Vegan Tofu Enchiladas

This is another recipe that started off as a suggestion from an article on nutritionist’s favorite grab-n-go items at Trader Joe’s.

As the last recipe, 100% sure this doesn’t taste like TJ’s, but it’s good. Surprisingly good. I completely forgot that tofu makes a super easy and tasty scramble – but it does. And doesn’t stink like wet dog.

A note on this one: I loved it; DH did not. He gave it the good old college try, but made the ick face. Possibly at the black olives. I personally, if I were making this just for myself, would have doubled the olive amount. But I love black olives.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Vegan Tofu Enchiladas

1 block firm tofu, crumbled

1 small white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

1 bell pepper – any color – diced

2 tsp. neutral oil

1/4 c. black olives, diced

1 c. frozen corn kernels

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 Tbsp. smoky chipotle seasoning

Salt & pepper

6 small corn tortillas

1 jar of your favorite enchilada sauce

Preheat your oven to 400F/200C.

Sauté the garlic, onion and pepper in the neutral oil over medium heat until softened.

Add the crumbled tofu, black olives, frozen corn and spices. Sauté until the mixture looks cooked and is well combined.

Carefully wrap filling in corn tortillas, flipping seam side down so they hopefully don’t burst apart – my dish held 6 comfortably, and I had a little leftover innards, which I sprinkled down the side. I *also* had at least 2 that completely came apart, but that’s neither here nor there.

Coat your hopefully not-disaster in a nice concealing layer of enchilada sauce. I dumped the jar out and then kinda smoothed the sauce out as much as possible.

Bake 20 minutes or until your desired brownness is achieved.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

It seems our Lockdown staple of ramen noodles isn’t going anywhere any time soon. DH and I are both still craving comfort, and I’m still on the war path when it comes to wasting ingredients and clearing the pantry – so we are having some mish-mashed meals as of late.

Which is all fine, provided I can continue to find ways to add at least a little nutritional value to dinner. Some sort of vegetable.

This dish elevates some pantry staples admirably, adding two sources of protein (if you add meat), and a veggie that can also serve as a freezer cleaner.

A note on ramen: I used pot noodles (aka cup o’ noodles) for this recipe. We are loving the Korean brand Budok lately – the base flavoring I went with was chicken cheese, but this would be great with pretty much any base flavor. Mushroom, chicken, chili chicken, shrimp, curry – all would be delicious.

vegetarian and vegan if you don’t add meat, gluten-free with substitutions

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

1 pot instant ramen per person (any flavor will do, or sub rice noodles for gluten free – a little chicken or veggie bouillon would add some nice flavor if you are not using the flavor packet that comes with the noodles)

2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used a low sugar variety)

1/4 c. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. honey (sub agave for vegan)

2 small scallions, sliced thinly

Frozen spinach

Optional: leftover ground chicken or beef, soft boiled egg, fish cakes, leftover fried tofu, or other additional protein source

Sesame seeds for garnish

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sambal, sesame oil and honey in a small pot over low heat. Simmer, stirring, until well combined and beginning to thicken. If your heat is too high and this mixture dries out too much like mine did, add a Tablespoon or two of water, stir quickly to combine, and move off the heat for a second or so to cool down a bit.

While the sauce is working, add frozen spinach to the noodle pots and fill with boiling water. Let sit 3 minutes and drain.

Add the noodles to the pot with the sauce, along with scallions, any additional protein sources, and the seasoning packet. Stir well to combine and garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 2

Pumpkin Grain Bowl

This dish is great warm, room temperature or slightly chilled – making it perfect for your next get-together.

Pumpkin Grain Bowl

1.5 cups chopped pumpkin (or any variety orangey squash)

1 carrot, shredded

1 cucumber, ribboned

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

2 cups wild rice mix (quinoa would also be good – you want something with a bit of body to it)

Crispy fried chickpeas (mine were pre-seasoned and halved)

2 scallions, chopped

1 Tbsp. turmeric olive oil (substitute with adding a little turmeric to your favorite oil )

2 tsp. cumin

1 Tbsp. curry powder

Dressing

1/4 cup turmeric olive oil

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Juice of 2 limes

2 Tbsp. dijon or whole grain mustard

1 tsp. mustard seeds

1/2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. salt

Lay your chopped pumpkin out on a prepared baking sheet. Drizzle the Tablespoon of oil over top and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 Tablespoon curry powder, salt and pepper. Bake at 200C/375F for 30 minutes or until soft and beginning to brown. Remove.

While the pumpkin is working, cook your rice or other grains however you cook rice. Set aside.

Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk.

To assemble, combine all but the crispy chickpeas in a large bowl, adding the chickpeas as you serve so they don’t get soggy.

Serves 4 for dinner and more as a light lunch

Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

This is a healthy little snack or light main that’s high in nutrients and can really help to stretch a pound of ground meat further. A win-win in my book.

gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

1.5 cups grated sweet potato

2 Tbsp. flour (as a binder – potato starch or tapioca flour would work well)

2 scallions, minced

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. onion powder

2 tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. light oil – I used turmeric olive oil; coconut or nut oil would be fine

2 Tbsp. cornstarch (arrowroot powder is fine)

2 tsp. ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and mix until incorporated. Parcel out into golf ball sized meatballs and bake at 200C/375F 10 minutes; flip, bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main and more as a snack

Caramelized Onion Rolls

This recipe came out of a need. A need for a roast beef sandwich. Where I live, the options for lunch meat of any variety is abysmal – and roast beef is nonexistent.

I’ve been missing my favorite Boar’s Head London Porter something fierce lately, and the paltry French Dip offerings I’ve found (which are wholly not French dip sandwiches and range from sad to inedible) just aren’t cutting it.

I’m still working on my uncured sandwich beef recipe, but this onion roll was too good not to share in the meantime. It’s a Frankenstein of a few different recipes and techniques, most notably a video by Joshua Weissman, Making The Arby’s Beef ‘N Cheddar At Home | But Better.

I used his recipe for the main part, but fleshed out the technique from how I generally make bread at home. I was pleasantly surprised at how light and fluffy these were – I’m imagining because of the extra yeast than what I’m used to with my lazy person Artisan bread – and I got 9 buns out of my batch, so there were plenty of extras with which to make egg sandwiches out of. Y’all know I love a good egg recipe. Yum.

Nope, nothing – not even gluten-free or vegetarian. This may be the first time in the history of this blog I’ve ever posted a recipe that falls into zero dietary categories. Oops. Still good, though.

Caramelized Onion Rolls

Caramelized Onions:

2 yellow onions

1 Tbsp. butter – chilled is fine

2 tsp. sugar

Hefty sprinkle salt

Thinly slice the onions and add to a pan over low heat with the butter, salt and sugar. Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply brown. The browner and jammer the better. I’m poo at having the patience necessary to do this, so I always end up jacking the heat up to medium and working through half-burnt onions. Which I happen to enjoy, so you do you.

Let sit to cool. You don’t want to add hot onions to your dough.

Rolls:

3 1/4 cup flour – I used a mix of mostly white all purpose with a little wheat left in the container; he used bread flour. I’m sure bread flour is even better, but I can’t be bothered

3 Tbsp. butter, softened

1 Tbsp. instant yeast

2 tsp. sea salt

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cup lukewarm water

In a large bowl, stir the flour, yeast and salt together. Crack the eggs in, add the butter, and slowly stir in the water. Chuck in the previously caramelized onions.

When your flour is incorporated, i.e. not running around like lots of dust in the bottom of the bowl, dump onto a floured surface. He used a dough hook on a Kitchen Aid mixer and let run until … ? … I quit paying attention to that part at dough hook; I don’t have one, so I went old school.

Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough is just tacky to the touch. This will take a lot of dusting of your work surface to get your dough to quit sticking. That’s okay; you won’t kill the dough by doing what you need to do with it.

When your arms are dead and your dough is where you want it, add back to the bowl, cover, and let sit 2 – 3 hours in room temperature to rise.

About an hour before dinner, punch your dough down and separate into about 9 balls. I did this by pinching off about a hand full, lightly rolling in my hands to form something that looks like a roll, and placing on a silicone lined baking sheet. I ended up with 9 roughly same-sized balls.

Cover and let sit 30 – 40 minutes.

While your dough is resting, preheat the oven to 200C/375F.

*Note: If you want your buns to be shiny, brush with a little egg wash before baking. It won’t affect the taste, but they will be prettier. A little butter brush would also be a nice addition.

Bake 15 minutes or until browned but not burnt on the top and sounding hollow when you knock on the top.

Makes 9-ish buns of sandwich size

Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto

This is a fantastic way to hide some eggplant and use up a big hunk of pesto. I’ve served this on toast, with eggs, as the base of a sandwich, and would absolutely love the pesto swirled into some mashed potatoes. The hummus, too, tbh. Ooh. Would also be nice thinned with a bit of oil or water and tossed with pasta. I need to make a second batch.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Eggplant Hummus with Dill Pesto

Hummus

1 smallish eggplant, roasted

1 can chickpeas, drained

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp. tahini

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. red pepper

Salt

To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Dill Pesto

1 huge hand dill (about 1/3 of a cup packed)

About 1/3 of a cup smoked almonds, chopped

1 big clove garlic

3-4 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. water

Zest of 1 lemon

Salt

To make, combine all ingredients in a food processor and whiz. Taste for seasoning and add more salt or acid as necessary.

Makes about a cup of hummus and half – 3/4 a cup of pesto

Avocado Dill Pasta Salad

This recipe started off as a way to use up some fresh dill that wasn’t my favorite egg salad and somehow ended up morphing into a riff of an old Summer family favorite: seafood salad. Which I can’t believe I haven’t shared a recipe with y’all for yet. I c-r-a-v-e it every tomato season.

The original (to my family at least) salad included Krab, shrimp, hard boiled eggs & lots of mayo. Sometimes, depending upon which Aunt got a wild hair, chopped up bits of lettuce. Which is weird, but good.

Anyways. I gave myself an aversion to fake crab my first Summer out of high school (reminder, kids: check your expiration dates), so that was out. I swapped with flaked salmon but kept the shrimp in this version; I also sadly forgot the egg until I was eating trying to figure out what was missing. I was also wanting a little more mustard punch, so adjust yours as necessary.

And a note on seasoning: I happen to love this salad with way too much pepper and salt, because that’s how my family usually served it. This recipe includes a normal amount of each (depending on how HAM you go with the cracked pepper); I had to go back twice for more after the salad hit the fridge.

gluten-free, pescatarian, vegetarian and vegan with substitutions

Avocado Dill Pasta Salad

Dressing:

1 avocado (mine was small and I could have gone for more)

2 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp. water

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Salad:

4 – 6 cups pasta of choice (I used rice spirals)

15 cherry tomatoes

1 smallish cucumber (about 2/3 cup chopped)

1 smallish bell pepper (about 1 cup chopped)

2 – 4 stalks celery (about 3/4 cup chopped)

1/2 shallot, minced

2 scallions, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped

1 tsp. celery seed (if using celery salt instead, you may not need to salt the salad – taste, taste, taste)

Loads of fresh cracked black pepper

Salt

Shrimp (I used 13 medium), peeled, cooked & chopped (optional)

Krab, crab or salmon (also optional)

2 – 3 Tbsp. your favorite mayo (optional)

Start you pasta boiling according to package directions, taking care to salt the water. When almost done, chuck your shrimp in to cook. Drain and set aside.

Pull the shrimp and chop. Add to a large bowl.

Chop the cucumber, bell pepper, celery, scallion and parsley. Add to the big bowl.

Mince the shallot and add. Halve the tomatoes and add those too. Add the celery seed.

In a blender or food processor, blitz all dressing ingredients until smooth. If you want your dressing a little runny, add more water until desired consistency is reached. Mine turned out a bit thick, which I liked, but I ended up adding 2 – 3 Tbsp. Kewpie mayo to the salad to loosen it a bit.

Add the cooled-ish pasta and dressing to the bowl. Mix well to combine. Hit with a bunch of pepper. Taste. Add more salt, lemon juice or some mayo to finish off.

Stash in the fridge for a bit to chill and let the flavors get acquainted.

Serves 4 – 6 for a meal or more if a side

Shaved Zucchini + Stone Fruit Salad

I love a good end-of-Summer savory fruit salad. It’s kind of a yearly thing with my brain, and I’m here for it.

Stone Fruit Salad

Lots of peach salad recipes

This is no exception to that rule. This salad is about as light as one would expect, but works well. I worried that the zucchini wouldn’t be great, but it was; even raw. The key here is to peel it into ribbons. I used my regular vegetable peeler. My ribbons weren’t even, but they were delicious.

So much so, I can’t really say this is more than a 1-person meal. I mean, sure, you can feed 2 if you want to throw a main in, but I managed to knock it out in a second helping at lunch.

If you can’t find the Kewpie dressing, a nice sesame would be good. So would my love pomegranate molasses. Balsamic would also work really well. Grapefruit would play nicely.

I had also meant to grab some good vegan Feta for this salad but forgot. It would be nice and would definitely help fill this out to more of a meal, but wasn’t necessary.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Shaved Zucchini + Stone Fruit Salad

1 large zucchini, ribboned thinly

1/2 shallot, minced

1 plum, chopped

3Tbsp. Kewpie no-oil Yuzu dressing

1Tbsp. your favorite neutral oil

2Tbsp. smoked almonds, chopped

1.5tsp. fresh thyme

1/4c. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2tsp. red chili flakes

Ribbon the zucchini thinly and add to a large bowl.

I tossed any ribbons that were purely peel to the pups, and stopped when I hit all-seed strips. A bit is wasted here, but can be easily chopped and chucked in a pan for a quick little pop of veggie later in the week. I ended up using mine in a breakfast zucchini & fried egg rice with browned butter and snipped chives.

Mince the shallot, de-stem the thyme, and chop both the parsley and plum. Add to the bowl.

Add the red chili flakes, along with the dressing and oil. I’d start with 2 Tbsp. dressing, toss, and see if it needs more. Hit with a few grinds salt and pepper.

When it’s time to plate, add the chopped almonds and toss quickly so they don’t go soggy.

Serves 1 – 2 for lunch depending upon what all else you have going on

Delicata, Pomegranate & Arugula Salad

This salad is sweet, tart, fatty & salty and strikes a great balance between the carbs & fat you want when the weather turns cold, and more virtuous things like fresh greens.

Vegetarian, vegan & paleo with omissions; gluten-free with none

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Delicata, Pomegranate & Arugula Salad

1 delicata squash
Arugula
1 pomegranate
Pecorino, romano or other salty aged cheese
Pomegranate molasses
Optional pulled meat of some sort – I used pork like this, this would also be fantastic
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

First, start your squash.

Preheat your oven to 425 F. Line a cookie sheet with foil.

Slice the ends off your squash and push the seeds out with a spoon. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Lay squash rounds in a single layer on your prepared sheet – making sure not to crowd; brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Bake 20 minutes, flip, and bake another 20 minutes or until browned and nutty on both sides.

While the squash is working, de-seed your pomegranate (my favorite method is to roll the pomegranate on a cutting board to loosen the seeds, cut in half, and whack with the back of a wooden spoon. Not only cathartic, this method is really quick and only a little splattery).

Reheat your pork (I prefer crisping it up a bit either under the broiler or in a pan on the stovetop) and gather the rest of your ingredients.

When the squash is crisped, pull from the oven and start assembling your salad. I used about a cup of arugula, 6-8 slices of squash, a hand full of pomegranate arils, a Tablespoon or so of cheese, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses. Enjoy.

Depending upon the size of your squash, serves 2-4. My squash was on the small side and I was hungry, so it served 2. 

 

Arugula & Orange Salad with Pulled Pork and Tomato

This salad came about because, here in January, I couldn’t stand not eating tomato any longer. Enter Fresh Direct. They tempted me with a beefsteak tomato – that while fairly costly, was actually fresh and actually tasted like tomato. Not sure if it was hot house (there was no mention in the description and it certainly didn’t taste like it), magic fairy house, or teleported from somewhere warm – but it was delicious. Just the breath of warm I was craving.

I ate this for lunch on my second day of Whole30 Take 2 – and didn’t feel deprived in the least.

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Arugula & Orange Salad with Pulled Pork and Tomato

2 cups arugula
1 tomato – I used a big beefsteak
1 orange – I used a Cava Cava orange, which was delicious – blood orange would also be great here, or clementine — any orange with a lot of taste
2 Tbsp. gremolata
2 tsp. grapeseed oil
4 ounces leftover pulled pork 

Supreme (cut off the outer rind and slice out each wedge individually – for video instructions, click here) your orange and cut the pieces into bite-sized chunks.

Cut the tomato into bite-sized chunks.

Warm your pork if needed.

Chuck the arugula, pork, tomato and orange into a big bowl and toss to combine.

Sprinkle with gremolata, the juice from the orange middle, and grapeseed oil.

Serves 1 for lunch.