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

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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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

Click on image to see a larger photo

Click on image to see a larger photo


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

Click on image to enlarge photo
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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