Cheesy Potato Onion Bake and Spicy Roasted Veggie Chili

I was just in the kitchen making Vegan Dad's Kaiser Rolls, so I've got flour all over my hands.  Ahh... I love making bread.  I will be posting the recipe fairly soon, but for now I will be talking about these two.  I just want to say that, yes, I know it's a hundred degrees outside and the middle of a hot, steamy, summer.  So what?  I melt... and then I have good food.  It's all good.  But, even though both of these dishes are not really summer dishes, they are totally worth the trouble any time of the year.
About the potato thing- it's really good.  Um, yeah.  I liked the cheese a lot- this time, I used almond cheese, which didn't melt as well as normal cheese.  But I'm really trying to move towards a more vegan diet, so I figured, since it wasn't too expensive, I would give it a shot.  And the combination of roasted potatoes and onions/shallots was quite amazing.  I loved the sauce that went with it, too.
This chili- oh my GOSH it was so GOOD I thought I had DIED and gone to HEAVEN when I first tasted it.  Seriously.  It's that good- it'll have you crying it's so spicy, but it's all worth it.  I love the rich flavour of the roasted veggies, and the large amount of beans really makes this such a filling dish.  Great for hot or cold days... a must try.  Healthy Happy Life is such a brilliant blog...

Cheesy Potato Onion/Shallot Bake

Adapted from A Dash of Flavour

Serves 8

2 lbs russet potatoes cut into ¼ inch thick slices

Several shallots and/or a small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup cheese
1 cup Silk
1 tbsp vegetarian chicken bouillon
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350, and spray a casserole dish with nonstick spray.
Put down a layer of potatoes, and then a layer of onion/shallot. Sprinkle with cheese. Repeat until all the potatoes are gone, ending with a layer of cheese. Mix together the Silk, bullion, and seasoning and pour over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Serve.

Spicy Roasted Veggie Chili

Adapted from Healthy Happy Life

Serves 10


1 large carrots, coined
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Drizzle of honey
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp nutmeg
2-3 tbsp molasses
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ red onion, diced
½ bunch spinach, destemmed and torn
1 1/2 cups carrots, coined
3/4 cups diced red bell pepper
3 dried chilies, soaked in water for several hours and finely chopped
6 cups canned fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp honey
1/3 cup tomato paste
2 tbsp cocoa powder
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 bay leaf
1 lbs red kidney beans, soaked overnight
1/2 lb pinto beans soaked overnight

Cheese and sour cream

Preheat the oven to 400. Put the veggies from A on a baking sheet, and mix together remaining A ingredients. Pour them over the veggies, and bake the veggies for 15 minutes, until caramelized. Set aside.
Heat a large Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the B section to the pot. Add a bit of water (I used what the peppers were soaking in), and cover. Allow to simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove from pot and put the B mixture on a baking sheet, and bake for 12 minutes, until caramelized.
Finally, add all the ingredients to the Dutch oven except cheese and sour cream. Add enough water to your liking, and bring to a light simmer. Cover and simmer for 4 hours, or until you just can’t wait anymore. Serve with cheese and sour cream.


ADORABLE Wonton Pizza Cups, Bagel Sandwich, and Roasted Potatoes with a Dip

Heh, yeah, I'm so behind on this blog, so I'm doing really BIG posts.  Whatever works, right?
Ok, so first up these wonton pizza thingies.  Man, they are the cutest thing I have eaten in for-ever.  I seriously mean that!  Ok, so they were a bit of trouble to put together in the pan, but I didn't really have much else to do that night so it was all good.  Plus, they were so full of flavour and different pieces that I didn't mind what work I did put into them.  Another plus was that there were 24 of them, so there were quite a number of leftovers.  They actually do smell like pizza when they bake, too, so that always such a treat.  What really shocked me was how much the tofu did really taste like ricotta cheese- it had just the right texture in this dish.  One thing about these, though, is you can't eat them with your fingers.. boohoo.
Next up, this lovely bagel sandwich.  I think I have it perfected now!  I have been wanting something different for my breakfast for quite some time now, so I decided today was the day!  Plus, I wanted a nice excuse to use my panini press, so this seemed like the perfect chance.  So, this takes about 5 minutes to throw together, and you can do other things while the bagel cooks.  I got my bagels from Einstein's- they're not homemade, but they coud be if I got ambitious.  They're slightly spicy from the fake sausauge, and sweet from the jam.  All for around 350 calories!  Yum...
Finally, these roasted potatoes.  The potatoes themselves are not a total ingenious thing, but, paired with the dip, they are something that I will certainly be making again when I'm in a pinch for time!  They are so simple to through together, and make a nice addition to any meal.  Leftover sauce is really good on baked potatoes, too.

Wonton Pizza Cups

Adapted from Chow Vegan
Makes 24
24 wonton wrappers          1 cup tomato sauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup cheese

2 oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
2-3 small carrots, coined
1 garlic clove, minced

8 oz tofu, pressed
10 basil leaves,
1 tbsp red wine
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375.
Heat a small frying pan, and sauté the mushrooms, carrots, and garlic until tender. Set aside.
Mix together the tomato sauce, molasses, and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and set aside.
Put the tofu, basil, wine, nutmeg, garlic powder, and salt and pepper in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender. Alternatively, put in a food processor or blender and blend. Blend until well mixed but not smooth and creamy- about the consistency of ricotta cheese. Set aside.
Coat 24 muffin tins with nonstick spray (I used a mini muffin tin) and press a wonton into each cup, like a liner. Put a dollop of the tofu mixture in each wonton, then a layer of veggies, and finally the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese, and then bake for about 12 minutes, until heated through and the wontons are slightly browned. Serve.

Bell Pepper and “Sausage” Bagel Sandwich

Adapted from Healthy Happy Life
Serves 1
about ¼ cup red bell pepper strips
1 soy sausage patty
1 bagel, cut in half
1 tbsp apricot sugar free jam, or other jam

Preheat your Panini press, and press the bell pepper and patty for 5 minutes. Spread the lam on both sides of the bagel, and then put the bell peppers and sausage on the bagel. Press the bagel for another 1-2 minutes, until heated through. Serve hot!

Roasted Potatoes with Spicy Dip

Adaptd from Gluten Free Diva

Serves 3-4

2 lbs potatoes, any kind, cut into ½ inch cubes

1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup fat free mayo
½ tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Mix together the potatoes, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a plastic container or bag, and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients in a small bowl.
Serve cooked potatoes with the dip.

Simple Tofu Veggie Stir Fry and Baked Pasta Shells

I am so sore.  Honestly, I have absolutely nooooo clue why, but here I am, feeling all stiff like I can hardly move without some sort of pain in one of my muscles.  Buuut, I suppose that's what I get for working out so hard.  The really annoying thing is that I have no clue what I did.  It seems like if I am this sore, there should be something that I can point the finger of blame on and say that's what is giving me all this pain.  But oh no, not this time.  All I know is that I did something yesterday morning in bootcamp (the best class ever!) that worked me really hard.  I suppose things aren't so bad because M is really sore too.  Hehe.  She shares my pain!!  But, I don't know about the rest of the world, but I don't really mind being sore all that much, because it means that my muscles are getting a whole lot stronger, a whole lot faster.  And it means I worked really hard, so I can eat more ;).  It feels kind of like a badge of honor, too.
So, here's a quickie tofu stir fry that you can whip up in about 30 minutes, shove sdome rice under, and call it a meal.  Simple, quick, delish!
Also, since I am so behind on blogging, I will post a baked shell recipe too.  This one kept M and I well stocked with left-overs for quite a while.  I was totally in LOVE with this dish, even though it was kind of time consuming to make.  But, honestly, the shells were kind of fun to fill, and the most tedious part was picking out the non-broken shells to fill.  Now I still have about 15 shells in the fridge that were broken, and I have to do something with them.  We'll see...

Simple Tofu Veggie Stir Fry
Adapted from FOOD SNOB

Serves 3

1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp black bean sauce
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp corn starch
1 medium red onion, sliced
1 medium head broccoli, cut into florets
 1 small bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups fried tofu
Rice to serve

Mix together the soy sauce through corn starch in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok over medium high heat with a bit of water, and add the onion.  Stir fry for 1 minute and then add the broccoli.  After another minute, add the bell pepper, and then one minute later add the green onions.  When the broccoli turns bright green, about 2 minutes later, add in the sauce and tofu.  Mix well, heat
through, and serve over rice.

Stuffed Shells

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

Serves 10

1 small onion, chopped

1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp salt
½ cup parsley, chopped

4 medium cloves of garlic, pressed
3 tbsp mirin
3 tbsp red wine
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
3/4 tsp salt
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
14 oz can crushed tomatoes

25-30 jumbo pasta shells, cooked (pick out the non-broken ones)

Heat a frying pan over medium heat, and sauté the broccoli and onion for 8 minutes, until the onion is tender. Remove from heat and mix with the ricotta, salt, and parsley. Set aside.
Heat the frying pan again, coated with nonstick spray, and sauté the garlic for a minute or so, until it starts to brown. Remove from heat and mix with the mirin through crushed tomatoes. Set aside.
 Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a casserole dish with nonstick spray and fill enough pasta shells with the broccoli mixture to fill the dish in a single layer. Place the shells, opening up, in the dish side by side. If you have leftover filling, go ahead and fill more shells and use another baking sheet. Pour the tomato mixture over the shells so that they are mostly covered. Cover you dish(es) with foil, and bake for 45 minutes, uncovering for the last 10 minutes. Serve.


Spicy Baked Tofu Squares with Sesame Seeds and Green Onions

Wow, I think I totally managed a really long, complicated, and gourmet-sounding title for a recipe this time.  Hmm, what do you think?  Sometimes I really wonder how people come up with really long and complex titles for their recipes, which makes their food sound so fancy.  Then I really READ the title, and it's basically just a list of ingredients.  Sooooo... not so fancy anymore, eh?  But look at me, I'm doing it too.  So it must be a good idea, if I'm doing it, right?  Uh huh, if everone jumps off a cliff you follow too.  The rule of life.  So anyway, the irony is that this dish is really rather simple to make, and even easier to eat.  It looks so pretty too- I would certainly serve this one to company with a side of veggies for a nice bit of healthy, spicy protein.  There's really not much more to say today.  But I will add that the tofu woud prbably taste good grillled too.  I just made this before I bought my DEAR panini press, so I used the ol' oven, which workedjust as well. 

Spicy Baked Tofu Squares with Sesame Seeds and Green Onions

Serves about 8

Adapted from Karma Free Cooking

19 oz brick tofu, cut into ½ inch pieces and pressed for 20 minutes

1 green onion, thinly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
1 tbs toasted sesame seeds (mix of black and white)
A pinch of red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray, and lay out the tofu on it in a single layer.

Combine the garlic, soy sauce, mirin, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl. Pour over the tofu, and then sprinkle the tofu with the green onion and sesame seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, until the tofu is firm and heated through.


Korean Stir Fry

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!  Honestly, I really don't get very excited about holidays, even though it seems like everyone else in the world does... But I suppose that's just me.  I get more excited about going to the grocery store than my birthday.  Isn't that kind of pathetic?  One advantage to that would be I can go to the store any old time, and birthdays only come around once a year.  But, while on the topic of birthdays, M gave me something that I have been wanting all summer- a panini press!  Whoohooooo!!!  Now, like M said, I will be grilling/pressing everything under the sun.  In fact, this morning for breakfast I will be making a kind of breakfast sandwich with some bagels that we got from Einstein's yesterday morning.  I am rather nervous and super excited to see how things turn out.  (Random thought: I really need to dust this computer... it's beenon my to-do list for a while but I keep forgetting about it.)  One thing I was also greaful for about this press was that it was about $50 cheaper than the other one I had been planning on getting.  The one I have is from Sur La Table (love that name!) and I got it for about $75.  It's a Breville, which, so I've heard, is a really great brand with top-notch products.  The first one I spotted was at Williams Sonoma and would have been around $120.  The only thing different was that the Sur La Table one only had grills on one side and the Williams Sonoma one had the grills on both sides.  So I just have to be sure to flip everything over... But I suppose I can now go crazy with pancakes and the like now, because I have a griddle.  And M can make toast!  She's so excited...

And about this stir fry.  I just have to say that Chili Garlic Sauce is amazing and I can't live without it.  It really jazzes up a stir fry, and both M and I l-o-v-e the flavour.  Here's a nice simple stir fry, that is supposedly Korean, according to I Eat Food, soooo... yeah.  I'll just play it safe and call it a stir fry.  So there.  It's really good..  Veggies.  Tofu.  Rice.  Sauce.  Chopsticks.....

"Korean" Stir Fry

Adapted from I Eat Food

Serves 4
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce

2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp soy sauce, plus more to serve
1 small onion, chopped
2 large carrots, cut on the diagonal
1 Tbsp ginger, grated
3 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
1 medium small bell pepper, chopped
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups fried tofu
Rice to serve

Mix together the chili garlic sauce though the soy sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok over medium high heat with a bit of water and add the onion and carrots. Stir fry for a minute and then add in the ginger and garlic. Stir fry for another 2 minutes and then add the broccoli, bell pepper, and scallions. Cook for another 4 minutes until the broccoli is a vibrant green. Add the tofu and sauce, and stir fry for another minutes until the sauce has thickened. Serve over rice with additional soy sauce to taste.


Yummy Crunchy Tacos

So all in all I would say that I had a very satisfactory 16th birthday.  Nothing really all that exciting went on, but things went alright.  I had a really hard workout in the morning, as per usual, and then wasted time for a couple hours.  No doctors apointment on this birthday... that happened last year.  I did go the day before, though... Anyway, in the morning M and I made a trip down to the Acemart, which is a supply store for restaurants and places of that nature.  It was rather interesting, and I saw an immersion blender the size of a leaf-blower... that was odd, I thought.  But, hey, I guess people really do need elephantine immersion blenders.  Sure... I also saw one of those really cool neon yellow mustard containers, which I thought was the funniest thing in the whole store.  Aside from that soy sauce container... All in all, it was pretty interesting to see restaurant supplies in a store.  You never really think about where those things come from, but they have to come from somewhere!  Oh yeah, you know those booths that you sometimes sit at in restaurants?  Well, I saw one of those for sale too.  M said that, since we need a kitchen table, we could just get one of those.  Now wouldn't that be odd.  I would really, really like that.  It would totally be the talk of the neighborhood...  After lunch, I wanted to volunteer at the food pantry with D, but there was literally nothing to do, so I got D to take me to Whole Foods.  I always looooove to look in those fancy-pants grocery stores and see all the different varieties of foods.  Just can't get enough of them!  And then I made a fabulous stir fry for dinner, which I will post later.  D got me one of those onion savers, and he is still looking for a bell pepper saver, because I told him that's what I really wanted.  M is going to get me a panini press, maybe from William Sonoma.  Wouldn't that be exciting?
On a very different note- these tacos.  I have been craving this sort of thing for a long time now, and my cravings are gone thanks to these crunchy, protein-packed tacos.  They're full of flavour, thanks to one of those lovely taco seasoning packet, and super easy to make.  You could get really creative with the toppings, but here I just went with cheese, cabbage, and Laughing Cow cream cheese, which was good enough for me.

Lovely Tacos

Serves 6-ish

Adapted from Melomeals

1 medium-small onion, finely chopped

1 ½ cups TVP
1 packet taco seasoning
14.5 oz can tomato sauce
Water, as needed
Hard taco shells
Toppings like cheese and lettuce

Heat a pot over medium heat, and sauté the onion for 8 minutes, until tender. Add the TVP, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce. Stir well, and then add about ¼ cup water. Keep adding water as needed, stirring occasionally, until the TVP won’t soak up anymore. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until ready to serve. Spoon onto taco shells (you can warm these in the oven for a couple minutes if you would like), and add your toppings.