Monday, July 17, 2006

Ooooh beanie weenie - ooh beanie weenie

(sung to the tune of "Push It" by Salt-n-Pepa)

Yesterday, Chris and I had a nice lazy afternoon sitting under our nice shady backyard tree reading books, trying to beat the heat while enjoying the outdoors. Afterwards, I was so relaxed...I didn't really even think about cooking. We were talking about take-out, and I jokingly began suggested combinations that could be made with pantry/freezer items. One of them was beanie weenie...and Chris took this idea very seriously.

I got a phone call and lingered outside on the phone after Chris went inside, and when I came in, this was what I found waiting for me:

Chris cooked! Any of you that know me know that this is a very rare occasion, and although he is actually quite able to bake an unbelievable herbed quorn roast and saute perfectly seasoned, crisp broccolini and asparagus with garlic (okay...maybe with just a touch of help) he would much rather nod to his roots of Lipton Noodles or the holy trinity of sausage, beans, and corn from his undergraduate days (when he lived with guys). When it came down to it, this was a really good dinner that we both enjoyed immensely with a nice icey cold wheat beer. Chris insisted that I post his "recipe" here:

Chris's "Push It" Beanie Weenie
1 can vegetarian baked beans
4 quorn hot dogs (this makes an "extra weenie" version)
leftover frozen vegetables

Open the can of baked beans and pour into a saucepan. Cook the hot dogs. Pour a concoction of leftover frozen vegetables into a saucepan with a little water, butter, salt and pepper. Cut the cooked hot dogs into bite-sized pieces and stir into the baked beans. Toast 2 slices of bread and put butter on them. Bon appetit!

Warning: If this is too good, you may find your spouse wearing boxer shorts in the kitchen after dinner, eating the extra beanie weenie straight from the saucepan with a big spoon, singing "oooh beanie weenie....oooh beanie weenie," as I did.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Beef Stroga-NO

Who didn't grow up on this classic? It was definitely one of those stand-by childhood meals that my mother cooked for us, and I have always loved it. I realize that most of the time, when I get a craving for a meat dish that I used to like, it's generally the overall flavors of the dish and not the meat that I miss. So, it becomes fairly easy to recreate without meat (especially with all of the meat substitutes available)...except for crab cakes...which I don't think I will ever stop craving (and tuno just won't fly there). I did use whole wheat yolk-free egg noodles to make this, but other than that, this is vegan. I know they make them, however, so this could easily be made vegan if placed on top of a vegan noodle, or even rice.

I have never actually made beef stroganoff before, so I read several recipes, and then put my own modern spin on the classics that I had read. I used substantially less soy sour cream than is generally used in beef stroganoff recipes, because I don't really see the need for all of those additional calories when it seemed creamy enough after only 1/3 c. (it seems pretty average to use 1 1/2-2 c. in other recipes). I'm sure it would be tasty with more, though, of course :) The best part about this is that is takes less than 20 minutes to put together, especially if you use pre-sliced mushrooms, and the flavor is really fantastic. Pour yourself a nice glass of red wine, think of your mom, and enjoy!

Beef Stroga-NO

2 T. margarine
1 T. olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, diced
5 large shallots, thinly sliced
1 lb. mushrooms, sliced (I used 8 oz. cremini and 8 oz. white button)
1/4 c. sherry
1 t. dried rosemary (or thyme, or other herb that you like)
1 lb. equivalent of meatless ground burger (I used 2 of the sealed packs of Boca)
2 c. vegetable broth (I find that plain old vegetable bouillon has a nice light flavor here, and is easy to dissolve with the handy boiling pasta water)
1/4 c. flour
1/3 c. soy sour cream
chopped fresh parsley (optional)
paprika (optional)
12 oz. egg or other noodles

Heat the margarine and oil over medium in a skillet. Add garlic, onion, shallots, and mushrooms to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally until beginning to brown. Stir in sherry and dried herbs, cook for about one minute until liquid is beginning to absorb into the mushrooms. Add meatless ground burger, stir, add 1 c. vegetable broth, and stir again. Dissolve flour into 1/2 c. vegetable broth, and stir into pan. Add sour cream, stir, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over noodles with chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkle of paprika for a true Betty Crocker touch.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Beans n' Rice II, III, & IV

Leftovers...ooh baby, did I have beans n' rice leftovers. I originally made them because we were broke, and for a few bucks, we certainly got our money's worth. Here is a quick photo story of 3 of the dishes I used them in...

1. Similar to my original creation, I piled this bowl high with lightly sauteed and seasoned spinach with diced red peppers and onions, and topped that with fresh, bright red strawberries. This was a really nice treat, like a warm spinach salad with a little more bang for your buck. I do have to say that Chris and I both preferred the broccoli-sweet potato-mango combination to this one, but this still comes highly recommended. With summer being here, I find myself eating berries and fruit any chance I get.

2. Chris picked up a pack of whole wheat pitas, and we went to town stuffing them up for lunches. Here's one with hummus, beans and rice (of course) and veggies - salad greens, cucumber, and red peppers. Yum! Mr. Belvedere has a bread thing - while I was photographing, he was drawn to the pita like a magnet, so I had to keep his cute little nose in the frame.

3. To finish off the leftovers, I made a vegan version of a favorite enchilada recipe from Epicurious and plopped it on top of the last serving of beans n' rice. I've had this before, made with milk and cheese, and loved it - but I saw no reason not to try a vegan version. The results were wonderful - I don't even think I noticed a difference, except for the obvious absence of melted cheese from the top of the enchiladas! Obviously you could add soy cheese to the top, but I don't think there was a need, with all of the other topping options. This is a really creamy, filling enchilada with a spicy flavor and lots of fresh veggies (so good!). And, it is super easy for a weeknight meal! Excuse this messy half-eaten pic...I was hungry and it just looked too good not to wait!

Vegan Garden Vegetable Enchiladas

adapted from

  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 3 c. chopped vegetables (I used zucchini, red peppers & cremini mushrooms, but use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
  • 1 4 oz. can mild green chiles (or a diced jalapeno - the mild chile flavor is nice though)
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 T. chile powder (this will result in a hot enchilada - use 2 T. or less for a more mild enchilada)
  • 2 T. all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 c. soy milk
  • 3/4 c. soy sour cream
  • 4 T. nutritional yeast
  • 8-10 8 inch whole wheat tortillas
  • toppings!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 T. olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mixed vegetables and onion and saute until just tender. Add 1 c. corn, chiles, and 1/4. cilantro and season with salt and pepper. Heat through, remove from heat and set aside.

While vegetables are cooking, place 2 T. olive oil or margarine in a medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chile powder, flour, and cumin to the pan. Cook while stirring with a whisk for 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in soy milk, cook until sauce is thick and bubbling, whisking occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add soy sour cream and nutritional yeast and whisk until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread 1/3 c. sauce in bottom of a 13" x 9" x 2" glass baking dish. Mix 3/4 sauce into vegetable filling. Place approximately 1/3 c. filling in center of each tortilla, roll to enclose, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until no more filling remains. Pour sauce over the enchiladas, and top with the remaining 1/2 c. corn. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until heated through. Sprinkle with 1/4 c. cilantro and serve with additional toppings (salsa, sour cream, guacamole), if desired.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Beans n' Rice

After a quick hiatus of take-out and unphotogenic food (Chris was out of town), I am back...with a big 'ol bowl of beans and rice. I decided to make this semi Caribbean-style, but beans and rice is such a versatile starter for any number of combinations. I substituted one can of light coconut milk for 1 1/2 cups of the water to cook the rice, to help bring in that "island flavor." Then, once the rice was cooked, I mixed in the juice and zest of one lime, along with a handful of cilantro. I began with 4 cups of dry rice, so the "island flavor" was mild and left room for variation. I just cooked the beans plain in salted water (I soaked them first for a couple of hours then boiled them for about an hour and a half or until soft), and then topped it all with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli, cubed mango, guacamole, lime, and more cilantro. I also had baby spinach that I was going to wilt and toss in there...but I forgot it. Chris suggested that I use a more Caribbean green vegetable next time and leave out the broccoli. I enjoyed the, I don't really know what would work too much better here. I don't have a recipe because everything was really very basic and simple, but I suggest this combination of ingredients. Although I was a little nervous about tossing mango onto my vegetable-filled bowl, I really liked the mix of sweet and savory. Also, the guacamole was a necessary topper - it added such a great texture and flavor to the other ingredients. Stay tuned for more beans n' rice posts as I use up mammoth containers of beans and rice that I still have in my fridge.