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.



Recipe:

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 **

Method:

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.


Recipe:

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)

Method:

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 

Method:

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. 




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 💜


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 jalapeño, 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 jalapeños, 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. 



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