Simple Side Dishes that can be made into Full Meals

I love making food that can be transformed simply. All I need to do is make the base for one meal and I can use the leftovers any way I desire for additional meals. One of the secrets to being YogaLean is to have healthy food ready to go so that nutritious meals can be prepared in a flash!

My Sundays include a trip to the farmer’s market. My meals for the week are planned based off the great foods that I am able to get from the local farmers. This week I decided to make a SPAGHETTI SQUASH recipe along with TURMERIC RICE. A good friend gave me turmeric root and I have been appreciating using the fresh herb rather than the dried herb in recipes. My inspiration for the Spaghetti Squash was a hollowed out pineapple used to serve fruit!

Spaghetti Squash with Deconstructed Salsa

Base Ingredients:

Spaghetti Squash

1 large Red or Sweet Onion

6 Cloves of Garlic

1 Large Bell Pepper (any color)

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Add basil to make it more Italian

Add cilantro and avocado to make it more Mexican

Add Feta just before serving for a Mediterranean inspired dish – a complete meal


-Preheat oven to 350

-Halve squash lengthwise and remove seeds

-Place on a foil lined baking sheet in oven (I use Reynolds Non-Stick so I do not have to add oil)

-Place in oven for 30-45 minutes depending on size of squash and oven temperature (when the squash is done it will be a golden color and will sound hollow if you knock on it with your knuckle)

-While the squash is cooking, cut the vegetables into small pieces and place in a pan. Add 3 TBSP of olive oil. Sauté until onions caramelize. You can add vegetable broth to the cooking process if you desire

-When the squash is done, use a spoon to scoop out the spaghetti-like noodles. Add the noodles to the pan and stir. Place the combined ingredients back into the squash bowl and serve!

Turmeric Rice

Base Ingredients:

Rice (white, brown, wild)





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I start each week making a few cups of rice, quinoa, sorghum, or millet. This week I decided to make a few cups of rice. I used 4 cups of rice and 8 cups of liquid. I used a portion of the rice to make rice pudding to take to a friend’s for dinner and I used a portion of the rice for turmeric rice.


When the rice was almost done I moved two cups of rice to another bowl to save for the rice pudding. If you are not cooking in volume for multiple recipes, there is no need to move rice to another bowl. Understanding that turmeric needs fats to be absorbed, I added to the pot ¼ cup vegetable broth, ½ tbsp butter, and ½ cup chopped nuts (cashews this time), and 1 TBSP dried turmeric or ½ cup fresh turmeric (I used a potato peeler to shred the root). Stir the ingredients and cook until the broth is absorbed. You end up with beautiful golden rice!

TIP: Turmeric can STAIN! Please be careful as you work with it and clean up ASAP! I have not had a problem yet…knock on computer keys (since no wood is nearby!).

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 2.36.46 PMVariations:

Add any chopped nut and use any variety of rice.

Stir into the rice (when the liquid is almost absorbed) thin slivers of vegetables such as slivers of carrot and peas or green beans. This creates a one-dish meal!

Use all vegetable broth…no water

Enjoy playing with healthy foods. Remember to make larger quantities than you can eat in one meal so you have healthy food to eat another day…without having to start from scratch again. We are all busy. This is a great time saver! Cooking can be fun…give yourself a chance to enjoy it! Read my blog ( for other recipes and cooking tips.

Rene’ MacVay


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