Thursday, September 30, 2010

Delicious CousCous: Great as a salad starter or Crepe filling

The other night I made this filling to go in some crepes we had, it didn't take too long and was so good that I HAD to share it. The great thing about couscous is that once prepared it can be frozen! Make a double batch and freeze some for another night! We stuffed the Chive Crepes with this and then topped it with Tomato Goat Cheese Cream Sauce. What a fabulous dinner!

Parmesan Couscous with Mushrooms and Sun-dried Tomatoes

1 Cup of plain couscous
1 -1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup dry packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cremini mushrooms, chopped
1-2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
3-5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped

1. Bring vegetable broth to a boil. In a large, lidded bowl combine the couscous and sun-dried tomatoes. Remove broth from heat and pour over couscous mixture. Cover. Let sit for five minutes.
2. In dry skillet, add pine nuts and cook until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes (stirring frequently). Remove from heat. In same skillet, add oil, once hot, add onions, garlic and mushrooms, cook until onions are slightly caramelized & tender.
3. Once the couscous is done, stir in the onions mixture, pine nuts, cheese and parsley. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

National Vegetarian Month

I know not all of my followers are Vegetarian, and so I thought you guys might like to know about this great opportunity to possibly win some money!
October is national Vegetarian awareness month, and October 1st is world vegetarian day. In honor of this is offering up a chance to win some prizes for anyone who is willing to forgo meat for a short time. If you do it for just one day you could win $250! A Week is $500! And if you go the entire month without meat you could win $1,000!
To enter all you have to do is go Here and make an online pledge to be meat free for however long you choose!
It's so easy to do, and with the help of The Vegetarian Mom you can certainly make it through!

Also, for those of you who do not know our family is hosting a dinner party in honor of World Vegetarian Day this Friday! If you are in the area and enjoy eating please come join us! If you need detail on our address please contact me on the facebook page!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Crepes: The versatile food *UPDATED WITH PICTURES*

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. The whole family came down with a flu or something! We are still recovering, but hopefully we will soon be back on track.
Anyway, I love crepes. There is something about the lovely lacy bubbles that form on the thin pancake like surface that just make me want to gobble them up. Whenever I make them they go pretty fast, even the one year old will eat at least two of them!
My favorite thing about crepes is that they are very versatile. The best dessert I ever had was a dark chocolate crepe with raspberry filling and an orange liquer sauce, but my favorite way to eat crepes is with savory fillings. Below are two recipes for crepe batter, one sweet, one savory. Fill them with whatever you think sounds good! Make a double batch and freeze the leftovers between sheets of waxed paper in a freezer bag for a quick meal some other night.

Chive crepes

3/4 to 1 cup milk, divided
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons minced chives
Cooking Spray

1. In a blender, pour in three-quarters cup milk, one-half cup water and the eggs, and pulse two or three times until smooth. Add the salt and flour. Blend the batter until smooth. With the blender running, add the melted butter. The batter should be as thick as heavy cream. If necessary, add up to one-quarter cup more milk to get the desired thickness. Strain the batter into a bowl, stir in the chives, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2. Heat an 8- to 9-inch nonstick skillet or crepe pan over medium-high heat until a few drops of water skitter when sprinkled on the surface. lightly spray the pan with a thin coat of cooking spray.

3. Stir the batter to redistribute the chives and pour one-fourth cup into the center of the skillet. Swirl the skillet quickly so that the batter completely covers the bottom. Pour the excess batter back into the bowl, trimming with a spatula any ragged edges before they set. Return the skillet to the heat and cook until the surface of the crepe firms and dries, about 1 minute. Using a small spatula or table knife, gently lift the edges of the crepe. Grab the edges with your fingertips and quickly flip over the crepe; the cooked side should be lightly colored. Cook the uncooked side just until the crepe slides free in the pan, about 30 seconds. Remove the crepe to a plate.

4. Repeat until all of the batter is used, adding more butter as needed. Layer the crepes with a piece of wax paper between each to prevent sticking.

Serving Suggestions: Fill with your favorite cheese, vegetables, or beans. Our family favorite is Tomatoes and peas with cheddar cheese. Also try filling with a grain, such as rice or couscous. Below is a picture of one idea, these crepes were filled with a pepper goat-cheese filling and tied with a fresh chive. The recipe for the filling will be coming later.

Sweet Crepes
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking Spray

1.Put the flour and salt and in a large mixing bowl. Gradually whisk in the milk. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, and then whisk in the sugar, melted butter, and vanilla. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

2.Heat an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with a thin coat of cooking spray

3.Add 1/4 cup of the batter and move your wrist in a circular pattern to coat the pan with thin even layer of batter. Cook for about 1 minute or until the first side browns lightly, then flip and cook 45 seconds to 1 minute longer. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining batter.

Fill with jam, honey, berries, sugar, chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter, bananas, or my personal favorite, ice cream!
Below is an easy preparation, perfect for last minute guests, all of the ingredients are freezer staples! The recipe will be coming later!

I hope you enjoy trying these recipes, be creative and make them your own! Try topping savory crepes with a homemade sour cream sauce, super yummy!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hamburgerless Helper to the Rescue: Quick Meals

One of my Facebook followers asked for some ideas on how to prepare hamburger helper without the hamburger. He noticed that the ingredients included in the whole grain products did not contain any non-vegetarian ingredients and thought they would make a great meal, but that they needed something more.
I decided to go and do some research and find some ideas for him. I've given two ideas for each of the four whole grain hamburger helpers; that's 8 meals! These make great lunches for the busy mom or student, and a quick dinner when you don't want to think too much! So skip the meat and enjoy!

Whole Grain Hamburger Helper: Stroganoff
Suggestion 1: A great alternative to beef stroganoff has always been mushrooms! Saute a half a pound of cremini or baby bella mushrooms and add them when you would the hamburger.
Suggestion 2: Give it double the veggies! Use a can of prepared tomato basil soup instead of water (Progresso has a good one!) and add 2 cups frozen broccoli, thawed, when it's done cooking.

Whole Grain Hamburger Helper: Cheeseburger Macaroni
Suggestion 1: Add 1/2 cup of salsa and 1/2 cup of sour cream along with a can
of drained black beans and 1/2 cup of corn and top with sliced olives for a yummy Mexican inspired pasta dish!
Suggestion 2: Try adding 1 cup frozen peas and a 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes,the dry packed kind are pretty cheap, and are great to have on hand,. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese for some extra cheesiness!

Whole Grain Chicken Helper: Lemon and Herb Chicken
Suggestion 1: My absolute favorite thing with lemon is asparagus. Toss 2 cups steamed chopped asparagus with the prepared pasta. Skip the lemon glaze though... just trust me!
Suggestion 2: Use Morning star Meal starter chicken strips in place of the chicken, toss in a cup of mixed veggies and chill for a wonderful pasta salad.

Whole Grain Chicken Helper: Honey-Mustard Chicken
Suggestion 1: Use tempeh cutlets in place of the chicken. Place lettuce and the helper along with some sour cream in a tortilla for a yummy wrap for on the go!
Suggestion 2: Um... this one is baffling me... most likely because I don't really like mustard... anyone have any other suggestions? Write them in the comments!

I hope these ideas have helped! If you have any more ideas for quick mix-ins or substitutions please leave them in the comments!
Also, tomorrow we will be having a special quest post! Yup, The Recovering Meataholic Dad (aka, My Husband Dominic) has a recipe to share with you! So be on the lookout!
Publish Post

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vegetarian Times- Farfalle with Tomato- Goat cheese Cream Sauce

When you look through the magazine section in your grocery store there are many magazines about cooking, and though good, they usually don't include many vegetarian recipes (one I once saw had an article on tofu... which included a recipe for tofu wrapped pork...). This can be frustrating sometimes when you have exhausted your vegetarian cookbooks.
Enter Vegetarian Times.
Vegetarian times magazine is the only all vegetarian cooking magazine I have been able to find in my many years as a vegetarian. Though some of it's recipes call for expensive ingredients it is a great resource. The recipe index also includes listings for Gluten free recipes, which can be important if you are ever entertaining someone with a gluten intolerance. It is a great magazine overall.
This month's issue had several good articles, including one on using prepared canned soups in cooking. Last night's dinner was pulled from this article, and it was so good I thought I would share it with all of you! If you try it and like it I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Vegetarian Times for yourself!

Farfalle with Tomato-Goat Cheese Cream Sauce

12 oz Farfalle Pasta (bowties!)
1 cup frozen petite peas
2 Tbs Pine nuts
1/2 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs)
1 1/4 cups prepared creamy tomato soup
1/4 cup half and half
3 oz creamy goat cheese

1. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions until al dente, adding peas during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain in colander and set aside. Quickly return empty pot to the same burner (with heat off) Wait a few seconds until the pot looks dry, then add pine nuts. Cook over medium heat one minute, or until frgrant and lightly toasted. Transfer nuts to plate.
2. Add oil to pot and saute garlic over medium heat until just beginning to brown. Stir in soup, half-and-half, and bring to a brisk simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer gently 3 minutes, or until mixture is slightly reduced and begins to thicken. Add cheese and cook 2-3 minutes more, until cheese is completely melted into sauce, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
3. Stir pasta, peas, and nuts into sauce in pot; toss well, and serve.

I made a double batch of the sauce and froze it for a later dinner. We also added some sauteed mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes to ours to give it a little more variety. It was delicious, especially with a little sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

These are a few of my favortie things...

I think everyone who cooks has a few staples in their kitchen that they just can't live without. Things that they use over and over and always replace when they run out. Growing up it was always parmesean cheese, the grated kind that comes in a can. I could not get enough of it, and I put it on EVERYTHING! Since then my tastes have evolved (though there is still always parmesean cheese in my fridge, it's now freshly grated), but there are still some things in my kitchen that I love and find myself using over and over. I thought I would compile a list of my top five condiments for the vegetarian kitchen and share it with you. This will be the first in a series of "favorites" posts. Hopefully you'll find some of your favorite things here too, but if not feel free to leave some comments with your favorite kitchen staples!

1. Colgin's Liquid Smoke: This is an excellent staple to have around! I use it in sauces, marinades and soups a lot, and especially when converting a non-vegetarian recipe to something vegetarian. It's great to give that smoky flavor to a vegetarian split pea soup, or to add that "just out of the smoker" flavor to portabello mushroom burgers.

2. Dynasty Thai Chili Garlic Paste: this is one of my new favorites! It has only been in my fridge a few months and it is already almost needing to be replaced! Used in a lot of Asian recipes, it is a great staple to spice up any recipe a bit more! Be careful though, a little goes a LONG way. Two teaspoons of this stuff gives you about the spiciness of a can of diced green chilies, so I use it when I don't have diced green chilies and don't want to run to the store.

3. Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Though this one is mostly consumed with bits of bread and crackers as a snack (because I cannot resist is red-peppery goodness) I have used it for a number of things. It is an excellent sandwich spread, and it does wonders to pasta sauces, adding both flavor and protein. Any hummus is good, but this particular brand is my favorite! So glad are local grocery store finally started carrying it!

4. Spice World Minced Garlic: Okay, this one should go without saying... recipe after recipe uses garlic and sometimes you just don't want to go through the trouble of peeling and mincing one clove of garlic. I get the 24 oz size I think. I know it looks like a lot, but if you cook regularly you will use it up in no time! You do lose a little of the garlic flavor, so if you are making something where Garlic is the star flavor you'll want to get it fresh.

5. Jack Daniels Original No. 7 Barbecue Sauce: This is the only barbecue sauce we ever have around the house, as the hubby is quite particular about his barbecue sauce. This is an essential for wonderful marinades in the summer, great as a sandwich spread, and delightful in soups! It is an essential ingredient in my favorite black bean soup!

These are just a few of my favorite things! If you watch for them in my recipes you will see that they recur quite frequently! Remember to comment with some of you favorites. Who knows, they might be seen in a recipe later. ;)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Black Bean Lasagna

This is one of my favorite recipes! I love lasagna, but a lot of vegetarian lasagna recipes call for tons of fresh veggies, which can be a pain to cut up when you don't have much time! The recipe uses canned black beans, which is not only easy, but adds a nice protein punch to it!
I got the recipe from the Better Homes and Garden's cookbook, but I make a few changes, adding tofu to the cheese mixture makes it go a little further while still maintaining the same flavors.

Black Bean Lasagna

  • 9 lasagna noodles (8 ounces)
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green sweet pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans low-sodium tomato sauce or tomato sauce with seasonings
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • 1 12-ounce container low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel)
  • 1 8-ounce package of tofu, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup light dairy sour cream
  • Tomato slices (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)


1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Mash one can of the beans; set aside.

2. Lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray; add onion, green sweet pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir over medium heat until tender but not brown. Add mashed beans, unmashed beans, tomato sauce, and snipped cilantro; heat through.

3. In a large bowl combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, tofu and sour cream; set aside. Spray a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or 3-quart rectangular casserole with nonstick coating. Arrange three of the noodles in the dish. Top with one-third of the bean mixture. Spread with one-third of the cheese mixture. Repeat layers twice, ending with bean mixture. Reserve the remaining cheese mixture.

4. Bake, covered, in a 350 degree F oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated through. Dollop with reserved cheese mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with tomato slices and cilantro, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

Make-Ahead Tip: Refrigerate unbaked casserole, covered, up to 1 day, and bake as directed. Or, freeze up to 1 month; thaw frozen casserole in refrigerator overnight, and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until heated through.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Impromptu Camp Dinner- Vegetarian Tin Foil Dinners

My Dad invited my husband and boys to go on a father-son camping trip with him and a few of my brothers this weekend. My boys have been excited to go camping (well, at least the one who understands what camping is!), and I have been excited for a night off! (Hopefully a girls night..., we will see) I got a call from my mom this morning asking me to make up dinner for the boys and my Hubby for the camping trip tonight. I wasn't prepared for this, so I rummaged through my pantry and freezer and made up some tin-foil dinners! Here's the recipe!

Vegetarian Tin Foil Dinners (makes about four (or three generously sized ones!)

4 tablespoons butter
4 potatoes, washed and thinly sliced
1 cup frozen peas
1 recipe of frozen veggies & chicken from Chickenless Noodle Soup
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
8- 12" pieces of tin foil
Non-stick Spray

  1. Mix the broth and mushroom soup together to form a gravy.
  2. For each dinner spray a piece of tin foil with non-stick spray, form to a bowl like shape.
  3. Put one tablespoon chopped butter in the center of the foil. Top with one potato's worth of potato slices, 1/4 cup of peas, 1 cup of the frozen veggie mixture, and one cup of the gravy.
  4. Seal up the packet tightly, place in the center of another sheet of tin foil and wrap again, crimping edges if needed.
  5. Cook in the coals of the campfire for about 30 minutes, remove from coals, unwrap and enjoy!
Best part? Easy clean-up! Just throw away the tinfoil!

I'll make sure to bug my hubby about taking a picture of his cooked meal tonight!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Not Your Mom's Chickenless Noodle Soup

My oldest son is feeling a little under the weather today, so I decided I would make him some yummy "Chicken Noodle Soup".

Chicken noodle soup is one of those comfort food basics that vegetarian's and vegan's often miss out on. Chicken soup brings to mind feelings of comfort and warmth, which are great to have when you, or your little ones, are sick! This recipe tries to capture that warmth in a nice VEGAN package! It's gets an extra little kick with the addition of the curry powder.

Not Your Mom's Chickenless Noodle soup

1 lb. baby carrots, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 or 2 green onions, chopped
4-5 oz. Chicken subsititute (I used Quorn Naked Chik'n cutlets)
6 cups Vegetable Broth or water
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. Curry Powder
A pinch each oregano and thyme
salt and pepper (to taste)
4 oz. Eggless noodles

  1. Put all ingredients, except noodles, into the crockpot, set on low for 6-8 hours
  2. 30 Minutes before serving time add the noodles and allow to cook until noodles are tender
  3. Add any other seasoning you would like, stir, and serve
If you'd like to freeze this I suggest throwing the first six ingredients into a freezer bag and freezing them. On the day you prepare the soup throw the frozen vegetables into the crockpot, along with the other ingredients and cook on high for the first hour, then turn to low for the remainder of the cooking. Follow steps 2-3 when ready.

Noodles in soups do not freeze very well, so when freezing a noodle soup always omit the noodles and cook them the day you prepare the meal.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Creamy Cheese Enchiladas

Growing up I had a neighbor that would bring us over a creamy chicken enchilada dish. It was a big hit around our house, but it was not vegetarian. This is my rendition of the recipe, that has been made many times in our house.

It is a hit with our oldest whose three favorite things are cheese, sour cream, and tortillas! I have also made this recipe omitting the chilie garlic past and adding a 4oz can of diced green chilies.
I hope you enjoy trying this recipe! It's great served with mexican rice and black beans!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Vegetarian Mom

Have you searched the internet for convenient meals as a vegetarian? If you have you know that the options are few and far between. I expressed frustration about this on my personal blog some time ago, and was encouraged by strangers to do something about it. I lacked the motivation at the time to do so, but have since found a reason to do it!
This blog is a precursor to a website I am developing that will include some of the staple recipe genres for the busy vegetarian mom; Freezer Meals, Crockpot Cooking, and 30 minute meals. It's a work in progress, but it will be up and mostly functional by December 2010!
This is a project that is near and dear to my heart. I have been a vegetarian for many years, and I love to cook, but with two young children running about I have a hard time finding the time to cook great meals. I wanted to have a resource for vegetarian mothers like me, who have busy schedules and fun filled days and want to have convenient meals they can turn to. The more time I save in the kitchen, the more time I have to spend with the people I love, and everyone benefits from that.
So here goes nothing! Jumping in with both feet and purchasing a domain name soon!