Category Archives: Vegetarian

Asian tofu/cabbage soup

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This is a spin-off of a soup a friend of mine made that was fabulous. I had most of the ingredients and another friend wanted to go to the Asian specialty store where I could get the rest of the ingredients. It’s so simple, but it is delicious!
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Ingredients:
1/2 Napa cabbage
1 package tofu
1 package mushrooms
2 large carrots, diced
4 cups water/stock
Optional: 3-4 pounds chicken/duck/beef

Step 1: Dice the cabbage, mushrooms, tofu and carrots.

Step 2: Cook the veggies in order of hardness, carrots first, then cabbage, then mushrooms. Add the stock and any seasonings you like. I used veggie stock and put some extra chicken stock and black pepper in for spice.

The broth is simple but complex. You should try it first, then add salt or other spices to taste. The tofu adds a punch of protein, making this a perfect well-rounded meal for a vegetarian or vegan.

Stuffed eggplant

So I’ve been reading lately about how healthy eggplant is for you. Then it went on sale at my favorite produce store, so I had to buy one. The only question was what to do with it. I had tried eggplant before and wasn’t particularly fond of it diced up in casserole-type dishes. So I decided to stuff it, because what isn’t made better by a meat mush and cheese baked inside?
 
Ingredients:
1 eggplant
olive oil
1/2 pound ground turkey
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
1/2 onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
Italian seasonings
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
 

Step 1: Brown the ground turkey over medium heat and drain.

 Step 2: Dice the veggies and core the eggplant. Cook the veggies in the same pan as the turkey until tender, ~5 minutes.

 Step 3: Mix the cooked veggies, egg, turkey, and bread crumbs.

 Step 4: Divide the mix between the eggplant halves and stuff. Sprinkle italian seasonings over top and bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes, until nicely browned and eggplant is soft when poked with a fork.

 Also, to make it vegetarian you can just omit the ground turkey.

YUM!

Loaded Tostadas

A simple, endlessly customizable meal, tostadas are one of my favorite mexican foods! There is almost no end to what you could top tostadas with, and they can be extremely budget-friendly. Depending completely on what you top them with, they can be very healthy or extremely not so!

Ingredients:
1 tostada shell (or make your own by baking a corn tortilla for 5 minutes at 350)
1/4 cup taco meat (cooked ground beef + taco seasoning)
2 tbsp shredded colby or cheddar cheese
3 tbsp salsa
1/2 avocado, sliced

Step 1: Cook the beef and drain fat. Add taco seasoning and water, cook until water is gone. 
Step 2: In a pan or microwave, heat the beans.
Step 3: Assemble tostada, beans on the bottom followed by meat, cheese, salsa and avocado.

Other toppings I love: shredded lettuce, sour cream, black beans, peppers & onion. You could easily make this vegetarian or vegan too, by leaving off the meat and/or cheese.

What’s your favorite mexican food topping?

 

Easy Freezer Mexican Soup

I was hungry for something hot and spicy, and tortilla soup was the first thing that came to mind. I had recently purchased a red beans & rice mix on sale for 78 cents, and realized I had all the rest of the the ingredients in my fridge or freezer, making for a ridiculously fast and easy meal. 
Ingredients:
2 chicken drumsticks
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 packet red beans & rice
1 can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tri-pepper and onion mix
1 cup salsa
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper powder
Step 1: Add about 4 cups water and all ingredients to a large pot and heat to boiling. Simmer on low for 40-60 minutes. 

 Step 2: Take the drumsticks out and tear the meat off the bone. Return the meat to the pot.

You can use thighs, breasts, or whatever meat you want, or omit the meat entirely. Browned ground beef would probably also be delicious. You can also top with shredded cheddar or sour cream. It is filling, slightly spicy, and has great flavor. Careful, because it does make quite a bit!

Tomato & green onion omelet

I had recently made meringues and had the yolks left over. So the next morning I made myself an omelet. Easy and delicious, and keeps me from wasting perfectly good eggs. 
Ingredients: 
1 roma tomato, diced
~2 tsp diced green onion
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
sprinkle cheddar cheese
Step 1: Dice up the tomato & green onion.
Step 2: Whip the eggs, add an ounce of milk if you like.
Step 3: Spray a small frying pan with oil, heat over medium and add the eggs. Season with salt & pepper or seasonings of choice. 

Step 4: As the eggs begin to cook, use a spoon or spatula to push the sides down and mix the middle a little. This helps to move the cooked egg and cook the rest.
Step 5: Once most of the egg has set, add tomato & onion. Once you can shake the pan and the egg isn’t very runny at all, flip the omelet. Cook the other side for a minute or 2, until cooked all the way through.
Step 6: Put onto a plate and sprinkle with cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Easy Mashed Potato Pirogi

As a Hungarian-Slovak-Polish American, pirogi are a critical part of many holidays. And any day of the week really. I had never attempted making them, but since we had recently made FIVE POUNDS of mashed potatoes, I decided to give it a try with the leftovers.

Since the potatoes are not my recipe, I can’t put the mashed potatoes on here, but they were great! I know it involves sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese and butter…. Anyways, start with any mashed potatoes as the filling. And the dough is super-easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 1 16 oz tub of sour cream
  • 3 cups of flour
  • Mashed potatoes (~1 cup)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 onion, diced

Seriously, it’s that easy!

 Step 1: Mix the flour and sour cream well until it forms a dough. Roll it out on a floured surface.

 Step 2: Using a small cup or other cutter, cut out ~3inch circles of dough. You can re-roll the pieces about 4 times.

mashed potato pierogi

 Step 3: Place ~1 tsp of mashed potatoes in the middle of the circle of dough. Press the sides together to make a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges with a fork.

 Step 4: Drop into boiling water and simmer for about 5 minutes to cook the dough. Drain.

 Step 5: Melt a half stick of butter (or as much as your arteries can handle!) and cook the onions until translucent and slightly browned.

Step 6: Fry the pirogi in the butter & onions about 3 minutes, until yellow-brown on both sides. Enjoy!

They weren’t quite as good as my grandma’s or mom’s, but pretty darn good for a first attempt! And I have the rest of forever to perfect my techniques.

Strawberry, avocado & feta salad

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I am always trying to get more veggies into my diet, and salads are a great way to do so. But no one likes a bowlful of lettuce leaves with just a splash of dressing for flavor. I like to add extras to make my salads more interesting. Since I had just bought a fresh head of lettuce, I used the fruits/veggies I had on hand, and it turned out great!

The lettuce was $1 and I will probably get at least 5 salads from it. The avocado was also $1, as were the strawberries. The feta was left from a while ago (and you can omit the cheese or use whatever kind you like/have) as was the dressing. So for 5 salads worth, the cost per serving is only $0.60! Plus it’s good for you, and a great side to just about anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:
1 cup torn lettuce leaves
3 large strawberries, quartered
1/4 Haas avocado, diced
1 tbsp feta cheese
1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

Simply toss and enjoy!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes

I was in the mood for something sweet but that I could rationalize was good for me. My sister’s birthday party was having red velvet cupcakes, so I thought why not make some myself?

And to pretend they’re good for me, I would make carrot cupcakes!

So I found this recipe on Food Network and followed it (mostly) for some of the most delicious cupcakes ever! I cheated and didn’t make my own icing, I used Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting. However, it doesn’t affect the light, moist deliciousness.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon & nutmeg
  • Sprinkle ground ginger
  •  3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Handful chopped walnuts

Step 1: Mix the flour, salt, baking soda, and seasonings in a small bowl.

Step 2: In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, and oil. Add the vanilla, walnuts, carrots, and applesauce and mix well.

 Step 3: Mix the dry ingredients into the wet until well blended.

 Step 4: Spray or line cupcake tin with 12 liners. (It actually made 13).

 Step 5: Bake at 350 for 20-23 minutes, until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

Step 6: Let cool completely, then frost and enjoy!

These cupcakes were so deliciously moist and light, it is easy to rationalize having 2… or 3…

Feta and Red Pepper hummus

 

As a spread, appetizer or snack, hummus is filling, satisfying and nutritious. You can eat it with fresh veggies or crackers, or spread it on a sandwich, wrap, burger, gyro and more. I love hummus, and had some chickpeas left over from an earlier curry recipe, so I decided to make a snack.

Most hummus recipes call for tahini, of which I had none, so I created my own recipe. I love garlic hummus, and red pepper hummus, and feta cheese hummus. So I figured, why not combine it all!? Turns out that was an excellent idea, and I hope you think so too.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup garbanzo beans/chickpeas
2 tbsp feta (~1 oz)
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp water
1 clove garlic, diced
2 tbsp red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seed
Dash salt & pepper

Step 1: Blend the first 4 ingredients in the blender, scraping sides with a spoon. Add water until desired thickness.

Step 2: Add all spices, mix well and pour onto serving dish.

Step 3: It’s that easy, now enjoy! I cut up a carrot, a celery stick, a roma tomato and had some wheat thin crackers. Delicious!

Amount Per Serving (1/4 cup)
  Calories 215.4
  Total Fat 15.9 g
  Saturated Fat 3.0 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 10.5 g
  Cholesterol 6.3 mg
  Sodium 298.6 mg
  Potassium 140.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 14.9 g
  Dietary Fiber 2.9 g
  Sugars 0.2 g
  Protein 4.2 g

Spinach & feta egg white omelet

I had some egg whites still left from my coconut cream pie the other day, so I decided to take an extra 10 minutes and make a hearty breakfast. I had spinach and green onions which I had recently bought, and some feta still in the fridge, so that left itself perfectly to my egg white omelette. And I calculated it on Sparkpeople.com, the whole thing is just barely over 100 calories!
Ingredients:
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 handful spinach, cut or torn (~1/4 cup)
1 green onion, diced
1 tbsp feta

 Step 1: Heat a skillet and spray with oil. Add the egg whites, torn spinach, onion and feta on top. Heat until you can see the egg bubbling and a spatula lifts the edge completely.

 Step 2: If you’re brave or talented, you can simply flip the omelet by tossing the skillet. However, I used 2 spatulas on either side to lift and flip. Cook another 2-3 minutes over medium heat, until egg is full cooked and beginning to brown.

 The feta delivers nice little pockets of salty cheesiness, the green onion is still slightly crunchy and flavorful and the spinach is perfectly wilted. Enjoy with your favorite breakfast beverage. As always, substitute whatever veggies and/or cheese you prefer.