Vegan Review: Amy’s Rice Macaroni and Cheese…gluten free, dairy free, soy free

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I love grocery stores. I love looking at the different packaging, learning different types of food, and seeing what kind of new products are marketed towards those who have different food styles. I was not always this way…I distinctly remember not liking food shopping when I was younger…sorry mom!

Today I came across a Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free Macaroni and Cheese! Few imitation cheddar cheese products have been able to resemble cheese, and even fewer have had the qualities required for making a decent macaroni and cheese. For these reasons, it has been AGES since I have been able to indulge in the epitome of comfort foods. Seeing that it was on sale, I decided to go for it.

I love Amy’s products, they are frequently vegan and always vegetarian, WIN! I took this one out of the package, removed the plastic wrap, and placed it in the oven for 20 minutes. This is also relatively new for me…I rarely ate frozen food as a kid. As an adult I sporadically indulged in the frozen pizza, or famous pizza rolls…but rarely frozen dishes.

At the “stirring point” I decided to add some flare to the dish. I took the homemade breadcrumbs from last post and added it to the top of the pasta, along with a little garlic salt. You can never have too much garlic! I returned the dish to the oven for five minutes, took out, and was blown away.

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First thing I noticed was that it TASTED authentic…there was no weird fake tastes! The pasta was tender, the cheese was gooey, and the whole things was fantastic. I will admit, it has been a long time since I had had real macaroni and cheese, and entirely possible that I have altered taste buds…but this was really good!

In the end, I recommend Amy’s Rice Macaroni and Cheese (gluten free, dairy free, and soy free as they do have a soy cheese one)

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What to do with leftover Tabouli? Stuffed Tomatoes!

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They are almost too pretty to eat!

After making a lot of tabouli yesterday, and indulging in a lovely pita, I decided to scour the internet for more ways to use this delightful salad. Pinterest was able to supply me with a few ideas. Since I have stuffed peppers before, and stuffed portebello mushrooms didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, I decided to try to stuff tomatoes. After all, I had a lot of tabouli.

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This recipe comes from fellow wordpress user A Rented Kitchen and was surprisingly simple to make!

Ingredients

Tabouli
Tomatoes
Bread Crumbs

Since I am always up for a challenge (and simultaneously lack the ability to make anything easy) I decided that I would make my own breadcrumbs. They turned out great! I separated a pita, laid it on a tinfoil covered baking sheet and baked at 350 until crispy. Then I threw it into my ninja blender, crushed to a powder, added italian seasoning and shook! The results were way better than store bought!!

As for the stuffed tomatoes.

First, slice off the top of the tomato, and then scoop out the inside. The end result should resemble this

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Be careful to not puncture the tomato!

Next, add tabouli (almost to the top!), cover in bread crumbs and place into a greased glass baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes at 350, remove and enjoy! The original recipe calls for parmesan cheese on top…but that is totally up to you!

I would definitely make this again…easy, delicious, and would make a great appetizer!

Tabouli Pita!

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I am officially on Summer break! Hooray! It seems surreal that in a mere four weeks I will be teaching my third year of sixth grade history…I am enjoying the quiet time while it lasts!

Tonight’s dinner comes from a desire to clean out the fridge, rid my pantry of boxed concoctions, and to try something new-ish. I had a Tabouli box mix from a while back, and decided that tonight was going to finally be the night to try it!

Ingredients:

tabouli mix
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tomato (cut into small pieces)
1 cucumber (seeded and cut into small pieces)
some fresh basil

The directions seemed simple enough…boil a cup of water, add to mixture, refrigerate for 30 minutes. So I did that first. THEN I read the rest of the instructions, add chopped tomatoes, lemon juice, and olive oil, stir, and refrigerate for ONE HOUR, OR OVERNIGHT! This was going to be my dinner! Ain’t nobody got time for that! I read further, to see if any of the ‘other suggestions for serving’ provided a way to circumvent the time crisis. All I got was ways to spruce up the dish to make it more into a salad by adding diced cucumbers and basil. Being that I recently ended up with an overabundance of both, I was more than happy to place some into the mixture. Remembering a trick I read somewhere (probably pinterest) I placed the mixture into a glass container with a lid, wrapped a damp paper towel around it, and stuck it into the freezer. There is something about the paper towel freezing and transferring coldness faster than just the container in the freezer. If any of you out there are scientists, I would love a better explanation!

While the mixture was cooling, I whipped up some hummus, fetched pita, spinach, and kalamata olives from my fridge and waited. After 15 minutes, I took my mixture out of the freezer, stirred, and put it in for another 10. The paper towel acted as a time machine, and the mixture was sufficiently cooled, hooray for shaving 35 minutes off of my cooling time!

Other Ingredients

Pita
hummus (hummus amount is a personal decision)
spinach (enough to say you had spinach with dinner)
kalamata olives (however many you want!)

I warmed the pita, stuffed it with spinach, slathered on hummus, added the tabouli, topped with olives, rolled and ate. So good! The best part? I have a TON more for other meals! Perhaps I will find a way to repurpose tabouli…

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Epic protein packed salad!

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I have recently rediscovered Boca Chick’n Patties, and have fallen in love with them in buffalo wing sauce! With a surplus of vegetables in my fridge from the farmers market, I decided an epic salad was in order. This salad has healthy fats (avocado and olive oil), super greens (kale AND spinach), protein (boca patties and sunflower sprouts), and overall delicious happiness (tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers). Not to mention a whopping 831% of your vitamin A intake, 2,216.8 mg of potassium, 456% vitamin C, and 26.8 grams of protein (imagine if I had placed beans in here!)! Whenever someone asks me where I get my protein from, I should really just link them to my blog…

To those counting carbs, this dish is high: 61.9 grams, and 682 calories. It does, however, make a formidable salad…and I was full for a LONG time after! The photo only shows a small portion of the salad…

I have posted the full health benefits on the bottom of this page for those of you interested.

Ingredients:

Kale, 2 cup, chopped
Spinach, 1 cup
1/2 Hass avocado (finely diced)
6 cherry tomatoes
1/2 fresh medium size tomato
1/2 bell pepper
3 medium mushrooms
1 scallion stalk
1 cup sunflower sprouts
1 Boca Original Chik’n Patties, 1 serving
1 tsp of your favorite wing sauce
1 tbs Olive Oil
1/2 a lemon squeezed
3 basil leaves
chopped oregano

Place the boca patty in a greased frying pan and cook over medium heat for 12-14 minutes, flipping occasionally.

Meanwhile, combine all of the vegetables into a container with a lid. Add olive oil and lemon juice, cover and shake vigorously. This ensures that everything is evenly coated. The avocado will disintegrate a bit, adding to the dressing.

When the patty is almost completely cooked, add the wing sauce. BE CAREFUL! IT WILL BUBBLE AND MAY SPLASH OUT!! Flip one or two times, remove from heat, dice, add to container, cover, shake, put on plate. Voila! an epic protein packed salad!

Due to the explosive flavors in this dish, dressing other than the lemon juice and olive oil is not needed!

If you are not comfortable using the boca burgers, regular chicken will work too! (nutrition facts will change…of course)

Nutrition Facts

1 Serving

Amount Per Serving

Calories 682.7

Total Fat 49.9 g

Saturated Fat 4.3 g

Polyunsaturated Fat 4.8 g

Monounsaturated Fat 18.7 g

Cholesterol 0.0 mg

Sodium 1,051.1 mg

Potassium 2,216.4 mg

Total Carbohydrate 69.1 g

Dietary Fiber 22.9 g

Sugars 13.3 g

Protein 26.8 g

Vitamin A 831.0 %

Vitamin B-12 0.4 %

Vitamin B-6 62.2 %

Vitamin C 456.4 %

Vitamin D 10.3 %

Vitamin E 27.5 %

Calcium 45.4 %

Copper 53.3 %

Folate 73.4 %

Iron 62.1 %

Magnesium 40.3 %

Manganese 110.5 %

Niacin 36.9 %

Pantothenic Acid 26.6 %

Phosphorus 27.8 %

Riboflavin 45.5 %

Selenium 13.5 %

Thiamin 32.3 %

Zinc 16.9 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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Roasted Garlic, Kale, and Baby Bella Pizza

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Hooray! Two posts in a row!

I had this recipe posted TWICE in my pinterest board…it clearly had an impact on me! Incorporating my favorite ingredients, garlic, kale, and mushrooms, it also was on a pizza! I haven’t made a pizza in ages.

I am really impressed with the ability of Veggie Cheese’s (Vegan purple bag!) ability to melt, an important component of fake cheese. For this recipe I also broke and finally bought new olive oil. I had been using almond oil for a while, and it has been lovely! (No, it doesnt taste of almonds, just a lighter oil). As usual, I decided to make my own pizza crust. If you choose this option, please see my directions to the PERFECT pizza crust here

If you are curious for the original recipe, please visit Oh My Veggies


Ingredients

  • pizza crust
  • 1 bulb of roasted garlic
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 4 stems kale
  • 7 baby bella mushrooms
  • cheese (I used vegan mozzarella, regular mozzarella would also work)
  • salt and pepper

First you need to roast the garlic. Embarrassingly enough, I had never done this before! Thankfully wikipedia helped…First take the bulb of garlic and peel off the outer paper layer. Then, chop off the very tip of the top of the bulb, so you can see into the cloves…but do not take off too much of the cloves! Drizzle olive oil on the top, wrap in tinfoil and heat in the oven at 350 for 35 minutes. Voila! Roasted Garlic.

But can’t you just use regular squished garlic?

NO YOU CANNOT!! Trust me on this…roasted garlic is the way to go!

While the garlic is roasting you have the opportunity to make pizza dough, read, catch up on the news, clean your kitchen, do some laundry, run to publix (if it is downstairs like mine!), or some other activity.

Once the garlic is roasted, take it out of the oven, open the foil and let it cool off…it is hot! very hot!

While the garlic is cooling, slice the baby bella mushrooms, and heat them in a frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. They should take about 3 minutes to get nice and soft. Then add the kale, cut/chopped/ripped into manageable pieces. Sautee for another 3-4 minutes until the kale is wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

The garlic should be good now! Take the cloves out of their individualized wrappers (this was easier than anticipated), add a little bit of olive oil, some salt and pepper, and mash the cloves with a fork to create a paste. Mine was more lumpy than pasty, but it worked out fine in the end.

If you bought your pizza crust, put it on a pan (dont forget to grease the pan!). If you made your pizza crust, roll it out and put it on a pan. Cover in roasted garlic paste, but be sure to leave space for the crust!

Place enough cheese to lightly cover the crust, add the mushrooms and kale, and add more cheese. The amount of cheese really is a personal decision between you, your tastebuds, and your stomach.

Bake in the oven at 450 for 10-15 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the crust. One of my favorite parts about vegan cooking is that everything can be eaten raw…so undercooking is never a problem!

When the crust is golden to satisfaction, remove from oven, allow to cool, and enjoy!

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Cauliflower Rice Paella…after a long hiatus

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The school year ended, which was insane. Final exams, award ceremonies, pizza parties, study guides, year books, weeping children who actually will miss school, cleaning EVERYTHING out of the classroom and post planning (teacher workdays)…the end of the year is rough! In addition, summer camp started the week after school let out…and I am still doing a few hours at sylvan. I have been cooking…just not a lot of new and adventurous things.

Hopefully after this post, I will start to cook more and more, and actually use my blog!

Last night, Josh and I decided to cook at his apartment (he is now obligated to try my cooking experiments!). Being ever so tolerant of my vegan ways, he agreed to try Cauliflower Rice Paella which I found pinned to my pinterest board…the original recipe is here and their photos look significantly better than mine!


We ended up using two large frying pans for this dish…there is a lot of stuff!

1 head of cauliflower
olive oil
1/2 medium onion, minced (yes mom, i still pick out my onions!)
1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 c. celery, chopped
1 1/2 t. minced garlic
a few shakes of paprika
a few shakes of cayenne
some salt and pepper
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. vegetable stock
1 c. cherry tomatoes, split
1 12oz jar quartered artichoke hearts (drained!)
1 can of chick peas (drained!)
1/2 c. green onions, chopped
15-20 Spanish olives
1 lime


In a frying pan (or two) sauté the onion (minced), celery, and pepper, until slightly tender. Meanwhile, chop up the cauliflower into florets, and pulse them in the blender until it is the consistency of rice. If your blender is not strong enough, you may need to make several small batches. It is nice to have a vegetable alternative for grain every now and then!

Once the veggies are soft, add the cauliflower and wait…this is a great time to dance around the apartment! I highly recommend ’80’s Dance Party’ on Pandora…the Styx station is really good too…

After about two songs…or 6 minutes (please stir during this time!) add in the garlic, cayenne, apple cider vinegar, vegetable stock, salt, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and chickpeas. I got overzealous and added the scallions and olives at this time…apparently you are supposed to wait…

Time to dance again! After another two songs, or 6 minutes, your meal should be ready. Spoon generously into a bowl, add a squirt of lime, and enjoy!

What I love about this dish is that it is filling, healthy, and almost entirely made of vegetables! It is also extraordinarily colorful…and versatile (Josh added roasted red peppers and cherry peppers to his).

It is good to be writing again 🙂