Tag Archives: food processor

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper

25 Feb

A skillet meal the gloved one would be proud of....Lefty, not Michael Jackson. But I bet he'd like it too.

When I was a kid, the sight of few human beings made me as happy as a vision of Betty Crocker’s anthropomorphic meal-time-in-a-box mascot, Lefty the Helping Hand, hanging out on our kitchen counter. Because that meant only one glorious thing: Helper was coming!

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is not a fan of the kitchen. So Helpers were a common sight in our house — much to the joy of little Bridget. They were so gooey. So noodely. So salty. So yum.

In particular, I adored the 1990 version that featured Lefty wearing a Russian hat:

The Berlin wall is down! Creamy noodley goodness for all!

Anyway, that was 24 years ago. Flash forward through slap bracelets, Tamogotchis, Britney and Justin’s matching denim ensembles, MySpace and the resurgence of all things Apple, and while 29-year-old Bridget no longer eats animal foods, I still cherish the hell out of some Helper memories.

So, not too long ago, I decided I was going to turn this most-dear childhood staple into something a little healthier. The first step? Way less salt. And, obviously, no artificial preservatives. Easy peasy.

Now, your typical stroganoff sauce consists of sour cream, oil, butter, beef broth, onion, garlic powder and salt and pepper. As you know, I don’t play with those first four items. So I improvised. I traded out cashews for the artery-clogging trifecta of cream, oil and butter, added apple cider vinegar for the sour tang, and replaced the beef with a combo of vegan, meatless soy crumble and vitamin-D-packed mushrooms. Mmm, shrooms.

I also felt the need to squeeze some green into my ode to a healthier Lefty. I went with a cup or so of frozen peas, but spinach or kale would be a good plan, too.

The results did not disappoint.

Before I give you the play-by-play on how to whip this up, here’s a little info on why cashews are so awesome:

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

While they’re not fat free by any stretch of the imagination, cashews certainly kick butter, cream and plain old olive oil’s asses. First of all, they’re actually less fatty than some of  their other nut brethren, and they boast unsaturated fat (the kind that’s good for you).  They’re also made up of a bunch of minerals, which make your skin, hair and nails all pretty-like. Plus, cashews provide B vitamins, and they contain several antioxidant compounds regarded as anticancer agents. Also, they’re actually a seed (Mr. Seed to you). Who knew?

And now, let’s pig out!…

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper
Serves ~4

Ingredients

Sauce (makes about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • A generous shake of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Everything else
  • 6 oz. non-egg noodles
  • 6 oz. vegan meatless crumbles (I used Gardein)
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or other veggies, such as kale, spinach, etc.)
Directions
  1. To make them as creamy as possible, soak your cashews for at least a half an hour. If you are lucky enough to own a Vitamix or similarly turbo-powered blender/food processor, then you can skip this step.
  2. Combine all your sauce ingredients in your blender/food processor, and whiz until smooth.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, combine noodles, sauce, mushrooms and peas and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
  4. When mixture bubbles, turn heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Dig in!

Bon apetit! 

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Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers

17 Jan

Not pictured: drool.

Not pictured: drool.

Sure, I could have used a fork to crush the crackers. But this was so much more fun.

Did you know that Ritz Crackers are vegan? It’s true. I’m not saying they are in any way nutritious, in fact I’m sure they’re not, but goddamnit they are yummy and made of zero animal bits.

And sometimes, as Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford have taught me, you need to treat yo’ self.

That’s why I was so excited when, while scrolling through the resplendent sea of possibilities we call Pinterest, I happened upon this recipe for crab-cake balls made with Ritz.

“I can soooo sub out chickpeas for crab,” I said to myself, steepling my fingers like Mr. Burns, before adding the image to my “Make it Vegan Challenge” board. “This is going to be awesomesauce.”

And it really was.

In addition to subbing out the crab and egg, I also added in some veggies: onion and celery.

Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers
Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 1 vegan egg replacement (I used this chia-water goop)
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you don’t have any)

Bella and Leo were fooled by the seafood-like smell, and kept trying to sneak off with some cakes. Here they are post discipline, and rightly ashamed of themselves.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush drained chickpeas with a fork or potato masher in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add crushed crackers, Old Bay, parsley, onion and celery to the chickpeas.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine your chia-water goop, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over the chickpea and cracker mix, and gently combine.
  6. Mold your mixture  into golf-ball sized lumps and bake on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper  for 30 minutes. I also sprayed the balls lightly with some oil before baking, but you could skip that step if you want to stay oil free.

I can’t speak to how long these hold up in the fridge, because Miles and I (mostly me) ate them all within 24 hours. I can, however, tell you they are bomb-ass on salad — particularly when paired with the Deity Dressing from “Everyday Happy Herbivore” (pg. 128). So much noms.

Bon appétit! 

Cheesy chick-none and veggie casserole

13 Feb

Mmm...smell the traditionalism.

Just like grandma’s casseroles. Minus the love.

There’s something nostalgic and comforting about a casserole. In fact, when it comes to the old “is there anything more American than…” question, I firmly believe that a casserole can give apple pie, baseball and debatable foreign policy a run for their money.

Gma love.

Me and my Gma. She was a real rad lady.

Casseroles are also some of my favorite dishes, because they’re simple to assemble, please even the stingiest of pallets, make for days of delectable leftovers, and they remind us all of our grandmother’s cozy kitchens (unless you had a rare casserole-less grandma, in which case I invite you to borrow the memory of mine).

For me, this cheesy, seitan- and veggie-full recipe achieves all the important casserole criteria — and I can assure you that it has been thoroughly omnivore tested and approved.

Final note: While the seitan works well as a hearty chicken replacement, and it’s a great source of protein and iron, you can just as easily double the amount of mushrooms and the dish will still be “nomnomnom” worthy.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat rotini noodles
  • 1 lb of seitan
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Bridget’s Nommy Good Cheeze sauce (ingredients below)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (for some crunch, if that’s your bag)

Bridget’s Nommy Good Cheeze Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 3 Tbsp unbleached flour (chickpea flour is gluten free, FYIzzle)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (recommended for those of us who enjoy a good kick in the mouth pants)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Conjure a casserole

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook and drain the pasta, then put it back in the pot and set it aside.
  3. Brown the seitan in a large skillet on medium heat (add 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil if you like), and break it up into bite-sized pieces while you’re at it.
  4. Combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor.
  5. Transfer the sauce to the skillet, add in the veggies, mix well, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the skillet contents into the pot with the noodles and mix well, then turn the whole lot out into a greased casserole dish.
  7. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs before baking uncovered for 30 minutes.
  8. Allow the dish to cool before you start shoveling the yummy casserole goodness into your face hole.

Bon appetit!

Crazy simple tuna(less) salad

9 Feb

Nothing fishy here!

All of the sea taste you love, none of the sand in your shorts.

Tuna salad was one of my favorite foods before I became vegan, so I was delighted to find that my attempt at a plant-based recreation was 1) so similarly tasty and 2) so simple.

Not only are chickpeas (also known by their pro wrestling name: garbanzo beans) free from tuna’s fat, cholesterol, mercury and ecological destruction, they are packed with fiber and protein — and they’re cheaper!

The key to giving a from-the-sea flavor to this completely land-based dish is two-fold: sea kelp and dill. Dill you can find in any grocery store. Whole Foods will have powdered sea kelp, but I ordered mine from Amazon because I just can’t handle those narrow aisles.

The produce section at Whole Foods.

The produce section at Whole Foods

This dish is absolutely delicious and crunchily satisfying on toasted bread dressed with vegan mayo. Try adding a slice of tomato, if that’s your bag. Or you could add a dollop to a salad, or use it as a cracker spread.

Ingredients

  • 32 ounces garbanzo beans, cooked or canned and drained
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 dill pickle spear
  • 1/4 medium red onion
  • 3-4 Tbsp vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 to 3 tsp powdered sea kelp
  • 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill

How to make not-tuna salad:

If you’re using a food processor…

  1. Slice or dice the onion, celery and pickle into the food bowl, then dump them out and set them aside.
  2. Add the chickpeas, mustard, salt, sea kelp, lemon and mayonnaise, and pulse until the mixture is as combined and chunky/smooth as you want it.
  3. Now add the onion, celery and pickle back in, as well as the dill, and pulse until just combined.

If you’re not using a food processor…

  1. Dice the onion, celery and pickle and finely chop the dill.
  2. Place all your ingredients in a big bowl, and mash with a fork or potato masher until the mixture is the consistency you want.

When you’re done, just pop the salad in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes, and sprinkle a little more fresh dill on top before you nosh.

Crazy simple and yummtastic, right?

Bon appetit!

Avocadopalooza: Creamy Pasta and Chocolate Pudding

30 Jan

Avocadomania: Creamy avocado pasta and chocolate pudding.

No butter. No milk. No cream. No kidding.

Avocados are not just for face masks and guacamole, people. In fact, this smoothtastic and B-vitamin-filled Mexican berry (true story, look it up) was the foundation of my delicious dinner and dessert last night: creamy avocado pasta and chocolate pudding. I also had a salad, so you can stop judging my fatty ways right now, judgy.

Cos approved.

Mr. Cosby may or may not be eating my pudding in this picture.

Before you get all freaked out and walk away from this blog while shaking your head, know that you can’t taste avocado in the pudding. Not at all. It tastes just like chocolate pudding should taste: glorious. Trust me, Mr. Cosby would approve.

You should also know that the best thing about both of these dishes, outside of the fact that they taste crazy good, is that you can throw them together super-fast and they don’t require much effort beyond turning on a food processor.*

And now…to the deets!

Creamy Avocado Pasta
Serves 2

I adapted this recipe, with only slight changes, from the fabulous Angela of Oh She Glows blog fame. My most serious recommendation: stick to one or two cloves of garlic. The original recipe calls for three cloves but, while I loves me some garlic, three left me with vampire-repelling breath. What if Edward had come calling?!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (or a few shakes of dried basil, in my case)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 oz of pasta (I used whole wheat linguini)
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Pasta it UP

  1. Cook your pasta according to the box instructions.
  2. While your pasta is cooking, blend the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil in a food processor until you get a smooth mixture (and you don’t see any garlic bits).
  3. Add the avocado, basil, and salt to the mix and blend until it’s all one creamy dream.
  4. Drain your cooked pasta and transfer it to a large bowl before pouring on the sauce and tossing until it’s fully combined.**
  5. Grind some black pepper onto your creation.
  6. Devour.

**Angela notes that the avocado causes this dish to not reheat well. But because leftovers are a very important part of my very unimpressive life, I had to develop a fix: set aside some of the sauce and some of the cooked noodles in separate containers and refrigerate both. When you want to nosh on your second helping, heat up the noodles by adding a little water (not too much or your final product will be soupy) to the container and pop it in the microwave for a minute or so, and then toss the pasta with the sauce. Voila!

Pudding ingredients

All you need for puddin’.

Chocolate Avocado Pudding
Serves 2 (yeah, right)

This miracle of a recipe comes from the awesome team at The Centered Chef in Chicago, where I took a deliciously informative (and BYOB!) Vegan 101 cooking class last week. If you live in the area, I highly recommend signing up for a session. They also offer a vegan baking class that I’m game to try whenever the funds magically appear in my bank account.

More recipes from that experience are on the way. Scout’s Brownie’s honor.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ Tbsp lemon juice (or to taste)

Pudding Time

  1. Dump your avocado bits, agave nectar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and sea salt (yep, all of it) in a blender or food processor and blend away.
  2. Gradually add water until your pudding looks like, well, pudding.
  3. Stop the processor and make sure all of the cocoa powder is scraped off the sides and into the mix, and keep mixing until all the avocado bits are broken up.
  4. Scrape up every last bit of that chocolatey goodness, and set in the refrigerator for about an hour to chill.
  5. Do your best not to eat all of it in one sitting. Good luck!

Bon appetit!

* On a final note, it has come to my attention that I require a new food processor. Mine was a hand-me-down from my grandmother and, while it has lived a fine life, it’s now older than I am and not quite up to snuff. Any recommendations from the peanut gallery on a new appliance that won’t put me in the poor house would be greatly appreciated.

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