Monday, December 25, 2017

Cheezy Tater Tot Casserole

Merry Christmas. This year we have new vegans (yay!!), those limiting their meat intake (yay too!), a baby (!),  and my daughter, who has been diagnosed with Celiac disease. So.. I had to prepare a complete vegan & gluten free breakfast for Christmas brunch. Challenge accepted! 

I probably was great entertainment for the staff at our local Harris Teeter. I walked back and forth through the store,  looking at Pinterest (my saving grace most night!), searching for ingredients, and coming up with a plan to make tge best vegan & gluten free breakfast for my family - one that even the picky ones would eat & enjoy (no pressure 😂).

This was the filling, crowd pleasing recipe I can up with to make everyone happy. My entire meal plan is in the footnotes, if you want to know how to make a gluten free & vegan brunch fir your family.


2 bags frozen tater tots
Olive oil
8 oz. Sliced mushrooms, chopped 
8 oz. Kale, chopped & de -stemed
1 Tbsp. Cumin
1/4 cup vegetarian chick'n broth (or veggie broth)
1 tsp. Onion power
1 tsp. garlic powder 
Salt & pepper


1. Preheat oven to 375.

2. Pour tater tots into a greased 11x13 pan. 

3. Toss tater tots into a little olive oil and paprika.

4. Bake about 20 minutes, until tater tots are brown. 

5. While tater tots are cooking, make your cheezy sauce (see recipe link above).

6. Once cheese sauce is ready, start your vegetables. 

7. Steam your chopped mushrooms and kale in the vegetarian chick'n broth, paprika, cumin, onion powder,  garlic powder, salt and pepper. 

8. Cover & steam over medium heat until softened.

9. Remove tater tots from the oven.

10. Top tater tots with kale/ mushrooms and  the cheeze sauce. 

11. Toss lightly to mix all ingredients. 

12. Bake 30 - 40 minutes, until golden brown. 

Makes 8 servings. 

* Entire vegan & gluten free breakfast plan:

2. Vegetarian baked beans
3. Southern style grits
4. Cheezy Tater Tot Casserole 
5. Olive platter
6. Fruit roasted with pecans 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Italian Roasted Veggies over Chive & Turmeric Mashed Potatoes

It's Summer time and vegetables are plentiful. We have so many fresh zucchini, summer (yellow) squash, green beans, & tomatoes. Roasted Veggies is a very frequent meal at our home in the Summer and mashed potatoes are ALWAYS a let's have BOTH!

This is an easy meal. I'm taking the short cut of using mashed potato flakes and "doctoring" them for convenience (nothing against homemade, please use homemade if you have the time). All you have to do is cut up your vegetables, toss them in your marinade (which becomes a delicious sauce for your potatoes!), and roast while you do your laundry,  help kids with homework, or enjoy a glass of wine while catching up on one of your favorite shows. This is so simple, it will become a staple in your home too.


3 small yellow squash, chopped 
1 large zucchini, chopped 
8 oz. Mushrooms 
2 cups green beans, chopped 
2 cups carrots, chopped 
1 large purple onion, chopped 
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes w/ juice
1 head of garlic cloves, pealed
1 cup Italian dressing 
Salt, pepper, paprika to taste
6 servings of mashed potatoes 
Fresh chopped chives 
1 Tbsp. Turmeric 


1. Preheat oven to 450°

2. Toss chopped veggies with diced tomatoes (do not drain!), Italian dressing, salt, pepper & paprika.

3. Pour veggies into a large roasting pan. 

4. Cook 30- 40 minutes (depending on how large you chopped your veggies), stirring once about half way through.

5. Prepare your mashed potatoes adding fresh chives and turmeric. 

6. Once your veggies are "fork tender", remove from oven.

7. Layer your mashed potatoes & top with roasted veggies. Make sure you get the pan sauce to pour over your mashed potatoes because it's delicious!

Makes 4-6 servings

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Thai Style Veggie Panang

As any vegan will tell you, ethnic food is one of your best bets when eating a meal at a restaurant. Our family loves Thai food. Our local Thai restaurant offers many vegan options, that make going out to dinner very easy. This is one of our favorite meals when we go out to that Thai restaurant. 

I found panang curry paste at our local Asian Market and decided to give it a try. We usually order panang with tofu, but today I decided to make it with Asian style veggies. Using the veggies, makes this an easy & quick weeknight meal... which is very important in this family! 


6 cups of prepared rice
1 (4 oz) can of panang curry paste*
2 (13.5 oz) cans of coconut milk 
3 Tbsp. Oil
2 Tbsp. Creamy peanut butter (optional, but it makes it creamier!)
2 (14 oz) bags of Asian style veggies, defrosted
Sriracha to garnish (optional)


1. Cook your panang curry paste in oil over medium heat until fragrant. 

2. Add peanut butter.  Let peanut butter melt into the curry paste. 

3. Add coconut milk. Stir to combine. 

4. Add you veggies to your curry. Let the curry come to a boil.

5. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes. 

6. Serve over rice.

* if you want it less spicy, adjust panang paste to taste. 1/2 a can is mild, full can is medium heat.

Makes 4 - 6 servings 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Vegan Breakfast Burritos

Breakfast burritos are great! You can make large batches and freeze for later. You can eat them as "breakfast for dinner". You can pack them up for a "breakfast on the go". This is a great recipe to use up leftover veggies too! Breakfast burritos are good for you and make your life easier too, gotta love that!


2 (14 oz.) Extra firm tofu, drained well
3 Tbsp. Earth Balance vegan butter
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast 
1 tsp. each- garlic powder, turmeric, chicken seasoning, paprika 
Ground black Sea salt (regular salt if you don't have it, but black salt is preferred)
Fresh cracked pepper 
4 cups cooked, cubed potatoes
 8 flour tortillas 
2 cups cooked, shredded kale (optional)
I prepared package vegan bac'n or sausage, crumbled (optional)
Leftover veggies like mushrooms, onions and peppers (optional)
Vegan cheese (optional)
Salsa (optional)


Melt vegan butter over medium heat. 

Add your tofu, crumbling as you add it to the pan to resemble scrambled eggs.

Add nutritional yeast, spices, salt & pepper to tofu.

Turn heat to medium- high and cook tofu until all liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes, depending if you liked a softer scramble or a hard scrambled texture.

In a large mixing bowl, combine tofu, potatoes, kale, vegan bac'n or sausage, leftover veggies, and vegan cheese (or any combination you like with your tofu).

Mix well and divide evenly between the 8 tortillas. 

Top tofu with salsa (optional) and roll up tightly into a burrito. 

Serve immediately, or freeze once they are completely cooled.

Makes 8 servings 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Oven Baked Crispy Tofu

Yesterday my daughter wanted to go to the local Farmer's Market. We picked out some beautiful, fresh, local produce to prepare for dinner tonight. I bought a "cheddar" cauliflower, green tomatoes, cucumbers, strawberries, swiss chard, and got a great smoothie. 

Tonight we decided to make a "soul food" dinner. I turned the cauliflower into a beautiful, creamy, vegan cheese sauce ( based on my sauce in my Baked Spinach and Artichoke Pasta with added vegan cheddar cheese) and made a baked Macaroni. I sautéed the swiss chard with a little garlic & onions. I just needed a "main attraction" for my soul food night. 

I looked in the refrigerator and found 2 packages of tofu. I decided now is the time to try the oven baked tofu recipe that has been dancing around my head. It was perfect with all my soul food dishes tonight! If you like a spicier tofu, add your favorite hot sauce to the wet mixture. If you like it mild, stick to the recipe. It's great either way.


2 blocks tofu, pressed well 
1.5 cups unsweetened plant milk 
3 Tbp. Aquafaba*
1/4 cup flour
Hot sauce  (optional)
2 cups panko breadcrumbs 
Roasted chicken seasoning **


Preheat oven to 400°

Place a metal baking rack over a cookie sheet. This will allow the heat to circulate around your tofu and make it extra crispy. Spray rack with non stick spray. 

Cut your tofu into strips.

Mix milk, aquafaba, flour and hot sauce in a shallow dish to make a wet batter. 

In another shallow dish, mix panko breadcrumbs with the roasted chicken seasoning **( if you can't find it, mix paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper together) together to make a dry coating.

Dip your tofu strips in your wet batter and tgen coat with your dry coating. 

Place your tofu strips on the baking rack.

Bake for 25 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Serve with vegan ranch, BBQ sauce or sriracha mixed with Just Mayo.

Makes 6 servings. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Simple Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

I can't bake. I wish I could, but I can't. (You have probably noticed I do a lot of cake mix creations). There is only one desert I'm usually proud to serve. That desert is cobbler. 

I grew up in the country. My Great Grandparents owned a large farm that sustained our entire family. We gathered on Sundays, after church, to visit.. and eat. 
My Great Grandma Johnson made an amazing cobbler. It was simple, sweet and you coukd use any fruit that was in season. This is my version of her perfect cobbler. Of course, I made it a little more convenient. I have about 30 minutes to cook dinner every night before the family starts to get "hangry". Take all the shortcuts you can get in the kitchen! 

This recipe makes a large 11x13 casserole dish...about 6 - 8 servings. This is enough for my family, plus, leftovers for breakfast. If you are cooking for a couple or just yourself, you should cut this recipe in half.


4 (15 oz.) cans of peaches, rinsed and drained * 
1 cup blueberries  ( or any berry you like)
2 cups all purpose flour 
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. corn starch 
1 stick vegan butter, softened 
1 1/2 cups unsweetened plant milk 
1 tsp. Vanilla extract 

Vegan vanilla ice cream  (optional)


Preheat oven to 400°

Grease your 11×13 casserole dish 

Add fruit to casserole dish 

In a large mixing bowl,  combine flour, sugar, and corn starch. Mix well.

Add your unsweetened plant milk, softened butter, and vanilla extract. Combine all ingredients well.

Pour batter over fruit.

Bake 45 minutes, until crust pulls away from the sides of your dish & is golden brown.  

Top with ice cream while warm.

* If using fresh or frozen peaches ..

Make sure your fruit is peeled, thawed, and patted dry.

You will need 4- 5 cups of fruit for this recipe 

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 


1. Preheat oven to 400°

2. Sautée 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. 

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