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....

...is 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 Epicurious.com.  

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