admin / September 29, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Tofu and Mushroom Stew with Herbed Mashed Potatoes

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About this time of the year I begin craving soups and stews. However, I’ve often found vegetarian stews to be lacking in flavor and substance. My goal for this recipe was to have a thick flavor packed gravy that would cling to a comfort food like mashed potatoes. The key is three ingredients and one cooking technique. Slow cooking of the vegetables and then tomato paste, soy and Worcestershire sauce…and yes there is a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce.

I used already cubed tofu that you can buy just about anywhere now but regular block tofu works too, just cut it into bite size cubes after it’s been through the usual tofu ritual. Freeze it, defrost it, drain it, boil it for about five minutes, let it cool, drain and press all the water from it, and then cube it.

The mashed potatoes are a breeze to make and if you use non-dairy cream cheese and milk, this whole meal becomes vegan.

For the Stew

1 14 ounce package extra-firm tofu (see note above for preparation)

1 cup sliced mushrooms

3 carrots, washed, peeled and sliced into ¼ inch pieces

1 onion, chopped

1 cup frozen sliced green beans

3 cups vegetable stock

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Salt and pepper

Oil for cooking

For the Potatoes

4 large potatoes (about one pound…Yukon Golds are especially good)

4 ounce package cream cheese

¼ cup milk

2 tablespoon dried herbs, use whatever you like best, parsley, chives, dill, thyme etc.

Salt and pepper

For the Stew-

In a large saucepan and over medium high heat, heat about two tablespoons of oil and then add the tofu cubes. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper and saute until they are slightly golden brown.

Add the carrots, onion, and mushrooms…you might need some more oil or you can use some of the stock. Saute for about 2-3 minutes and add a little more salt and pepper, and the thyme.

Add the tomato paste, soy and Worcestershire sauces. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.

Slowly add the stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and add the frozen green beans and cook until the liquid is reduced by half and you’re left with a thick gravy.

For the potatoes

Peel and cube the potatoes and cook them in boiling salted water until tender.

Drain, return to the saucepan you cooked them in. Don’t turn on the heat but put the pan back on the stove and let the heat dry them out while you mash them.

Add the cream cheese and once it’s melted add the herbs and then the milk.

Taste test and see if you need salt and pepper.

Serve immediately with the stew.

Serves 4

 

admin / September 22, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Roasted Carrot Soup with Cumin and Garlic Crostini

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My upcoming cookbook contains a recipe for carrot soup. However, after reading the article about foods you can eat when you’re broke (and seeing that item on the list), it inspired me to create another one. This time I slow roasted the carrots in the oven and instead of adding croutons made crostini to serve as hearty garnish.

For the Soup

4 large carrots, washed, peeled and cut into one inch pieces

½ onion, peeled and diced into one inch pieces

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper

4 tablespoons oil

3 cups vegetable stock

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk

For the Crostini

8 slices of French or Italian bread

1 clove of garlic smashed or 3 cloves of garlic that you’ve already baked in the oven, they have a milder taste and there’s less chance they’re burn and turn bitter.

½ teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper

Oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place carrots and onion in a large baking pan. Sprinkle on the paprika, coriander and thyme, salt and pepper. Pour on the oil and mix everything together making sure all the carrots and onion get evenly coated.

Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring about two or three times, under the carrots are tender.

Remove the pan from the oven and deglaze it with about one cup of stock. Let the mixture cool.

Put everything into a food processor, making sure to scrape the pan so you get all the baked on pieces.

Add another cup of stock and puree.

Add the mixture to a large saucepan and stir in the rest of the stock and gently heat through. Turn off soup and make the crostini.

In a skillet over medium high heat, heat about two tablespoon of oil and add the garlic and cumin and stir together and cook until fragrant.

Add the slices of bread and cook on both sides for about two minutes or until slightly browned.

Reheat soup and stir in the one cup of coconut milk.

Serve immediately with two slices of the crostini.

Serves 4

 

admin / September 15, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is on sale now and while I love to roast it and use it as a side dish, it also makes a pretty good Meatless Monday meal. For this one I used dried sweetened cranberries combined with feta cheese and a pre-packaged Ancient Grain blend although you could use a mix of brown and white rice, or even wild rice.

2 Acorn squashes, washed, seeded, halved lengthwise

1 ½ cups of grain or rice blend, cooked

½ cup crumbled feta cheese (divided)

½ cup sweetened cranberries

Salt and pepper

Oil for roasting

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Sprinkle the squash with salt and pepper and place cut side down in a large baking pan. Drizzle with oil and bake uncovered for about 15 minutes or until slightly softened.

Remove from the oven and allow the squash to cool and then make the center’s bigger by scooping out some of the flesh.

Add the chopped flesh to a bowl and mix in the grain or rice mix, the cranberries and almost all of the feta cheese, but reserve some for topping when the squash comes out of the oven. Mix well and pile it into each hollowed out squash.

Put the squash back into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until warmed through and then top with more feta cheese.

Serves 4.

admin / September 8, 2014

It’s Meatless Monday-Smoky Black Bean Nachos

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One item that’s a staple in my pantry is black beans. I think they have a better consistency and taste than lots of other varieties which makes them perfect for vegetarian recipes. In this Meatless Monday meal I’ve used them as a topping, along with a cheese sauce to make nachos. The smoky flavor comes from a combination of three things, liquid smoke, chipotle pepper, and smoked paprika, all three of which can be found at most grocery stores or online.

About 6-7 ounces of tortilla chips or strips (About half a 13 ounce package)

2 14 ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 14 ounce can stewed tomatoes, chop them into smaller pieces

¼ teaspoon liquid smoke

¼ teaspoon chipotle chile pepper, more if you’re brave!

For the cheese sauce

2 cups milk, dairy or non-dairy

3 tablespoon flour

Pinch salt

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large saucepan and over medium high heat, add the beans and tomatoes and then stir in the liquid smoke and chipotle chile pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for about ten minutes or until the mixture has slightly reduced.

Meanwhile in another large saucepan and over medium high heat, add the milk. Use some of the milk to stir into the flour to make a liquid. Add this to the rest of the milk and gently bring to a boil. Add the salt and smoked paprika, stir and remove from the heat and add about 1 ½ cups of the cheese and stir until melted.

Place the tortilla strips or chips on a large baking sheet and spoon on the bean mixture making sure most of the chips get covered.

Next drizzle on the cheese sauce, making sure most of the bean mixture is covered.

Finally sprinkle with the other ½ cup of cheese.

Bake in the oven for about ten minutes or until the sauce and cheese are bubbling.

Serve immediately with sour cream, salsa and sliced avocadoes.

Serves 6

 

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