Spring Harvest Quesadilla

See, I told you I would really write this week! Even though I am a bit preoccupied with redoing my resume, I wouldn’t have time to write in my blog if I get a new job. Well, at least not during work hours… They love me here and pay me well, they just don’t have very much for me to do.

Last night I made a yummy clean out the fridge dish that was super quick and tasty too. As strange as it may seem, the recipe is for 1 quesadilla. My partner is anti-veggie and I have been pushing the veggies lately, so she got to have a plain cheese one which is her favorite. Plus I know that she’s going to eat more veggies than she can even comprehend as soon as I’m harvesting from my garden.

I was originally going to add some fresh corn in the mix, but I decided to make Veganomicon’s corn pudding with coconut milk. It was fabulous – you should make it if you haven’t already. Cheryl was crazy about it.

Spring Harvest Quesadilla

  • 2 taco size low carb whole wheat tortillas (just cause they have less calories)
  • Handful of shredded cheese of your choice (dairy or non-dairy) I used Kroger brand shredded quesadilla cheese. It has no hints about what kind of cheese it really is, so I’m pretending it is a nice queso.
  • 1/2 shallot minced
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 small or 1/2 medium zucchini cut into bite size pieces
  • Big handful of rainbow chard cut into thin ribbons and chop the stems in small pieces
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • Pinch ground chili pepper (can use any kind you like – I have a blend from SEEDS at the farmers market)
  • Salsa of your choice (my choice was salsa verde)

Heat a non-stick pan, then add shallot and garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add zucchini, chard, and spices. Saute until the veggies are just the way you like them. I like my greens cooked well, so I added them before the zucchini.

Heat another non-stick pan if you are (like me) too lazy to clean out this pan. Put a tortilla on it and then spread your veggies evenly over the tortilla and cover with cheese and the second tortilla. Cook until browned on one side, flip and cook until brown on the other.

It will take less time on the second side, and even less time on the first side of the second quesadilla you cook. I’m not sure why this is true, but I always burn the first side of the second one.

This is a great fast meal. I served a can of Trader Joe’s Refried Black Beans and the corn pudding and it was yummy. It would be great with just a salad.

Vegan – Zesty Escabeche Soy Cutlets

I found a new blog that I have a crush on – Rockin’ The Stove. Not only was the recipe I made from there amazing, she is also from Durham like me! And I went to a new restaurant (Toast) per her recommendation and loved it.

First off, I had no idea what Escabeche was, but she gives a step by step recipe with pics here. From that alone I knew I must have it for dinner. I had some asparagus that needed to be cooked, and I hadn’t had any friends over for dinner this week. So that sealed my decision.

Not knowing what exactly I had made I looked up Escabecheon on Wikipedia and they said:

Escabeche (of Spanish origin or from Persian sikbag; “acid food”) refers to both a dish of poached or fried fish that is marinated in an acidic mixture before serving, and to the marinade itself. The dish is common in Peruvian Cuisine, Puerto Rican Cuisine, Mexican Cuisine, and popular in both Spanish cuisine and Provençal cuisine. It is usually served cold after marinating in a refrigerator overnight (or longer). The acid in the marinade is usually vinegar but can also include citrus juice. Escabeche is a popular presentation of canned or potted preserved fish, such as tuna, bonito or sardines.

So I guess it was a big faux pas that I had no pickled peppers to add. I just skipped it. At least I added the vinegar! Really I pretty much kept to the recipe exactly which is why I’m posting a link to her recipe. Plus, you really have to see her pictures of the dish.

I found another recipe at chef2chef for Vegetable Escabeche Dona Vito. It uses mushroom, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, and alot of different spices. I think I will try this one next time. Mostly so I can get the gist of escabeche.

It’s good to learn new things!

Garlic Scapes and a Vegan Slow Cooker Recipe

Garlic Scapes – what?! They are the flowering stems from certain kinds of garlic, or at least that’s what I got from my googleing. I saw them at the Raleigh Farmers Market and had no idea what to do with them, so of course I bought them. This is green vegetable week at my house!

I chose to make Absorption Pasta with Scapes and Wild Mushrooms from Stephen Cooks. My changes were veggie not-chicken broth for the real chicken broth, half and half for the cream, and a mix of oyster, baby potabella, and shitake mushrooms. You can get the mushroom mix at Trader Joe’s and they are really tasty. You could substitute soy milk or unsweetened soy creamer if you can find it. Or in fact you could just use tofu sour cream and I bet it would come out nice.

The scapes are really a garnish for the pasta. You sear them after the mushrooms and they become pretty tender. At least the stems did, the flowers were woody and not as good in my opinion. I have some left over so I may make pesto out of the rest. The stems had a mouth fell like super thin asparagus, with a definite garlic flavor – but very mellow.

The other thing that was interesting about this dish is the fact you simmer the pasta in the broth, rather than boil it separately. It worked like a charm and was really good. In fact, I really liked this alot and will be making it again. My partner said it’s like fancy mac and cheese. From her that’s a huge compliment, she’s an 8 year old in a 40 year old body!

It’s slow cooker Thursday! I’ve fallen down on my slow cooker posting. So last night I went looking through my favorite slow cooker book Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker and found a recipe to make this morning. If you saw my menu plan Monday, one of the things that I bought at the farmers market was collard greens. Southern, full of vitamins, and tasty too, what more could you want? Those of you in different perts of the country could substitute kale, chard, or other greens.

I’m finding one of the best way to “hide” greens is to chop them and add into other dishes. For instance, chard was added to the pasta last night and no one knew until I told them. Spicy White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew with Collards seems like it’ll fit that bill as well.

Against the wishes of the recipe I added the collards in with everything else, so we’ll see if this shortcut is a good idea or a bad one once I get home. I’m hoping since they are fresh they will be less bitter. And I actually put the crockpot on high and l sauteed the onion, pepper, and garlic in there while I took a shower. I’ll update this post if it was a bad idea. (Added 5/9 – it seemed to do fine. It may have been a little less bitter if I waited, but I enjoyed it.)

Spicy White Bean and Sweet Potato Stew with Collards

Recipe By :Robin Robertson from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker adapted by Susan of Fat Free Vegan

Serving Size : 6 (looks like more than that to me!)

1 Tb. olive oil – optional and not included in the nutritional values
1 medium yellow onion — chopped
1 small red bell pepper — seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic — minced
1 pound sweet potatoes — peeled and cut into 1-in chunks
1 hot chili pepper — (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh ginger root — peeled and grated
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes — with juice
3 cups white beans, cooked — (cannelini or other, may use 2 cans)
1 teaspoon light brown sugar — or a natural sweetener
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
3 cups vegetable broth, fatfree
salt and pepper — to taste
2 cups collard greens — chopped

Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Check often to prevent burning.

Transfer the mixture to a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Add the sweet potatoes, chile, ginger, tomatoes, beans, brown sugar, allspice, cumin, bay leaves, and stock; season with salt (if desired) and pepper, cover, and cook on Low for 4 to 6 hours.

Close to serving time, cook the collard greens in simmering water until they are tender. Stir them into the crock pot. Taste to adjust the seasonings. (At this point I added about the same amount of allspice and cumin as the directions called for –in other words, I used twice as much). Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Taste to adjust the seasonings. (At this point I added about the same amount of allspice and cumin as the directions called for –in other words, I used twice as much). Remove the bay leaves and serve.

Source:
“Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker”

Per serving: 219 Calories (kcal); 1g Total Fat; (3% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 44g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 23mg Sodium

NOTES : This stew is colorful and full flavored, thanks to a host of vegetables and seasonings. I like to cook the collard greens separately to avoid any bitter taste in the stew. Because sweet potatoes break down easily, it’s important not to cook this stew too long. For a mild, yet still flavorful, version, eliminate the hot chile.

Monday Dinner – Gnocchi with Broccoli and Seitan

Last night I made a variation of Gnocchi with Broccoli and Seitan from Eat Air’s blog and it was so good. You really need to check out his website if you haven’t seen it. Tons of great pictures and recipes.

I made a few substitutions, but in the end it was terrific. Cheryl even ate seconds – of broccoli no less!

I had some basil gnocchi that I think I got from Trader Joe’s. There was no seitan that wasn’t past it’s use date in the fridge, so I used my favorite standby – Boca sausage links. And my jar of capers seemed to not be sealed as well as it should have, so I tossed those in the garbage.

So here’s how it went for me:

  • 1 package of gnocchi
  • 1/2 fresh chopped onion
  • 1/2 fresh green garlic (looks kinda like a scallion – substitute 2 cloves regular garlic if you can’t find it at your farmer’s market)
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 5 boca sausage links
  • 7 kalmata olives pitted and chopped
  • 1 1/2 T. sundried tomato crumbles
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I used a Chianti)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water (filtered is best)
  • 2 T. olive oil (or use veggie broth for a fat free alternative)

Heat olive oil in large skillet, when warm add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Add broccoli, sausage, olives, sun dried tomatoes and saute until sausage is cooked and broccoli is softened a little. Add red wine to deglaze the pan and scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom. Add the tomato sauce, water, and the gnocchi. Cover and simmer until gnocchi is done. I think it took about 5 – 10 minutes. It was a little thin for my taste so I simmered it uncovered for a few minutes after to thicken the sauce. You may want to add less water.

Nutrition Facts

Gnocchi with Broccoli

4 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 377.9
Total Fat 13.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.7 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.0 g
Cholesterol 39.5 mg
Sodium 728.5 mg
Potassium 209.3 mg
Total Carbohydrate 48.0 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Sugars 4.0 g
Protein 10.2 g
Vitamin A 18.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 6.0 %
Vitamin C 76.3 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 7.9 %
Calcium 7.0 %
Copper 2.1 %
Folate 8.9 %
Iron 6.3 %
Magnesium 4.2 %
Manganese 15.3 %
Niacin 1.7 %
Pantothenic Acid 2.7 %
Phosphorus 4.2 %
Riboflavin 3.8 %
Selenium 2.4 %
Thiamin 2.8 %
Zinc 1.7 %

Recipe – Vegetarian Slow Cooker Lasagna

Slow Cooker Thursday

It’s slow cooker Thursday!
See other great recipes at Diary of a SAHM

I cooked a lasagna on Monday using this recipe from Vegetarian Times Magazine – I think it was last month’s issue. This link will get you to their site and more slow cooker recipes for oatmeal, vindaloo, and a chocolate pear cake too!

I’m going to repeat the recipe here for your convenience, but you really need to go check out the site. There are so many free recipes that are super tasty! I am going to also include in this post a second recipe with the modifications I’m going to make the next time I make it.

This recipe makes a crockpot full of food. I think you could serve 12 people, we served 6 (with some seconds) and still had lunches for 2 days for 2 people. If you don’t have any tempeh, you could a Lightlife’s Gimme Lean or a previously frozen block of tofu (not silken!) thawed and crumbled, even some chopped up Boca burger or Boca sausage would work just fine.

What the heck is tempeh anyhow?

Tempeh has a meatier texture that most people love, and it mellows the flavor if you boil or marinate it before adding it to your dish. In the lasagna below, you don’t have to do either. It’s really a great first tempeh dish to try.

I’ve been using a lot of tempeh lately, and I know some of you haven’t used it before. It looks kinda scary when you first open the package, but remember it is just a fermented soy food – one with a great texture. If you use tofu often, you will be surprised with tempeh’s sturdiness, and the fact it does have more flavor on it’s own. I still prefer to have it mixed in with sauce or a marinade.

Vegetarian Times Magazine’s Slow Cooker Spinach Lasagna
Serves 8

“Many people don’t know that the crock inside a slow cooker is ovenproof and you can transfer a dish like lasagna into the oven (up to 400°F) for 10 minutes to brown the top,” says Golino. Just be sure the pot is hot, to avoid drastic temperature changes that can cause it to crack.

1 medium onion,quartered
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 Tbs. dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, peeled, plus 1 clove minced (1 tsp.), divided
1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, cut into chunks
1 28-oz. can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes
2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for oiling slow cooker
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
8 oven-ready lasagna noodles
1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
1 16-oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese, divided
1 cup grated Swiss cheese, divided

  1. Place onion, basil, oregano, and 2 whole garlic cloves in food processor; pulse 6 times, or until onion and garlic are chopped. Add tempeh, and pulse until tempeh is ground. Add tomatoes, oil, salt, and pepper; pulse until chunky sauce forms
  2. Combine spinach and minced garlic in bowl, and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat bottom and sides of 4-quart slow cooker with oil. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over bottom, and cover with layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them in pieces to fit around edges. Spread 3/4 cup spinach mixture over top. Place 1 layer roasted red peppers over spinach, and top with 3/4 cup ricotta. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce over ricotta. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup Swiss cheese. Repeat, layering noodles, spinach, peppers, ricotta, Swiss cheese, and tomato sauce. Top with 1 more layer noodles and remaining spinach, tomato sauce, ricotta, and Swiss cheese.
  4. Cook 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Let stand uncovered 10 minutes before serving.

PER SERVING: 322 CAL; 22 G PROT; 14 G TOTAL FAT (5.5 G SAT. FAT); 32 G CARB; 31 MG CHOL; 762 MG SOD; 6 G FIBER; 8 G SUGARS

Spinach Lasagna GeekPoet’s Redo – Not tested yet

Be warned that this is not a tested recipe , but the one I will follow the next time I make it. Use at your own risk – or just put whatever you like in it.

Ok, so why would I do anything differently anyhow? First off, I can never leave good enough alone. Your family would probably be happy with the recipe above. And certainly no one would expect that soy products were being slipped in. Perfect for kids and picky spouses.

The comments I received from my loyal and brave testers prompted me to think of a way to incorporate more noodles, and possibly a way that the noodles would not be as soft. Three layers of noodles really doesn’t seem like enough pasta for a whole slow cooker of stuff. I’m not even sure if the delicate balance of not too much liquid and mushy to not dried out and icky can be done cooking noodles in a Crockpot all day.

It might end up being a weekend slow cooker dish so I can cook it for only 5 or 5 hours, but during the week what I cook goes for about 8 – 9 hours. If any of you have tips about this I would love to hear them!

Serves 8

  • 1 medium onion,quartered
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves (or 8 cubes Trader Joe’s frozen basil)
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, plus 1 clove minced (1 tsp.), divided (can also use Trader Joe’s frozen garlic 1 cube = 1 clove)
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. tempeh, cut into large cubes
  • 1 28-oz. can chopped fire-roasted tomatoes (or tomatoes with basil)
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for oiling slow cooker
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 16-oz. pkgs. frozen chopped spinach
  • 16 oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1 16-oz. jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 16-oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese, divided
  • 1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese, divided
  1. Place onion, basil, oregano, and 2 whole garlic cloves in food processor; pulse 6 times, or until onion and garlic are chopped. Add tempeh, and pulse until tempeh is ground. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oil, salt, and pepper; pulse until chunky sauce forms. Put in a large bowl and fold in ricotta.
  2. Combine spinach and minced garlic in bowl, and season with pepper.
  3. Coat bottom and sides of 4-quart slow cooker with oil.
  4. Spread .5 cup of the tempeh tomato mixture to cover bottom of slow cooker, and cover with layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them in pieces to fit around edges.
  5. Spread a thin layer spinach mixture over top
  6. Place 1 layer roasted red peppers over spinach
  7. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over red peppers.
  8. Cover with layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them in pieces to fit around edges.
  9. Spread 1 cup tempeh tomato mixture.
  10. Cover with layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them in pieces to fit around edges.
  11. Repeat, alternating layers with spinach, red peppers and mozzarella, with ones of the tempeh tomato mixture until the slow cooker is almost full or you have made 6-8 thin layers.
  12. Top with 1 more layer noodles and remaining tempeh tomato mixture and mozzarella cheese.
  13. Cook 8 hours on low. Let stand uncovered 10 minutes before serving.

To make it vegan, just mash some soft tofu or better yet use this recipe for a more proper tasting tofu ricotta. Almond cheese makes a great mozzarella cheese substitute.

Vegan bean balls were a hit!

The bean balls from Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook p.189 were amazing. I was a little worried that it would take to much time to make them, since I didn’t make them ahead of time and wanted to eat in less than an hour. But I was so wrong! Just dump ingredients into a bowl, smash some beans and mix everything together and make little balls. I cooked mine in the oven using mini-muffin trays. I read a tip on making meatballs that did it that way, and it helped me keep them all a consistant size. They took about 25 minutes to cook.

I actually did not make any changes to the recipe, which is unusual for me.  You have a choice to use steak sauce or tomato paste, and I have to say I felt like the steak sauce took it to another level. I served them over whole wheat angel hair with a bottled organic tomato sauce.

I had some left over, so I’ve frozen them for a bean ball sub later on. Honestly, I’m looking forward to it.

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