Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'm stuffed.....literally!!

Recipe of the week....Caramelized Broccoli Stuffed Manicotti (get it, I'm stuffed??? Oh, I crack myself up!!!) with Balsamic Glazed Vegetables.

First things first, don't tell anyone that what they are about to eat has tofu in it because what they don't know won't hurt them or influence their taste buds. That being said, here is the recipe for the most amazing dish EVER. If you aren't vegan just use real ricotta cheese instead of the tofu ricotta, and regular cheese in place of the daiya.

Caramelized Broccoli Stuffed Manicotti
2 TBSP olive oil
4 cups broccoli florets, chopped fine
2 small red onions, thinly sliced
4 tsp red pepper flakes, dried
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
1 cup tofu ricotta (recipe follows)
1 cup Daiya vegan cheese
1/2 cup tomato paste
28 ounces stewed Italian tomatoes
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 box manicotti, prepared and rinsed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the broccoli, onions, red pepper flakes, and 2 cloves of the garlic. Slowly saute the broccoli, stirring occasionally until it starts to brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the olives and continue to cook about 1 more minute. Remove from heat and add the tofu ricotta and Daiya, stirring to evenly distribute.

While the broccoli and onions are caramelizing, prepare the tomato sauce. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 2 cloves garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stewed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in basil and remove from heat. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of a 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Stuff the manicotti with the broccoli/cheese mixture. Arrange the shells in the baking dish and top with the remaining sauce. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Serve immediately.

(6 servings, 307 calories, 11g fat, 16g protein, 36g carbohydrate, 3g fiber per serving)

Tofu Ricotta
1 1/2 pounds tofu, firm, well mashed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp basil, dried
1 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup Daiya

Mash all the ingredients together until the mixture has a fine, grainy texture like ricotta cheese. Store in the refrigerator. (You only need 1 cup to make the stuffed manicotti. Save any leftovers and use in another dish. Recipe can be halved)

I made this dish for a dinner/movie date I had with my friend Nicole. We usually go out and find a fun new, trendy restaurant to eat at. This time we switched it up a bit and had a dinner party at my house. It was fun and the food was delicious.

For dessert...because you can't have a dinner party without dessert, we had Banana Chocolate Chip Crepes (my first time making crepes, I will be making them again!!). I've included the recipe for the crepe batter. The filling consists of chopped up banana, top them off with SoyWhip or Whipped Cream, more chopped up banana and a sprinkle of chocolate chips and cocoa powder. Amazing!!

3 TBSP Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup almond milk
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 TBSP vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 1 TBSP flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

In a blender or food processor, whip the egg replacer and water together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the milk, oil, and vanilla and blend until combined. Add the flour, sugar, nutmeg, and salt and mix for about 1 minute. Pour the batter in a bowl. Spray a saute pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan. As you pour the batter, lift the pan from the heat and twirl it around so that the batter spreads evenly and coats the entire bottom of the pan. Return the pan to the heat and let it cook. Once the edges start to look crispy, loosen with a spatula and turn over. Cook the other side until golden, and slide it onto a plate. Fold it over and cover with wax paper, continue the above steps until you run out of batter. Fill with fruit or nut butter and serve!

Four weeks into the new year and so far I've kept up with this new recipe a week new year resolution. This week for Thursday night bible study I'll be making Roasted Red Pepper Mini Pizzas, look for the post on Friday...hopefully!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Now that's a spicy....beanball?

That's right you heard me, beanball (I really like saying beanball...say it with me beanball!).

Second recipe of the new year...Cajun Beanballs & Spaghetti. I'm not really sure if the title of the recipe truly explains all that is involved here. You're thinking, spaghetti? Easy! But please understand that I made the beanballs and the spaghetti sauce from scratch....from scratch spaghetti sauce tastes so much better than that stuff they stick in jars or cans. So here are the recipes (see note at end for additions I made to the recipes)....

Black Eyed Pea & Tempeh Beanballs

12 ounces tempeh
1 (15-ounce) can black eyed peas
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
black pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt

First, prepare a steamer to steam the tempeh. Once the steamer is ready, break the tempeh into bite-size pieces and steam for 10 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, use a fork or potato masher to mash the beans. They should be well mashed, with no whole beans left, but not completely smooth like a puree. Add the minced garlic, herbs, spices, soy sauce, tomato paste and vinegar, and mix well. When the tempeh is ready, add it to the mixture and mash well. It's good if it's still steaming hot because that will help all the flavors meld before baking. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, add the bread crumbs and salt. Using about 2 tablespoons of the mixture per ball, roll the mixture into 20 walnut-size balls, placing them on the baking pan. Spray with nonsitck cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, flip the balls, and bake for 10 minutes.

Mom's Marinara

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
black pepper
1 (24-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat a 2-quart pot over medium-low hat. Saute the garlic in the oil for about a minute. Add the thyme, oregano, and pepper, and saute for a minute more, adding a splash of water if necessary. Add the tomatoes and salt, and stir everything together. Cover the pot, leaving a little gap for steam to escape, and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for salt and seasoning and serve.

Cajun Beanballs & Spaghetti

1 serving Mom's Marinara
12 Black-Eyed Pea & Tempeh Beanballs
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
2 cups zucchini, cut into thin half-moons
1 cup thinly sliced scallions

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the zucchini to the pot. Drain the pasta and zucchini, measure out four equal portions onto four plates. Spoon Mom's Marinara sauce over the top of the four plates, add three meatballs and 1/4 cup of sliced scallions to each plate and serve.

The girls really liked the beanballs, I believe I even heard one exclaim that they were better than meatballs!! So...second recipe of the new year another hit!! Yay!! I did make some changes to the recipes. The first change was that I went to two stores and neither one had canned black-eyed peas, so I substituted white beans. If you aren't into black-eyed peas, please know that changing the bean type won't affect the recipe, it still worked out great with a different bean. The second change I made was to add a whole red onion to the marinara sauce. I sliced it thin and added it when I sauteed the garlic, I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the onions as I cooked them down. It only enhanced the sauce. That's it, otherwise I followed the recipes as written. This recipe makes four big, hearty servings and is a total of 11P+. The recipes come from my new cookbook, Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. 125 low-fat vegan recipes, I'm sure you will be reading about more of the recipes in her book this coming year!

Oh, one more thing.....DESSERT!!! For dessert I made Baked Banana Splits. So decadent, so delicious and only 3P+!!! Here is the recipe....

Baked Banana Splits

1 banana, peeled and sliced in half
2 teaspoons chocolate chips
2 tablespoons Marshmallow Creme
1/2 tablespoon chopped walnuts
3 maraschino cherries

Place peeled and sliced banana on piece of foil. Top with chocolate chips, marshmallow creme and walnuts. Close foil over banana and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and scoop out onto plate, make sure to pour sauce over banana. Top with cherries and serve while still warm.

It was so good, I licked my plate....no really, I did!! Until next week!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's kinda like a tamale but, not...

First recipe of the new year....Black Bean & Corn Tamale Soup w/Oven Baked Corn Chips.

It was good...the thickness of the soup made is super hearty and filling. For those of you following WW this soup makes 5 servings at 6P+ per serving (add 2P+ for the oven baked corn chips and you've got a very filling meal for 8P+). I tasted it as I was making it and added spices accordingly...I like my stuff spicy, you will want to spice yours based on your tastes (I'm not putting any measurements for spices that way you don't feel like you need to follow my recipe exactly...plus to be honest I didn't measure anyways!!). Here is the recipe....

Black Bean & Corn Tamale Soup

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
2 tsp olive oil or cooking spray
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, large dice
2 zucchini, sliced
1 lg can diced tomatoes
4 cups veg broth
1 cup masa harina
chili powder
garlic powder
mexican oregano

Combine onions, carrot and zucchini in large stock pot and saute with olive oil until carrots start to get tender. Add canned tomatoes and seasonings. Stir in black beans. Add broth. Bring to a boil and slowly stir in the cornmeal. Return to boil and then reduce to a simmer. (the cornmeal thickens the soup and gives it the tamale flavor. If soup gets too thick add 1/2-1 cups water). 10 minutes before soup is finished add frozen corn and cook soup until heated through.

Oven Baked Corn Chips

Corn Tortillas (2 per person), cut into 8 triangles
Cooking spray (I like to use Olive Oil cooking spray)
Chili Powder

Pre-heat oven to 350. Cut tortillas using a knife or pizza cutter. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out tortilla triangles so that none are overlapping. Spray with cooking spray and then sprinkle spices on top. bake for about 8 minutes and then turn over to bake evenly. Bake 8-10 minutes longer, shaking pan every 2 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Serve on side with soup.

So there you go, first recipe completed successfully. Not only is it completed, but it was AMAZING!! Yay me!

Next up will be Spicy Spaghetti w/Cajun Bean Balls...you don't want to miss it, so check back Friday!! (I'm making it for my Thursday night girls bible study. Those girls are amazing, they always eat everything I make. That is love!)

Until Friday!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Year Resolutions....

I LOVE making new year resolutions.....seriously LOVE it. I'm also really good at keeping them, I have a very high success rate. One year I vowed to eat no fast food...did it. Another year, no chocolate....succeeded. What can I say, I am very stubborn!! ;-)

The main one this year is that I have decided to make a new recipe every week. Which when the year is finished should give me 52 recipes made, eaten and blogged on. As part of the recipe making I want to make sure I share them with you and let you know how they turned out. This week (since I took last week off from everything but fasting) I am making 2 new recipes. So stay tuned for 2 new blogs regarding the new recipes....I'll give you a sneak peak into what I'm making. Recipe #1 will be Black Bean & Corn Tamale Soup w/Oven Baked Corn Chips. Recipe #2 will be Spicy Spaghetti w/Cajun Bean Balls (this recipe comes from Appetite For Reduction...my Christmas gift from whoever got me the Barnes & Noble gift card...thank you!!).

I'm also hoping to step up my blogging and take some good pictures of the whole cooking and recipe making process...maybe even the eating!! See ya soon!