Monday, December 17, 2012

Enchilada Bake

1 3/4 cup salsa, divided
2/3 cup crushed tomatoes
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1 can vegetarian refried beans
1 red onion, chopped
8 flour tortillas
Daiya dairy-free shredded cheddar cheese
sliced black olives
Toppings: crushed tortilla chips, shredded lettuce, Tofutti dairy-free sour cream

Place 1 1/4 cup salsa, crushed tomatoes, water, cumin, and oregano in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Mix refried beans and 1/2 cup salsa together until smooth. 

Ladel ~1/2 cup of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch casserole dish.  Smear 1 Tbsp of the sauce on a tortilla.  Add beans, onion, shredded cheese.  Wrap and place in the casserole dish.  Repeat until casserole dish is filled.
Pour remaining sauce on top.  Sprinkle with onion and black olives and shredded cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Serve topped with crushed tortilla chips, shredded lettuce, sour cream, and Avocado Salad

Tex-Mex Black Eyed Peas

1 1/2 cups dried black eyed peas, rinsed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups rice (I used a mixture of brown rice and wild rice)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz can Ro-tel (tomatoes and green chilies)
3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
Daiya dairy-free shredded cheddar cheese
Toppings: chopped cilantro, avocado slices, Tofutti dairy-free sour cream

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Add the dried peas and boil for 30 minutes, or until tender (as tender as canned black beans would be  You don't want them to have much of a bite to them, but you don't want them mushy, either.)  When peas are done cooking, drain and set aside.

In a deep medium skillet, heat olive oil at medium heat.  Add onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in garlic, rice, broth, cumin, and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat slightly and cover and cook for about 20 minutes (until rice has almost absorbed all of the liquid).  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Scrape rice mixture into a large bowl.  Add peas, tomatoes, spinach, and a  handfull of shredded cheese.  Stir it all together and place into a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.  Bake uncovered for 20 min.  Sprinkle another handfull of cheese on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes, just until cheese is melted.

Serve in bowls topped with sour cream, cilantro, and avocado slices.

Recipe adapted from:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Enchilada Casserole

8 oz rotini pasta
1 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 medium bell peppers, variety of colors, chopped
1 medium jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
15 oz can black beans, rinsed
2 cups enchilada sauce
1/2 cup shredded non-dairy cheese (I use Daiya brand)
1 cup chopped green onion
Toppings: tortilla chips, avocado, etc.

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside. 
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and saute onion, jalapeno (optional), and bell peppers until soft, about 7 min.  Add taco seasoning, black beans, 1/2 of enchilada sauce.  Mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.  Stir in cheese, pasta, and green onion. 
Spread 1/2 of remaining enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9x13-inch dish.  Empty skillet into casserole dish.  Spread remaining enchilada sauce on top and add extra cheese if desired.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  
Serve topped with crushed tortilla chips and avocado slices.  I served with steamed green beans for a complete meal.

Recipe taken from:

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ultimate Vegan Lasagna

Ultimate Vegan Lasagna

olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 packages (14 oz each) water packed tofu, firm or extra firm
a few handfulls of fresh spinach, coarsely copped
1/2 cup soy sour cream (Tofutti brand is good)
1/2 cup soy cream cheese (Tofuttie brand again - if you don't have any cream cheese on hand, you can use 1 cup of the sour cream instead of both sour cream and cream cheese)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar (I use cane sugar, since it is less refined)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 large jar of Pasta Sauce, low sodium
~12 lasagna noodles, no boil kind
12 oz soy burger crumbles
1 cup Daiya non-dairy shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Pour about 1 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom of a skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until soft and translucent. 

To make Filling:
Drain the tofu and pat dry with a paper towel.  Place in a large bowl and mash tofu with a potato masher.  Add onion, basil, spinach, sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, salt, garlic powder and onion powder and mix together until combined.

To make Lasagna:
Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish.  Top with 4 lasagna noodles, overlapping noodles as necessary.  Top noodles with 1/2 of the filling.  Ladle another layer of sauce on top of the filling.  Top with another layer of lasagna noodles.  Top the noodles with the remaining 1/2 of the filling.  Top filling with the soy burger crumbles.  Ladle another layer of sauce over the crumbles.  Top with the top layer of lasagna noodles.  Finally top noodles with the remaining sauce.  

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Top with cheese and place back in the oven for 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Serve with a tossed garden salad or steamed vegetable and garlic toast for a complete meal.

Recipe adapted from: and Give Them Something Better by Stephanie Howard and Sarah Frain

Pasta, Kale, and White Bean Soup

Picture of Pasta, Kale and White Bean Soup Recipe

1 small onion, diced
3 carrots, cut into 1/2 inc pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
3/4 tsp chopped fresh Thyme
4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups small pasta, such as ditalini
1, 15oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 cups chopped fresh Kale
olive oil

Pour about 1 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom of a large stock pot and heat over medium heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 min.  Add the carrots, garlic, tomato paste, thyme and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook until carrots begin to soften, about 2 min.  Add the vegetable broth and water.  Increase heat to high; cover and bring to a boil.
Add the pasta and beans and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add kale.  Simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 7 minutes.  
Ladle into bowls and top with dairy-free parmesan cheese.

I served with Herbed French Bread for a complete meal.

Recipe adapted from:

Herbed French Bread

Picture of Herbed French Bread Recipe

French bread baguette, preferably multi-grain if available
Earth Balance Buttery Spread
3 Tbsp fresh chives, copped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

Slice the baguette on a sharp diagonal to make longer pieces.  
Butter both sides and season lightly with salt and pepper.  
Combine 3 Tbsp chopped chives with 1 Tbsp chopped thyme and sprinkle on the bread.
Bake at 400 degrees until crisp, about 7-10 minutes.

Recipe taken from:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quinoa and Bean Pilaf

Picture of Quinoa and Bean Pilaf Recipe

This is a quick, tasty, and filling meal.  You can serve in a bowl as the picture shows, or in a tortilla as a burrito or quesadilla filling.  I like mine topped with guacamole and hot sauce!

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 green) cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 scallions, sliced (white and green parts separated)
2 stalks celery, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup quinoa
2, 15 oz cans of black and/or kidney beans, drained and rinsed (I used both kidney and black beans)
4 cups baby spinach (I didn't have spinach on hand so I used swiss chard and it came out great)
1/4 cup Diaya brand dairy-free shredded cheese 
Hot sauce and guacamole for topping

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  Add the bell peppers, scallion whites and celery.  Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 min.  Add garlic, tomato paste, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook, stirring often until the tomato paste turns brick red, about 2 min.  Stir in quinoa, then add 2 cups water and the beans.  Bring to a simmer (with lid tilted on skillet) and cook, stirring often, until most of the water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Add up to 1/4 cup more water if necessary.

Remove skillet from the heat and stir in the spinach just until wilted.  Stir in another 1/2 tsp salt, half of the scallion greens, and half of the cheese (optional).   Divide among bowls and sprinkle with remaining scallion greens and cheese.  Top with hot sauce and guacamole.  Serve in a dish, or as filling for a burrito or quesadilla.

Recipe adapted from:

Wild Rice Pilaf and Sweet Potato Casserole

Wild Rice Pilaf with Dried Cranberries and PecansPicture of Soul Sweet 'Taters Recipe

Nice meal for a chilly fall day.  I served this with steamed green beans for a complete meal.  I only used ~2/3 of the sugar that the Sweet Potato Casserole recipe called for and it came out a bit too sweet for my taste (like a dessert, really).  If I make it again, I will probably cut the sugar in half.

Rice Pilaf
4 cups vegetable stock, low sodium
2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1 Tbsp canola oil
2 large shallots, minced
1 cup wild rice
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1/2  cup pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 375.  In a saucepan over medium-low heat, bring the stock to a simmer.
In a 2 quart flameproof casserole over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil.  Add the shallots and saute until translucent, 2-3 min.  Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, bay leaf, thyme and 1/2 tsp salt.  Bring to a simmer, stir and cover.  Transfer the casserole into the oven and bake until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, ~40-45 minutes.
Remove from oven.  Remove and discard bay leaf and thyme sprigs.  Taste and adjust the seasonings.  Stir in pecans and parsley.  Serve hot.

Sweet Potato Casserole
4 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup granulated sugar (I suggest cutting this in half for a healthier recipe)
1 cup soymilk
2 large eggs (I used enough Ener-G egg replacer for 1 egg and 1 chia egg (recipe: 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 3 Tbsp warm water, let sit for 5 minutes) and the consistency came out fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 cup packed dark brown sugar (I suggest cutting in half for a healthier recipe)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup flour
6 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread (room temperature)

Preheat oven to 375.  Put the sweet potatoes on the oven rack and bake until fork-tender, about 45 min.  When the potatoes are finished cooking, let cool slightly, about 5 min.  Slice them open and scrape out the flesh with a fork into a large bowl.  Increase oven temp to 400.
Add the granulated sugar, milk, egg substitutes, vanilla and salt to the bowl with the sweet potatoes.  Mash the mixture with a potato masher until combined and slightly lumpy - you don't want it to be perfectly smooth.
In a separate bowl, mash the brown sugar, pecans, flour, and butter with a pastry cutter or fork until combined.  The mixture should resemble a crumble.

Spread the sweet potato mixture into a 14 cup oval-shaped baking dish and sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 30 min.

Recipes adapted from:

Flatbread Pesto Pizzas

Pizza is a favorite around our house, but who can afford to order out every time (both the financial cost as well as the health cost)!  Take out pizzas are loaded with saturated fat and a tremendous amount of sodium.  Instead opt for a healthier option and make your pizza at home.  Make it a family affair by having individual pizzas and everyone can top them how they like.   When I make my pizzas at home I use very little cheese if any at all.  Combined with the flavorful vegetables and sauces, you really don't miss it at all and it is much healthier for you!

This dough recipe is delicious and comes out like an artisian-style crust!  I recently splurged and purchased an Emile Henry pizza stone.  It was expensive, but my pizzas have turned out to be like a work of art!  This pizza stone bakes the crust to perfection...something that you would taste in an Italian restaurant.  It is coated with a glaze that helps prevent sticking and staining associated with most other pizza stones (plus it comes in fun colors!).  I purchased it online from Williams-Sonoma.  Give it a try!  It will make you want to cook your pizza at home rather than ordering out.

Dough Recipe (makes 16 individual pizzas or ~3-4 large pizzas.  Dough can be refrigerated for later use)
Combine 1 Tbsp yeast, 1/2 cup warm water, 1/4 tsp sugar together in a large mixing bowl.  Let froth for a few minutes. 
Add 2 cups more water and 3 cups flour.  Whisk together until smooth.  Let rest for 10 minutes.
Place ingredients in a mixer bowl with dough hook.  Gradually add additional 3 cups of flour, 2 Tbsp olive oil, and 2 tsp salt.  Mix until dough comes together. 
Put dough in an oiled bowl and cover.  Let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.  
Punch down, remove from bowl, knead for a few minutes.  Divide in half then into 16 total pieces.  
Heat oven to 500 degrees.  Roll each dough piece into 7-8 inch round pizzas.  Place on a pizza stone (coated with cornmeal to prevent sticking) and cover with a cloth.  Let rise an additional 20 minutes.  
Place toppings on pizza and cook for 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and toppings are cooked through.

Pesto sauce
Tomato sauce
bell peppers
banana peppers
fresh herbs

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Mama's Vegetarian Meatloaf"

I served with baked sweet potato and steamed green beans for a complete meal.

1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1/2 cup mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1 cup carrots, shredded and chopped a bit
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 cups wheat breadcrumbs
1/2 cup ketchup

In a large non-stick skillet, saute onion in Earth Balance until clear.  Add carrots, celery, red pepper, and garlic.  Saute until vegetables are tender.  Add rest of ingredients except for ketchup.  Stir until mixture holds together well (add a little bit of water if needed).  Spray a large loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Pat meatloaf down firmly.  Spread ketchup on top.  Bake at 375 for 1 hr.

Recipe taken from: "Cooking for Two With the Micheff Sisters" by the Mitcheff Sisters.

Spinach Arugula Salad

Delicious!  A perfect accompaniment to any main dish or a nice light supper by itself.  I will be keeping this recipe close in my kitchen!  Makes a large salad, so you may want to half the ingredients if you have a small family.

3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cup hot water
3 Tbsp fresh orange juice (I used squeezed juice from an orange)
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
6 Tbsp canola oil
3 Tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste
10 oz Arugula/Spinach combination (you could also use any baby green salad mixture)
1 1/4 cups pecan halves, toasted if you like

Put the dried cranberries in a small bowl and pour the hot water over them.  Let them steep for 10 minutes, then drain.

In another small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, vinegar, and mustard.  Slowly whisk in the oil.  Fold in the cranberries and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.

Put the arugula in a large serving bowl.  Scatter the pecans over the top. Drizzle with the cranberry vinaigrette and serve immediately.  

Tofurky Panini

I adapted this recipe to make it vegetarian.  It was a hit!  The original recipe called for 'wichcraft cranberry-apricot chutney spread from Williams-Sonoma, which I could not obtain; however I think that it would have been delicious.  You could get adventurous and try an apricot preserve possibly.  Since I didn't have the sandwich spread, I instead made a few improvisations which I think still made a good sandwich.

Artisian bread, cut diagonally into slices
Tofurky brand Peppered deli-style slices (2-4 slices per sandwich)
1 oz blue cheese
1 tsp Vegenaise dairy/egg-free mayo
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 cup arugula
Earth Balance buttery spread

Slice 2 pieces of bread to make one sandwich.  Spread Vegenaise on one slice of bread and dijon mustard on the other slice.  Top with Tofurky and a light sprinkling of blue cheese.  Build sandwich.  On the outside of the bread slices spread a thin layer of Earth Balance.  Place sandwich on a panini press and grill until lightly browned on both sides and warmed through.  Open sandwich and place in some fresh arugula.  

I served with a tossed garden salad for a complete meal.

Trick Or Treat Mac & Cheese - Revised

Halloween Mac Cheese Michael Symon
I happened to see this recipe demonstrated on an episode of The Chew.  I only saw the tale end of it, so I went online to check it out.  I revised this recipe to make it a bit healthier.  It turned out pretty good.  It made a HUGE portion.  If I make this again, I might consider cutting the ingredients in half to make a smaller portion.

1 onion, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced (I was able to purchase butternut squash that was already peeled and diced in the produce section of our local Kroger.  I used about 3 cups of the squash.)
2 cups kale, de-ribbed and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup Coconut Milk Creamer (I like the So Delicious Original Creamer)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pound Rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup Tofutti brand dairy-free cream cheese
1 bar of swiss cheese, diced
1 cup bread crumbs
3 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
3 Tbsp flour
3 cups soy milk, plain
1 Tbsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Cook rigatoni according to package directions.
In a large stock pot, melt butter over medium heat.  Add onion, squash, kale, and garlic.  Cook until soft and  onions are translucent.  Add flour and stir to make a roux.  Slowly pour in the milk and creamer while stirring, and bring mixture to a simmer.  Cook gently until mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes.  Add in the swiss cheese and the nutmeg.  Stir constantly until all of the cheese is melted.  Add cream cheese and mix until melted and combined.  Stir in the chipotle pepper and add the cooked rigatoni.  Toss pasta until it is well mixed.  You can serve at this point if you wish, which I think I might like better.
Another option would be to place the mac & cheese mixture in a casserole dish and top with breadcrumbs. Place under broiler for 1 minute or until breadcrumbs are browned (be careful...they burn quickly).  Top with chopped parsley.   
I served with green beans.

Black Bean Chili

Mmm...nothing says fall like chili!  I appreciated this recipe because it was a bit different than used black beans.  It was pretty spicy and I found that leftovers were even hotter, so I added avocado and cilantro to help "cool" it down.  These toppings not only "cooled" down the spiciness of the soup, but they added great flavor, too.  I served with cornbread.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups onion, copped
2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp chili powder (more or less depending on your spice preference)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cans (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed (preferably low sodium)
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes 
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Tofutti brand dairy-free sour cream
Avocado slices

Heat oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat.  Add onions, bell peppers, and garlic. Saute until onions soften, about 10 minutes.  Mix in chili powder, oregano, cumin, and cayenne; stir 2 minutes.  Mix in beans and tomato sauce.  Bring chili to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until flavors blend and chili thickens, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes.  
Ladle chili into bowls.  Top with cilantro, sour cream, avocado, or whatever you like.  
If chili seems too thick for your preference, use vegetable stock to thin it down to your liking.

Lentil Soup

This soup really hit the spot.  Loaded with fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates is is one healthy meal in and of itself!  Legumes, such as the lentils found in this soup, have also been found to control blood glucose levels.  So, if you are having trouble with high blood sugars, this recipe is somewhere to start!  So warm and hearty, it is the perfect pairing for these dark, chilly fall nights we have been having lately.  I paired this with a kale and swiss chard salad and some garlic Naan bread (I like the Stonefire  brand).

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
3/4 can (15.5 oz) crushed tomatoes, preferably low sodium
2 quarts vegetable stock, low sodium
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Place olive oil into a large stock pot and set over medium heat.  Once hot, add onion, carrot, celery, and salt and cook until the onions are translucent and soft, approximately 6-7 min.  Add the lentils, crushed tomatoes, broth, coriander, and cumin.  Stir to combine.  Increase heat to high and bring to a boil.  Then, reduce heat to low and cover at a low simmer until lentils are tender, approximately 35-40 minutes.  

Veggie Pita Pockets

Oh my...these are AMAZING!  I just kind of made it up with the ingredients I had on hand, but you could make it with whatever you have.  These are stuffed with Superfood veggies to keep you full and satisfied through the day.  Plus, with all the healthy ingredients it makes you feel good that you did something good for your body today.

1 whole wheat Pita pocket - I like the Stonefire brand (found at our local Kroger)
2 tsp Mezzetta Chimichurri Sandwich Spread (also found at our local Kroger in the salad dressing aisle)
2-4 slices Soy "Turkey" slices (optional) - I like the Tofurky brand.
1 leaf Kale, chopped
1 leaf Swiss Chard, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Spinach, chopped
1/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
1/8 cup carrots, chopped
2-3 mushrooms, chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup frozen edamame (soy beans), thawed
1 Tbsp sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar

Cut the pita bread in half and lightly spread the Sandwich Spread on the inside of the pita bread.  Place 1-2 slices of Tofurky inside each pita half (if desired).  Toast in the toaster oven for a few minutes to warm the bread (careful not to toast too long, or bread will dry out). 
Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in a bowl, tossing with the oil and vinegar.  
When pita pockets have finished toasting, use tongs to stuff the pitas full with the "salad" ingredients.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Vegan Stuffed Shells

This recipe is so tasty!  You will never know that it is vegan.  Typical stuffed shells can be loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat from cheeses and cream.  This recipe takes out all of the animal products resulting in a lighter, healthier dish for your family.  The added tofu is so nutritious, adding tons of healthy protein (much more than the traditional recipe made with ricotta cheese), and no one will ever know that there is tofu in this dish.  I have fooled many non-vegan, non-vegetarian people with this recipe!  It is an added bonus that my toddler loved it and ate every last bite!   Just give it a try...You will be glad you did.

1 box of dried jumbo pasta shells
1 large container of pasta sauce, preferably low sodium
Tofu Ricotta:

  • 2 packages (14oz each) water-packed tofu, firm or extra firm
  • a few handfuls of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup soy sour cream (Tofutti brand is good) or soy mayonnaise (Vegenaise brand is good) or Aioli sauce (recipe at bottom of page)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used cane sugar, since it is less refined)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
Daiya dairy free mozzarella style shredded cheese (optional)

(All these ingredients are regularly available at my local Kroger store in the organic/health foods section, so they are not difficult to find ingredients)

Cook shells until al dente, drain and cool.
Meanwhile prepare tofu ricotta as follows:
  • drain excess water from tofu.  Mash tofu with potato masher.  Add remaining ingredients to tofu and mix well.  
Prepare a 13 x 9-inch pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining the bottom with a thin layer of pasta sauce.
When shells are cool to the touch, spoon tofu ricotta mixture to fill each shell.  Place shell seam side down into prepared cooking dish.  When dish is full, pour remaining pasta sauce over the top of the shells, making sure to coat all of the shells. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 375 for ~25-30 minutes.  If desired, remove after ~20 minutes and place Diaya dairy-free cheese on top of shells and return to the oven, uncovered for ~5-10 minutes until cheese is melted.  Serve with a tossed salad or steamed green veggies for a complete meal.  Enjoy!

If you do not have any Dairy-free sour cream or mayo on hand, you can make something similar as follows:
Recipe for Aioli (a creamy condiment similar to dairy free mayo or sour cream):
1 cup soymilk
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 cup oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Place milk, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder in blender.  Blend on high, slowly drizzle in oil with machine running (drizzling slowly is the key.  It should take ~1 minute to add the oil).  Pour mixture into a bowl.  Gently fold in lemon juice.  Refrigerate until thickened.  This recipe makes 2 cups.

Recipe taken from: Give Them Something Better by Sarah Frain & Stephanie Howard.

Vegan Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls

Mmm...nothing says fall like flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, and spices in the kitchen!  These were a perfect treat for a chilly, cloudy fall day.  And since they are vegan, I had all the ingredients at home in my pantry for a spur of the moment baking lesson with my son (no having to run to the store for eggs!).  So much fun...but even more fun was his gooey cinnamon smile as he said "Mama, this is gooood!"  Warms my heart to see him enjoy this treat we made together!  I hope that this recipe warms your family's heart as well this fall season.  Enjoy!

For the dough:
2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1/3 cup almond milk
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp chia sees (or ground flax meal) + 3 Tbsp warm water (This is the "egg" substitute)
1 (1/4 oz) packet of dry yeast (~1 Tbsp)
2 cups all purpose flour (next time, I plan to try to use whole wheat pastry flour and see how it turns out for a healthier option)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread, softened

1 cup powdered sugar
2+ Tbsp almond milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Heat the almond milk and the Earth Balance together in a small pan on the stove over low/medium heat until the butter melts and the milk is warm to the touch.  Remove from heat, let cool a little (temperature should be like warm bath water.  If it is hotter than that, the yeast won't rise).  Sprinkle the yeast and stir so yeast will dissolve.  Let yeast mixture sit for 5 minutes (it should foam and look creamy after a few minutes).

Meanwhile, combine chia seeds/flax meal with water and let sit for 5 minutes.  Then, combine with pumpkin. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice.  Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and pour in yeast.  Mix together.

Knead dough by hand for about 10 minutes or with an electric dough mixer with either a paddle attachment or dough hook on medium speed for 6 minutes.  The dough should be smooth and elastic when you're done.  

Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with a dishcloth and set in a warm area to rise for 1 hr 15 min.  While the dough is rising, mix together softened Earth Balance, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl.

Remove dough and punch dough on a lightly floured surface.  Ross out to a large rectangle and spread brown sugar mixture on top, keeping 1 inch bare around the sides.  Gently roll up dough so it resembles a log.  Slice dough into 1/2 -inch slices and placed on a greased 9-inch casserole dish.  Cover with a dishcloth and let rise for another 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.  Bake rolls for 25 minutes.  Let cool while you make the glaze.

For the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, almond milk and vanilla.  If glaze seems too runny, add a little more powdered sugar.  Place glaze in a small plastic bag and snip the tip off.  Make swirls over the cooled rolls and serve.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tortellini with Pumpkin "Alfredo" Sauce

Picture of Tortellini With Pumpkin Alfredo Sauce Recipe

18 ounces of cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
Pinch of nutmeg
Chopped fresh parsley
salt/pepper to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (optional) (or dairy free variety)

Cook and drain tortellini per package directions, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

Meanwhile, heat the Earth Balance in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until slightly soft, about 2 min.  Add the pumpkin and nutmeg and cook, stirring, 1 min.  Stir in the coconut milk creamer and bring to a low boil.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 5 min.  Stir in the cheese and cook until thick, about 1 more minute.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add the tortellini to the skillet and toss with the sauce, adding some of the reserved cooking water to loosen if needed.  Divide among bowls and top with parsley.  Serve with steamed green beans for a complete meal.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Love Your Heart Butter

Love Your Heart Butter

A healthy butter alternative

1 cup corn meal mush (or 1/2 fine corn meal cooked with 1 cup water)
1/4 c water
1/2 c raw cashew pieces
3/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup coconut milk
1 tsp butter flavoring

Blend cashews and wter in blender until very smooth.  Add coconut milk.  Add remaining ingredients and continue blending until smooth.
Yields: 1 pint, 32 servings


30-Minute Chili Mac recipe

A quick weeknight meal that the family gobbled up.

1 lb vegetarian beef-style crumbles (I used Yves brand)
2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 cup water
1 can (15.5 oz) kidney beans, rinsed
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup salsa
3/4 cup elbow macaroni, uncooked, preferably whole-grain

Brown burger crumbles with chili powder in a large saucepan.
Add all remaining ingredients; mix well.
Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover,  and let simmer 15 minutes, stirring after 8 minutes.

Serve with tossed salad or fresh, cooked green beans for a complete meal.

Recipe adapted from:

Vegan Carrot Cake

Post image for Carrot Cake

As the days are getting colder and fall is fast approaching, I have had a hankering for fall flavors...and a fall-spiced carrot cake has been on the list.  I try to bake vegan for the health reasons, plus the added bonus is that it usually includes ingredients that I have on hand already in my pantry.  No need to run out to buy butter or convenient!  I tried this vegan carrot-cake recipe and it was delicious!  I made a cake out of it (like the one pictured above) for a friend's birthday which turned out beautifully.  It smelled so good and I had some extra ingredients left over so I decided to make a batch of cupcakes for our family.  My son had a wonderful (and educational) time helping me make it...and of course helping me eat it :)  Try this recipe out today.  You will LOVE it!

2 1/2 cups flour 
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger
3 Tbsp egg replacer (I used Ener-G brand.  You could also probably use a chia or flax egg (1 Tbsp flax meal/chia seeds + 3 Tbsp warm water, mix and let sit for 5 min then put into recipe)).
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup almond milk (or soy)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 pound of carrots, finely grated (I had a bag of already shredded carrots that I used instead of grating my own.  I used 3 cups of shredded carrots and I chopped them up a bit more.)
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 cup seedless raisins (I used golden and regular raisins)
unsweetended coconut for decorating top of cake (optional)

For convenience, I used Duncan Hines Cream Cheese Frosting (it was dairy/egg free.  I used about 1 and 1/4 cans of the icing and I did not ice the sides of my cake), but here is a recipe I found for a DIY dairy-free cream cheese frosting:
12 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread, chilled and cut into pieces
1 1/2 lb soy cream cheese, cold
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease 3 (9-inch) round cake pans; set aside.

For the cake, put flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and egg replacer into a mixing bowl and whisk together to blend.

Put sugar in a separate large mixing bowl and whisk in oil, almond milk, and applesauce.  When fully combined, add almond milk mixture to flour mixture and mix just until smooth.  Fold in carrots, walnuts, and raisins.

Divide batter evenly between the prepared cake pans.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the center springs back gently when pressed.  Remove from oven and transfer to racks to let cool completely.

If you wish, you can make your own frosting at this time.  Beat margarine in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Add cream cheese in pieces and mix until thoroughly blended.  Slowly add sugar and vanilla and mix until blended.  Increase mixer speed slightly and continue mixing for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.  Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Place a cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate or pedestal.  Spoon one-quarter of the frosting onto the top and spread it evenly.  Place a second cake layer, bottom side down on top of the first and spread with an equal amount of frosting.  Place the final cake layer, bottom side down on the top of the others and frost the top (and sides if you wish) with remaining frosting.  

For decoration, top the cake with some toasted coconut.  Take a few handfulls of unsweetened coconut and place in a non-stick skillet on low-medium heat.  Stir frequently until coconut begins to lightly brown.  Careful, coconut will burn quickly.  Top cake with a sprinkle of the toasted coconut.

Cover and chill until ready to serve or set aside to let set for 30 minutes.  Slice and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pesto Chick'n Salad

Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwiches Recipe

2 Tbsp Pesto Sauce (recipe here)
2 Tbsp Vegenaise dairy/egg-free mayo
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (or soy yogurt/tofutti brand sour cream for a dairy-free version, if you wish)
1/2 of a 12oz package of Quorn brand Chick'n Tenders, thawed
1/2 of a Red Pepper, roasted (see how to roast a red pepper here)
4 slices of whole grain bread, lightly toasted
Lettuce and tomato for sandwich toppings

In a medium bowl, stir together pesto, mayo, and yogurt until blended.  Stir in chicken and peppers.  toss until coated.
For a less "chunky" chick'n salad, you can place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until you reach the desired consistency.

Spread once slice of toast with the chick'n salad mixture.  Top with lettuce, tomato, and another slice of toast. 

Recipe yields ~4 sandwiches

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bowtie Pasta with Arugula, Walnuts, and Blue Cheese

Pasta Salad with Blue Cheese Walnuts and Arugula

2 Tbsp chopped walnuts, coarsely chopped
6 oz uncooked Bowtie pasta
2 cups baby arugula, trimmed
2 Tbsp fresh herbs (chives, basil, oregano, parsley, etc)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper (optional)
3 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles

Cook pasta according to package directions, reserving 1 Tbsp pasta water for later use.

Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl.  Immediately add arugula and tomatoes and toss well.  Cover bowl with lid or tight fitting plastic wrap.  Set aside until arugula is limp, about 5 minutes.  Stir in herbs.

In a cup, stir together vinegar, oil, reserved Tbsp of pasta water, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper in a cup.  Pour dressing over pasta salad and toss well.  Sprinkle with blue cheese.  

Recipe taken from: Weight Watchers

Roasted Tomato Bread Soup

I make this recipe at least twice every year during my abundant harvest of tomatoes from my garden.  It is SO good and my family loves it!  It makes the entire house smell delightful.  If you don't have a garden, go out to a farmer's market and load up on some fresh garden tomatoes to make this soup today.  It is sure to please!

15 medium sized tomatoes of any variety, cored and roughly chopped
1 pint grape/cherry tomatoes
1 yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 leeks, cleaned and roughly cut
1 shallot, peeled and chopped
2 small/medium heads garlic (cut tops off of entire head)
olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 loaf rustic bread
4 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)
1 bunch basil, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 275.  
Place all vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet.  Do not overlap vegetables (try to place in a single layer).  Generously drizzle olive oil over the mix.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 3-4 hours (your house will smell AMAZING!).  Vegetables should look nicely roasted, browned and carmely.

Once you feel vegetables are roasted, remove from oven and squeeze all the garlic from the skins.  Place all vegetables in the blender/food processor and pulse for 7-10 seconds.  Leave the mix chunky.  Put the roasted tomato soup in a large stock pot with the vegetable broth.  Bring to a simmer and add basil.  Adjust amount of stock to your taste if needed.  Let soup simmer for 15 minutes.  

Place bread in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes to dry it out.  Place soup in bowls and top with torn bread pieces and some Parmesan cheese (optional).  Serve with a tossed green salad for a complete meal.  

Heirloom Tomato Salad

This recipe was taken from Northstar Cafe.  I had their heirloom tomato salad a few weeks ago and my taste buds haven't stopped screaming for it ever since!  Well, guess what I made with my tomato harvest last week!?!  You have to try this's perfect for a light, tasty end of summer meal!

2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp vinegar (I used balsalmic)
1 tsp mustard (I used spicy brown mustard because that is all I had in the frig)
1 tsp honey or cane sugar
1 Tbsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried herbs (oregano, basil, rosemary, etc).
1 clove garlic, minced
2 lbs heirloom tomatoes (mixture of colors and varieties)
salt and pepper to taste
blue cheese crumbles (optional)
fresh basil 
Serve with warm, grilled crusty bread 

Whisk or blend in a blender olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey/sugar, herbs, and garlic. 
Core the tomatoes and cut out any blemishes, then slice the tomatoes in 1/2-inch thick to 1-inch thick slices.
Arrange different colors and varieties of tomato slices on two plates, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and top with blue cheese crumbles.  Drizzle with dressing, garnish with fresh basil.  
Serve immediately with warm, crusty bread.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Indian Butter Chick'n

2/3 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2/3-3/4 cups Quorn Chick'n Tenders
2/3 c onion, chopped
2/3 Tbsp grated, fresh ginger
2 2/3 tsp garlic, minced
2/3 tsp chili powder
1 1/3 tsp Thai red curry paste
pinch of cinnamon
18.67 oz diced tomatoes, undrained
1 1/3 Tbsp tomato paste
2/3 cup plain yogurt
Steamed brown rice for serving
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Throw everything but the yogurt and ccocnut creamer into a large saucepan.  Cover and cook on high heat until bubbling.  Turn heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes to cook through.  Add yogurt and coconut creamer, stir until combined and cook for another 2-3 minutes until heated through.
Serve atop brown rice.  Top with fresh chopped parsley.  Serve with steamed green beans for a complete meal.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Herbed Spaghetti Squash

1 small spaghetti squash
2 1/2 Tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread
2 1/2 Tbsp finely chopped mixed soft herbs (I used basil, oregano, rosemary, parsley)
salt and pepper for seasoning
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise and place cut side down in a baking dish.  Add enough water to come 1/2 inch up the sides of the baking dish.  Cover with aluminum foil.  Bake for 45 minutes until the squash is easily pierced with a paring knife.

Turn squash over and cover with aluminum foil again and continue to cook another 15 minutes until the squash is very tender.  

Remove from the oven, uncover and allow to cool slightly.  Using a spoon, remove the seeds and discard.  Using a fork, gently upll the strands of squash away from the peel and place the squash strands into a mixing bowl.

Heat a skillet.  Add the butter, spaghetti squash, herbs, tomatoes, salt and pepper and toss thoroughly but gently to heat and combine.  If you wish, you can add a little bit of balsamic vinegar to the squash mixture to flavor.  Top with a little cheese (optional) and serve.

**Note:  The spaghetti squash can also be cooked in the microwave for quicker preparation.  Do this by piercing the squash all over with a paring knife (be careful with this!).  Microwave squash on high for 10-12 minutes, rotating the squash halfway through cooking.  Allow the squash to sit in the microwave a few minutes to cool down after cooking.  Remove squash with cooking mitts.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  The squash should cut easily with little resistance.  If it doesn't put it back in the microwave and cook for an additional few minutes.  Remove seeds and discard.  Scrape out spaghetti squash strands with a fork and follow recipe above.

Asian Edamame Fried Rice

3 cups cooked rice 
2 egg whites, scrambled
1 whole egg, scrambled
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 green onions, chopped (whites and greens separated)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
cooking spray
1 cup frozen, shelled edamame, thawed
1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce, low sodium

Whisk eggs and egg whites.  Season with salt and pepper.  In a large, hot skillet, spray a little oil and scramble the eggs.  When cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

Let the skillet get really hot.  Add oil and cook onions, green onion whites, carrots and garlic for about 30-60 seconds, careful not to burn.  

Add cooked brown rice ans stir for a few minutes to heat through.  Add cooked egg along with Braggs and Soy Sauce, green onion greens and edamame, mixing well for about 3-4 minutes.

Serve alone or along with spring rolls.

Veggie Stuffed Quesadillas

Veggie-Stuffed Quesadillas

2 small green and red bell peppers cut into thin strips
1 small red onion cut into 1" long strips
1 Tbsp oil
cooking spray
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley
1/3 cup Tofutti non-dairy cream cheese
5 flour tortillas

In a large skillet, cook sweet peppers and onion in 1 tsp oil for 3-5 min until crisp-tender.  Stir in cumin and chili powder.  Cook and stir for 1 more minute.  Stir in parsley/cilantro.  Set aside.
Spread cream cheese over half of one side of each tortilla.  Top with pepper mixture.  Fold tortilla in half over the pepper mixture and press gently together.
Place tortillas in a grill pan, panini press, or on a large baking sheet lightly coated with non-stick spray. (if placing on a baking sheet, brush tortillas with oil).  Cook in skillet or panini press until outside of tortilla is golden brown.  If cooking on baking sheet, bake at 425 degrees for 5 min.
Cut each quesadilla into wedges.

Healthy Mac n Cheeze

What!?!  Healthy and Mac n Cheese in the same sentence?  That doesn't seem right!  Well, this dairy free version of Mac n Cheeze actually is healthy!  And, it is so nice and creamy.  It turns out better than other recipes I have used with real cheese.  My toddler son actually significantly prefers it to the real cheese version.  It is easy and definitely worth a will love it!

1 box (14 oz) Macaroni noodles, preferably whole grain, cooked according to package directions
4 cups water, divided
1 cup cashews
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup pimento peppers (or you can use roasted red peppers in a can, or I have even used raw red peppers)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick spray.
Blend 2 cups water and nuts in a blender until very smooth and creamy (this can take several minutes, depending on your blender)
Add remaining ingredients (don't forget the additional 2 cups of water!), except pasta to the blender; blend until smooth and creamy.
Place cooked pasta in the baking dish.  Top with cheese mixture and stir to evenly coat the pasta.
Bake for 45 minutes.

Serving option: You can add chopped broccoli to the macaroni to "disguise" some veggies for the family.  Serve with green beans for a complete and tasty meal.

Recipe taken from: Give Them Something Better by Sarah Frain & Stephanie Howard

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Spinach-Feta Grilled Greek Pizza

Spinach-Feta Greek Pizza

Olive oil
1 whole wheat pizza crust
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 bunches spinach
nutmeg, to taste (optional)
0.5 cup reduced fat feta cheese
0.5 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
handfull of green olives, sliced
sprinkling of fresh rosemary, basil, oregano, chopped

In a large skillet, saute the garlic and onion in a little bit of olive oil.  Add the spinach and wilt.  Season with a little bit of nutmeg if desired.

Place a piece of aluminum foil on the grilltop and spray with cooking spray.  Place the pizza crust top down on the grill and heat until the top is golden and crispy.  Flip over crust and top with the spinach mixture, feta, mozzarella, tomatoes, olives, and herbs.  Close the grill lid and let pizza cook until cheese is melted and crust is crisp.

Remove from grill and enjoy with a tossed green salad for a complete meal.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tomato Basil Roasted Pepper Panini

Delicious!!  My son isn't necessarily a big sandwich lover so for him I boiled some pasta and placed all the sandwich toppings in with the cooked pasta and tossed with a little bit of Earth Balance buttery spread and garlic powder.  He loved it!  These ingredients are so versitile!

Ingredients (makes one sandwich):
2 slices sourdough or multigrain bread
2 tsp Earth Balance buttery spread - spread on the outside layer of each slice of bread
3 thin slices of tomato
handfull of fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 red/yellow/orange bell pepper
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
Italian seasoning
1/3 cup Daiya dairy-free pepperjack cheese (or 1 slice of pepperjack cheese)

To roast the bell peppers: 
Cut a bell pepper into large chunks.  Place on a foil lined cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Lightly spray the pepper pieces with cooking spray, too.  Place under broiler for ~5-7 minutes or until pepper skin begins to bubble and turn golden brown.

Spread Earth Balance buttery spread on the outside layer of each slice of bread.
Spread a thin layer of Vegenaise (vegan mayo spread) on the inside layer of each slice of bread and sprinkle a little bit of italian seasoning on top of the mayo.
Place 1/2 slice pepperjack cheese on each slice of bread.
Top with tomato slices, slices of roasted bell peppers, chopped spinach, and chopped basil.  
Place sandwich on a panini grill pan and heat ~2-3 minutes on each side until the bread is golden brown and sandwich is heated through.

You could serve this with a roasted tomato soup on the side, but my garden tomatoes aren't ripe enough for that yet.  So, I served with a tossed salad to lighten it up a bit.  Everyone enjoyed this quick weeknight meal!

Biscuit Taco Casserole

My 2 year old son really enjoyed this one!

16 oz jar of mild or medium taco sauce (I used about 1/2-3/4 of the jar)
12 oz can Pillsbury refrigerated biscuits
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
1 (2.25 oz) can sliced black olives
1 can (8 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained 
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1/4 cup mushrooms, chopped

Heat oven to 400.  Lightly spray an 11.5x7.5 inch pan with cooking spray.  Spread 1/2 of the taco sauce on the bottom of the dish.  Seperate dough into 10 biscuits; cut each biscuit into 4 pieces.  Place biscuit pieces in taco sauce; turn to coat.  Sprinkle biscuits with 1/2 of the cheese and the olives.  Top with just a little more taco sauce. 
Bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes or until biscuits are raised and bubbly.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet saute beans, peppers, and mushrooms in a little olive oil until veggies are done.  Spread bean mixture on top of the cooked biscuits.  Spread a little more taco sauce on top of the bean mixture and top with the remaining cheese.  Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  
Serve with a tossed garden salad for a complete meal.