Fiesta Quinoa

Fiesta QuinoaAh, 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

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Corn Chowder

After a long absence, I am finally posting a new recipe!  (Sorry, folks ~ I got a new job and it’s using up any extra minutes I used to spend on my blog.  I’ll get better at this juggling thing soon, I promise!)

This recipe came about because I got hungry for corn chowder one day and just decided I would make some no matter what.  I had an okay recipe from eons ago, but after looking at it, I deemed it dull and lifeless.  I demand more taste and more nutrition from my fare now.  Because of that, this won’t look like your usual pale chowder.  I couldn’t help myself ~ I had to throw in some greens!  😀  But you should be used to that by now if you are following my blog.  (You see, my teen boys wrinkle their noses up if I serve cooked greens by themselves, but they have no problem eating them if they are in a dish.  So you see the method to my madness….)

Corn ChowderRest assured, this is a marvelously creamy, comforting soup for a chilly winter day!

Corn Chowder

  • 2 lg. onions, diced
  • 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. frozen turnip greens with diced turnips (or another green of your choosing)
  • 2 lbs. frozen sweet corn ~ thaw and reserve 2 c.
  • 1/3 c. raw cashews
  • reserved corn
  • 1/4 c. barley or brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dillweed
  • 2 c. plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • parsley

Boil the first 5 ingredients in a large pot until tender.  Add the sweet corn (still reserving the thawed 2 c.)  Blend the next 6 ingredients that are listed until very smooth.  Bring the veggies back to a boil and stir in the blenderized mixture.  Keep stirring until it thickens.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Add the extra salt if desired and some dried parsley before serving.  (The extra salt isn’t added until the corn is cooked so that the corn doesn’t become tough and chewy.  That’s also why the corn isn’t added at the beginning of cooking the other veggies, so that especially the potatoes can absorb most of the salt from the water beforehand.  If you are in a hurry, dump the corn and salt in at the beginning.  The extra cooking time may make up for the it.)

Chili

There is nothing quite as satisfying on some cold evenings as a bowl of good chili and a piece of cornbread to go with it.  This simple recipe doesn’t taste simple at all.  Grab a bowl and a spoon and dig in!

Chili

  • 3-4 onions, chopped
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil or water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans chili beans, undrained
  • 1 28-oz or 2 14-oz. cans of diced tomatoes, undrained (one may be zesty style) or crushed tomatoes
  • 10-16 oz. frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 c. frozen corn
  • 1 c. water (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Marmite or Vegex paste (optional, but really adds a lot of depth of flavor ~ if you prefer, add some South African Smoked Seasoning Blend and/or Spike to achieve that depth.)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • soy sour cream and vegan “cheese” to top each bowl as desired

Saute onions in olive oil or water until they lose their stiffness and relax onto the bottom of the pan, but not until they are completely soft.  (This leaves them with just a little bit of texture in the finished stew to contrast the soft beans and the crisp corn ~ for crispier corn, add it just a couple of minutes before serving.  This both cooks the corn just enough to leave it crisp, and cools the chili a tad so that it doesn’t burn your mouth when you chow down.)  Add garlic for about 1 minute.  Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer until spinach is tender.  Serve with soy sour cream and/or non-dairy cheese.

Southwestern Skillet

If you are a new vegan, you may not have heard the question very often, “Where do you get your protein?”  (Well, just wait…you will.  For some reason, folks think if you don’t chew on an animal part or drink cow’s milk that there is no protein available to you.  Unfortunately, they forget that cows, pigs, and, yes, even gigantic elephants get their protein from…wait for it…plant food.)

As I was throwing this and that into this dish, I realized that it was going to be stacked with protein.  I was tempted to call it “Southwestern So-Where-Do-You-Get-Your-Protein Skillet,” but that seemed a bit cumbersome.  ;D  While I have pictured this served over rice, if you instead served it over quinoa, you would ramp up the protein even more (and it would be more authentic to the Southwest, for that matter.)  But seriously, it isn’t necessary to do that.  There’s plenty here without it.

This is a great dish to make when you get home from the grocery store and realize that either you missed just how ripe those tomatoes were that you bought, or the bag-boy/girl packed them in the bag next to the canned goods and they are smooshed and must be used right now, or be thrown away.  (Not that I’m bitter…)

I also noticed as I was putting this together that it appeared I was writing a commercial for Trader Joe’s!  It wasn’t meant that way, it just happened.  Since not everyone has access to one of those marvelous stores, I wrote the recipe non-brand-specific, but mentioned some of the products that I used.

This is also very tasty without the beans, but they really add a nice note to the dish.  If you are not a spicy-food fan, I would suggest cutting the chorizo in half.  If you like burn-your-mouth-off spicy, then cut down on the tofu.  If you don’t have some of the veggies on hand, throw in a jar of salsa instead – it won’t be quite as tasty, but in a pinch, sometimes you have to make due.  Also, if at all possible, use organic products for the best flavor.

Southwestern Skillet

  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. of frozen tri-colored bell pepper pieces/strips (half of the Trader Joe’s bag)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz. soy chorizo (Trader Joe’s has a brand of this, and Tofurkey just brought one out, though I haven’t tried it yet)
  • 1 pkg. 14-16 oz. extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, drained, and gently squeezed out
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4-1/3 of a pound-bag of frozen sweet corn (Trader Joe’s white sweet corn is unparalleled for flavor)
  • 2 small or medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained

Place the onion and peppers in a large skillet with some olive oil to saute.  Open the chorizo (there is no good way to do this, except maybe slit the casing up the entire side and scoop it out) and add it to the skillet.  When the onions are softening a little, crumble the tofu into the pan and squirt it in a few zig-zags of Bragg’s over it.  Stir.  When everything is bubbling, stir in the corn, tomatoes, and beans.  Cook just long enough to warm the last few ingredients.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa, with optional vegan cheese, soy sour cream, and/or avocado.