Saturday, June 22, 2013

South Seas Chick'n

Seriously, I should just buy stock in Gardein. We love their stuff. And to make it worse, we found a local retail outlet that sells a bigger variety than the grocery store! It doesn't help I keep getting coupons. I mean, you HAVE to use coupons! We just like the versatility it gives us.

True, one should never too heavily rely on pre-made or packaged items. I know this. I believe this with all my being. But if ever you need to make dinner and have limited time, these can be a major help. That's my excuse that I'm sticking with for the moment.

South Seas Chick'n

1-1/2 c. vegetable broth
3 T. soy sauce
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. mango chutney or preserves
1 T. lime juice
Olive oil
Broccoli florets (as much or as little as you like)
One onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
One package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini
Cooked rice

Mix the broth, soy sauce, cornstarch, mango and lime juice in a bowl and set aside. In a skillet, sauté the broccoli, onion and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Add the scallopini, cover, reduce heat and cook until scallopini is heated through. When the scallopini is fork tender, remove each piece and slice. Return to the skillet, add the broth mixture and stir to heat through and mix well. When the sauce is thickened, serve the scallopini, vegetables and sauce over rice. Enjoy!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spicy Country Fried Tofu

I used to love my mom's fried chicken. She quit making it years ago, and now that I'm vegan, this pleases me enormously. However, only she could get the flavors just right. Which makes me realize it wasn't the chicken, actually, but the seasonings. I have tried to explain this to the meat eaters I know, that more often than not it is not the meat they like so much, but the flavors.

I've made several fried chick'n recipes over the years. I almost always use tofu, because it lends itself so well. Some of my various versions have included Fried Chick'n for National Fried Chicken Day and Southern Fried Tofu. I guess I really should find some kind of copycat recipes for some local fried chicken places and try them out. At any rate, this is yet another version of fried chick'n, using tofu.

Spicy Country Fried Tofu

1 c. flour
2 t. garlic salt
2 t. pepper
1 t. paprika
1/2 t. poultry seasoning
Non-dairy milk
One package of extra firm tofu, frozen, boiled, pressed, sliced
Olive oil

Combine the seasonings in a large Ziploc baggie and shake to mix well. Pour the milk in a shallow bowl. Dip each slice of tofu in the milk, then add to the spice baggie and shake to coat evenly and well. Do this until each slice of tofu has been coated. Heat the oil in a frying pan. You want enough oil to come up the sides of the tofu. Fry each piece until a beautiful golden brown. Serve. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Coconut Sesame Chick'n

My husband and my daughter-in-law are both huge fans of coconut. I can take or leave it, but sometimes it does add a nice flavor to dishes. This one is no exception.

Coconut Sesame Chick'n

Olive oil
1 T. sesame seeds
1 T. shredded coconut
One package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini
Salt and pepper to taste
Cooked whole green beans

Cook the sesame seeds and coconut in the olive oil until they just start to turn golden. Remove from pan. Add more oil and cook the scallopini until it begins to brown, then add the sesame seeds and coconut back into the pan, on top of the scallopini. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve the scallopini over the green beans, and make sure to get a nice dollop of the sesame seeds and coconut on each serving. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beefless Stroganoff

I've made a stroganoff before, a green bean and mushroom stroganoff and then another green bean and mushroom stroganoff for the crockpot. But a couple of weeks ago, I took a trip to a new Trader Joe's in town, just to check it out. I came across these beefless strips and bought a package, figuring I would no doubt come up with something to use them in.

I did.

Beefless Stroganoff

One package of Trader Joe's Beef-less Strips
Vegan butter
One onion, chopped
2 c. vegan mushroom soup (use your favorite recipe)
One container vegan sour cream
Favorite cooked noodles

Saute the onion and beef-less strips in the vegan butter until the onion is softened. Add the mushroom soup and half of the container of vegan sour cream. Stir until well mixed and heated through. Serve over your favorite noodles. Season to taste. Serve. Enjoy!

As simple as this recipe was, it was absolutely delicious! My son and I had two servings and my husband polished it off the next day for lunch. I had never used the Trader Joe's beef-less tips before, but I will most definitely buy them again!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Southern Chili

In Texas, chili is beef, beef, oh, and, beef. They are very specific here and chili cook-offs are common. I grew up with a different version that my dad makes. Okay, yeah, it has beef in it, too, but it most definitely is not the Texas norm. I have, of course, veganized his version and eat it once or twice during the year. It is a comfort food for me.

One of the biggest benefits of being vegan, that I have found at least, is the huge variety of food my family now eats. I never realized how limited our diet really was when we ate meat. We tended to fall back on the usual fare regularly, mostly out of convenience but always because it was tried and true. Despite my penchant for loving to try new recipes, I still tended to rely on the known, versus the unknown. And this with kids who have never been picky eaters! Sigh.

It pleases me enormously now to cook, and try new foods, or different combinations. It's fun. And it makes cooking such a pleasure! It also helps - a lot! - that I have such enthusiastic and willing to try new things eaters.

This recipe is one of those that takes foods we love and combines them in a different and delicious way.

Southern Chili

Olive oil
One onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
One bag frozen collard greens (or fresh, if available)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 T. chili powder
1 t. hot sauce
1-1/2 c. water
2 cans black eyed peas, drained

In a Dutch oven, saute the onion, carrots and garlic in the olive oil until softened. Add the collards, tomatoes, chili powder, hot sauce and water. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the black eyed peas and heat through. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pecan Fried Tofish

I am one of those types of people who loves, loves, loves nuts. I like to cook with them, add them to salads, bake them into desserts. I eat them raw by the handful. Did I mention how much I love nuts? My family has become accustomed to my adding them to as many dishes as possible, and humor me by eating them.

Pecan Fried Tofish

One package extra firm tofu, frozen, thawed, pressed, sliced
1 c. bread crumbs
1 c. chopped pecans
Non-dairy milk
Olive oil

Place some flour in a Ziploc baggie and add the tofu slices, two at a time. Give a good but gentle shake to coat the tofu. Repeat until all slices have been dusted with flour. Pour plain, non-dairy milk into a shallow bowl. Dump the flour from the baggie and add the bread crumbs and pecans. Lay slices of tofu in the milk to coat, then add to the baggie and give another good but gentle shake to coat with breadcrumb mixture. Fry these coated pieces in olive oil until nicely golden brown. Serve alone or with vegan tartar sauce.

Half my family thought they were a little bland, but the other half loved them as is. Play around with seasonings to find a mix you like.

I served mine up with cole slaw and French fries.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Deviled Chick'n Cutlets

We've had such great success grilling the Gardein Chick'n Scallopini that I decided to see how well they'd cook in my regular oven. As was to be expected, they did not disappoint!

Deviled Chick'n Cutlets

One package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini
3 T. vegan mayonnaise
3 T. Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. sage
1/2 t. hot pepper sauce
1/4 c. bread crumbs
1/4 t. salt

Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil. Lay the cutlets on this baking sheet. Mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, garlic, sage and hot pepper sauce. Brush liberally on one side of the cutlets. Mix together the bread crumbs and salt. Sprinkle liberally on top of coated cutlets. Now flip them all over and repeat with the mayonnaise mixture, topped with the breadcrumbs. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Serve. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sauteed Dandelion Greens

I have seen recipes for cooking dandelion greens for years. Since my yard only manages to produce one dandelion a year, I haven't had any success in harvesting the greens. Several times I've seen mention of buying the greens at the grocery store, but have never seen them there.

Until last week.

I had been on the hunt for another remarkably elusive item - jack fruit - when I stumbled upon dandelion greens at a specialty grocery store. Imagine my surprise and delight! Of course I had to buy them! But what to do with them?

A friend loaned me a copy of a dandelion cookbook she had, and I decided to do something simple. I wanted to get the flavor of the dandelions, and not have them overwhelmed by other flavors. I chose a simple sauté.

This is what a mess of dandelion greens look like before cooking. Yes, *mess* is an acceptable unit of measure in the South!

Sautéed Dandelion Greens

One bunch of dandelion greens, washed and snipped into 2" pieces, stems removed
1/2 an onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil or vegan butter (I used olive oil this time)

Boil the dandelion greens in salted water for 10 minutes. Drain. Saute the greens with the onion and garlic in the olive oil until onion and garlic are softened. Serve. Enjoy!

I actually found them slightly bitter, so want to try them again prepared differently. I topped mine with butter, like I do all my cooked greens. Hubby doused his in vinegar just as he always does. My kids differed in their opinions. My daughter thought they were okay, my son loved them as is, nothing on top.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Cheesy Nutty Pizza

Some months back I was cruising along the internet looking for what I don't remember, when I stumbled across a pizza recipe that had me drooling. Thankfully I was wearing a bib at the time! Okay, not really, but I should have been. I saved the recipe to my computer with every intention of making it.

Then I got sucked into Pinterest. Man, I love that place! I went looking once again for that pizza recipe so I could pin it to one of my boards. Success! And then I finally made it.

It was worth it! Absolutely yummy!

Here is my uncooked version:

You can find the recipe here. Go. Make it. My picture does not do it justice.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fried Avocado Tacos

There is a local restaurant that my family goes to occasionally. Mostly for their spinach tamales. The last time we were there, while washing my hands in the bathroom, I noticed a sign the restaurant had posted on the wall about their new dishes. Avocado tacos. Avocado tacos?! Well, that certainly got a return trip!

They were only okay. While we were disappointed, it inspired me to try to make my own.

Fried Avocado Tacos

2 c. beer (Mexican beer if you can find it)
2 c. flour
2 t. salt 
2 t. agave nectar 
1 t. baking powder 
2 t. Sriracha sauce
2 c. panko bread crumbs 
Peel and slice the avocados. In a bowl, mix the beer, flour, salt, agave nectar, baking powder and Sriracha sauce. In a Ziploc baggie, add the panko bread crumbs.
Dip the avocado slices in the beer batter, then add to the Ziploc baggie and give it a good shake to coat the avocado. Do this with all of the avocado slices.
In a frying pan in hot oil, deep fry the avocado slices until nicely browned.
Serve the avocado slices in taco shells with lettuce, tomatoes and a dab of vegan sour cream. You can also sprinkle on some chopped cilantro and a spray of lime juice. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Couscous with Chickpeas

My daughter and I have a difference of opinion when it comes to couscous. She likes the larger Israeli pearled couscous, and I prefer the smaller Moroccan couscous. The winner is the one who does the cooking. So, naturally, this dish was made with the smaller variety.

Couscous with Chickpeas

One box of couscous
Olive oil
One onion, chopped
Green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t. grated fresh ginger
One can diced tomatoes, drained
One can chickpeas (garbanzos), drained
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. coriander
1/4 t. black pepper
1/4 c. fresh parsley
Small handful sliced almonds

Add the couscous to 1-1/2 c. boiling water. Stir in a dash of salt, cover and remove from heat. Saute the onions, garlic and ginger in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes, chickpeas and spices until heated through. Stir in the couscous, parsley and almonds. Serve. Enjoy!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sausage and Peppers

The first time I ever had store bought vegan sausage, I was underwhelmed. Not that I was ever a fan of sausage in the first place, but occasionally I would cook some up. You know how when you start to feel bad the thing that won't get out of your brain is the last food you ate? For me, that was always sausage. Which begs the question: why did I keep eating the stuff and what possessed me to want to try the vegan variety?

Good question. I still don't have an answer.

That being said, I am still drawn to the rare sausage dish. And this one? This one is awesome!

Sausage and  Peppers

Olive oil
One package favorite vegan sausage (I prefer Tofurky or Field Roast), sliced into coins
One onion, chopped
One green bell pepper, chopped
3-5 potatoes, chunked
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 t. thyme
1/2 t. marjoram
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
One can diced tomatoes
1/2 c. vegetable stock

Saute the sausage in the olive oil until slightly browned, and set aside. In the same pan, sauté the onion and bell pepper in the olive oil until softened. Add the potatoes, herbs and spices, tomatoes and stock; bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 20-30 minutes. Add the cooked sausage and heat through. Serve. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mexican Lime Soup

Despite the fact that we've had to turn on the ac recently, we had a day of rain. And nothing is nicer than a day of rain (and thunder and lightning!) than coming home to a hot soup. We've been on a mushroom and corn kick lately, so this fit right in.

Mexican Lime Soup

One onion, chopped
One package sliced mushrooms
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 containers vegetable stock (about 8 cups, total)
One can diced tomatoes and chiles
2 ears of corn, husks and silk removed, sliced into rounds
5 potatoes, quartered
3 limes
Avocados, sliced

Saute the onion and mushrooms until softened. Add the vegetable stock, bay leaves, corn, potatoes and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover. Simmer for about 30 minutes, until potatoes are softened. Stir in chopped cilantro and squeeze the juice from the three limes into the soup. Serve over a bowl of corn chips and topped with avocados. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Tofu Steaks

Tofu and steak aren't two words that anyone generally associates with one another. And, let's face it, if you are trying to convince a steak eater that tofu is an exact substitute, you will fail miserably. That does not, however, in any way, shape or form imply that tofu steaks aren't delicious. They are! And cruelty-free, to boot. But while many meat eaters can be fooled by many of the meatless products out there, calling your tofu steak to them doesn't pass muster. I don't even know why we call them tofu steaks. What we really should just say is they are delicious, and here! Try one!

When we first went vegan, one of the first recipes we tried were tofu steaks. Not bad, but my son, who cooked them, went a little heavy on the soy sauce. Needless to say, they were a little on the salty side. I toned that down a bit when I made these.

Tofu Steaks

One package extra-firm tofu, frozen, thawed, boiled, pressed, sliced
One package sliced mushrooms
Lite soy sauce

Saute the tofu and the mushrooms in olive oil. Season with the lite soy sauce and sprinkle with salt and pepper. The trick is using enough soy sauce to flavor, but not overwhelm. Serve the steaks and mushrooms over a bed of organic spinach leaves and sprinkled with sliced green onions. Take a bite of the tofu along with the mushrooms and spinach and enjoy the blending of flavors in your mouth!

Serve alongside mashed potatoes made with rosemary, and green beans seasoned with Braggs aminos.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What Do You Do With Leftover Beans? Wraps!

Typically in my house, leftover beans and rice get gobbled up by the next day for lunch. IF there are any left over! I had a couple of servings left from the black beans and rice from the night before, and I decided to mix them with some other ingredients and roll them into wraps for dinner. They didn't look pretty, but they sure tasted good!

Black Beans and Friends Wraps

One onion, chopped
One green bell pepper, chopped
One package sliced mushrooms
One container roasted red pepper hummus
Large whole grain tortillas
Fresh organic spinach

Saute the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms until softened. Add the leftover black beans. We had mixed the black beans, corn, green onions, bell pepper and cilantro from the night before all together, and this is what we used. Spread the hummus on a tortilla. Layer the spinach on top, then add the black bean/mushroom mixture. Roll up and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes. Serve with guacamole and salsa, if desired. Enjoy!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Black Beans and Rice

You can never go wrong with beans and rice. They are such a staple at my house. I can always fall back on beans and rice and no one complains, they love it that much. I guess it is like a comfort food. Normally I do something simple like black eyed peas and yellow rice. But every now and then I like to change things up a bit. Since my son absolutely loves black beans, I know I can make them any time.

Black Beans and Rice

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed well
1-1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 T. Braggs aminos
1 t. chili powder
One can diced tomatoes
Green onions, chopped
One can corn, drained and rinsed
One green bell pepper, chopped
Cilantro, chopped
One avocado, diced
Cooked rice

Cook the beans with the broth, Braggs and chili powder. Add the diced tomatoes and heat through. Serve the beans over the rice with the green onions, corn, bell pepper, cilantro and avocado spooned on top. Enjoy!

This was simple and delicious, and the leftovers made it into wraps the next day.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Memorial Day Barbecue

My husband, who is a veteran, decided he wanted to grill on Memorial Day. Never one to argue with him when he announces his intention to cook, I nonetheless have to come up with something for him to grill for the vegans in the house. We've had so much great success with the Gardein Chick'n Scallopini that I immediately pulled some of those out of the freezer. I wanted something that didn't require much in the way of preparation, and this was the delicious result!

The Best Ever Grilled Chick'n

1/4 c. organic apple cider vinegar
3 T. coarse ground mustard
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. lime juice
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 1/2 t. salt 
Black pepper
6 T. olive oil
One package Gardein Chick'n Scallopini

Add everything to a gallon sized Ziploc baggie and seal. Turn the bag over and under until the scallopini is well coated, and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Grill over coals, making sure to turn the scallopini over to avoid burning and thorough cooking.
Serve. Enjoy!

These really, really were the best ever grilled chick'n we've had. So tasty and the flavor was incredible! My son, who normally eschews anything I make with brown sugar, claiming he does not like sweet in his savory dishes, loved these. Next time I am doubling the recipe.

Hubby wanted to grill corn and potatoes together, but I wanted something more to go along with everything. This squash dish hit the spot!

Grilled Zucchini and Yellow Squash

3 zucchinis
3 yellow squashes
Olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
2 t. thyme
2 clove garlic, minced
Vegan butter
2 t. agave nectar

Slice the zucchinis and squashes into half moons. Divide into several foil squares and pour 1 T. olive oil and sprinkle salt over each group and seal up in the foil. I think I got about 10 packets. Grill the packets, keeping a watchful eye that they don't burn. Mix up the remaining ingredients in a bowl. While the vegetables are grilling and you are keeping a close eye on them, periodically pull back the foil and brush on the sauce. Use all the sauce, it is just that good. Serve with a sprinkling of vegan parmesan.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Cauliflower Rice

One of my friends on Facebook had a recent status about cauliflower rice. I'd never heard of it before, and then something popped up a day later on Pinterest. Intrigued, I bought a head of cauliflower and decided to give it a go. The result? My son deemed it delicious and ate all of it. At least I got to try it before it was all gone!

Cauliflower Rice

One head of cauliflower, minced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 t. onion powder
Olive oil

Saute the cauliflower, garlic and onion powder in the olive oil until everything is nicely coated and slightly softened. Dig in!

It is really that simple. No muss, no fuss. And so much room to play around with seasonings. I think next time I will use a chopped onion instead of the onion powder.
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