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.

Ingredients:
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

Ingredients:
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)

Instructions:
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


Ingredients:
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

Directions:
  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.

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