Peanut Butter Noodles

I cannot remember where I got this original recipe years ago. It seems like something from “healthy college living” magazine, but I know I made this while I was still in high school.  Oh well…

I make this often and it indeed came in handy in college. Cheap ingredients that are usually already in your pantry and very filling. However,  it can be high in calories so you need to keep your portions reasonable. But have no fear, it tastes even better the next day so no need to polish off the leftovers right away.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Peanut Butter Noodles
8 oz. of spaghetti
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, does not matter)
3 tbs rice wine vinegar
5 tbs soy sauce
2 tps fresh ginger, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Siracha, to taste
Water
1 medium cucumber, pealed, cut in half, and sliced
Chives, minced
Cilantro

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Then cook the spaghetti according to the package.

While that cooks, in a small bowl combine the peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and Siracha. Add a little bit of water as need to help it come together. It should be smooth (unless you used chunky peanut butter) and slightly runny. It wont coat the noodles properly if it is too dry and clumpy.

Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cup of the water.

In a large bowl, add the spaghetti and the peanut sauce. Mix together well, adding a little of reserved pasta water as need to help it coat evenly.

Next add cucumber slices and chives, mix well.

Top with the cilantro and little more Siracha is you desire.

You can eat this warm or cold, and like I said,  it is better the next day when all the flavors settle in.

Hawaiian "Chicken"

I saw a version of Hawaiian Chicken in crockpot on Pintrest and loved the idea.  I never  saw something exactly like this anywhere in Hawaii, so I cannot say it is an authentic dish. However,  almost every party I went to had BBQ chicken or pork, fresh pineapple or other fruits, and plenty of rice.

I used soy strips instead of chicken, which does not need to cook very long, so I did not use a crockpot.  I used canned pineapple, but if you have fresh, use it.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Hawaiian “Chicken”
1 tbs olive oil
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
1/2 medium onion, cut into strips
1 bag of Gardein Chick’n Strips, minus the sauce
1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce
1 tbs white vinegar
8 oz can of Pineapple chunks in 100% juice
2 tbs soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
Cooked rice

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.

Once the pan is hot, add the chopped bell peppers and onion. Cook until tender.

Add the chick’n strips and heat through.

Add remaining ingredients (including the juice from the can of pienapples), except the rice. Cook until the sauce thickens slightly.

Serve over some rice and enjoy some (maybe not authentic) Aloha!

I miss Hawaii so much. I can’t wait until Michael and I can take a vacation back to the Big Island!

"Cheesy" Pasta with sliced "Hot Dogs"

I do not believe that majority of children are natural picky eaters. I believe it is parents themselves setting the bad example of not eating their veggies. Why would they want to eat something that their parents do not want to eat? And, of course it will be hard to break them of bad eating habits later. If they are used to eating fatty, oily, high carb foods, they will resist wanting anything else. So it is important to teach kids from an early age the importance of whole foods like fruits and veggies—-and eat them yourself to set the good example.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with making healthy versions of the things all humans are love: carbs, protein, and fat. All animals crave carbs because they fill you up, protein because it sustains you, and fat because it has calories to keep you going. But, we are evolved animals with big brains that we can use to make smart choices about our cravings.

This recipe is healthy version of a kid friendly dish, mac and cheese with sliced hot dogs. It uses soy cheese, vegan butter, and soy hot dogs. I used star stelline, a star shaped pasta, to make it more fun for kids.

This recipe makes 4 servings.

Cheesy Pasta with Hot Dogs Slices
8 oz stelline pasta (I used Barilla)
4 vegan hot dogs (I used Smart Dogs)
2 tbs vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup vegan cheddar cheese (I used Daiya)
1 tsp dried parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

Add the pasta and cooking according to the directions on the package.

While pasta cooks, heat the hot dogs. You can either microwave or pan fry them according to the directions on the package.

Cut the hot dogs into desired sized slices. Make sure you cut them small enough so your child does not choke. Check out this link for advice.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot.

Add butter and cheese. Mix together well.

Add the hot dog slices and parsley. Mix together well.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Quick and easy lunch that kids (and you) will love!

Krupnik: Polish Barley Soup

I mentioned before that I am predominately Polish and I learned about my heritage mostly from my amazing grandmother (see my Pierogi post). I am heartbroken to say she passed away this week. My family has another angel to watch over us all now. She died of atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries to due to fatty build up. I originally went vegan after my uncle passed from a heart attack, vowing I would do everything I could to counteract my family health history. Now I know I will never go back to the standard American diet.  The best way I can honor her memory is to live a long healthy, happy life. I want to live to see my great-grand children. I will tell the stories my grandma told me about her mother’s life back in Poland, and teach them how to make delicous Polish dishes.

I heard my grandma mention barley soup before, but when she visited we usually made pierogi or kapusta. I have wanted to make this soup for awhile, mainly because it is already vegan friendly. This is popular dish is quintessential peasant food. There are various recipes with different vegetable variations. This is common version (and it happens to already be vegan). There are ones that have meat, but meat scrapes used to be hard to come by, so it was a treat on occasion only.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings.

Krupnik
Olive oil
1 large  yellow onion, chopped
2 cups porcini mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
10 cups vegetable stock (a few cups can be water)
1 cup pearl barley
1 tsp dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat some olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the onion, mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes. Cook until the onions are slightly translucent and the potatoes soften.

Add the garlic and cook for one more minute.

Add the vegetable stock.

Add the barley, parsley and the bay leaf. Mix together well.

Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Cover and cook for 1 hour, stir occasionally.

Once the barley is cooked, season with paprika, salt, and pepper.

I garnished it with a bit more paprika and some dill. I also had a side of pickled beats and kapusta I bought at a Slavic store.

I miss you so much already my beautiful babcia. Thank you for teaching about my heritage. I will always be a proud little Polish girl.

Potato Soup

Last week I had a bit of a cold so I wanted to make something soothing. And what could be more soothing that a big creamy bowl of potato soup?

This recipe makes 6 servings.

Potato Soup
1 tsp of vegan butter
1 small onion, chopped fine
6 medium potatoes, pealed and cut into small chunks
2 stalks of celery, chopped fine
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
2 cup vegetable broth
2 cups soy milk
4 cups water
1 sprig of rosemary
1 sprig of sage
Salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat.

Once the butter melts, add the potatoes. Cook until softened slightly. You can add a little water if they stick to the pan too much.

Add the onions and celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the celery has softened. The potatoes should be softer by now too.

Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes more.

Sprinkle in the flour and mix together well. Let the flour cook for a few minutes.

Pour in the vegetable broth, soy milk and water. Mix well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Take a potato masher and mash up the potatoes, while leaving some chunks for texture. The soup with thicken slightly as you do this.

Add the sage and rosemary sprigs.

Cook for 1-2 hours, until desired thickness is reached.

Remove the sprigs, some of the leaves will have fallen off.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I garnished with parsley.

Creamy, soothing and delicious!

Tortilla Soup

One of the most popular dishes at the restaurant I work at is the Tortilla Soup. Unfortunately, it is made with chicken and chicken broth, so I have never tried it. On Saturday the cooks were making a giant batch of it and it smelled so good, so I decided to make my own version. No chicken obviously and I used vegetable broth. I added more vegetables too. Pretty easy to make and very filling. I used tortilla strips from my work, but you can make your own or use crushed tortilla chips.

This recipe makes 4-6 servings of soup.

Tortilla Soup
1/2 of a red onion
1 large carrot, grated
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
32 oz vegetable broth
2 cups water
14.5 oz can roasted and crushed tomatoes
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp taco seasoning
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Tortilla strips (or crushed tortilla chips)
Cilantro or any other desired toppings

Heat some oil in a large pot over medium heat.

Add the onions, bell peppers, and grated carrot. Cook until the onions are golden.

Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and water. Stir well.

Add the can of tomatoes. Stir well.

Add the oregano, taco seasoning, and cumin. Mix in well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let it cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once it has thicken slightly, add the salt and pepper to taste.

In individual bowls, put a handful of tortilla strips.

Ladle the soup on top.

You can garnish with some cilantro and salsa like I did, or anything you like. Try some avocado, hot sauce, vegan sour cream & etc.

I was so happy to have this steaming hot bowl on such cold day (I thought California was supposed to be warm!).  I ate this a warm tortilla on the side too. Light but really hit the spot.

Roti Pizza

You can make mini or personal pizzaz on anything you like—tortillas, english muffins, and even slices of bread. I wanted a crunchy, cheesy lunch the other day, but working in a Southwest cafe made me want anything but a tortilla. Luckily I had roti in the fridge and thought I would give them a try. I discussed my failed homemade roti attempts before so I buy pre-made dough now.

I topped mine with tomato sauce, Daiya cheese and cut up tofurky sausage. You can top with whatever pizza toppings you desire. This makes two small pizza, but can be easily multiplied.



Roti Pizza
2 uncooked roti
1/4 cup pasta sauce
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds
1 Tofurky Italian Sausage, cut into slices
Dry parsley and basil

Pre-heat the oven 450 degrees.

Place the roti on a baking sheet, without them touching.

Spread the pasta sauce evenly between the two roti.

Sprinkle the cheese on evenly between the two roti.

Lastly, top each roti with sausage slices.

Bake for 5-10 minuntes, until the cheese is melted. Like I have said before, vegan cheese does not get bubbly, so do not bake it for too long or it will burn.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the dried parsley and basil.

Let it cool a little before you enjoy!

Thin, crispy and light but topped with plenty of cheesy goodness. I have made an Indian pizza before and I think I am going to make a new version on roti soon.

"Cheesy" Rice

Awhile ago I saw something on Pinterest that said mac and cheese comes out creamier if you cook the noodles in milk. I thought why not try it with rice? I added some nutritional yeast and veggies, and ended up with a big pot of creamy and cheesy rice.

This makes 4 servings.

“Cheesy” Rice
1 cup of rice
2 cups soy milk
1 tbs vegan butter
1 clove of garlic, minced
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup of frozen veggies (I used the standard carrots, corn, and peas mix)
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large pot, add the rice and soy milk.  Cover and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. Watch it so it does not burn. Add more liquid if necessary to keep it from burning. Try not to open the lid too much though.

Once the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and add the butter. Mix together well.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and frozen veggies. Cooked until the veggies are heated through.

Add the veggies to the rice and mix together well.

Season with salt and pepper.

This is a basic recipe, feel free to add any veggies, seasonings or anything else you like!

Bac’n Mac and Cheese

Guess what other American classic is actually vegan? McCorkmick’s Bac’n Pieces! It is made from soy. Once again, it is a processed food and needs to be eaten in moderation. But it can provide that “meaty” flavor to your favorite dish on occasion. I decided to add them to my mac and cheese, along with some veggies.

I have posted a recipe for mac and cheese awhile ago that uses Daiya Cheese and nutritional yeast. This recipe only uses nutritional yeast because I was trying to cut down on calories and processed ingredients.

Bacon Bits Mac and Cheese
8 ounces macaroni
1 small onion, minced
2 carrots, finely chopped
3 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
1 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups soy milk
1 tsp mustard
1 tbs soy sauce
1 clove of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Cook the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot, sauté the chopped onions, carrots, and celery in the 1/4 cup of butter.
Once the veggies are soft, add the nutritional yeast. Mix together until it makes a lumpy paste.
Now add the soy milk, mustard, and garlic. Whisk to get the lumps out.
Add the cooked macaroni and the Bacon Bits.  Mix it all together and season to taste.
Now you have bacon mac and cheese without all that cholesterol!

Beanadilla? Noquesadilla? Something Like That…

My work has these quesadillas with mushrooms in them, and it sounds amazing. But, queso is not vegan so I can’t have them. Then it dawned on me today that I could make a quesadilla with beans instead, like I often do at home. I originally got the idea from a recipe I saw on VegWeb for one with white beans.

I had the luxury of making this on the flat top grill at work. And I used the homemade slow-cooked pinto beans and the already marinated mushrooms and poblano peppers. But, luckily I have already posted a recipe for how to slow cook pinto beans and it’s not that hard to marinade and sauté veggies at home.

As I was making this, the cooks all looked at me funny and asked what I was making. When I explained it was, they thought I was crazy, “Quesa-dilla, you need queso in order to make it, not frijoles!” So I said, “Fine, it’s a noquesadilla…a beanadilla.”

This makes 1 large quesadilla/beanadilla/whatever you want to call it.

Beanadilla
1/2 cup mushrooms, washed and sliced
1/2 of a poblano pepper, chopped
1/2 tbs of olive oil
Juice of a lime
Red pepper flake, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 large tortilla (read the label carefully to make sure it doesn’t have lard)
1/2 cup of cooked pinto beans (try mine)
Salsa, guacamole, or whatever other condiment for dipping

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the sliced mushrooms and chopped poblano pepper until soft.

Immediately add to a small bowl and add the oil, lime juice, pepper, and salt and pepper. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Drain off the excess liquid when ready to use.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, place the tortilla down in it.

Spread the beans evenly on one half.

Top the beans with the veggie mixture.

Fold the tortilla over to cover the filling.

Brown on the onside as desired.

Flip carefully and brown on the other side.

Slice into wedges and serve with the sauce of your choice.

My restaurant makes killer homemade salsas. I had some of the tomatillo, my favorite and our delicious homemade guacamole.

Forget cheese, mushrooms are good no matter how you serve them. And the poblano gives it just a touch of sweetness.