Sunday, January 29, 2012

Baked Pasta Casserole

I love casserole's, one -pot wonder dishes. I also love pasta and always have several types in the pantry. This original dish called for shells but I used Rotelle (cork screw shaped pieces). I'm not sure where I found the original recipe for this but it wasn't vegan. Here is my version.
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped, divided
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil  or a large handful fresh basil minced
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 package LightLife Smart Ground
  • 1 box of rotelle pasta (or whatever shape you prefer)shells
  • 1 jar favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 water or vegetable broth  
  • 5 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, about 1/4 teaspoon
  •  2 cups fresh Toffuti ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • Ener-G egg substitute (equivalent to 2 eggs)
  • 8 ounces of shredded mozzarella cheese (your favorite vegan kind)

To make the pasta layer: Saute 1 medium onion and 4 cloves of garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil.

Added spinach, grated nutmeg and season with a little salt.

Once this step is done, toss it all in a large bowl, set it aside and go onto the next step.

Now mix the Parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast and ricotta to the bowl with the spinach mixture in it.Stir well. Add the egg substitute.

Boil the pasta shells until they 1 minute shy of al dente. The pasta will finish cooking with the other ingredients in the oven. Drain well and add to the bowl of other ingredients. Set aside.

To make the meat sauce: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the same skillet you used to cook the spinach mixutre in. Add the smart ground, a medium onion and 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped.

Season with salt and pepper to taste, dried oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, dried basil and brown sugar. Add the jar of pasta sauce and one cup of water or veggie broth. (I just measured the water in the pasta jar so I could rinse all the sauce out of the jar). Simmer the sauce on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Taste the sauce for seasoning and if everything is good, turn the stove off and start assembling the casserole.

Assembling the Casserole:In a large oven safe baking dish spoon 2/3 of the pasta sauce.

Next put all of the pasta/spinach/cheese combo in an even layer.

Top the dish with the remaining 1/3 of pasta sauce.

Sprinkle with 8oz of mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 375 degrees on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes.

Serve with a side salad and/or some bread if you wish and your favorite vino. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Double Chocolate Banana Nut Loaf

Quick breads are so nice to have around the house. We use them for snacks, breakfast and sometimes as a desert. This is some yummy loaf bread.
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup natural applesauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a bread pan or a muffin pan and set aside. In a medium large mixing bowl, combine the canola oil, applesauce, sugar, and mashed bananas.

In a separate bowl, combine the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

Gradually add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture, alternating with the hot water and making sure to start and end with the dry ingredients.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Transfer the batter to the bread pan or spoon the batter into the muffin cups.

Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cooking times are approximate: jumbo muffins about 25 minutes, regular muffins about 15 minutes and about 50 minutes for a loaf pan.

Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hot & Spicy Refried Bean Dip

I found this recipe online courtesy of Paul Dean - I made it vegan, left out the spice rub, only made a half of the recipe and serve it with my home canned pickled jalapenos. Yummy! Great snack and football food. Here is my version.

1 can (15 oz) of Refried black beans
1 cup Diaya Cheddar Cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons Frank's Hot Sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Tortilla Chips

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine beans, cheese, hot sauce, cumin, and cilantro.

Heat until cheese has melted. Pour into a serving dish. I choose a dish that could go in the microwave so it could be reheated easily. Serve warm alongside tortilla chips and jalapeno slices.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mexican Layered Casserole

I'm sure I've said before what a fan we are of Tex-Mex dishes. This comes together pretty quickly and you can or subtract from the ingredients based on your likes. This is my version but feel free to make it your version.

  • 6 8-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon 1chile powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 3/4 cup Daiya pepper jack cheese
  • black olives and green onion
  • guacamole, Tofutti sour cream, salsa (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and garlic, and cook for 30 seconds.

Add 1/2 of the can of tomatoes, black beans, zucchini, corn, and 1/2 cup of water.  Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.

Coat a 8 inch round pan with cooking spray and pour 1/2 of the remainding tomatoes on the bottom and spread around.

Lay one tortilla on the bottom; top with about 3/4 cup of the bean mixture and some cheese. Repeat four more times, then top with last tortilla. Spread the remaining tomatoes over the top and sprinkle on the last of cheese. Top with green onion and black olives.

Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes, or until it is bubbly and the cheese is melted.

Top with some diced avocados or guacamole, fresh cilantro, and a dollop of Tofutti sour cream. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Grilled Eggplant Rollatini

I've been given several eggplants lately and have been making various dishes using them. I had an Eggplant Rollatini that I used to make that had ham rolled with the mozzarella, after looking at a few blogs I decided on this. You can serve this individually as an appetizer or serve over pasta for a full meal.
I forgot to take a pic of it plated up with some pasta! Duh!
  • 1 large eggplant
  • kosher salt
  • cooking spray* (I have a bottle that I fill with canola oil)
  • about 1/3 pound vegan mozzarella cheese, cut into fingers that fit your eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup grated vegan Parm Cheese

Slice the eggplant thinly, preferrably using a mandoline, to about 1/4″ thickness. Sprinkle both sides of each slice with salt, and place on a baking sheet, layering between paper towels. Set aside for at least an hour.
Preheat a griddle to medium-low heat. Rinse the eggplant slices and pat dry, then spray each with cooking spray. Grill the eggplant slices for a few minutes on each side, until lightly browned.

Set aside. Slice cheese into fingers. Place a finger of cheese onto a slice of eggplant and roll up, starting with the wider end.

Place in a lightly oiled baking dish.

Repeat until remaining cheese and grilled eggplant slices are used up.

To make the sauce, begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a saute pan. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper to the saute pan, and cook for one minute. Add the tomatoes and salt, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil and cheese.

Spread the sauce over the eggplant rollatini.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until heated through. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chicken Enchilada Soup

I love soup. I mean what's NOT to love, a pot of wonderful, comforting, warming, deliciousness scooped into a bowl and devoured. I saw this recipe on Skinnytaste - it is a crock-pot,  non-vegan awesome looking recipe. So, here is my version of throw it all in a pot on the stove and make it vegan version.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups Better Than Bouillon - no chicken broth
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 8-ounce box Westsoy Chicken flavored Seitan Cubes (cut into bite sized pieces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions, for topping
  • Toffuti sour cream

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes.

Add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and chipotle adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir.

Add the chicken seitan, cover and cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. Add cilantro. Add salt and cumin to taste.  

Serve in bowls and top with sour cream, scallions and cilantro. You can also top with avocado or crushed tortilla chips. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Roasted Caponata

I had lots of fresh veggies in the frig that needed to be prepared before I ended up letting them get past their prime. I hate it when I do that. So this recipe was inspired by one on The Cooking Channel, I didn't change much and it's awesome. I did serve this over some spaghetti noodles to make it a main dish and heated up a few Gardein Chicken Tenders for some protein. I can't wait to eat the leftovers!
This isn't a very good pic, but the dish is awesome.
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 summer squash, cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium-large Globe eggplant, cut into 1-inch rounds (then cut into quarters so it's large bite size)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Pour the canned tomatoes into a large roasting pan and spread to cover the bottom.

In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients. Toss to coat. Pour the vegetables over the canned tomatoes in an even layer.

Cover the roasting pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the edges of the vegetables are golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.
another shitty pic, and you can see we had already dug in when I remembered to take it!

I cooked some spaghetti noodles while this was on it's final roasting stage to serve under the veggies.