serves: 8
  • 12 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  1. Thaw spinach and squeeze as much water out using a kitchen towel or cloth napkin.
  2. Add flours, spinach, yeast, salt, and olive oil to mixing bowl. Turn mixer on low to begin to incorporate ingredients. Slowly drizzle warm water while the mixer is on. Mix and knead for a few minutes until the dough forms a ball that is not too sticky.
  3. If dough is too sticky add a tablespoon of flour at a time until the dough forms a smooth ball.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel for about an hour.

This dough is enough for 2 full size pizzas. I divided this into 8 portions for personal size pizzas. The pizzas can be baked on a pizza stone, but I usually do them stove top in a non-stick pan. Cook on medium low with a lid until the dough is cooked and the bottom is browned. Fast and easy. No preheating and hot oven. If there is extra dough I’ll divide it further and make quick naan style bread for hummus snacks.
Pizza Sauce
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-4 cloves garlic (to taste)
  • herbs (1 tsp dried oregano or basil, or fresh herbs of choice like thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon)
  1. Add garlic to food processor and whiz to mince. Add all other ingredients. Whiz until smooth.

I used a sprig of thyme and about a tablespoon of fresh tarragon in this batch. This can be cooked before whizzing if preferred. Sometimes I do, just depends on my mood.

The pepperoni is Tofurky. The coconut is an unsweetened variety that I get at the Indian Grocer. I’m sure it’s probably available anywhere.

School Lunch – Pasta Salad


Today’s lunch is pasta salad and grapes. This has definitely been a favorite. That makes me happy because it is SO easy! The pasta salad includes tofu, tomatoes, color peppers, and kalamata olives. We sprinkle it with a tiny bit of vinegar or vinaigrette. Done!

Total cost of this lunch is approximately $1.10.

School Lunch – Summer Rolls


Today’s school lunch was vegetable summer rolls. This was an alternative to the school menu item, shrimp spring rolls. ($6!)

Ours included tofu, color peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and bean thread noodles all rolled up cozy in brown rice wrappers. He took two of these along with grapes. He also randomly asked to take a piece of spinach foccacia.

The cost of this meal was approximately $1.50.

The tofu was prepared the same as bite sized pieces from previous recipes but cut into longer pieces to fit the rolls. Everything else was simply sliced thin. Now I have a box of prepared veg and tofu.  Need more wrappers!

School Lunch – Burger & Fries

burger fries

Today’s school lunch was these cute little mini burgers, baked fries, and grapes.

I had a FAIL when I tried to create something similar to the catered menu item, steak teriyaki. The rice was under done and the vegetables were overcooked. Ick. Luckily I have several packs of these burgers waiting in the freezer. I popped a pack in the fridge last night to thaw and then warmed in a pan this morning so they would be more solid instead of mushy. Finished them with a tiny smear of ketchup. Yesterday while the little dude was having a snack I did the fries. Sliced a small potato, tossed with paprika and salt, and baked at 425 for about 25 minutes.

Cost of this school lunch is approximately $0.70.

These burgers usually include walnuts or almonds. His school is nut-free, so I substituted more pepitas. Each mini burger is about 1 ounce. The mix can also be formed into full size patties, 4-6 ounces. It can even be crumbled and sauteed like taco meat. Different spices make it interesting. Lately I’ve been using a kebab seasoning, but typically I use a mix of chili powder and coriander or cumin. Let’s just say I’ve made MANY different burger varieties!

Veg Burgers
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • 1 onion
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 TB chia seeds
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1½ cups fresh bread crumbs
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup pepitas chopped (can substitute chopped almonds or walnuts)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds*
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  • 3 TB kebab seasoning (or other preferred spice to taste)
  • salt to taste
  1. Add chia seeds to warm water and allow to sit.
  2. Mince onion and carrot in a food processor. Add to mixing bowl.
  3. Process oats into flour using food processor. Add to mixing bowl.
  4. Add half beans to bowl. Mash the remaining beans using fork or food processor. Add to bowl.
  5. Add all other ingredients, including chia mixture, to mixing bowl and incorporate well.
  6. Divide into desired patty size. Cook in a pan on medium heat for a few minutes on each side. Can be frozen before or after cooking.

*I use a seed mix that includes sunflower seeds, pepitas, flax, and chia.



School Lunch – Pizza Friday


Pizza Friday!

I wasn’t really feeling like tackling shepherds pie (school menu), and the little dude was happy with pizza. Sweet. It was actually a small personal pizza equivalent to about 2 slices. This was the leftover from a second identical one he had for breakfast. He also had one for dinner last night. Pizza is a winner.

Today’s toppings were smashed tofu, potato, and kalamata olives. There was already prepared dough and sauce in the fridge. Easy enough!

Cost of one personal pizza with these toppings is approximately $0.75. (No joke.)

*The dough was my standard recipe. This time I used 1 1/2 cups unbleached and 1 cup whole wheat. This is enough for 2 full size pizzas or 6-8 of these personal sized pizzas. The dough can be refrigerated or frozen before or after cooking. Dough and pizza do not go to waste around here. The small pizzas could be thrown in a ziploc and frozen. I wouldn’t suggest using potato if freezing is planned.

**The sauce was another standard. Lately I’ve had the large cans, so today’s sauce was 2 cloves garlic minced, 28 oz can diced tomatoes, 1 small can tomato paste, and salt whizzed until smooth in the food processor. We have fresh herbs from the garden, and my absolute fave additions are oregano with a very small amount of fresh tarragon. This is a big batch than can be scaled down. It never goes to waste here. I use it for more pizza, soup, curry, or even tomato bread.

***The tofu is simply smashed with a fork or potato masher. Heat a pan to medium high, spray lightly with oil, and saute until light brown. Optional: sprinkle with herbs and soy sauce. I usually do a tofu crumble that involves using walnuts or pecans, but his school is nut free. I kept it simple with a smash.

****The potatoes were sliced, boiled, then lightly browned.

Back to School


Baby boy is in kindergarten! Wow. All day big guy school means school lunch. They do offer a catered “healthy” hot lunch, but for a few reasons we will be packing lunch.
1. The catered option doesn’t include vegan options. Every day includes cheese and/or meat.
2. The catered option is $6 per day. (!) We can do much better than that.
3. We love food, so it’s actually fun for us to plan and prepare lunches

Some days we try and get close to the catered option, and some days we go rogue and do whatever sounds tasty to the little guy. Today’s school lunch was broccoli chicken alfredo. After consulting with the little guy I made brown rice, tofu, and broccoli tossed with soy sauce along with some apple slices. Easy enough!

Tomorrow’s menu item is shepherds pie. I don’t even think we’ll go there. Messy to pack and would be lots of cooking for a tiny meal. We will see….

Approximate cost (because I forgot the exact price of the broccoli) = $1.50

Simple Broccoli, Rice, Tofu
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
  • Firm or Extra Firm Tofu, ¼ package
  • ¼ cup brown rice, short or long grain
  • small handful broccoli florets
  • low sodium soy sauce
  1. Lay tofu on paper towel or clean dish towel. Lay another towel on top of the tofu and put something with weight on top. (ex: heavy cutting board, large pan)
  2. Follow rice instructions. When rice is almost done cut tofu into bite size squares. Heat a non stick pan to medium high. Spray lightly with oil. Add tofu and saute until light brown. Sprinkle with soy sauce or salt and pepper.
  3. Once rice is done, remove from heat. Add broccoli and tofu to the pot. Sprinkle with a little soy sauce and stir to combine. Return lid to pot and let sit a few minutes until broccoli is lightly steamed.
  4. Ready to eat or for a lunch box container!

*Don’t waste money buying low sodium soy sauce!! Save a jar or bottle and make your own using 1/2 regular soy sauce and 1/2 water.

**Prepare the entire package of tofu in this way, and it will be ready for other meals or snackers.

Menu Board

menu board

Laksa was comfort food for Dizzle returning from travels.

tofu laksa

Chili and cornbread is today’s project, so I’m hoping to post both those recipes. I’ll probably do a couple cornbread waffles and do muffins with the remainder. We’ll also have a salad with greens from the garden including some spicy purple mustard greens.

Rajma is new for me. I’ve only made it once before, so I’ll work on getting it just right for posting. It’s a highly spiced kidney bean Indian dish. We’ll probably have it with mashed parsnips.

Dizzle has proclaimed that he is not a huge fan of red curry these days. So…it was a perfect solo meal for me when he had meetings. I had it really simple style with one small diced potato and a ton of kale. We usually have red curry with tomato and peppers.

red curry

Dizzle mentioned the hush puppy waffles I’ve made once. I’ll do that with bbq beans and an adjusted version of the tasty sweet potato tikki.


We had falafel again this past weekend with tatziki and hummus. Love it! (The tatziki is just a package of silken tofu whizzed with olive oil and lemon juice, a minced garlic clove, dill, and then folded with a deseeded chopped cucumber seasoned with salt and pepper.)

Kid Food – Falafel


The first time we made the falafel waffle the little dude turned up his nose. I think the whole waffle concept threw him off his game. Now he’s accustomed to seeing the strange squares, and he jumped right in to make his own falafel plate. He buried his falafel under lettuce, naan, peppers, and cucumbers. (Naan – Use the standard dough recipe divided into 16 pieces. Roll and stretch thin. Cook for a couple minutes on each side in a hot pan or griddle.) Then he dollop dumped tatziki and hummus on top. I didn’t think he would be able to make a go of actually eating this without it ending up on the floor, but the kid was successful. He showed that piled naan who was boss and devoured the whole yummy meal.

*I haven’t posted a real tatziki recipe because it’s such a throw together. I whiz a package of silken tofu in the food processor with a little olive oil, lemon juice, a minced garlic clove, and salt/pepper until smooth. Then that’s folded together with a cucumber that was halved, deseeded, and diced really small. The cucumber can also be grated and squeezed dry.


Kid Food – Pizza Update

fruit pizza

I really thought I’d seen it all when it comes to my 4 yr old and his pizza toppings. Nope. We were at the library yesterday, and he was looking at cookbooks with a friend and the gal who does food programming. Pizza came up, and the little chef excitedly tells everyone he is having a SPECIAL pizza for dinner. He described a pizza with banana, mango, and oranges. Sounded weird but I quickly imagined this with maybe applesauce and sprinkled with cinnamon. I could go there. Nope. We got home and started gathering ingredients. I asked about the applesauce, and he indignantly replied that he of course wanted tomato sauce. I actually tried to talk him out of it. Silly mama. The kid DEVOURED this pizza with no question or hesitation. So, this proves anything really does go with pizza in this house.

pizza dough

I decided to pre-cook doughs for this week. These are also great for ripping up to dip in hummus or whatever.