Friday, September 23, 2011

One Pot Chili Mac.

I love easy cooking, especially on a Friday night after a long work week. I just want something fast and instantly gratifying. This one pot chili mac was the perfect thing. It was completely made up on the spot with a few ingredients. I love that you don't have to cook the macaroni seperately, it all goes in the same pot with the sauce!

One Pot Chili Mac

3 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 a large green bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB tomato paste
2 TB chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups dry elbow macaroni pasta
2 1/2 cups boiling water (put the kettle on while you chop veggies)
1 jar of spaghetti sauce, any kind (I used Prego Veggie Smart)
1 14oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

In a large pot on medium high, heat olive oil and saute the onion, bell pepper and garlic until veggies get fairly soft. Add tomato paste and spices and stir to coat veggies in spices. Add the macaroni, boiling water, spaghetti sauce and turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Add kidney beans and stir. Lower heat to medium and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes and then stir pasta to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. Cover again and cook for another 7 minutes. Remove lid and stir for 3 minutes or so to make sure pasta doesn't stick to bottom of the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Steak" and mushroom pie.

My neighbor was the one who inspired me to make this dish. She had a photo assignment to photograph the pub food at Ye Olde King's Head in Santa Monica. Her photos of the steak and mushroom (or it could have been steak and ale) pie looked amazing. I said to her: "I'm going to make that!" And so I did.

This is the filling of soy chunks, vegetables and mushrooms in a savory gravy.

Finished pie out of the oven.

I didn't have potatoes so I made cauliflower mash instead!

Steak and mushroom pie

3 TB vegan margarine + 2 TB olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, sliced
1 cup dry protein soy chunks rehydrated in boiling water until soft.
2 TB flour
1 cup veggie broth
1 tsp red miso
1/2 tsp vegemite or marmite
1 TB tomato paste
1 TB vegan worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp thyme
1 container mushrooms sliced
salt and pepper to taste
frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed (a good vegan brand is Pepperidge Farm)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Put the kettle on and boil water and pour over soy chunks in a bowl and let sit until soy chunks are soft.

3. Drain the hydrated soy chunks and put them in to a bowl. Add a couple of TB of flour and toss to coat the soy chunks.

4. Heat margarine in a pan on med high heat. Add soy chunks to pan and brown evenly, about 5 minutes. Remove soy chunks from pan and set aside.

5. Add oil to the pan and add the vegetables. Cook for a about 4 minutes. Then add vegetable broth, miso, marmite, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and thyme to the pan. Cook for a few more minutes and then add the mushrooms. Add the soy chunks back to the pan, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover and simmer until veggies are tender.

6. Pour mixture into a baking dish and top with puff pastry sheets. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and puffy.

Pie poured over cauliflower mash. This was SO TASTY.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hot Days and Salads.

It was a hot day and I was in the mood for a salad for dinner. So I texted my husband from work with a grocery list. My salad has romaine, arugula, sauteed tofu, cranberries, and walnuts. I made a really good dressing with walnut oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dijon, agave and soy sauce.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Orzo with White Beans and Greens

This is a very simple yet delicious recipe for orzo, a tiny rice shaped pasta. I sauteed a combination of mustard, turnip and collard greens in olive oil with garlic, white beans, grape tomatoes, fresh dill and olives. Then I tossed with cooked orzo, added more olive oil and lemon juice and topped with bread crumbs. Recipe adapted from The Olive and The Caper Cookbook.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Quick Vegan Caesar Salad

When inspirations strikes you have to go with it. I came home from a nice outing with my husband and I had in mind for dinner some kind of greek dish with orzo, beans, mustard greens, dill, olive oil... But then I got lazy and when I saw that I had romaine, tofu and a day old french bread, I decided to change gears and throw together a quick caesar salad. Here's what I did.

First, I made homemade croutons. I cubed a loaf of day old french bread and tossed them with olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. I baked them in a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, I sauteed cubed tofu in olive oil, soy sauce and some seasonings. This takes only about five minutes. You can use what you like. I had sansho spice which has a mixture of red chili, seaweed, sesame and sansho pepper. Set tofu aside to cool.

When croutons are done, set them aside to cool as you make a quick dressing. I stirred in a salad bowl, 1/4 cup of vegan mayo with a 1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard, garlic powder, a dash of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar. I tossed some romaine lettuce in the dressing, then added the croutons and tofu. Dinner was great! Tomorrow, stay tuned for that orzo dish. It might just happen.