Monday, March 17, 2014

Vegan Shepherd's Pie (w/ Garlic-Basil Mashed Potatoes)

Every year, on St. Patrick's Day, we'd have Corned Beef and Cabbage. Since I stopped eating meat, I forgo the corned beef but still have the potatoes, carrots and cabbage.

This year, we decided to celebrate a day early and I was in charge of making the dinner, so I decided to change things up a bit and make a Shepherd's Pie, with a Garlic-Basil Mashed Potatoey Twist!

Meat and Veggie Mixture

1 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
4 Carrots, chopped
3 Celery Stalks, chopped
1 Small Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
2 Large Garlic Cloves, minced
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Bag (frozen) Gardein Beefless Ground
2 Tbsp Annie's Naturals Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 Dry Red Wine
1/2 Cup Water
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Sauce the onions, carrots, celery, pepper and garlic, with a little oil, until all the veggies are tender and start to brown a little then add tomato paste, salt and pepper.

Add the (frozen) beefless ground and stir/cook until thoroughly heated. Add worcestershire sauce, red wine and water. Cook for another 5-7 minutes so that the wine can reduce and the flavors can meld.

Transfer mixture to an oven-proof (glass, metal or aluminum) baking dish and spread evenly.

(I used a 11 3/4 x 9 3/8 x 2 5/16 aluminum roasting pan, since I was bringing it to my mom's house)

Mashed Potatoes

2.5 lbs Red Potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 Tbsp Trader Joe's Reduced Fat Mayonnaise
1/4 - 1/2 Cup of Soy Milk (dependent on desired texture)
1 Large Clove of Garlic, minced
Garlic Powder (to taste)
Basil (to taste)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees.

Fill a large pot with cold water, salt and potatoes and  bring to a boil.

Cook potatoes for about 25 minutes, until soft, and then drain and rinse. Return them to the pot or another large bowl. Add mayonnaise, soymilk, garlic, garlic powder and basil - and mash until desired texture is reached - then season with salt and pepper.

Spoon potatoes on top of meat and veggie mixture and spread evenly. Rake with a fork and then place in the oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes (or until the top starts to brown). Cut and serve.

(Tip: If you're bringing food to someone else's house to finish up, write the final cooking instructions on top of the container - it will make your life much easier)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Sloppy Vegan Brats

Ever have those days where you're torn between wanting two different things for dinner, but just can't decided which one to choose? Why not have them both!

This is a 2-in-1 recipe combines "Sloppy Dave's" (which my boyfriend's version of Sloppy Joe's) and Viana Veggie Bratwurst. You can eat each component separately or all together - but it definitely tastes delicious if you pile it all on one roll. This may just be the ultimate comfort food!

Sloppy Vegan Brats

Veggie Bratwurst

3 Links of Viana Veggie Bratwurst
2 Tbsp of Oil (We used Grapeseed)
(Sea) Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Pre-heat a medium-sized frying pan, over high heat, and add the bratwurst and about 1/4 inch of water. Roll the links around the pan and cook until water dissolves.

Once the water dissolves, add oil (and salt and pepper) to brown. To get a nice browning effect, be sure to keep the links moving - it should take around about 2 minutes to give them a nice, brownish skin..

Placed the cooked links to the side - you'll be using them in a bit. Onto Part 2....

Sloppy Dave's

Grapeseed Oil
1/2 Large Vidalia Onion, diced.
1 Small Red Pepper, diced.
3 Big Cloves of Garlic
1 12oz Bag of (frozen) Boca Crumbles
1 1/4 Cups of Hunts (Traditional) Tomato Sauce
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Add a thin layer of oil to a pan and saute peppers and onions, salt & pepper, over med-high heat, until onions are slightly browned.

Stir in garlic and frozen Boca crumbles. Cook until crumbles are heated through - it should only take a few minutes. Add a little more salt & pepper and equal parts basil & oregano (to taste)

Lower heat, to medium, and add the tomato sauce. Mix thoroughly until everything is covered, with sauce, evenly.

Turn the heat off and let the pan sit on the stove while you move onto Part 3...

Garlic Bread

1/2 Stick of Vegan Butter
2 Small Cloves of Garlic, pressed.
1/2 Tbsp of Oregano
2 Long, Whole Wheat Sub Rolls

Melt the butter in the microwave for about 10 seconds to soften, then add two (2) cloves of pressed garlic and oregano. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Spread evenly on rolls. (Hint: Don't cut the rolls all the way through!)

Place buttered rolls, facedown, on a griddle pan (set to med-high heat). You can remove them from the pan when they're slightly browned around the edges.

The final step is to put the sandwich together! Place a link of the bratwurst, along the seam of the bread, spoon on a few spoonfuls of Sloppy Dave's, cut the sandwich in half and then dig in!

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think of it!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Grilled Cheddar Cheese

The awesome people at GO Veggie! sent me a few samples of their vegan products and over the weekend, we tried a few of them. Since I've made grilled cheese - many, many times before - I decided to test drive their cheese slices and I have to say that I definitely was not disappointed!

I know that this is a super simple recipe, but there may be someone out there who never thought to make it once they went vegan.

Grilled Cheddar Cheese

Earth Balance Vegan Butter
2 Slices of Bread
2 GO Veggie! Cheddar Flavor Rice Vegan Slices
Vegan Bacon Bits (Optional)

Spread a thin layer of butter on one-side of both slices of bread.

Pre-heat pan, over medium heat, place the bread (butter-side down) in the pan and cover each side with a slice of cheese.

Cover with a steel dome cover (or a piece of foil, tented in the middle to keep the cheese from sticking to it) and cook for about 3-5 minutes (until slightly browned).

(Optional) Sprinkle vegan bacon bits on each slice

Flip one piece of bread on top of the other piece, plate and then cut in half.

I almost didn't get a picture of the finished product because I was too busy chowing down on the melty deliciousness of it. :)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Cinnamon-Raspberry Smoothie

Dave bought me a Vitamix for my birthday, so we've been smoothie makin' fools!

When it comes to smoothie prep, I'm a firm believer in eyeballing things and just adding the amount that tastes good (to you) so I was hesitant to post smoothie recipes. Then I realized that even just the ingredients may be useful to some people, so I decided that, every once in a while, I'll be posting some smoothie "recipes" here as well.

Cinnamon-Raspberry Smoothie

4 Ice Cubes
1 Scoop of PlantFusion Vanilla Bean Protein Powder
1 Large Banana
Almond Milk
Raspberry Extract*
Flax Seeds, ground (about 1 tsp)
Chia Seeds (about 1 tsp)
Red Food Coloring (optional)

Add all the ingredients and then turn the blender on. Make sure everything is blended thoroughly.

Hint: When adding the almond milk, I know that I've added enough when all the ingredients, in the bottom of the Vitamix, are covered.

(*If we had had actual raspberries in the house, we would have used those but the extract made a good replacement)

What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes? Share in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Date Squares

One of the awesome things about my relationship with my boyfriend, Dave, is that we both love to cook! Shortly after we started dating, he made these awesome date and nut bars - and from that moment on, I knew that he was a keeper :)

He hasn't made them in a while, so we decided that it was about time to make some again to share with all of you! They're super simple to make and absolutely delicious!

Date Squares 

1 Cup Almonds
1 & 1/2 Cups Pitted Medjool Dates (you can add a few extra)
1/2 Cup Sweet, Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut
1/4 Enjoy Life's Semi- Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
1Tbsp Vanilla Extract

In a food processor, pulse almonds until they become coarse then throw in dates, cranberries, coconut, vanilla extract and pulse until mixed together. Toss in chocolate chips and pulse another 2 or 3 times.

Spoon mixture out onto a flat surface and then, using you hand, flatten gently.

Place in the freezer for about an hour and then cuts into squares

Be sure to keep refrigerated, otherwise, they may lose their form. If you wanted to try something a little different, I'm sure you could shape them into balls as well.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Parmesan Roasted Chick Peas

In the most recent email from Healthy Bitch Daily, there was a great recipe for Parmesan Roasted Chick Peas. It seemed super simple and yummy, so when I had a little free time this weekend, I decided to give it a try.

I made a few modifications to the recipe:
  • Added basil, nutritional yeast and flax.
  • Used 1 tsp - instead of 1/2 tsp - for everything but the red pepper flakes
  • Used a lot more than 1 tbsp of the vegan parm style topping

Parmesan Roasted Chick Peas
(Serves 4)

1 Can of Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
2 Tbsp Grapeseed Oil
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Dried Basil
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tsp Nutritional Yeast
1 Tsp Ground Flaxseed
1/2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper
* GO Veggie Vegan Parmesan Style Topping

*After I took the chick peas out of the oven, I put them in a bowl, covered them with the parm, shook them up and then covered with parm and shook again.

Click here for the cooking instructions on HBD.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cookbook Lottery #1 - Betty Crocker's Spicy (Vegan) Rice Patties

The first Cookbook Lottery Recipe is from Betty Crocker's Cookbook.

Spaghetti and Spicy Rice Balls (Pg 374)
This recipe was originally for "Spaghetti and Spicy Rice Balls" but, in typical Tracie fashion, I felt like changing things up a bit so instead of rice balls, I decided to make rice patties and forgo the spaghetti.

Betty Crocker's Spicy (Vegan) Rice Patties
(Makes 4 Patties)

1 Cup (uncooked) Carolina Brown Rice
1 Tbsp Osem "Chicken Style" Consomme
1/2 Cup Quaker Quick Oats
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1/4 Bread Crumbs (Italian Flavored)
1 tsp Dried Basil
1 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Ground Red Pepper (Cayenne)
1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed mixed with water (to replace the egg called for in the original recipe)
1 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds (just dump in the bowl)
1/4 Cup Soy Milk
Wheat Germ
Cooking Oil

Cook rice as per the directions on the package. After you bring the water to a boil, stir in Osem consomme, then reduce to a simmer.

While the rice is cooking, mix together oats, onion, bread crumbs, basil, oregano, red pepper, flax and flax mixture. When the rice is done cooking, add the rice and soy milk to the mixture and mix until everything is well blended.

Divide mixture into four (4) sections, shape each section into a ball and then flatten to make a patty.

Coat a large plate (big enough to fit the patties) with wheat germ. Place the patties on the plate and then cover with more wheat germ until fully coated.

In a large frying pan, pour in about an inch of oil and heat it. (It's hot enough to use when you insert the handle of a wooden spoon and it starts to bubble around it.)

Place the patties in the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. Flip and cook the other side for about 3 minutes. Cooking times may vary, so just keep on eye on them. When a nice light brown crust forms, they're finished.

Cover the large plate, that you used for the wheat germ, with a couple of paper towels and then place the patties on the plate. This will help to absorb any excess oil.

The patty tastes great on it's own but I'm sure it would taste awesome with a sauce on it as well.

Spoiler Alert!
The next "Cookbook Lottery" recipe will be from the Veganomicon! Stay tuned!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Pat's Savory Stuffed Peppers

I credit my love of cooking to becoming vegan but even more so to my dad.

My dad, Pat, loved to cook; he'd cater all my parties, cook amazing dinners and every Sunday morning he'd make a huge breakfast- not because he had to, but because he loved to. Not surprisingly, one of his favorite Holidays was Thanksgiving, because he got to cook a huge meal for the people that he loved. Even after I told my parents that I decided to go vegan, they were extremely supportive. I would often find him on the computer, researching information, to make the stuff he cooked "Tracie Friendly".

Shortly after he retired, he started working for a Jewish Temple as a janitor. One day, they were looking for someone to cater a meeting. My dad mentioned that he could cook and, as it turned out, he did such an impressive job that - from that day, until the day he left - he catered most of their events. I remember him coming home and being all excited about all the new, kosher dishes that he concocted. His dream was to open his own catering business, and while that dream never came to fruition, cooking for the Temple was a good alternative for him.

Unfortunately, he passed away this past October. He may be gone, but his love of cooking will live on through me. :)

I decided to name this stuffed pepper recipe after my dad because, after all, I learned how to make these by watching him. It's been slightly modified and adapted, but the basic recipe is still his. ♥

Pat's Savory Stuffed Peppers
(Serves 2)

2 Large Peppers
1 Cup (dry) Rice [I used Royal Blend - Texmati White, Brown, Wild & Red but any kind will do.]
1 1/2 Tbsp Osem "Chicken Style" Consomme
1/2 Of an Onion
2 Cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 handfuls of baby spinach
2/3 Bag Boca Veggie Ground Crumbles
(1) 1.5 oz packet of Meat Loaf Seasoning (I used McCormick 30% Less Sodium Meat Loaf Seasoning Mix)
(2) 24 oz Jars Tomato Sauce (I used Francesco Rinaldi Tomato & Basil and Garden Vegetable)
GO Veggie! Grated Parmesan Style Topping (optional)
Salt & Pepper (to taste)

Cut the tops off and clean out two (2) large peppers.

Cook one (1) cup of (dry) rice according to directions on package. When the water comes to a boil, add 1 1/2 Tbsp of Consomme, stir and then cover.

While the rice is cooking, saute the onions, garlic, spinach in a pan until the spinach has almost wilted. Push mixture to one side of the pan and pour in 2/3 of a bag of Boca Crumbles until throughly heated. (The crumbles should only take a few minutes to heat.)

Once the rice is done, mix the rice, crumbles and the onion/garlic/spinach mixture together and add about 2/3 of the packet of Meat Loaf Seasoning. (You could actually use the entire packet if you'd like - I just happened to only use two-thirds)

Use a large spoon to fill the peppers with the mixture - make sure you fill them all the way to the top! Place the peppers in a sauce pan -with high sides - and then pour the two (2) jars of sauce so that they cover the peppers/pan evenly.

[Tip: Try to make sure that the pan small enough so that the two peppers fit snugly and it's deep enough so that you can almost cover the peppers fully. If you don't have enough sauce, you can fill one of the jars up with water and add that to the pan. Just make sure you mix the water & sauce together.]

Cover the pan and bring the sauce to a boil. Once the sauce is boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.

After pepper is plated, top with the extra sauce and sprinkle on some GO Veggie! Parmesan topping.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Tracie's Rad Red Curry

I was all set: I had drawn the name of a cookbook, picked a recipe and bought the ingredients but the problem was that when the time came to make it, I was really craving curry, so I decided to see if there was something else in the cookbook that I could use. Unfortunately, really jumped out at me, so I just decided to wing it.

At some point in the near future, the recipe that I had originally planned to do, will be done, but today, you get this!

Tracie's Rad Red Curry
(Makes 3-4 servings)

2 Bags Success Boil-in-Bag Jasmine Rice
1/2 an Onion
Mushrooms (use as many as you'd like)
2 Garlic Cloves
2 Thin Slices of Fresh Ginger
1-13.5 FL OZ Can of Coconut Milk (two are pictured but I only used one)
2 Cubes of Edward & Sons Red Curry Cubes
1-16 oz Bag of Japanese Vegetables
Ground TurmericTrue Lime
Salt & Pepper

Bring water to a boil and boil the two (2) bags of Jasmine Rice for 10 minutes.

Chop up about 1/2 of a medium-sized onion, mushrooms, two (2) garlic gloves, two (2) thin slices of ginger and a couple pinches of salt. Saute until the onions become clear and the mushrooms start to shrink.

To this mixture, add 1 (13.5 fl oz) can of coconut milk and two (2) cubes of curry and stir until curry cubes are completely dissolved. (You may need to press the cubes with a spoon a bit to help them dissolve faster). Remove from heat.

By this time, the rice should be done cooking. Drain the bags and pour rice into the curry sauce. Mix until all of the rice is coated.

Open the bag of Japanese Vegetables and pour them into the same pot that you used to cook the rice. Heat for about 5-7 minutes (or until vegetables are fully thawed and warm.)

When the vegetables are done, pour the rice/curry mixture over the vegetables and add a little turmeric, true lime and salt & pepper (to taste). Mix thoroughly.

The recipe should take under 30 minutes to make and the finished product should look like this :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cookbook Recipe Lottery

After an extremely long hiatus, I'm baaaaccckk! I have a ton of cookbooks, so I decided to write down the name of each one on a piece of paper and then, once a week, randomly pick a slip of paper and choose a recipe from that book. That should make for more consistent updates! Yay!

Be on the lookout for my first "Cookbook Recipe Lottery" post soon :)