Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vegetarian Chicken and Broccoli Rolls Recipe

I've done some once a month cooking lately and recently saw the need for more vegetarian conversions for once-a-month cooks. Tricia over at OnceaMonthMom.com puts together a great menu every month for freezing and reheating throughout the month. She basically does all the work for you (except the cooking) so that you and possibly a friend can cook for one day and have enough meals stored away for the month. The recipes for this month are delicious and several start out with no meat already. For those that include meat, I will give you the skinny on my conversions. I'm doing the half menu here designed for one 4-person family. If you're doing the buddy system, double it up or go back to Tricia's original posts and simply swap out the chicken. This recipe has a filling consistency similar to cream of anything soup, so Quorn chicken tender cubes work great. That's the basic rule with the Quorn "chicken," if it's creamy, it's dreamy. Quorny, I know. :) Anything without much of a sauce, like, say, lo mein noodles or fried rice, not so good. Believe me, I've tried it, a lot. It always tastes yucky to me. I'm planning to try a different "chicken" for those non-saucy recipes. Stay tuned.

"Chicken" and Broccoli Rolls                                   
2 loaves frozen bread, unbaked       
4 Tbsp. butter       
6 Tbsp.   flour           
2 C milk
2 C cheddar cheese, shredded
1 C mayonnaise
4 tsp. curry powder         
4 tsp. salt            
1 tsp. black pepper
2 C Quorn chicken tenders cubes           
4 C chopped broccoli, steamed
2 gallon freezer bags         

Dough: Prepare/thaw according to package directions.                                   
For filling: If you haven't already done so, steam or microwave broccoli until tender. Melt butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk and bring to a slow boil, stirring frequently. Let slowly boil until thickened to about a canned cream of soup consistency. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Stir in remaining ingredients, one at a time, in order listed, until well combined.                                    
To assemble: Divide dough in 24 balls of equal size. Roll each ball on a floured surface into a circle. Place .25 cup of filling in the center. Bring the sides up and pinch together tightly to form one seal across the top. Tuck that seam under itself and turn over. Shape into rounded roll shape and place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all rolls are filled. If desired, lightly brush the rolls with egg white. Bake rolls at 375F for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped. Flash freeze, then freeze in gallon bags. To serve: Microwave for 1-2 minutes until heated through or warm on cookie sheet in oven for 10-12 minutes or until heated through).

The Results
Unfortunately, there were a couple of issues with this recipe as converted. As it turned out, eventually, the rolls were quite tasty. But, from following the directions  (with slight vegetarian modifications), my rolls were a disaster. I recall reading in the comments on Tricia's site that there was quite a bit of leftover filling in this recipe. Not knowing whether that was right, I made it basically as written. But whoah, there is a whole lot of leftover filling--about 3 cups worth. So, if you want to do this recipe, I'd suggest making 24 rolls instead of the originally-posted 12. After baking mine, I think the directions should have read divide EACH LOAF into 12 rolls. My rolls came out pretty doughy after 15 minutes, so I had to bake them an extra 15 minutes just to get them fully cooked. I did make a few alterations to the recipe, which I changed in the ingredients list above. If you prefer to use the original recipe, check Tricia's original post or check the original recipe at StolenMomentsCooking. For the 15-20 minute version, cut the loafs in 24 total equal balls of dough. If you do 12 balls of dough, cook for AT LEAST 30 minutes (more likely 40). The changes I made were to the amount of butter (6 Tbsp. just sounded like too much to me), the broccoli (5 cups! wow), and the "chicken" (1 cup didn't seem enough, so I swapped 1 cup of broccoli out for an extra cup of "chicken").

As I noted before, these were quite good once I adjusted the cooking time. I imagine if you followed the intent of the original recipe and made 24 rolls, they would be a lot meatier (more filling in the goo to bread ratio), but I like bread so they were pretty good like this. But, it was pretty hectic, and obviously I did not enjoy biting into the doughy uncooked roll initially (it looked all browned and was even crispy on the outside). That was pretty gross. After two oven extensions, the rolls were finally edible. I think if I were to do it again, I'd make 24 rolls.

I made the leftover filling into 12 rolls with the one leftover loaf of frozen bread dough and everything turned out PERFECT! Delicious, too. It's almost like Broccoli Cheese Soup with curry inside a bread roll. Yummy. I'm eating them for breakfast now. Quick, easy and delicious.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday Nov. 29

It's Menu Plan Monday again.
Italian Stuffed Shells

"Chicken" and Broccoli Rolls

Vegetarian Pizza Casserole

Crockpot Falafel

"Chicken" Ranch Quesadillas 

Vegetarian "Beef" Caribbean Style Tacos

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vegetarian Meat Stuffed Potato Croquettes Recipe

"Meat" Stuffed Potato Croquettes
    4 C Mashed potatoes
    2 Tbsp. Milk or cream
    2 Tbsp. Butter
    Few grains cayenne pepper
    2 Tbsp. Grated parmesan cheese
    Salt and pepper
    2 Egg yolks
    Ground Meat Mixture
    1 bag "beef" crumbles (Morningstar Farm or Quorn)
    1 med. Onion; chopped
    1 Tbsp. Chopped parsley
    Salt and pepper
     1 Beaten egg; for batter
    Flour as needed for batter

To the mashed hot potatoes, add cream or milk, butter, cheese and seasonings. Mix well and beat until light; add the well-beaten egg yolks and let stand until cold. Mix meat, onion and parsley with salt and pepper and cook until done. Flatten 1 tablespoon potato mixture in palm of hand. Place 1 teaspoon meat mixture in center and roll into pear-shaped croquette. Roll in flour, then in beaten egg and again flour. Fry in butter or deep fat until golden brown. 4 servings.

The Results
I hate frying things. It's the one thing involved in cooking or baking food that I absolutely don't like. And I'm bad at it. I set my kitchen on fire once doing it. So, yeah, we're not friends. So, there was a tiny voice inside my head cheering for these to be bad so I never had to make them again. Sadly, that voice was slapped down when I popped one of these in my mouth. In spite of the fact that my creamy mashed potatoes were probably a terrible choice (they made the balls really hard to form, I think I'd leave out the milk and butter if I did this again) and in spite of the fact that a salesman at the door made me almost burn one batch, I would do it again. They are that good. I dipped mine in leftover gravy. Yum.
This makes a lot of croquettes.
I'm not sure it really serves 4...but this is the point that I
switched to mixing it all in together.
In spite of my terrible frying, they still look OK.

After the salesman refused to go away quickly in spite of my egg and flour-covered hands, I did; however, decide to cheat on the last half of the croquettes. I rushed it and just mixed the meat mixture into the potato mixture before balling and egg/flouring them. I tried both variations and they actually tasted about the same. I don't even really think the "surprise" factor of the meat being tucked inside the croquette made them look much different or made it worth the extra effort of inserting and rolling and all that. But, maybe for a holiday party it would be worth the extra time to make them pretty. Of course, nothing I fry looks pretty regardless of construction so I'm out of luck there.

Doing the croquettes this way is a huge mess.
But, they are so tasty it's worth it.

I'm thinking that I might try to do this like I do falafel next time I attempt it. Putting them in the crockpot should have the same effect on these croquettes as it does on falafel....making them pseudo-fried with less fat and way less mess. If you want to try that, the method would be the same, minus the frying. Just coat your crockpot with oil and cook on high for 2-5 hours. Let me know how it goes.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Italian Stuffed Shells Recipe

Here's another simple conversion of a traditional family favorite.

Vegetarian Italian Stuffed Shells
12 oz. jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 lbs. cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
1 (8 oz.) pkg. Mozzarella cheese finely diced
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. chopped parsley
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
3 C tomato or pasta sauce
1 C "beef" crumbles (Morningstar Farm or Quorn)
1 C frozen spinach, chopped
1/8 tsp. pepper

Cook shells in boiling salted water for 12 to 15 minutes. Drain well and dry in a single layer on paper towels. Combine ricotta and Mozzarella cheeses with eggs and blend with "beef," spinach, salt, pepper and parsley. Fill the shells with the cheese mixture. Spread a thin layer of sauce in a baking dish. Place the stuffed shells, 1 deep, in the baking dish and top with balance of sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese and cover with a sheet of aluminum foil. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

The Results
Yum. So much more exciting than spaghetti, but basically just as easy. I actually forgot to add the eggs, so it wasn't stiff like it is supposed to be, but it was delicious. That's one of those things I've never added to my lasagna recipe either, but I've had lasagna with eggs in it. It does stay together well.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vegetarian Turkey Perfect Sandwich Recipe

I planned on doing these sandwiches Friday with leftover Tofurky, but we did our Thanksgiving "dinner" at noon so we had these for dinner tonight instead. Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate and enjoy this delicious use of leftovers tomorrow (or for a midnight snack). The original was featured on a Food Network Thanksgiving special and basically took all the pre-fab Thanksgiving feast favorites and slapped them between two slices of bread: sliced turkey, canned cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes and mayonnaise on one slice of the bread. I thought, mayonnaise, with cranberry sauce? Eww. I braved it. I'm glad I did.

Vegetarian Turkey Perfect Sandwich

Basically, just take all your leftovers from Thanksgiving and slap them between two pieces of lightly toasted bread (TJ's Italian is perfect). Coat one side of one piece of the bread lightly with mayonnaise. Assemble, devour. You can pretty much do this with the addition of any of your holiday favorites. I went with the simple version for the first attempt and I'm not sure I will vary it. It was just that good. I debated on adding in a layer of green bean casserole, but stopped myself at the last minute.

The Results
Yum. Vary it and try out different things or go with the traditional. I'm sure we're all be eating turkey or tofurkey sandwiches for a few weeks now, so there's plenty more time to experiment. Honestly, I liked it better than the tofurkey by itself. I have always been a fan of smothering my turkey in toppings anyway (this goes back to when I tried to drown out the taste or real turkey with the cranberry and mashed potato flavor).

Try these other uses for leftovers:
Potato Croquettes
Potato Pancakes/Grilled Cheeses

Post linked at What's For Lunch Wednesday.

Around My Family Table

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mashed Potato Pancake (Grilled Cheese) Recipe

OK, if you hadn't noticed from my weekly meal plan, I made a bunch of the components for our Thanksgiving dinner early this year. I'm doing my leftovers backwards! What? Dogs and cats will be voluntarily living together soon, I know. But anyway, that led to several pre-feast mashed potato recipes primarily because of the massive size of the crockpot mashed potatoes recipe (it yielded about 12 cups of mashed potatoes for me). So, first up is mashed potato pancakes, which can be eaten just as pancakes or converted into delicious and healthy grilled cheese sandwiches. Yum!

Mashed Potato Pancake (Grilled Cheese Sandwich)
Pancake Ingredients
1 C Mashed potatoes
2 C Flour, sifted
1 tsp. Salt
3 tsp. Baking powder
2 Eggs, beaten
1 C Milk
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. Nutmeg

Grilled cheese option
6 slices cheese (I use Muenster)

Combine potatoes, sifted flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix together the eggs and milk and stir lightly into the potato-flour mixture. Add sugar and nutmeg and beat well. Bake on a greased griddle until cakes are brown on both sides. For potato pancake grilled cheese sandwiches, put a slice of cheese between two pancakes and return to grill until cheese is melted.

The Results
These are absolutely fantastic. The original recipe called for 1/3 cup of chopped chicken liver and I have no idea why. I simply removed the chicken liver. I debated adding 1/3 cup of "beef" but decided that might be funky. As for the grilled cheese step, I poached that idea from a corn pancake sandwiches (Arepas) recipe. I thought it would translate pretty well. As for the nutmeg, I think I may leave it out next time I make these in favor of the onion seasoning I have seen in other mashed potato pancake recipes. I will likely put about 1 Tbsp. of grated onion in lieu of the nutmeg. I think I'm just not a huge fan of nutmeg in savory recipes. It always tastes like I need cinnamon and ginger and some apples (and a lot more sugar) to make nutmeg happy for me. That may be just my bizarre hangup though.

This post is linked at Real Food Wednesday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday November 22

It's Menu Plan Monday again.
Meat stuffed potato croquettes

Spaghetti with meatballs

Mashed potato pancake sandwiches

Green bean casserole
Hot slaw
Crockpot mashed potatoes
Apple cranberry sauce
Pumpkin pie

Tofurkey dinner sandwiches (based on Turkey Perfect Sandwich as seen on Food Network)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vegetarian Singapore Noodles Recipe

Singapore noodles is a favorite of my husband's. It is one of his
go-to orders to test out new Chinese restaurants. The original recipe
most often comes with pork (sometimes chicken) and shrimp. There's no
convenient way to replace either of these meats. They do make a fake
shrimp, formed and dyed to even look like little shrimp. But, I'm not
a big fan. Of course, I'm not a fan of real shrimp either, so feel
free to hunt the fake ones up at your local veggie-friendly store and
add a cupful along with the bacon if you desire. That brings us to the
replacement of the pulled pork. Thebest substitute that I've used for
all things pork--ham, bacon, proscioutto even--is Morningstar Farm's
faux sliced bacon. It's definitely not bacon, one of the few meats I
actually liked the taste of, but it lends a little flavor. There are
several meatless versions of Singapore Noodles, but I think it's a
little bland without "meat." Fried tofu would probably do the trick,

Vegetarian Singapore Noodles
6 oz Dried rice stick noodles
1 Tbsp. Corn oil
1 Jalapeno pepper with seeds
2 sm Cloves garlic; peeled and
4 strips Morningstar Farms bacon
1/2 Green or red bell pepper
1 sm Spanish onion; shredded
3 oz Fresh bean sprouts;
1/2 tsp. Salt
3/4 tsp. Sugar
1 1/4 ts Curry powder

Soak rice stick noodles in boiling water 5 to 10 minutes; drain and
rinse in cold water. Set aside. Put wok on top of stove over high heat
and heat 1 to 2 minutes or until drop of water dropped into wok
sizzles. If using electric wok, heat wok to 200 degrees. Add oil,
jalapeno pepper and garlic. Stir-fry a couple of seconds. Add bacon,
bell pepper, onion and bean sprouts and cook, stirring, 15 seconds.
Add rice stick noodles and cook, stirring constantly, until well mixed
and noodles are heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Add seasonings and
stir until mixture is golden brown and the aroma is strong. Serve
immediately. Makes 2 servings.

The Results
This is pretty tasty. Will definitely have to post an update if it
passes the husband test tomorrow. Our daughter loved it without the
bacon. She has an unhealthy dislike of bacon, fake or otherwise. I
almost added fake chicken to the list, but the recipe just isn't saucy
enough to make the Quorn chicken tasty. Without a second meat, it's
not quite as exciting as the original and without the bacon (I tasted
my daughter's version), it's just a tad boring. The curry noodles are
pretty delicious in their own right though.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vegetarian Crockpot Chili Leftovers Recipes

Other than eating dozens of heaping bowls of chili with cornbread, what can you do with all of that Vegetarian Crockpot Chili? There are a multitude of possibilities. A few of my favorites follow.

Chili Casserole 
Leftover chili (about 2.5 C)
9 flour tortillas
2-3 C Mexican cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Coat 13 x 9 baking pan with non-stick spray. Alternate layers of tortillas, chili and cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Chili Dogs
1 package Smart Dogs or Tofu Pups tofu hot dogs
1 C leftover chili
1/2 C Mexican cheese
Hot dog buns

Fry the tofu dogs in a pan over medium heat with butter until the skin is slightly crispy. Remove dogs, top with chili and cheese.

Mexican Stuffed Shells
12 jumbo pasta shells
2.5-3 C leftover chili
Salsa (about 1/2 C)
1 C Sour cream
1 C Mexican cheese

Cook shells according to package directions. Preheat oven to 425. Fill shells with mix of chili, sour cream and cheese. Place shells in a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with more cheese, any extra mix and salsa. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Another easy and kid-friendly use is to mix the leftover chili with a package of macaroni and cheese. If anyone has another use for chili leftovers that they are willing to share, please post a suggestion.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Vegetarian Crockpot Chili Recipe

The ingredients for the chili including frozen onion and red pepper (I buy these in bulk, chop them and freeze them for future use). The frozen veggies do not require any extra cooking time. I also have found swapping one can of beans for refried black beans is pretty tasty and can make chili dogs less sloppy. This was yet another accidental find. I opened up two cans of refried beans while attempting to open the regular black beans for the chili. It had been a long day with the wee ones and gosh those cans are so similar.

I got the original recipe off of a post for good freezer recipes (the Once-A-Month Cooking type) on the Atlanta Area Mommies forum. This recipe is for a massive amount of chili and I have made quite a few alterations to the original. I have made this recipe a ridiculous amount of times. I usually make a half recipe and, for two adults and one solid food-eating child, it is still enough to make about a week's worth of meals. After we have chili and cornbread the first day after making the chili (it's best made the day before so the spices have time to soak in), we usually have chili dogs, chili casserole, maybe chili stuffed potatoes and I plan to try Mexican-style stuffed pasta shells soon. And, as I said, that's with just a half-portion of the recipe. But, if you have more freezer space, make it all and pull it out for future meals. Find out what to do with the leftovers.

Here is my altered vegetarian or healthy choice recipe.

Vegetarian Crockpot Chili
Say Mmm... grocery list
2 bags Quorn or Morningstar Farms "beef" crumbles
4 19.75-oz. cans black beans
4 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 medium onions, chopped
2 C chopped green peppers
2 tsp. garlic powder
6 Tbsp. chili powder
4 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 cube (1 tsp.) chipotle pepper seasoning (optional)

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on low 8-10 hours.

I changed all the beans to black beans simply because those are about the only beans my husband likes (and I prefer them also). I also doubled the amount of spices and removed the brown sugar. I did that because I goofed up when I made it and cut the beans, meat and tomatoes in half and forgot to cut all the spices. But, as it turned out, we loved it that way, so I have kept making it the same way. As for the sugar, once again, I inadvertently left it out that first time. I tried it once with the sugar included and just didn't like the sweet undertone as much as the spicy version. I always add either a chipotle pepper cube or cayenne pepper because we all prefer our chili more spicy than average (including our 20-month old). I also sometimes use red bell peppers or a stoplight blend of bell peppers for a change of pace.

Here's the original recipe.

Crockpot Chili

2 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained
3 16-oz. cans kidney beans, drained
2 16-oz. cans Northern beans
4 14 1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes
2 medium onions, chopped
1 C. chopped green peppers
1 tsp. garlic powder
3 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt

Combine all ingredients, and separate into two 1-gallon freezer bags. Seal and lay flat to freeze. When ready to serve, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Pour chili into crockpot, and cook on low 8-10 hours.

 I rarely put the whole thing in the fridge, thaw it and then cook it. I usually just cook it and freeze any leftovers. But, if you're into Once-A-Month cooking, that's a good way to go.

The Results
Delicious as always and super versatile. Several regular meat-eaters have been tricked by the fake meat in this chili and were surprised to find out they ate and loved tofu "meat." Even my uncle who whines, literally, every time meat is not served in a meal loves this chili. It's a good one to try whether you are a vegetarian by choice or want to incorporate more healthy options for dinner. Anything with "beef" in a strong spicy or creamy sauce or base is a great option for beginners in vegetarian conversion recipes.

Menu Plan Monday

OK, I have slacked off on the menu planning and my husband has subtly let me know. He let out a long-suffering sigh at having to take Green Chile "Chicken" & Rice, AGAIN, for lunch.) So, here we go. It's Menu Plan Monday, Yay! Making myself do it again. Plus apparently it's the FlyLady habit for this month. I would've known that earlier had I not been slacking on my FlyLady stuff, too. Smile New baby, what can I say?

Vegetarian Chili

Singapore Noodles

Chili Dogs or Chili Mac

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Leftovers...unless I get the gumption to make something else and/or we eat up all the leftovers for other meals.

I will be posting these recipes and the results as we make them and try them on the site.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vegetarian Green Chili Burrito Bake Recipe...exposed!

This is ONE, single burrito. They are huge, stuffed full...and, chock full of food groups.

OK, not really exposed, just converted. Sheesh. This is a fairly simple one. For a newbie at converting recipes to vegetarian-friendly meals, I suggest ground beef as a launching site. It's an easy change. Both Morningstar Farms and Quorn make great ground beef substitutes (tofu-based and micoprotein-based "meats", aka mushrooms, respectively). I'm sure there are other substitutes out there as well. My take on these two is: Quorn is a little more like real ground beef, but is slightly more expensive than the Morningstar Farms version. Also, the Quorn tends to cook down less than the Morningstar Farms meat. Which brings up another point. If using Quorn, you'll want to use less than the original meat recipe calls for to convert it properly. However, with Morningstar Farms, you can use about the same amount.

The original recipe is from www.menu4moms.com.
Green Chili:
  • 1 lb. ground beef* (from freezer), or ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (from freezer)
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 - 14-1/2 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 cans water
  • 1- 4 oz. can chopped green chiles
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped, more or less to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
Assemble Burrito Casserole:
  • 1 package, whole grain tortillas, corn or flour
  • 2 Cups refried beans; canned, or homemade*
  • 2 Cups Mexican blend or Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Sour cream 
Now here's the converted Green Chili Burrito Bake:

Vegetarian Green Chili Burrito Bake
Green Chili:
  • 1 bag Morningstar Farms or Quorn beef crumbles
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (from freezer)
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 - 14-1/2 oz. can tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can water
  • 1- 7 oz. can chopped green chiles
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped, more or less to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
Preheat oven to 425. Thaw meat and onion. Heat meat and onion over medium heat. Cook until onion is soft but not brown. Stir in flour, add tomatoes, water (reduced from 2 cans to 1...this just looked like it would be too runny otherwise, possibly due to fake meat), green chiles (increased to 7 oz. can from 4 oz., mainly just because I like chiles, optional increase for you), jalapeno peppers, salt, and garlic powder. Stir until thickened. Reduce heat to low, simmer 30 minutes. Use that time to prepare the burrito casserole. 
Assemble Burrito Casserole:
  • 1 package, whole grain tortillas, corn or flour
  • 2 Cups refried beans; canned, or homemade (I used a 20 oz. can of refried black beans)
  • 2 Cups Mexican blend or Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Cup sour cream 
Heat tortilla briefly in microwave or on hot griddle so the tortilla is pliable. Place 1/4 Cup refried bean mixture inside the tortilla, with 1-2 tablespoons shredded cheese, and 1-2 tsp. sour cream. Or, if you're like me and that seems like a lot of individual measuring for each burrito, dump all those ingredients in a bowl, stir it up and dish a couple large spoonfuls into each tortilla. There was no amount listed for the sour cream in the original recipe. I went with about a cup total. Roll up tightly, place in 9 X 13 casserole dish. Make 8-10 burritos. Smother the burritos with hot green chili in casserole dish. Place casserole in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly. Serve hot burritos on plates, and pass around the optional garnishes below.
  • 1/2 Cup sour cream
  • 2 Cups shredded lettuce
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • Guacamole
  • Green onions, chopped 
The Results:
I absolutely loved this. I texted my husband after I sampled it fresh out of the oven and said something about it being, restaurant-level delicious. So yummy and different from your standard boring enchiladas and fill-your-own burritos that I usually make with practically the same ingredients. Our 20-month-old happily gobbled down about half of a burrito smooshed into bits in her plastic bowl. The 3-month-old is not quite up to burritos yet, but when she is I think this will be a repeat.

Eat Your Veggies...and 'fake' meat, too!

Insert standard recipe...bloop, bleep, blop...computing...converting...BEEP! Glorp! Vegetarian recipe achieved.

OK, it can't always be that easy. Converting the everyday family recipe into something vegetarians can enjoy is not always a simple task, but it can lead to a great and healthy meal (even for the meat-eaters in your life). But, unfortunately, it can also lead to some disasters. Knowing which "fake" meat substitute to use in place of what and even knowing which recipes are nearly impossible to convert can be a minefield of kitchen trial and error. I've been through this trial, and created several of what my husband, on a good day, would call errors if he is being his usual generous self. On a bad day, well let's just say "failure of epic proportions" would not always be out of line.

After a successful career as a journalist and newspaper editor, in what my husband recently referred to as my "heyday"...ahem, in the past tense, I began my career as a stay-at-home mom in 2009. I have since been striving to satisfy my non-vegetarian husband and child with meat substitutes and "fake" versions of family favorites. With the addition of my second daughter in July 2010, the cooking critiques are sure to become even more complex over the next year. With a nod to the crockpot lady, Stephanie O'Dea, I have decided to make a similar daily pledge for 2011. For each of the year's 365 days, a different recipe will be attempted. The standard family recipe will be converted to a vegetarian-friendly version. From past experience, some of these conversions will be fantastic surprises, while others will be epic failures. In the meantime, prior to the "official" start of my challenge, I'll be testing recipes, pleading for suggestions and sharing results. Follow along for the adventure.