Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vegan Pesto Grilled Chesse Sandwich

So yesterday was my last day subbing for the year and hopefully forever and today is Jimmy's last day of school with the kids. I can't believe how far we have come in a year. This time last year I wasn't even sure when I would see him again and now today we have moved across the country and get to  experience so many new and amazing things together. I miss my family and friends back home but for our relationship it was and is the best thing we could have EVER done. I am looking forward to many more great memories!

Anyway, I have an interview for a Kindergarten job at a local school here in Glenwood. I can actually walk there it is so close. So right now I am at home just waiting patiently for 1:15. I was starving and decided to make some lunch. We are leaving for summer soon and I have a whole bag of Daiya mozzarella so I figured I should use it. Grilled Cheese sounded amazing so I added a little twist to it. It took me about 5 minutes to make and is absolutely delicious!

Makes: 1 sandwich
Cook Time: 5-10 minutes

2 pieces whole wheat or white bread
1 tablespoon basil paste
1-2 tablespoons vegan butter
1/2 cup daiya mozzarella
5-6 pieces fresh spinach
2 slices tomato

1. In a medium pan melt your vegan butter on medium heat.

2. Get your 2 slices of bread and evenly coat each piece with basil paste. Add your mozzarella on top on each slice as well. Place your spinach and tomato on one side. Sprinkle with pepper to taste and close sandwich. 

3. Place sandwich in pan for 15 seconds to soak up some of the butter and quickly turn so both sides get some butter. Let cook for about 2 minutes and then flip again until both sides are evenly browned. Be careful not to burn.

4. Remove from pan and slice in half. Sprinkle some salt on top if you would like. Serve hot and enjoy!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salsa

I can just picture my self sitting on the dock back home eating and sharing this with friends. It is really light but filling at the same time. Let's be honest when were at the beach we don't want to be eating heavy foods yet more times then not that is the case. It is a perfect lunch side or just a mid afternoon snack. Today I served it with brown rice but that was just because I was at home. I have some tortilla chips left and I think I will eat the leftovers with those. This is also something you can make in advance and put in your cooler. I would recommend serving it with tortilla chips, pita chips or bruschetta bread as well. Whatever you either have lying around your place or are in the mood for when you are at the store. 

Salsa Makes: 4 servings 
Rice Makes: 2 servings
Total Cook Time: 15 minutes (minus rice)

Salsa Ingredients
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 medium tomato
1 ripe avocado 
1/4 cup fresh cilantro 
1/2 red onion (optional)
1 small red pepper
2 tablespoons lime juice
olive oil
cayenne pepper

Rice Ingredients
1 cup brown rice
olive oil
dry basil
garlic salt
cayenne pepper

1. Cook rice according to directions. Either rinse with cold water or let cool down. Add olive oil. dry basil, garlic salt, cayenne pepper and salt & pepper to taste. Combine until mixed evenly.

2. Drain and Rinse black beans and corn. Place in large mixing bowl.

3. Dice your red pepper, red onion, cilantro, tomato and avocado. Place in large bowl and mix until everything is evenly combined. 

4. Add lime juice, olive oil, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper and mix around some more. Place in fridge until ready to serve. 

5. Serve on top of rice or as a salsa with chips of your choice!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Vegan Fried Cheese Wontons

Who doesn't love fried cheese wontons??? I hate not being able to order them when we get Chinese food anymore. They are just so yummy! Well the more I thought about it the more I began to realize that they really are not that complicated so why not just make it vegan??? Well that is what I did. Here is my recipe for them! Add or subtract items if you please. Also I hope your wonton folding skills are a little better then mine!!!

Makes: 6 wontons
Cooke time: 10 minutes

6 wonton wrappers
2 1/2 tablespoons tofuti cream cheese
4 green onions
1 strip fake crab meant (optional)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cut your green onions and crab meat and place in bowl. Mix with cream cheese until evenly combined.

Place a small amount into middle of wonton wrapper. Pinch corners together until wonton is closed and filling is not coming out of the top.

Heat your oil until it begins to bubble. Place wontons in oil for about 30 seconds and flip. Once they begin to get crispy remove and place on paper towel. 

Serve hot. You can serve with any sauce you want such as sweet and sour or duck sauce.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Summer Pasta Salad

This is on of my favorite things to make. I am not sure how it is possible I have not made it since last summer. Even my dad likes this recipe. Its very simple and you can really add whatever vegetables you want to it. It is really light which is nice especially in the summer when it is super hot out side. It's great for a side dish, or for lunch! It is even better the next day because the flavors get to sit over night. 

Makes: 4 servings
Cook time: 30 minutes

1 box of any type of pasta 
1 package good seasonings dressing
olive oil
vinaigrette dressing
1/2 yellow onion
1 red, yellow or orange pepper
1/2 head fresh broccoli
3 cloves garlic
1 tomato
Mrs.Dash original seasoning
garlic salt

Optional Ingredients 
1 can corn
1 zucchini
baby carrots

1. Bring large pot of water to boil. Slice the garlic and add to water. Cook pasta according to directions on back of box.

2. Prepare the vegetables. Slice your onion, pepper, broccoli and tomato. Set aside.

3. Prepare the sauce. Make the dressing according to the directions on the back of good seasonings package. 

4. Once pasta is cooked drain and let cool. Add your vegetables and dressing. Mix until it is evenly coated. Add garlic salt and Mrs.Dash to taste. You may need to add some more oil and vinaigrette dressing but it is totally up to you. 

Serve warm or place in fridge until ready to serve!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Angel Hair Pasta with a Vegan Lemon Cream Sauce

Man it is so nice to be able to sit down and add all of these recipes. I sometimes feel like if I don't do it all at once it just does not get done. I just got back form Jimmy's first grade field trip and he is not home yet so I still have some time. This one I basically stole from my friend Colynn's blog.  But I did mix it up a little. She just makes  so many amazing things sometimes it is hard not to steal them once in a while. I linked her recipe so you can see hers at well but I will give you my version of it! 

Makes: 4 servings
Total Cook Time: 45 minutes

1 box angel hair pasta
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/4 cup tofutti sour cram
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
5 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon corn starch
dash of thyme
dash of cayenne pepper
salt/pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh spinach
1 whole tomato
5-6 medium mushrooms
vegan Parmesan 

1. Cook pasta according to directions on back. (angel hair cooks pretty fast so if you want to prepare everything else first it may be easier)

2. Make cream sauce. Add almond milk,lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sour cream, minced garlic, cayenne, salt/pepper and thyme in medium pot. Bring to a boil. Add corn starch according to package directions and mix until sauce begins to thicken. Reduce heat and cover.

3. Prepare your vegetables. Dice tomato and mushrooms and add to pan with olive oil. Once they begin to cook add the fresh spinach.Mix until spinach begins to wilt. 

4. Once everything is ready to go combine pasta, sauce and vegetables in large bowl. Serve hot and with some vegan Parmesan to top with!

Japanese Udon Noodles & Vegetables

So for my birthday (which was in April) Jimmy's mom bought me to awesome Woks. Jimmy is always telling her how much I love to cook and I can always use things to add to my collection! Anyway they are awesome and I really enjoy using them. One of my favorite things from a Chinese restaurant is Vegetable Lo Mein. Now I am able to make my own! 

Makes: 4 servings
Cook time: 30 minutes

3 single servings Japanese Udon noodles (or similar)
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 red pepper
1/2 cup cooked edomde 
1/4 cup carrots
1/4 cup water chestnuts
1/4 cup green beans
1/4 cup mushrooms
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger 
1/4 cup baby corn (optional)
1/2 cup tereyaki sauce
3/4 cups soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 tablespoon olive oil

Dice all of your fresh vegetables and add to large Wok with olive oil. Using a mincer mince your garlic and ginger and add to pan. Heat on high until all vegetables are soft and cooked through. Remove and place in bowl for later use.

In large Wok heat vegan butter and olive oil. Add noodles and let cook until they begin to get crispy. Once they are warm and crispy add the vegetables that you previously cooked with the noodles. Add your teriyaki  and soy sauce and continue cooking on high for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with a some extra soy sauce for topping!

These are the noodles I used!

Vegan Mushroom & Roasted Garlic Raviolis in a Pesto Sauce

I have been wanting to make these for MONTHS! I bought hand ravioli makers a while back and have just not gotten around to it! I decided to make them on Sunday and was a little low on food products so I decided to work with what I had. Well they came out delicious and we had enough for leftovers as well. I made the dough by hand but would recommend using a pasta maker to roll it out if you have one. They really need to be as thin as possible otherwise they get a little doughy. 

Pasta Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 1 1/2 cups cold water
pinch of salt

Ravioli Filling
1/2 yellow onion 
3 LARGE mushrooms
1/3 cup fresh parsley
5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon Thyme 
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup vegan Parmesan 

Pesto Sauce
minced garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup water

First thing you will want to do is make the dough. All you have to do is mix the ingredients together and kneed for about 5 minutes. Slowly add the water as you mix. You will know when you have enough. You do not want it to be sticky so if it is just add more flour to make up for it. Form it into a ball and set aside. If you make it way in advance cover it with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Next, you will want to make the filling. Peel the garlic and place in a piece of tinfoil with a a dash of olive oil. Cover and place in oven for about 15 minutes or until garlic is very soft. Now chop the onion and place in a medium pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook until onion is soft. While that is cooking chop the mushroom into tiny square like shapes. You will want to chop the parsley as well. Add to the pan with the onion and continue mixing until everything is soft. You can add the dash of Thyme at any time as well. When the garlic is cooked through remove from oven and let cool. Dice the garlic and add it to the pan. When all parts of the filling are cooked you can remove from the heat. Once it has cooled down you can add it to a mixing bowl and add the vegan Parmesan. Mix everything together and set aside for later. 

Before you start making the raviolis you will want to get the Pesto sauce going and a big pot of water. I never follow the package directions for the pesto. I flip the water and and oil portions and add minced garlic. You can use fresh garlic or the kind in a jar. Heat on low until pesto is warm and continue mixing. With the pot of water add some salt and bring to a boil.

You now have to make the raviolis. Like I mentioned earlier I used a ravioli press that I bought but there are tons of ways to make raviolis. Just choose your own way. Roll out the dough into very thing pieces and using the filling put about a tablespoon in the middle. Pinch them closed. Continue the process until the dough is either gone or the filling is gone. I was able to make 15 raviolis but I think if you use a pasta press maker you will be able to make more because it they will be a little thinner. 

Once all of your raviolis are completed and your water is boiling you can begin to add them to the water. They will most likely not all fit at the same time so add as many as you can. You will know they are done when they begin to float. Even then I would wait about 30 more seconds before removing them. Place them in a large bowl. Continue the process until all raviolis are cooked. 

Finally, add the pesto sauce to the bowl of cooked raviolis. Serve hot and with some extra vegan Parmesan. :)

I also served these with my vegan garlic toast!!!

Vegan Pesto

So this post is going to go along with the recipe I will be posting after this but I kind of felt like it deserves it's own post. In the past I have posted a home made vegan pesto recipe but sometime we just don't have time for it. I for one LOVE pesto and when I realized that most packaged or pre-made pesto's have milk and cheese in them I became VERY upset. I have made it my mission to find one that does not contain these products. 

My first story will be we were watching the travel channel one night and watched a special on Sunflower Pesto. All of their ingredients are 100% vegan. Unfortunately it is made in Canada and when I tweeted Whole Foods they said it depends on the location. Our local Whole Foods is not that close so I have not made it over that way yet to check. I would love to but it online but it appears they do not sell it online. Here is the website anyway in case you want to check it out. 

My second story is simple. I was at the local Natural Grocers and decided to look down the pasta aisle. They had a packet or Organic Pesto. When I picked it up and looked at the ingredients I almost wanted to start jumping up and down. VEGAN PESTO PACKET! WHOOO!!!!! I bought two and was finally able to use it this weekend. I spiced it up a little by adding more garlic but I always did that anyway. You can always add Vegan Parmesan to it as well.! Its very yummy! Here is a picture of the front and back in case you are interested!!!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Garlic & Artichoke Crostini

This is a perfect appetizer for a party or just for a mid-day snack! I brought it to our friends house for the Red Wings game on Saturday. It is easy, quick and filled with flavor. I had never made them before so I was a little nervous bringing them to someones house but luckily they were a hit!

1 16oz can Artichoke hearts
2 loafs french bread (or any other type you want)
4-5 cloves garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/3 cup vegan Parmesan
garlic salt

Makes: about 40 small pieces
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
1. Slice your bread on an angle and place on non stick cooking tray. You may need two trays as it will make about 40 pieces depending on the size of your bread,

2. Drain and rinse your artichoke hears. Slice them into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Peel and dice your garlic in to small pieces and place in bowl with artichoke hearts. Dice your parsley as small as you can get it and also place in bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and your vegan Parmesan. Using a spoon mix around until ingredients are evenly combined. You can add salt and pepper to taste as well.

3. Using remaining olive oil evenly brush on both sides of each piece of bread. On top side sprinkle a very small amount of garlic salt. Place in oven for about 5 minutes or until they begin to brown. For a more even brown flip bread about half way through.

4. Remove bread from oven and let cool for a few minutes. Using a spoon evenly place a small amount of the garlic and artichoke dip on top. 

5. Place back in oven for about 3 minutes. You are really just trying to heat it up at this point and maybe brown the tops just a little.

You can serve this hot, cold or room temperature! If you want you can dust the tops with a little more Parmesan. :)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Vegan Potato Soup with Garlic Toast

Summer is getting close which means "soup" season is just about over. I had one box of vegetable broth left so I figured I would use it. I have been missing home lately and am ready to get back and be on the boat for a few weekends. Growing up my mom almost never cooked but one thing she did make was potato soup. She got the recipe from my Bumpa and carried it down for us. Obviously I can no longer enjoy her amazing soup so I decided to make one of my own. This is a great Sunday dinner starter or can even be served as a full meal. It is very filling so you really do not need much more to keep your self full. There is not a whole lot that goes into it! I did make some English Muffin garlic bread to go along with it. I finally did not burn it so I am adding it to my blog! So be careful because it is VERY easy to burn the muffins!!!

Makes: 4 bowls & 8 muffin pieces
Total Cook Time: 1 hour
Soup Ingredients
2 medium potatoes
6 medium red potatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 tablespoon olive oil

Optional Toppings
1 red onion
4 green onions
daiya cheddar cheese
Tofuti Sour Cream

Garlic Toast Ingredients
4 Thomas's English Muffins
4-6 tablespoons vegan butter
2 tablespoons parsley (fresh or dried)
3-4 cloves garlic
garlic salt

Soup Directions
Dice your onion and garlic and place with olive oil into large pot. Let simmer until onions are soft. 

While the onions are cooking peel and cut your potatoes into medium sized squares. Add them into pot with onions and garlic.

In large pot cover potatoes with the 4 cups of vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and cover. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. Do not over cook them to the point that they become a mashed potato but do not undercook them so they are hard to eat.

Let the coup cool down a little as you will be placing some of the mixture into a food processor. Once this happens using a slit spoon remove about half of the potatoes, onions and garlic and place in food processor. You do not want much of the broth for this part. Add 1/2 cup almond milk and mix until it forms a smooth mixture.

Add mixture back into pot. Turn back onto medium heat and add remaining almond milk. Also add the nutritional yeast, celery salt and salt and pepper to taste. Bring back to a boil.

Once soup is boiling add corn starch according to directions on back of package. Once the soup begins to thicken place on low heat until ready to serve. Add salt and pepper to taste.

***If you are going to add red onions to the top of the soup you will want to cut it into thin slices and then carmalize it with some oil in a small pan, this will take about 5 minutes***

Place soup into 4 bowl and add whatever toppings you desire. Make sure to serve it hot!!!!!

Garlic Toast Directions
Preheat Oven to 400 degrees

Cut your muffins in half and place on no stick cooking tray.

In a bowl combine butter, garlic, parsley and garlic salt and place in microwave for about 30 seconds or until butter is melted.

Using a spoon spread butter mixture evenly on top of each muffin half. 

Place in oven for about 5 minutes or until it starts to brown! S

Serve hot :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Penne in an Olive Oil Sauce with Roasted Spinach, Tomatoes & Mushrooms

Woah! Been too long once again. It has been a hectic few weeks again where I honestly have not even made much. Last week I was packed with jobs and had a job interview on Thursday. My friend Erin came into town as well. Jimmy and I had to drive to and from Denver too many times in 2 days but she is SOOOOO worth it and he is amazing! We had a great weekend and had way to much fun! One day we went up to the Glenwood Canyons which is this place where you take a gondola on top of the mountain. They have rides and laser tag and a really cool cave tour. I got some really awesome pictures. We had an absolute blast. We spent Saturday night in Denver. We had dinner in downtown and spent the night on the town and exploring it was really fun. Erin's flight was way to early for any of us but we got her there and like I said she is worth it! I miss her already and am hoping our paths manage to pass again this summer!

Anyway I made this recipe for Erin on Friday afternoon. She wanted MORE!!!! haha but she absolutely loved it and was glad I made it. It is simple and easy and you can easily adjust the portion sizes. 

Makes: 2-3 servings
Cook Time: 30 minutes

3/4 box Penne pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
3-4 medium mushrooms
2 gloves garlic
1/2 medium tomato
olive oil
garlic salt
dry parsley
vegan Parmesan 

In a medium cook pasta according to directions on back of box.

While that is cooking dice your tomato and garlic, mushrooms. I cut the tomato into small squares and the  mushroom and garlic in halves then sliced. Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium pan and add garlic, tomatoes and mushrooms. After about 5 minutes add the spinach and stir until spinach becomes wilted. Once this happens turn heat on low. Add garlic salt and parsley.

Once pasta is cooked drain and place back in pot. Add the garlic, tomato, spinach and mushrooms and mix together. Add more olive oil and garlic salt and parsley to taste. Place in bowls and serve with Vegan Parmesan.