Sunday, March 26, 2017

Tuscan Gnocchi Bake


I love gnocchi.. this is not a secret to anyone who knows me. I also love olives  (especially kalamata olives!), spinach, sun dried tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and vegan cheese sauce that's extra garlicky.  This is my perfect dish. Creamy, salty, loaded with veggies and soft gnocchi.

This us my dream dish for you.. and it's EASY to make. 



Recipe :

2 (17.5 oz) packagesof gnocchi 
1 bunch of fresh spinach 
1 large zucchini, chopped 
1 onion, chopped 
Italian seasoning 
3 Tbsp. Vegan butter 
3 Tbsp. Flour 
3 cups unsweetened plant milk
5 cloves of garlic, crushed 
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 (3 oz.) package of sun dried tomatoes*
1/2 cup kalamata olives, chopped 
1 (8 oz.) Daiya mozzarella shreds**
1 cup panko breadcrumbs  (optional)
1/2 cup of vegan Parmesan  (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste 

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 400°

2. SautĆ©e onions and zucchini over medium heat with Italian seasoning until tender. Set aside. 

3. In a large skillet over medium heat,  melt butter and flour together to form a roux. Stir with whisk to prevent lumps. 

4. Once you have a blonde colored roux, add plant milk, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to form your sauce. 

5. Whisk well as the sauce comes to a boil. This will prevent lumps.

6. Add your Cheese and allow to melt and become thickened.. about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. 

7. Pour your packages of gnocchi into an 11×13 casserole dish. 

8. Add fresh spinach, zucchini and onions, sun dried tomatoes, olives and your cheese sauce. Toss well.

9. Bake gnocchi for 20 minutes. If using breadcrumbs (see below), add to your gnocchi when there is 10 minutes left to cook. 

optional topping: 

1. In a small dish, mix panko breadcrumbs with Parmesan cheese. 

2. Pour breadcrumbs over gnocchi. 


Makes 4-6 servings.

* if you don't have sun dried tomatoes in your grocery store.. substitute 1 (15 oz) can of  petite diced tomatoes, drained well. 

** You can use any vegan mozzarella you enjoy. If you don't like processed vegan cheese, you can use 1/2 to 1 cup of nutritional yeast in its place.. adjust to your tastes. 




Sunday, March 19, 2017

Vegan Fajita Soup



Who doesn't love all the flavors of fajitas? I know we do! This is a easy recipe to pull all those flavors into an simple, one pot meal. Just serve with some colorful tortilla strips and a few chunks of avocado and you have a new "go to" soup for those lazy nights. 

This soup can be easily modified to fit your tastes and time schedule. If you prefer to use a vegan protein like Seitan or chick'n in this dish, it will still work perfectly. Just cut your vegan protein into bite sized pieces and cook as you would the mushrooms. I just used mushrooms because that's what we had on hand & they are easy to find in all parts of the world. You can substitute the vegan cream cheese for silken tofu and my vegan cheese sauce for any vegan cheese you can find at your local store, nutritional yeast, or just leave it out if you're not a fan. To make it easier, a bag of frozen bell peppers and onions can be used in place of fresh, chopped peppers & onions. 

All my recipes are open to your own personal interpretation. Just use the recipes as a guide as you learn to cook vegan meals. As you get used to the substitutions, please, make it your own! I love it when readers leave comments on their adaptations they have tried & enjoyed so others can try their creations too... that's how we learn šŸ’œ


Recipe:

1 (8 oz) package of mushrooms, chopped 
1 (15 oz) can of corn, drained 
1 pobalno pepper, seeded & chopped 
1 purple onion, chopped 
2 bell peppers, seeded & chopped 
1 (1 oz) package of taco seasoning
1 (15 oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed well
1 (15 oz) can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed well
2 (32 oz) vegetable broth 
1 (10 oz) can of diced tomatoes with green chilies 
1 (8 oz) container of vegan cream cheese 
1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped 

**Optional add ins & toppings**

1/2 tsp of liquid smoke  
1 fresh jalapeƱo, chopped 
Vegan sour cream 
Crispy tortilla strips 
Chopped avocado
Lime wedges 
Fresh chopped Cilantro 

Method: 

1. In a deep, soup pot over medium heat, cook your mushrooms, poblano pepper, bell peppers, onions and corn until tender. 

2. Add black beans, pinto beans, taco seasoning, diced tomatoes with green chilies, vegan cheese sauce, vegetable broth, vegan cream cheese, liquid smoke (optional), spinach, salt and pepper to your soup pot. 

3. Reduce heat to medium low and cook an additional 15 minutes, until warm and bubbly.

4. Top with chopped jalapeƱos, tortilla strips, vegan sour cream, lime juice, Cilantro, and avocado (or other desired toppings) before serving. 

Makes 6 servings 






Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vegan Mac-n-cheese with Green Peas


This is as simple as it gets. Vegan comfort food that even your kids will love. This mac-n-cheese has become a staple at our house because it's quick and easy. 

You could buy one of those boxed vegan mac-n-cheese meals, nothing wrong with that. I, honestly, use them when I'm short on time. I try to make this more than the boxed stuff just because we enjoy cooking as a family. 

This recipe is simply the old standard recipe I used to make before going vegan, veganized. I absolutely love taking a family recipe and making it vegan. It's a great way to prove that "anything you can make, I can make vegan!" Mac-n-Cheese is not the exception to that saying,  it's the proof that it's always true!


Recipe:

1 ( 1 lb.) box of pasta, cooked according to box directions & drained well.
3 Tbsp vegan butter 
3 Tbsp flour 
2.5 cups unsweetened plant milk 
1 tsp. yellow mustard 
3 slices of Chao creamy original cheese* 
4 slices of Daiya cheddar slices*
Salt, pepper and paprika to taste 
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed & warmed up in a microwave safe dish

Method:

1. Prepare you pasta according to the package and drain well.

2. In a large skillet, heat butter and flour over medium heat. Whisk constantly to prevent lumps. Cook 3-4 minutes, until well combined and "blonde" colored.

3. Add plant milk, salt, pepper, paprika and mustard. Whisk again to break up any lumps. Continue whisking occasionally until mixture comes to a boil and becomes thick. 

4. Add your cheese and stir until it all melts into a creamy cheese sauce. 

5. Toss pasta and green peas with your cheese sauce. Allow to cook a few more minutes until everything is heated throughly. 

6. Sprinkle with a little paprika before serving. 

Make 4-6 servings.

* If you don't have, or can't find, the Chao or Daiya I used in this recipe, use any combination & brands you like. Just make sure your cheese combination equals about 2 cups for this recipe. 

You can also use 1/2 - 3/4 cup of nutritional yeast in place of the cheeses I used in this recipe. It will not be as creamy, but the flavor will be similar. 

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Deliciously Sweet Beet & Apple Juice


I have STRUGGLED to like beets. I need to like them. They are really good for your body, especially when you have problems with inflation in your joints, like I do. 

I have been on a "quest" to enjoy this red, beautiful veggie. I have tried different juices, pickled beets, and even beet salads.. hated them all equally. 

Today, finally, I tried a beet juice that I loved! My oldest daughter, Britani, made me a pitcher of beet juice and insisted I try it.  I did so, only out of love for my daughter. I was so pleasantly surprised! It was sweet and delicious! My daughter is a genius. This is her recipe for really good beet juice ( never thought I would publish those words!)


Recipe:

3 whole organic beets, chop off tops and roots. Cut into pieces. 
3 honey crisp apples, cored & chopped 

Method:

Put your beets and apples into your juicer.

Strain using cheese cloth, if desired.

Serve cold. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Buffalo Chic Pea Quesadilla


I made this teice today because I loved it so much & it's so EASY!! I think this is my new "I need something quick" meal. 

This recipe is so easy, even a kid could make it (with supervision, of course). 


Recipe:

2 (15 oz.) Cans of chic peas, drained  **(keep that liquid! You can freeze aquafaba  (chic pea brine) to use as a vegan egg replacer later. 3 Tbsp = 1 egg)**
Buffalo sauce 
Vegan butter
Flour Tortillas 
Vegan cheddar style shreds 
Vegan ranch

Method:

1. Smash your chic peas in a bowl and add buffalo sauce. Mix well.

2. Butter one side of your flour tortilla. 

3. On the opposite side of the butter, cover 1/2 your flour tortilla with your smashed chic peas. 

4. Top chic peas with vegan cheddar style shreddedcheese and a drizzle of vegan ranch. 

5. Fold tortilla in half.

6. Place your quesadilla in a skillet over medium heat.

7. Cover skillet while your quesadilla is cooking to make sure your cheese throughly melts & your chic pea filling is warmed completely. 

8. Brown quesadilla on both sides

9. Remove from skillet and use a pizza cutter to quarter your quesadilla. 

10. Serve with additional vegan ranch for dipping. 

Makes 4 quesadillas. 



Monday, February 13, 2017

Mushroom Egg Rolls


My children LOVE Chinese food, especially egg rolls. Tonight was Chinese take out night at home. I made Sriracha Roasted Tofu with Rainbow Veggies , miso soup with Ramen noodles added and these easy egg rolls for dinner. We all ate with chopsticks and enjoyed a Chinese meal at home. 

These egg rolls are so easy to make. You could definitely serve them as an appetizer or to accompany your favorite Chinese food. 


Recipe:

1 ( 14 oz.) Bag of Cole Slaw veggies... (if you can't find these, use 4 cups shredded cabbage and carrots)
8 oz. Finely chopped mushrooms 
1 Tbsp. soy sauce 
1 Tbsp. avocado oil ( any oil will work)
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds 
1 tsp. ground ginger
Oil to fry
8 (egg free) egg roll wrappers 

Method:

1. Heat Cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, soy sauce, avocado oil, sesame seeds, and ginger in a non stick pan over medium high heat until tender 

2. Heat frying oil in a skillet over medium heat. 

3. Place 1/8 of the filling in the middle of an egg roll wrapper. 

4. Fold both sides in and then roll up like a burrito. Seal the end with a little water.

5. Repeat until you have 8 egg rolls. 

6. Place egg rolls carefully in your heated oil & fry until golden brown. 

7. Let egg rolls cool on a paper towel for a few minutes before serving. 

Makes 8 egg rolls.  


Monday, February 6, 2017

Vegan Party Food


Tonight was Super Bowl 50 and we were having a small get together at my house for our family. My oldest daughter wanted to watch the game and be able to bring my 3 month old grandson with her. We had a great time watching that amazing game, enjoying vegan food and sending time together as a family.

This is the first time I tried to put together a vegan party. I picked a few of my favorite recipes that could be quickly assembled without too much stress. Of course, there had to be dips, fried foods, sliders and something buffalo flavored to be a Super Bowl party. I think we fulfilled all those needs perfectly. Hope you will use these recipes and plan a fun event with your family. 


Recipes:

**Buffalo tofu bites and fried pickles**

2 packages (14 oz ) tofu, pressed well & cubed
1 large jar of pickle chips, drained well
3 Tbsp. Aquafaba ( or egg replacer equal to 1 egg)
1/4 cup flour 
1/4 cup corn meal
1/2 cup unsweetened plant milk 
Panko breadcrumbs to coat
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Oil for frying
Buffalo sauce to top tofu bites

Method:

IMPORTANT: Press tofu & drain pickles well. If it is not well pressed, the water in the tofu & pickles will cause the oil to splatter & may lead to burns.

1. Heat oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. 

Combine flour,cornmeal, and plant milk in a shallow dish. This is your wet mixture. 

In another dish, mix panko breadcrumbs with salt and pepper to taste. This is your dry mixture. 

Fry tofu first. You don't want it to taste like your pickles! 

Dip tofu in your wet mixture and coat well.

Take your tofu and dip into the breadcrumbs to coat.

Place tofu carefully in the hot oil. Fry until golden brown and drain on a paper towel before topping with buffalo sauce. 

For the pickles - dip your pickles in the wet mixture  and coat with dry mixture,  just like the tofu.

Fry until golden brown. Let them drain on a paper towel before serving. 

Serves about 8 people. 

*Vegan sausage balls* 

1 ( 14 oz ) package of LiteLife vegan sausage 
1 (8 oz) bag Daiya cheddar style shreds 
1 1/2 cups Bisquick 
Hot sauce to taste, optional 

Method:
Preheat oven to 425°

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with your hands until mixture is completely combined. * this is really the easiest way... don't try to mix with a spoon unless you have a lot of time to waste.

Form into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. 

Bake for 25 minutes, turning once to make sure they brown evenly.

Let cool 5 minutes before serving 

Makes about 30 sausage balls. 

**Pulled Jackfruit sliders**

4 ( 17 oz.) cans young,green jackfruit, drained 
1 ( 28 oz.) bottle of BBQ sauce 
1 package of dinner rolls, split in half

Drain jackfruit well before pouring into a crock pot on high heat.

Cover in BBQ sauce. 

Cook on high 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Jackfruit will fall apart  once ready. 

Serve on rolls.

Makes 16 sliders.

**Chili con Queso**

1 (15 oz) can vegetarian chili 

Prepare your cheese sauce and add to a sauce pot over low heat. 

Add chili. Stir to combine. 

Allow to heat up over low heat and serve with chips.

Makes 4 cups. 

**Cheater Hummus**

This is so easy!! 

1 (6 oz) package Bush's Hummus made Easy
1 (15 oz) can of chic peas, drained ( keep that aquafaba for the breading on the tofu & pickles!!)

Combine contents of hummus made easy packet  and chic peas in a food processor until smooth.

Makes 8 servings 

**Mike's Guacamole **

I am not allowed to give exact measurements because this is his secret recipe, but here's what's in it: 

Mashed Avocados
Purple onion, diced 
Green onions, diced 
Green salsa
Tomatoes with green chilies 
Cilantro,  chopped fine 
Lime juice 
Salt and Pepper 

Combine all ingredients and serve with chips 






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