Friday, May 17, 2013

Mac-n-Cheese Omelet



Mac-n-Cheese Omelet

Mac-n-cheese  is an easy recipe and it doesn’t take very long to complete.  It’s also fun to experiment with different mix-ins.  Like with eggs, you can throw just about anything into a bowl with macaroni (or any pasta for that matter) and a bit of cheesy (or tomato, or pesto) sauce, and it will taste fantastic.  Most people think cheddar (or American) cheese when they are making macaroni but it is just as tasty to use mozzarella, or gouda, or just about anything else (including soy cheese) if you like.  On its own, however, mac-n-cheese just doesn’t give you a full meal.  You need some more protein, and of course fruit and/or vegetable.  I recommend throwing some mushrooms into the pot with your noodles (broccoli would be good too) and serving this with a side of vegetables or a salad (or fruit salad).  You could also experiment with the mac-n-cheese recipe, next time I’m going to throw some TVP, tomatoes, mustard, and onions to make veggie burger mac.  That might be enough of a meal on its own without the eggs, however.  Today is the just the basic job, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it anyway.

Ingredients
1/3 cup mac-n-cheese
2 or 3 eggs
Splash of milk
Teaspoon (or less) truffle oil and/or shredded cheese (both optional)

Directions:
I’ve already put up a bunch of omelet recipes, so you probably already figured out the basics all on your own.  I will provide you with a few quick steps, however.
  1. Pre-heat a medium sized frying pan, and coat with butter-flavored cooking spray or butter or margarine.
  2. Take 1/3 to ½ a cup of cooked macaroni and cheese and mix it in a bowl with the eggs, milk, and (optional) truffle oil.  Make sure that there isn’t more pasta than egg mixture or else you’ll end up with something more casserole-like. 
  3. Cook the omelet in the frying pan, flip, add the optional cheese, fold in half, and finish cooking.


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Leftover Spinach Pie Omelets




Leftover Spinach Pie Omelet

Spanakopita is and has been one of my favorite foods for a long time now.  I love Greek food, especially in a restaurant with friends or family.  It’s one of the few meals that doesn’t work well for single people on their own.  Sure, it is possible to make small servings of the different types of food at home (I can’t just have spinach pie).  There are many wonderful different vegetarian Greek recipes, some natural and some easy to turn meatless.  I think it’s best to share the meal with a few people and get to try a bit of everything (moussaka, spinach pie, saganaki, fried zucchini, soups, salads, etc.).  So, when we go out (or stay in) for Greek food, we usually end up with leftovers.  As I’ve said before, I love leftovers but—as I’m sure you know—I don’t always like to eat the same exact meal twice in one week.  So, I’ll take my leftovers and do something creative with them.  The last time my family had Greek food, the spanakopita was all we had to take home.  So—as I often do—I chopped up the leftovers and threw them into a pan with some eggs.  This turned out to be an amazing combination and I thought I’d share it with you all.


Ingredients:
2 or 3 eggs
One small piece (between ½ and 1 cup) of leftover spanakopita, diced
Splash of milk
Dash of garlic power and oregano, or any “Greek Seasoning” spice blend (optional)
Additional Feta Cheese (optional)

Directions:
  1. In a medium sized frying pan, melt a pad of butter or margarine with the burner set to medium.
  2. Blend the eggs, spinach pie, milk, and (optional) spices in a bowl until thoroughly mixed.  The eggs should be nice and fluffy.
  3. Pour egg mixture into the pan, and heat on the stove’s low to medium setting.  Every so often, use a fork to pull back the edges of the eggs so that it will cook thoroughly.
  4. When the omelet is mostly cook, flip over so that the top part can cook.  Add the extra cheese and fold the top half of the omelet over and serve.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Tidy Joes



Tidy Joes


I love making sloppy Joes.  I have been cooking them for myself and my family for years.  It’s actually one of the simplest recipes I’ve ever invented/ seen.    Unfortunately, they can be awful messy (hence the name).  Recently I got an idea—before the Pillsbury commercial came out actually—to make pocket sandwiches filled with sloppy Joes.  I took out an uncooked crescent roll, and flattened the dough on a plate to make it a bit bigger/ more stretched out than they normally are.  Next I poured the “mix” onto the unfolded crescent rolls.  Then, I closed them up, and cooked the whole thing until it was golden brown and perfect.   Feel free to change the sauce recipe if you don’t like it; this is just how I like them.


Ingredients:


½ cup TVP (I use smart ground but anything is fine, even chunks of veggie burger).

¼ cup ketchup

¼ barbeque sauce (I like KC Masterpiece because it’s got a rich, smoky flavor)

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Between 2 and 4 unfolded crescent rolls, biscuits, or any type of dinner roll dough


Instructions:


1. Preheat the oven based on the instructions on the container (usually 350).


2. Mix the TVP with ketchup and barbeque sauce in a bowl.  You don’t need to cook it ahead of time.  The sloppy Joes will get plenty warm while baking inside the rolls.  Stir until fully mixed.  Then, add the garlic and chili powder and stir again.

 

3. Take two (or more) crescents from the container after opening it according to the directions on the package.  Unroll and flatten the crescents—see photo bellow—or if you’re using biscuits you should flatten them.  If you do use crescents, get the big and flakey or big and buttery.  Depending on the size of your roll, you need to carefully place your Joe mix or else the contents will spill out of an overstuffed pocket when you fold the ends over. 




4. Pour a few spoonfuls of sloppy Joe mix into the center. Fold the small corner/tip of the crescent roll up and over so it touches the very the straight line/ bottom end.  This will cover up most of the TVP mixture.  Then, fold both of the corners up—one at a time of course—bringing them to the middle too—see the photo below—or if you’re using biscuits, cover the bottom/ first half with the top/second half to make a semicircle.




5. Bake in the oven according to the instructions on the container of the roll.  Keep a close eye on them.  Because you are only making a few rolls, it’s easier to overcook them.   Depending on your oven, you might want to flip the pocket over about halfway through the cooking cycle so it cooks evenly on both sides. 



6. Serve with potatoes (I recommend chips, crisps, or mashed) and/or a fruit or vegetable side dish, so you get a fully balanced meal.  Once again, I do have recommendations, broccoli goes well with this dish, so does a serving of mixed veggies (lima beans, carrots, peas, and corn) but I’d bet that squash, or spinach would be nice additions as well, even though I never tried those combos. 

Leftover Veggie Burger Omelet Sandwich



Leftover Veggie Burger Omelet Sandwich
”Mama’s
Ingredients:
  1. Two or three eggs
  2. Splash of milk
  3. One (or two) left over veggie burgers, copped. 
  4. ¼ cup shredded or one or two slices of cheddar cheese
  5. Sautéed mushrooms, grilled onions, (optional)
  6. 1 bun, Kaiser roll,  or any other bread or roll
  7. Ketchup, mustard, relish and/or pickles, lettuce, tomatoes), etc to top

Directions:
  1. Place a small amount of smart balance spread (or butter, margarine, etc) in a medium frying pan and allow it to melt.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray  (preferably butter flavored)
  2. Cook the (optional) onions and/or mushrooms in the butter while mixing the other ingredients.
  3. Crack and beat the eggs in a bowl with the milk, and veggie burger chunks.  If you want your tomatoes cooked, mix them in now too.  Then, pour into pan and turn the heat to low.  
  4. Heat evenly, using a fork to push the egg mixture back every so often so that as much of it as possible will get cooked.
  5. Flip over, sprinkle on the shredded cheese.  Fold the omelet over the cheese and finish cooking.
  6. Once finished, place inside the bread/ buns and top as you like.   If you are using cheese slices instead of shredded cheese, place it on top of the omelet or on one side of the toast or cold roll. 

It wasn’t always easy to find a good veggie burger.  Even these, it can be a struggle but there are a dozen brands available now.  Even small town Mom & Pop grocery stores sell them now.    Some people like the veggie burger patties made from grains and vegetables but I find those disgusting.   Who wants to pour ketchup and add pickles to a fucking pilaf with and peas and carrots?  It’s a side dish, not a sandwich!  But everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, and if you do like the rice burgers they will work in this recipe too.  Personally, I like to work with Boca burgers—or Quorn—or anything made from soy, because it tastes like a real hamburger.  

As for this specific recipe, I used to make eggs and meatless sausage all the time, but it wasn’t until I started to work on the cookbook that I considered mixing together veggie burger with an omelet.  I  have several “leftover” omelets because I think mixing extra food with eggs is a great way to deal with leftovers without getting bored or having to eat the same thing every day.  However, when I first started experimenting the soy burger omelet, it was completely bland.  Then it hit me: treat the leftovers like a regular burger and pile on the toppings. 

So, I mixed cheese and burger chunks in with the eggs, and put it on a pretzel roll and ate it open face (with half the omelet and toppings on each side.   I really like mushrooms and cheese on my veggie burgers so I put them in my omelets too.  But, as I always say, if you don’t like things the way I suggest you are free to experiment with your own condiments.  You could either go without the onions and/or mushrooms, or you can cook them separately and throw them on the bun with the other toppings.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake Bites

Although I live on my own, I sometimes cook for more than one person. When I have people over, am invited to a special event, or whenever a bake sale comes up my family and friends often ask me to bring food (often vegetarian chilli (recipe from Linda McCartney's "Linda's Kitchen") but there are other recipes that people love.) My number one request for desserts/ non-meal items is this recipe.

"Pumpkin Turtle Cheesecake Bites" Inspired by this recipe



I can take no credit whatsoever for this recipe. I found a recipe online for pumpkin turtle cheesecake but it made a very large (VERY fattening) cheesecake and I've always been a fan of smaller portions, especially with desserts. It didn't take me long to decide that the best way to make the portions less fattening was to make them smaller, but how do you make smaller cheesecakes without ruining it. You really can't edit the recipe itself (except to make more or less of the crust or filling after you've gotten the design perfect. First I tried making them in regular sized muffin tins but the "mini" cheese cakes were still pretty damn large and most people declined to try them because they knew it would be impossible to finish one without hating themselves. The third time I attempted this recipe (1st time I made a real cheese cake, second time the muffin sized ones) I decided to try and use mini muffin tins and they came out perfectly. The only problem is that a regular cheesecake consists of about 10% crust, and 90% cake, but the mini muffin tins can only hold a very tiny amount of crust and filling. So, if you follow the original recipe to a T you can fill 4 muffin tins with crust and 8 full muffin tins with cheese cake filling. The best way to combat this is to half your filling/ cake mix (use half the amount of each ingredient. Duh.) so they come out right. since I just made them recently, I have a tub of cheesecake filling but I will let you guys know how it comes out when I get this down perfectly. In the meantime feel free to experiment on your own and let me know how it works out.





Mama’s  Losin’ It

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Leftover Tofurkey Scrambler


If you’re like me, you enjoy leftovers but sometimes get bored of eating the same thing 3 times in one week. As a chef I’ve spent most of my life enhancing leftovers. I add olives and vegetarian bacon bits or veggie burgers to Mac-n-cheese, throw some spices and extra veggies into pasta, and I have been tossing leftover Indian food into a pan with some eggs to make leftover omelets. I recently realized that I can use just about any leftovers (save for pasta and pizza) for omelets or scramblers. I’ve been experimenting for months and I do have a few finished ‘leftover’ or “garbage” omelets but I haven’t had the time to type them up yet. In honor of the holiday season I’m posting my leftover Thanksgiving omelet and scrambler recipes first.


Leftover Tofurkey and Cranberry Omelets

Ingredients
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 1 piece of a cooked tofurkey roast (diced or chopped) and the rice that was in the middle of the slice.
  3. 3 or 4 tbsp of cranberry sauce (more if it doesn’t have whole or chopped cranberries in it)
  4. Splash of milk
  5. Dash of poultry seasoning
  6. Butter flavored cooking spray
  7. 1 tsp butter or margarine (to grease pan)
  8. ¼ cup or less tofurkey gravy (heated)





Directions
  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl, add milk, and beat with a fork until blended.
  2. If you haven’t already done so, cut separate the tofurkey “meat” from the rice, and cut it into medium sized cubes. You don’t want them to be too much larger than the pieces in the picture.
  3. Add the tofurkey chunks, rice, and cranberries/ cranberry sauce to the eggs and stir until evenly mixed.
  4. Melt the butter or margarine in a medium sized frying pan and add cooking spray. Do not overheat. If your butter starts to bubble, the flame/ burner is on too high.
  5. Pour the mixture into the pan and cook over a medium flame.
  6. Allow the scrambler to cook evenly, stirring occasionally so there won’t be any raw bits.
  7. The time it takes to do this will vary depending on your stove, and how high of a flame you use. The eggs should be fluffy when finished. The rice may prevent your omelet from holding together as one big piece which is why I listed this as a scrambler.






Monday, October 17, 2011

Simple Spinach and Mushroom Cups



Simple Spinach and Mushroom Cups

This meal will take approximately 30-45 minutes to cook, and you are going to make two to three large pastry cups.
Ingredients:
1. ½ a package of frozen spinach or about 1/2 pound of cooked, drained, and chopped spinach)
2. 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine
3. ¼ cup of milk
5. 1 fresh peeled, and chopped garlic clove.
6. 1 large Portobello mushroom
7. 3 tablespoons of julienne sun-dried tomatoes
8. ½ to ¾ of a package of soft goat's milk cheese
9. 2 Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry shells (Any type of vegetarian pastry shell or cup will work just fine).
Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven 400 degrees (or the temperature listed for that product), and cook the shells, on a cookie sheet, according to the directions on the box.
2. While they cook, heat the frozen spinach in the microwave, put half away for another time, and leave the remaining spinach in the bowl or dish it was cooked in.
3. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.
4. Add the chopped mushrooms and cook them for about 5 minutes
5. Add the milk and garlic, sauté over a low heat for 10 minutes, until they are soft and juicy.
6. Drain any excess juices from pan, and add the spinach, tomatoes, and cheese to the mix.
7. Heat (stirring occasionally) for 10-15 minutes.
8. Pour the mixture into the cooked cups. You will have a little extra.
9. Place filled cups in the oven for another 2 or 3 minutes.

Spinach and mushrooms are two of my favorite vegetables, and I am always looking for ways to mix the two together or with other ingredients. One evening I was cooking mushrooms the way I always do (in melted smart balance spread with milk and garlic) and I thought, what if I made a dip with spinach, goat’s cheese, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes? I originally put the spread on a slice of bread. When I made this for my family the first time, I wanted to serve it in one large pastry shell, , but when I got to the store I couldn’t find any vegetarian pie crust.
I found the Pepperidge Farm shells, and turned out to be perfect for several reasons.
1. They didn’t have lard or any other animal products in them. They don’t even contain eggs or milk!
2. They are tasty. The shells are soft, crisp, light, and airy, everything you would want in a pastry dish.
3.I've always been able to find them.
4. The shells are simple to cook, just stick them in the oven at 400 degrees, cook for about 25 minutes, and stick a fork inside to remove the center part. Then you can put whatever you want inside of it. I’ve made this dish for family and friends, and everyone loves it.