Potluck Vegan Pinwheels

I hate potlucks!  I hate potlucks, buffets and generally any situation where there is an open, exposed abundance of crap food.  As a vegetarian, I head straight for the wine, and eventually pick at chips and salsa when desperate.  So, when my husband told me his boss was having a potluck this weekend, I knew that I was either making something for me to eat or going hungry.

When I was a kid my mom used to make pinwheels filled with deli meat and cream cheese.  It was her go-to potluck contribution.  They sound disgusting now, but they were always a hit.

I was reminded of these pinwheels when I turned to Pinterest for potluck inspiration.  Pinwheels were everywhere!  The Rainbow Pinwheels, by blogger Dinner at Zoo caught my eye, but I wanted to make a healthier, vegan version of this popular party finger food.  So, with a few easy ingredient swaps the Vegan Pinwheels were created.  I swapped out the deli meat for veggies and the cream cheese for hummus.  I also chose a spinach tortilla wrap over the traditional white flour tortilla.


No rules in terms of ingredients with this dish.  Choose your favorite greens and veggies.  I picked red and yellow bell peppers, carrots, spinach and avocado.  I also cheated and purchased a package of already shredded coleslaw, but I think next time I would swap out the coleslaw for kale.

Vegan Pinwheel open pic

Construction was easy.  Simply spread the hummus on the tortilla, top with veggies and roll.  Once assembled I cut the wrap into 2″ pinwheels.  One wrap yields 3 pinwheels.

Vegan Veggie Pinwheels



Yields 24 Pinwheels

  • 8 large spinach tortilla wraps
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 5 oz container baby spinach
  • Cilantro Lime Hummus (or flavor of your choice)
  • Cabbage or Kale
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Bonus Meal:

I had tortillas and peppers left over, so today I made veggie hummus wraps for lunch.  Same concept, but I added tomato, cucumber and provolone cheese.  I grilled the wrap in the sandwich press for a few minutes before serving.  So, good!!

We had a great time at the potluck yesterday, and the Vegan Pinwheels were enjoyed by all, even the carnivores.

Meatless Monday – Vegan Taco Salad

Who doesn’t love a tasty taco salad?  I personally love Mexican flavors, especially over a colorful and nutritious salad. Taco salads are a great low-carb option for Mexican dinner.  I’m going to share my cheat to getting a delicious vegan taco salad on the table tonight in 20 minutes.  I’m so confident in this cheater recipe that I guarantee no one will even know the “meat” is vegan if you don’t tell them.  It tastes just like ground beef.*

*Caveat – it’s been a very, very long time since I’ve eaten beef anything, so I my guarantee should be taken lightly.  

The most labor intensive part of this dinner is chopping the veggies.  Chop and assemble your salad while warming your proteins, and you’ll be sitting down to eat in no time at all.


You can use any variety of salad ingredients.  In my opinion, Mexican salad isn’t complete without corn, so I always add corn kernels when making a Mexican inspired salad.  That’s just me.  Onion, cilantro, radish and jalapaños are all great options.

For the Salad:

  • 1 head Romain Lettuce
  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1/2 c. red bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 c. yellow bell pepper chopped
  • 1/2 c. cucumber chopped
  • 14 oz can Tri-Bean Blend
  • 1/2 c. frozen corn
  • 1/2 Avocado squared
  • Favorite organic salsa

For the “Meat” Topping:

  • Boca Veggie Ground Crumbles
  • 1 pkg McCormick Taco Seasoning Mix – Low sodium blend
  • 3/4 c. water

Vegan Taco salad ingrediatns

taco meat ingredients


Step 1:

Heat Boca Veggie Ground Crumbles in large frying pan on medium heat.  Break up any large chunks.  Stir frequently until heated throughout.

Step 2:

Chop salad ingredients and assemble in large salad bowl

Step 3:

Heat 1/2 c. frozen corn per package directions.  Heat, drain and add to salad.

Step 4:

Mix McCormick’s taco seasoning into 3/4 c. water and add to veggie ground crumbles.  Cook on low heat for 5 minutes.

Step 5:

Drain Tri-Bean Blend  from can and Rinse.  Heat in small pot on low heat for approximately 5 minutes or until warm.  Remove from heat and add to salad.

Step 6:

Add cooked “Taco” veggie crumbles to salad.

Drizzle with salsa

Add avocado.

Serve warm


Bonus Meal:

Today I reheated the salad toppings and made these two healthy tacos for lunch.FullSizeRender 17

If you like The Cheater Chef please Pin my recipes.  I appreciate your support.


Red Lentil Pasta with Lentil “Meat” Sauce

Happy Labor Day!

I’m so excited to be launching The Cheater Chef.  I might be a little excessive and a lot a bit crazy writing another blog, but I feel like my journey writing The Fit Frequent Flyer over the last year has brought me here.   If I get asked one thing more than anything else it is, “what do I eat?”

I cook at home several nights a week, but by no means am I a chef.  I’m either following a recipe or cheating my way to a healthy meal.  Healthy eating doesn’t have to be perfect, and cooking at home doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

For example, this first Cheater Chef dinner has 3 ingredients!  All three ingredients purchased at Trader Joe’s.  This meal is so quick and easy it will take me longer write this post than feed a family of 4 for dinner.  It can be pair it with a big green garden salad or stand alone as is.  So Good!!


  • Sedanini Red Lentil Pasta
  • Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils
  • Tomato Basil Marinara


Step 1:

Boil water and place packaged steamed lentils in boiling water for 5 minutes (per instructions).

Remove lentils from package and place into frying pan on medium heat.  Break up lentils as shown.


Step 2:

Stir Tomato Basil Marinara with lentils and simmer on low heat.

Tomato Basil MarinaraTrader_Joes_Steamed_Lentils_add_sauce

Step 3:

Boil water and cook red lentil pasta per package instructions.

Sedanint Red Lentil Pasta

Step 4:

Drain pasta.  Combine pasta and lentil sauce.  Serve hot.

Red Lentil Pasta Finish Product

We opened a bottle of Morgon Cote du py 2015.  The rich and earthy red wine was a great pairing for this pasta with “meat” sauce super.

If you are local to Portland, you can purchase the bottle at ButterCraft in Sellwood. That’s were I got it and one of our favorite wine shops locally.

Final product with wine


  • Sedanent Red Lentil Pasta
  • Trader Joe’s Steamed Lentils
  • Tomato Basil Marinara


Step 1:

Boil water and place packaged steamed lentils in boiling water for 5 minutes (per instructions).

Remove lentils from package and place into frying pan on medium heat.  Break up lentils as shown.

Step 2:

Stir in Tomato Basil Marinara with lentils and simmer on low heat.

Step 3:

Boil water and cook red lentil pasta per package instructions.

Step 4:

Drain pasta.  Combine pasta and lentil sauce.  Serve hot.

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Introducing, The Cheater Chef

Hello Friends & Family of The Fit Frequent Flyer.

It’s been just over a year since I launched The Fit Frequent Flyer, and just like yours, my health and fitness journey continued to develop, change and mature since then. Blogging has given me a perspective into my strengths and interests that I don’t think I would have otherwise gotten had I not started The Fit Frequent Flyer.

The Fit Frequent Flyer has forced me explore aspects of myself and areas of interest that I hadn’t developed yet, the most obvious being cooking.  The ironic thing about this development is that I’m not a chef, nor will I ever be.  I envy the food connoisseur that can take a bite from a dish and know exactly how to recreate it at home. Not me.  Or the person that looks at the random ingredients remaining fridge and turn their kitchen into a successful episode of Chopped.  Also, not me.

What can I do….I can follow a recipe.  I follow instructions and deliver the dish flawlessly – most of the time.  What I can also do is improvise.  I can make a quick and easy, 30 minute meal with minimal ingredients.  Is it as healthy as made from scratch, no.  Is it as low in sodium, or as organic, or as labored as a from scratch?  No, no, and no.  But, most of us don’t have time for from scratch, home cooked meals.  The #1 reason why people don’t cook healthy at home is time.  The second reason – healthy cooking is too expensive. Critics may say that the meals aren’t perfect, but I’m not perfect – who is?

the cheater chef blog cover

We don’t need perfection to be healthy.  We have busy lives filled with jobs, kids, exercise, hobbies, relationships, etc.  We could ALL benefit from eating healthier more often.  My goal is to make it easy for you.  To cheat your way to a healthier, and full disclosure, more plant based diet.

The Cheater Chef is here to teach you how to cheat your way healthy – to get you closer to home healthy cooking than you ever thought possible and without braking the bank.  For those of you who are naturally gifted cooks, I think you have a place here too.  Everyone wants and needs the occasional fast, yet healthy, dinner.  You can still be an authentic chef and cheat occasionally – I won’t tell.

I want to hear from you.   What are your biggest healthy cooking challenges?  Finish this sentence: I would cook healthy meals at home more often if I had_______________________?

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