entrees

Cheezey Kale & Broccoli Casserole

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As the holidays approach, we begin to revisit some of our old time favorites! Right? I love looking back at recipes from my childhood and revisiting them. I always enjoy making some of my old favorites part of my new favorites list by switching a few ingredients to make it vegan and gluten free. I have always been a huge cheese and creaminess person. It was seriously the worst part of my transition, in my mind at least. Finding what my other options would be was so helpful. I really recommend taking some of your favorite recipes and creating them with new swaps you find.

Daiya came out with an awesome array of boxed macaroni cheese to make cooking and the transition even easier at home. I thought that it would be fun to create macaroni and cheese casserole with one of the boxes and it came out fantastic. I always love asking my non vegan friends to taste test so I can get a good read on it as well as share with them how good eating vegan can be. One of my friends who eats dairy free most of the time, due to allergy, took a bite and said it wad good but that he really could only have a few bites because he then reminded me he was dairy intolerant. I had to laugh, because that mean he thought what I had made was full of dairy and gluten. So I did really well this time, wahooo!!

I always have to find a way to get some greens in, so you bet that I was able to do it here. I thought that kale and broccoli would go great with the four cheese flavor. I also wanted to add a little protein and flavor so I grabbed some Beyond Meat chicken strips and cubed those up and threw them into the mix. It was really simple and took no time to prepare the mac and cheese and then add the other ingredients together and pop it into the oven to add some crispiness. You can use some Gluten Free bread crumbs or some crumbled up chips, for some extra crunch. It is always important to add texture to a dish. For example, when I am eating something soft and creamy like yogurt, a crunchy granola adds a nice touch to the experience. Here, you have a warm and gooey cheesy dish that would go great with a little crunch.

One recommendation, because the chicken comes in a frozen package. When you use the chicken strips, let them thaw for about 15-20 minutes so that you can chopped them a little easier, or you can run them under warm water really quickly. Get excited to create something really yummy and flavorful that everyone will love. You can’t make a mistake here, there is so much flavor and texture, you just have to take the time to make and try this recipe out. Also, adding your other favorite veggies would be absolutely fine as well. Have fun and be assured that bringing this to any party will work wonders on everyones tastebuds.

 

 

Cheesy Kale & Broccoli Casserole

Casserole Ingredients:

•1 box Macaroni cheese

•1/4 Large Onion finely chopped

•1 Tablespoon coconut oil

•1/2 bag Beyond Chicken strips (defrost out of the freezer for 20 minutes OR run under warm water quickly to defrost and chop into smaller cubes)

•5 Dino Kale stalks – de stemmed and chopped.

•1/2 Head large broccoli cut into small pieces.

•Salt and pepper to taste

•1 Cup Daiya mozzarella

Method:

-Pre heat oven to 400.

-Boil water and Make macaroni and cheese according to package.

-Steam kale and broccoli for 7 to 10 minutes, to soften.

-Cut onion into small pieces and sauté for 3-5 minutes with coconut oil then add chicken cubes to warm for another 5 minutes.

-Then add greens and sauté for another five minutes. (Salt & pepper to taste).

-Add 1/2 Cup mozzarella shreds. Let the cheese melt and then add the Daiya Mac and Cheese to mix thoroughly.

-Add remaining mozzarella on top and bake at 400 for 8 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes after adding bread crumbs or crumbled chips for the last 3 minutes.

-Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve immediately or let sit overnight and the warm up. The flavor gets even more yummy and cheesy!

 

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entrees

Stuffed Bell Peppers

39CF5BD5-16F0-4217-8F85-88F07F8C5309I am a strong believer in flavorful cooking. Yes I said it, I will not eat grass, I will not eat something that doesn’t make my tastebuds go wild! Ok, wait, I take that back… a little… I do eat things that are good for me nutritionally and that perhaps don’t taste the total best. Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a wheatgrass shot or some fresh algae, and that to most doesn’t seem tasty, but to me I’m so use to these wonderfully nutritious items I’ll take em down knowing the benefits. It takes time to get there, don’t worry, and meanwhile I still eat really yummy spiced up foods!! I recommend starting to work on your spice cabinet pronto! Try to Grab organic when you can. I know it’s a little more expensive but it’s worth it. Your health is worth it. Buying all the spices upfront can get pricey, but with each recipe, you might find one new spice you need to purchase and it won’t seem so crazy expensive buying one or two at a time.

So back to the recipe. I actually never had a stuffed bell pepper when I was a child. Is that crazy? Did you eat them a lot when you were growing up? Once I got older and I realized how much fun it was to put a bunch of ingredients together and stuff them in a vegetable, I did! The possibilities are endless! You can flavor and add ingredients basically however you’d like, this is just one of my versions.

I always love to do Cajun or taco seasoning with my bell peppers, but I am also a huge Italian flavors fan!! So you could absolutely use Italian season and fresh basil and even a little tomato sauce to give those flavors. Though I might use garbanzo or white beans instead of black beans with an Italian version, which this recipe calls for. I also like to add a whole grain such as brown rice or quinoa to add nutrients and quinoa packs some protein. I also have a version of this recipe where I just used more beans and vegetable without the quinoa. Hit me up if you want that recipe.

I have made stuffed bell peppers a ton of times. They look fun and taste great. They are pretty dang hearty too. You can serve them with a side of salad or if there is something else you prefer, do that! Do what makes you feel good and what tastes good to you. Share these yummy suckers with your friends and family as well!! They’ll thank you for it.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers 

4 Bell peppers (top cut off, de-seeded and baked for 10 minutes at 400)

1 1/2 C Quinoa cooked (or rice )

1 small Onion

2 cloves of garlic

8 Mushrooms

1 Medium zucchini (chopped)

1/2  Package Taco Seasoning

1/2 Rounded Cup of Daiya cheese, any flavor your heart desires!   OR You can use half a cream cheese tub

1/2 can of Black Beans (BPA free can or box or soak and boiling your own is even better!)

Optional: instead of beans, you can grab a meat substitute like “ground meat” or another favorite. (I just try to stay away from processed as much as possible which is why beans are such a great low fat protein option).

Method:

-Cook the Quinoa according to package, make sure you rinse it properly before cooking. Set aside to cool until it is ready to mix with the other ingredients.

-If you want your bell peppers to stand, Cut the tops off and take the inner seeds out of the bell peppers. If you would like to lay them on their side, keep the tops on and cut the peppers in half lengthwise and take the seeds out, spray oil on the the bell peppers and bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool to the touch before stuffing.

-Sauté the chopped onions and garlic (about 5 minutes), then add zucchini (cook 3-5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sauté (for 3 more minutes).

-Once the veggies are sautéed and the quinoa is ready, place them and the black beans in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix together. Add the cheese and pulse one more time.                                 ——-If you’re adding cream cheese, you can spoon that in with these ingredients to the food processor as well. ——————-If you don’t have a food processor, cut the vegetables into very small pieces and just mix the cheese into the other ingredients in a bowl.

-Spoon the mixture into the bell peppers and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. If desired, at 15 minutes, place some vegan cheese on top.

-Then, please enjoy.

love, Stephie xoxo

 

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appetizers

7 Layer Bean Dip

374E99E3-0479-44B1-A91C-C8073EDB5079Ok, So I’m going to be real honest here. Growing up, dad wasn’t really around. So football parties and get togethers weren’t a huge thing around our house. BUTTT for whatever reason… Superbowl parties always took place at our house! If I had to work during the game I found myself so bummed! I realized shortly after this behavior that it wasn’t that I was bummed to miss the game, but I was bummed to miss the party and eat food. LOL. Yes, it bummed me out to miss the food. I want good food too ok?! I was always in charge of making the dips. Bean dip, Onion dip, and Ranch dip. Of course, as you can probably imagine, 7 layer bean dip isn’t traditionally made vegan. So naturally I had to veganise it.

I am pretty sure I ave said this to you all before. When you are first transitioning, find a few of your favorite dishes and make them vegan! When your comfortable making something its so much easier to make it healthier with different swaps. So that is exactly what I did. I think Tofutti Brand makes a nice “sour cream” and for the cheese on top, Earth Island, formerly known as Follow your heart, makes a good shredded cheese. You do need to check your refried beans and make sure that they are also vegan. I was actually surprised that many refried beans still contain lard or other animals fats in them. I get it, they make it taste better, i guess… But they have been time and time again been called out for being unhealthy. But whatever, not trying to call anyone out here right now. I am just saying, check your beans at every meal.

If you wanted to keep it super wholesome and real, you could make a sour cream out of nuts, homemade, and you could take some black beans and spices and blend them into a dip to make “refried” beans. That is totally fine with me and I actually encourage it, I just know not everyone has the time to do that or learn it, at least perhaps not at this present moment.

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7 Layer Bean Dip

-1 can refried beans

-1/2 package taco seasoning

-1/2 package of sour cream (I like Tofutti)

-Home made or store bought guacamole 

-1/2 package of vegan cheese (I like Earth Island or Daiya)

-6oz Can of sliced olives 

-3 tomatoes chopped 

-4 scallions finely chopped

Method:

-Mix almost the entire half package of taco seasoning, save a little to sprinkle over the sour cream later, then save the other half package for next time you make this. 

-It’s a pretty easy layering game. Put the ingredients into a square Pyrex dish in the order the list goes. 

-Serve immediately, or cover and place in the fridge to set for a few hours. You can keep this dip up to 3-5 days. Bring this to a party and don’t say it’s dairy free, see if anyone says anything…

entrees

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

39A6CA8F-130B-4AEB-BFB6-52975BA9AD27I am a sucker for anything creamy! Cheese, dips, sauces, anything. Unfortunately so many options today have dairy in them. I love Italian food and when I first started eating plant based, the easiest things for me to create and cook were things I was use to eating and making . I suggest any of you looking for healthier plant based options, to just find a few dishes you really love and then veganize them! Stick to what you know and are somewhat comfortable with! I think my first few recipes I learned how to make over and over again we’re Caesar salad, pasta recipes, taco salad, and tacos! There are so many possibilities.

Nuts are really the star in cheesy and creamy recipes. Cashews and macadamia nuts are the creamiest, but almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, etc., work just as well. As you dive into using different nuts to make different meals, you’ll start to get use to which ones work best for you and the many recipes you’ll be making. You’ll notice which ones have certain consistencies that end up working better for different recipes as well…. In this recipe, cashews take the win. If you or a loved one have a nut allergy, you can try raw and soaked sunflower seeds in place of cashews!

As much as I tell you about what brands have great dairy free options, I like to try eating as close to the source and as homemade, if possible. Even though plants are healthier, by over processing we sort of miss the point as well. So eventually, after you find your swaps and get comfortable with what you can use instead of actual dairy, I urge you to try getting even closer to Whole Foods like using nuts for creaminess and using beans or lentils instead of fake meats. But that is for another time, for now let’s just make some really yummy Alfredo sauce!

So as I said, there are so many options that you can exactly swap for another, especially in the dairy department. For example, to make a traditional Alfredo sauce that uses butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese as the main ingredients, you can find the vegan versions of those and be fine. I took it a step further to make it from unprocessed and whole food ingredients to bring you an even healthier version. Let’s get cooking towards some yummy and creamy goodness, shall we????

Creamy Alfredo Pasta

-1 package of Store bought Zoodles or spiralize 2 large zucchini. (You can spiralize other squash 94 sweet potato too)

-1/2 medium onion (chopped)

-1 Garlic Clove (minced, I put mine through a garlic press)

– 12-14oz package of Brussels sprouts or 1 head of broccoli, or really any veggie you would like to add (chopped)

Creamy Decadent Alfredo Sauce

-1/2 C Cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours)

-1-2 Cloves Garlic (I used my garlic press)

-1/2 C Water

-1/3 C nutritional yeast

-1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan salt

-1 teaspoon lemon juice

-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Method:

– Place chopped onions in a pan and heat on medium for about 3 minutes with a pinch of salt. Then add the minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes.

-Add your veggies and sautée them until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the zoodles and let them warm with the veggies for about 4 minutes.

-While stirring and sautéing the veggies, you can make the Alfredo sauce by placing all the ingredients in a high speed blender or if you don’t have a good blender, a food processor should work just as well. The consistency should be somewhat thick. If you like your Alfredo a little more runny, add a little more water.

-Then add the Alfredo sauce and coat all the zoodles and veggies and let it warm together for about 3-5 minutes and Viola!!! Now please don’t burn your mouth as you hurriedly scoop the pasta onto your plate and devour!!

***Optional: You can use gluten-free pasta noodles or any other zoodle pasta instead of zucchini, such as sweet potato or carrots, etc…too. And you can use any variation of veggies or no veggies at all if you want to keep to just a simple Alfredo pasta.

***Remember, my recipes are just a guideline to the magic you can create in the kitchen. 😍😍😍😍

 

 

 

 

 

 

appetizers

Spicy Roasted Cauliflower

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I love cauliflower! It is so healthy and so versatile in cooking. So many people have gotten crazy creative with how to use it in cooking and baking. It is so great!!! You can steam it and then throw it in a blender in order to add creaminess to a non dairy soup. You can also make rice or mashed potatoes out of it. Some people are using cauliflower as a pizza crust and many vegan restaurants are making buffalo cauliflower appetizers, which is probably one of my top favorites out there! If you haven’t tried buffalo cauliflower bites, that is a total must!

Cauliflower yields some great nutrients and antioxidants! It is very high in vitamin C! One medium size head is more than your daily intake of Vitamin C needed and is about 11g of protein! It is also high in Vitamin B-6, Potassium, Magnesium, and calcium. Cauliflower contains a good amount of fiber. Fiber is important for digestive health and can even reduce the risk of several chronic diseases, especially those relating to your bowels. It is also high in fiber and antioxidants which are great in helping your body and cells combat disease, such as cancer.

To be completely honest, growing up, I did not care much about cauliflower. I thought it smelled bad and when I grew up it took me a while to get around to cooking it. I had memories from childhood and was slightly scared of it because I didn’t even know where to start in trying to cook this awkwardly hard and  rough plant. Once I got over the hump and cooked it once, I decided it wasn’t so bad. Moral of the story, if you’re like me, and have never cooked with it and are a little frightened, just try making it once or twice and you’ll get the hang of it. The first time I attempted to cook it, I steamed in for about 9 minutes and then threw it into my high speed blender to make a creamy soup. Now, I also enjoy baking it in the oven or chopping it up small and sautéing it. The other night, I finally tried the cauliflower pizza from Trader Joe’s, AND IT CAME OUT BOMB!!! Anyways, we’re talking about baking it, so shall we get to that portion??

Recently, I went to this really great Italian restaurant with some friends. The Cauliflower appetizer, minus the butter it normally would be cooked in, was one of the things I could eat on the menu. Normally it’s made drizzled in butter so I asked the waiter if he’d mind asking the chef to use oliv oil instead. He said, “YES!!!” So the way they prepped it was with chili, oil, and capers. Myself and my non plantbased friends thoroughly enjoyed it. My friends even said they thought it was the best thing out of everything on the table they had eaten! Win! Well… Naturally, I had to make this at home, IMMEDIATELY!! And I did. It’s pretty simple. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy my beautiful friends!!

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Spicy Roasted Cauliflower: 
-1 Head Cauliflower
-3 Tablespoons olive oil
-1 Tablespoon Chili Sauce (I used sambal) you can also use 2 Tablespoons for you spicy lovers!!
-1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt
-1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Method:
-Preheat oven to 425.
– While oven preheats, wash and cut the cauliflower. The way I do it, is by sticking a knife slightly slanted at the base where the root is, almost as if to cut a hole in the bottom. You’re basically trying to take the root out. Once you’ve done that, you can break the pieces off and cut the big pieces into smaller pieces.
-Throw all the pieces into a bowl adding all the ingredients and mix it well to evenly coat the cauliflower. Sometimes adding half the ingredients and mixing, and then adding the rest works a little easier for coating!
-Once the cauliflower is coated, oil a baking pan or dish and put in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes.
-Cauliflower should feel a bit softer. If you like it crunchier, check it at 15-20 minutes.
-Take it out and let it cool. Then top it with capers for an added flavor burst.
-Enjoy.
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