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

Advertisements

Italian Quinoa

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.

Italian QuinoaYou 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!

Italian Quinoa

  • 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.

Olive and Veggie Burger Hash

I love to play with my food!  That’s probably why I write a vegan food blog (although, you wouldn’t know it lately, because I’ve been AWOL – tsk, tsk.)  Tonight, hubby was going to be late and the teen boys were going to eat after their meeting.  I had time to play!

Lately I’ve been very hungry for savory things ~ quite out of character for a woman with a sweet tooth the size of Montana!  I wanted something really interesting.  This recipe isn’t what it started out to be…and it’s better than I hoped, because I just kept adding things to make it more interesting.  Once I pulled out J’s large jar of green olives to add to it things really came together.  Usually, I’m not a green-olive fan ~ just on pizza occasionally, in potato salad, and, apparently, in this.  😀

I would have loved to have added mushrooms to this, but, alas, they didn’t make it into the grocery cart this week.

There is no picture, unfortunately.  Not only were we too hungry to wait for a photo to be taken, but in all honesty, this just isn’t a photographic dish!  It isn’t very pretty.  But, man, does it taste good!

Olive and Veggie Burger Hash

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil
  • 8-10 oz. frozen artichoke hearts
  • 3 veggie burgers of choice (Boca Burger “hamburger” type or gluten-free version) or an equal amount of burger-type crumbles
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (if you love garlic, please, please use more!  I have a hubby who only tolerates it)
  • 1/2 can black olives, halved (if you like Greek olives, or such, use those)
  • equal amount of green olives, sliced
  • salt to taste

Place onion, artichoke hearts, and oil in a large frying pan and begin heating on high.  When you hear sizzling, turn the heat down to medium high and push the vegetables aside to clear a spot for the burgers on the bottom of the pan.  When the burgers have thawed some, use a spatula or a flat-edged bamboo utensil to break them into small pieces.  Add salt at this time to your taste.  (I like just a sprinkling.)

Once these things are softening well, add the garlic and toss well.  Stir often to keep the garlic from burning to the bottom of the pan.  Add the olives and heat through.
Serve.

This is super good with sliced tomatoes fresh from the garden.  We also had asparagus spears and sweet potato fries.

Sweet and Savory Walnut-Olive Spread

The weather suddenly decided it’s summer ~ and it’s too hot to cook.  (Hey, going from chilly to very warm in a short time makes me whine about cooking!)  I thought maybe cold sandwiches would work for a change from salads of varying types.  I didn’t want anything typical, boring, or mundane, though, since my crew isn’t marvelously thrilled by sandwiches to begin with ~ except my son-in-law, bless his easy-to-cook-for heart!

Considering the fact that many vegan-spread recipes I already had on hand contained beans and/or bread crumbs (which I needed to avoid this time for allergy-sake), I went searching.  I started looking online (what a marvelous resource!) and found this recipe.  But I didn’t have any limes or fresh parsley.  Rats.  (I did have lemons…does that count?)  I decided to make it anyway and use the lemons to replace the lime juice.  They’re similar, right?

Well…it was kinda plain, even with the lemon juice.  I didn’t want to throw it out ~ and serving it “as is” was tantamount to doing the same thing ~ just a few days later when nobody touches as leftovers.  I started throwing things in that might “fix” it.  Some of them might seem a bit unorthodox, but what emerged was pretty tasty!

This is a thick spread.  It would work well on celery, crackers, or bread ~ or in a lettuce wrap!  My favorite way was on celery.

Stay tuned…there will be 2 more sandwich spreads coming in the next couple of days!

Sweet and Savory Walnut-Olive Spread

  • 1 c. walnuts, soaked 2-4 hours (if for only 2 hours, change the water once or twice to speed the process up a bit)
  • 2/3 c. pitted black olives
  • 1 carrot, finely grated
  • 2 T. minced sweet onion
  • 1 T. dried cranberries
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp. dillweed
  • 1 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup (opt., but it really gives a deep note of flavor)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until everything is well combined.  Scrape the sides often to keep things moving, as it’s very thick.  Don’t process so long that the walnuts become walnut butter, but long enough to make the cranberries turn into little pieces or flecks.

Mazidra

When it’s too warm to want soup ~ or you are just tired of a winter of it ~ but too chilly to serve cold pasta or potato salad for supper, what do you prepare?  Mazidra to the rescue!  It’s half “soup” and half salad!  Picky eaters can leave out the toppings they don’t like (or mom can insist they eat them.)  Triple the recipe for a crowd ~ or for hungry teenagers!

The base of this recipe came from 100% Vegetarian, by Julianne Pickle.

 

Mazidra

Lentils:

  • 1 c. lentils (rinsed and “de-stoned”)
  • 2-3 c. water
  • 1/2 c. (or more) chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or 3/4 tsp. garlic powder if you’re in a hurry)
  • 1/2 tsp. sweet basil
  • 3/4-1 tsp. salt (esp. use less if you only put in 2 c. of water)
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. Spike
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast flakes
  • 4 drops Liquid Smoke (don’t add too much, or it overwhelms the dish)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a touch of honey

Rice:

  • 1 c. brown rice
  • 2 c. water
  • 3/4-1 tsp. salt

Toppings (choose your favorites):

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Diced cucumbers
  • chopped onion (green or Spanish)
  • Sliced olives
  • avocado
  • non-dairy sour cream
  • non-dairy cheese or cashew cheese

Combine all lentil ingredients and bring to a boil.  (If you like soupy lentils, then use the full amount of water.  If you use the lesser amount, watch the level of broth toward the end of the cooking time.  When it gets just the way you like it, cover the pot to finish cooking.)  Simmer uncovered 45-60 minutes.

Bring the rice ingredients to a boil in a covered heavy-bottom pot.  Cook at medium heat for 30-45 minutes, until water is absorbed.  When there is just a tiny bit of water – or none – in the bottom of the pan if you push the rice aside with a spoon to look, take it off the heat, stir, cover, and set aside until the lentils are finished.

Let each person build their own layered plateful of rice, lentils, and toppings.

Serves 2-4

Quick Bean Dip

Fast food.  Some days you just need the availability of a quick meal.  A drive-thru sounds so easy and helpful, but doesn’t exist for vegans who want truly healthy foods to eat.  I have a solution for those busy days when you have little time to spend standing in the kitchen “slaving” over something healthy to feed your family.  Keep these ingredients in your cupboards on a stand-by basis for those crazy nights.

Unless you live next door to a restaurant, I can have this prepared and on the table by the time you can drive through the window during the supper rush at your local Mickey D’s (if you are willing to eat there) and get back.  Throw some veggie sticks, salad, or fruit onto the table with it and you’re ready to go!

Quick Bean Dip

  • 1 can black olives, drained
  • non-dairy cheese, shredded, such as Daiya or Vegan Gourmet (optional)
  • 2 cans of chili beans (do not drain)
  • 1 can refried beans

Pulse the olives in a food processor until they are small pieces.  Shred the “cheese” if using.  Stir all ingredients together in a 2-qt. bowl and heat in the microwave while you set the table and put out the fresh veggies, salad, or fruit you are serving with it.  (Some non-dairy cheeses don’t melt very much, but do add to the taste of the finished dish.)  Serve with corn chips (organic, if you can, to avoid any GMOs) or spread onto and roll up in tortillas.  Leftovers make a good sandwich filling with a little ketchup or vegan mayonnaise.

You can spice things up a bit with some salsa, guacamole, and/or soy sour cream.

This serves enough for a party, or to fill 2-3 hungry teenaged boys.  You can use just one can of chili beans to make the dish smaller.