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Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

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Things have been terribly uninteresting, food-wise, here in Aussie. For the past few weeks, I have been totally and completely uninspired. For breakfast, I have grapefruit and toast. For lunch, I have veggies and store bought hummus. Sometimes I go wild and have peanut butter and celery. Hold me back!

As a result, new and interesting foods have been scarce. I’ve tried one or two new recipes but they have all fallen short. I think I’ve temporarily lost my kitchen mojo!

This could very well have to do with a hacking cough and lingering feeling of ‘blah’ that I haven’t been able to shake for about a week or so. I’ve been downing green tea and honey like it’s going out of style. And I’ve been craving soup except it’s hot out! Maybe I just need to feed my soup craving and all will return to normal.

Despite the boring food phase I’m facing, I do have this recipe that I promised you a bajillion years ago (or 3 weeks) that I just haven’t gotten around to posting. It uses the Cheeze sauce recipe that I made for Halloween. I made another batch and have been using it for Mac and Cheeze, which is at least somewhat of a comfort food. Even if it isn’t the piping hot soup I crave.

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Veggie Loaded Mac and Cheeze
serves 2

-3 TBSP olive oil

– 3 cloves of garlic

-half an onion

-half a bunch of curly leaf kale

-1/2 c. of tomatoes (I used small cherry tomatoes)

-1 1/2 – 2 c. of pasta of your choice (I used gluten-free buckwheat spirals)

-about 1/2 c. of Cheeze sauce, or more to taste

Heat oil over medium -low heat in a medium sized skillet. Add the onions and the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stir and cover, cooking until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. This should be about 5 minutes. My goal here was to create a really flavorful oil base to cook the kale in. Once the tomatoes are soft, add the kale and toss so it’s covered in the oil. Cover for 5 minutes until the kale and bright green and cooked down. Give it another good toss. Reduce the heat to low.

While the kale is covered and cooking, put your pasta on. Cook according to instructions. Once cooked and drained, add it your kale mixture. Toss everything together. Add your Cheeze sauce and stir/toss to coat. Add more if desire. Keep heat to medium low and heat your mixture until the sauce is hot. Serve right away.

Half recipes if you are making for one person. Leftovers to do not heat up well.

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I’ve made this a few times and more often then not, I serve it in a big bowl and eat it curled up on the couch reading. It’s such a good comfort food meal. You will never pass this off as real mac and cheese to your non-vegan friends but it’s a great, veggie packed recipe that hits that craving when you want the blue box.

I do have a Travel Tuesday for you tomorrow and, hopefully, a Friday Favorite that I’ve been sitting on forever! We’ll see how I come along with the recipes. Fingers cross I create something not sucky soon!

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During the whole Team Lean Challenge I did with my friend, Rachel, I cut out a ton of bad food. I realized if it was in my house, I would eat it. I’m looking at you bread, pb and chocolate chips. I may not have cookies in the house but combined, you make an amazing 9pm snack.

At the top of my list was pasta. It’s just so easy! I mean, I could roast a ton of veggies which takes forever… or I could just heat up some noodles and dump some sauce on it/cook up roman noodles/pour boxed mac and cheese into a pot.

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See. Pasta had to go.

But the week of the bombings in Boston, a friend of mine was planning a potluck for Sunday as a way to end what had been a very stressful week on a positive note. It was a great idea! I brought this and all the non-vegans ate it up. I had no leftovers!

Of course, it was so delicious, I was dying to make it again, fitness challenge or not! When I made it for just me, I pumped up the veggies significantly and added some tofu for an extra kick of protein. The result was a super creamy, veggy-packed noodle fest. So delicious!

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Peanutty Noodles and Veggies
adapted from Chloe Coscarelli’s Peanutty Noodles recipe found in Chloe’s Kitchen and on line at KATU.com
s
erves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound brown rice noodles
  • 1 block of tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup peanut butter, chunky or creamy
  • 1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 1 cup of edamame (no shells, thawed if using frozen, which I did)
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped, for garnish

Instructions:
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add brown rice noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. Return noodles to pot.

Heat some sesame oil in a skillet. Saute tofu in the pan until golden. (if you prefer your veggies cooked, you can also throw them in with the tofu at this time. I sauteed my edamame with the tofu but left my peppers and carrots raw). Set aside.

Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining coconut milk, water, maple syrup, soy sauce, peanut butter, chili-garlic sauce, ginger, and garlic in a medium saucepan. (this will look so gross when it’s all going into the pan and you will definitely be thinking “eeew! this is going to taste weird.” It won’t. Trust me.) Let cook over medium heat, whisking frequently, until sauce comes together and thickens.

Remove from heat and mix in lime juice and sesame oil.

Toss hot noodles with the sauce, tofu and veggies.

Garnish with peanuts and scallions and serve. Any leftovers can be served warm or cold the next day for a delicious lunch.

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I had fro-yo three times last week and may or may not be planning to share some Game of Thrones-themed cupcakes with you later in the week. Yeeeah…clearly, the fitness thing is over. Good thing I haven’t given up on the exercise!

PS. This would be great for a memorial day cook out. It tastes good hot or cold and it doesn’t scream, LOOK AT ME I’M VEGAN! well…maybe leave out the tofu if your hanging with all carnivores…

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It’s Monday again. I hope you had an excellently exciting weekend.

A lot of my favorite bloggers are posting pictures of their weekend but I’m going to spare you that show. Unlike theirs, my weekend did not consist of yummy food, pool parties and oodles of socializing. In fact, most of my friends have peaced out of Boston and are vacationing this week. So I did almost nothing this weekend. I didn’t even bother wearing real clothes for most of it and pictures of me in my pajamas does not make for an interesting blog.

I did manage to go to the late showing of Ted on Friday night, which was hysterical. After that though, I pretty much spent all day Saturday in bed and soaking up the air conditioning. I enjoyed it, trust me, it just wasn’t picture worthy.

Anyway, so this week consists of a little holiday called the Fourth of July. Most of you will be enjoying the day off, BBQ’ing and boozing it up, with a nice little fire works show afterward.

I’ll be working until 9:30 pm. Apparently, retail stores don’t close on the 4th?? Who knew.

But, I wanted to give you a recipe that you could take to your cookouts that was a little different. Burgers and potato salads are so predicable. This is a nice little twist on the pasta salad.

Blanching system. Let’s pretend my stove isn’t uber gross and just focus on how awesome it is that I unintentionally matched all my pots and bowls!

Peanut Pasta Salad with Fried Tempeh Bits
from Skinny Bitch: Ultimate Everyday Cookbook; posted on Madejustright.com

Makes 4 Servings

  • 4 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 (8-ounce) block of tempeh, crumbled
  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup broccoli slaw (you can also use broccoli florets if you want but the texture creeps me out which is why I went the slaw route)
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 (8-ounce) package of brown rice pasta spirals (or any other pasta)
  • 3 tbsp  peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Directions 
1. Heat 3 tbsp of the oil in a skillet over high heat. Fry the tempeh until slightly crispy, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the carrots, broccoli, and red pepper separately until they turn bright in color, or about 30 seconds. Do not overcook. Drain, rinse under cold water, and set aside. (I had three bowls set up for this which I found easy: 1 pot with boiling water, 1 pot with ice water, and one pot with  mess strainer over it. (See Above) So you boil the veggies for 30 seconds, plunge them in the ice water until their cool, and then dump them in the strainer. For the broccoli slaw, I put the broccoli in a different mesh strainer with handles on the side, plunged the strainer with the broccoli into the hot water and then into the cold water. This way, since the slaw is so finely cut, you don’t have to worry about fishing little pieces out of the water.)
3. Cook the pasta, according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
4. In a blender, mix together the peanut butter, the remaining sesame oil, the water, soy sauce, agave nectar, vinegar, and ginger. Toss the vegetables, pasta, and sauce together. Garnish with the sesame seeds. Serve warm.

Blanched veggies!

Voila! Something new and exciting to bring to your BBQs. Don’t forget some veggie patties and you’ll be good to go.

Stay tuned this week! Tomorrow I’m posting a 4th of July sweet treat and some other recipes that are BBQ worthy. That’s right… I used my time Sunday to actually plan out this week’s posts and be productive! Crazy how much you can get done when you don’t sleep until noon like I did on Saturday. I did still spend all Sunday in my PJs, though…

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LASAGNA!

I’m such an old lady.

tofu ricotta

Monday night I had a laundry list of things to do, including post this uber yummy lasagna recipe. What did I end up doing? Having dinner, crawling into my bed (because it was so frickin’ cold in my house that night!) to watch back episodes of New Girl and Once Upon a Time and falling asleep at 9.

…I’m so exciting…

Spinach mixture

I did manage to call Rent-a-center to see about renting a big screen TV. $500!! FOR ONE DAY! I laughed out loud when they told me that because my brother rented a TV from there in December and it was about $25 for two weeks. Talk about inflation. Is that even legal?? So despite practically having already planned out my menu for the Super Bowl, we kind of hit a snag with what we are doing. Ideas are welcome because our TV is really bad.

 

On a different note, I realized while looking over old posts that I’ve been giving you a lot of desserts and a lot of soups/stews. I thought I’d spice things up and throw in a comfort food recipe. After all, what is the winter for but to hibernate…which is clearly what my body is trying to do.

Vegetable Lasagna
adapted from my Mom’s veggie lasagna recipe

Marinara Sauce – homemade or jar (1-2 jars, depending on how saucy you like it)

12 lasagna noodles

2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼ inch thick slices

2 TBLS olive oil

¾ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

2 TBLS all purpose flour

2/3 cup non-dairy milk, warmed (I used unsweetened, unflavored almond milk)

2 pkg (10 oz each) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2 TBLS plus ¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 bowl of vegan ricotta cheese (see below)

1-2 cups of vegan mozzarella cheese

Vegan ricotta cheese
from Healthydiaries.com 

14 oz. box medium firm or firm tofu
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or 1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 c. olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
dash of black pepper

Mash tofu with a fork. Add all other ingredients. Continue mashing until it has a ricotta-like texture. Set aside. (If you want it super smooth, you could put the tofu in a blender or food processor before adding the other ingredients. I just mashed it with a fork and it came out great.)

Prepare Marinara sauce, if making homemade.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepot, cook lasagna noodles as label directs.  Drain and rinse with cold running water.  Return noodles to saucepot with enough cold water to cover.

Preheat over to 450.  In large bowl, toss zucchini with 1 TBLS oil, ¼ tsp salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper.  Arrange zucchini slices on large cookie sheet and bake, turning once, until tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in nonstick 12-inch skillet, heat remaining 1 TBLS oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook until garlic is golden.  Stir in flour until blended.  With wire whisk, gradually whisk in warm non-dairy milk with wooden spoon.  Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened and boils, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in spinach, 2 TBLS nutritional yeast and ¼ tsp salt.

Turn oven to 350.  Drain lasagna.

In 13 x 9 baking dish, spread about 1 cup marinara sauce.  Arrange 4 lasagna noodles over sauce, overlapping to fit.  Spread tofu ricotta mixture on top of noodles.  Arrange 4 more noodles over “ricotta” and top with all of zucchini, overlapping slices to fit.  Spread with 1 cup sauce and sprinkle with half of mozzarella; top with all of spinach mixture.  Arrange remaining 4 noodles on top and spread with remaining marinara sauce.  Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.

Cover lasagna with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until cheese is lightly golden, about 10 minutes longer.  Let stand 15 minutes for easier serving.


Fresh Outta the Oven

I was super excited to try the tofu ricotta. It was actually really good. Though, seeing as regular ricotta gives me the heebie jeebies, I was clearly going to favor the tofu version!

Overall though, this lasagna has a ton of flavor. I’m not a marinara sauce kinda gal. I was the type growing up who had her spaghetti with butter and salt…cause I didn’t like the shake from a can parm either.  So, I only used one jar of sauce. It didn’t go very far, though, so if you want your lasagna saucy, definitely pick up two jars.

 

I’m off to go act my age. No more 9 o’clock bed times for me! Er, what do 20 somethings do? Drink copious amounts of alcohol on the beach? Have sex with strangers? Let my vajayjay hang out while I dance on bar tops? I mean, that’s what those Jersey Shore kids do right? That’s totally appropriate behavior for a work night, right???

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