Ah, the plans I make and the menus I create….only to be dashed to pieces the first night! Grocery day can be crazy in our household, with stops at several stores, since no single one of them carries everything with which I cook. Today (actually, several months ago, since I found this post hiding in my draft folder) was no different ~ except a couple of extra errands were tossed in for good measure. This meant I didn’t have the needed time to make the do-ahead items on my menu for the week. Which also meant that when I got home late, there was no instant supper to put on the table. Continue reading
Today was unusually helter-skelter for the whole family. Everybody is helping to roof a house (except me ~ I’m holding down the fort doing all the cooking, cleaning, etc.) Due to the heat, they quit early today, so K and I went to get some much-needed groceries once she showered. It took us so long that once we got home she had only 20 minutes before she and R had to leave for Vacation Bible School, where they are key staff members! No time for her to even eat, let alone fix something first. Hubby came home for 5 minutes before he had to go back out for an appointment. That left N (my son-in-law) and I at home, because J is out of town.
Now, N has unfortunate allergies to all cruciferous veggies, as well as sesame and sunflower seeds. It makes K pretty nuts avoiding all those things at the grocery store! And eating out? Forget it. Do you know how much sesame oil and sunflower oil are in things? Bah.
I knew I needed to make something nourishing for everybody to eat once they landed back at home ~ but no idea what that should be! I threw on a pot of rice, because at least that could be simmering while I came up with something amazing. I’ve been hungry for a rice bowl of some sort (whether Chipotle-style or stir-fry-style, I wasn’t fussy.) I remembered some chik-style strips I bought on clearance, so began to build an idea from there. Originally, I was thinking lemony-“chicken”-asparagus, but it kinda morphed from there. It didn’t seem like it would make enough. So, while I stood at the freezer door digging for the asparagus, I saw some other bags of frozen stir-fry-esque veggies. I started tossing this and that in until I had a pan full of yummy nutritious veggies! Overall, it took more time and effort to decide what to fix than it took to throw it all together. 🙂
In retrospect, one of the new kinds of “veggies” I found on sale at the health food store I would not buy again. Frozen bags of mushrooms just don’t have a marvelous texture. I believe I would either skip them, use fresh ones (if I had them on hand), or even open a can of random mushrooms (usually I have portabellas in the cupboard.)
- 1-2 T. organic virgin coconut oil
- 1 onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, julienned
- 5-8 oz. frozen tri-colored peppers
- 1 10-oz pkg. Woodstock frozen mixed mushrooms (I recommend fresh or canned, actually)
- 1 10-oz pkg. Woodstock frozen snap peas
- 1 12-oz pkg. frozen asparagus spears, cut into 2″ chunks
- 2 c. of your favorite “chicken” substitute
- 1 heaping T. cornstarch (or arrowroot)
- 1 T. chicken-style seasoning
- Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids (or soy sauce)
- 1/2 c. water
- juice from 1 very small lemon
- hot cooked brown rice
Melt the coconut oil in a large frying pan. Toss in the onion and carrot pieces and begin sauteing them. Open up all of the frozen veggie bags and stir them into the frying pan, along with the “chicken” substitute. Squirt Bragg’s back and forth across the veggies and stir again. Turn the heat up to medium-high to get everything really cooking, as frozen veggies take so long to stir-fry. You should see a fair amount of liquid form in the bottom of the pan ~ this is as it should be. Stir the veggies often. When they are to the tenderness you prefer, mix the cornstarch, chicken-style seasoning, and water together, stirring the mixture into the veggies until everything looks a little shiny from the thickened sauce. Remove from heat and sprinkle the lemon juice over it all. Stir. Serve over rice with extra Bragg’s on the table.
I adore baked beans ~ hot or cold. I can even tolerate Bush’s vegetarian canned ones if I have to ~ like when Hurricane Ike’s leftover wind sheers came through our area and our power was out for 2 1/2 weeks! I love to try baked beans at potlucks, but my favorite ones are my own recipe…which can be different every time since I rarely follow a specific recipe. I like them plenty sweet and full of onions; best served with potato salad in the summer or cornbread in the winter. Usually, my beans come out juicier than pictured, but I baked them a little too long while I was away. The time-bake feature is great…usually.
I have to thank my daughter, K, for getting this written down. I have never measured before when making them. 😀 She wanted my recipe, though, so I held a measuring cup under the different things I poured in to catch what I would normally have drizzled over the beans until it “felt right.” Then I actually poured it over the beans and checked to see if it was really enough. It felt very strange, but it worked! lol Now K has a recipe and my blog has a new entry. Nice. 🙂 Thanks, dear.
- 4 cans of pinto beans, drained (or 6-8 cups of home cooked pinto beans)
- 1 can of butter beans, drained (1 3/4 – 2 c. home cooked butter beans, or add more pintos)
- 1-2 large onions, depending on taste (I err on the side of plenty, because they cook down so much)
- 1/2 c. ketchup (or more)
- 4-6 T. maple syrup
- 1/2 c. BBQ sauce (I use Trader’s Joe’s Bold and Smokey Kansas City Style)
- 1 1/2 – 2 T. nutritional yeast flakes (optional, but adds depth)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp. garlic powder or 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
Preheat oven to 325-400° (depending on how quickly you want to bake them; add extra liquid if you will be baking them for a long time.) Mix all ingredients together in a 3-4 qt. casserole dish. Cover with foil. Bake until onion is soft and translucent. This will take 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature you use. Pull the foil back to check on the onion’s condition, or use a glass casserole so you can peek through the side.
These also work very well in a crock-pot! Since everyone’s crock-pot is different, I can only suggest that longer is better to make sure you don’t have crunchy onions. I’d opt for 8-10 hours.
Variations: Replace ketchup and BBQ sauce with tomato sauce and extra maple syrup and more of the other seasonings. Or replace BBQ sauce with 1/4 c. ketchup and add 1-2 T. mustard and 2 T. more maple syrup.
These are also mighty tasty if you toss in some chopped up veggie hot dogs or Bacos before you bake them.
For some reason I had not made garbanzo melts in a long time. When J and R asked what was for supper and heard this was it, they made the kind of loud, growly “OOOOHH’s” only teen boys tend to make. I had no idea of the popularity of these, or I would have been making them more often!
The great thing about these is that any leftover filling works for a cold sandwich, too. You can use your favorite bread, including an artisan variety, which will make these even more amazing! Gluten-free bread will suffice here, too, as long as you have a tasty one. The best thing is that these are simple to make, you probably have all of the ingredients in your cupboard already, and they can be quickly thrown together. Win!
Another option for these is to make them into regular grilled sandwiches on a griddle, rather than open-faced. They just tend to squish out when you bite them!
As usual, organic ingredients will give you the best flavor and nutrition.
This recipe uses 10-12 slices of bread, but you can easily cut it in half if you want to make less. Remember ~ any extra filling keeps well in the refrigerator.
Garbanzo Melt Open-faced Sandwiches
- 1/2 of an onion (red is best, but any will do)
- 2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 T. +/- Veganaise non-dairy mayo
- 1 1/2 – 2 tsp. mustard (yellow will work, but spicy brown is great)
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. onion powder
- salt to taste
- 3-4 T. relish
- 10-12 slices of bread
- extra virgin olive oil in mist-er, or non-dairy butter
- 15-18 slices of Tofutti vegan cheese or more (how many slices will depend on how big your bread is)
Preheat oven to 400°.
Mince the onion in a food processor. Add the beans, mayo, mustard, garlic powder, and onion powder. Pulse the food processor until the ingredients are well mixed and the beans are roughly ground. The texture can be fairly rough to as smooth as hummus depending on your preference. I like somewhere in between.
Remove mixture to a bowl. Add 3 T. of relish. Taste and add more relish and salt to taste. Your brand of garbanzo bean will make the difference of how much salt needs to be added.
Spray one side of each slice of bread (or lightly “butter” it), placing it oil-side down on a cookie sheet. Spread garbanzo bean mixture onto each slice. Lay slices of cheese on top of the open-faced sandwiches, breaking slices in half or thirds if necessary to add enough to completely cover each piece of bread.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is soft and melty looking. The bottom of the bread will be toasted and crispy.
There has been a long dry spell for my creativity in the kitchen. I’m sure it’s been caused in part by my busy life and in part by my mental focus on creating a dessert for the up-coming Virtual Vegan Potluck (more on that soon.) Overall, the family has been receiving old stand-bys on the table and some lazy versions of home cooked meals!
No wonder, then, my family just about licked the pan clean last night when I served this. I was a bit surprised, because most of them aren’t big fans of sun-dried tomatoes and usually pick them out to toss onto my plate (which means I get tons more – yay!) However, last night I didn’t get any extras on my plate! None! If I had known that, I would have put more in the recipe than I did. I was informed it is a texture issue and these sun-dried tomatoes were soft enough for their palates this time. Who knew? Therefore, I wrote a scope of choice below for how many tomatoes you use. The picture shows the quinoa with about 4 oz. of sun-dried tomatoes (approximately). It would have been tastier with the larger amount and that is what I will do next time.
You can switch a few things around in this recipe depending on what you have in your cupboards and refrigerator. I didn’t have any fresh mushrooms, so I used canned, but either works. If you prefer a stronger tasting olive such as Kalamata, then by all means, try those. I’m the only one in this house who likes cooked bell peppers – of any color, so I didn’t toss any in, but those would be great here, too – either fresh or frozen. (I figured I was pushing it by using the sun-dried tomatoes, let alone making it “worse” in their minds by adding peppers.)
Addendum: You will need a large frying pan with lid or dutch oven. Mine is 4-5 quarts!
- 1 lg. onion, chopped
- 2 Tofurkey Italian “sausage” links, diced (optional, or reduce)
- 6-8 oz. frozen artichoke hearts (half a bag)
- olive oil (may use oil from sun-dried tomatoes)
- 4-8 oz. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 4 oz. can of chopped portabella mushrooms
- 1 can black olives, sliced or quartered
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 4 c. water
- 2 T. chicken-style seasoning
- 2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
- soy parmesan “cheese”
Saute the onion, Tofurkey links, and artichoke hearts in just enough olive oil to keep them from sticking or burning. As the artichokes thaw, they will put off some liquid that will help. Once the onion is softening some and the artichokes can be mushed with the back of a spoon to break them up and distribute them a bit, add remaining ingredients, excluding parmesan “cheese.” (Include some or all of the oil from the tomatoes for the best overall flavor.) Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle soy parmesan over the whole dish and stir in. Serve with extra parmesan at the table.
Best served with cooked greens or a salad.
Just in time for the yearly deluge of Irish-type dishes on blogs and recipe sites, here is my version of a tasty concoction of potatoes and cabbage. It doesn’t take very long to put together and then you have about an hour to do other things while the oven finishes things for you.
You can use any type of vegan link/hot dog/sausage in this. A few years ago a local grocery store was clearancing out some Boca links for $1 a package – and eventually marked them down to 25 cents!! My husband called me and asked how much freezer room we had. He cleaned them out…and brought home 40 packages!!! Yes – 40. We were feeding 3 hearty young male appetites at the time and these went a long way to help out our food budget. You can’t find those particular links any more (and I think they may have had egg whites in them), so I’ve substituted Tofurkey Italian Sausages instead. (I know, that is hardly Irish, is it? But what are you going to do? Use whatever you can find that fits the description better.)
For the dish pictured here, I happened to have purple cabbage on hand. It would look nicer if it was green cabbage, but the purple does contain more vitamin A…and, as I mentioned, I already had the purple version. 😉 I also suspect that I sliced up more cabbage than just a pound as the balance wasn’t what it was when I made it with a measured package of coleslaw mix. Truth be told, the actual measurements aren’t super critical – you just want a nice balance of potatoes to cabbage.
Potato Cabbage Casserole
- 4 medium potatoes, halved and sliced (peeled, if you prefer)
- 1 c. chopped onion (or more)
- 1 bag coleslaw mix or 1 lb. thinly sliced cabbage, rinsed
- 4-6 vegan links/hot dogs/sausages, optional
- 2-4 T. olive oil
- 1/4 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
- 2 T. orange juice, or freshly juice 1 small-to-medium orange
- basil taste
- salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 450°. Mix the potatoes, onions, and cabbage in a 4-qt. baking dish. Drizzle the oil, Bragg’s, and orange juice over it all. Sprinkle on the basil and salt. Mix well. Lay the links/hot dogs/sausages over the top (or you may slice them and mix them in, which I prefer for the larger links.) Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the potatoes and cabbage are tender.
It has been a while since I posted. I’ve made some new recipes, but failed to get adequate pictures of them to show you. Last week I made an incredible soup on a night when I had to rush out the door to a meeting. I was going to take a picture the next day during lunch leftovers. Alas, I was struck down by a horrid flu and the soup went to waste with no decent picture being taken. Apparently, I was the only one who loved the soup…except the dog, who got the old leftovers. Such a waste.
Another day I made gluten-free pancakes that were very tasty! Unfortunately, they were not photogenic and I was too hungry to fool with it. I shall have to make a new batch soon and be more patient this time.
I did, however, find some photos of this dish a while ago that I took just in case I ever wanted to post the recipe, but not have to make the dish for supper that night. I am so glad I did!! Finally…something to post for you.
This is a great meal to make when you are in a big hurry to eat. We like it served with cooked broccoli and sliced tomatoes for a simple meal.
Black Beans and Hominy
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cans black beans, mostly drained
- 2 cans hominy, drained
- 1 can black olives, drained and sliced or quartered
- salsa, soy sour cream, non-dairy cheese, all optional
Saute the onion in a bit of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the beans with a bit of the liquid in which they were canned, hominy, and olives. Heat to desired temperature. Serve with salsa, soy sour cream, and/or non-dairy cheese.
This can be made ahead in the crockpot, too. You don’t need any oil, unless you want it for flavor. Stir together onions, beans, hominy, and olives. Heat on very low temperature for 4-8 hours. It will be ready when you get home, so supper can be on the table as soon as a veggie is ready to go with it.
Hint: If you are really in a hurry, put the olives in a flat-bottomed container and use your potato masher to break them into small pieces. They aren’t as cute that way, but families usually don’t care. 😉
I wish this page was aromatic so that you could get a sense of what this dish is like. (Because the picture doesn’t do it justice! I shall have to make another one and take the pictures during the daytime.) The taste is explosive and the texture creamy, making an unforgettable pairing. I ate 2 pieces the night I fixed it ~ and truth be told, really wanted more, but didn’t want to look like a total pig. The next morning, we finished off the leftovers with breakfast.
Overall, my hubby prefers potatoes to any cooked grains and complains that I “never” fix them for him. Since I’m usually trying to fill the hollow legs of teenaged boys, I tend to opt for the easier/quicker fix of tossing some rice, quinoa, or such into a pan with water and being able to walk away from it for many minutes to fix the rest of the meal. In comparison, peeling/dicing/mashing enough potatoes to suffice takes a long time. Since the boys were going to be away at a Super Bowl party on Sunday night, I grabbed a couple of large potatoes to see what I could come up with for just the two of us. I’ve always wanted to try making a frittata and figured it might be a good time to experiment. I thought the finished product was a perfect blend of potatoes vs. custardy tofu-ness, however, darling Mr. Potato still thought it needed more potatoes. 🙂 I didn’t try to explain that the ratio needed to be close to the way it was, or it wouldn’t hold together in a “pie” form, because it wouldn’t have changed his mind. Maybe I should have just made him fried potatoes! lol As an added thought, I wouldn’t be afraid to substitute some of the potatoes for other items, such as mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, asparagus, or whatever veggies you think sound good. Let me know what you come up with or if you think I should have added more potatoes. 😀
If you are not a fan of spicy food, you should cut the amount of soy chorizo in half, but I wouldn’t totally eliminate it, or you will lose the marvelous blend of spices that it brings to the dish. You could use some other kinds of faux meat, such as burger crumbles, but you would need to add some extra seasonings to the tofu mix to make up for the missing pizzazz.
Spicy Vegan Frittata
- 2 large potatoes (don’t use russets here for the best texture), peeled and diced into 3/4″ pieces
- 2 medium onions, diced/chopped
- 1-3 T. oil (I used half extra virgin olive oil for flavor and half virgin coconut oil for crispiness and firmness of the outside)
- 1/2 a package of soy chorizo (1/4 pkg. for less spicy heat)
- 14-16 oz. extra-firm tofu (water packed)
- 2 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 3 T. chicken-style seasoning
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- plain non-dairy milk – enough to blend into a sour cream consistency
- 1 c. chopped frozen spinach
- 1 c. mozzarella-style Daiya cheese (cheddar would work, too)
Preheat oven to 400° F. In an oven-safe frying pan, saute potatoes and onions in oil(s), salting them moderately. (If you don’t have a frying pan that can go in the oven, transfer the sauteed veggies into a very large pie pan or round casserole dish before you add the blended mixture, stirring them around in it to distribute the oil thoroughly to the sides of the pan.) Add chorizo after about 10-15 minutes. Blend the tofu, Bragg’s, chicken-style seasoning, garlic, and enough non-dairy milk until smooth and the texture of thick and creamy sour cream. When the potatoes are slightly tender, but not completely cooked through, taste them to see if more salt is needed for your tastes – add it at this time if needed. Turn off the heat and stir the tofu mixture into the potatoes. Toss in the spinach and cheese and stir to evenly distribute. Smooth the top of the mixture.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the middle is set. Cut and serve.
Another night of staring into the cupboards trying to decide what to fix because what was on my planned weekly menu just wasn’t happening tonight (this seems to happen for various reasons way too often.) Another episode with nothing jumping around in the pantry or freezer when I stared into them saying, “Fix me! Fix me!” 😀
The great thing about this dish that I finally created is that it is super filling, fairly fast with little hands-on during the actual cooking time, and it is versatile. If you like peppers, toss some in. If you dislike mushrooms, leave them out. If you have fresh mushrooms or frozen chopped onions, use them. If you like ginger, try adding some of that with the onions. And those cooked greens pictured on the plate next to the pilaf? Well, right after the picture was snapped and I took a bite, they ended up tossed together with the quinoa ~ and they were spectacular together! If you don’t feel like dirtying a second pan, you could just throw a bag or two of frozen spinach right into the quinoa while it is cooking along with a little extra salt. Ta-da! One-dish meal.
- 2 ribs of celery (I used celery hearts), split lengthwise and diced
- 1 small-medium onion, diced
- 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 small can mushroom pieces, or 4 oz. of fresh ones, diced
- 4 c. water
- 2 c. quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 3 T. chicken-style seasoning
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp. dillweed
- 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
In a large frying pan, saute the celery and onions in the olive oil while you dice up the carrots. Toss the carrots in when you are finished, as well as the mushrooms. When veggies are softened, pour in the water, quinoa, chicken seasoning and lemon juice; stir. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium and simmer for 10-15 minutes. When the quinoa begins to show tiny little curls popping out, then sprinkle the lemon juice and dill over it all and stir. Add the garbanzo beans. Leave the lid off and simmer, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed and the quinoa is fairly fluffy.
Serve with cooked greens and perhaps a slice of lemon to squeeze over it all.
A couple of weeks ago I won a package of Butler soy curls from Somer over at Vedged Out. I love soy curls. They are versatile and cooperative to work with. This time I needed them to step up in a big way. Let me explain….
Yesterday I made the weekly trek to the health food store. On my list was our Thanksgiving entree. We’re reading labels more carefully these days than ever before due to increased allergies. (Hubby and I really should avoid wheat and my sil cannot get a hold of anything from the cruciferous family or the sunflower/safflower seed/oil family.) It was time to really check out every single ingredient in the roll we buy once a year. Now, mind you, this single time out of the year we have been known to wink at some egg whites for this particular tradition. (GASP!) However, not only did our traditional long-looked-forward-to entree have eggs in it, but now it had non-fat milk, too. Oh, and did I mention that vital wheat gluten plays a major roll in its creation, as well? *sigh and ugh* I called hubby to get his opinion on what to do. This was, after all, just about his only tradition that matters to him (that and frosted sugar cookies at Christmas) and he has not wanted to give it up in the past. He told me, “Hon, I trust your creative powers to whip up something great to replace it, either with soy curls, or something else. We can try it out this week and if we really aren’t excited by it, then we’ll visit the possibility of buying the roll of fake stuff.”
How can a girl not take up such an encouraging challenge? 🙂 I bought some portabella mushrooms and headed for home.
The jury was divided on this dish. Out of 5 of us, 2 loved it, 2 thought it was okay, and 1 said that with extra salt it was pretty good (this from the guy who salts everything before he tastes even it.) One of the guys asked if I could do half this way and half BBQ! lol
I think when I make this on Thanksgiving, I will tweak it a little bit more. I am going to add an extra tablespoon of chicken-style seasoning into the soy curls (already included below), and toss in a little bit of minced garlic. Perhaps one of your favorite dried herbs could make an appearance in it, if you wish. If you experiment, please let me know what you do.
Thanksgiving Soy Curls
- 2 c. water
- 2-4 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, depending on how salty you want it to be
- 4+ T. chicken-style seasoning
- 1 tsp. rubbed sage
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 6 c. soy curls
- 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, diced
- 2 large onions, chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
In a very large frying pan or a Dutch oven, combine water, Bragg’s, and seasonings and heat on high. Add soy curls and toss. When it comes to a boil, turn the heat off and continue turning the soy curls over and over until all of the water is absorbed. Scrape into a bowl and set aside. In the same frying pan, saute the mushrooms and onions in the olive oil until softened. Transfer the soy curls back to the frying pan and mix everything together. Continue heating everything until the soy curls are toasty warm again. Serve with gravy.
This gravy recipe is mildly adapted from a cookbook called Vegetarian For Life (although I believe all the recipes in it are actually vegan.)
- 1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 c. brown rice or barley flour (I recommend the barley flour if you are not gluten intolerant. In a pinch, you could use whole wheat, but the flavor pales in comparison.)
- 3 T. chicken-like seasoning
- 2 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 4 c. water
In a 2-quart saucepan, mix the oil with the flour and chicken seasoning. Stir in the Bragg’s. Gradually stir in the first 2 cups of water until it is smooth and getting thin; then add all of the last 2 cups. Heat, stirring often, and finally stirring constantly as it begins to thicken. When it boils, turn the heat down and simmer to desired thickness.
This can be made a day ahead ~ just be aware that it will thicken upon standing, so you won’t want to simmer it very long. It will thicken some as you reheat it.