Loaded Potaffles

potato waffles

Loaded Potaffles

A couple of Sunday’s ago, I was flipping through the relish booklet that comes in my Sunday newspaper. In the recipes section, this word popped out at me. Potaffle. What the heck is a potaffle? It’s an ingenious way to use up leftover mashed potatoes, without it being obvious, that they’re leftovers. And, they’re waffles! That automatically makes them a fun food! Since Thanksgiving was just a few days away, I knew I’d have some leftover mashed potatoes. I was going to make potaffles!

Ingredient list!

making potaffles

ingredients

You’ll need leftover, cold, mashed potatoes, of course! Some flour, an egg, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chives (they are loaded after all) will make these awesome!

Get out your waffle iron and get it ready.

waffle iron

potaffle station

Get a large bowl out. Crack the egg into it and whisk it up.

beaten egg

beaten egg

Whisk in the sour cream, too.

sour cream

add sour cream

Add the shredded cheddar cheese and minced chives.

cheese & chives

add the cheese and chives

Fold in the flour. I used whole wheat.

add flour

fold in the flour

And finally, fold in the mashed potatoes.

adding the mash potatoes

add the mashed potatoes

Mix until it’s well combined.

mashed mix

mix i t up

Spray your waffle iron with some nonstick cooking spray and drop a pile of potato mix in the center of each waffle space.

makin potaffles

1/4 cup full

Close it up and let the waffle iron work it’s magic!

magic happens here

magic happens here

My iron took a couple of minutes for each batch. They were cooked through when the little green light came on. Look – magic!

loaded potaffles

cooked potaffles

Tip: To keep them all nice, crisp and warm while you cook the rest. Heat your oven to 250º, then, put the cooked potaffles on a sheet pan and keep them in the oven till dinner (or lunch) is ready!

ready to keep warmed in the oven

ready to keep warmed in the oven

Isn’t this an easy recipe? If you don’t have a waffle iron, just cook them in a skillet. Spray the pan with oil and fry the patties over a medium heat, flipping when one side is golden brown.

Garnish them with more sour cream and chives! Delicious!

Loaded Potaffles

Loaded Potaffles

Loaded Potaffles
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 14 - 16
 
An ingenious and delicious way to use leftover mashed potatoes.
Ingredients
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 4 Tablespoons chives, minced
  • ½ cup flour
  • 4 cups cold mashed potatoes
Instructions
  1. Heat your waffle iron. Preheat oven to 250º.
  2. Combine the beaten egg, sour cream, cheddar cheese and minced chives in a large bowl.
  3. Mix in the flour. Fold in the cold mashed potatoes. Mix well.
  4. Coat heated waffle maker with nonstick spray oil. Place ¼ cup scoop of potato mixture onto the center of the waffle iron and cook until golden brown.
  5. Repeat with remaining potaffle mixture.
  6. Remove cooked waffles to a cookie sheet and keep warm in the heated heated oven.
  7. Serve with additional sour cream and chives, if desired.
  8. Recipe adapted from: realfoodbydad.com/potaffle

 

loaded potaffle

Loaded Potaffle

Tomato and White Bean Salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Spring has sprung. Although most of the country is still covered up with snow, the calender says that Spring is here. I know it has sprung here in Florida. Everything has a golden layer of pollen on it. Allergy season is here. Flowers are blooming, bees are buzzing, I’m sniffling and sneezing. Yup, it’s Spring.

To welcome the change in seasons, I made this light and refreshing salad. It’s been a particularly hot past couple of days and I wanted something easy. Something I could whip up and let chill in the fridge while I was out mowing the grass. That, is this bean and tomato salad. So, while I’m waiting for my allergy pills to kick in, I’ll teach you how to make it for yourselves.

White bean and tomato salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Here’s the fixings.

white bean and tomato salad

Let’s get started!

You’ll need 2 cans of cannellini beans, a pint of cherry type tomatoes, fresh basil, feta cheese, extra virgin olive oil, agave sweetener (or honey or any sweetener), some salt and pepper, and some white balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have any white balsamic vinegar, got ahead and get some. This stuff is so good. Sprinkle a little bit in with the yolk mix, the next time you make deviled eggs! You’ll be amazed at how good this stuff makes them. If you’re sure you don’t want to go out and buy the white balsamic vinegar, use a white wine vinegar, or rice vinegar. Stick with something clear. Regular balsamic vinegar will make the salad an unpleasant dark color. We don’t want that.

Start off by draining the cannellini beans. Rinse them off, if they have a lot of bean starch in the can.

drain beans

Drain the beans

While they drip dry, get out your cutting board. Time to cut the tomatoes in half.

halving the tomatoes

Slice the tomatoes in half

Get out a large bowl and dump the drained beans into it.

Bowl of beans

Put the beans into a bowl

Dump the tomato halves in there, too.

add the maters

Add the tomatoes

Measure out a half cup of feta cheese and dump it in also!

adding feta

Add in the feta

Stack up about 20 basil leaves, roll them up and slice them thinly. That’s called a chiffonade.  I learned this from the television cooking shows. They love to chiffonade things!

Chiffonade the basil

Chiffonade the basil

You know what’s next, don’t you? That’s right, add them to the bowl.

salad

Pretty colors!

Now, to make the dressing. You’ll need a small jar. I just reuse an old salad dressing jar. Measure out the white balsamic vinegar.

making dressing

White balsamic vinegar

Then, pour it into the jar. Measure out the extra virgin olive oil. Oh, do yourself a favor. Find one of these tiny measuring cups. They make measuring multiple table/teaspoons so much easier. They’re easy to find. I found this one at my grocery store.

evoo

EVOO!

Pour it into the dressing jar, too. Measure out the agave sweetener.

agave

agave syrup

Pour it into the dressing jar, too. Measure out the salt and pepper. I’m into Pink Himalayan salt right now. Why? It’s pretty to look at. That’s why. It’s supposed to have more minerals and be better for you than regular table salt, but, salt is salt, use it sparingly. Too much salt is a bad thing. I also use a four color peppercorn blend. It’s pretty, too.

salt and pepper

pretend this picture is in focus

Add it to the dressing jar. It makes a cool glop in the bottom. Hey, I’m easily amused!

dressing mix

See the salt & pepper glop?

Close it up and shake it up!

Dressing mix

Dressing mix

Pour the dressing over the tomato & bean mix.

dressing the salad

Mix in the dressing

Pour the salad into a pretty serving bowl. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

put into serving bowl

Put into a serving bowl.

This mix travels well, if you have a covered dish dinner to go to. To serve, place a few lettuce leaves on a plate and add about a cup of tomato bean salad mix over it.

tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and white bean salad

Tomato and White Bean Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
A light and fresh salad. Perfect for lunch, brunch or a light dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 -15 ounce or 19 ounce cans of cannellini beans, drained
  • ¼ cup shredded fresh basil
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves. Place halves in a bowl. Add in the drained cannellini beans, basil and crumbled feta cheese.
  2. Pour vinegar and extra virgin olive oil into a small jar. Add in the salt and pepper. Cover and shake vigorously. Pour over bean and tomato mixture. Combine well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Arrange a few lettuce leaves on a plate. Top with ¾ cup of the tomato and white bean salad.

This tomato and white bean salad also pairs will with fresh cooked orzo pasta. That makes a tasty dinner.

 

 

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Portobello Caps stuffed

Stuffed Portobello Caps

We like mushrooms. They have a wonderful, earthy flavor and they give you something that you can bite into. Their versatility is neverending. Just think of how many different dishes you’ve made, that start out with a can of cream of mushroom soup! By they way, you can make your own, much more flavorful, mushroom soup. But, that’s a post for another time. One of my favorite breakfasts is a simple sauteed mushroom and egg white omelette. Yum! These stuffed caps are made with easy to find ingredients and are a snap to make. The ingredient list –

ingredients

The fixin’s

portobello mushroom caps, spinach, onion, roma tomato, goat cheese (for creamy yumminess), panko crumbs, red pepper flakes (for a little kick) and some herbes de provence. I like using herbs de provence. It makes me feel swanky. Next thing you know, I’ll be putting truffle oil on everything. If you don’t have herbes de provence, plain old italian seasoning mix will work just fine. You can still feel swanky, too. First thing to do, is to scrape the gills off the mushrooms. You don’t have to, but you can pile in more stuffing if they’re gone, so get them out of there.

removing stems and gills

Snap off the stems and scrape out the gills.

Snap the stems off, too. I don’t use them in the stuffing. Save them for making a vegetable stock. After the caps are clean, set them aside.

cleaned mushrooms

Clean mushrooms.

Now, dice up half an onion. You want about 1/2 a cup.

diced onion

choppity chop chop

Swirl about a tablespoon of olive oil into a large saute pan. Using a medium low heat, cook the onions til tender, about 2 to 3 minutes.

sauteed onion

cooking the onion

Add in the chopped spinach so it can wilt down.

satuee spinach

add the spinach to the pan

It will just take a couple of minutes for it to wilt.

wilted spinach

wilted spinach

Turn the heat off and set the pan to the side. Now, preheat your oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with foil and set it by the mushroom caps. Time to make the stuffing. Give a roma tomato a rough dice.

roma tomato diced

diced roma tomato

I used a roma, because they are a meatier, less juicy, tomato. If you have to use a regular tomato, dice it, then, blot excess moisture up with a paper towel. Crumble the goat cheese into a medium sized bowl.

goat cheese

crumble with a fork

Combine with the diced tomato, panko crumbs, red pepper flakes and the herbes de provence. Add salt and pepper.

stuffing mix

Stuffing mix

Add in the spinach onion mixture.

stuffing mix

add the spinach onion mix

Mix it well.

mix it up

Combine well

Divide the mixture among the portobello caps.

stuffed caps

Stuff the caps.

Drizzle the caps with a little olive oil. This adds an extra layer of flavor!

oil drizzled caps

Drizzle caps with olive oil.

Bake for about 30 minutes. I roasted some carrots alongside of the mushrooms and served them both with a nice, creamy risotto. A delicious, easy dinner!

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Dinner is served!

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Stuffed Portobello Caps

Stuffed Portobello Caps
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Flavorful portobello caps, stuffed with a savory blend of spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese.
Ingredients
  • 4 portobello caps, stems and gills removed
  • 4 cups raw spinach, coarsely chopped and lightly packed
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 TBL olive oil - divided
  • 1 diced roma tomato
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Saute the diced onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach to wilt, another 2 minutes. Place the goat cheese in a medium bowl. To it, add in the diced tomato, panko crumbs, red pepper flakes and herbes de provence. Pour the spinach and onion mix over the tomato cheese mixture and combine. Divide mixture among 4 portobello caps. Drizzle remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Place caps on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

 

Walnut and Date Stuffed Mushrooms

date and walnut stuffed mushrooms

Walnut and Date Stuffed Mushrooms

This isn’t your ordinary stuffed mushroom. It’s extraordinary! This is a vegan alternative to those cheese stuffed globs that everyone else makes. Make this and you’ll be extraordinary, too. The crunch of the walnuts, the savory tarragon and the sweetness of the dates will tantalize your taste buds. Your mouth will love you for it.

The ingredients:

stuffed mushroom ingredients

Stuffed mushroom stuff

You’ll need a couple dozen whole mushrooms, walnuts, some onion, panko bread crumbs, tarragon and some diced dates. You’ll need some wine, too. The kind really isn’t important, so get what you like. I’m using Marsala just because it’s what I had.

First off, wipe the mushrooms off with a damp paper towel. Then, break the stems off and set them aside.

stemming mushrooms

remove the stems

Get out a large skillet and heat it over medium. Toss in the walnut halves.

toasting walnuts

toast the walnuts

Toast them for a couple of minutes. Then, remove them to a cutting board. Let them cool a bit, then chop them into smaller pieces. Dump the pieces into a large bowl.

chopped walnuts

chopped walnuts

Dice up that sweet onion.

diced onions

diced onion

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and scrape the onions into the pan.

cooking onions

cook the onions

Cook them a couple of minutes, while you are chopping up the mushroom stems.

chopped mushroom stems

chop the stems

Now, add the chopped stems, along with that wine, to the cooking onion.

cooking stems

add stems and wine

Let the whole simmer for 2 or 3 minutes until most of the liquid had evaporated and the stems have cooked.

cooked stems

stems are done

Turn the stove off and let the pan cool a bit. While you’re waiting, chop up some tarragon,

tarragon

chop up the tarragon

and add it to the walnuts bowl.

walnuts and tarragon

walnuts and tarragon

Pile in a half cup of date pieces, some panko, salt and pepper. Pour the mushroom stem mix into the bowl, too.

stuffed mushroom mix

stuffed mushroom mix

Mix it all up.

Preheat the oven to 375º. Get out a 9 x 13 baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Or foil. Whatever you have, is what works best.

baking sheet

get the pan ready

Stuff the mushroom caps with a very generous tablespoon if filling. Mound it up and pack it tight.

stuffing mushrooms

stuffin’ the ‘shrooms

Line them up on the baking sheet until you run out of mushrooms or stuffing, whichever comes first. This is when I notice Punky, the kitchen kitty is here to supervise. Am I doing a good job, Punky?

kitchen kitty

Punky cat supervises.

When your tray is ready to bake, drizzle the mushrooms with a little olive oil.

oil topped mushrooms

drizzle with olive oil

Bake for around 20 minutes. You want the mushroom cooked but still firm.

baked mushrooms

all baked.

Take them off and arrange on a pretty tray. Garnish with some chopped parsley, if you are so inclined. I was so inclined.

Walnut and date stuffed mushrooms

Walnut and date stuffed mushrooms

They’re slightly sweet, a little savory, a bit crunchy and a whole lotta good!

Walnut and Date Stuffed Mushrooms
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18 to 24
 
A full of flavor, vegan stuffed mushroom that's easy to prepare.
Ingredients
  • 2 – 10 ounce packages of whole white mushrooms
  • 1 cup walnut halves
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil - divided
  • ¼ cup diced sweet onion
  • ¼ cup Marsala or other wine.
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • ¾ cup panko crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover a 9 x13 rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the stem ends of the mushrooms. Chop stems and set aside.
  3. Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove and spread out on a cutting board and let cool slightly. Chop walnuts into smaller pieces and place in a large bowl. Add the chopped tarragon to the walnuts.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet. Add in the diced sweet onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the ¼ cup of Marsala and the chopped mushroom stems. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Pour the mushroom mix to the walnuts in the bowl. Blend in the dates, panko, salt and pepper.
  6. Place a generous tablespoon of stuffing into each mushroom cap.
  7. Place stuffed mushrooms onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mushrooms are tender. Remove to platter. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

It’s Fall baby! It’s an to the end of the 100 degree days and a promise of beautiful colors, cool evenings and toasty campfires. It’s also comfort food season. Like pot pie comfort food. I’m all about the comfort food. Food needs to comfort your soul, needs to make you feel all warm and snuggly inside. It helps if that food also tastes great. There’s something about the warm, fragrant smell of curry, that makes my heart sing. Makes my tummy rumble, if you know what I mean. Anticipation! Let’s get this show on the road!

Here’s what you’ll need – One package of puff pastry. Take out one pastry and save the other for another use. Cover the puff pastry with a damp towel, so it won’t dry out.

puff pastry

Puff pastry

I forgot to cover mine up and the edges dried out. It still worked just fine, it was just a mess to look at. You’ll see that later. I share my mistakes as well as my success. So, do what I say, not what I do. Ok?

You’ll also need a few other things –

Veggie curry pot pie

Veggie curry pot pie fixings.

Some cauliflower florets, crimini mushrooms, onion, carrots, celery, frozen peas, vegetable broth, curry powder, flower, parsley, salt & pepper, and some heavy cream. My coop now offers organic milk from some of Alabama’s happiest cows. It’s great stuff. I even used that heavy cream to make the butter you’ll see later, too!

Place your cauliflower in a microwave safe dish.

microwaved cauflower

Ready to nuke

Add in 2 tablespoons of water, cover with plastic wrap, poke a vent hole in it and microwave for a couple of minutes until it’s crisp tender. Drain off the water and set it aside. If you’re not a fan of cauliflower, use a potato. Matter of fact, change out the veggies to what YOU like. It’s your pot pie after all.

Get out a large saute pan and melt some butter in it, over a medium heat. Add in the onions. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to 400º.

onions

Saute the onions

Cook for 2 minutes, then add in the carrots.

saute carrots

Add the carrots

After another 2 minutes, then add in the celery and mushrooms.

celery and mushrooms

Add the celery and mushrooms

Cook for 5 more minutes. While those are cooking, pour the cream and broth in a microwave safe cup and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes. You want it to get hot, but not boil. Set it aside.

cream and broth

Hot broth

Now, add more butter to the veggies in the pan.

butter in pan

Home made butter!

Add in the flour and curry powder.

Flour and curry

Flour and curry powder

Mix it up and cook for a minute.

Curry spice

Breathe deeply

Add in the hot broth mixture and stir it up.

add broth

Add broth mix.

Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes.

making a sauce

Bubble, bubble

When it’s thickened, add in the cauliflower, frozen peas, parsley, salt and pepper –

add veggies

Frosty peas

and mix it all together. Turn off the heat.

combine mix

Stir it up.

Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured board. See how sad mine looks? I didn’t show it the love. It stuck all together and the edges dried out. But, I pinched the tears together and rolled it flat again. All fixed! Almost.

puff pastry

A sad puff pastry

Flip your pie pan upside down over the pastry and cut off whatever sticks out. Like this – hey, where’s that picture. Oh, I forgot to take it. Dang. So here’s a picture of my cutting tools instead. The pizza roller was the best choice for the job.

knives

Use the pizza cutter.

Butter the inside of a large pie pan.

pan butter

Butter your pan

Then, fill it with the vegetable curry mix.

fill the pan

Pour into pie pan.

Top it with the puff pastry, tucking in the sides.

top with pastry

Top with the puff pastry

Cut a couple of vent holes in the top of the pastry. You can cut some decorative leaves or whatever out of the pastry scraps. Just dampen the undersides and stick to the top of the pastry. I put my pie dish on a foil covered pan before I slid it in the oven. A little preventive boil over protection.

in the oven

Into the oven

Bake for about 25 minutes, but check it after 20 minutes. Don’t want the puff pastry to burn. When the top is golden brown and the pot pie has bubbled up around the edges, pull that baby out!

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

All done!

Give it a little parsley garnish and call the crew in for dinner!

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Ready to serve

slice of Vegetable Curry Pot Pie

Yummy.

Vegetable Curry Pot Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8
 
A fragrant, curry and vegetable filled, puff pastry pot pie to welcome to cooler temperatures.
Ingredients
  • 1 package puff pastry
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • 3 tablespoons butter - divided
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a large pie dish and set aside.
  2. Open box of puff pastry and remove one pastry. Allow pastry to come to room temperature, covered with a slightly damp paper towel. Re-wrap remaining pastry for another use.
  3. Place cauliflower and 2 tablespoons of water in a microwave safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap, poke a vent hole in it and microwave for 3 to 4 minutes until crisp tender. Drain, set aside to cool.
  4. In a saute pan, over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the onions. After 2 minutes, stir in the diced carrots. Cook for 2 more minutes, then, add in the celery and mushrooms. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, add the broth and cream to a microwave safe dish. Heat in microwave until hot, but not boiling, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the vegetable mix, add in the flour and curry and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the hot broth mixture and cook until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add the salt and pepper. Mix in the steamed cauliflower, frozen peas and parsley. Turn off heat.
  7. Unfold puff pastry on a lightly floured cutting board. Pinch together any tears and press seams flat. If necessary, roll the pastry out to fit your baking dish. Place pie pan upside down on the pastry and trim puff pastry to fit.
  8. Pour vegetable curry mix into the buttered pie pan. Top with puff pastry, tucking in edges. If desired, cut decorative shapes out of the scrap pastry, dampen bottoms with water and attach to the pastry. Cut 4 vent holes in pastry for steam to escape. Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Enjoy!

Tofu Bacon Strips

vegetarian bacon

Tofu bacon strips

This, while not the most attractive strip in the world, is a mighty tasty strip. We have it with breakfast a lot. It gives you a *bacon* you can have with your eggs. It gives you something to put on bread with slices of tomato, lettuce and mayo. Not a BLT, but a TLT. A tofu, lettuce & tomato sandwich. It’s a multi-tasker! A crispy, sweet, with a hint of smoky, multi-tasker. I’m pretty sure that if you give this a try, you’ll be hooked, too.

The set up –

tofu bacon ingredients

tofu bacon ingredients

You’ll need tofu, of course. I get Wildwood brand from my coop. According to their website, they are a non-gmo food. Some nutritional yeast, to give it the savory flavors, either Bragg liquid aminos, or a low sodium soy sauce, some liquid smoke and maple syrup. If Coombs Family Farms maple syrup is available to you, use it. So good, and organic, even.

drain the tofu

Drain the excess water.

First off, open the pack of tofu and drain it. Let it drip for a while, then place it on a couple of paper towels and pat it dry.

patting tofu dry

Give it a light squish

Tofu is a sponge. You want to remove the excess water, so it can soak up the new flavors. Now, here’s a tip from me. It’s just for you, so don’t spread it around. It’ll be our secret. Use a cheese slicer to cut the tofu into strips! Amazing! Now, shush, remember., it’s our secret. Stand the tofu up on it’s narrow end, like a little tofu tower, and run the cheese slicer down the length.

slicing tofu

This is a super secret technique!

Depending on your brand of tofu, you should get a dozen slices.

tofu slices

12 planks of tofu.

Now, for the marinade. Measure out a cup of the Braggs, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke. This Colgin Liquid Smoke is gluten free & vegan, so you can use it to flavor so many things. Dips, sauces, vegetables – ohhh, how about a smoky, stuffed mushroom!

marinade

marinade mix

Pour all the marinade mixings into a container that is big enough to hold the marinade, the tofu and will give you some room to shake it around a bit.

marinade mix

Mix it all up.

Add the tofu slices.

tofu

Add the slices.

Secure the lid and give it a gentle shake to distribute the slices and marinade.

tofu bacon

Shake it up, baby.

Now, put it in the fridge and let it marinate for at least a day. I’ve gone as much at 3 days before, but, I had far less tofu bacon to use. Seems that this marinated tofu is just dandy over a salad or scrambled into some eggs. If you can refrain from gobbling it up, give it a gentle shake whenever you open the fridge. We want everybody in the pool to get equal marinating time.

For cooking day, get out a heavy fry pan, cast iron or a large non-stick pan will work. Heat over medium heat. Give the pan a light coating of oil.

hot pan

A hot fry pan.

When the oil is shimmery, add the tofu slices – after you have shaken off the excess marinade – to the pan. It’s going to crackle and spit oil all over. Fry as many as can fit easily in the pan. You have to flip these over, so no crowding the pan. After about 2 to 3 minutes, flip them over.

fake bacon

fake bacony goodness

You want a nice browness to it. If you want it darker, it’s ok to flip it more than once. Darker is crispier. After another 3 minutes or when you want it, remove the slices to a rack and keep in a warmed oven.

tofu bacon

Fakin’  Bacon!

Add more oil, and do the next batch. Continue until all tofu bacon is cooked. Serve with your favorite breakfast staple. This time, we had ours with polenta topped with spinach sauteed with onions, and a couple of fried eggs. Adapted from a recipe by thekitchn.com that my son shared with me. Heavenly. Delicious. Slightly naughty. This should be your next breakfast!

Tofu bacon strips

Tofu bacon & eggs

Recipe!

Tofu Bacon Strips
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A smoky, sweet, strip of fried tofu to add to your breakfasts or sandwiches.
Ingredients
  • 1 14 oz package of extra firm tofu or similar size
  • 1 cup Bragg liquid aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid smoke
  • vegetable oil as necessary
Instructions
  1. Open and drain the tofu. Pat off extra moisture with paper towels and transfer to cutting board. Stand the tofu up length wise. Using a cheese slicer or a steady knife hand, slice the tofu in to strips along the narrow edge. You'll get about 12 strips.
  2. Measure out the rest of the ingredients and pour into a lidded container. Use one that will hold all the tofu. Then, add the tofu slices, seal and give a gentle shake to distribute the marinade.
  3. Allow the tofu to marinate in the fridge for at least one day. Give it an occasional shake to keep all the slices covered.
  4. Heat a nonstick or cast iron fry pan over medium heat. Coat lightly with oil and add tofu slices. Fry the slices until they are browned and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a rack and keep warm. Repeat with remaining slices, adding more oil to the pan as necessary.
  5. Note: Taste the marinade before adding the tofu. If it's too salty, add a ¼ cup of water.

Tofu bacon

Good grub!

You should have this smoothie!

You Should Have This Smoothie

You Should Have This Smoothie

Really. You should have this smoothie. Coincidentally, that happens to be the name I gave it. It’s just that good. Sometimes, you want something a little spicy. Something that will make a sweat bead on your forehead. Not something that will give you the hiccups. No, not that spicy. Unless, you like it that way, then, break out the habaneros. I’ll just stick to this. It has enough of a kick from the spicy tomato juice and the horseradish for me.

Let’s get started –

smoothie stuff

Smoothie ingredients

You’ll need one cup of prepared spicy tomato juice. I used this kind. I use the already made stuff, because it has it’s flavors concentrated and you won’t dilute it by adding in the other goodies. You’ll also need one green onion, two stalks of celery, two tablespoons of prepared horseradish, one tablespoon of lemon juice (excuse the plastic kind, I was out of the real kind) and one cup of ice.

chopped veggies

give the veg a rough chop

Go ahead and give the veggies a rough chop. They just fit into the blender better. Measure out the lemon juice and horseradish.

vitamix full

Load the blender

Start with the ice and then add all the rest of the ingredients to the blender. Secure the lid and start blending.

blending

A swirly.

Blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with a stalk of celery and a sprinkle of pepper. If you have a little vodka, splash some of it in there, too. If you are so inclined. This makes an excellent adult beverage.

smoothie

You Should Have This Smoothie!

You should have this smoothie!
Author: 
Recipe type: beverage
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
A vitamin A and C packed, spicy, tomato smoothie, loaded with lycopene.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup prepared spicy tomato juice
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup ice
Instructions
  1. Core the tomato and coarsely chop. Cut the celery and green onion into one inch pieces. Starting with the ice, add all the ingredients to the blender
  2. Blend until pureed and smooth.
  3. Serve immediately. Garnish with a sprinkle of pepper and stalk of celery, if desired.

 

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Enchiladas

 

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

This was to be my Cinco de Mayo post. As you can see, I’m quite a bit late with it. Sloth, thy name is Ruth. Ah well, better late than never!

Enchiladas. A little – sometimes, not so little – rolled up package of goodness. Smothered in a blanket of delicious sauce and baked to perfection! Also, it’s one of the fastest and easiest dinners to make. Mix of a bunch of stuff and roll it up. Sauce it, cook it and BAM! Dinner is ready. We all want that. A no fuss, no muss dinner.

Your ingredients – it looks like a lot, but it’s really not much work.

enchilada ingred

Future enchiladas

Trust me. You can trust me, you know. Really.

Anyhow, scrub those sweets, stab them to make steam holes and nuke them.

sweet potatoes

Clean potatoes

My fancy schmancy microwave has a potato button. I like that. So, after the sweets have cooked, let them cool down. Peel them and chop them up. You’ll need 2 cups.

Go ahead and grate the cheese, if you bought the block kind.

grated cheese

grate the cheese

Then, chop the cilantro.

choped cilantro

chop chop

Heat the oven up to 350º and coat a 9 X 13 baking dish with spray oil.

Get out a large bowl and start dumping in the stuffing mix. Beans, chiles and garlic.

add chiles

getting ready

Cilantro, cumin, cayenne, smoked paprika and lime juice.

adding in more

getting closer

Don’t forget the sweet potatoes and cheese! Mix it all up.

enchilads mix

there it is!

Coat the bottom of the baking dish with a little of the tomatillo salsa.

coating the dish

smooth it out

If you’ve never had this kind of salsa, you’re in for a treat. It’s spicy, but not too spicy and has a nice clean taste. It’s tart and fresh, not heavy like to red salsas.

Now, assembly time. Spread a 1/2 cup of potato mix down the center of each tortilla.

making enchiladas

ready to roll

I use flour tortillas, not corn. No reason. I just like them better. Roll up the tortilla and place it in the baking dish.

making enchiladas

1 down, 7 to go

Repeat with the remaining 7 tortillas. Snug them up against the others, so you can fit them all in.

dish full

pack ’em in

Cover with the rest of the salsa and top with the last bit of cheese.

enchilada dish

ready to bake

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sauce is nice and bubbly and the cheese is browning.

baked enchiladas

all done

Serve these bad boys up with a dollop of sour cream and a couple slices of avocado.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

yum yum

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Oh yeah, I forgot. Happy July 4th! See, I’m early for that.

Recipe time!

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Florida-Mex
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Flour tortillas, filled with a spicy black beans & sweet potato mix, covered with a fresh tomatillo salsa and cheese.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked sweet potato, diced.
  • 1 16oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 16oz jar of tomatillo salsa or salsa verde.
  • 8 flour tortillas, 8 to 10 inch size.
  • 2 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese – divided.
  • 1 4oz can of diced green chiles
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped. Reserve some for garnish.
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons diced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Do Ahead: Wash sweet potatoes, pierce skins and microwave until cooked. Allow to cool. Peel and chop into 1 inch pieces, set aside.
  2. Grate cheese, if necessary.
  3. Preheat oven to: 350º F. Coat a 9 x 13 baking dish with spray oil.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the black beans, green chiles, garlic, cilantro, cumin, smoked paprika, cayenne and lime juice. Add in the sweet potatoes and 1 cup of cheese, stir well.
  5. Coat the bottom of the baking dish with ¼ cup of tomatilla sauce.
  6. Place ½ cup of filling in the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place in baking dish. Snug them close together to fit all 8 in.
  7. Cover with remaining salsa and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until sauce is bubbling and cheese has browned.
  8. Serve 2 enchiladas topped with sour cream and avocado slices. Enjoy.

Black Bean & Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Come & get it!

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

Or – Yes, you too, can eat tofu!

tofu and veg

Crispy tofu and vegetables

Tofu. A simple word that can strike terror in the hearts of mortal men. And women, and kids, too.

It was that mystery block of white stuff that I had to buy for my vegetarian son. I never knew what to do with it. I just cut off slabs, marinated it or glazed it and gave it a grill. Right next to my pork chops. I ain’t eatin’ that mystery white block of stuff!

What a difference a few years make. Now, I always have a couple of pounds of tofu in the fridge and in the freezer! No more pork chops. Family meals are built around tofu. No longer is it an after thought. No longer just  an easy thing to shove at the non-meat eater. It’s a star! I’m going to share an easy recipe to get you headed in the tofu direction. It’s fried, because everything tastes better fried, right? Lets get started.

crispy tofu ingred

A great use for squash. You know, the stuff that shows up on your door step.

You’ll need 3 yellow squash, a red (or any other color) bell pepper, baby bella mushrooms, an onion, tomato sauce and cheese. Oh yeah, you’ll need a block of firm tofu. I use the sprouted kind. It’s easier to digest (read that as – no gas) and has less plant estrogen.

sproutofu

Sprouted tofu

To start everything off, you’ll need to drain and press the tofu to remove the excess water. We really don’t like throwing wet foods into hot oil. Open the pack, pour off the water and set the block onto a paper towel lined plate of board.

tofu

Naked tofu

Next, cover it with folded paper towels and a plate, then weight it all down with a cup of water.

pressing tofu

pressing tofu

Set this aside to drain while you chop up your vegetables. Get out a large bowl to pile all the chopped vegetables in. Slice the squash lengthwise and then into slices.

slicing squash

Slice squash

Cut the mushrooms into quarters.

mushrooms

quarter the mushrooms

Chop up the onion.

chopped onion

chop onion

After you’ve dried away your onion tears, chop the bell pepper. This one was extra juicy! And add it to the pile in the bowl.

chopped bell pepper

chop the bell pepper

Now! Let’s get at that tofu! Slice to tofu into 1 inch slabs.

sliced tofu

Tofu slabs

Then, slice the slabs into 1 inch cubes.

tofu cubed

tofu cubes

Everyone in this house loves tofu. Want proof? Look ever there. A little further. See that?

Katie kitty

Katie, the tofu kitty

That is Kitchen kitty’s mom, Katie. Katie the tofu kitty. No relation to Grumpy cat.©.

Ok, everything is ready to cook. Get out a large, non-stick fry pan. Trust my experience on this part. Scraping stuck on, crispy fried tofu is no picnic. Make a few dirty dishes and use a non-stick pan. Crank up the burner to medium high and give the pan a swirl of olive oil. When hot, add the tofu cubes.

fry tofu

pan fried

Let it fry for a couple of minutes, then flip them around to get the other sides.

browning the tofu

browning the tofu

Flip them every couple of minutes to try and get all sides browned. It will take roughly 10 minutes. Remove the tofu to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Not every side has to be golden brown. Unless you want it that way, then go fo it.

fried tofu

Drain the tofu

Grab your grater and grate up a cup of Monterey jack cheese. Use any cheese you want, just try to keep it a milder, white cheese.

grated cheese

grate cheese!

Now, if your non-stick pan is big enough, go ahead and use it. If you are like me, you’ll need to bust out another pan. A BIG pan. Put it on the  stove, over a medium high heat, add some more oil.

oil in pan

a really big pan

Then, dump in the vegetables.

sauted vegetables

saute the vegetables

Stir fry the vegetables for about 10 minutes. You want them to be crisp-tender. I love peppers and onions cooking. The smell always reminds me of the county fairs. All those food booths with the grilled peppers and onions! Memories. Almost done, now. Grab that plate of tofu and stir it back in.

tofu foods

dump in the tofu

Open and add in the little can of tomato sauce. Throw in some salt & pepper. If you like it spicy, toss in some crushed red pepper flakes, too. Yummm.

add sauce

add a little red sauce

Cook it for about 2 minutes or until a little bubbly around the edges.

Sprinkle on the grated cheese.

add cheese

almost done

Turn off the stove and cover the pan. Let it rest for about 2 or 3 minutes for the cheese to melt, then serve! We have this over brown rice. It’s such  nice easy recipe to get into the tofu groove. Give it a try.

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

supper time

Crispy Tofu and Vegetables
Author: 
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Crispy fried tofu and sautéed vegetables graced by a light tomato sauce and cheese top.
Ingredients
  • 1 block of extra firm tofu - 12 to 16 ounces, drained, pressed and cubed.
  • 3 summer squash, halved and sliced
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 can tomato sauce, 8 oz.
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. DO AHEAD:
  2. Open the tofu package, drain and remove tofu. Place on a paper towel lined saucer. Cover with paper towels, top with another saucer and weigh down with a water filled cup.
  3. Let it press, at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the extra moisture has been pressed out of the tofu, cut it into 1-inch cubes. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large non-stick fry pan, over medium–high heat. Add the tofu and stir-fry until crispy browned on most sides, about 10 minutes. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
  5. If needed, add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet and add the chopped vegetables.
  6. Sauté until crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.
  7. Return the tofu to the pan along with the tomato sauce. Stir well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Top with the grated cheese, cover and turn off heat. Let rest for another 2 minutes for the cheese to melt.
  8. Serve over rice or pasta, if desired.

Recipe…

Cannellini al Gratin

Cannellini al Gratin

Grab a spoon!

Winter has decided to wrap her icy fingers around Florida (and the rest of the country) for what I hope, is the last time. Enough with the cold already!

Cold weather means comfort foods. Hearty, stick to your ribs casseroles, flavorful soups & stews and crock pots full of all manner of tasty things. It also means I can run my oven as much as I want! When it’s 100 degrees outside, the last thing I want to do is stand in front of a blazing oven. So, I take advantage of the cold weather to fire it up and enjoy the extra heat.

Since our temperatures dipped down into the low 30’s (hush, this is sub-tropical Florida, 30 is COLD), I decided to make my favorite bean casserole. It is so easy. Minimum effort for maximum flavor. It uses cannellini beans. These beans are a good for you inclusion to your diet. They are high in magnesium, fiber, iron, folate and a good source of protein. If you can’t find cannellini bean, you can substitute great northern or any white bean.

On with the show –

cannellini fixings

cannellini ingredients

Gather all your ingredients. Get out a cutting board and knife, so you can dice up all those veggies. Did you know that the celery, onion and carrot mix is called a mirepoix? You do now! Not only do we provide good eats, you get to learn new things, too.

Do you see that? Wait, here it is –

kitchen kitty 2

kitchen kitty is watching you.

There she is. Kitchen kitty is making sure I do this right.  Anyhow, onward. Pre-heat the oven to 400º. Get out your dutch oven. Now, lets dice up some mirepoix. Do the celery

diced celery

dice the celery

The carrots – which btw – I don’t peel. I use organic, so it’s wash, dry and eat.

diced carrots

dice the carrots

Dice up some onion. You’ll need a cup of each. Oh, and dice up 3 tablespoons of parsley.

diced onion

dice the onion

Put your pot of the stove, over medium – high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Dump in the mirepoix.

add the mirepoix

Add the celery, carrot & onion to the pot.

Cover the pot and cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the veggies are soft. Turn the heat off and add in the white wine vinegar, scraping up the browned bits off the bottom.

adding vinegar

add the vinegar

Now, dump in 2 cans of cannellini beans with their juices. Add in the chopped parsley, thyme and some salt & pepper. Give it a stir.

add beans parsley and other ingred

add the beans and things

Add in 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. I used Boars Head Gouda. You can use whatever vegetarian friendly cheese that you like or can find.

add cheese

add in some cheese

In a large measuring cup or small bowl, add 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, the remaining parsley, cheese and tablespoon of olive oil.

crumb top

making the crumb topping

And mix it well.

crumb topping mix

mixed up

Spread the crumb topping in an even layer over the top of the casserole.

Cannellini al gratin ready

Ready to bake

Place it in the oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes. When it’s all bubbly and the crumb top is golden, you are ready to pull it out of the oven.

Finished Cannellini al gratin

All done

Let it rest for 5 minutes to let that bubbling, bean brew settle down. Serve it up with a nice crusty bread or a focaccia. We had a whole wheat focaccia. Yum!

Cannellini al Gratin dinner

Dinner is served!

Recipe below.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cannellini al Gratin
Author: 
Recipe type: casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
An easy, fast, delicious cannellini bean casserole with a crunchy crumb topping.
Ingredients
  • 2 – 19 oz cans cannellini beans
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 cups diced carrots
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup coarsely grated Gouda cheese, divided
  • 1 cup plain panko breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the diced carrots, celery and onion, and cook, covered, 6 to 8 minutes, or until onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Remove pot from heat, and stir in the white wine vinegar, using a spatula to scrape up any browned bits stuck to bottom of pot. Add beans with juices, chopped thyme, chopped parsley, ½ cup shredded cheese, salt & pepper. Stir well to combine.
  3. Combine breadcrumbs, remaining 1 Tbs. chopped parsley, and remaining ¼ cup shredded cheese in small bowl. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbs. oil into crumb mixture, and combine to moisten breadcrumbs. Spread breadcrumb mixture over bean mixture. Bake gratin, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and the top is browned. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.
  4. Makes six generous servings.
  5. Adapted from Vegetarian Times Jan/Feb 2011