Monday, February 28, 2011

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

In our house we like the motto "the more cheese the better" and we try our best to live up to that.  That is why this recipe is one of my favourites.  I put down here 2-3 cups but really... I usually just grate up all the cheese we have in the house ;)  I think that soon I will have to start making two of these casseroles at a time because we finish up one in no time.  We barely have enough for my eldest daughter to take for lunch the next day.  I also tried the dry frying tofu again tonight but with some tofu fingers, and it worked like a charm again.  Thank goodness for google ;)

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 package of whole wheat macaroni
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp powdered mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
3 cups milk
2-3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup crumbled crackers

*Boil macaroni according to package instructions
*Melt butter and whisk in flour and spices
*Whisk in milk and bring to a boil until thickened
*Fold in cheese
*Mix together cheese and macaroni and pour into greased 9x13 casserole dish
*Melt butter and mix with crackers, spread on the top of the macaroni mixture
*Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes

Tofu Fingers

1 package of extra firm tofu
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper

*Cut, press, and dry fry tofu in 12 long strips
*Place in a container with the remaining and ingredients and coat well
*Bake at 375 for 30 minutes

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar night!

While planning our menu for the week I forgot about our annual Oscar party.  So tonight was a deviation from our menu and it wasn't really a meal at all. It was a lot of good food for my husband's favourite night of the year. We managed to fit a few of our good friends into our attic and feed them some delicious snacks, appetizers and desserts. To wash it all down, I made some of my very special lemonade.  What a great night!

 We had homemade (vegetarian) sushi, mozza sticks, stuffed jalapenos, veggies and dip, hummus and pitas, spinach and artichoke dip, and a curry dip.  (Not pictured: housepoets cookies and lemonade!)

I recently bought my sushi loving husband a sushi-making kit.  There couldn't have been a better night to try it out and he was so eager.  Glad they turned out :)

Mozzarella Sticks

1 block mozzarella cut into strips
3 cups panko bread crumbs
basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper
chili powder
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour

*Mix together spices and bread crumbs
*Dip cheese into flour, then egg, then bread crumbs, then egg, then bread crumbs again!
*Place on baking sheet and broil for 2-3 minutes per side

Stuffed Jalapenos
10 jalapenos
1 package of cream cheese
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp basil
salt and pepper

*Core and wash jalapenos
*Mix together rest of the ingredients and stuff jalapenos
*Place on baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil
*Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, turning once

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
3 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

*Saute garlic and spinach in olive oil for a couple of minutes
*Combine with cream cheese, mayo, parmesan, romano, and spices
*Gently mix in artichokes and transfer to a lightly greased baking dish
*Top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Chili in a bread bowl

Its been -40 (Celsius) for a few days now and we are all going a little crazy.  Seemed like the perfect day for baking bread and simmering chili; it was delicious and got us all warmed up. It was a great remedy for winter the blues.        


2 chopped onions
5 cloves of minced garlic
1 inch grated ginger
1 chopped red pepper
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped jalapeno
1 bottle of beer
2-28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
2 cans of tomato paste
2 cans of mixed beans
3 tsp cumin
3 tbsp chili powder
3 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 can of corn

*Saute onion, garlic and ginger for 5 minutes
*Add peppers and jalapeno and continue sauteing until soft
*Add beer and simmer until reduced by half
*Add rest of the ingredients except corn and bring to a boil.  Simmer for at least 1 hour (I try for the afternoon) and add corn just before serving.

Bread Bowls

1/3 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup hot water
6 3/4 tsp (3 packages) yeast
4 cups warm water
4 tbsp sugar
3 tsp salt
4 cups unbleached flour
8 cups whole wheat flour
4 tbsp vital wheat gluten

*Combine shortening, brown sugar, and hot water (let cool)
*In large bowl add yeast to warm water and let sit for 5 minutes
*Mix in sugar, salt, wheat gluten, and unbleached flour
*Stir in shortening mixture and continue adding whole wheat flour one cup at a time to make a stiff dough
*Knead well until elastic-y
*Place in a well greased bowl and cover until doubled (at least one hour)
*Punch down and divide into 12 small balls, cover and let rise for at least one more hour
*Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes
*Allow to cool and then hollow out bowls for chili or soup

Friday, February 25, 2011


As I blogged about before, we have pizza every Friday evening.  Today my eldest daughter had to rush off to swimming right away so I thought I'd tackle the calzone.  Easy enough to finish eating in the van if need be, and I could make everybody's a little bit different.  As it turned out I was also able to make enough to freeze for a few lunches in the next couple of weeks.  We had spinach and feta, veggie pepperoni and cheese, red and green pepper, and some with all of the above.  They were a giant hit, and will definitely be added to our regular meal rotation.


3 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups warm water
4 1/2 tsp yeast (2 packages)
1 tbsp honey
2 tsp salt
olive oil
(whatever fillings you want to use-mozza, cheddar, feta, peppers, garlic, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc)

*Dissolve yeast and honey with warm water, leave to foam for 10ish minutes
*Mix flours and salt, make a well and add yeast mixture
*Combine well and knead for 5-10 minutes
*Cover in oil and let rise in covered bowl for at least 1 hour
*Punch down and divide into 16 pieces
*Roll each section into a circle, spoon in filling, and fold over.
*Wet edges and use a fork to crimp the edges
*Brush the top lightly with olive oil
*Bake at 450 for 20 minutes

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shannon's French Onion Soup

Yes, this was another dinner that my husband was pining for and I was really happy at how it turned out, especially how it made my house smell. I served it with a spinach salad with walnuts, apples, aged white cheddar cheese and seasoned tofu. I brought a big serving over to my neighbour and she thought it was so pretty she should take a picture. And she did! Maybe I'll post that one too.     

French Onion Soup

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
6 onions (I used 3 yellow, 2 white, 1 sweet, and a shallot)-sliced thinly
a handful of fresh sage leaves
8 cloves of garlic, minced
sea salt and black pepper
2-3 litres of veggie broth
8 sliced of good quality stale bread, 2 cm thick
grated aged white cheddar cheese
(vegetarian) worcestershire sauce

*Put the butter oil, and sage leaves in a heavy pot on very low heat
*Add onions and saute slowly for at least 90 minutes, stirring occasionally (covered)
*Add the garlic for the last 30 minutes
*Add in broth, salt and pepper, worcestershire sauce and simmer for at least 30 minutes
*Place in bowls with bread and top with cheese
*Broil until desired crustiness ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Curried Bean Burgers

bWe seem to be eating a lot of veggie burgers lately, just can't get enough!  I was flipping through some magazines on the weekend and saw a recipe of curried pork burgers, it sounded gross BUT I thought curried bean burgers sounded DELICIOUS.  So I spent the afternoon perfecting a recipe for the couple of cans of black beans I had in my pantry.  We had a few of the quinoa rolls left from the other day so I served the burgers on those, along with a toasted quinoa salad and some roasted caulifower.

 Curried Black Bean Burgers

2 cans of black beans
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 inch grated ginger
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
3 tbsp curry paste
2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
handful chopped cilantro
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs

*Place beans in food processor and quickly pulse a few times
*Saute onion, garlic, ginger and jalepeno until softened
*Mix beans, onion mixtre and the remaining ingredients until well combined, let rest for a few minutes
*Fry in olive oil for 5 minutes per side and place on baking sheet
*Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lentil Love

I looked for a good vegetarian slow cooker cookbook for a long time.  A lot of them called for either too much processed foods, or had recipes that only needed to be cooked for 2 hours or so.  Neither one of those kinds worked for me.  I needed something I could leave in all day, and something with more fresh foods.  I finally came upon 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes, it isn't perfect but I think its pretty close!  This lentil soup recipe is one of my favourites.  I remember when my third child was born, I ate this soup every day for weeks!  I was lucky tonight, my Mom had just dropped off some fresh bannock to go with it!

Mediterranean Lentil Soup with Spinach

 1 cup dried green lentils
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds (crushed)
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 potato, peeled and grated (I don't bother with peeling)
6 cups vegetable stock
8 oz fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

*In a colander, rinse lentils thoroughly under cold running water.  Set aside.
*In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, cumin seeds and lemon zest and cook, stirring for 1 minute.  Transfer mixture to slow cooker.  Add reserved lentils, potato and stock.
*Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on High for 4-6, until vegetables are tender.  Add spinach and lemon juice.  Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until spinach is cooked and mixture is hot and bubbling.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Breakfast for supper + menu planning

Tonight was a nothing-special kind of supper, if comfort food is nothing special! One of the best things out there is breakfast for supper and tonight we had pancakes, eggs and hash browns. It wasn't gourmet but my kids were happy, as evidenced by their multiple helpings.  My eldest daughter ate 8!

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 cups milk
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla

* Sift together dry ingredients
*Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add eggs, mix
*Slowly add milk and mix again
*Add vanilla and oil
*Pour batter onto non-stick grill and wait until bubbles form at the top
*Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes

I usually do my menu planning on Sunday nights, but as its a long weekend I am working on it tonight.  I'd love to hear from you guys for some ideas for next week!  Any favourites that I should try?  Here's what I have for this week:
Tuesday: Mediterranean Lentil Soup
Wednesday: Curried Bean Burgers
Thursday: Shannon's French Onion Soup
Friday: Calzones (first try!)
Saturday: Slow Cooker Chili in Bread Bowls
Sunday: Baked Macaroni and Tofu Fingers
Monday: Sweet and Sour Lentils

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Did you miss me?

After a full 48 hours stuck in bed with a migraine, I honestly could not wait to get back in the kitchen.  The kids (except baby) are at their grandparents for the night so I took full advantage.  Lentils are one of my favourite foods as you will soon find out, and this is one of our favourite dishes!  Lentil casserole (or lentil bake as my kids love to call it) is super easy, super filling, and really just all around delicious.  I have been asked for the recipe so many times that I have now just saved it as a document to attach to the emails.

The quinoa rolls are a newer one around here.  We had our first totally vegetarian Christmas last year (past years were spent with family with our food on the side) and I wanted to find the "perfect roll" but due to chef error they did not turn out.  I  made the rolls entirely too big and they were less than appetizing.  No chef error tonight, they were delicious!

Lentil Casserole
1 chopped onion
2 minced garlic clove
3 sliced carrots
3 sliced celery
2 cups of cooked lentils
1 batch (or 3-4 cups) of chunky pasta sauce
some shakes of red pepper flakes and/or hot sauce
lots of cheddar cheese!

*Saute onions and garlic until translucent
*Add carrots and celery add saute until soft
*Add lentils, spices and sauce to mix
*Pour into a 9x13 casserole dish and top with shredded cheese
*Bake at 400 for 30 minuts
*Broil for another 5

Quinoa Dinner Rolls
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
3 tsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp active dried yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup honey plus 1 tbsp
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs whites (or you can skip and add more oil/cooked quinoa water instead)
2 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups bread flour

*Cook quinoa in 2 cups of water with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp of honey (bring to a boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes)
*In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in one cup of warm water
*Add the honey, eggs, and oil. Add the 2 cups of whole wheat flour and mix well
*Add 2 teaspoons salt and 2 cups of the bread flour and mix well
*Add quinoa (minus 1/4 cup-save for later!) and 1 more cup of flour and knead dough, adding last cup of flour as needed 
*Knead dough until dough is smooth and fairly stiff
*Place dough in oiled bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours
*Punch down and divide into (at least) 16 rolls.
 *Place seam down on baking sheet, and brush tops with margarine and reserved quinoa
*Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then lower the heat and bake for another 15-20 minutes

Thursday, February 17, 2011


We had a pretty easy meal today.  Some "dry fried" tofu in a simple marinade, stir fried veggies (broccoli, red and green pepper, green beans, carrots, and celery) and some chow mein noodles.  I only recently heard about the dry-frying method for tofu, and it works fantastic!  Great consistency, and good absorption of flavours. 

Tofu Marinade
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/8 cup rice vinegar
2 cloves of minced garlic
1 inch grated ginger
2 chopped green onions
2 tbsp sesame oil
chopped parsley
juice from half a lemon
1 tsp brown sugar
dash red pepper flakes

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Black Bean Burgers

I wrote in my facebook status a few weeks ago about my new black bean burger recipe.  I must have gotten asked for the recipe at least 10 times!  Honestly, these are the easiest, most delicious veggie burgers I have ever made.  The best part is that you can use it with any kind of bean.  So far I have only tried "mixed beans" and black beans.

I got the recipe from this cookbook that I got for Christmas  this year.  I can't even imagine how much it will get used this summer once we can finally bbq again!  I served it with a simple salad and some yam fries (with a touch of cumin...ha!)

Black Bean Burgers
3 cups of black beans
4 eggs, beaten
4 tsp dijon mustard
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
salt and pepper
juice from half a lemon
olive oil

*Preheat the oven to 375
*In a mixing bowl, mash the beans.  Fold in the rest of the ingredients (minus the oil) and let sit for 5-10 minutes for the crumbs to soak up some of the moisture.  This step is very important!
*Form into 8 patties and cook in a frying pan (in the oil) for 6-10 minutes, flipping once.
*Transfer to a pan and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes

I hope you are all enjoying reading this blog as much as I am enjoying writing in it.  For now though, I am going to enjoy a quiet house as my husband has taken all 4 children out.  *Bliss*

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Slow Cooker Tuesday!

Tuesdays are a busy day in our house.  With 4 kids going in 4 different directions and only one vehicle to take them in, there isn't usually time in the afternoon to prepare a healthy meal.  Today I decided to make one of my favourite recipes, Chickpea Curry!  Served with some brown rice and samosas (from India Palace) that I had my husband pick up on his way home from work.

Chickpea Curry

Olive oil
1 chopped large onion
4 minced cloves of garlic
1.5 inch grated ginger
3 carrots
3 tsp cumin
3 tsp curry powder
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp turmeric
dash of cinnamon
salt and pepper
1 chopped green pepper
3/4 cup green beans (cut into 1 inch sections)
28 ounce can of diced tomato in juices 
1/4 cup vegetable stock
2 cans of chickpeas (rinsed)
3 cups spinach
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp garam masala

*Saute onion, garlic, ginger, and carrots in olive oil, put into slow cooker
*Pour can of tomatoes into large bowl and use immersion blender to make it slightly less chunky (more than crushed, less than diced seems to be popular with my kids)
*Add tomatoes and all ingredients except, spinach, milk, and garam masala to the crock pot
*Cook on low for 7-8 hours
*Add spinach, coconut milk, and garam masala - cook for another 20 minutes

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'll spare you the details of my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad (moving to Australia kind of) day and just mention that today I really needed some comfort food.  And what is more comforting than spaghetti and meat (lentil) balls?  And for good measure, even some chocolate cake!

Anyone that knows me, knows that I LOVE lentils.  I firmly believe that you can make anything with them.  So while searching for some kind of non-meat meat balls a few months ago, I was most excited to find this recipe.  Super simple, super delicious, and super consistency when mixed with the sauce.  Its one of my favourite vegan recipes!  I also made a side salad and a very chunky vegetable tomato sauce.

Chunky Pasta Sauce
Olive oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves of finely chopped garlic
3 sliced carrots
3 sliced celery stalks
1 chopped red pepper
as many tomatoes as you can find! (chopped and seeded)
1 tsp each cumin, parsley, basil, oregano
salt and pepper
1 cup of vegetable broth
Tomato Paste
1 tbsp brown sugar

*Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent
*Add rest of the vegetables (minus tomatoes) and continue sauteing until soft
*add spices, broth, paste and sugar and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until reduced
*add tomatoes and simmer on low for as long as you can (at least 45 minutes in this house)
*Use immersion blender (or food processor or blender) and blend until desired consistency!

Lentil Balls 
I usually have to double this recipe to feed our family
1 cup cooked lentils
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for spraying/brushing on lentil-balls
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs 
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
(and I always add cumin 1/2 tsp)
*preheat oven to 375
*In a blender or food processor or using an immersion blender, puree the lentils with the olive oil, soy sauce, and vegetable broth
*mix together the dry ingredients and the spices
*Add the lentil puree to the dry ingredients and stir until a ball is formed. Knead the ball for a few minutes until the gluten is stringy. The ball will also "pull together" a little at this point. If it seems really wet and isn't coming together, add extra gluten 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency
*Roll out about 2 tbsp of dough into balls and put them on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone sheet, or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spray or brush the balls lightly with olive oil, then flip them over and get the bottom oiled too
*Bake for 20 minutes, then turn them over, and bake for another 15 minutes. They will firm up more once they're out of the oven 

 I know I said we don't usually eat dessert.  But, today was an exception! Mini heart shaped chocolate cakes with delicious butter cream icing.  Just what I needed!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Casserole Sunday

My friend Shannon and I recently had a talk about how neurotic we were for designating certain days of the week to a certain way to cook food or to certain foods. For example, our family has Slow Cooker Tuesday and Pizza Fridays. What is quickly become another of those designated days is Casserole Sunday. My husband has been pining for the "meal of his childhood" for a little while now, that meal being Chicken Fried Rice Casserole. We all have those specials meals that we remember as adults, the ones we loved as kids. So, I took on the task and tonight we had (Veggie) Chicken Fried Rice Casserole. I've had this phyllo pastry in my freezer for a little bit and decided to make Veggie Spring Rolls as a side along with steamed brocolli. All in all, it was a great success! 

(Veggie) Chicken Fried Rice Casserole

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup soya sauce
4 tsp vegetable bouillon
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1 chopped onion
2 stalks chopped celery
1 chopped red pepper
1 recipe of this mock chicken, or one package of pre-made stuff

*Mix all ingredients together and cook in covered casserole dish for 1 hour @ 350

Vegetarian Spring Rolls
1 cup bean sprouts
Handful cabbage (julienne)
3 carrots (julienne)
1 red pepper (diced)
1 inch ginger (grated)
3 garlic cloves (diced)
3 green onion (julienne)
1 tbsp soya sauce
juice from one lemon
cilantro (to taste)
12 phyllo pastry sheets

*Mix all ingredients together (minus the phyllo sheets of course!)
*Saute in oil for just a couple minutes
*Lay one phyllo sheet out and spray with olive oil, cover with one more sheet and repeat.
*Cut sheets in 4 lengthwise
*Spoon 1-2 tbsp filling on each section and roll
*Place rolls on baking sheet, seam down, and spray again with olive oil
*Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until slightly crispy

We rarely have dessert in our house.  Mostly because I am a sugar FIEND and would eat it all.  Casserole Sundays though, I mean... that calls for a desert, right??  Tonight I made Angel Food Cupcakes with fresh whip cream and sliced strawberries.  There isn't even a crumb leftover, seriously.  

Angel Food Cupcakes  taken from here

3/4 cup sugar (divided)
1/2 cup flour
5 large egg whites (room temperature)
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup whipping cream
 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sugar

*Sift together the flour and 1/4 cup of sugar in small bowl
*In larger bowl beat eggs until frothy
*add cream of tartar, rest of sugar and salt and beat until soft peak forms, add vanilla
*Fold in Flour mixture
*Spoon into muffin tin and bake @ 350 for 16-18 minutes

*Whip together cream, vanilla and sugar until soft peak forms
*Top cupcakes with cream mixture and sliced berries!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Veggie Tortiere (meat pie)

The other day I asked my husband for something he'd like on our weekly menu. He thought about it for a moment, then he told me he wanted meat pie, something he loved before going vegetarian. I like trying to make new things but didn't have anything like that in my cookbooks, but I did find this recipe. It looked promising but also made me a bit nervous. A meat pie made from cauliflower and walnuts? Despite reservations, I plunged right in. Tonight was the night and my veggie tortiere was a bit hit, especially with my husband.  I would only change a few things.  One, I would bake the "meat" less, it was a little overcooked at 1 hour.  And two, no liqud smoke... I didn't appreciate that taste much, but my husband did.  I served it with some mashed potatoes with vegetarian gravy and steamed broccoli and carrots.

First Post

I've been considering starting a food blog all week.  In anticipation I decided to take a few pictures of our meals from the week.  What a great way to start off!  Please don't judge my picture taking abilities, its the food that counts :)

 Vegan Cinnamon French Toast with Blueberry Compote
 Easy Mixed-Bean Burger with a side salad and steamed asparagus
White Three Cheese and Spinach pizza, Cheese Pizza, and Raw Veggies

So here we go!  I hope this blog works out better than the last few tries, and I hope you enjoy the ride! Up next, tonights dinner...