Versatile Sloppy Joes

This recipe works well with 3 different types of proteins. This dish has been made with lentils, vegetarian crumbles or grass fed ground beef. Loving the tangy flavor with the tartness of the vinegar, along with adding fiber, and vegetables creates this into a very healthy recipe. What’s so great about this? Tweaking the ingredients to suit your taste buds is the key in making this recipe most excellent!!

Pam’s Very Versatile Sloppy Joe’s
Created 3/20/17

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Basic Sloppy Joes Ingredients (for all the proteins) 
Prepare the proteins first before adding all the ingredients
2 tablespoons of olive oil, coconut oil, or vegetable broth
1 additional cup of water or vegetable broth
1/2 or 1 chopped large onion (depending on the protein used, ground beef – large onion, other proteins – 1/2 onion and it depends on how much onion-y flavor you want)
1 medium carrot
4 minced garlic cloves or 2 tsp garlic powder(For picky eaters, put carrot, garlic, and onion in food processor and mince, these things can be hidden well)Salt/Pepper (optional)
2 cups of organic ketchup
1/8 cup dark molasses (if not have, use brown sugar)
2 to 3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (can use what you have in house)
2 or 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce 

Pick your protein
1 lb of protein (grass fed ground beef, vegetarian crumbles, or 1 cup of green lentils)

  • For ground beef or vegetarian crumbles add – 1 can of pink beans, drained. If you want, put beans in with vegetables in processor. If your family likes beans, no need to process the beans. Brown the ground beef with onions in oil or broth until cooked. Add the vegetables with or without the beans and cook until translucent about 7 to 10 minutes.
  • For lentils, cook the lentils with oil or the broth, vegetables with or without the beans, cook until translucent about 7 to 10 minutes.  You will need to add broth or water to soften the lentils with the other ingredients. You may need more liquid because lentils absorb liquids quickly.
  • For the vegetarian crumbles, cook with oil or the broth, vegetables with or without the beans and cook until translucent about 7 to 10 minutes. Broth or water may need to be added to prevent sticking.

Add all the rest of the ingredients with the water or broth, mix well. Adjust the flavors, as needed. Simmer for 20 minutes until all the flavors are combined and cooked. For the lentils, cooking time can be up to 30/40 mins.

Baked Tofu

This is a great recipe for vegans, vegetarians or a meatless meal with a salad and beans. This is also good in wraps with sliced tomatoes, pea shoots, shredded carrots, sliced cucumbers and drizzled with olive oil. For me, I think that baked tofu has better flavor than stir fried or deep-fried tofu. I used Non-GMO, organic tofu for this recipe. Enjoy!

Baked Tofu
Made October 15, 2015

BakedTofu
Prep:
Drain water from the packaged tofu. Wrap the tofu in paper towels to remove the excess water, put on a bowl, then top with a plate and something heavy to help squeeze out the excess water, for approximately 1 hour.

While tofu is being prepped, make the marinade in a bowl.

3 tablespoons Braggs Amino Acids
1/4 cup raw honey (for vegans can use maple syrup instead)
1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mix well, and place marinade in a gallon Ziploc bag or a container with a lid. Slice the tofu in even 1” slices and place the tofu in the Ziploc bag or container with a lid, and marinate for 4 hours. Overnight is better, brings out the excellent flavor, when baked.

Put tofu on parchment lined cookie tray or Pampered Chef stoneware bar pan. Bake 350 degrees for about an hour till center is springy to touch.

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Sausage Cacciatore

I make this dish often and especially when I have guests over. Very easy and versatile. I often use different types of sausages with this dish to create a diversity. The prep time is simple. This is excellent with a simple green salad. Sometimes I use purple potatoes mixed with baby red potatoes. When using fresh ingredients, the flavors are incredible. 

Sausage Cacciatore
First made in October 2016

sausagecacciatore
Ingredients
1-pound sweet Italian sausage links, bulk or patties. If use fresh sausage, remove the meat from casing and break up into bite-size pieces. If using pre-cooked flavored sausages from brands like Applegate or Al Fresca already cooked, just cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces.
2-3 lbs. baby red potatoes cut into cubes. If small potatoes, just half them.
1/2-pound mushrooms, quartered or halved, depends on the size big or small. Can use either button or crimini, or both.
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 – 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 28-ounce can crush tomatoes with Italian herbs, or 1 pint of halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 bunch, flat-leaf parsley, chopped (optional)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet or 9 x 13 baking dish and cook, tossing occasionally, for 15 minutes.

Add the raw sausage and cook for another 10 minutes. (see notes). Toss the 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the tomatoes and/or pre-cooked sausage (see notes) to the vegetables and stir to coat.

Arrange the mixture in an even layer and continue cooking for 15 minutes.
Take out of oven and sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley (optional).

Notes
If using raw sausage from links, patties or bulk, break up meat and the cook time is 10 minutes (no olive oil, then add the tomatoes with the 1 tablespoon olive oil and cook for another 15 minutes.

If using pre-cooked sausages from brands like Applegate or Al Fresca, add the sausage with the halved tomatoes and 1 tablespoon olive oil and the cook time is not as long as the raw sausage time.

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Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Every year on Thanksgiving, I see my beloved Sweet Potatoes / Yams traditionally swimming in fattening things like butter, marshmallows, and brown sugar. Sorry, for the bluntness but I always think to myself, what a terrible way to ruin a perfect healthy food. This recipe I found on the Food Network with Chef Tyler Florence so I cannot take credit for this one. I was thrilled to see this recipe because it is Gluten Free and Vegan. It could be Paleo friendly too, if honey is on the Paleo list. I am still learning the Paleo way so this recipe may not be Paleo friendly. The sweet potatoes sweetened with just right amount of honey and the cinnamon really makes it wonderful. I love this recipe and it is definitely worth keeping.

Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Created on 11/18/14

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Ingredients
Serves 4 people, Preheat oven to 375 degrees
(Double this, it is worth it for leftovers)

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
¼ cup of olive oil or coconut oil
¼ cup of honey
3 teaspoons of cinnamon

Toss all ingredients well in a bowl and spread single layer on a cookie sheet or a Pampered Chef Large Stoneware Bar Pan. (Cook Note: invest in the Pampered Chef Large Stoneware Bar Pan – it is worth it and you will use it all the time). Roast for approximately 25 to 30 minutes until sweet potatoes caramelize from the honey. Serve with any meal. It does not have to be Thanksgiving. Most Excellent!

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Vegan Cashew Cheese

This is the first time I made this and I was impressed. I am a huge fan of cream cheese but because my diet is changing, I decided to try this Cashew Cream. I found this recipe on “luminousvegans.com” I modified the recipe because of taste. I wanted more flavor than the original recipe. What an amazing thing to make. It is wonderful on toast, in mashed cauliflower and on crackers. I highly recommend this.

Cashew Cream

Created on 11/19/14

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2 cups of raw cashews (soaked for 4 hours)
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons almond milk
2 tablespoons tahini
1-tablespoon onion powder
1-teaspoon kosher salt

Drain cashews from water and put in a high-speed blender. Add the remaining ingredients and process on high until smooth. Adjust the seasonings to your liking. Store in a container for up to a week in the refrigerator.

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Banana Oatmeal Raisin Bites

The not eating gluten, sugar and keeping my food plan simple is a daily challenge but I will not give up. Today, I had a really terrible craving for cookies and have seen this posted a few times on Facebook and Pinterst. This recipe grabbed my interest so I went ahead and made the snacks. It is not sweet like I pictured but to keep things clean in my food plan it was good for me to try this. I cannot take full credit for this as the recipe has been floating around for a while. Enjoy!

Banana Oatmeal Raisin Bites

Created on 10/04/14

 

Banana.Oatmeal.Raisin.Bites

Ingredients
3 ripe bananas mashed well

2 cups of oatmeal

1/3 cup of applesauce

1/4 cup of Almond milk

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of vanilla

1/2 cup of raisins

Directions
Mix all ingredients well and put tablespoon size bites on a cookie tray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 mins.

Note: you can substitute raisins with Vegan chocolate chips

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Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf

I have been looking an awfully long time for a decent Lentil Loaf that does not have cheese, gluten (wheat bread crumbs), and eggs. I was browsing the web and came across this recipe from Oh She Glows website and modified some ingredients to match my food plan. I cannot take credit for this, Oh She Glows rocks! This Lentil Walnut Loaf is just simply amazing. The texture reminds me so much of meat loaf, I ate 2 slices in one sitting. My only regret was not having enough glaze to dip the loaf in when I was eating it. Definitely making double glaze next time. I do not think I will ever try another lentil loaf recipe again and will attempt to make burgers out this recipe. Will keep you all posted! Enjoy!!

Vegan Lentil Walnut Loaf
(From Oh She Glows, modified)
Created on 9/30/2014

Walnut.Lentil.Loaf
Ingredients
1 cup dry lentils, washed and picked through for stones, twigs
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3 tablespoons of ground flax seed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ of a large onion, minced
1 large celery stick chopped, fine
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium apple, grated – I used Golden Delicious
1 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon of flax seed meal
½ cup gluten free oats grounded into oat flour with food processor
¾ cup GF breadcrumbs – 2 slices of gluten free bread, toasted and processed with food processor

For the glaze
3 tablespoons organic ketchup
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup

In a medium pot, cook the lentils with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 40 to 45 minutes until all the stock is absorbed. Stir often so lentils do not stick to the bottom. When the lentils are cooked and the stock is absorbed, set aside and cool.

While lentils are cooking, toast walnuts in the oven at 350 degrees for approximately 6 to 8 minutes and cool. Prepare the flax egg, in a measuring cup add 3 tablespoons of flax meal with ½ cup of warm water, stir well and set aside. The flax meal will thicken some into a gel-like consistency.

In a large skillet, heat up olive oil over medium heat and add the onions, garlic, carrot, celery, apple for about 5 minutes and add the walnuts. Season the sautéed vegetables with salt, pepper and thyme. Set aside.

Mix the processed oats, breadcrumbs and the 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal in a large bowl. Add the cooked vegetables and ¼ of the cooked lentils in the bowl. In the food processor, add the 3/4 of the cooked lentils and process until fairly smooth – there will be some lentils still whole. Add the mixture to the bowl. Add the flax egg meal and stir everything well. Use your hands to mix if need to.

In a lined with parchment paper loaf pan, dump the lentil mixture and press down well with fingers. Smooth out the top.

Mix the glaze ingredients together and top on the loaf. Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the loaf set for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and slice into 8 or 9 nice thick slices.

Note: Oh She Glows had ¼ cup of raisins in her loaf and 1 tablespoon of apple butter mixed in the glaze. I did not have these ingredients in my pantry and just added another tablespoon of ketchup instead. I still thought the loaf was ahhmazing!!

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