Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pasta with Sauce of Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Olives.

Sundays at our house are typically known as Pasta Sundays.  I usually like to experiment with different types of pasta and sauce for our traditional Sunday dinner.  I know all the pasta dishes I've posted on here look the same, but they are all unique and different.  Like snowflakes.  Or people.

Tonight's pasta delight was:
"Corn-Rigatoni with Sauce of Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Olives."

This is what I did:

1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
1/2 can Trader Joe's green pitted olives, sliced
Spices of your choice, to taste (I used red pepper flakes, lemon-pepper, garlic salt, oregano, salt and pepper)

1 package pasta (I used corn pasta)

While the pasta is cooking, make the delicious tomato sauce.

First, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in pan and saute the onions and garlic until slightly browned.

Second, add the tomatoes and tomato sauce, spices, artichokes, and olives.

Let simmer on low heat while the pasta finishes cooking.

When pasta is done, serve all together with a side of salad!  Done!  Dinner is THAT simple.  But oh, so delicious.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mac and Cheese Again!

I made Mac and Cheese last night.  Yum.  We can not get enough of this stuff.  Every time I babysit, I serve the kids mac and cheese, and it always makes me want to make my vegan version. Will loves it.  I love it.  We are grown-ups with no kids and we love Mac and Cheese. 

I followed this recipe from my blog: "Mac and Cheese 2012 Update."

Instead of bread crumbs on top, I sprinkled the stuffing from this recipe:  "Stuffed Mushrooms and Cream of Broccoli Soup."

I used corn pasta elbows.

A-MAAA-ZING!  (In a sing-song voice.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Double Double Drive-Thru Burgers

I've tried making veggie burgers from scratch several times before, and whenever I got to the point of actually frying them, they just fall apart.  Chloe's Kitchen had a recipe for veggie burgers that looked good, so I tried it and they turned out great!  In case anyone is wondering what the best vegan cookbook is, my vote is Chloe's Kitchen.  That is, until I write my own. 

Here's the recipe for these amazing veggie burgers.  The "special sauce" is pretty good too and is the perfect substitute for the cheese and mayonnaise.

1            8 oz. pkg. tempeh, or 1 cup cooked brown rice (I used tempeh)
2            tablespoons olive oil
1            onion, finely chopped
2            cloves garlic, minced
1            15-oz can lentils, rinsed and drained
1            cup walnuts, toasted
1/2         cup all-purpose flour, or gluten free flour
1            teaspoon dried basil
1            teaspoon sea salt
1            teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3            tablespoons canola oil
Special Sauce:
2/3         cup soft tofu
1            clove garlic
1            tablespoon yellow or Dijon mustard
3            tablespoons ketchup
1            tablespoon agave
1/2         teaspoons salt
2            tablespoons pickle relish
1            tablespoon chopped fresh dill
              Optional toppings: sliced tomato, red onion, lettuce, pickle slices.
Burger:  Fill a large pot with enough water to reach the bottom of a steamer basket. Using a knife or your hands, break tempeh into 4 pieces and place in the basket.  Cover and steam for  20 minutes. Check the pot occasionally and add more water if necessary. Steaming the tempeh will remove its bitterness.
In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté onions until soft and lightly browned Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Reserve skillet for later use.
Add steamed tempeh, lentil, walnuts, flour, basil, salt, and pepper to the onions in the food processor. Pulse until the walnut pieces are very fine and the mixture comes together. If necessary, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix with your hands. Adjust seasoning to taste.  Form the mixture into eight burger patties with the palms of our hands.  The patties should be very thin if you are assembling your burger double-double style.  For a restaurant-style burger, from a thicker patty.
Heat canola oil in reserved nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and pan-fry patties in batches, adding more oil as needed.  Flip the patties, and let cook until they are nicely browned on both sides. Remove patties from pan and drain on paper towels. 
To make the Special Sauce: Combine tofu, garlic, mustard, ketchup, agave, and salt in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in relish and dill.
To serve:  Layer the Burgers, Special Sauce and other desired toppings on the buns. Make it double-double style by adding an extra bottom bun and burger in the middle.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Southern Skillet Black-Eyed Peas

I followed this recipe from Chloe's Kitchen.

Will came home from Crossfit and said "Looks awesome!  I'm going to tell everyone at the gym all about your vegan cooking and blog."  Ahh, thanks!

He stirred the first few ingredients while I sprinkled in the seasonings until I commanded him to make the biscuits.  Secret:  we cheated and made biscuits from the box...  oops.  Hey, but they were still vegan since we used rice milk!

While the biscuits were baking and the black-eyed peas were simmering, I cooked some white rice with paprika and liquid smoke.

Everything was delicious and needless to say, we went back for seconds and thirds and demolished everything.

(I halved the recipe.  Otherwise, as listed below, it serves 4-6)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cups cauliflower florets, roughly chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 15-once can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 14-ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup packed brown sugar or maple syrup
2 tablespoons white or apple cider vinegar

In a deep-sided skillet or pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and saute onions and green peppers until soft.  Add cauliflower and let cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, cayenne, and salt, and let cook a few more minutes. 

Stir in black-eyed peas, tomato sauce, water, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vinegar.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until cauliflower is fork tender.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve in bowls with biscuits and rice!  Enjoy!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Mini Potato Skins Stuffed with Avocado Salsa

After a long day of meetings at the office, I have to admit I did not feel like cooking when I got home.  I was so tempted to tell Will just to order take-out.  Needless to say, I sucked it up and got busy in the kitchen.  Will turned on Pandora and joined me for our traditional nightly dinner preparation!  Ahh, see!  This is so much better than ordering take-out. 

This is what we made (courtesy Chloe's Kitchen cookbook):

10 small new potatoes, red or white
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup salsa fresca (see recipe below below)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
black pepper to taste

1 seeded and diced medium tomato
1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro

To make the mini potato skins:
Preheat the over to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss potatoes with oil, salt, and pepper.  Spread potatoes on a large baking sheet, and bake for 45 minutes, or until tender.  Remove from oven, and let potatoes rest until they are cool to the touch.  Cut potatoes in half and scoop out the centers with a spoon.  Save the insides for another use, like mashed potatoes.

Turn the over to 400 degrees.  Place the scooped out potato skins cut side up on the large baking sheet and bake for an additional 15 minutes until the edges are crisp.

To make the avocado salsa:
In a medium bowl, using a large spoon, gently mix avocado, lemon juice, salsa fresca, salt, cumin, and a few grinds of pepper.  Adjust seasoning to taste.

To make the salsa fresca:
Mix the tomato, red onion and cilantro together.

To serve:
Stuff each potato skin with a spoonful of avocado salsa.

I halved this recipe since it was just us two.  I also served it with some white rice and black bean soup (topped with leftover avocado salsa).  Delicious and nutritious!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Singapore-Style Noodles

As I gazed at the contents of my pantry and kitchen, I pondered what I could make with the huge bag of rice noodles that's been sitting there for months.  I went to google and found this recipe from  Singapore-Style Rice Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables

It's from one of Robin Robertson's cookbooks.  I have one her other cookbooks, and I love it, so I knew this recipe would be good.

Below is the recipe.  It was spicy and delicious, and very filling!  It makes a lot, so we have tons of leftovers now.


  • 8 ounces rice vermicelli (mei fun)
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and cut into strips
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons good-quality curry powder (mild or hot)
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into thin matchstick strips
  • 1 small carrot, shredded
  • 1 ounce snow peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups small broccoli florets, lightly steamed
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro


Soak the rice noodles according to package directions until softened. Drain well and set aside.
Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until browned, adding 1 tablespoon of the soy and a sprinkling of curry powder sauce while cooking.

Remove and set aside on a plate. Reheat the skillet with the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and snow peas, and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes to soften. Stir in the remaining curry powder and stir-fry 10 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, along with the mirin, sugar, salt, and red pepper flakes, stirring to mix well. Stir in the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.

Add the drained rice noodles and return to a boil, stirring to coat the noodles in the sauce. Add the steamed broccoli and reserved tofu, and cook, stirring, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed by the noodles. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve hot sprinkled with minced cilantro.
Serves 4

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Here's one for all those vegan naysayers:  The other night I made an amazing spinach-artichoke dip from fresh artichokes and spinach.  As we were busily gobbling it down for dinner with tortilla chips and pita chips, Will said "This is definitely not healthy."  I replied, "A-ha!  You think it's not healthy because it tastes so good!  But you're wrong -- it's so super healthy and you wouldn't even know it!"

Sorry I don't have a picture, but we were so starving and ready to eat, we just dug in before I could get my camera out.  However, here is what was in my super yummy and healthy spinach-artichoke dip

1 cup freshly cooked artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, steamed
1/2 cup sauteed chopped onions
1 teaspoon Vegenaise
1 teaspoon Tofutti cream cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Daiya mozzarella 

Mix it all together.  Put into one big round baking dish or two smaller baking ramekins.

Generously sprinkle the Daiya mozzarella on top and bake for about 20-25 minutes, until nice and golden and bubbling on top.

If I brought this to a party, I swear nobody would know that it was vegan.  In fact, I'm going to test that theory at the next event.