06 January 2014

Crockpot Lentil Bolognese


Alright, so here's the deal, dudes: we got 17 inches of snow last night, so I had a work snow day today. Fuck yeah! What did I do? Cooked the shit outta some food. Waffles for breakfast. Leftover curried lentil soup for lunch. And this spectacular dish for dinner. It was an experiment for sure. I never even thought about making pasta sauce in a crockpot before. What the hell is wrong with me?

I've not made homemade pasta sauce in so long, and I thought I would give it a shot in my crockpot. I had to get creative with my ingredients since I (literally) can't leave the house. There are nearly 2 feet of snow in the street so there's no way in hell I can go to the store! Soooooo, I improvised with a few things, like using lentils instead of tvp, english muffins for garlic toast, and I had no mushrooms (insert sad face). I worried it wouldn't turn out, but WOW. This is some of the best sauce I've ever had. And the lentils are insanely filling. I rocked this shit out.

I have a 5 or 6 quart crockpot, and set it to HIGH for this sauce. It took me about 4 hours to get it cooked down to where I wanted it to be. Your crock may take longer or less time.
This easily makes enough for 4 large servings over pasta.

What I used:
  • 1- 28oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 cups veg broth or water
  • 1-2 TBs Italian spice blend (mix of basil, parsley, oregano, and marjoram or something similar)
  • 1/2 cup matchstick carrots, minced
  • 1/2 diced bell pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups diced onion
  • 1 TB oil of your choice
  • 4 cloves garlic, mined
  • 1 cup dried lentils
  • lots of pepper
  • salt to taste
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (gimme a break...I love garlic) 
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (takes out the metalic bitterness of the canned tomatoes)
What I did:
  1. Set the crock pot to HIGH. Add the tomatoes.
  2. In a skillet, heat the oil. Once hot, add the onions and carrots. After the onions turn translucent, add the garlic and cook another 4 minutes. Add the veg to the crockpot. 
  3. Add the broth, lentils, and spices and stir well. Cover with lid and cook for about 4 hours. Just be sure to stir it about once an hour. Just before the sauce reaches the 4 hour mark, I stirred in the almond milk and cooked about 15 minutes longer. It kills that metallic taste of canned tomatoes. Depending on how thick you like the sauce, you may need to add a bit more broth. I like it thick, so I didn't add any extra.  
ENJOY!

15 December 2013

Apple Cinnamon Topped Pancakes of Awesomeness


There comes a time in every girl's life when she screams to the heavens, "I need some fucking pancakes!" Hormones, or whatever. I don't know. I just know I heeded the call of the wild and made some killer fucking pancakes. 

I've never made an apple topping for pancakes or waffles, or any food, actually. But, I do love me some apple pie, so I took that idea and ran with it. 

The following recipe makes enough for 2 adult-sized servings of apple topping. I don't have a fancy recipe for the pancakes; I use Bisquick, almond milk, and a little vanilla extract. 

What you need for the apple awesomeness:
  • 2 HoneyCrisp apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (so they cook more quickly)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 TB Earth Balance vegan spread
  • 2 TB orange juice
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp (or more) cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
What you do with it:
  1. Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add all ingredients and mix well. 
  2. Once the mixture starts bubbling, I turned the heat to medium-low and simmered for about 30 minutes. Be sure to stir and taste the mixture every 5 minutes or so, so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. 
  3. I cooked mine until the sauce cooked down to a syrup. Feel free to add more or less of everything. I liked mine pretty cinnamon-y, but if at all possible, add the cardamom. It really brings the flavor to a whole new level. 

26 April 2013

Savory Chickpea Crepes - 1st attempt


Let me start by saying that I have never eaten a crepe in my entire life...vegan or not. So, I had no idea how thick to make the batter. These ended up somewhere between a crepe and a pancake in their thickness. Seeing how much I love pancakes anyway, I wasn't disappointed.

I'm that weird person who eats her regular pancakes without syrup, preferring a more savory flavor. That was my inspiration for trying to make a savory (and spicy) crepe. So, I suppose I should maybe try calling these pancakes since they were thicker than a crepe. Whatever. The whole point is that these turned out so deliciously that I had to share them with you. I am trying to think of some sort of sauce to use with them, but I'm coming up dry. I did, however, use some mint chutney (just a smidge), and it was tasty.

I will definitely be trying these again, thinning the batter out a little bit to see if I can make them more crepe-like in their density. Regardless, make these. They are delicious.

Makes 4 pancakes/crepes/whatever about 4 inches in diameter

What I used:
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (also called besan flour)
  • 2/3 cup water or slightly less
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 TB fresh cilantro, minced (or 1 TB dried)
  • 2 tsp Earth Balance
What I did:
  • Mix together the flour and water in a bowl until it's mostly lump-free. Add in the other ingredients (except the Earth Balance) and mix well. 
  • Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add in 1/2 tsp of the Earth Balance.
  • Once the butter melts, pour 1/4 cup of the chickpea mixture to the pan. When it starts to get air bubbles and the edges look dry, flip the pancake and cook another 2 minutes. 
  • Repeat until all the butter and batter are used up.

08 April 2013

Buffalo Chik'n Salad


I've never been a huge fan of salads, but I'm always up for a challenge, so I decided that I need to work on that. Enter: buffalo chik'n salad. In the words of a ridiculously-annoying-piece-of-shit-actor, "WINNING!" I have made this salad 3 times in the last week, so I think that says something.

I'm a recent fan of buffalo sauce, as I always thought I wouldn't like it. I tasted it once about a month ago, and I try to use it every chance I get. I use the bottled stuff, which appears to be much lower in calories than if I'd made it myself. The brand I got has 5 calories per tablespoon, so that's not bad at all. You can do the (chicken) chik'n a couple different ways, but I chose to brush the sauce onto the patty in between flippings. You can also cook the chik'n, and coat it in sauce at the end. I've done it both ways, but I like the first method better. It seems to allow the flavor of the sauce to cook into the chik'n better.

As for salad dressing, that's up to you. I prefer to blend a little vegan ranch with a tiny bit of avocado and drizzle it over the salad. It was awesome. But, you can do whatever your little heart desires.

Serves 2 as a main

What I used:
  • 2 Gardein Crispy Chik'n Filets
  • 3-4 TB bottled buffalo sauce
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 3-4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4-1/3 cup red onion, diced
What I did:
  1. Heat a grill pan (or non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Once hot, add the chik'n filets. Cook about 3 minutes, then flip. Cook another 3 minutes, then carefully brush some buffalo sauce on the tops. 
  2. Turn heat down a bit to medium. Use tongs to very carefully flip your chik'n filets over. They will sizzle and pop. It's supposed to. Now, brush the top with sauce. After about 2 minutes, flip the filets again. I end up flipping the filets a couple times, brushing sauce on each time.
  3. Carefully transfer the chik'n to a cutting board and slice into strips.
  4. Get 2 plates and toss together the lettuce and spinach equally on each plate. Top it with the onions and tomatoes and then add the chik'n strips on top. Dress however you want.

06 April 2013

Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower


Fuck Yes! I finally went there. I've had deep-fried, breaded buffalo cauliflower, and absolutely loved it. But, being a chickpea who's afraid to deep fry (long story), I decided to take a "healthier" (see: safer) method to pig out on my favorite sauce and one of my very favorite veggies. For the record, this whole plate pictured above, including the avocado, is only 187 calories. It's 3 cups of cauliflower, about 3 TB of bottled buffalo sauce, and 1/3 of a small avocado.

If you look online, you'll find an assload of recipes for buffalo cauliflower, each more fancy and complicated than the next. I'm here to assure you that this is the easiest. It took zero effort. It's fucking healthy. You'll thank me.

The batch I made was intended for a whole meal for 1 person. So, I'm not giving you an exact recipe. Just do the following and you'll do just fine.

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet (I used a silicone mat, but you could definitely use parchment).
  2. Put cauliflower in a bowl.
  3. Pour buffalo sauce on cauliflower and flip it around to coat the cauli.
  4. Pour the cauli onto the baking sheet.
  5. Place baking sheet in oven and cook for 25 minutes, stirring once about halfway through cooking. 
  6. Pig the fuck out.