Monday, October 27, 2008

Pot roast from Vegan Lunchbox

I've made the pot roast from Vegan Lunchbox many times. I like the flavor of it, but wanted to tweak the recipe a little bit. For one thing, I don't like how spongy it turns out. I prefer a firmer texture. Also, I wanted it to have a more savory flavor. So, here are the changes I made and a couple pictures of how it turned out:

-Only used three cups of broth rather than the four cups the recipe called for

-Increased the amount of walnuts to 3/4 cup rather than 1/4 cup. And, I ground them to a find meal, not a coarse meal.

-Increased the amount of marmite and tomato paste three fold.

-Used a LOT more mushrooms and skipped the celery.

-Added a couple tablespoons of soy sauce and 1/2 cup raw cashews when I blended the veggies into a gravy. This added more flavor and thickened it nicely.

Now, I realize that if you don't have Vegan Lunchbox, none of this will make much sense. My advice: buy it! There are so many terrific recipes, even for non-vegetarians. Your kids are guaranteed to eat vegetables the way they are prepared in this book. My husband even likes brussel sprouts prepared the Vegan Lunchbox way. (He used to call them soggy mini cabbages and say they were the one vegetable he just couldn't eat.)

Miso Noodle Soup

My girls love noodles. The other day, I was at a loss for what to make for lunch. Saw that I had one package of noodles in the cupboard and decided to throw together a simple soup. I followed the package directions on the dark miso for the proportion of water with miso. I also added some soy sauce, garlic powder, sliced fresh carrot, onion, mushroom,cubed firm tofu, and two tablespoonds of dried wakame. (seaweed). The girls liked it, and it was nice for a cold rainy day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Chik'n pot pie casserole

YUM. I made this for lunch today and it was ridiculously good. Especially satisfying for a cold, grey day like today. In addition, the girls loved it, and both had two portions. It took me about half an hour to make and was very easy. Next time, I'll replace the store-bought crescent biscuits with homemade, and I'll make my own gravy.

4 medium red potatoes, washed and diced into small pieces
3 large carrots, washed and cut into thin coins
1 can vegetarian chicken in broth (or may use substitute), diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup mushrooms, washed and cut into thick slices
1/2 package store-bought vegan brown gravy
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp savory seasoning
1 package refrigerated crescent roll dough, divided into eight pieces as per package directions. (the brand I found was vegan)

First, boil a pot of water. While it is heating, begin chopping up all the veggies. When the water is at a rolling boil, throw in the potatoes and carrots. Then, saute the mushrooms and onions until soft and onions clear. Prepare brown gravy per package directions and pour atop the mushrooms and onions. Also, add the vegetarian chicken and its broth. Mix well.

Mix all the ingredients in a large casserole dish, arrange the eight crescent rolls on top. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the rolls are golden brown.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Super cheesy very un-vegan lasagna

This was the omni option at my husband's birthday dinner. Lasagna is his absolute very favorite dish. Of course, his favorite is the one his mom makes. And, to be honest, it's really good! This version is a white lasagna with lots of veggies thrown in. However, I doubt the veggies redeem the overall cheesy cholesterol-laden nature of this dish! I assure you it as at most a once-per-year undertaking. I didn't use a recipe, so I'll just give you an idea of what it contained and post a picture as well.

Lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 jars (16 ounce) prepared Alfredo sauce
4 cups vegetarian vegetable broth
cremini mushrooms, washed and sliced
frozen spinach, thawed
onion, diced
artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
fresh garlic, peeled, crushed, and diced
fresh basil, washed and minced
olive oil to saute veggies in
small curd cottage cheese or low fat ricotta
Italian blend cheese, shredded

Mix the Alfredo with the vegetable broth. Then, layer sauce, cottage cheese/ricotta, veggies, noodles until you're at the top of your casserole dish. Then, top with sauce, cheese, and fresh basil

Pesto and pine nut linguini with cremini mushrooms

This was the vegan option for my husband's birthday dinner. It was super-easy to make, and I didn't use a recipe. I'll give some approximate proportions and I feel confident you can figure it out! First, I purchased some imported pesto concentrate. It was in a tube, strangely enough. It's the only one I could find that was vegan. The other ingredients were simple, easy things to find at our local grocery store.

Linguine pasta, whole wheat blend
pesto concentrate
extra virgin olive oil
cremini mushrooms (baby portobella), cut into thick slices
white or yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, crushed, and diced
2 leaves fresh basil, washed and minced
salt to taste
pine nuts, oven toasted

First, I sauteed the mushrooms and onion in a generous amount of olive oil. Then, I added the pesto sauce and more olive oil. The directions on this product suggested equal amounts of oil and the pesto concentrate. Last, I added the fresh garlic and basil for about the last minute of cooking time. Meanwhile, the pine nuts were toasting in the oven and the pasta was boiling atop the stove. Toss the pasta in the sauce and then garnish with the pine nuts. It turned out very well. And, to be honest, may have been tastier than the lasagna. That's just my opinion, though. I thought the lasagna was a little too rich. So much cheese, alfredo, etc.