Monthly Archives: November 2013

Leftover Turkey-Palooza!

A Thanksgiving dinner is pretty spectacular.  Aromas that fill the house, laughter and smiles of loved ones that warm our hearts, and the spirit of gratitude that starts the season.  And then there’s the next day.  And the day after that, and the day after.  I like to look at those last few days of November as days to celebrate!  Turkey leftovers!  Woot!  I like them as much as the holiday meal.  Maybe even more, since they come together in an hour or so; not the all-day cooking affair of Thanksgiving.  I’ve put together a few of my favorite recipes for leftover turkey here.

Let’s start with Grampa Tom’s Turkey Tetrazzini.  A family fav, especially for the home-from-college guy.  Warm and cheesy and peppery and comforting.  Oh yeah.

tetrazzini

Then, how ’bout a Turkey Pot Pie that’s not your average pot pie.  Spiced with green chiles, its individual portions are perfect for company.

pot pie

Turkey Sammiches are super popular.  I present to you the Lexi Sammich, one that would be perfect with turkey!  I might also suggest substituting cranberry sauce for the apricot preserves.  Yum!

Lexi

Or how about a TURKEY Cordon Blue Panini?  All melty and flavored up with ham and mustard?  I had almost forgotten about this one.  Just substitute turkey for the chicken.

cordon blue

If Asian food is what you’re craving, sub turkey for the chicken in this easy Lo Mein recipe.

lo mein

Enchiladas are another favorite around here.  First, here’s the college guy’s Granny’s recipe with a rich creamy white sauce and flour tortillas.  Again, sub turkey for the chicken.

ninas enchiladas

Finally, our house special enchiladas, with traditional red sauce and corn tortillas; use turkey for the chicken.  Better than a Mexican restaurant, right in your own house!

house special enchiladas

Almost makes me wish I’d bought a bigger turkey!  Turkey is wonderful in nearly any chicken recipe–have fun experimenting!  Happy Holidays!!!

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, Holiday foods, lunch, Potluck, recipe

Thanksgiving Appetizers–Vegan!

The Holidays are upon us.  Cleaning house, preparing for visits, grocery shopping and making plans with friends.  My BFF Becky and I host a holiday cookie exchange for friends we’ve had for years.  It’s the official start of the Christmas season for most of us and we look forward to getting together for yummy food, good times and cookies.  Becky and I always get together about this time to finalize our menu, mimosa flavor and decor.  Planning the cookie party is fun, and planning always goes better with a bit of snackage.  I already have most of my Thanksgiving groceries, so decided to Google around for appetizers that would use those items.  Score!  I found two different roasted appetizers that both used a lemon-garlic aioli as a dipping sauce!  Lucky.  They both roast around the same temperature and for approximately the same time.  Perfect.  I made a half batch of everything and plated it together.  Sweet Potatoes with “Sausage” Bites, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.  So pretty.  So yummy!

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Here’s what I used to make a snack for two BFFs.  Easy-peasy to double or even triple and use separate pans for the sprouts and potatoes.

ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 32-1/2 pieces (I only needed half of this huge potato!)
  • 3 vegan breakfast sausage links, microwaved according to the package, cut into 18 pieces (you’ll have couple left over pieces)
  • 14 small Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in halve or quarters, depending on the size of the sprout
  • spray oil
  • salt and pepper
  • decorative picks

For the Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon–approx 1/2 tsp zest, 1 1/2 TBSP juice
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a pan with parchment paper or a silpat.

Prepare sweet potatoes and sprouts.  Spread on the pan allowing for space in between the pieces.  Spray lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Mix around with your hands to coat veggies with oil and seasoning.

chop spray season

Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until potatoes are tender and sprouts are caramelized on at least one side.

While veggies roast, make the Lemon-Garlic Aioli.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, zest and juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.

assemble aioli

Whisk until smooth, cover and refrigerate until veggies are ready.

whisk til smooth

When veggies are roasted, allow them to cool slightly on the pan while you microwave the sausages.  Transfer sprouts to a serving dish.

Assemble the Sweet Potato and Sausage Bites.  Using a decorative pick, pick up a sweet potato square, then a sausage piece and then another sweet potato.

assemble sweet potato bites

Place Sweet Potato Bites standing up on the serving dish.  Place the aioli on or near the dish and garnish with parsley if you like.

sweet potato

Place out for your friends and enjoy the flavors of Thanksgiving!  The sprouts, sweet potatoes and garlic really complimented each other, and the aioli kept everything fresh and light tasting.  Overall a success!  I made half of the original aioli recipe and still had lots leftover; it would have been plenty for twice or three times the veggies.

sprouts

How did the party planning go?  Wonderfully.  Between us, Becky and I always seem to come up with a perfect combo of food, drink and decor.  This year’s theme is red and green, and we’re planning a casual buffet service instead of our usual plated brunch.  We just know it will be fabulous, because as always, the party is spiced with friends we’ve had “forever.”  Here’s a look at last year’s party to give you an idea.

table1

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table3

table4

brunch1

brunch2

star cookies

What are your Holiday traditions?

 

 

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, Holiday foods, vegan, Vegetarian

Vegan Baked Ziti

Cold weather always makes me want to bake something.  Something warm and aromatic and comforting.    Something your grandmother might have made for the family.  Something that feels like a hug and tastes like a whole lotta love.  I give to you the perfect answer:  Baked Ziti!

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I had never made baked ziti even before becoming vegan, and never had a grandmother make it for me.  But for some reason, the squat little rigatonis in my pantry thought that’s what they should be.  Who am I to argue with cute pasta?!  To the Google!  A few short clicks later, I had two recipes to inspire me; one classic, and one vegan.  Here’s what I came up with:

ingredients

For the ziti:

  • 1 pound short tubular pasta, such as rigatoni or penne or ziti, prepared according to the package
  • 1 pound vegan sausage  (I used Gimme Lean brand–very sausage-y)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped  (I had chopped bells from my garden in the freezer and used them)
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 jar prepared marinara sauce  (I had most of a jar leftover from making pizza)
  • Vegan Parmesan for topping

For the cashew ricotta:

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours in enough water to cover them by at least an inch
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP of fresh basil or 1 1/2 tsp dried
  • a couple shakes of paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400F and spray a 9×13″ pan.  Prepare pasta according to the package.

Drain cashews and place in a food processor with lemon juice, garlic, basil, paprika, and salt.

all in the processor

Blend until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides.  This should take 3-5 minutes.

blend until smooth

Brown the sausage.  It can be hard to tell when vegan sausage is brown.  Cook, breaking up with a spoon or spatula until it doesn’t feel sticky anymore.  Use a splash of veggie broth or No Chicken Broth (my personal fav) to help keep it from sticking to the pan.

brown sausage

Add onions and peppers and cook until onions are transluscent, about 5-7 minutes.

add onions and peppers

Add tomatoes and marinara, stir to combine.

add tomatoes and sauce

Add cooked pasta and cashew ricotta.  Doesn’t that ricotta look amazing?!

add pasta and ricotta

Stir to coat the pasta evenly and transfer to the prepared 9×13 pan.  Shake some vegan Parmesan over the top.

spread in pan

Bake 20-25 minutes, until the top pasta is getting a tiny bit crisp.

baked

Scoop out with a serving spoon and get your smile on.  You’re gonna feel like your Grandma stopped by with a warm apron-wrapped hug and some pasta to show how much she loves you.

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Just the thing when winter comes a-callin’.

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It snowed almost 6 inches the night I made the ziti.  We were expecting a dusting to MAYBE an inch.  Brrrrr!  It sure was pretty, though.

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Our crab apple trees looked just lovely, and leftover ziti was a perfect warm-me-up after playing outside in the snow.

 

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, Garden produce, lunch, Potluck, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Vegan-tastic Zuppa Toscano

I haven’t been to Olive Garden in quite awhile…all that cheese and cream sauce and sausage, oh my.  I still remember the Zuppa Toscano, though.  Creamy and spicy with potatoes, greens and sausage; an ultimate comfort soup.  A soup you can make a meal out of.  But so not vegan.  Waaaaah.  Until now, that is!  Hurray for cashew cream and vegan sausage!  Hurray for a warm bowl of soup on a cold and rainy night!

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The original recipe’s been making the rounds on Facebook. Aside from veganizing, I also changed up some of the cooking to squeeze out even more flavor.  This link matches the image and the general idea of the recipe shared around Facebook.  Here’s what you’ll need for the vegan version I made:

ingredients

  • 1 lb. vegan Italian-style sausages ( I only had 3 sausages from the 4 pack, which worked out OK and reduced the fat in the recipe)
  • 4-6 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves
  • 32 oz. No Chicken broth
  • 2 c. kale or Swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 c. raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours in enough water to cover them by an inch
  • 4 tsp corn starch
  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth
  • salt, pepper and cayenne to taste

Lightly spray a non-stick pan with oil and brown the sausages.

brown sausage

Remove sausages from pan, cut each in half lengthwise and then slice into half-moons.

chop sausage

Chop the onion and peel the garlic.

chop onions peel garlic

Saute the onion in the same pan used for the sausage, adding a bit of No Chicken broth to deglaze the pan, releasing the yummy browned sausage bits into the onion.  Yum.  Saute until onions are translucent; about 5-7 minutes.

saute onions

Mince or press the garlic and add to the pan and continue to cook until garlic becomes fragrant; an additional 30 seconds or so.

add garlic

Scrub and chop potatoes into 1/2″ dice.

chop potatoes

Transfer potatoes, sausage, onions, garlic and 32 oz No Chicken broth to a slow cooker; veggies and sausage should be covered.  Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-6 hours on low.  Potatoes should be tender.

sausage onions garlic potatoes and broth in crockpot

After the cooking time, wash kale and remove the stems.  I only needed 2 leaves.  Chop into 1/2 to 1″ -ish pieces.  Small enough to stay on the spoon, but not so fine so it gets lost in the broth.

chop kale

Drain the cashews and place them along with 4 tsp corn starch and 2 cups No Chicken broth into a blender and blend until smooth.  This may take from one to five minutes–check it by rubbing it between your fingers–you want it as smooth as possible.  You may need to scrape down the sides during the blending time.  (Remember how to do this for future creamy soups and sauces–it’s creamy vegan MAGIC!)

cashews corn starch and broth

blend until smooth (1)

Add the kale and cashew cream to the crock pot, and cook an additional 30 minutes on high to thicken.

add kale and cashew cream

Season with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

season

Ladle into bowls, add a nice warm wedge of bread or bread sticks and prepare to be amazed!  So, so yummy!  Michael pronounced it good enough to include in a weekly rotation; high praise.

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This is definitely NOT low-fat, but not too bad.  Fat comes from that light spray of oil, 10 grams per serving (1 link) of sausage and 13 grams per serving (1/4 cup) of cashews.

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While the soup was warming my house with its spicy aroma, it was cold and drippy outside.  I stood at the window, watching birds busy at the feeders and noticed someone else was watching the birds as well–the neighbor’s cat, Keshet!

keshet1

Keshet tends to do more watching than stalking and rarely kills a bird, but I have seen her with a mouse in her mouth, so I’m OK with her bird watching if she also keeps a few mice from trying to get into my house as the weather chills.

keshet2

Eventually my cat, Pookie wandered over to watch birds, and Keshet as well.

keshet3

You can see how dreary the day was in that last picture.  A great day for a vegan-tastic soup!

 

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dinner, lunch, Potluck, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

British-Style Scones (Vegan!)

It’s hard being vegan in London, but not too hard to be vegetarian.  Case in point, Tea with scones, clotted cream and strawberry preserves.  So civilized, so yummy.  British scones are more like what we Americans would call biscuits, but sweeter and moister.  I knew I need to find a recipe and make them when we got home.  AND I knew I could make them vegan.  Brilliant!

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I decided a recipe from Great Britain would come the closest to those we enjoyed at Fortnum and Mason.  (How pretty is this tea setting at Fortnum and Mason?!) With the help of a conversion link and googling how to make self-raising flour and buttermilk, a proper tea was in the making!

Fortnum and Mason tea

For the scones (makes 5-6 scones):

ingredients for scones

  • 2 cups self-raising flour, preferably organic, or 2 cups all purpose flour plus 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 1/2 TBSP slightly salted butter, chilled, cut in small pieces (or vegan stick margarine)
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk (almond or soy) with 1 1/2 tsp of lemon juice stirred in
  • 4 tbsp almond or soy milk
  • a little extra flour for dusting
  • strawberry jam and clotted cream, to serve

for the vegan clotted cream:

ingredients clotted cream

  • 4 Tbsp vegan margarine spread
  • 4 Tbsp vegan cream cheese
  • 2 Tbsp powdered sugar

(How are you liking the tea towel I’m using as the background?  It’s a “drawing” of the actual Fortnum and Mason store in London!)

Preheat the oven to 400F and lightly butter a baking sheet or line it with a silpat or parchment paper.

Measure the flour, baking powder and all of the salt into a mixing bowl.

dry ingredients

Add the butter and cut into the flour rubbing with your fingers or a pastry cutter until you have a consistency of a course grain or small peas.  Try to not overwork.  The tiny pieces of butter will help your scones be light and flaky.

add butter

Add the sugar and mix in.

cut in butter add sugar

Add the buttermilk (milk and lemon juice) and milk.  Stir until just combined.

add wet

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead just until smooth.  Don’t overwork.

tip out onto floured surface

knead til smooth

Pat to a circle about 2/3-3/4 of an inch thick and cut scones using a biscuit cutter or water glass dipped in flour.  Cut straight down without twisting.  The size of your cutter will determine how many scones you end up with.  I used a water glass with a 3″ diameter and got 5 scones; the last one being formed by patting rather than cutting.  Rework the dough as needed to cut more scones, forming the last one with your hands.

pat to a round

Place the scones on the prepared baking sheet and bake 15-25 minutes, until risen and golden.  I made a double batch.  🙂

cut scones

double batch

While scones bake, mix up the clotted cream.  Place the margarine, cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl and mix until well combined.

all in the bowl

Place into a container with a lid and refrigerate.  (I made a double batch.)

place in jars

Steep your favorite tea, find some pretty china and split a warm, freshly-baked scone.  Spread on some clotted cream and preserves of your choice (I had peach butter in the fridge.).  Sip, nibble, relax, enjoy.

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tea time

Enjoy these images in and around London and points nearby with your tea, and be there!

a lion at harlaxton

harlaxton manor

mind the gap

the tube

phone box

platform 9 and three quarters

stonehenge

the churchill arms

Lovely.

 

 

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Filed under breakfast, comfort food, dairy-free, Food memories, lunch, recipe, snack, travel, Vegetarian

Meaty Beany Chili

My fav goddess of all things vegan, Isa Chandra Moskowitz, recently published a new cookbook.  Naturally, I felt I NEEDED to buy it, so I did (with a little help from a timely coupon from Barnes and Noble).  Her cookbooks have become the go-tos of my journey into vegan land; great recipes that come together quickly and easily, peppered with Isa’s entertaining brand of snark.  What’s not to love?!  Make this recipe and then trot on out or click into your favorite bookstore to buy a copy of Isa Does It.  You’ll be glad you did!

On with the recipe then.  This is now my go-to chili.  Really meaty without even a touch of real or vegan meat.  Warming.  Spicy.  Satisfying.  You can make it in a crockpot.  Bazinga!  Have a look and see for yourself:

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I altered the original recipe ever so slightly–I only had a 14-oz can of tomatoes, so subbed in some cherry tomatoes I froze from last summer, subbed pinto beans for the kidney beans, and used No Chicken broth to saute the onion, pepper and garlic, as well as in place of the water called for in the original.

ingredients

  • enough No Chicken Broth or Veggie Broth to saute
  • 1 yellow onion, diced medium
  • 1 green pepper, seeded, diced medium
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, thinly sliced (seeded, if you want it less spicy)
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • Several dashes fresh black pepper
  • 1/8th teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups No Chicken Broth (plus extra as needed)
  • 1 cup dried brown lentils
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes plus 2 cups frozen, pureed tomatoes)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (15 oz can)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Seems like an intimidating list of ingredients, but fear not.  You’ll just methodically measure things out and pretty much dump things into a slow cooker!

First, saute the onion, green pepper and jalapeno until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes or so.

onions and peppers

Add the garlic, and continue to saute until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds.

add garlic

Dump the saute into your crock pot along with everything else on the list. Give it a stir, cover, set the cooker on low, and leave it alone for 8 hours–lentils should be tender.  You may want to adjust seasonings after cooking, and possibly add a bit more broth to thin as needed.

saute in the crock pot

add the rest

give it a stir

Voila!  Get home from work, your house smells amazing and you get to enjoy the yummiest chili ever for dinner!

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This is a hearty chili that will not only satisfy, but take the chill out of a winter day.

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You can also make this in a pot on the stove–see the original recipe for instructions.

 

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Filed under comfort food, crock pot, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian