Sunday, December 2, 2012

Tex-Mex Tofu and Rice Skillet

I love my Pampered Chef "29 Minutes to Dinner" cookbooks and have adapted many of the recipes over the years.  This is the lasted omni to vegan redo.

1 tsp plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

1 can (11 oz) Mexican style corn 

15-20 oz pkg tofu (my favorite is Wildwood Organics SprouTofu Super Firm, vacuum pack)

1 tbsp Pampered Chef Southwest Seasoning Mix (you could substitute packaged or homemade taco seasoning)

2 cups uncooked white rice (you could also use brown rice - just adjust liquid amount and cooking time accordingly)

2 cups vegetable broth

1 1/2 cups salsa verde

2 tbsp snipped fresh cilantro

1 cup vegan cheese, shredded, if desired 

Drain tofu and slice into 1" thick slices.  Press tofu between absorbent toweling for at least 20 minutes.

Add 1 tsp of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Drain corn well and pat dry with paper towels.  Add corn to skillet in a single layer.  Cook without stirring for 5 minutes or until caramelized on one side.  Remove corn from skillet; set aside.

Sprinkle tofu slices with seasoning mix; press into tofu to adhere.  Cut into cubes and place in a heavy baking sheet that has been sprayed or brushed with oil.  Bake at 400 degrees, stirring occasionally for even browning, for 15-20 minutes or until desired doneness.  Alternatively, you can saute' the tofu in a pan with a little oil if you prefer that method.  

Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to skillet.  Add rice; stir until coated with oil and slightly browned.  Add broth and salsa; bring to a simmer.  Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.  Add rice, cilantro, and tofu and stir.  Add vegan cheese if desired; cover and let stand 5 minutes for cheese to melt.  

Per serving (without cheese): 

481 cal
69 g carbs
12 g fat
23 g protein

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Linguine with Clam-Free Sauce

When I saw this recipe in the December issue of Vegetarian Times, I knew it wouldn't take long for me to make it!  It looked delicious, but as a former linguine and creamy clam sauce lover, I was quite skeptical!  I am happy to say this recipe met all my expectations with the exception of one - it didn't make enough for leftovers!  The recipe says it serves 6, but four of us made quick work of it.  (Morgan abstained - she has decided she doesn't like mushrooms.  Blasphemy, I say!)

Linguine with Clam-Free Sauce

14 oz. uncooked linguine

2 tbsp arame (I couldn't find this particular sea vegetable in my local grocery, but they DID have generic "dried sea vegetable" sheets in addition to the nori sheets, so I tried it and it worked quite well.  I found it in the Asian section of my grocery store.)  

2 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

3 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and cut into 1/2" cubes (I just sliced mine)

1/2 cup dry white wine (or you could use veggie broth or just water - I used wine because I had some opened for another recipe)

1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy, rice, or macadamia nut milk (I used soy)

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 tbsp Earth Balance margarine, optional (I used it)

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I didn't want the flakes, so I subbed 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper)

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

4 tsp pine nuts

Cook pasta in salted, boiling water according to package directions.  Drain.

While pasta is cooking, soak arame in 1/2 cup hot water.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add mushrooms, wine, and lemon juice; saute' 5 minutes adding up to 1/4 cup water (if needed) to prevention sticking.  (I sauteed the mushrooms for a few minutes before adding the wine and lemon juice.  I wanted them to have a little color and caramelization on them first.)

Add soy milk, nutritional yeast, margarine (if using), red pepper flakes, and arame with soaking liquid; season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Divide linguine among four plates; top with sauce; garnish with parsley and pine nuts.  

Per 1 1/2 cup serving:  

386 calories
16 g protein
9 g total fat (1 g sat fat)
65 g carbs
0 mg cholesterol
114 mg sodium
5 g fiber
7 g sugars

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Anything With Ginger Just Has to be Good!

I love ginger. Fresh, dried, candied, dipped in dark chocolate. And, no, I'm not swayed because I AM Ginger!

This is a Woman's Health recipe that I found in an article on FlipBoard. It is quick and easy and perfect for a rainy fall Seattle supper.

Gingered Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, finely diced
1 cup vegetable broth (plus extra for thinning soup, if needed)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
8 medium sized carrots, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp fresh finely chopped or grated ginger root
Plain vegan yogurt or sour cream (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp (or more) cayenne pepper

Heat oil in a stockpot.  Add onion and cook on medium-low heat until the onions are caramelized.  Add stock plus 2 cups of water; add sweet potato, carrots, and ginger.  Bring to a boil; reduce to low and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  

When the vegetables are tender, puree soup in small batches in a blender or food processor.  Be careful to vent the top if using a blender or you'll end up with burns on your arms and soup on the ceiling.  (Ask me how I know.)  

Return soup to the stockpot.  Season with salt and cayenne pepper  Taste and adjust if necessary.  Serve with yogurt or sour cream if desired.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet Potato and Bean Burritos

When I saw a recipe entitled "Amazing Sweet Potato Burritos" on the Safeway website, I was intrigued.  The ingredients combined sounded quite odd, but appealing in a way.  I put it on my radar for "recipes I want to veganize."  The other day at the store, I picked up some enormous sweet potatoes that just happened to be calling my name and made this dish based on the Safeway recipe.  Brooke liked them.  Steve liked them.  Morgan didn't even taste them.  Okay, I'll take two out of three rave reviews.  I loved them!  The combination of the spicy bean mixture and the sweetness from the potato was very satisfying.  I did pick up some Daiya vegan cheddar cheese shreds and used them for the original recipe, but not for my leftovers.  I went cheese-less for my leftovers (regular dairy cheese for Steve) and preferred mine without.

The only photo I remembered to take was with my phone, so please forgive the poor quality of the photograph.  I need to keep my Canon SLR out and handy.

Sweet Potato and Bean Burritos

1 tbsp oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

6 cups of beans (Okay, the original called for 6 cups canned beans, drained, then 2 cups of water.  I used 6 cups of cranberry beans that I had cooked and frozen.  I thawed them and used them with their cooking liquid.  They had been cooked without salt or other seasoning, so I did season the beans to taste for that reason.  The cranberry beans made the refried bean mixture very silky in texture, which is one reason I love cranberry beans, but I think black beans would also be very tasty in this dish.  Play around with what you have on hand or what you like.)  

3 heaping tbsp chili powder (I used ancho chili powder)

2 heaping tsp cumin

4 tsp prepared yellow mustard

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)

3 tbsp soy sauce (if you salt the dish, do so after adding the soy sauce)

4 cups cooked sweet potatoes, mashed with 1-2 tbsp of vegan butter to keep them from being dry (I had "baked" three enormous sweet potatoes in the microwave until tender.  They definitely yielded more than 4 cups, but in this house, it was not a concern.  We now have no more sweet potatoes left.)  

12 10-inch flour tortillas, warmed (I used multigrain tortillas)

8 oz shredded vegan cheese (or regular cheese for the non-vegans in the house) or no cheese at all, if that is your preference

Saute' the onion and garlic in hot oil until softened and starting to caramelize.  Add beans and mash.  Stir in seasonings, mustard, soy sauce, and stir to combine.  Taste to check seasonings and adjust if necessary.  

To assemble, place a few spoonfuls of beans, a few spoonfuls of sweet potato, and a sprinkling of cheese (if using) on a warmed tortilla and roll up burrito style (I fold my ends in to make it less messy to eat).  Place burritos side by side in a baking dish and place in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes or until warmed and cheese is melted.  

You can serve these with additional shredded cheese, vegan sour cream, salsa, or the hot sauce of your choice if you wish.  We ate them "naked" at our house.  They were delicious!  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lentil Enchilada Casserole

This is my adaptation of a family favorite from my Pampered Chef "29 Minutes to Dinner" cookbook. My husband and kids love the original made with beef but I wanted a substitute I could eat. I like using lentils in place of ground beef. This dish is pure Tex-Mex comfort food.

You may be tempted to not use all the sauce because it will look too wet, but don't. The liquid is absorbed and if you cut back, your dish will be too dry.

Make sure you do not substitute flour tortillas for the corn. I am not fond of corn tortillas as a general rule, but they work best in this dish. Flour tortillas turn to mush. :::shudder::: Trust me on this one.

Lentil Enchilada Casserole

3-4 cups cooked lentils, drained
1 10-oz can enchilada sauce
1 tbsp Pampered Chef Southwest Seasoning or taco seasoning mix
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chunky salsa
12 yellow corn tortillas
1/4 cup snipped cilantro
1 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)

Combine cooked lentils, seasoning, salt, enchilada sauce, water, and salsa. Simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Cut tortillas into 1" pieces (I stack them up and cut them with a pizza cutter).

In a microwave safe baking dish, arrange half the tortilla pieces, top with half the lentil mixture, half of the cheese, if using, and 2 tbsp of cilantro. Top with remaining tortillas, lentil mixture, and optional cheese. Microwave for 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Top with remains cilantro. Serve with vegan sour cream, if desired.

I have never used a vegan cheese in the recipe, not for any particular reason other than I rarely eat it. Tonight I felt like something "creamy cheesy" but as usual didn't have any vegan cheese. I did, however, have vegan cream cheese. I mixed about 1/4 cup with a little taco seasoning and spooned it on top of the first layer of lentils. It was just the "creamy cheesy" element I was craving!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Banana Walnut Pancakes

I love bananas but once they start to get brown spots on them, I won't eat them anymore. I had two getting a little too far gone for my tastes and needed to find something to do with them. So when I came across a recipe for banana pancakes, that sounded like a winner to me. This recipe was based on one I saw on Chocolate Covered Katie's blog.

Banana Walnut Pancakes

1 1/3 cups flour (I used a combination of whole wheat pastry and unbleached white flours)
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon blend (I used Pampered Chef's Cinnamon Plus)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tsp vanilla
2 bananas, mashed
1 to 1 1/4 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients and mashed banana in a small bowl. Combine with flour mixture. Cook pancakes on a hot, greased griddle.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm Back, Y'all!

I have been busy moving the Vegan Cajuns across the country.  We relocated from Cajun Country to the Pacific Northwest!  We are enjoying Seattle, especially the weather that any Cajun would pay good money for in the month of August - 60s and 70s, breezy, beautiful, and sunny, sunny, sunny!  

It's also nice to be in a place where good vegan cuisine is easy to find and people don't look at you like you have two heads if you don't eat meat!  Supper tonight was a remake of an old Pampered Chef favorite, Brown Butter Tortellini.  

"Brown Butter" Ravioli

20 oz vegan ravioli or tortellini (I used Rising Moon Organics Butternut Squash Vegan Ravioli)
1/4 cup vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 bunch fresh baby spinach (about 6 oz)
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast ("nooch")
2 links vegan sausage, sliced or broken apart (I used Field Roast Sage and Apple Sausage)

Cook ravioli according to package directions.  Add spinach to a colander and drain ravioli over the spinach to slightly wilt it.

In a large skillet, melt margarine and toss in the nooch and whisk around.  This gives a nuttiness that you would otherwise get browning regular dairy butter.  Saute' sausage and red bell pepper until the sausage is browned and the pepper is just starting to soften.  Add ravioli and spinach and toss, adding salt and pepper to taste.  

Super quick recipe and VERY tasty!  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Roasted Veggie Calzone

I made a double batch of Amazing Alfredo Sauce the other night because I just love it so. I love calzones and wondered how that creamy, yummy sauce would do in it. I had leftover roasted veggies and sautéed mushrooms and used some of the Alfredo. When I cut into the piping hot calzone and took the first bite, I was transported to another place!!! Oh my! Heaven on a plate! Make this TODAY!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crunchy Whole Grain Tofu Bites

Our church has been participating in an inter-church 21 day fast. Most people do the Daniel Fast - veggies, fruit, and water. Hmmm...for the most part, that's my everyday eating. So I cut out coffee. Tea. Pasta. Bread. And tofu. I know. I know.

Yesterday was the last day of the fast. And for supper tonight, you KNOW what was on the menu. For me at least. I only had one container of tofu and wanted leftovers. So I had my hubby get chicken and I made this old family favorite so Those Other People would back away from the 'fu. Because they've been fasting meat. Heeheehee. And today is my eldest child's 24th birthday and he loves this recipe. With chicken, not tofu.

This is my veganization of a Pampered Chef recipe. It was yummy but the next time I make this I will marinate my 'fu in either Tabasco sauce or sriracha sauce. I like things a little spicy.

1 package extra firm tofu cut into slices and pressed, the cut into strips or cubes
6 cups whole grain chips (I used some black bean and garlic ones)
1 tsp parsley
3/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp thyme
1/8 tsp dill
1/4 tsp paprika
3 tsp EnerG egg replacer
6 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix up your egg replacer and set aside.

In a food processor, crush your chips. Add seasonings.

Gently dredge your pressed and cubed tofu in the egg replacer, then in the crumb mixture. Place on a baking dish and spritz with a little olive oil. Bake for about 20 minutes or until coating is crispy and golden.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Today's Menu.... brought to you by the color ORANGE and the word SLEEPY.  

Yesterday I threw my hubby a surprise party for his 50th birthday.  I've been cooking, cleaning, and shopping in secret and yesterday was busy and long.  And I haven't gathered pictures and recipes from the party quite yet to share, but I do have tonight's quick and easy supper.  

The first recipe is a favorite of mine.  My first vegan cookbook purchase was Lauren Ulm's Vegan Yum Yum and this was an early recipe try.  This is an awesome, amazing, super duper easy soup that fills you up and warms you to the core.  I've made it for non-vegan friends and they all give it rave reviews.  And ask for the recipe!  My one complaint with Lauren's book is that her recipes don't feed ravenous wolves my hungry bunch, so I end up doubling most recipes.  This one is no exception.  But you just need leftovers, you know. It's too good to just eat once!  The recipe below includes the doubled amounts and will feed 8.  (Or four wolves plus a small amount of leftovers that will be fought over.)  

Spicy Tomato Chickpea Soup

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric 
2 15-oz cans of chickpeas (or about 4 cups cooked chickpeas), drained and rinsed
2 28-oz cans of diced tomatoes
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
2 cups hot water
Black pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil to shimmering and saute the onions until softened.  Add the garlic, cumin, chili flakes, mustard seeds, and turmeric and saute another minute.  Add chickpeas and saute until the chickpeas begin to turn golden, just a few minutes.  Add tomatoes and salt and simmer for about 15 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture in batches to a blender and puree until smooth.  Be careful to vent the lid or the whole thing will explode on you.  Don't ask me how I know this.  *ahem*  Transfer back to the Dutch oven.  Add nutritional yeast and water and stir together until smooth.  Taste to adjust seasonings.  Enjoy!   

Calories per 1 1/2 cup serving:  198
Fat: 8 g
Carbs:  28 g
Protein: 7 g

This next recipe is a New York Times recipe and was made because I had two butternut squashes sitting on my counter just begging for me to cook them before they went bad.  So I took one of them and made this and it was scrumptious.  My belly was actually full from the soup, but when I tasted one cube of squash, I knew I had to go back for more.  The bowl pictured below is really a teeny tiny bowl so my serving was probably less than 1/4 cup.  This WILL be my before-bed snack, though, I can assure you!  It's like dessert...only with lots of garlic!  

Now, this recipe said that it needed to cook at 375° for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  I don't wait that long for much.  I bumped the temperature up to 400° and set the timer for 20 minutes.  Stirred it and popped it back in for another 20 and it was done.  Cooking it for 2 hours would have turned it to mush!  

Simple Provencal Winter Squash Gratin

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup bread crumbs (I pulverized two slices of leftover bruschetta from the party last night)
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (let me just say I am sure I have nowhere near 1 tbsp of thyme in this dish - I absolutely hate pulling those little tiny leaves off and I'm obsessive about not getting any little stems in there so I probably had somewhere closer to 1/2 tsp!  Ha!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400°.  Toss together ingredients in a large stoneware dish or gratin dish.  Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes.  Stir and test one of the pieces of squash.  Return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.  Serves 6.  (Or one crazy butternut squash lovin' lady who worked up an appetite at Zumba.)  

Calories per serving:  154
Carbs: 21g 
Protein: 3 g

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spicy Lentil Tacos

These are SO good!  And very easy.  I veganized the recipe from  

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup brown lentils, rinsed
2 1/2 cups of veggie broth
1/2 cup vegan sour cream, optional (I like Vegan Gourmet)
1 tbsp chipotle chili in adobo sauce (I puree the whole can and freeze in 1 tbsp amounts in an ice cube tray.  When frozen, pop into a freezer container.)  You can use half this amount for less heat if you would like.  

Heat oil.  Saute' onion and garlic on a medium-low heat until soft and starting to just caramelize.  Add salt, lentils, and broth.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover.  Cook for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  If you still have some liquid in your pan, you can turn the heat on medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until it's mostly absorbed, but you do want a little bit of liquid in there.  Stir in the chili with adobo sauce.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vegan sour cream if you are using it.  I've made it both with and without the sour cream and it's good both ways.  

I prefer to use a soft taco shell for mine and love it with fresh baby spinach, chopped tomatoes, and sliced avocado.  That's good eatin'!  

This recipe yields 8 servings based on using 2 tbsp of taco filling per taco and two tacos per person.  

Calories per serving:  95
Carbs: 15
Fat: 4
Protein: 6
Iron: 11
Calcium: 4

Friday, January 20, 2012

Portobello Philly Cheese Steakless Sandwiches

Today is my hubby's 50th birthday, but he had to work.  I wanted to make something yummy and portable and different.  But he is participating in a fast with our church and I also wanted to make sure it was within those parameters.  I saw a recipe for these "cheesesteaks" and just reading it made my mouth water.  When we lived in New Jersey, we both loved the real deal.  But that was then.  

The verdict on this recipe?  Just as mouthwatering - actually maybe more so!  It was also given a rave review from our pickiest eater, the 15-year-old.  (Pickiest in our family - she's truly not a picky eater compared to most kids.  It's all relative.)  

My adaptation of the Eating Well recipe:

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
6 oz sliced portobello mushrooms
2 tbsp fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
1 tbsp flour
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tbsp soy sauce
pepper to taste

4 whole wheat hoagie rolls, split and toasted

vegan cheese of your choice (I skipped the cheese on mine; my non-vegan family had regular provolone on theirs)

Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet.  Saute' the onions until translucent; add the mushrooms, bell pepper, and oregano and saute', stirring frequently, until vegetables are cooked, about 5-7 minutes.  Sprinkle the flour on the veggies and stir, cooking briefly to remove the "floury" taste.  Pour in the broth and soy sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, for about one minute, until liquid has mostly been absorbed and has thickened.  

If you are using cheese, place it on the hoagie rolls during the last few minutes of toasting in the oven.  Top with veggies and enjoy!  

Doesn't that look yummy?  

Recipe stats for all my My Fitness Pal buddies: 

Calories (veggies only): 74
Carbs: 12
Fat: 3
Protein: 2
Iron: 6
Calcium: 4