Vegetarian Thanksgiving Stuffing

17 Nov

Thanksgiving is only a week away. If you’re like me, you’ve already begun planning your dinner menu. Several years ago, a vegetarian friend of mine gave me this stuffing recipe. It’s absolutely delicious! I’ve made it for Thanksgiving every year since then and it continues to be everyone’s favorite part of the dinner (even meat-eaters).

Happy ThanksgivingIngredients:

¾ stick of margarine
2 large onions, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (7-ounce) jars roasted, peeled, whole chestnuts, coarsely chopped
¼ Cup of fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 lb (2 loaves) of day-old Ciabatta bread (or any other crusty bread) cut into cubes
2/3 to a cup of grated Parmesan
1 ½ cup (or more) of canned vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat over to 350 degrees

Directions:

Butter a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt the margarine in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts and parsley. Pour in a bowl and add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat. Add enough broth to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer the stuffing to the dish. Cover with foil and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes more. Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Carrot Apple Walnut Salad

7 Nov

The vibrant orange of the carrots will brighten your meal.

As the daylight gets shorter and the weather turns colder, we try to make foods that will comfort and cheer us up. This vibrant and delicious carrot salad is bright with orange carrots, purple raisins and white swiss cheese. It’s a snap to make with ingredients easily found in your grocery store. The salad goes great as a side dish along with garden burgers.

Ingredients:

1 bag of shredded carrots
1 cup of raisins
2 cups of cubed swiss cheese
2 cups of crushed walnuts or pecans
1 apple (tart, like a granny smith) sliced thin
1/4 cup of Balsamic Vinaigrette (more or less depending on your taste)
Salt, to taste

Directions:

Prepare all of the ingredients. Cube the swiss cheese, crush the walnuts and peel/core/slice the apples. Then, combine all these ingredients plus the carrots and raisins in a big mixing bowl. Pour Balsamic Vinaigrette on the top and mix well. Add more if you like extra flavor… less, if you’d like to cut calories. Add a pinch of salt, to taste. Enjoy!!

Caprese Salad

23 Sep

Mouth watering caprese salad. It's colorful and delicious.

It’s so easy to get into a boring routine of making the same dinners each week. If you’re like me—you have your quick fix dinner favorites that you rotate between each week.

I altered a caprese salad recipe that I found in a magazine. The ingredients were easy to find, it didn’t take long to make and my family really liked it.

Ingredients:

1 tomato, sliced thin

1 cucumber, sliced

1 hunk of mozzarella cheese, sliced thick

Basil leaves (I found a pack of them at Target in the produce aisle)

Dressing of your choice (we used Italian Dressing or Balsamic Vinaigrette)

Directions:

All you have to do is slice up the first three ingredients and wash the basil leaves. Alternate the slices of tomato, cucumber, cheese and basil on a serving plate like in the picture above. I didn’t put dressing on the salad. Instead, I put the bottles of dressing on the table and let everyone pick one out to drizzle on top.

Best of all, we used the leftovers from the salad to make sandwiches for lunch during the week. None of it went to waste and it spiced up our dinner routine.

Vegetarian Taco Pie

12 Sep

A delicious vegetarian taco pie is layered with rice, beans and non-meat burger crumbles.

Yesterday was Grandparent’s Day. I was sad to spend the day without my grandparents.

Earlier in the year, my last grandparent, my Grandma passed away. She was, among a lot of things, a wonderful cook. She lived to feed her family and make sure everyone was happy and healthy. She measured a person’s character by their appetite.  My husband, who always asked for second helpings of her ravioli and never passed up trying new foods, was a darling in her eyes.

When I became vegetarian back in high school, she took it upon herself to create new non-meat meals for me to enjoy. I always appreciated her kind heart and creativity since she was an Italian woman, who loved every cut of meat out there (liver, turkey neck, etc…).

Here is one of my favorite meals that she created for me. It’s a vegetarian taco pie. Now that I’m a working mother, I love it not just for it’s flavor, but because you can make it the night before (or a few days), put it in the refrigerator and then cook it just before you want to eat it.

I hope you’ll enjoy this Grandma-inspired vegetarian taco pie!

After eating one piece of vegetarian taco pie, you'll definitely come back for another one.

Ingredients:

– 6-8 (10 inch) flour tortillas
– Vegetarian burger crumbles (morningstar, boca or quorn)
– Can of black beans
– 2 cups of shredded sharp cheese
– Lettuce
– 2 cups of Salsa
– Bag of spanish or mexican rice (Knorr)
– 1 Tbsp taco seasoning
– 1-2 cups of shredded lettuce

Directions:

Cook the bag of spanish or mexican rice according to the directions.

Add a cup of your salsa into the black beans and cook until the beans are soft.

Warm up half the bag of burger crumbles, sprinkle with a tablespoon of taco seasoning for flavoring.

Once all the ingredients are cooked you can begin assembling your taco pie. You’ll need a pie dish. Place your first flour tortilla in the pie dish. Spread some black beans over the flour tortilla. Next, put another flour tortilla on top of the black beans. Spread some spanish rice on that flour tortilla. Add another flour tortilla and layer that with burger crumbles. Keep making layers of tortillas and ingredients until you have a nice taco pie. I usually make 6 layers.

Finish your taco pie by putting a flour tortilla on top as the lid. Spread a cup of salsa and the shredded cheese over the top of your taco pie.

Cook the taco pie in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Once it’s out of the oven, you can sprinkle some shredded lettuce over the top prior to serving.

Cut it up like you would a piece of apple pie and serve.

Enjoy!

Veggie Chili Dogs

5 Sep

Game-ready vegetarian chili dogs will score you big points with family and friends.

As football season kicks off (pun intended) it’s time to serve up a tasty meal that goes well with chips, dip and beer. Vegetarian chili dogs are a snap to make and everyone is sure to cheer for them—from your kids to your father-in-law.

Ingredients:

1 package of vegetarian hot dogs (I bought Smart Dogs)
1 can of vegetarian chili (I bought Amy’s black bean chili)
1 bag of sub rolls
2 cups grated sharp cheese

Directions:

Warm up the vegetarian hot dogs and the chili according to the directions on the package. Both of them should be easy to warm up right in the microwave.

Place two vegetarian hot dogs in a sub roll. Layer with warmed chili and sprinkle with grated sharp cheese.

Repeat. This recipe makes about 4 servings.

Enjoy!

Tofu Riggies—Upstate New York Style

29 Aug
Tofu riggies

Tofu riggies cooking atop the stove.

Years ago, at the baby shower that my mother threw for me—she served Chicken Riggies from a deli/restaurant in Syracuse, NY.

The riggies were the hit of the baby shower.  Guests quickly forgot my baby bump, losing interest in the games in order to sneak off for seconds and thirds of the riggies.

My mom asked around and found a recipe for chicken riggies to make at home. I took her recipe and turned it vegetarian by replacing the chicken with tofu.

Riggies are a vodka based pasta meal that adds a little “heat” or spice with the addition of cayenne pepper and jalapeño peppers. You can alter the “heat” to your liking either in the cooking pan or on top of individual dishes as they’re being served.

The meal goes well with a nice light lettuce salad or fresh bread.  I’d also suggest a good red wine to pair with the dish. Something bold and dry, like a merlot, will compliment the dish nicely.

I hope you’ll enjoy these riggies as much as I do.

Ingredients:

1 container of Tofu (extra firm, drained, cubed)
1 jar of Vodka Sauce
1 small red pepper (diced)
2 cloves of garlic (chopped up)
½ a box of rigatoni
Dash or two of cayenne pepper
Jar of jalapeños

Directions:

Boil a pot of water to cook the rigatoni according to the box’s instructions.

While the pasta is cooking, take out your frying pan and put some oil in it. Sauté the peppers, diced tofu and garlic until the tofu has browned a little on each side and the vegetables are soft.

Once the pasta is done, cooking drain out the water in your colander. Then, add the rigatoni into your frying pan. Next, pour in the jar of vodka sauce. Stir everything until all noodles are coated in sauce.

To add some “heat” or spice to your dish, add in a couple sprinkles of cayenne pepper. Chop up some (between 3-8) jalapeño slices from the jar. Add those into your frying pan.

Mix it all up and heat for about 10 minutes.

Once everything is warm, dish it out onto plates and serve to your guests. This dish makes about 3-4 servings.

You can also sprinkle more cayenne pepper on individual dishes to cater to each guest’s taste.

Enjoy!

Ice cream pie (vegan or non)

25 Aug

Ice cream pie with mint chocolate chip ice cream. You can also use sorbet or tofutti to make the pie a vegan delight.

The past few mornings have been nice and cool. It reminds me that autumn is just around the corner. As the summer slowly fades away, and we look forward to apple crisp and pumpkin pie, it’s time to make one last frozen dessert to enjoy.

This ice cream pie is a crowd pleaser and extremely simple to make. It only requires 4 ingredients and 15 minutes of your time.

If you want a vegan dessert, no problem. Just substitute the ice cream with your favorite flavor sorbet, tofutti or rice dream.

Ingredients

1 cup chocolate chips
3 Tbsp margarine
2 cups rice krispies
Half gallon ice cream, sorbet or tofutti

Directions

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and margarine. Melt in microwave. I’d suggest 30 seconds intervals with stirring in between until fully melted.

Add rice krispies and stir.

Pour chocolate mixture into a greased pie dish to make the crust. Spread out evenly.

Put the chocolate crust in the freezer for at least two hours.

Add ice cream or sorbet into pie crust. Spread evenly.

Now, cut yourself a piece (or two) and enjoy!

Don't be shy... have more than one piece of this delicious ice cream pie!