Friday, February 27, 2015

"Popcorn" Mixed Veggies (Vegan)

I found the recipe for popcorn broccoli on Pinterest, and decided to try and make a vegan version for myself. I love broccoli but it can be a bit plain alone. After following the directions in the original a few times, I figured out a better method for preparing the broccoli and was very happy with the results. You can eat this as a side dish, a snack, or you can eat it like a warm "salad" before a meal.

1 cup broccoli, washed and chopped.
1/4 cup chopped cauliflower
Carrot chips, snap peas, garbanzos, etc. (feel free to choose your own veggies)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1.5 tsp vegan parmesan cheese. My dairy-eating friends can use real cheese if they like
1 tsp garlic powder or garlic salt
ground pepper to taste (optional)

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with tinfoil. I have a convection oven and no stove, so I put the tinfoil right on the rack.
2.Pour the olive oil into a small bowl or cup and dunk your veggies in it to get a light drizzle on each piece.
3. Mix your spices and the cheese on a plate. Pick up each vegetable and dip them into the cheese/spice blend. You want all your veggies to have a very light coat of this "breading."
4. Place your vegetables on the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Flip all your veggies over so they can cook evenly on all sides, and pop back into the oven for another five or ten minutes.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spaghetti Squash Mac ‘n Cheese (vegan)

  1. 1 to 1 ½ cup prepared spaghetti squash[1]
  2. ¼ cup almond (or soy, or coconut) milk. I use the unsweetened original flavor but I guess you could make it work with the vanilla or sweetened original flavors. Also, if you drink cow (or goat’s) milk that will work too.
  3. ½ Tbsp rice or coconut flour (white or whole wheat flour will work too but then this recipe wouldn’t be gluten free and I’m trying to work GF items into my cook book these days.
  4. ¼ cup shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya variety Jack Cheddar but there are others out there. Make sure you get a cheese which will melt).
  5. ¼ cup diced broccoli, carrots, peas, and/or bell peppers
  6. 1 clove garlic, minced

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Grease (or line with tinfoil and put the squash strands in the shell) a small baking dish, add the squash and put it aside for later.
  2. Heat the milk in a small pan (or a microwave safe baking dish) over a medium heat and mix in the garlic.
  3. Whisk the flour into the milk/garlic mixture
  4. Turn off the heat but leave pan on the burner and add the majority of your cheese to the mixture.[2]
  5. Stir thoroughly until the sauce is nice and creamy.
  6. Mix the cheese sauce with your squash.
  7. Add the veggies, mix, and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top of your dish to create a nice crust.
  8. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Watch the shredded cheese to make sure it doesn’t burn or harden. The heat from the oven and the moisture from the sauce will cook your vegetables and make the squash soft but not mushy.

I took a picture of the dish before baking it so you could see how realistic the cheese shreds look, and because when I first tried this recipe, there was too much cheese (I used half a cup) and it came out looking like a bowl of nacho cheese dip. Here’s a picture of it. 

I have been making loads of spaghetti squash dishes lately, and will be posting a recipe for spaghetti squash with Thai peanut sauce in a week or so. I am absolutely in love with this squash. It’s got fiber and vitamins, is super low calorie, and it only has ¼ the carbs of regular pasta. Lastly, most, f not all, the recipes I will be posting from here on out will be vegan. I am now egg-free, mostly dairy free, and going for the full vegan ASAP. If you are a big dairy person, you can replace whatever I suggest with cows milk or whatever.

[1] If you don't know how to prepare spaghetti squash, I’ve been using this website they have great instructions. One additional tip, pop it in the microwave for one minute before cutting the squash, to soften it up.

[2] If you can’t find melting vegan cheese just pour the milk/flour mixture onto your squash and add all of the cheese to it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Leftover Autumn Stew

1. 1/2 cup to 1 cup squash bisque
2. 1/4-1/2 a leftover vegetarian meatloaf, veggie dog, tofurkey loaf, or any other meat substitute
3. optional onion strings
4. 1 scoop of raw broccoli, carrots, and/or green beans
5. 1 tbsp cranberries, craisins, raisins, or dried figs or cherries
6. Leftover rolls, bread, muffins, or crescents for a side

1. Pour the soup into a pan or bowl and start to heat in microwave or on a low flame
2. Add the diced carrots and other veggies. The heat of the soup will cook them. Stir occasionally.
3. Heat the meat substitute on it's own, but only cook it about halfway
4. Add the meat substitute to the pot or bowl and heat the rest of the way.
5. Sprinkle the optional onion strings and/or cranberries (or figs, cherries, raisins, or craisins).


Friday, July 11, 2014

Macaroni Cheeseburger

Macaroni Cheeseburger 

I hav two incredibly simple recipes here. However, I only have a picture of one of the items. As I said in my last post, I have been doing a lot of experimentation with veggie burgers this week. The main recipe is something you see in most burger joints, and diner type restaurants in America. Macaroni and cheese is a lot like the burger: it’s very popular all over US, and there are loads of pre-made, or partially made, macaroni and cheese products you can buy in your regular grocery store. Some come in a box and require little more than water. Other are frozen and/or microwavable, or you can buy elbow macaroni and make your own sauce. If you go to the health food store (or a major grocery chain), you can even find gluten free, or dairy free (sometimes even vegan) easy to make mac-n-cheese meals these days. I am not including a recipe for macaroni and cheese, because basically all you do is boil some noodles and pour on the sauce. Most recipes for cheese sauce are nothing more than milk (soy, rice, dairy, etc), butter or margarine, and cheese of some kind. When I make mac-n-cheese for myself, I always throw in a bit of fresh broccoli or lima beans, or carrots, for the added vitamins and nutrients and because they are low in calories and filling. This means I eat less pasta and cheese sauce, but still get the same sized meal. I also like to add soy protein or TVP for similar reasons.

Recipe One: Macaroni and Cheese with meatless ground protein and veggies.

1 serving (enough to fill a small bowl about half way) of macaroni and cheese, most of the way cooked
¼ to ½   cup of peas, carrots, lima beans, spinach, or broccoli.
¼ cup Tofurkey Ground Beef Style

Instructions:  Mix the ingredients into the pot and cook on a low flame for ten to fifteen minutes until thoroughly heated. You can feel free to use a different brand or type of meat substitute. I think Tofurkey one is best because it has a nice, smoky flavoring. However, it tastes a lot like actual beef (at least I think it does. I haven’t eaten beef in 20 years so I could be way off). It also doesn’t dry out as easily as some other brands. However, vegetarian hotdogs or sausages are quite good with this dish as well. The same goes for any type of TVP, vegetarian crumbles, and diced veggie burgers if you’re in a bind.

Recipe two. Macaroni Cheeseburger

¼ cup ready made macaroni and cheese, fully cooked.
1 veggie burger
½ a slice of cheese: cut into thin, rectangular strips
1 pinch mustard or garlic powder
1 bun, roll, or 2 slices of bread (optional)

1.      Grill the burger on one side. I recommend using the toaster oven or a grill for this. Make sure to line it with tinfoil (which you can use over and over) so the cheese and pasta won’t fall off and get stuck in the coil or heat source..
2.      Mix the garlic and/or mustard with your macaroni and cheese sauce.
3.      Flip the burger over to the other side.
4.      Place the noodles and sauce on the burger patty, and flatten it out.
5.      Organize the strips of cheese on top of the mac-n-cheese to form a “piecrust” grid.
6.      Continue to cook for about five minutes (different burger brands are cooked slightly differently but you want to grill, broil, or bake this one instead of frying it with oil).
7.      Top with ketchup and/or mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, and/or other veggies. Once again, this goes well with potatoes. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

BBQ "Bacon" Cheddar [Veggie] Burger

 Barbeque "Bacon" Cheddar [Veggie] Burger

2 teaspoons barbeque sauce (I’ll leave the brand up to you but I like KC Masterpiece)
1 veggie burger patty
1 slice cheddar cheese (vegan cheese is just as tasty but doesn’t melt as well)
1 slice of veggie bacon cut in half
1 onion ring (deep frying is optional)
Optional Dinner Roll, bread slices, or bun

  1. Lightly marinade the burger in the barbeque sauce and place it on the grill, in the broiler or toaster oven or in a frying pan (microwave works too but personally I find it makes the burger too chewy) and cook it for about ten minutes, five per side. I think a George Foreman grill would work too.  
  2. If cooking the onion yourself start that next, with a bit of hot oil because it takes the longest
  3. Cook the bacon in a separate frying pan. Once again microwaving is acceptable but not quite as good. Do not cook it all the way through, you want to leave it slightly underdone, especially since meatless bacon is more apt to burn.  This takes about one minute but watch it closely for obvious reasons.
  4. Because the cheese is square and the bread/patty round, I like to trim it into a circular piece but it is going to melt so this is not necessary.
  5. Place the cheese on top of the burger and then add the bacon pieces on top of that and place on the grill or in the broiler/toaster oven at 375 degrees. Cook for five minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  6. Toast or grill your bread if using any, and put it open face on the plate.
  7. Place your burger on your plate, on top of the (optional) bun. Top with the onion and—if you like—a little more barbeque sauce.
  8. Serve with a fruit or veggie side dish, and/or potatoes (mashed, fries, chips, baked, etc.), and enjoy.

Notes: I’ve been trying a lot of new kinds of veggie burgers lately. I’m a huge fan of anything from Amy’s brand because they are dedicated to providing healthy ingredients, no GMOs, all 100% vegetarian, and they have been around for a long time. I’ve been eating Amy’s stuff for almost as long as I have been a vegetarian. A friend recently recommended the Engine 2 stuff. So far I’ve only tried the curried lentil flavor but it was good. A bit on the dry side but good. There are a lot of options for several of the ingredients. These days you can walk into any grocery store, in any town in America, and find at least one brand of veggie burgers, and probably several other meatless items. You’ll probably even find vegan cheese, gluten free food items. If you’re like me, and live in the suburbs, you can try a different flavor and brand of veggie burger for every day of the year!  Additionally, you get to choose your sauce here. Some people like to make their own, while others prefer store bought. As for the meatless bacon, there are a few different types including Morning Star Farms and Tofurkey (though that one is made from tempheh, which I have never liked).  Also, there are tons of different types of breads or rolls you can put your veggie burger on. This last burger I made protein style because I feel like the bread is too filling and with all these ingredients it can get soggy. Because I’ve been trying out new types of veggie burgers right now, I’m planning to post a couple of new recipes in the next week or two. So, be on the look out! 

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.

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

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.

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)

  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.