Week 22: Stuffed

The weather last week took a turn and was cool, rainy and windy.  I think this is what led to the craving for stuffed baked potatoes (luckily I cooked before it skyrocketed to the 90s).  Perhaps this was still on my mind as I was perusing the cookbooks to decide what to make for the week because I ended up choosing Happy Herbivore Abroad Stuffed Poblano Peppers and Cajun Stuffed Mushrooms.

The stuffing used in the two dishes was slightly different. The cajun stuffed mushrooms included garlic, onion, celery, peppers and spinach with a cajun seasoning (the book does have a recipe to make your own but I had the Emeril’s Bayou Seasoning on hand so I went with that).  They cooked up beautifully in a muffin pan and were even better left over.

HHA Cajun Stuffed Mushrooms

I served the stuffed poblano peppers over arroz amarillo from Everyday Happy Herbivore, the latter of which I’ve made before.  The stuffing for this one again included peppers and onions but also black beans and salsa.  I added corn as well.  This was my first attempt at stuffed poblanos and I don’t to my knowledge think I’ve ever eaten them.  The spice is mild to my taste but very flavorful and perfectly paired into a satisfying meal with the rice.

HHA Stuffed Pablano PeppersI ended up with leftover stuffing from both dishes so I decided to use it up in a potato hash, which I had with the leftover stuffed mushrooms for a nice, filling breakfast.  I managed to use up all of my food on hand and have a quick breakfast I could heat up at work.  I loved the mushrooms leftover in the hash and will probably be doing this go again to change up my breakfast routine.

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New Recipes Made This Week: 2

New Recipe Tally 2013: 69

Week 21: Stretching the Pantry

Alas the long holiday weekend is nearing its end…it feels quite strange to be writing Week 21’s post when I just finished cleaning the kitchen of Week 22’s meal prep!  Suffice it to say the long weekend has me a bit off schedule but I’m finally here. Week 21 found me quite unorganized.  I spent the weekend with family out of state and never really had much of a plan going into the week.  Some of you may work well without meal planning but I am not one of these people.  Since most of what I eat is whole foods and perishable foods if I haven’t planned my meals out I’m left with grains, pastas and beans.  Yup, chickpea tacos 😀

Disclaimers aside, I’ll start with dessert since that was the best thing I made.  I decided to make Happy Herbivore Sunshine Muffins from the Abroad cookbook mostly because I was intrigued that crushed pineapple provided the only source of moisture.  These were delicious!  They bake up nicely, have minimal sugar (beyond that provided by the fruit) and are a lovely treat with afternoon tea.  I added some shaved almonds and a blueberry on top for texture and garnish (as they were baking I thought coconut, but that will be for next time).

Sunshine Muffins HHA

For actual meals I had to search the pantry to see what was on hand (and I did have chickpea tacos in burrito form a few nights).  I started out with a pinterest sourced recipe that also had me curious more than anything.  One Pot Wonder Tomato Basil Pasta is as the name indicates a one pot pasta recipe where all ingredients, including the uncooked pasta get thrown together to cook.  If you aren’t picky about the texture of your pasta then this is a great option. I had issues with my pasta ending up overdone (especially leftovers).  The flavors were on point but I will stick to my two pot method-I cook my pasta until just under then add it to the sauce to finish and take up some of the flavors.

Pinterest One Pot Pasta

Finally, the one fresh ingredient I had on hand was eggplant so I made Forks Over Knives Cookbook Penne with Spicy Eggplant.  The recipe called for the sauce to be left chunky but I prefer a smooth sauce so I decided to puree the sauce with my immersion blender.  This worked well with the Spicy Peanut and Eggplant Soup I made some weeks ago so figured why not.  It produced a nice thick sauce with a subtle spice.  As far as taste goes, I didn’t find the sauce to be much different than some of the other recipes I’ve tried but it is a great way to get some added veggie goodness to your meal in a quick and subtle way.

FoK Spicy Eggplant (Penne)

Not a bad week for just getting by!  No worries, next week was amazingly planned, so much so I am officially out of storage containers.

New Recipes Made This Week: 3

New Recipe Tally 2013: 67

Week 20: Mixed Diet Family Get-Togethers

Last weekend I had an impromptu family get-together for Mother’s Day.  My parents and my brother and his family came for a brunch that was probably a bit closer to lunch than standard Sunday brunch fare.  Personally, I do not expect others to adapt to my lifestyle.  I see a lot of posts about this topic, particular around holidays.  When I go to visit family they make an effort to have something I will eat and I try to do the same in return.  Of course, I’ll make some yummy vegan food for them to try as well!

Mother’s Day weekend was a bit unorganized and I didn’t get meal planning, shopping, prepping or cooking until Sunday morning. Considering everyone was to arrive around noon this didn’t leave a lot of time.  Given the time constraints, I decided to get burgers for the family and make some yummy vegan sides to accompany.

Forks Over Knives Cookbook had a Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad with Pineapple Chutney that sounded wonderful (how did I not realize there were grilled vegetable recipes in FoK before?!).  This recipe is actually three recipes.  First is Grilled Vegetable Kabobs, which make up the grilled vegetable portion of the recipe.  Here an assortment of vegetables marinated with a balsamic and herb based marinade are grilled.  The vegetables are added to pasta with cilantro and green onions.  I used gluten-free pasta as I have a number of gluten intolerant family members.

FoK Grilled Veg Pasta Salad

Finally, Pineapple Chutney is mixed in.  I admit I had my doubts on this one.  The book describes this as “the pineapple chutney adds an unusual but delicious dressing for the salad”.  Unusual is rarely good in my experience, but I was proven wrong!  The pineapple chutney has jalapeno, onion, and herbs that give it a nice savory tang that went well with the pasta and grilled vegetables.  I will say it was best fresh, but it have been the gluten-free pasta leading to the dryness of the leftovers.

FoK Pineapple Chutney

I also made Happy Herbivore German Potato Salad from Happy Herbivore Abroad Cookbook.  This recipe called for bacon bits and had a recipe to make your own.  There was also a chef’s note that most commercial brand bacon bits are vegan and since I was short on prep time I decided to buy some.  Of course, as I was getting ready to serve, I quickly checked the label to make sure they were gluten free and realized I had managed to buy the real bacon bits (meaning one and only ingredient was bacon)… rookie mistake!  I tasted a tiny piece of potato that seemed unadulterated and it was absolutely delicious so I will be making this again for myself with more attention to the bacon bits next time.  I also forgot to snap a pic of this one before the family gobbled it up 😉 It was a big hit and mom even asked for the recipe.

New Recipes Made This Week: 4

New Recipe Tally 2013: 64

Week 19: Vegan Cinco de Mayo

If you’re just wandering onto this site you’re probably thinking I’m a week late with my Cinco de Mayo post.  Since I tend to cook at the beginning of the week and blog at the end of each week I end up a bit off in my posts unless I actually plan well enough to meal plan, shop and prep in advance of a holiday (not likely to be happening any time soon).

I was really excited to find some recipes in Forks Over Knives that were perfect for a Mexican themed meal AND involved grilling rather than standing over a stove.  This past week I made Not-So-Fat Guacamole, Fresh Tomato Salsa, and Veggie Fajitas, which utilized a recipe for Grilled Portobello Mushrooms.  If I haven’t convinced you to buy the Forks Over Knives Cookbook yet, this meal should; I absolutely loved it.

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The Salsa recipe is pretty standard and I cannot wait for fresh tomatoes, which will make it even better.  The Not-So-Fat Guacamole is anything but standard.  There is NO avocado in this recipe.  Now, I have seen and tried low-fat guacamole recipes that replace some of the avocado with some kind of bean, like edamame in this this Happy Herbivore version.  The Forks Over Knives recipe is made with edamame and broccoli,  along with the more traditional ingredients such as red onion, cilantro and garlic.  The flavor profile was reminiscent of gaucamole, but the texture never got there for me.  It lacked the creaminess you expect from a good guac recipe.  I would say this makes a good spread in a wrap but isn’t a replacement for a dip (not for me anyway).

The portobello mushrooms were marinated for an hour in a soy sauce based marinade before grilling.  The fajita recipe called for red onion and bell pepper to be cooked stove top but since I was grilling the mushrooms I threw the other vegetables on the grill too.  After grilling, I sliced and seasoned stove top to finish the fajitas.  This was a fairly quick and easy meal to prepare and very satisfying.  The recipe for the Grilled Mushrooms mentions having them as burgers; I’ll have to try that next time.  They really soaked up the marinade well.

New Recipes Made This Week: 4

New Recipe Tally 2013: 60

Week 18: Comfort Food Spring Edition

Cinco de Mayo is here already! Of course I don’t plan ahead so my themed post won’t find you until next week.  I’ve been seeing all the veggieful Mexican inspired recipes the past few weeks and found a good one in Forks Over Knives that meets the challenge, and marries my love of Mexican flavors with my new found love of grilling.  You’ll have to wait for next week for that though.

This week’s post will be short and sweet as it is Sunday night and my to-do list for the weekend is not even half complete.  I was taking inspiration from Pinterest again this week.  First I made this Spring Vegetable Pot Pie.  I made some adjustments to suit my cravings, adding more asparagus (and throwing peas and corn in there as well) and leaving out the tofu.  I also used fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage and left out the mustard.  This smelled delicious in the oven and did not disappoint for dinner this week either.  I baked mine in a square pan so my pictures are not quite as pin-worthy as the original but I will be making this again for sure.

Pinterest Pot Pie

Also, from Pinterest, this week I made Kathy Patalsky’s Blueberry Muffins.  I love Happy Herbivore single blueberry muffins (and really anything blueberry).  Kathy’s version adds candied ginger, which intrigued me.  It also has very little sugar compared to most recipes.  I enjoyed this muffin but not quite as much as the Happy Herbivore muffin.  I think it’s the texture of the oat flour that throws me off; it can be a bit gummy in my opinion.  I will probably end up combining these recipes by adding some candied ginger, and almonds, while cutting back the sweeteners in the Happy Herbivore muffin but keeping her whole-wheat pastry flour.

Kathy Patalsky Blueberry Muffin

Since I had some blueberries left I treated myself to pancakes for breakfast.  Specifically, Veganomicon Blueberry Corn Pancakes.  The corn comes from cornmeal (in addition to regular flour).  Leaving out the oil was no problem at all.  These were a nice change from my usual blueberry pancake; the cornmeal adds a subtle but distinct flavor and some texture.

Veganomicon Blueberry Corncakes

New Recipes Made This Week: 3

New Recipe Tally 2013: 56