TVP-stuffed spaghetti squash

Have you ever been stuck paying for a library book because you accidentally ruined it?

Have you ever turned on the wrong burner on the stove and burnt an item that had no business being on the stove in the first place?

In other news, I bought a book recently….It’s called The Everything Vegan Cookbook. It has more processed ingredients than I care for, but there are many good recipes scattered throughout–in fact, I had checked it out from the library for the second time this year before my little “incident”.

I made TVP Stuffed Peppers because I still had TVP from making chili. I’m not all that big on bell peppers, and I thought spaghetti squash might be a good sub. So, I skipped the rice and salt, threw in a little extra celery, decreased the oil to only 1 tablespoon, and used a pound of fresh mushrooms rather than measuring by cup.

I used the whole recipe to top a whole spaghetti squash (cooked separately, strands scooped out to plate). It was delicious! Catboy enjoyed it, too. I put half of it in the freezer, reheating it another day at work for lunch. Perfection! Half of the whole thing was a very generous, but fairly low-calorie, serving.

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Chick’n-y Green Beans and Carrots

I made this dish for my family, and it went over well with myself and my kids. So I made it for my omnivorous, Standard American Diet extended family, and they loved it! Even my 1-year-old nephew gobbled it up.

First I took the ends off of about 10 oz fresh green beans (local farmer’s market!) and broke into bite size pieces. Then I sliced about 6 oz organic carrots (I buy them from Walmart for less than $1 a pound and slice them into coins or sticks for dipping). I throw that into a frying pan over high heat with about and inch of water and mixed in about a tablespoon Better than Bouillon, imitation chicken style. Once the water boils down, I remove from heat and sprinkle on garlic powder and Chipotle Chili Power (more like hot Ground Red Pepper than Chili Powder; the right kind is important!). The Chipotle Chili Powder gives a very spicy, smoky flavor and is pretty hot, so go easy on it.

Veggie Chili

This tasted a little more like a soup than a chili, so call it Black Bean Veggie soup if you want :-D. I didn’t measure the spices, so just taste as you go (without burning yourself!). It makes 6 generous servings.

Spices:
Smoked paprika
Chipotle sea salt
Ground cumin
Cilantro

Ingredients:
400 grams (measured dry) black beans
1 15-oz can corn
4 mini sweet peppers, sliced/chopped
4 carrots, chopped
1.5 tablespoons minced garlic
255 grams chopped onions (frozen)
1 cup TVP
3 beefsteak tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable bullion (better than broth–beef would have been best but I only have veggie)
2 tablespoons coconut oil

For serving:
Caulirice
Daiya pepper jack shreds
Salsa

Instructions:
Soak, drain, and rinse beans. Cook, then drain the liquid and reserve for another use.

While beans are cooking, cut stems off tomatoes, chop (if your blender or food processor requires it), and puree. Simmer over medium heat with bullion and a little water.

Meanwhile, preheat coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic. Continue stirring often until they start to brown. Add spices, carrots, and peppers. Stir and cook a few minutes, then add corn (drained). Once oil is absorbed and veggie are browning, add to tomatoes. Add beans to tomato puree when they are cooked and drained. Once everything but TVP is in one pot, the chili should be more watery than desired. Rehydrate TVP with only .5 cups hot water (season with the spices) or broth, then add to chili and simmer longer.

To make caulirice, place cauliflower pieces in a food processor and process until each piece is about the size of rice, or use a shredder.

Serve with pepper jack and salsa mixed in. Pour the hot chili over raw caulirice and let the heat cook the rice slightly and the dish to cool just a bit. Yum! I made this for all 4 kids, me, and one more adult. I was the only one that added salsa, and the kids did dairy cheese instead of Daiya. Everyone said it was good, and the little ones requested seconds.

I haven’t tried freezing it yet, but I did eat it for lunch the next day. Chili/soup generally tends to freeze well, so this is a great recipe to make ahead of time in a huge batch.

Black Bean Veggie Burger

Ever since going vegetarian at age 13, I’ve thought of veggie burger patties as kind of a staple or veg*ns. My parents will grill them for me next to their chicken, and you can get creative using them in other recipes. Catboy even likes them. I was suprised (and my wallet was pleased) when I discovered I could make my own!

I have found Black Bean Veggie Burgers to be quite tasty. I’ve used leek instead of onion and roasted red pepper from a jar with good results. I have also substituted frozen pre-diced onion (chopping onions is the worst!). The tahini and soy sauce really makes for a great, savory flavor. Catboy requested a repeat meal on another day. I loved BBQ sauce and kale on mine instead of bun.

When I cooked them in my cast iron pan, I noticed they needed less than 10 minutes per side, maybe even just 5. They freeze well–I cook them per the recipe, then freeze, then reheat in the microwave to serve.

What do you like on your burger?

Linguini Marinara with Cauliflower

To prep ahead of time, you can chop cauliflower into small pieces and cook noodles (I used whole wheat linguine). On the day you’ll be serving it, heat a small amount of oil in a pan on high heat. Put in the cauliflower, stir, and saute until cauliflower is starting to brown, adding a generous amount of Mrs. Dash Chicken (according the the container, it includes no sugar or chicken) about halfway through. Add enough marinara sauce for both the cauliflower and noodles, stir, and turn down the heat. Add the noodles and stir until everything is heated.

The little ones all kept telling me how good it was! This dish required no prompting to eat. I probably should have removed their white shirts, though. Catboy put sriracha in his, with yummy results. The leftovers went in the fridge for a different day and was good the second time!

Let me know if you make this–I’d love to see how others like it!

Garlic Butter Artichokes and Brussels Sprouts

I’m new to brussels sprouts. I have vague memories of my mom serving mushy green balls as a side dish with dinner, unfairly getting a yucky reputation. Since they are so healthy, packed with vitamin K, C, B6, folate, etc., I wanted to give them another try. Their composition reminded me of artichoke hearts, so I decided to try them together.

I melted 1/4 cup margarine (vegan butter-style Earth Balance) in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Then I added about a tablespoon or so of minced garlic and let it simmer while I cut the sprouts in half. I used a whole package from Aldi–I think 12 oz. I drained 2 cans of quartered, canned artichoke hearts and added the sprouts and artichokes to the pan at the same time.

I turned up the heat and cooked until they were browned. I added some chipotle red pepper to mine. I thought it was excellent, but we all agreed the sprouts could be softer (next time I’ll probably cook them for a bit first, then add artichokes). I bet it would be good (and higher in calories) with some nutritional yeast or Parmesan-style topping. Catboy is not a fan of artichokes, and did not care for this dish. Hunny Bunny ate it, but wasn’t crazy about it.

How do you like your brussels sprouts? Have you always liked them, or did your tastes/priorities change after childhood, like mine?

Portobella Marinara Caps with Balsamic Baby Spinach

Mushrooms are such a controversial food. I rarely hear of people that think they are mediocre. It’s always “Yum!” or “the most disgusting food ever!” I fall into the former camp. Hunny Bunny loves them, just like me. Catboy officially hates them, but I’ve managed to make a veggie burger recipe with ground dried shrooms that he enjoyed, and he liked it when I hid minced shrooms along with lentils as the fake meat in an enchilada casserole. My mom would literally get sick if I tried to sneak mushrooms into her food.

Anyway, today I made this separately, just for me. I used 2 large portobella caps, total of 6 oz. I never bother removing the stem; they are edible but I see many recipes that say to discard them for some reason. I pricked the smooth edge with a butter knife before I put them in the pan.

I used cast iron, and put a little coconut oil in first. Once that was heated, I put the mushrooms in and cooked on both sides, loosely covering with a lid. Then I added marinara sauce (I like Hunt’s Garlic and Herb pasta sauce, but any would work, I’m sure) to the gill side. Cook a little longer, turning over when it gets watery.

I let those cool on my plate (smooth side down) as I cooked the spinach (about 60 grams) in the same pan with a few tablespoons balsamic vinegar. After most of liquid was reduced, I piled the spinach atop the shrooms and sprinkled with dried basil. I bet they would make good burgers, between a hearty bun, but I ate with fork and knife. Yum!

Do you like mushrooms? Do you know of anyone that feels apathetic about them, or is everyone you know pretty passionate about loving/hating them?