Vegan Corn Zucchini Stuffed Shells

Stuffed shells are one of my favorite foods. But, they often tend to be on the unhealthy side with the different cheeses and sometimes meat. Because I am slowly changing my eating habits, I decided to try and make vegan stuffed shells instead. I have to admit I was a little skeptical. The stuffed shells to my surprise were delicious. I used organic vegetables, non-GMO tofu and whole grain pasta. At first, I thought that maybe the extra-firm tofu was not a good idea, but the tofu worked well in the recipe. Enjoy!

Vegan Corn Zucchini Stuffed Shells
Created 7/10/14

corn.zucchini.stuffedshells

1 cup of organic corn (cut off the cob, or frozen and thawed)
1 large zucchini, chopped into bite size pieces
½ of a medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons of vegetable stock or olive oil
1 garlic clove minced
1 package (15.5 ounce) organic non-gmo extra firm tofu
1 (8 ounce) bag of Dayia shredded Mozzarella cheese
¼ cup of fresh minced parsley
Zest of a lemon and the juice
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
1 jar of tomato basil marinara sauce
Salt/Pepper for flavor
28 large pasta shells cooked and drained

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a pot of boiling salted water, add the pasta shells and cook for approximately 6 to 8 minutes. The shells need to be firm and not soft as they will continue to cook in the oven.

It is important to drain the tofu well. Otherwise the filling will be very watery. I used an upside down colander and put the tofu on top, then a small plate weighed down with a heavy bowl to drain a lot of the liquid out. Drain for approximately 10 minutes.

In a large sauté pan, heat up the vegetable stock or olive oil over medium heat and add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, add more stock if needed. Add the corn and cook for another 3 minutes. Then, add the zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes, remove from the heat and add the minced garlic. The heat from the vegetables will cook the garlic. Set aside and cool.

In a large bowl, crumble the tofu up with your fingers and add the nutritional yeast. Add ½ of the cheese, sautéed vegetables, zest, lemon juice, and parsley. Mix well.

In a 9 x 13 casserole dish, spread 1/2 cup of tomato sauce on the bottom of the dish. Set aside. Stuff the shells with the tofu mixture and lay in the casserole dish. After all the shells are stuffed, cover the top of the shells with the balance of the marinara sauce. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella cheese on the shells.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese has melted. Remove the foil and turn on the broiler for a few minutes to brown and bubble the cheese. Remove from the heat when done.

Serve with a lightly seasoned arugula or green salad.

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Meagan’s Black Bean Burgers

The quest for vegetarian/vegan (V) burgers continues. These burgers were eaten at my friend’s cousin’s wedding shower and the flavors were awesome. I am simply naming these burgers after her. The original recipe came from “Smells Like Home”. I made some adjustments to the recipe to make them gluten free, but they are not vegan because of the eggs. Instead of panko bread crumbs, I used quick minute oatmeal. This is a truly versatile burger. Enjoy!

Meagan’s Black Bean Burgers
Created on 7/8/14

blackbean.burgers

Ingredients
¾ cup quick minute oatmeal
4 tablespoons of olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons
2 (15-oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 medium carrot, diced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions
In a sauté pan, with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, over medium high heat toast the oatmeal until lightly browned. Set aside.

In a large bowl, use a fork to mash 2-1/2 cups of black beans. Add the eggs, cumin cayenne pepper, carrot, cilantro, the remaining black beans, and browned oatmeal, mix well. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will help form the patties.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal parts and shape into patties. Place the patties on wax or parchment paper covered tray and chill again for 10 minutes. Cover patties with plastic wrap if chilling longer for 10 minutes.

In the same pan that was used to toast the oatmeal, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook 3 of the patties over medium heat until browned and cooked through (about 5 minutes on each side). Cook the remaining 3 patties with another 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Serve with your favorite burger toppings.

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Lentil Burgers

Vegetarian / Vegan (V) Burgers are a huge deal to me. I am extremely picky about burgers especially trying to cut the animal products out of my diet. Tofu (soy) I do not eat often and soy is often used as the main ingredient for (V) burgers. I am a researcher on a quest for healthy eating and nutrition. During my quest for (V) burgers I came across this recipe from a runner’s blog called scottjurek.com so I cannot take credit for this burger but I can praise this one to the moon and back. I modified the burger ingredients to suit my needs and taste. Enjoy!

Lentil Burgers

LentilBurger

Ingredients
2-1/4 cups cooked Lentils
3 garlic cloves minced
1-1/4 cups finely chopped shallots
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
2 cups Old Fashioned Oatmeal (pulsed finely in food processor)
½ cup ground flax seed meal
3 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1-1/2 cups fresh coarsely chopped spinach (not baby spinach) you can also use Kale (just remove the stems from spinach or Kale)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
½ teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions
Use a food chopper to finely chop the food that requires a fine chop. This is a huge time saver.

Combine the walnuts, oatmeal, flax seed meal, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and paprika in a large bowl and mix well.

In a large pan sauté the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and spinach in olive oil for about 10 minutes, set aside. In another bowl, add the lentils, balsamic vinegar and mustard: mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until a thick paste forms.

Add the sautéed vegetables, oatmeal mixture to the lentils and mix well. Cool in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or more.

With hands, form burger patties to the desired size and place on wax paper. Lightly fry in the large sauté pan the vegetables were cooked in. The burgers can be broiled or grilled. Cook the burgers until lightly crisp, approximately 5 minutes on each side.

Serve with your favorite toppings like lightly seasoned olive oil and vinegar arugula, Bibb lettuce, or spinach along with tomato and avocado.

Uncooked patties can be frozen between wax paper in plastic bags wrapped. This recipe makes about 10 nice size burgers.

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Sauteed Vegetables with Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

This recipe was created on Easter Sunday. I did not want to eat the traditional foods that are normally served on Easter because Ham and the sides tends to have a lot of carbs, fat and sodium in it and there are consequences for me when I eat foods with too much of these things. This is an excellent dish as a meal or a side. This was one of the recipes that are vegan/vegetarian friendly. I used my favorite vegetables and beans for this sautéed stir fry dish. Enjoy!

Mixed Sautéed Vegetables with Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing
Created on 04/20/14

Easter04.14vegetables
Ingredients
1 pound fresh asparagus cut into bite size pieces
2 medium zucchini sliced medallion style
4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced diagonally
1 bag of organic non-gmo frozen corn
1 pint of cherry tomatoes cleaned and halved
1 cup of chopped green onions (approximately a bunch)
10 ounces of crimini mushrooms wiped clean and sliced thick
1 can of organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup of vegetable stock
Salt/pepper to taste

Lemon Vinaigrette (In a small jar with tight fitting lid – add the following ingredients)
1 full lemon squeezed
1 tablespoon of honey
Salt / pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of Stone ground Dijon Mustard
3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

Put all the ingredients in the jar, shake well and set aside.

Heat about 3 tablespoons of vegetable stock in a wok over high heat. This process will go very fast. Remember to season each batch of vegetables with salt and pepper suited to your taste. Sautee the carrots for about 5 to 7 minutes; you want the texture to be medium soft and remove and transfer to the serving platter. Then add about 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock and the mushrooms and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, remove and transfer to the platter. Add more stock as needed and continue to cook the zucchini, asparagus, and green onions for additional 3 to 5 minutes and add to the vegetables previously added to the platter. Add the corn, tomatoes and garbanzo beans until fully heated through and transfer to the serving platter.

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Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots, Cranberries and Orange Vinaigrette

This is a repost due to many requests for this recipe on Facebook and my personal emails. I modified this recipe so many times and this is the most favorite so far. I originally posted this on March 6, 2010 so it is really nice to get requests for this recipe often.  I am fascinated with grain and seed salads. It is hard to believe that these little tiny kernels of seeds pack such a powerful healthy punch. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein. I made a salad as part of a birthday lunch for a friend and it was a huge hit. The original salad recipe came from a friend of mine’s mothers recipes. Where she got it I am not sure. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots, Cranberries and Orange Vinaigrette
Created recipe on 03/06/2010, revamped often, most favorite 04/25/14

Quinoa Salad Picture

To cook the quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (this is important because of the coating on the seeds. It tastes bitter when not rinsed well.
2 cups water
Salt lightly (optional)

Bring the water to a boil in a 3 quart pan. Add the salt and quinoa. Return to a boil and then reduce the heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15 minutes until the whole seed then cracks open and pops. This will make about 2 cups of cooked Quinoa. Transfer the cooked quinoa in a large bowl.

Ingredients
1/3 cup of slivered almonds
1/3 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup dried apricots diced into small pieces
1/3 cup cran-raisins
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 2 large oranges)
1 green onion thinly chopped
1/2 English cucumber, minced
2 tablespoons fresh minced Italian parsley
2 tablespoons fresh minced chives
2 tablespoons fresh minced mint
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, organic canola oil, or grape seed oil

Toast the slivered almonds on a stone or cookie tray in 350 degree oven for approximately 3 to 5 minutes until the almonds are golden brown. It may take more time depending on your stove.

Dice the dried apricots into small mini size pieces and toss with the cran-raisins in the large bowl with the cooked quinoa. Add the minced parsley, chives, green onion, English cucumber and fresh mint to the mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the cumin, coriander, orange juice. Whisk in the oil until well blended. Before serving, pour dressing over quinoa mixture and toss well with fork. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and almonds over the grain salad and serve.

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Broccoli and Cheese Quiche

I made this for a friend who is vegetarian and part of a birthday dinner. I saw this recipe years ago but I cannot remember where. This is a great recipe because low-fat ingredients were used and there is no pie crust. Works great for those who are really counting their carbs and is very diabetic friendly. This quiche is absolutely delicious and for those of you watching the waistline – Weight Watcher points is only a big whopping 3 points! For a nice change, you can substitute 5 cups of fresh spinach for the broccoli.

Broccoli and Cheese Quiche
Created on 11/30/13
Quiche

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic minced
5 cups broccoli florets (I used 1-1/2 bags of frozen broccoli)
1-1/4 cups of 2% milk
1 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 large egg whites, lightly beaten
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 Tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  I used my deep dish stoneware (you can use a glass pie plate lightly wiped down with olive oil).

Heat oil in large saute pan over medium high heat, add onion garlic and cook for 1-1/2 minutes stirring often. Add broccoli, and saute until broccoli is heated through. Spread evenly in pie plate.

Quiche_Ingredients_1

Combine milk, cheese, mustard, egg whites, eggs, salt, pepper and nutmeg in large bowl. Pour over broccoli mixture in pie pan; and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Quiche_Ingredients_2

Bake for 40 minutes or until top is golden and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Broccoli Asparagus Quinoa Salad

Sunday was the first day of Daylight Savings Time. The day was a gorgeous, crisp and sunny fall day. Drove around doing errands and showing my friends around Columbus. They wanted to visit the Whole Foods on Route 161 in Dublin. Awesome Store! I had researched earlier on the internet for recipes for the week and to prepare for my dinner party on Wednesday and came across a blog called detoxinista.com and saw some recipes I wanted to try. This one is similar to what we know as Broccoli, Rice and Cheese casseroles. I remember my mom making this with Cream of Celery Soup, frozen broccoli, lots of cheese and white rice. Now that I think about it, ick! I made this recipe and tweaked it some to suit my tastes and was it was amazing! This recipe has no dairy or cream of “something” soup. Tasted just like the real Broccoli and Cheese Casserole. I wish I can take credit for this recipe but I cannot! Most Excellent!

Broccoli, Asparagus Quinoa Casserole
Created on 11/3/13

photo (18)

For the “mock” cheese sauce:
1 cup cooked mashed sweet potato (I microwaved mine for 5 minutes)
1-1/2 cups of water
¼ cup of Bragg’s nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon of chili powder

To put the casserole together:
1 cup of dry quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups of water
2 teaspoon of olive oil
½ onion, chopped
2-1/2 cups of broccoli florets
2-1/2 cups of roasted asparagus (this is optional, just adjust the choice of vegetables to equal 5 cups)

Instructions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To cook the quinoa, put water and rinsed quinoa in a pan, bring the water to a boil and add the quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa was plumped up. Fluff with a fork gently and set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, in a large sauté pan, on medium high heat, add the oil and onions. Sauté for about 5 minutes till the onions are translucent (shiny) and tender. Add the broccoli florets and 2 tablespoons of water to the sauté pan and mix well. Cover and steam the broccoli for about 10 minutes until tender but not mushy.

In a blender, in order add the water, mashed sweet potato, nutritional yeast, salt, onion powder and chili powder until creamy and smooth.

Combine the quinoa and sautéed vegetables in a large bowl and add the sweet potato cream and combine well. Spread in a large casserole dish or deep dish stoneware. Bake for 10 minutes until bubbly and hot. I cooked mine for 45 minutes and the top was a little bit dark but I think it deepened the flavor.

Serve the casserole with a Green Salad.

Sauteed Cauliflower Bites

I am slowly changing my food plans and the way I prepare food to a more defined healthier way of life. It is a work in progress for me because I go back to my old unhealthy habits often. I was researching on the internet one day and came across this recipe. What attracted me to the recipe was the cauliflower. I am a huge fan of cauliflower but I run out of ideas to cook the cauliflower. Most of the time, I just steam the vegetables or roast the cauliflower with garlic. I made this recipe adjusting the recipe using oatmeal as the bread crumbs. I cannot take complete credit for this recipe, but I do not remember where I saw this. The dish is absolutely divine.

Sautéed Cauliflower Bites

Cauliflower Bites
1 large head of cauliflower broken down into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cup of Kalamata olives, seeds removed and chopped
½ cup of fresh parsley chopped fine
¾ cup of oatmeal
Freshly cracked pepper

In a large sauté pan, heat up the olive oil over medium heat. Single layer the cauliflower in the pan and the cauliflower does not overlap. Resist the temptation to stir the cauliflower. The cauliflower will brown in the pan and develop a caramel color after ten minutes, give or take. Stir the cauliflower to try and brown the other side.

Add the chopped Kalamata olives and stir until heated well. The salty brine from the olives will flavor the cauliflower.

In a food processor, add the oatmeal and grind to like bread crumbs. Add the oatmeal to the cauliflower mixture. The oatmeal will absorb the extra oil and brine from the olives and toast in the pan.

Sprinkle with the freshly chopped parsley and serve as a side dish or by itself with a nice green salad. Most excellent!

Cauliflower BitesPam Tips:

This recipe is good side dish with chicken or fish.

For a more intense flavor, add 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped drained capers which will bring a more salty, textured flavor to the dish.

Watermelon Feta Spinach Salad

Summer is here. I’ve been taking advantage of the summer flavors of fruits and vegetables. Nothing compares like going to the store or farmer’s markets and buying fresh veggies and making simple salads. Watermelon is an excellent complement to a green salad. The flavors of the saltiness of Feta cheese and the sweetness of watermelon really make this salad irresistible. I love it and I highly recommend it. Enjoy!

Watermelon Feta Spinach Salad
Created on 06/05/13

Click on picture to see a larger image
This salad makes enough servings for 2 people. For more servings just double the recipe to the size you need.

Salad:
4 large handfuls organic baby spinach washed and dried
1 cup of cubed seedless watermelon
¾ cup Feta cheese

Dressing:
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 cup olive oil

Whisk all dressing ingredients well. You can adjust the flavors of the dressing to suit to your taste. I did not add any sugar to the dressing because the balsamic vinegar was already sweet to me. If it is not sweet to you, add ½ teaspoon of brown sugar – whisk well and adjust accordingly.

Put all salad ingredients in a bowl, drizzle dressing on top, toss well and serve.

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Tex-Mex Lasagna

I think that Mexican food is everyone’s favorite, but we do know that sometimes Mexican food can be high in fat, calories, and carbs if we make the recipes with flour tortillas, beef, and lots of cheese. I found this recipe years ago in a magazine called Taste of Home “Light & Tasty” and modified the recipe to suit me. I love my vegetarian version. I do plan to try to make this recipe using Nutritional Yeast instead of cheese soon. I have an addiction to cheese and am working on weaning this out of my diet. The vegetarian recipe is excellent and so is the beef version. Enjoy!

Tex-Mex Lasagna

Click on the photo to see a larger image

1 lb. Lean ground beef or if you want to make vegetarian recipe (use Morningstar or Simply Organic Crumbles)
1 can (16 oz.) Refried black beans
1 can (15 oz.) Black beans drained and rinsed well
¾ cup Organic frozen corn
1 Jalapeno pepper seeded and chopped (this is optional – will depend on how spicy you like your Mexican food)
1 envelope Taco Seasoning (I suggest you make your own because of too many preservatives and additives in the packets)

Pam’s Home-made Taco Seasoning (sometimes I make a lot tripling the recipe and then I store in a glass container with tightly covered lid this lasts me about 2 or 3 months)
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of Paprika
1 teaspoon of Cumin
1 teaspoon of Chili Powder
½ teaspoon of salt and pepper each
Mix well in a bowl and season your meat or vegetarian crumbles to your taste

1 can (15 oz.) Muir Glenn tomato sauce (or your favorite brand)
2-1/2 cups Salsa (your favorite brand) Mild/Medium/Hot flavors
12 Soft Corn tortillas
3 cups Low-Fat Monterey Jack/Colby cheese blend or your favorite Mexican Cheese blend (shredded)
Optional: Low-Fat sour cream, avocado, green onions as toppings

In a large skillet, brown the beef until cooked thoroughly or the crumbles are heated through. Stir in the refried beans, beans, corn, jalapeno, taco seasoning and ¾ cup of the tomato sauce. Mix well.

Combine the salsa and the remaining tomato sauce. Spread ¼ cup of the salsa tomato sauce mixture into a greased 13”x 9”baking dish. Layer 4 corn tortillas (these will overlap each other). Spread half of the meat or vegetarian mixture on top of corn tortillas, then spread 1 cup of the salsa mixture over meat or vegetarian mixture, 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Repeat the layers, top with remaining corn tortillas, salsa mixture and cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake @ 350° F for about 45-5 minutes or until the edges are bubbly and the cheese is melted.(IMPORTANT) Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting, if don’t wait 10 minutes the lasagna will break apart and be messy.

Serve with Sour Cream, Avocado and onions. Makes 12 servings and the leftovers freeze very well.

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