Tag Archives: delicious meals

Your Very Own Black Beans! and Quesadillas Sin Queso

7 Feb

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Song of the Post – Lust for Life by Girls

Hello diligent readers – I hope you are having a fantastic week so far!

So I’ve made a few tasty dishes this week, and I’ve made sure to make tons so there are leftovers aplenty. My first endevour involved dried black beans. Buying these babies in bulk is so much more economical than in cans. I put my best foot forward and set out to be a money saver! It ended up being an excellent choice that resulted in a mountain of flavorful black beans, yum.

This recipe comes from Budget Bytes – and requires the use of a crock pot. Leave your beans and veggie mix for 4 hours and voila! Magic occurs and you’re left with something extraordinary (and cheap). [Take note: the recipe says not to add salt to the crock pot mix. When I reheat the beans, I make sure to add either salt or sriracha sauce, otherwise the beans seem a little bland.]

Now comes the real fun: cooking with black beans. With the beginning of the semester in full force, I haven’t had much time to get creative with my meals. But I did find an intriguing idea for an avocado quesadilla – minus the queso. What a great way to enjoy latin inspired food without the costly vegan cheese! The other really awesome thing about this meal is it’s simplicity. In 2 minutes this “avo-dilla” is ready. Bon appétit!

Best,

Lauren

Crock Pot Black Beans

  • 2 cups dry black beans
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 can diced tomatos
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 jalepeno, diced

Sort through your beans to remove any stones or damaged beans. Rinse the beans well to remove any dust. Place the beans in the slow cooker.

Also add to the slow cooker: diced tomatoes, garlic (smashed or roughly chopped), one jalapeno, and chopped veggies. Do not add salt at this point. Add 5 cups of water, secure the lid and set the heat to high.

After four hours open the slow cooker and check the beans to make sure they are tender. They should be fully cooked at this point but if they aren’t, simply cook them longer and check again after a couple hours.

Either serve the beans immediately or divide up and freeze in single or double serving sized portions.

Additional options: red pepper flakes, bay leaves (1 or 2) or low sodium chicken stock in place of water.

Avo-dillas

(recipe adapted from Healthy Happy Life)

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 whole wheat tortilla
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • few spoonfuls of black beans (optional)

Melt the vegan butter in a very hot skillet.  Add the tortilla. Toss it around in the melted butter a bit to wet all sides.

Lay “butter-tossed” tortilla flat in the pan and quickly add the avocado+black beans. Mash the avocado a bit into the tortilla and fold over one side – just as you would a quesadilla. Note: you can also sear the avocado a bit in the hot pan if you’d like a warmer – softer avocado filling texture.

Flip the tortilla so that both sides brown. If a few ago slices spill out, just open the wrap and slide them back in. Transfer to plate and munch!

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excuse the poor quality of this photo! Check out Happy Healthy Life for more scrumptious pics 🙂

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all done!

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Day 13 – Experimentation is Key! (Featuring Sloppy Joes)

18 Jan

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Song of the Post – Informer by Snow

Oh, what’s up buckets upon buckets of snow?

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Yeah, looks like it’s getting pretty chilly out there.  Walking places is no bueno these days with all the giant snowflakes coming at my eyeballs.  Driving is not an option, since A. my car won’t start and B. its slick as heck!  Guess my only option is to stay at home and try to warm up.  But I wonder… however could I achieve such warmth in this snowy wonderland?

I have a great idea!  Curry!

Here’s a painfully simple recipe I found for curry chickpeas.  It comes from an extremely helpful website called Budget Bytes.  So far, I’m in love with this blog!  It informs you just how inexpensive her recipes are, down to each serving.  Nice!

So, midway through cooking this delicious dish I decided that quick curried chickpea soup sounded better.  To make this happen, I added the same amount of water called for but didn’t simmer it as long.  With that discovery fueling my ingenuity, I threw in two tomatoes (chopped up), one cup of frozen corn and a few handfuls of spinach.  I’m very happy with how this chickpea chili curry turned out!  Scrumptious, spicy and filling; baby that’s my kind of meal.

Quick Curried Chickpeas

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 half medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 can tomato sauce
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 heaping cup spinach
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (optional)
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional)

Cook the onion and garlic in a large pot with olive oil over medium heat until softed.

Add chickpeas to the pot, as well as the tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, water and curry powder. Stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the mixture up to a simmer over medium heat.

While the chick peas are simmering, rinse the spinach. Roughly chop the leaves and add them to the pot. Give everything a stir and continue to simmer until the sauce has reduced to a soupy or thick consistency (about 20 minutes total). Stir the pot every few minutes to prevent the sauce from burning and sticking to the bottom.

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This next recipe is my treasure, my knight in shining armor of meals.  The very first moment I saw this online, I knew I had to make it.  There are about 1 million ingredients, but dedication and patience have finally brought me to this delightful meal.

Experimentation also had a huge role in creating this meal.  The first ingredient on the list is TVP, or for those who don’t speak veganese, textured vegetable protein.  I opted out of buying an eight dollar bag of TVP, since I haven’t seen any other recipes that call for it, and chose to use the remaining half of a firm block of tofu.  Wary as I was, I figured tofu was a low-maintenance ingredient that would pick up the overall flavor of the mix.  This assumption turned out to be true, and the tofu was a crumbly, almost ground-beef like texture alongside the variety of veggies.

But wait – there’s more!  You see, I went to the store with one mission – obtain sweet potatoes to use for sloppy joes.  I rushed home, peeled and boiled my sweet potato, grinning at how prepared I was.  Then, I checked the recipe.  Alas, there was no sweet potato to be found.  This did not stop me!  I added half of a large SP to the sloppy joe mix near the end of its sautéing.  Let me assure you, the results were stellar.  Moral of the story: feel free to add whatever sounds good!  Next time I’m chucking in some eggplant, or maybe zucchini if I’m feeling wild.

With a swipe of stone ground mustard (I don’t have veganiase yet) and handful of crisp spinach, this hot sandwich is ready for you to chow down on.  Enjoy!

Best,

Lauren

Garden Veggie Sloppy Nellys 

(as adapted from Healthy Happy Life)
makes 6 burgers

  • burger buns, warmed in oven

Sloppy Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups TVP or 1 firm block tofu, crumbled
  • 1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp maple or agave syrup
  • 14 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes, crushed
  • 14 ounces water
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1 1/4 cups green bell pepper, diced
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced (use seeds for spicier flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled, diced, boiled and mashed a bit (optional)
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (optional – adds smokiness)
  • 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional – adds savory flavor) *I highly recommend it
  • salt/pepper to taste (I like a heavy hand of fine pepper)

Add the vegan butter and oil to a med-high x-large nonstick skillet.  Add onions, bell pepper, mushrooms to pan. Sauté until onions turn translucent.

Add in the tomato paste, water and TVP (or crumbled tofu).  Stir until TVP absorbs liquid and thins paste (if using tofu, stir for a few minutes). Now you may add in the remaining ingredients.

Turn heat to medium and sauté for about 5 minutes until the ingredients become flavorful and the mixture thickens well. Add nutritional yeast and liquid smoke as desired. Salt and pepper to taste.

Fill buns with sloppy mix – slather buns with vegenaise or other condiments – and maybe a few leaves of fresh spinach or romaine for extra green flavor. Serve hot.

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[Not the cutest thing I’ve ever cooked – but DANG it is tasty.]

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Day 11 – Tortilla Casserole & Almond Cheeze

16 Jan

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Song of the Post – Municipality by Real Estate

Happy MLK Day!

Martin Luther King day has a special place in my heart.  My brother’s birthday is January 15th, and it was so unbelievably cool to have the Monday following his birthday off from school.  So now, a decade or so later, I still think of being so psyched to play in the snow with my little brother.

With those cozy thoughts in mind, let us dive into a warm and toasty meal!

My original aspiration for dinner night with the guys was lofty.  I’ve been craving a big juicy burger ever since day 1 of this vegan challenge, so I suggested homemade veggie burgers.  Upon realizing I had absolutely none of the ingredients necessary, I switched to a much more low-key recipe: Tortilla Casserole.  Also, when I showed up with to the guys’ house I couldn’t find the recipe online – it was bookmarked on my laptop but nowhere to be found on the world wide web!  Overall, it’s pretty difficult to mess up a black bean/tex mex casserole.  It turned out excellent, without the dang recipe!

So, this is the original recipe from VegKitchen.com.  I added sautéed onions and mushrooms to the mix.  The result was a fantastic, low maintenance casserole perfect for any spontaneous get-together.  Also, when the fellas were dressing up the casserole with cheese, Stephen surprised me with a stash of almond cheez!  My meal was indeed vegan, and I lived happily ever after!

We all enjoyed this dish very much, and I hope you do too!

Best,

Lauren

Super Easy Tortilla Casserole

  • One 16-ounce can pinto or pink beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 16-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • One 4-ounce can chopped mild green chilies (optional)
    or 1 to 2 small hot fresh chilis, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, diced small
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 10 corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups grated nondairy Monterey Jack, cheddar, or jalapeño cheese
  • Salsa for topping
  • Vegan sour cream for topping, optional

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Sautee onions and mushrooms until soft.

Combine both kinds of beans, tomatoes, chilies, corn, scallions, cumin, and oregano in a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Lightly oil a wide, 2-quart casserole dish and layer as follows: 5 tortillas, overlapping one another; half of the bean mixture; half of the cheese. Repeat layer, adding the onion mushroom mixture on top.

Bake the casserole for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly. Let stand for a minute or two, then cut into wedges or squares to serve. Pass around salsa and optional vegan sour cream to top each serving.

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Do not be alarmed!  The white cheese is provolone, and the carrot-looking stuff is actually almond cheez.  It didn’t taste like much, but I was happy to be included in the cheese gang!

Days 9 & 10 – All Around the World

13 Jan

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Song of the Post – Portrait in Black and Blue by King Krule

Hello to all! I hope everyone’s long weekend is off to an amazing start.

Once my conquering-tofu high subsided, I turned to my newly vegan-ized Pinterest page. It was time to start experimenting again! I searched high and low for the perfect recipe (read: one that lacks crazy veg ingredients) and decided on an incredibly flavorful one that would warm me up. Tortilla soup! This particular version includes all types of vegetables, creating an absolutely beautiful and colorful meal. The variety of veggies also keeps this soup from being monotonous – every bite is different. Yellow and red peppers, green celery, fresh cut tomatoes and corn… my mouth is watering just thinking about it! Next time I have to cook for someone, I’m pulling out this recipe.

Another obvious addition to this dish is tortilla chips! After five weeks (when I’m not on this anti-flour diet) I’ll be sure to whip up some tortilla strips. For now, I’m perfectly content with just this piping hot bowl of goodness.

Notes: I switched out zucchini for mushrooms and threw in a coarsely chopped tomato – it did not disappoint. I also added sriracha to the list of ingredients, because I live for spicy!

Tortilla Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cups chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 ear fresh corn (or half cup – 1 cup frozen corn)
  • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp crushed red chili pepper
  • One 15-oz can crushed tomatoes (or 2 medium tomatoes, diced)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha sauce (optional)
  • 1 can chopped green chili peppers, drained (optional)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1.5-2 cups cooked black beans (or beans of choice – I used a tri-color blend)
  • salt & pepper, to taste

In a large pot over medium to low heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the peppers, zucchini, green onion, and remove corn from cob. Add the veggies into the pot and sauté for another 5-10 minutes.

Add in the crushed tomatoes, cumin, broth, and chia seeds. Stir well and season with salt and pepper. Simmer on low-medium heat for 25-30 minutes.

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This next recipe comes from a lovely girl who sits next to me in my Jan term class. Molly’s blog wannabetrending.wordpress.com is super helpful – she recounts the top 5 trending topics of the day and informs all of us why they’re so important. Check it out!

With all the enthusiasm in the world, Ian (from Young and Hella Vegetarian) and I embarked on another culinary exploration. This time our mission was Palestinian Lentils and Rice. What I didn’t realize is that our mission involved feeding us and five more dudes! These are college boys, mind you, and man are they hungry. Luckily we had plenty of supplies, so we doubled the recipe and ended up more than enough. Let me tell you – cooking for a ton of people can be intimidating, but it’s very inspiring when everything comes together. The boys loved this dish, and I never got tired of all the ‘compliments to the chef’!

We all agreed: the key to this meal is ONION. Lots and lots (and possibly even more) sautéed onion is what makes this dish pop. The rice and lentils combo is hearty, just what we needed on a below-freezing winter night. Mix in some nice, big onion chunks and you’ve got yourself heaven in a bowl. Enjoy – there’s no way you can’t love this meal!

Palestinian Lentils and Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Sauté onions in oil until translucent, or very brown and crisp. Remove onions to a bowl and set aside.

Turn heat to med-high and add lentils and rice; sauté quickly in oil, add cumin and salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of water to rice and lentils and bring to boil. Cover tightly and cook on low heat for 20-25 minutes. Fluff up rice and lentils and top with onions.

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One more thing – the title of this blog post brought me right back to 1997. That’s right baby, I’m talking Sugar Ray.  Have a blast this weekend everybody, and remember that Iiiiii just wanna fly!