Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mexican Cucumber Salad

Day 151.

Another CSA box special today. They sent a huge cucumber this week and I just had to do a cuc salad to let the cucumber be the star of the dish. I found a great-sounding spicy cucumber salad, but wanted to give mine a Mexican flare for Taco Tuesday. I think it the recipe turned out fantastically.

Mexican Cucumber Salad
Adapted from Spicy Cucumber Salad.
Ingredients
1 cucumber, thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons kosher salt or House seasoing
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons molasses
1/2 jalapeno, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons minced red onion
3/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup corn
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Directions
Drain and pat excess water off cucumbers. Throw slices in colander with a bit of kosher salt or House seasoning. Meanwhile, mix liquids in small saucepan. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce liquid to about 1/3 cup. Add onion and jalapeno. Cool liquid.

Meanwhile, add tomatoes, corn and cilantro to cucumbers. Place veggies in a large bowl. When liquid has cooled, pour into bowl and mix.

Results
OMG fabulous. I debated about the corn and the jalapenos, but in the end I think this is the best version of this dish that was floating around in my head. The Bug loves it and her daddy would eat it all himself if we let him. I have a feeling these cucs will be even more delicious after a few days in the fridge. If they last that long.

This post is shared at·Tuesdays at the TableSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTasty Tuesday, Delectable TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayDelicious DishesReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Hearth and Souland Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Meatless/Vegan Monday: Curried Tofu Breakfast Quesadilla and Link-up

Day 150.
It's another OAMM Monday and this week I'm having Curried Tofu Breakfast Quesadilla. This vegan treat was crafted with our toddler, Bug, in mind. She is a huge fan of curry and quesadillas. Not so much of eggs. So, we went with scrambled tofu. Such a healthy and simple vegan breakfast.

The Results
We all loved these quesadillas. So filling and delicious. Bug's response: "Mmm...hot...mmm, mmm good." She later brought me toys and told me "Happy Birthday Mommy." No, it's not my birthday. Yes, I've convinced myself this was her extended thank you for her yummy breakfast treat.

To participate this week here on Veggie Converter, you will be able to comment or link your Meatless Monday meals while I post my Meatless Monday challenge to myself, Vegan Mondays. If you're a vegetarian or vegan blogger and would like to be featured for Vegan Mondays, link up, or contact veggieconverter@gmail.com

Today's Meatless/Vegan Monday meal is Cook with Sara's Berry-Mandarin Salad. This one could easily be made vegan by replacing the honey with molasses or syrup. Yum. What a great spring-time treat.
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 the Meatless (Vegan) Monday link-up. What Vegan or Meatless Monday Meal is your family having today?



Veggie Converter 365


This post is shared at·Mouthwatering Mondays, My Meatless Mondays, Cravings, Menu Inspiration Monday, Just Another Meatless MondayHappy Homemaker MondayHomemaker MondayMeatless MondaysMingle Monday, MMMmonday, Mangia Monday,Make a Food-e Friend and Monday Mania.

Menu Plan Monday May 30

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


Last week's successes:
Last week's failure (if you're looking for a challenge):
A pretty successful week. No total bombs. But, the husband did not care for Curry Chickpea Muffins; the kids and I loved them. Tough to call that a failure.

This week's hopefuls:
·
Monday·Day 150
Meatless (vegan) Monday
Curried Tofu Breakfast Quesadilla @ OAMM

Tuesday·Day 151
Mexican (Taco) Tuesday
Spicy Cucumber Salad, Mexican-style

Wednesday·Day 152
Bacon Cheeseburgers, veggie-converted with homemade buns

Thursday·Day 153
Leftovers and Pantry·Frankenstein Creation.·

Friday·Day 154
Pasta Carbonara, veggie-converted

Saturday·Day 155
Fruagal Gourmet's Eggplant Caponata Antipasto, veggie-converted

Sunday·Day 156
Sunday Brunch
Thai Snap Beans, veggie-converted

This post is linked at·Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bacon Hashbrown Breakfast Wraps Recipe

Day 149.
Veggie Converter 365I found a super-yummy sounding recipe from Pam at OAMM and I just had to have it for Sunday Brunch. In addition to changing the bacon to "bacon," I altered the hashbrown to eggs ratio a bit to favor the hashbrowns. Our toddler, Bug, has a bizarre dislike of eggs in any form. So, I thought if she tasted the "crispy fries" first, she might actually eat the wraps. I halved the recipe, but kept the same amount of hashbrowns as the original recipe. I think this is going to be a winning recipe for sure. I have my fingers crossed that Bug is overwhelmed by cheesy tato taste and ignores those pesky eggs. I almost made hers vegan style (with tofu instead of eggs) but decided to risk it.

Bacon Hashbrown Breakfast Wraps
Adapted from Bacon Hasbrown Breakfast Wraps.
Ingredients
1 cup mushroom bacon
6 whole eggs (VEGAN: substitute 12 oz. container of tofu, scrambled into small chunks)
2 cups hashbrowns
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded cheese (VEGAN: substitute 1/2 cup cheez)
12 small tortillas
House seasoning, to taste
olive oil

Directions
Heat a large skillet, over medium heat. Coat with olive oil. Put bacon and hashbrowns in skillet and brown, if necessary, until the potatoes are crispy. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs (or scrambled tofu) and salsa; beat well until combined. Pour into skillet with "bacon" and potatoes and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until eggs are set. Spoon egg mixture into flour tortillas, sprinkle with cheese, and roll up.

TIP: For crispy wraps, spray wraps with cooking spray, sprinkle with House seasoning and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes, until crispy.

The Results
Bug loved them! Hooray! I loved them, too. Nice, crispy potatoes and yummy bacon, eggs and cheese. How can you go wrong? Yum.

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

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

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Homemade Hashbrowns Recipe

I am making a super recipe tomorrow from Pam at Onceamonthmom.com: Bacon Hashbrown Breakfast Wraps (veggie-converted of course). But, while I don't usually keep frozen hashbrowns in my freezer, I did have quite a few creamer potatoes left from our CSA box. I asked and looked around for homemade hashbrown recipes and, not finding one that was perfect for me on its own, I cobbled together my own.
 
Homemade Hashbrowns
Ingredients
 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups (about 4 medium potatoes) raw potatoes, shredded
1/4 Vidalia onion, shredded
House seasoning, to taste

Directions
I shred my potatoes in the food processor by cutting them into chunks small enough to fit through the chute and using the shredded side of my slice/shred blade. You can also throw your 1/4 onion in the chute and shred it all together.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet and turn oven on high broil.

Place shredded potatoes in a sieve or a bowl lined with cheesecloth. Press out excess water.

When potatoes and onion are ready, place in oven-safe skillet over medium heat, mixing in House seasoning. Fry the potatoes until golden on the underside (about 10 minutes). At this point, you could flip the potatoes and brown the other side in the same manner. But, I like my hashbrowns super crispy, so this is what I do.

Place the entire skillet in the oven under broil for about 10 minutes or until hashbrowns are, you guessed it, BROWN. Like hashbrowns are supposed to be. Not floppy and yellow, no ma'am. Brown.

If you like them floppy and yellow, I'm not judging, this is just my way to make browns.

Curry Chickpea Muffins Recipe

Day 148.

I loved the Chickpea Bread I made earlier this year and I've started trying to make one "Meal Muffin" a week (mainly because the kids love them). So, when it came time to plan this week's meal muffin, I wanted to do a variation on that bread. These are more like mini bread loaves than muffins. I have high hopes for these tiny meals.

Curry Chickpea Muffins
Ingredients
Makes 12 muffins 
1 cup chickpeas 
1/4 cup veggie stock
1 cups veggie stock or water 
1 tsp. dry yeast 
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. curry powder
 
1 tsp. salt
2.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour
 
Directions
Mash chickpeas with 1/4 cups veggie stock. Mash not to a puree, but so there are still some large pieces of chickpea remaining, set aside. Mix remaining ingredients and fold in chickpeas (setting aside a few tablespoons for topping if desired). Knead dough into a ball. Oil a bowl, turning dough ball to coat. Let rise for 1 hour. 
Divide dough into 12 pieces and drop into lined muffin cups. Drop a reserved chickpeas on top of muffins for topping. Let rise for 15-20 minutes in tin. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400. 
Bake at 400 for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp on top..

The Results
Drool. Seriously. I'm not sure any of the 12 muffins will last long enough for my husband to try them. The kids and I ate six of them within the first 20 minutes they were out of the oven. We love these. The crunchy chickpeas and the curry is so perfect together and I love the chewiness of the bready muffins. An absolute hit. I love them warm with a pat of margarine or butter stuffed into the center.

This post is shared with What's for Lunch Wednesday and Muffin Tin Monday.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spaghetti Frittata Recipe

Day 147.

Jeff Smith, aka The Frugal Gourmet, was one of the first TV personality chefs with whom I completely fell in love. As a 12-year-old. Yes, I'm a food nerd from way back. My mom used to say I would grow up to become a "saucier" in a fancy restaurant. She was always envious of how I could throw together a new dish without a recipe and get recipes right on the first try. I still stand by beginner's luck and my rebellious cooking nature. It's not always a good thing to be good at throwing things together. I've taken to writing things down while I cook recently so other people can actually reproduce what I made. But sometimes pouring it in just can't be properly translated to a tablespoon or 1/4 cup. So alas, some of my best dishes are lost to my lack of memory and measurements.

But I digress. When I was in love with The Frugal Gourmet, one of our favorite dishes to make was his Spaghetti Frittata. Talk about easy, and frugal! I made this for the first time (the original vegetarian, non-vegan version) at around age 11. So, this is definitely one you can get the kids in on. I highly recommend both versions.

Vegan Spaghetti Frittata
Adapted from Spaghetti Frittata in The Frugal Gourmet, by Jeff Smith (1984).
Ingredients
1/2 pound thin spaghetti, cooked, drained, rinsed and cooled
4 egg substitutes (vegan) or eggs, beaten (vegetarian) [I used 1 parts cornstarch to 3 parts water]
1/2-3/4 cup parmesan cheese substitute (vegan), recipe below, or parmesan cheese (real, not canned) divided

Parmesan Cheese Substitute
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or crumbled French fried onions (for a tangier cheese)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
House seasoning, to taste
Italian seasoning, to taste

Blend parmesan cheese ingredients in a food processor until cashews are powdered.
Directions 
Turn oven on broil.

Blend all ingredients (reserving a bit of "parmesan") together and fry in an oven-safe pan in olive oil until under-side is browned. Once under-side is browned (about 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat), top with reserved "parmesan" and broil until golden brown (about 5 minutes). Eat it all before your husband sees it. Or be sweet and share (I won't tell if you don't).

The Results
Holy parmesan. I adapted that "Walnut Parmesan Sprinkles" recipe out of a very cool book on vegan substitutions (The Complete Guide to Vegan Substitutions) and it is FANTASTIC. I made the vegetarian version (the original "Frug" version) not long ago and I think this vegan version is very similar taste-wise. And the cashews in the "parmesan" are a great protein source in lieu of the eggs. I loved this. And, yes, I shared, my husband loved it, too. I thought he may poo poo the lack of eggs and cheese, but he thought it was great. Our daughters both gobbled their portions up, too. We should've made a full pound of pasta.

What's your favorite "childhood memory" dish?

This post shared at Fat Camp Friday, Crafty Friday, Friday Favorites, Potluck FridayFrugal Fridays, Foodie Fridayand I'm Lovin' It.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Potato Black Bean Salsa Burritos Recipe

Day 146.

Have I mentioned before how I love leftover day? I think I have (probably many times). But, I <3 it a lot this week. After Blog Her Food '11 and a visit from my mother, we had a lot of takeout boxes competing with our usual leftover dinners at lunchtime. So I had A LOT to choose from for my leftover creation this week. What I chose to use was the Black Bean Salsa and the potatoes from Castro's Mess. I'm drooling a little just thinking about it.

Leftover Creation: Potato Black Bean Salsa Burritos
Ingredients
2 cups Castro's Mess Home Fried Potatoes
1.5 cups Black Bean Salsa
1/2 cup corn
6 tortillas, small
1/4 cup salsa
1 cup Mexican cheese, shredded

Directions 
Preheat oven to 450.

Mix together potatoes, black bean salsa and corn. Spray 8x8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Fill tortillas with mix, burrito-style. Place burritos in pan, seam-side down. Top with salsa and cheese.

Bake at 450 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

The Results
Oh. My. Goodness. This is so good. I love the crispness of the corn and potatoes. And the cheese, yum. Make this one even if you have to make fresh potatoes and salsa without having the leftovers. They are that good.

This post is shared with Simple Lives Thursday, Tip Day Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday,Recipes I Can't Wait to Try, Things I Love Thursday, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Grocery Cart Challenge, Cooking Thursday and Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Black Bean and Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Day 145.

I'm so into quinoa after my first couple attempts with it, so when I happened across Closet Cooking's dish I was excited. Greens and bacon are a winner and when you add red onions...YUM. So, in spite of the fact that I didn't have all the ingredients he used, I needed to make my version of it today. I think it turned out pretty well (especially considering I did that whole using the recipe as a jumping-off point thing).

Black Bean and Cilantro Quinoa Salad
Adapted from White Bean and Spinach Quinoa Salad.
Ingredients
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 tablespoons
1 cup red onion, diced
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon molasses (or sugar)
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup hammy vegan cold cuts, crumbled or "bacon"
1/4 cup Mexican cheese, shredded, optional

Directions
Cook the quinoa.

Caramelize the onions and mushrooms in olive oil, about 20-30 minutes.

Add the vinegar to the pan and deglaze it.

Mix in molasses and garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Add the cilantro and beans and cook until the cilantro wilts (about 2-3 minutes) and remove from heat.

Mix in the "ham" or "bacon."

Serve garnished with cheese, if desired.

The Results
Mmm...so simple and delicious. I'm seriously into this quinoa. It's like rice, but better and better for you. I really like the bean and "ham" topping also. I wanted to use greens and, since I had cilantro, I decided to use Mexican flavors for the rest of the dish. Hence the black beans and Mexican cheese as well as the balsamic (in lieu of red wine) vinegar. I think it turned out pretty yummy. I went without cheese and had mine vegan-style. The husband preferred his with cheese. Bug liked it both ways. Goose picked out the beans and ate those by themselves.

This post is shared with Real Food Wednesday, Recipes I Can't Wait to Try, What's Cooking Wednesday, What's on Your Plate?, What's on the Menu Wednesday, Let's Do Brunch, Works for me Wednesday, Gold Star Wednesday and No Whine Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mini Mexican Lasagnas Recipe

Day 144.

I found an awesome recipe at Debbi's site this week, no surprise there. I originally intended to make a veggie version of her fabulous-sounding Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Shells. But, of course, the shells I thought I had in the pantry turned out to be lasagna noodles. I debated about heading to the store and then I thought I'd just make a Chicken Enchilada-flavored lasagna instead. That recipe idea then morphed into these Mini Mexican Lasagnas. You should definitely try Debbi's recipe, too. It was a delectably inspiring recipe.

Mini Mexican Lasagnas
Adapted from Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Shells.
Ingredients
6 lasagna noodles
1/2 cup red onion, diced (about 1/3 of a red onion)
1 bell pepper, diced (About 3/4 cup, I used orange)
1 10 oz. can Rotel tomatoes and chiles with habanero peppers (use regular Rotel if you're not a spice-lover)
1 cup black beans, refried
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 cups "chicken" or tofu, cubed
2 cups Mexican cheese, shredded

Directions
You will need 6 ramekins or baking-safe dishes for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 375. Boil noodles until partially cooked, but still somewhat firm, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook onion and pepper with a bit of olive oil in a small saucepan.

Add Rotel, refried black beans and taco seasoning. Add "chicken" or tofu cubes.

Spray ramekins with cooking spray.

Cut noodles into thirds and place one piece in each ramekin/dish. Add a layer of filling and a layer of cheese. Top with another noodle segment. Repeat with remaining layers until reaching final noodle. Top final noodle with sauce from filling and more cheese.

Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Results
Wow. It's nice and spicy and super delicious. This is definitely a kid-friendly recipe. The bug thought it was "so cool" to have her own little dish. She handled the spiciness fine, but it might be a bit much for most kids. A can of regular Rotel with diced jalapenos added to the parents' ramekins would be a great compromise.

What's your favorite recipe inspired from something completely different?

This post is shared at·Tuesdays at the TableSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTasty Tuesday, Delectable TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayDelicious DishesReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Hearth and Souland Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Meatless/Vegan Monday: Roasted Vegetable Quinoa and Link-up

Day 143.
It's another OAMM Monday and this week I'm having Roasted Vegetable Quinoa. Protein-packed and full of delicious fresh veggies. How can you go wrong?

The Results
Again, Bug and Goose are huge fans. Well, Bug loved it all and Goose loved the veggies. I think she thought the "bubbles" (quinoa) were a little weird. Bug, on the other hand, thought they were awesome. I loved the whole dish. I think the mushrooms were my favorite part. They really soaked in the sauce. You could add more vinegar and oil to the quinoa if that's your thing, but I thought the amount from the veggies created the perfect balance.

Meatless/Vegan Monday Link-up
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.

Today's Meatless/Vegan Monday meal is Busy Vegan's Spicy Seitan Flautas. How creative! And I love flautas. There were so many delicious-sounding meals this week, you all are making it tough to choose.
Please join the Meatless (Vegan) Monday link-up. What Vegan or Meatless Monday Meal is your family having today?





Veggie Converter 365


This post is shared at·Mouthwatering Mondays, My Meatless Mondays, Cravings, Menu Inspiration Monday, Just Another Meatless MondayHappy Homemaker MondayHomemaker MondayMeatless MondaysMingle Monday, MMMmonday, Mangia Monday,Make a Food-e Friend and Monday Mania.

Menu Plan Monday May 23

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


Last week's successes:
Last week's failure (if you're looking for a challenge):
A pretty successful week. No bombs.


This week's hopefuls:
·
Monday·Day 143
Meatless (vegan) Monday
Roasted Vegetable Quinoa

Tuesday·Day 144
Mexican (Taco) Tuesday
Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Shells, veggie-converted

Wednesday·Day 145

Thursday·Day 146
Leftovers and Pantry·Frankenstein Creation.·

Friday·Day 147
Frugal Gourmet Pasta Frittata, veggie-converted

Saturday·Day 148
Curry Chickpea Muffins, veggie converted

Sunday·Day 149
Sunday Brunch

This post is linked at·Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Castro's Mess: A Hangover Recipe

Day 142.
Veggie Converter 365This is the perfect food for everyone who has a BlogHer Food '11 hangover. Not necessarily from alcohol, but from three days of bloggy goodness and squeeing. I love "recipes" like this one. It doesn't even list all of the ingredients. It's simply a reference to this dish made at some restaurant. So, I took a cue from the professional recipe-developers session at BlogHer Food this year and actually WROTE DOWN what ingredients I put into the "mess" as I attempted to recreate it. What? Me? Write down ingredients? I know. It's a learning curve, but I'm trying. The most important part is for anyone who reads the recipe to be able to recreate it. I also learned I need to write all of my ingredients in the order I use them. Sure, I do that sometimes, but I'm not sure that's always what I do. I think sometimes I go in order of amount. But, I'm going to try to be better. So, here it goes.

Castro's Mess
Adapted from Castro's Mess.
Ingredients
olive oil 
Egg mess:
6 eggs
1 7 oz. can of green chiles
1/4 cup black beans, refried or mashed
1/2 cup black beans, whole
1.5 cups Mexican cheese, shredded
1-2 small tomatoes, diced (about 1/3-2/3 cup)
3 tortillas
olive oil
House seasoning, to taste
Taco seasoning, to taste

Home fries:
About 4 cups of diced potatoes
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Taco seasoning, to taste
House seasoning, to taste

Directions
Boil water for potatoes. Boil for 6 minutes. Drain and place potatoes in a medium skillet with olive oil, House seasoning and taco seasoning. Fry potatoes until they reach desired tenderness (about 5-8 minutes, depending on size of dice).

Meanwhile, put olive oil in medium skillet (enough to coat bottom). Whisk 6 eggs in a medium bowl. Add green chiles to skillet and heat through. Pour in eggs. Stirring regularly, mix in refried or mashed black beans, black beans and then cheese. Melt cheese through and add tomatoes.

While eggs are scrambling, cut tortillas into strips and preheat oven to broil. Cover tortilla strips in olive oil (about 2-3 Tablespoons) and sprinkle with House seasoning and taco seasoning. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until crispy. If necessary, flip strips and broil for an additional 2 minutes.

When all components are complete, top eggs with tortilla strips and serve potatoes with eggs. If desired, top potatoes with fresh chives and eggs with fresh cilantro.

The Results
Wow. This was the perfect pick me up for the "I'm-so-tired-and-I-can't-feel-my-somehow-still-aching-feet" ailment that I was suffering this morning. I so enjoyed BlogHer, but it also made me realize what I total wuss I've become for walking around town and staying out "late." Yes, to me, apparently late now means just staying out until 11 p.m. Sad, but true. But, this dish was perfection. I'll admit my favorite part is the tortillas. I'm not a huge egg person, but these were super delicious. It tasted like scrambled black beans and salsa. Yum.

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

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

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Thai Chicken Karaage Recipe

Day 141.

I'm at BlogHer again today and really enjoying meeting other Bloggers and discovering new recipe techniques. One of the sessions was right up my alley yesterday. It was all about cooking without recipes. And, big secret here, I rarely closely follow recipes exactly (yes, even my own)...I admit it. My name is Kristi and I'm a toss-in cook. Leftover creation Thursday is my favorite day because I can throw in everything with impunity. But, the important part, as I have discovered and was reiterated at the BlogHer Food Sessions, is taking copious notes during these "recipe development" sessions. Otherwise, no one else (and really even me for repeat meals) can enjoy the yummy create-a-recipe.

So, here's what I'm planning on cooking tonight when I return from BlogHer Food. Check back for what REALLY ends up on my plate late this evening.

Thai Chicken Karaage
Ingredients
For the brine:
1 cup vegan fish sauce (recipe follows)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 head garlic, cloves separated and minced
4 Thai chiles, coarsely chopped
1 package Gardein "chikn" scallopini

To cook and serve:
Canola oil, for frying
1 cup cornstarch
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
2 jalapeños, thinly sliced
1 cup chile sauce, such as Mae Ploy brand
Salt
12 fresh cilantro leaves, torn
6 fresh mint leaves, torn
6 fresh basil leaves, torn

Vegan Nam Pla (Thai Fish sauce)
1 1/3 cup water
2/3 cup soy sauce
Six 1½ inch pieces kelp
1 sun dried tomato (dry, not oil marinated)

Directions
To make the brine, combine all of the ingredients. Set aside 1 cup of the brine for use later. Add the "chikn"  to the remaining brine, cover, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove the chikn from the brine and place the pieces in a strainer or colander, letting the excess brine drain off. Discard the brine. 
Pour enough oil into a deep pot or countertop fryer to cover the chikn and heat to 370°F. Dust the chicken generously with cornstarch and fry until golden brown. Remove chikn to a large bowl. Add the onion, jalapeños, the reserved 1 cup brine, and the chile sauce, toss to coat, and season with salt to taste. Garnish with the cilantro, mint, and basil and serve.
The Results
Pretty good, but a lot of work for just an OK meal in my opinion.

This post is shared with What's for Lunch Wednesday and Muffin Tin Monday.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Recipe

Day 140.

I'm at BlogHer Food this weekend and I'm so excited to meet with other bloggers and find new recipes that will inspire me to share more yummy food with you. But, my family still has to eat dinner at home, so they get to have this fabulous Buffalo Chicken dish, which the Bug is calling spicy 'ronis. I thankfully got to sample a bowl after baking it ahead of time for them to enjoy.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Adapted from Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta.
Ingredients
serves 4-6
1/2 pound pasta (I used macaroni)
3 cups cubed "chicken" (I used chopped, breaded Quorn chik'n nuggets)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. flour
1 1/2 C milk
1/2 C mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 C Mexican cheese + more for topping
1/3 C buffalo wing sauce
1/3 C panko bread crumbs or masa
salt and pepper to taste
for garnish: green onions or chives, additional buffalo wing sauce

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Prepare water for pasta and cook according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, and once it’s melted and bubbly add the flour. Whisk together to create a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes until mixture gets a bit golden in color. Add milk, stir and turn down heat to low. Continue stirring until milk thickens. Add in grated cheeses and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Stir in buffalo wing sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Spray a baking dish (8x8) with non-stick spray. Add pasta and "chicken," then pour cheese sauce over and mix throughly until everything is coated. Sprinkle with additional grated cheese and bread crumbs/masa. Bake for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately top with gorgonzola, green onions and cilantro. Drizzle with buffalo wing sauce.

The Results
Spicy 'roni indeed! This is so delicious I can't stand that they get to eat the rest of it without me. Selfish, I know. But, I can always make it again...sometime next year. This is a definite repeat. Delicious. I ended up doubling the sauce from the original recipe. This may be something with real versus faux chicken or maybe I just like it saucy. I made the sauce as directed for the full recipe (intending to freeze half for another day) and poured half over the 1/2 pound of pasta I had prepared. But, I ended up emptying all of the sauce into the dish. It was delicious this way, so I'll be preparing the "saucy" version in the future.

What's your favorite add-in to macaroni and cheese?

This post shared at Fat Camp Friday, Crafty Friday, Friday Favorites, Potluck FridayFrugal Fridays, Foodie Fridayand I'm Lovin' It.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken and Waffles Recipe

Day 139.

I know what some of ya'll (Southernese reference intended) are thinkin': Chicken, with waffles? Ew. As a born and bred Yankee who was transplanted to the South via Military parents, I get it. It sounds ew to me, too. That is, it sounded ew until I tasted it. I was watching something recently with Duff from Ace of Cakes and I think he put it best when he referred to this as a beautiful union of sweet and spicy. The hot sauce on the chicken and the real maple syrup bring out something delicious in the chicken that I don't truly understand. But I dig it. I dig it so much I want multiple plates of it.

For this leftover creation, I used the chicken from Sweet and Sour Chicken. Tip: When I ran out of that chicken, I pressed together Northern Beans (with a bit of Spike seasoning mixed in) into small quarter-diameter balls and battered and fried those. They were nearly as good as the chicken, and can be homemade from Whole Foods (bonus).

Leftover Creation: Chicken and Waffles
Ingredients
Waffles (use your favorite recipe; I use Bisquick)
Chicken Nuggets  (mine were leftover, so I reheated them in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes to retain crispiness)
Buffalo sauce (hot sauce and butter, melted)
Real maple syrup or honey

Directions
Top chicken with a bit of buffalo sauce. Place chicken on waffle. Top with maple syrup. If you're scared, put the sauces on the side and ease into the combination. I promise you won't be sorry. Try it in stages. Waffles with chicken. Waffles with chicken and hot sauce. Waffles with chicken, hot sauce and syrup or honey, oh my!

The Results
So incredibly delicious. It still boggles my mind. But I mean, I like sweet and sour sauce, so why shouldn't I like this? It's almost like sweet and sour chicken, on a waffle, but different...homier. Mmm...can't talk more, mouth is full.

What's your favorite "weird" combination?

Project Food Budget:
This week I splurged on extras (honey and milk) from our CSA and spent $61 there, plus $53 from Kroger. That brings our weekly total to $114 and our monthly total to $244. We're under budget, barely, for the month. With 12 days to go, this could get tricky.

Goal: $75/$300
Actual: $114/$244

Participating Blogs:
This post is shared with Simple Lives Thursday, Tip Day Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday,Recipes I Can't Wait to Try, Things I Love Thursday, It's a Keeper, Full Plate Thursday, Grocery Cart Challenge, Cooking Thursday and Ultimate Recipe Swap.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Recipe

Day 138.

Sometimes I get some pretty neat stuff in the mail. I don't really do reviews here, but, if someone's going to send me free food, I usually try it out. And, sometimes, it ends up in a recipe. This one is pretty cool. Darrell Lea, which apparently, accordinging to an Aussie friend of mine, really IS Australia's favorite liquorice, sent me four flavors of "soft-eating" liquorice recently. I received Mango, Strawberry, Green Apple and Black liquorice.

At first I wasn't sure if I could incorporate these into a savory recipe. Ideas floated around about desserts while I happily munched on a few pieces of the strawberry flavor (delicious by the way, and I dig the softness compared to the usual American-style candy). Then I thought of this recipe from the Crockpot lady: Brown Sugar Chicken. My husband loves this recipe with real chicken, but we add diced bell peppers and onions. So I guess our version is more Sweet and Sour Chicken.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
Adapted from Brown Sugar Chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Ingredients

For the Chicken:
Chicken Nuggets
Alternately, you can pan-brown a bag of Quorn chicken tenders dredged in egg and cornstarch.

For the Sauce:
4-6 pieces mango-flavored liquorice (or sub 1/2 C brown sugar or equivalent jolly ranchers)
4 Tbsp. ketchup
1/2 C vinegar (rice or white)
1/4 C lemon lime or gingerale soda
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced

Yield: 4 servings

Directions
Place the vegetables in a little dipper or 4 quart slow cooker.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and pour evenly over the vegetables.

Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or on high for 1 hour.

Serve "chicken" over a bowl of white rice with a ladle full of the broth.

The Results
Mmm....delicious. I actually made this two ways to test it. I much preferred NOT putting the crispy chicken in the slow cooker. It was super delicious with the sauce over it at the end. I thought that not cooking it with the onions and peppers might take away from the flavor, but the crispiness was the most important part.

This post is shared with Real Food Wednesday, Recipes I Can't Wait to Try, What's Cooking Wednesday, What's on Your Plate?, What's on the Menu Wednesday, Let's Do Brunch, Works for me Wednesday, Gold Star Wednesday and No Whine Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mexican Pizza Recipe

Day 137.

Sometimes I have huge pizza cravings. This was one of those nights. And, since I already had pasta planned for Italian/Pizza night, I couldn't just cheat and make Friday's meal early. So, Taco Tuesday Mexican Pizza it is. Yum!

Mexican Pizza
Ingredients
Pizza Crust (I used a homemade sourdough crust)
1 C Tomato Salsa
1 C ground beef substitute
2 C Mexican cheese
2 C Black Bean Salsa, from Black Bean Salsa Quesadillas
1/4 sliced black olives

Directions
Partially bake crust, if necessary. Spread a bit of olive oil over the top to seal the crust. Top with a layer of tomato salsa, "beef," black bean salsa, cheese and olives. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes.

Results
Seriously delicious and so easy. You could also do a layer of refried black beans and salsa for the "pizza sauce" then top with your favorite Mexican toppings and cheese.

This post is shared at·Tuesdays at the TableSlightly Indulgent TuesdayTasty Tuesday, Delectable TuesdayTempt My Tummy TuesdayDelicious DishesReal Food Wednesday, Recipe of the Week, Hearth and Soul and Tasty Tuesday.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meatless/Vegan Monday: Black Bean Salsa Quesadillas Recipe and MVM Link-up

Day 136.
It's another OAMM Monday and this week I'm having the vegan version of Black Bean Salsa Quesadillas. This is one of our family favorites. Bug and Goose are huge fans. 

The Results
A hit as always. We gobbled up a double recipe (we have some family in town) in an afternoon. Mmm...so tasty.

Meatless/Vegan Monday Link-up
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.

Today's Meatless/Vegan Monday meal is Reduce Footprints' Crispy Tofu Nuggets and Rainbow Salad. Those tofu nuggets look especially delectable. And fairly simple, too. Plus it's the perfect time for a veggie-filled pasta salad. Yum.
Please join the Meatless (Vegan) Monday link-up. What Vegan or Meatless Monday Meal is your family having today?






Veggie Converter 365


This post is shared at·Mouthwatering Mondays, My Meatless Mondays, Cravings, Menu Inspiration Monday, Just Another Meatless MondayHappy Homemaker MondayHomemaker MondayMeatless MondaysMingle Monday, MMMmonday, Mangia Monday,Make a Food-e Friend and Monday Mania.

Menu Plan Monday May 15

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


Last week's successes:
Last week's failure (if you're looking for a challenge):
A pretty successful week. No bombs.

This week's hopefuls:
·
Monday·Day 136
Meatless (vegan) Monday
Black Bean Salsa Quesadillas, vegan version

Tuesday·Day 137
Mexican (Taco) Tuesday
Taco Pizza

Wednesday·Day 138
Sweet and Sour Chicken, veggie-converted
Thursday·Day 139
Leftovers and Pantry·Frankenstein Creation.·

Friday·Day 140
Baked Buffalo Chicken Pasta, veggie-converted

Saturday·Day 141
Thai Chicken Karaage, veggie converted

Sunday·Day 142
Sunday Brunch
Castro's Mess, veggie-converted

This post is linked at·Menu Plan Monday.