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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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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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

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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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I Am Missing Summer Saute Vegetables

Today was such a depressing rainy day. The skies loaded with white snow clouds and wind. Yuck! I was missing summer today. I miss the warm sun on my face. For dinner, I threw together in a sauté pan heated up with olive oil some of my favorite vegetables; white corn, Edamame, zucchini that I grated from the weekend trips to the farmer’s market, and mushrooms. Added some fresh herbs that were on sale this week dill and curly parsley. I imagine Thyme would be wonderful too if wanted to change up on the herbs, even Rosemary. Hmmm! The flavors were so fresh and crisp just like coming home from the farmer’s market and having a barbeque with all these fresh vegetables. You would have never known the vegetables I made tonight were frozen. This dish was so simple and easy to make. Enjoy!

I Am Missing Summer Sautéed Vegetables
Created on January 12, 2013

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1 cup of frozen organic white corn
1 cup of frozen Edamame
2 cups of grated Zucchini (I had some frozen from the summer) thawed and drained well
8 button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
¼ cup of fresh dill and curly parsley chopped well
1 teaspoon of onion salt (optional – can use kosher salt instead)
Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Sauté all the vegetables in a large 10” pan with olive oil for a good 5 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms are a little bit browned and the frozen vegetables are cooked all the way through. Sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs and season with onion salt or kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Serve hot!

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Vegan Potato and Corn Chowder

It’s a new year. Simply Healthy Cooking with Pam has been going strong since December 30, 2009. I cannot believe that I passed the 4 year mark. Lots of changes and learned so much about food. I have been slowly changing my food diet to reflect more vegetarian / vegan recipes. I am experimenting with different kinds of soups this month. I have a cookbook I use frequently called “The Big Book of Vegetarian” by Kathy Farrell-Kingsley. This book has lots of good recipes that are very filling and hearty. I highly recommend it. This soup is really creamy without any dairy use at all. Everything in this soup is vegetable. This soup is amazing when all ingredients are summer fresh straight from the garden or farmer’s market. I tweaked the original recipe to the ingredients I had on hand. Enjoy.

Vegan Potato and Corn Chowder, created on January 6, 2013

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2 large Yukon Gold Potatoes (peeled and diced)
2 large organic carrots (peeled and diced)
2 large stalks of organic celery (diced)
1 medium Vidalia onion (chopped)
4 green onions (minced green and white parts) (Original recipe calls for 1 leek (white part only)
2 cups of organic corn, or 4 medium corn on the cob – kernels cut from the cob
5 cups of organic vegetable broth
2 teaspoons of dried basil or 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon of fresh dill or 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil or vegetable broth
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, warm the oil or vegetable broth and add the carrots, celery, onion, green onions and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir often.

Add the corn, potatoes, broth, and basil. Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the vegetable broth has reduced to just barely covering the cooked vegetables. Add the chopped fresh dill.

Ladle the soup to a blender or food processor in batches, be careful when process because the soup is very hot and can spurt up from top of blender or food processor. Process the soup until desired consistency but has some chunks of vegetables. Return to the soup pot and season with salt and pepper.

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Zucchini Corn Tomato Salad

I am always looking for different kinds of salads to make especially in the summer when Farmer Markets and vegetables are in abundance. The varieties of vegetables are endless. My all time favorite vegetables I think are corn, tomatoes and zucchini. The combinations are just so appealing to me. I made this salad when I went on a trip to Michigan a few weeks ago and the salad was easy to travel with – really did not require refrigeration. Great for picnics, hot days, cool days, any kind of day. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Tomato, White Corn Salad
Created 7/25/12 and on 8/9/12 and again and again

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2 white corn on the cob, kernels cut from the cob with a knife
3 medium zucchini, diced 
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon of honey or Agave
2 tablespoons of olive oil (optional)
2 tablespoons of fresh basil minced, about 10 basil leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

This salad can be assembled either hot or cold. I have done this both ways. I sautéed the corn and zucchini for a few minutes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil just to give the vegetables a nice bite of flavor. The sugars come out in the corn and the zucchini seems to have more flavor. 

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, corn, tomatoes and mix well. In another small bowl, combine the liquid ingredients and the balance of the olive oil – 1 tablespoon whisk well. Mix the liquid with vegetables, season with salt and pepper and add the minced basil. Toss gently and serve. 

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Sweet Potato Mushroom Casserole

As always, I am trying to cut down on eating a lot of potatoes. I came up with this recipe on one of my searches for good healthy food. I found a recipe on the blog of “Joy the Baker” and I tweaked quite a bit of it as I wanted to be really careful with the fat content of this recipe and add more vegetables. I was shocked at how wonderful this recipe turned out. The first thing that popped in my mind is how warm and hearty this recipe is and what a great side dish or main dish for a Potluck or Thanksgiving dinner. The original recipe used biscuits / dumplings; I chose Arrowhead Organic Herb Stuffing instead. The stuffing had whole grain bread and lower carbohydrates than the biscuits. I imagine you can really use anything for a topping. Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Mushroom Casserole
Created on March 11, 2012

3 medium sweet potatoes or yams (about the size of your fist) to equal roughly 2 cups, diced
6 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
10 oz of Crimini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
3 oz of button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 medium sized organic carrots or 4 small sized carrots, peeled and diced
1 cup of organic fresh or frozen baby peas
1 cup of organic corn
3 to 4 teaspoons of fresh Thyme, roughly chopped to release the oils
3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup of flour or corn starch
3 teaspoons of Balsamic vinegar (I did not really accurately measure I just used 3 generous dashes)
1 (10 oz) package of organic Arrowhead Savory Herb Stuffing (or use some type of your favorite topping)
4 cups of Mushroom broth (you could use vegetable broth – Mushroom Broth really puts out the flavor)
Salt/Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, heat up the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms begin to become soft and caramelized. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and add the onions and cook for about 5 minutes until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add carrots and sweet potatoes and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes until the sweet potatoes and carrots are soft but firm. Be careful not to cook for a long time because the sweet potatoes will become mush. Add the cooked mushrooms back to the pan. Add the flour or corn starch and stir. Cook the flour for about a minute and then add the 2 cups of mushroom broth to the filling slowly, stir until thickened. Add the peas and carrots. Season filling with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the Balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and Thyme.

Prepare the topping. Put the herb stuffing in a bowl and toss with the balance of the mushroom broth. Mix well with a fork, the stuffing should be crumbly.

In a 9 x 13 pan, layer the mushroom and sweet potato filling and top with the stuffing. Lightly sprinkle the remaining olive oil so that you will get some crunchy effect when you bake the casserole. Bake casserole for 30 minutes until the mushroom broth is bubbly and seeping of the top of the stuffing. The stuffing should be a deep brown.

Serve with a nice mixed green salad seasoned with fresh herbs and balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing

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Sunflower Seed Avocado Tomato Salad

I do not know about you, but when I hear the word salad, I think greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and all the other fresh vegetables that go in a bowl, tossed and drenched in dressing. Today is an overcast, icky day in Columbus Ohio so…… I thought what a better way to cheer up myself on this blah day and make a salad that has bright colors in it. If Mother Nature will not bring me sun today, at least I can create it in my kitchen. I did not have any green lettuce or spinach but I made this salad instead and I am just excited – a different kind of salad. I toasted sunflower seeds and sweet organic corn off the cob, topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, avocados, lightly sautéed zucchini salad with a tad of olive oil. I’m a happy person right now. I am looking forward to trying this again over the summer with fresh farmer market vegetables. Enjoy!

Sunflower Seed Avocado Tomato Salad
Created on 2/21/12

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13 organic cherry tomatoes sliced in half and then quartered
1 small organic zucchini, cubed
1 cup of organic yellow corn, sliced off the cob (frozen will work too)
¼ cup of raw organic sunflower seeds
1 avocado, seed removed and cubed
1 teaspoon of basil
2 tablespoons of olive oil, or other oil you prefer
Salt / Pepper for seasoning

In a small sauté pan, heat up over medium heat 1 tablespoon of oil of your choice and add the corn and sunflower seeds, season the corn and seeds with salt and pepper along with the basil. Sauté for about 5 to 10 minutes until the corn and sunflower seeds are brown like – somewhat like the color of toast. Remove from the heat and put in a glass bowl. Cool.

In the same sauté pan, which should already have a coating of oil from the corn and sunflower seeds, if not add about ½ tablespoon more of olive oil to the pan. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper, lightly sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes. The zucchini should have a good solid crunch but the raw taste should not be there. Add the zucchini to the bowl of corn and sunflower seeds. Cool.

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Cut up the tomatoes, put in a small glass bowl and season with salt and pepper with a drizzle of oil. Set aside. The salt will help the tomatoes create some juice.

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After the sautéed vegetables are semi-cool, add the tomatoes with the juice and cubed avocado to the bowl and toss lightly. Drizzle with ½ tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well. Serve with whole grain crusty bread.

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Everything but the Kitchen Sink Veggie Burger

I am always trying to find decent vegetarian burger recipes for me to eat. My biggest frustration is keeping the patties together when I am cooking them. I found that the best way for me to cook veggie burgers is to put them on my stone and bake or broil them in the oven. This is less stress on the patty so there is no breakage. Veggie burgers usually come in all shapes and forms. I decided to make my own version and absolutely fell in love with it. What great flavor and so healthy for me. I just added things that I liked in a veggie burger and just kept adding till I achieved the flavors I wanted. Actually after adding all the ingredients, I couldn’t stop eating the veggie burger mixture. I think I hit it right on my taste buds! Adorn with your favorite things like pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, whole grain buns, caramelized onions, and mustard – whatever floats your boat. I think next time I might make Tahini dressing to go with this. Enjoy!

Pam’s Everything but the Kitchen Sink Veggie Burger
Created on 02/16/11

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1 can of organic garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
1 package of Tempeh from Trader Joe’s
1 cup of fresh corn sliced of the cob or frozen organic corn
2 organic carrots peeled and minced
1 cup of raw sunflower seeds
8 oz of mushrooms, cleaned and minced – I used Baby Bella mushrooms
1 small onion minced
2 garlic cloves minced
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley minced
3 Tablespoons of Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Salt / Pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ cup of egg substitute (if you have a better binder ingredient for the veggie burger please use that)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the vegetables; mince the mushrooms, onions, carrots, and garlic with a food chopper or with a knife. In a 10” sauté pan, heat up the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and sauté for a good 5 to 8 minutes until the carrots are sort of soft (not mushy). Remove from the heat.

In a food processor, pulsate the Tempeh and garbanzo beans until coarsely ground. Add the sautéed vegetables and pulsate a few times till mixture is blended. In the sauté pan, add the corn and sauté for about 3 minutes until the corn is cooked through, season with salt and pepper. In a glass bowl, empty the food processor bowl with the mixture into the glass bowl and mix in the corn. In the same sauté pan, toast the sunflower seeds until the color is a rich brown. Add the toasted sunflower seeds, minced parsley, egg substitute, and soy sauce combine well.

This makes about 8 to 9 patties. I formed the patties and placed them on the stoneware.

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Very lightly sprinkle olive oil over the patties so they do not dry out. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until lightly browned and heated thoroughly.

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Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

I have been searching for some decent vegetarian or vegan Shepherd’s Pie recipes because the meat Shepherd’s Pie is extremely high in fat and is really not good for me. I have not found anything that seemed interesting or appealing to me so I decided to make my own after endless searches. Many of the recipes that I found seemed to be really high in carbohydrates which I felt came from the potatoes. I made mashed potatoes with cauliflower and 5 red skinned potatoes instead of the whole topping being mashed potatoes. Next time I think I will try the sweet mashed potatoes on top for the crust – I can picture the flavors or even try butternut/acorn squash mashed topping. I loved the lentils in my Shepherd’s Pie; it was loaded with this awesome hearty flavor – I was so thrilled that my recipe came out amazing! What is so great about this recipe is that you can omit or add the vegetable ingredients to suit your taste. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Created on 02/09/12

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1 cup of lentils, cleaned and picked through for any debris, discard debris and then cook lentils for one hour or until soft but not really soft to lose its shape and become mush
3 large organic broccoli crowns cleaned and chopped
½ head of organic cauliflower
5 organic red skin potatoes, scrubbed and cubed, leave red skin on
5 organic carrots, peeled and cubed into 1 to 2” chunks
1 cup of organic frozen corn
1 cup of organic Muir Glenn tomato sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) package of white button mushrooms, wiped clean and cut into quarters
2 garlic cloves minced well
3 tablespoons of olive oil
½ cup to 1 cup of vegetable broth
½ cup of Tofutti cream cheese (measure based on taste and texture of the mashed topping)
2 tablespoons of Earth Balance butter (measure based on taste and texture of the mashed topping)
Salt/Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large stock pot lined with a steamer, put in the cleaned cauliflower, cubed potatoes and steam over medium high heat until tender – approximately about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the broccoli at the last 5 minutes of cooking, turn of the heat and remove the steamed vegetables to a large bowl. Separate the broccoli from the cauliflower and potatoes because the broccoli will go into the lentil filling.

While the vegetables are steaming, in a 10” sauté pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat, add the chopped onions, mushrooms, and carrots and sauté until the carrots are soft and the mushrooms and onions have a deep brown color on them. Add the frozen corn and garlic and sauté until the corn is heated thoroughly and the garlic is soft.

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Remove the sauté pan from the heat and add the cooked lentils. The lentils will absorb all the liquid from the vegetables. Add the broccoli to the sautéed lentil mixture and stir gently until everything is mixed well. Put the vegetables in a square 8 x 8 Pyrex or stone dish. Mix 1 cup of tomato sauce in the vegetables making sure everything is coated well.

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In the bowl with the steamed cauliflower and potatoes mash the vegetables together. Season with salt and pepper and add vegetable broth to bind the vegetables together to make the mashed potato topping. I did not use all the vegetable broth and added some Earth Balance butter to give it some buttery flavor. Add the Tofutti cream cheese. Remember this is what I like in texture and flavor, please adjust the broth, butter and cream cheese as how you would like your mashed topping to be.

Spread the Cauliflower/Potato mash on top of the lentil mixture and spread to cover. Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until the tomato sauce is bubbling out of the top and the mashed topping is lightly browned.

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