Monday, February 28, 2011

Menu Plan Monday Feb. 28

Don't forget to check out Meatless (Vegan) Mondays

Last week's successes:
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Vegetarian Gyro Burgers Recipe
Sunday Brunch: Vegetarian Bacon and Egg Baked Chard

Last week's failure (if you're looking for a challenge):
I liked all of last week's recipes. Our resident meat-eater was a little disappointed with Vegan Chicken with Spinach, Mushrooms and Tomatoes. It tasted really similar to the Crockpot Lady's Pesto Chicken and Sweet Potatoes, and left him wanting that instead.

This week's hopefuls:

Monday Day 59
Meatless (vegan for me) Monday
Tuesday Day 60
Mexican (Taco) Tuesday
Wednesday Day 61
Black-Eyed Pea Falafel, based on Falafel, but made with Indian-spiced black-eyed peas

Thursday Day 62
Leftovers and Pantry Frankenstein Creation.

Friday Day 63
Pizza Italian Friday
Saturday Day 64
Sunday Day 65 Sunday Brunch
Don't forget to comment if you chose to do a Meatless Monday meal.

This post is linked at Menu Plan Monday.

Meatless (Vegan) Monday Challenge Link-up: Week 5


Welcome to the Vegan Mondays Link-Up!

Today's Meatless/Vegan Monday meal is from the Asparagus Risotto from Frugal Wannabe Cooks. This one started with an unfair advantage. I LOVE asparagus.

Now for the link-up rules: post your link to a meatless (vegan or vegetarian, or even an attempted meatless) recipe that you've posted on your blog.

Next week, a reader recipe that was linked up this week will be highlighted on Meatless (Vegan) Mondays. Each week you link up or comment, gives you an opportunity to be featured the following week.

Please join us for the Meatless (Vegan) Monday link-up. What Vegan or Meatless Monday Meal is your family having today?




Veggie Converter 365




Meatless (Vegan) Mondays: Vegan BLT Recipe


Day 59.

So, that tofu bacon was such a hit, I just HAD to try it in the ultimate bacon test...BLTs, of course. Fingers crossed that this one is close to the real thing. I did a little dance around my kitchen about this bacon. Bacon is the only meat I ever really had any affinity for, so I'm so glad I've found something reminiscent of it.

BLT
Ingredients
Tofu Bacon (recipe follows)
Sliced bread (I used homemade white bread a la Betty Crocker cookbook)
Green leaf lettuce
Tomatoes, sliced (or substitute salsa for a change)
Vegan mayonnaise (optional)

Directions
Toast your bread, add mayo to one side, if desired and top with bacon, lettuce and tomatoes or salsa.

Tofu Bacon
1 (7.5 ounce) package smoked firm tofu, frozen and thawed
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 dash liquid smoke flavoring (optional)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Directions

Slice the thawed tofu into very thin slices (like bacon).

In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast, water, maple syrup, liquid smoke, soy sauce, onion powder and garlic powder.

Place the tofu strips into the bowl to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Heat butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly fry tofu strips until crisp, turning once, about 5 minutes.

Drain on paper towels, and serve immediately.

The Results
Wow. Fantastic. I almost made this with wilted kale and onions to be extra fancy, but I'm glad I tried the pseudo-traditional route first. These sandwiches were delicious. The bacon doesn't have that crunch that meaty bacon does, but the flavor is awesome.

What's your favorite bacon recipe?

This post is shared at·Mouthwatering Mondays, Cravings, Menu Inspiration Monday, Muffin Tin Monday, Just Another Meatless MondayHappy Homemaker MondayHomemaker MondayMeatless MondaysMingle Monday, Make it with ... Monday and·Hearth and Soul.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Brunch: Vegetarian Bacon and Egg Baked Chard Recipe


Day 58.

Before you call me a dunder-bunny, I do know the difference between kale and cabbage. But, this dish reminds me a lot of my family recipe for German Hot Slaw (bacon, cabbage, vinegar and sugar...simple and delicious). Let's hope it rivals it for taste. This is another CSA-box inspired dish. I've never had rainbow chard before. Or any chard for that matter. So, I googled a lot and found this fabulous-sounding dish from Anna's blog.


Bacon & Egg Baked Chard


Ingredients

2 thickly cut pieces of tofu "bacon," sliced into small pieces (recipe follows)
1 small onion, finely sliced
5 chard stalks, stems finely sliced, leaves cut into ribbons 1 cm wide (I used rainbow chard)
1 red birds eye chilli, finely sliced (optional)
1 garlic clove, finely sliced
salt & pepper
1 large free range or pasture raised egg
good olive oil

Directions
Heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease a small baking dish (6 x 3 inches)In a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat, cook the bacon for about 2 minutes, or until the fat begins to release. Add the sliced onion and sliced chard stems to the pan and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the onion is completely soft and browning. During the last 2 minutes, add the garlic and chilli and if you need to add a drop of oil if the pan looks dry.

Add the ribbons of chard leaves and stir everything together for 1 minute. Season with a little salt and pepper. Fill your baking dish and then make a small, shallow indent in the middle of the chard. Crack the egg into this space and then bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the egg white is set but not rock hard. Try not to overcook or you will have a hard yolk

Tofu Bacon
1 (7.5 ounce) package smoked firm tofu, frozen and thawed
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 dash liquid smoke flavoring (optional)
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
Directions

Slice the thawed tofu into very thin slices (like bacon).

In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast, water, maple syrup, liquid smoke, soy sauce, onion powder and garlic powder.

Place the tofu strips into the bowl to marinate for at least 10 minutes.

Heat butter or margarine in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly fry tofu strips until crisp, turning once, about 5 minutes.

Drain on paper towels, and serve immediately.


The Results
Oh. My. Goodness. I FINALLY found a greens recipe that rivals German Hot Slaw. And the bacon! Wow! Seriously, the texture's not perfect but the taste is spot-on mixed in with these greens. I will definitely struggle not to repeat this dinner in 2011. Maybe we'll have it for lunches. I think the bacon and greens would make excellent BLTs.

What are you having for Sunday Brunch, Breakfast or Lunch?



Veggie Converter 365



This post is shared at·Sundays at One Food Club, Just Something I Whipped UpMy Meatless Mondays, Penny Worthy Project, Cookbook Sundays·and·Potluck Sunday.



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Stumbles Feb. 26

Are you a food blogger? Meat-eater? Vegetarian? Vegan? Please consider·Joining the Meatless (Vegan) Mondays Challenge. On to the stumbling. I've been slacking on my stumbles with a couple of busy weeks here (toddler had a big birthday for one). But, here we go with more deliciousness.

Veggie Delights--Bruschetta~uh, yum. I <3 bruschetta and this one looks super simple.

Step By Step Vegetarian Tamales: I've made some delicious Tamales. But these look super, too.


Dr. Seuss Eggs: Hilarious, and probably pretty tasty.


Chicken Bacon Veggie Pizza: Ooh, I will most certainly put this on the to-convert list. 


Lasagna Cups: What a cool idea. And yummy, too.


Mushroom Risotto: My goodness I love risotto and I never make it, I have no idea why. This one will be on my conversions list, too.


This post is shared at·Saturday StumblesFriday Favorites·and·Share Your Faves.

Vegan Chicken Lo Mein Recipe


Day 57.

This was a freezer meal and it was completely ready to go, with the exception of the lo mein/spaghetti noodles to serve it over. But, I can't find it! It's been eaten by my freezer. So, I altered the "chicken" fried rice fixins to suit the lo mein recipe. Here's what came of that experiment.

Recipe
Adapted from Chicken Chow Mein.
Ingredients

2-3 C "chicken" cubes
2 C veggie broth
1 carrot, sliced
1/2 C snow peas
1 C shredded cabbage
1 diced red pepper
1 4 oz can of sliced mushrooms (or fresh mushrooms)
1 can water chesnuts
1 can baby corn (I used half the can)
1 can bamboo shoots
Sesame Seed Oil
Soy Sauce
House Seasoning, to taste
Chow mein noodles, lo mein (or spaghetti) noodles or white rice


Directions

In a large pan - put a tbsp or two of sesame seed oil over medium heat and saute all the vegetables for 10 minutes or so. Cut the chicken into small pieces and add in. Add 2 cups of veggie broth and soy sauce to taste. Leave on medium heat and cook another 10 minutes or so. Serve over noodles of choice (I ended up using macaroni).



The Results
Yummy! There was a moment when I thought this turned out poorly, but it ended up fine after I stirred it up (there were a few pockets of seasoning when I thawed out the "fixins" that were intended to go into the fried rice). This was good. Much better than other "chicken" lo mein experiments I've tried. Our family loves lo mein, so this is a great addition to our recipe repertoire.

What's your favorite take-out fake-out?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegetarian Cauliflower Mac & Cheese Recipe


Day 56.

Another easy Once a Month freezer meal. We are nearing the end of these meals. But it's almost a new month, so you'll likely see more soon!

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese 
Adapted from Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Ingredients
1 pound dry elbow pasta
1/4 C of unsalted butter plus more to top
1/4 C of AP flour
2 C of whole milk
1 C of heavy cream
1 tsp. of dry mustard
3 C of grated cheddar cheese
1 C of parmesan cheese plus more to top
1 C of breadcrumbs
1 C of grated cauliflower
2 tsp. of fresh thyme

Directions
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the dried elbow pasta and stir. Cook just under (about a minute) al dente. Drain, rinse with cool water and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt 1/4 cup of butter in an 11" cast iron skillet and whisk in the flour. Cook out the flour for a couple of minutes then add in the milk and cream. Whisk constantly to make sure it's smooth without lumps.

Whisk in the dry mustard and season with salt and pepper.

In batches, melt in the cheddar/parmesan cheese. Mix a little in at a time and whisk to prevent lumps. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked, drained pasta to the cheese mixture and stir until the pasta's evenly coated.

Mix together the breadcrumbs, cauliflower and thyme in a bowl until evenly mixed. Spread evenly on top of the pasta. Dot the top of the breadcrumb with more butter and place in the oven.

Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes until browned and bubbling. I usually place it on top of a baking sheet so cleaning up isn't such a hassle. Cool for at least 5 minutes before serving.

The Results
Wow! This was fantastic. I originally intended to "meat" it up by adding bacon, but decided against it at the last minute. I froze this ahead of time in a ziploc bag, then thawed, topped it with the bread crumb mix and baked for 30 minutes at 400. So, so good and turned out perfectly. A definite repeat.

This post shared at Fat Camp Friday, Crafty Friday, Friday Favorites, Potluck Friday, Friday FavoritesFrugal FridaysFriday Favorites and I'm Lovin' It.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Project: Food Budget, Week 7



I am participating in Project: Food Budget. I will be continuing my series on leftovers casserole, or whatever Frankenstein Leftovers Creation I make out of my pantry and my fridge leftovers every Thursday.

I started once-a-month cooking, based on some of the recipes found at Onceamonthmom.com. So, instead of sticking to a weekly budget this go-around, I'm doing a monthly budget. I'm reducing our monthly budget from $400 to $300 in an attempt to really challenge us. 

This week, we spent $0 on groceries, again! YAY! Fireworks! Pow! Pow! 

Budget: $300 ($75 for the week)

Actual: $0 +$328 previous weeks = $328 total

So, that's probably it for the month. We stayed very close to our $300 budget in the end. I may have to spend about $5 before the end of the month for milk as we're nearly out. But, I'm proud of what we did this month. 


Leftover Creation: Vegetarian Chicken and Veggie Quesadillas


Day 55.

This is my go-to meal when I'm in a rush to get dinner on the table for the family. Take whatever leftover chicken or black bean meal I had earlier in the week, spoon onto tortillas, top with cheese and another tortilla,  grill on stovetop griddle. Done. So good, quick and easy.

Chicken and Veggie Quesadillas
Ingredients
Leftover Chicken and Veggies (I used leftover Chicken Posole, drained via slotted spoon)
Mexican cheese
Tortillas

Directions
Place one tortilla on cooking-sprayed griddle, top with chicken and veggie mix of choice and cheese. Top with another tortilla. Grill until slightly browned, flip and repeat.

If your chicken and veggie mix is on the bland side, kick it up a bit with some taco seasoning or House Seasoning, to taste.

The Results
This is my go-to meal for a reason. We all love quesadillas. These were particularly tasty. Sort of a no-brainer with the spicy Mexican ingredients.

What is your go-to quick meal for your family?

This post is shared with Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday,What's on Your Plate?No Whine Wednesday, Recipes I Can't Wait to Try, Things I Love Thursday, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday and Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vegetarian Gyro Burgers Recipe


Day 54.

I've never had a gyro, but I LOVE falafel sandwiches. So, when I was searching for something to make with the cucumber from our CSA box, I decided to go with these yummy-sounding gyro burgers. They won't replace gyros and falafel, but I bet it's a good kicked up burger.

Grilled Gyro Burgers

Adapted from Gyro Burgers
Ingredients
16 oz. plain yogurt, divided
1 (1 ounce) package dry Ranch-style dressing mix or make-at-home mix (recipe follows)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 1/2 pounds ground beef substitute
1/4 cup diced onion
6 pita bread rounds (or tortillas)
2 C torn lettuce leaves (optional)
1 tomato, seeded and diced

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 of plain yogurt with the envelope of ranch dressing mix. Remove half of the mixture to another bowl.

Into one of the bowls, add the remaining plain yogurt and diced cucumber; mix well. Cover and refrigerate. Preheat grill and lightly oil grate.

Mix the ground beef and 1/4 cup onion into the remaining half of the yogurt mixture. Shape into 6 hamburger patties.

Grill patties on medium heat for 7 minutes each side, turning once.

Cut off 1/4 end of the pita pockets and fill with torn lettuce, grilled burger, creamy cucumber sauce and diced tomatoes.


Ranch Seasoning Mix
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. black pepper
4 tsp. sugar
4 tsp. paprika
4 tsp. parsley flakes
1 C minced dried onions

The Results
This is pretty darn tasty. It sort of made me want falafel, but it was a good quick meal without all the baking of the falafel that I usually have to do. For a quick semi-gyro burgers version, you could try pre-made burgers topped with the tzatziki mixture and ranch dressing mix, tomatoes and lettuce.

This meal fuses American burgers with Greek gyros. What's your favorite "fusion" meal?

This post is shared with ·Real Food Wednesday, Crock pot Wednesday, Let's Do Brunch, Works for me Wednesday, Watcha Makin' Wednesdayand What's for Lunch Wednesday.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Chicken Posole Stew Recipe


Day 53.

Chicken Posole Stew..."chicken," yummy spices and veggies. What's not to like? I love Mexican Tuesday. :) I served ours with homemade bread. I ended up throwing the cubed bread into the soup for our toddler because I got a little heavy-handed with the cayenne.


Slow Cooker Chicken Posole Stew
serves 4 – 6
Adapted from Chicken Posole
Ingredients
For the stew:
4 C "chicken"
2 (15 ounce) cans golden hominy, rinsed and drained (I didn't get to the store, so I subbed corn)
3 C vegetable stock
2 (14.5 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes
3 carrots, peeled and sliced into thin rounds
3 scallions, both green and white parts, sliced thinly
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. cumin
2 tsp. light ancho chili powder
1 1/2 tsp. Mexican oregano
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt, or to taste (I left it out)
½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Optional toppings:
Chopped cilantro
Queso Fresco or other good quality Mexican cheese (montery jack would work)
Shredded radishes (Use the large holes on your box grater)
Avocado
Sour cream
Gluten-Free Tortilla chips

Directions
Place chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Put remaining ingredients in and stir to mix in spices.

Cover and cook on low for 5 – 6 hours, or until carrots are cooked through and tender.

Serve with toppings if desired.


The Results
Oh my goodness. Why have I never had this before? So delicious and spicy (I added a little extra cayenne). This would be a vegan recipe, except for the fact that I used Quorn tenders (which have egg whites in them). I really liked the dish a lot. It's one of those things I've heard of before and never had (due to it's real chicken component). Love it.

Like Taco Tuesdays, but don't care for this recipe? Check out more Taco Tuesday recipes. What's your favorite Mexican-themed meal? 


This post is shared at·Tuesdays at the TableSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTasty TuesdayTuesday Twister, Delectable TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayDelicious DishesReal Food Wednesday and Hearth and SoulMonday Mania and Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vegan Chicken with Spinach, Mushrooms and Tomato Recipe


Day 52.

Yay for freezer meals! Thank goodness I had this for today. Migraines are no fun. Don't forget to check out and link up to Meatless (Vegan) Mondays.

Recipe
Adapted from Tilapia with Spinach, Mushrooms and Tomatoes
Ingredients
2 C mushrooms, chopped
2 C tomatoes, chopped
2 C fresh spinach, finely chopped
3/4 C fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
3/4 C fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp. lime zest
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 "chicken" cutlets

Directions
Combine chopped mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach and set aside.

Mix basil, parsley, garlic, oil, lime juice, lime zest, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth.
Put one tilapia fillet into a pint size freezer bag and add 1/4 of the herb mixture. Work tilapia around until fully coated.

Add 1/4 of the chopped mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach.

Repeat for each serving.

Freeze. If cooking immediately, allow fish to marinate at least one hour before baking.

Freezing Directions:Allow fish to defrost in refrigerator overnight.
Preheat oven on the “Broil” setting.
Place the tilapia on a piece of foil and form a foil packet.
Pour remaining contents in the foil packet and then close packet.
Broil tilapia for about 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

The Results
This is pretty good and survived in spite of the fact that I left it cooking far too long (I had a migraine and completely spaced out). To me, it takes like pesto. I love pesto. So this is a good thing.

What's your favorite meat-replacement dish? I replaced fish here with "chicken"...do you have a chicken recipe you like better with beef, or meatless?

This post is shared at·Just Another Meatless MondayHappy Homemaker MondayHomemaker MondayMeatless Mondays and·Mingle Monday.

Meatless (Vegan) Monday Challenge Link-up: Week 4


Welcome to the Vegan Monday Link-Up!


Today's Meatless·Vegan Monday meals are from the Meatless Monday Recap Collection from 21st Century Housewife. I have my eye on the Parsnip Potato Leek Gratin!





Now for the link-up rules: post your link to a meatless (vegan or vegetarian, or even an attempted meatless) recipe that you've posted on your blog.

Next week, a reader recipe that was linked up this week will be highlighted on Meatless (Vegan) Mondays. Each week you link up or comment, gives you an opportunity to be featured the following week.

Please join us for the Meatless (Vegan) Monday link-up. What Vegan or Meatless Monday Meal is your family having today?


Veggie Converter 365



Menu Plan Monday Feb. 21

Don't forget to check out Meatless (Vegan) Mondays

Last week's successes:

Last week's failure (if you're looking for a challenge):
Pineapple Pepper Chicken was probably the most boring of the week's selections. But not truly a failure.

This week's hopefuls:

Monday Day 52
Meatless (vegan for me) Monday
Tuesday Day 53
Mexican (Taco) Tuesday
Wednesday Day 54
Thursday Day 55
Leftovers and Pantry Frankenstein Creation.

Friday Day 56
Pizza Italian Friday
Saturday Day 57
Chicken Chow Mein*, veggie-converted

Sunday Day 58 Sunday Brunch
Bacon, Egg & Baked Chard, veggie-converted

*OAMM Freezer Meals

Don't forget to comment if you chose to do a Meatless Monday meal.

This post is linked at Menu Plan Monday and Fit Meals Monday.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vegetarian Rutabaga Puffs Recipe


Day 51.

Brunch time again! Yay! This is a CSA box-inspired brunch. Rutabagas!

Rutabaga Puffs
Ingredients
2 C cooked, mashed rutabaga
1 C soft bread crumbs
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 C milk
1 egg
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

Directions
Combine rutabaga, bread crumbs and sugar.

Beat milk and egg together; stir into rutabaga mixture.

Spoon into a greased 1 quart casserole; dot with butter or margarine.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

The Results
Yum. Most recipes have spices included like ginger, cinnamon, etc., but I went for the blank slate and figured everyone could add what they want. So yummy and it's sort of like a mild sweet potato. I've not had rutabagas before and I really like them.

What are you having for Sunday Brunch, Breakfast or Lunch?

Veggie Converter 365



This post is shared at·Sundays at One Food Club, Just Something I Whipped UpMy Meatless Mondays·and·Potluck Sunday.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Vegan Bolognese Sauce Recipe


Day 50.

I've done Bolognese here before, prior to the start of my challenge, but this was a slightly different version via Onceamonthmom.com

Bolognese Sauce

Adapted from Bolognese Recipe

Ingredients
2 pounds ground beef substitute
1 medium onion, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 14 oz cans chopped tomatoes, drained (oops, I accidentally used one "fire roasted" and 2 regular)
2 15 oz cans tomato sauce
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. dried marjoram
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Directions
Place all ingredients in 5 quart slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Serve over your favorite pasta. 

The Results
Yum! This was great and was super simple to just throw in the slow cooker and serve when done. It's hard to recall exactly, since it's been a few months, but I think I preferred the first version I made in December. This may be because I used my tried and true carrots trick to lessen the acidity (put chunks of carrots in to cook, then REMOVE them before serving the sauce and discard ... the carrots absorb the acid.)

Do you make homemade pasta sauce or use the jar? I'm so guilty of using the jar, but I have really enjoyed trying these yummy homemade versions recently.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vegetarian Pesto Stromboli Recipe



Day 49.

This poor recipe was supposed to be made quite some time ago, then we were hit with a no-dairy requirement for a week and the next time it was scheduled, it was preempted due to Once-a-Month-Cooking exhaustion. But finally, here we go, Pesto Stromboli. 

Pesto Stromboli
Adapted from Pesto Stromboli


Ingredients

Crust:
2 1/2-3 C flour
2 1/4 tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 C warm water
Toppings:
reduced fat mozzarella (about 1 C or more to taste)
vegan pepperoni
pesto sauce (about 1 1/2 C)
Add more items to taste

Directions
To make the crust:
Heat your water until its warm enough to stick your pinkie in it comfortably for a second or two. About 110-115 degrees if you want to use a thermometer. Then mix in the sugar and yeast and let it sit about 10 minutes until the yeast is foamy. (If it doesn't get foamy then your water was too hot or not hot enough)

In the meantime mix 2 1/2 cups flour and salt. Once the yeast mixture is ready then add the yeast mixture and water to the flour. Stir until it forms a nice ball. Keep adding flour until the dough forms a ball.

Knead by hand or with a dough hook for about 5 minutes. Let the dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes. Then roll out the dough on a floured surface to form an oval.

Spread on pesto and sprinkle with your desired toppings.

Roll it up and then fold the end edges under.

Flip it over and place it on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray (seam side down.) Slice a few slits in the top to let steam escape when it is baking.

Cover with a towel and let it rise until doubled in size (30 minutes to an hour). Preheat oven to 350 and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until lightly browned.

The Results
So worth the wait. This was a delicious stromboli; the firs I've ever made. But it's pretty similar to calzones and pizza, just in a different form. My husband snuck some real pepperoni onto his side, but he said he liked it both ways. 

What's the last recipe you waited a long time to try? Was it worth the wait or a build-up to disappointment?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Project: Food Budget, Week 6


I am participating in Project: Food Budget. I will be continuing my series on leftovers casserole, or whatever Frankenstein Leftovers Creation I make out of my pantry and my fridge leftovers every Thursday.

I started once-a-month cooking, based on some of the recipes found at Onceamonthmom.com. So, instead of sticking to a weekly budget this go-around, I'm doing a monthly budget. I'm reducing our monthly budget from $400 to $300 in an attempt to really challenge us. 

This week, we spent $0 on groceries! YAY! Fireworks! Pow! Pow! Unfortunately we had already broken our budget last week, but we're setting a new goal and trying to stay close to where we're at now.

Budget: $300 ($75 for the week)

Actual: $0 +$328 previous weeks = $328 total

So, we're still over both the weekly and the monthly, but we haven't spent any more money. I'm hopeful we can stay under $350 for the month.


Leftover Creation: Cabbage Roll Casserole Recipe


Day 48.

It's that time of week to get out the big rubber gloves, clean out the fridge and mix up some new creations. Last week's boring cabbage rolls were my prime target this week. I'm attempting to pep them up with some extra sauce, bready topping and cheese.

Cabbage Roll Casserole
Ingredients
Cabbage Rolls
Spaghetti Sauce
Cubed sour dough bread (you could substitute biscuit dough or bread crumbs)
Spike seasoning
Mexican cheese

Directions
Fill 8 x 8 baking dish with cabbage rolls, cube about 1/4 loaf of sour dough and throw on top. Season with spike or House seasoning, to taste. Top with spaghetti sauce and Mexican cheese and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.
Adapted from Tomato Soup recipe.

The Results
This was much more exciting than the original rolls. But I think I just don't like cabbage much outside of German Hot Slaw. I'm spoiled, I admit it. But, I like this much more than the plain rolls and will at least throw portions in the freezer to eat over the next several weeks.

What's your favorite casserole or recipe made with leftovers?

This post is shared with Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Recipe Swap ThursdayWhat's on Your Plate?No Whine Wednesday and Recipes I Can't Wait to Try.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Vegetarian Barbecue Chicken Wraps Recipe


Day 47.

Grilled barbecue chicken inside tortillas, what can go wrong here? This was originally one of my once a month meals, but I didn't buy enough "chicken" so I actually made this to serve for today.

Grilled Barbecue Chicken Wraps

Adapted from Grilled BBQ Chicken Wraps

Ingredients

2 "chicken" cutlets or about 2 C of "chicken" cubes
1/2 C shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 C barbecue sauce
2 large (burrito style) tortillas

Directions
Thaw/cook chicken; I used cubes, so I ended up just dumping all the ingredients in the package, microwave-thawing it and then throwing that in the tortillas. But, feel free to be civilized and follow the instructions.

Heat tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to make them more pliable.
Assemble chicken, cheese and an extra drizzle of barbecue sauce in the center of each tortilla.
Roll up burrito style, tucking both ends in.

Heat a skillet or griddle on medium and spray with cooking spray.

Place the wrap seam side down in the pan for about 3 minutes and then flip to brown the other side.


The Results
So simple, fast and so delicious. I think it took me 5 minutes to make. We served ours with melted cheese on top and extra barbecue sauce for dipping on t side. These are a definite repeat, all of us loved them.

What's your favorite quick, easy meal?

This post is shared with Let's Do Brunch, Works for me Wednesday, Watcha Makin' Wednesday and What's for Lunch Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Vegan Beefy Empanadas Recipe


Day 46.

I've never had an empanada before today, but it's always been something I've wanted to try. Problem is, all the empanadas I see are filled with beef. So, when I stumbled across a beefy empanada recipe, I knew I had to convert it. And, I decided to go all the way and make it vegan. I've been weird about eggs since my vegan week.

Empanads
Adapted from Empanadas Recipe
Ingredients

Dough for empanadas mendocinas – makes about 20 medium or 30 small empanadas
3 cups flour
1 egg-yolk sized equivalent mashed banana (about 1.5 Tbsp.)
1/2 cup "buttery" margarine
3/4 C-1 C warm soy milk
1/2 tsp. salt

Beef picadillo filling
1 pound equivalent ground beef substitute (about 1/4 recipe)
2 white onions, diced, about 3 C
1/2 C "butter"
2 Tbsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. chili powder or any ground hot pepper
1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh oregano
1/2 Tbsp.ground cumin
1/2 C sliced green olives and jalepenos (I used a "hot" olive mix)
House Seasoning blend (4 parts Kosher salt and 1 part each pepper and garlic powder), to taste

Preparation
Empanada dough
Mix the flour and salt in a food processor, pulse until well combined.

Add the butter, blend well.
Add the banana mush "egg yolk" and the soy milk in small amounts, pulse until small dough clumps start to form.

Make a couple of balls, flatten into disks and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a thin sheet and cut out round disc shapes for empanadas (I used a glass measuring cup).

Use the empanada discs immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to use.

Beef picadillo filling and empanada assembly
Combine the "ground beef," paprika, red pepper, cumin, oregano, hot olives, salt and pepper in a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together and chill until ready to use.

To assemble the empanadas add a spoonful of the meat mixture on the center of each empanada disc.

Brush the edges of the empanada discs with water.

Fold the empanada discs and seal the edges gently with your fingers, twist and fold the edges of the empanadas with your fingers, as a final step use a fork to press down and finish sealing the empanadas.
Spray the top of the empanadas with cooking spray and lightly sprinkly House Seasoning on top; this will crisp them up when they bake.

Let the empanadas rest in the fridge for about 30 minutes or until ready to bake.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 F and bake for about 25 minutes.

Serve warm with chimichurri sauce or other dipping sauces; we used salsa.


The Results
Wow! I LOVE empanadas. These were fabulous. Seriously delicious. I wish I had made more so I could horde them and eat them all. Our toddler had one, but her lips puffed up a bit at the heat of the jalepenos and she asked for more milk twice. So, I had to cut her off at one. Not being selfish at all, really.

What's the favorite new food you've tried recently?

Like Taco Tuesdays, but don't care for this recipe? Check out more Taco Tuesday recipes. What's your favorite Mexican-themed meal? 


This post is shared at·Tuesdays at the TableSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTasty TuesdayTuesday Twister, Delectable TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayDelicious DishesReal Food Wednesday and Hearth and SoulReal Food WednesdayWhat's Cooking Wednesday?Tasty TuesdayThings I Love Thursday, It's a KeeperFull Plate Thursday and Ultimate Recipe Swap.