Sunday, January 22, 2012

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls

These were a nice treat served with soup or they could be used alone as an appetizer.  They are perfect for toddler sized hands, too!

13.3 oz can of Simply Pilsbury refrigerated bread roll
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups spinach, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 oz tofutti dairy-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup tofutti dairy-free sour cream
2 Tbsp dairy free parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp Ancho Chili Pepper (McCormick)
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/3 cup Daiya brand shredded mozzarella dairy-free cheese

  • Preheat oven to 350.  Spray 10 muffin cups with non-stick spray.  Open package of bread (keep in the roll shape) and slice into 10 equal parts, about 1 inch thick.  Press each slice in the palm of your hand until it is about 3 inches in diameter.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of each muffin cup.    Set aside.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.  Cook and stir spinach until wilted, about 3 min.  Add garlic, cook for an additional 1 min then turn off heat.
  • Place cream cheese, sour cream, cooked spinach and garlic, Parmesan cheese, Ancho Chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper into a medium bowl.  Mix until well combined.  With a tablespoon, scoop dip and place into the center of each bread bowl.  Top evenly with shredded cheese and bake for 15-17 minutes.  Remove and let cool for 3-5 min before removing from muffin pan. 

Bean Enchiladas

1 can vegetarian refried beans
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1.5 cups onion, diced
1.5 cups (~2 medium) zucchini, diced
12 corn tortillas, heated to soften OR 9 flour tortillas
2.5 cups red enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or Daiya dairy-free cheese)
serve with: shredded lettuce, cilantro, avacado, tofutti dairy-free sour cream

  • Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick spray
  • Sautee onion and zuccini in skillet over medium-high heat until softened, ~4 minutes
  • Pour 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce into the bottom of the 9x13 inch pan, spread to coat bottom.
  • Assemble enchilads: spread a thin layer of refried beans on tortilla, top with a spoon-full of black beans, a spoon-full of onion and zucchini mixture, a sprinkling of cheese, and drizzle with a bit of enchilada sauce on top.  Fold enchilada and place seam side down in pan.  Continue to place prepared enchiladas side by side in the pan - snuggled in tightly.
  • Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas.  Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 min.
  • Remove pan from oven and take off foil.  Sprinkle cheese on top and return to oven for 5 min.  
  • Serve immediately with desired toppings.

Minestrone Soup

Picture of Minestrone With Parmigiano-Reggiano Recipe

This soup was AMAZING!  My family loved it and it was perfect for a cold winter's day.  It is packed with healthy veggies, too.  This is a must try!

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
2 large stalks of celery, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large carrots, sliced
1/2 head Savoy cabbage, finely sliced (I used Green cabbage instead)
1/2 bunch swiss chard, finely sliced (I used kale instead)
1 large waxy potatoe, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
4 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 boquet garni (1 sprig rosemary, 4 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 1 bunch parsley, tied together with kitchen twine)
2 cans (3 cups) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup spinach, coarsely chopped
I also used the following to add additional flavor: salt, pepper, 1/2 packet of Italian dressing mix, ~1-2 tsp McKay's Chicken Seasoning, but you can just add whatever appeals to your taste.

  • Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onion, celery, garlic, carrots and cook  until soft, about 5 min
  • Add 4 cups water, cabbage, chard, potato, vegetable stock, tomatoes, and bouquet garni.  Bring soup to a gentle simmer and cook 25-30 min.
  • Place half of the beans (1.5 cups) in a blender/food processor and process until smooth.  Add the bean puree and the whole beans to the soup and simmer 10 min.  Add the spinach and cook 2 more min.  Season how you like.  Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with vegan Parmesan cheese on top.

Baked Spaghetti

Picture of Light Baked Spaghetti Recipe

6 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green peppers, diced
1, 8 oz container sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp seasoned salt (I used Mrs. Dash traditional blend)
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
28 oz can crushed tomatoes, low sodium
1 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced into "ribbons"
1 cup shredded Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese


  • Bring large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  
  • Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 min.  Stir in garlic and cook 2 min.  Stir in bell peppers, mushrooms, Mrs. Dash, and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring frequently, until soft - about 4 min.  Stir in tomatoes and basil.  Bring to boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until sauce thickens slightly and flavors are blended, about 15 min.
  • Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray.  Add pasta to the skillet and toss to combine with the sauce.  Spoon half of the pasta mizture into the casserole dish.  Sprinkle with half of the cheese.  Spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cover loosely with foil sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake until cheese is melted and bubbly - about 20-25 min.  Let stand 5 min before serving.

Friday, January 13, 2012

4 vegetarian chick'n breasts (I like the Quorn brand)
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds/flax meal or chia seeds
6 Tbsp water
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup pasta sauce, preferably low sodium
3/4 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I like the Daiya brand)
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking dish large enough to hold all for chick'n breasts.
Whisk the ground flax/chia seed and water together, to form a thick egg-like mixture.  Place bread crumbs, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a shallow plate and mix together.  Dip a chick'n breast in the flax/chia mixture then dredge in the bread crumb mixture coating both sides.  Repeat with the rest of the chick'n.
In a large, non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add chick'n and saute for about 3-4 minutes each side, until each side is nicely browned.
Place the chick'n breasts in the baking dish, pour the tomato sauce over them then top with cheese.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15  minutes or until cheese is melted.  Put under the broiler for a few minutes if the cheese hasn't melted after 15 minutes. 
Serve on top of cooked pasta of your choice.  Pair with steamed broccoli and whole grain garlic toast for a complete meal!

Recipe taken from:

Mexican Mini Meatloaves

Cheesy Salsa-Mini Meat Loaves recipe

This is a family favorite every time I make it.  Plus, they are nicely portioned and easy to take in a lunch to work.  This is also the perfect size for a toddler meal!

1 lb. vegetarian beef crumbles (I like the Yives brand)
1/2 cup copped onion
1 flax egg (recipe: 1 Tbsp flax meal/ground flax seends + 3 Tbsp warm water.  Mix and let sit for 5 minutes. Use as an equivalent to 1 egg)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or you can use 12 crushed saltine crackers)
Heat oven to 400 degrees
Mix first 4 ingredients with 1 cup cheese and 1/2 cup salsa.
Press into 12 muffing cups sprayed with cooking spray.  Use back of spoon to make indentation in center of each. 
Bake 20-25 minutes or until meat loaves are done. 
Top with remaining salsa and cheese.  Bake an additional 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

1.5 cups shredded cheese (or vegan cheese alternative), divided
1 cup salsa, divided

Basil Tomato Bisque

2 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
1 white onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup plain NOT LIGHT soymilk
3 lb diced tomatoes, preferably low sodium
1 14.5 ounce can of tomato sauce, preferably low sodium
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 tsp crushed red pepper (based on your "heat" preference)

  • Melt butter in sauce pan, add onions and garlic.  Cook onions until soft and translucent
  • Add flour and whisk vigorously to make it thick and clumpy.  Add milk.  Continue to whisk and cook on medium heat until thickened. 
  • Once thickened, add tomato sauce and tomatoes and stir.  Let cook for about 10 minutes so the tomatoes soften.
  • Add bay leaves, basil, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.  Let simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.  Remove bay leaves.
  • If you prefer a less chunky soup, you can puree half or all of the soup in the blender.  It will be hot, so be sure to lift the blender lid to allow some steam to escape.
  • You can top your soup with some garlic croutons and basalmic vinegar or it is delicious just plain, too. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Polenta and Veg in Garlic Cream Sauce

Polenta & Veg in Garlic Cream Sauce
Yield: 2-3 servings

2/3 cup quick cooking polenta (or you can use yellow corn meal)
2 cups water
4 cups assorted fresh veg (I used red onion, broccoli, yellow pepper, mushrooms and sweet corn kernels)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup veg broth, divided
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
fresh ground black pepper
1 recipe garlic cream sauce (below)

Garlic Cream Sauce
(You might recognize the basic sauce from this recipe)

1 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter sticks
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plain unsweetened almond or other non-dairy milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated garlic

For the polenta:
In a medium saucepan, boil 2 cups water. Reduce heat to low and add polenta, stirring to thoroughly soak. Continue to stir for several minutes over low heat until polenta begins to thicken. When it's about half as thick as you want it to be, remove it from the heat, cover the saucepan, and set it aside.

For the veg:
In a nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat lemon juice and 1/4 cup veg broth over medium heat. Add all the veg at once and cover. Allow to cook several minutes while you make the garlic cream sauce (see below).

After your cream sauce is complete, it's all about finishing up that veg. Stir with a wooden spoon and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of your skillet. (Yum!) Add 1/2 cup veg broth, basil and oregano. Stir to coat the veg and continue to cook uncovered until the liquid is almost gone. Add the final 1/4 cup veg broth and reduce heat to medium-low. Add pepper to taste.

For the garlic cream sauce:
In a small saucepan, melt margarine. Sprinkle in flour and stir with a whisk to combine. Cook over low heat until the mixture begins to pick up some color. Add all of the milk, salt, and garlic. Stir to combine and increase heat to medium. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken. Once it has reached the consistency you like, remove it from the heat and set aside.

To finish:
This meal can be served in a bowl or on a plate, depending on your preference. Whatever your vessel, spoon the polenta on the bottom, top with veg and spoon the garlic cream sauce over the lot. If you like a lot of sauce, you may want to double the cream sauce recipe.

Recipe taken from:

Chipotle-Style Burrito Bowl

Cilantro-Lime Rice
2-2.5 cups brown rice
4 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Earth Balance vegan buttery spread
0.5-1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
juice of 1 lime
dash of cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
  • Prepare rice according to package instructions.  After water begins to boil, add butter, salt, lime juice, onion, cumin and cilantro.  Mix well, cover, and simmer rice mixture according to rice package instructions. 

Other Toppings:
2 cups frozen corn
1 can black beans, low sodium
onions and green peppers, sliced
fresh salsa or pico de gallo
romaine lettuce, chopped
Tofutti soy sour cream (optional)
  • While rice is cooking, steam corn in a separate pot and in another pot, heat beans.  Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and begin to cook green peppers and onions until softened.

1 avocado
juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 Tbsp diced tomato
  • Peel and remove seed from avocado.  Chop into small pieces in a medium sized bowl.  Chop and blend avocado until it is the desired texture. Add remaining ingredients
  • To assemble burrito bowl, start with rice, then add beans, green pepper/onion, corn, salsa/pico de gallo, and top with guacamole and lettuce.  Enjoy!