Archive | January, 2012

Recipe: “What ever ya got!” Roasted Veggies

29 Jan

I don’t think things through very well when I go food shopping. I usually end up coming home with random vegetables that I have NO plans for, and sometimes even forget I have them. I didn’t know what to make for dinner, and upon inspection of my kitchen, discovered I had a few good veggies for roasting. I bought those expensive ass RED POTATOES on a whim because they were on sale. These are obviously best for roasting, so they were the centerpiece for this dish. You can use WHATEVER VEGGIES YOU HAVE, but this is what I used

  • 1 lb Red Potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 zucchini
  • half a red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic

I chopped them all up, which took a lot faster than preheating the oven. Preheat at 475, and toss all the veggies into a casserole dish. Coat with olive oil, and season it to your liking. I used liberal amounts of fresh cracked black pepper, grated sea salt, and oregano. I would have rather used thyme and rosemary than oregano, since they are more traditional roasting seasonings. Alas I have been lazy and have not yet purchased these! But I would recommend them! Toss all the veggies with your hands to evenly coat, and throw the dish in the oven on the middle rack, uncovered.

Toss them every 10 minutes, and roast for 30-35 minutes. They’ll be done when they start to brown, and you’ll see brown bits in the pan.

See how much they cook down? They look like a lot of veggies at first, but this dish only serves 2 people. Serve either plain or with brown rice. I’m having mine with a salad!

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Recipe: Curried Tofu Pot Pies

22 Jan

So I’m a little obsessed with cooking shows. When I moved to SC, I gained Cooking Channel. They play a lot of old reruns of Food Network shows but also have their own line up of interesting shows. One I took a lot of liking to is Bitchin’ Kitchen. It may not be for everyone, but Nadia G can cook like a fiend and it’s kind of hilarious. A particular recipe caught my eye, her Curried Chicken Pot Pies. I knew I could veganize this!! I would call it a work in progress though, but a pretty darn tasty one. What you will need is:

  • 1 block Extra Firm Tofu, drained and pressed very well
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter, I use earth balance.
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 4 cups organic vegetable stock, I used low sodium
  • 1/4  raisins, soaked in water then drained
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot curry power
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1tbsp hot mango chutney, I couldn’t find this so I used mango preserves.
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup  slivered almonds
  • 1/4cup fresh coriander,minced
  • package of frozen pie crust, or your favorite pie crust recipe
  • soy milk, for brushing

It sounds like a laundry list of ingredients, but a lot of them will become staples in your vegan pantry, like curry powder and turmeric. Start with taking your pressed tofu and cutting it into small cubes. I made a 2 cup serving of chik’n boullion broth and marinated the tofu in it but you don’t have to do this. The curry sauce will end up masking the chicken flavor.

Dice your carrot and onion into bite sized pieces. 2 onions sounded like a lot to me but they cook down a lot. In a nonstick stock pot, turn up to medium high heat and melt the butter in the olive oil. While this is melting, and it will melt quick, coat your tofu in the flour carefully. Once the butter is melted, swirl the pot a bit to incorporate it with the olive oil well, and then throw in the tofu. Stir for couple seconds then add the veggies. Cook these until the onions start to get translucent, and the tofu is golden on all sides.

De glaze the pan with the vegetable stock, then add the brown sugar, raisins(drain the soaking water first),curry, turmeric,coconut milk, chutney, and lemon juice.  Stir to combine and bring it to a simmer. You can now turn the heat down to medium low and let it reduce for about 20-30 minutes, until the sauce is creamy. Use this time to preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I used the coconut in the carton, so it took longer to thicken up. Using the full fat coconut milk in the can will more likely give you a creamier sauce. A few minutes before it’s ready, toast the almond slivers in a pan until golden and fragrant, and mince your coriander. Turn off the burner and add the almonds and coriander and give it a stir. Your curry is ready!

You can either stop here and eat it over rice, or bust out your cute ramekins! As Nadia says in this episode, “If you don’t have ramekins, you can always GET RAMEKINS.” These were cheap on Amazon and arrived in a flash. They are 10 oz ramekins

Fill em up, and roll out your dough. Using a cup, I got out circles. Make sure they are an inch wider than the diameter of your ramekins. Stick ’em on top and poke a few holes to let the steam out and pinch the edges closed. I cut out little hearts with a cookie cutter since there was extra dough, to give them a cute, fun look. Brush the tops with soy milk and put the ramekins on a cookie sheet to catch anything that might drip.

Pop these babies in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. CHECK.ON.THEM. I put mine in for 30 and the edges were a little dark. It tasted fine, not burnt, but they could have gone for 5 minutes less and had been perfect.

They will be VERY hot, so break the shell a bit to let them cool faster. This recipe will make you a ton of curry, it will make about 8 10 oz pot pies. Not that I’m complaining, I can’t wait to make this again!!

Quick Dinner: BBQ Chik’n and Pineapple Dirty Rice

20 Jan

Another recipe featuring Gardein’s Chik’n Filets! They come 4 in a pack and I still had two left over from the last recipe I used them in. I picked up a box of Zatarain’s Dirty Rice, on sale for a dollar. They make a few convenience rice mixes, and they often go on sale for a dollar, making this an inexpensive meal.

  • Gardein Chik’n Filets
  • Zatarain’s Dirty Rice Mix
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Your favorite BBQ Sauce
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds (optional)

Poke a couple holes in the filets with a fork and coat with BBQ sauce, letting it sit for a little while to soak in the flavor. In the meantime, follow the directions on the box of rice, minus the ground beef they suggest of course. It will need to steam for 25 minutes. This gives you plenty of time to chop up your pineapple and cook your filets, since they only take about 4 minutes. I used canned pineapple chunks in their own juices, and cut up about 6 chunks into smaller bits. When there is about 5 minutes left on the rice, heat up a nonstick pan, no oil or spray required, on medium heat. Throw in the pineapple chunks and cook for about 30 seconds before you add the chik’n. Give it a bit of a stir for the BBQ sauce mixes in with the pineapple. Cook filets for 2 minutes on each side. By now the rice should be ready, so get to fluffin’!

Cut up the chik’n into small cubes. Throw everything into a bowl together and top with toasted sesame seeds. This makes enough for 2-4 people, depending on your appetite! I had this bowl that included one filet and put the rest away for leftovers. It’ll probably feed me until saturday!

Recipe: Waffles for One

15 Jan

Nothing is better than Brinner, Breakfast for Dinner! Sunday would always be the day on the weekend when my dad would bring home a bag of bagels for breakfast, and my mom would make the occasional shake n pour Bisquick pancake feast. It’s just a breakfast-y day. I typically don’t have time in the morning during the work week for a good breakfast and usually end up stuffing a luna bar or packet of instant oatmeal into my lunch bag. This makes a weekend waffle a definite treat. This recipe is quick, simple and if you’re a vegan baker, will have most of these ingredients on hand. Another plus to a vegan waffle, no cholesterol! Sub the all purpose flour for whole wheat and this meal can be borderline healthy.

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup almond milk or your dairy free milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup unflavored, unsweetened applesauce

You can add whatever fruit you like or chocolate chips as well. Mix all the dry ingredients seperately from the wet. Pour the wet into the dry and whisk until combined. DO NOT overmix, it does not have to be perfectly smooth! Let the batter rest while the iron heats up, letting pancake or waffle batters rest for 10-20 minutes will not harm but help them along.Spray your iron with nonstick spray. I like my waffles crispy on the outside so I heat my iron up to the highest setting.

Take a 1/2 cup measuring cup filled with batter, and pour it into the center of the iron. Close the top and DO NOT PEEK!! When the light goes out they are usually done but like I said, CRISPY FOR ME! So I keep them in for about 20 seconds after the light. This recipe makes two full size waffles.

Top with your favorite maple syrup, fruit, powered sugar, caviar, anything you want! I go for dark amber maple syrup and some soy whipped topping! None of that Mrs.Butterworths garbage! Have you ever read the label on those syrups??

Quick Dinner: Seiten Crescent Pocket

15 Jan

I am still working on my leftover chili, I have been eating it daily since I made it and still have about two servings left!! But not wanting to ignore my baby, I’m going to throw what I call a “fatty delight” your way. This is NOT a healthy meal, but it is a tasty, guilty pleasure. Seiten Crescent Pockets came to me when I had some leftover items in my refrigerator. I had tried to perfect a philly style seiten sandwich from a favorite restaurant, and had not used all of the seiten or nutritional yeast sauce that I made. And also had half a package of Pillsbury Crescent dough left. This dough is considered vegan, but if you are trying to avoid hydrogenated oils and other processed chemical items, you’re out of luck. Unless you want to take the time to make your own vegan crescent dough! That’s up to you!You will need

  • Westsoy seiten in beef style strips
  • The Essential Nutritional Yeast recipe from my site
  • 1 tube Pillsbury crescent dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the seiten out of the package and thoroughly rinse the juicy goo off. Drain and pat dry. Pop open your tube of dough and roll out onto a cookie sheet. Your going to be using 2 triangled sections per pocket, so pinch the edging together so it forms one piece of dough. Place a small pile of seiten in the middle of the dough, kind of where the line was. Drizzle a tablespoon of sauce over the top, and then fold up the sides of the dough and pinch close. Repeat with all 4 squares of dough. You will probably have some seiten left over, this is fine. You don’t want to overload the pockets because then they will fall out while eating. Bake in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, until golden.

You can have fun with these and add sauteed onions and peppers inside, or marinated kale and garlic. Or even try chicken seiten! Stuff anything in a crescent roll for all I care!!

Recipe:Slow Cooker Bean and Corn Chili

12 Jan

For some reason I wanted a slow cooker for Christmas. I’d see so many recipes for them that sounded super easy, inexpensive, and quick. While I do like spending time cooking, life gets in the way sometimes and you just wish the oven would cook itself! This chili is medium spicy, filling, and comes together in a flash. Let it cook while you’re at work and it’ll be ready for dinner, piping hot when you come home. Or run your busy errands during the day and be ready to flop with a hot bowl of yum at the end of the tiring day. I use a 4.5 quart crock pot and this nearly fills it, so if using a smaller pot, I recommend halving this recipe.

  • 1 package of Boca Crumbles or TVP, which ever you prefer
  • 1 28oz can of whole plum tomatoes with juice
  • 1 14.5oz can red kidney beans
  • 1 14.5oz can black beans
  • 1 14.5 can whole kernal corn
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium bell pepper, any color, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 packet of chili seasoning

I started out by sauteing the onion in a little bit of oil, then adding the garlic. Cook for a few minutes then add the peppers. Cook these down until soft, and add to your crock pot. Give the pan a quick rinse and pour the entire bag of crumbles into it, cooking on low-medium heat, for about 12 minutes until brown. Add to the pot. Open all of your cans and dump the beans and corn into a colander to drain and rinse. while they are draining, add the plum tomatoes, crushing them by hand before adding them to the pot. This can get a little messy so make sure you wear an apron or just buy crushed tomatoes!!

Once all the tomatoes and juice are added to the pot, dump in the beans and corn, and top with the packet of seasoning. Mix all the ingredients together. If you’re making this ahead of time, put the lid on the pot and keep in the fridge until morning.

Take out of the fridge and place into your crock pot cooker. Set to low and cook for 7-9 hours. This was pretty hot when I came home, so you if your crock is equip for it, set it to keep warm while you set the table, or set your tv dinner tray whatever!

Give it a stir to break the crusty goodness. Top with your favorite vegan cheese, sour cream, avocados, or all three if you please!!

I cut a slice of Follow Your Heart Monterrey Jack, melts pretty nicely and gives it some zip!

My Little Quickie: Candy Cane Smoothie

7 Jan

Sorry folks, no photo because I sucked this baby down too fast to take one! Inspired by an awesome smoothie from Good Life Cafe in West Columbia, SC.

  • 1 fresh ripe banana
  • handful of frozen strawberries
  • 1/8 tsp of mint extract or 2 mint candies

I cut up and froze my own fresh strawberries the night before, which is probably a waste of money but I don’t make a whole lot of smoothies and didn’t have room in my freezer for a bag of frozen fruit. Added a handful of them to my MAGIC BULLET, about 2-3 full strawberries. Throw in the banana, a splash of water and a tiny bit of mint extract. That stuff is strong!! You can also use hard mint candies if you have them on hand from Christmas. Blend until smooth and enjoy this pink minty treat!