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.