Monthly Archives: January 2012

Vegan Chicken Pot Pie

As I was looking to eat up some produce and clean out the freezer this afternoon, I discovered I had all the essential ingredients to make a vegan chicken pot pie.  I hadn’t made one in a while, and I somehow forgot how much I loved them! I tend to think of pot-pie as a cold-weather comfort food,  and I’m still waiting for it to get colder here where I live… but as far as I’m concerned, there are no rules on good food – I’d eat this meal any time of the year!

I’m glad I made something new today because the last few days I have been cooking all my old favorites, most of which I have already posted on my blog.  This week we have had my fettuccine no-fredo, mac-n-cheeseless, and homemade veggie burgers (which is actually one I have not blogged yet).  Here’s some more of what we’ve been up to…

I cooked my first donut-holes in my Babycakes cake-pop maker and they turned out really fantastic 🙂  My kids couldn’t get enough of them (surprise, surprise)! I just veganized one of the recipes in the book that came with the machine. Boy was it nice to eat a little donut hole again that wasnt fried (though I have been meaning to make some “real” donuts soon).

These apple cider donuts with cinnamon sugar & powdered sugar were great!

This morning we made my buttermilk biscuits for breakfast and I tried something new by adding a round tofu “egg” (if you will) to make my own sort of “McVegan Biscuit” thing… It was really easy and was a nice change to try something new – I just cut my block of tofu down the side 2 times to make 3 skinny rectangles (about 1/4″ thick), then I used my biscuit cutter to cut 3 big circles out of the rectangles (1 of which I cut in half again to make 2 really thin circles for the kids), then I cut the rest in strips.  All I did to cook them was pan fry them in a teeny bit of olive oil and I added a splash of soy sauce while they were cooking.  I mean, it’s no egg, but it was good, esp on top of my little GimmeLean Soysage Patty 🙂

My McVegan Biscuit = soysage & tofu patties in a buttermilk biscuit! Next time I'm adding soy cheese!

Anyway, so back to the pot pie… this recipe was originally in the Vegan Planet cookbook (as the Winter Vegetable Pot Pie) although I changed their recipe quite a bit.  I may also suggest making the dough ball first, as I find it easier to roll out a crust when the dough is cold. In fact, I usually put my ingredients (flour and all) into the freezer to get really cold before making the crust.  It seems to make the dough easier to handle and tear less while rolling.

~Vegan Chicken Pot Pie~

TO MAKE THE FILLING:

    • 2 large all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
    • 3 long baby carrots (or 1 large carrot) chopped
    •  1 bag of frozen veg (10 oz bag)
    • 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock
    • 2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
    • 1 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    • 12 ounces of mock meat coarsely chopped (I used an entire bag of Gardein chicken scallopini + 1 more patty, though you could also use seitan or tofu)
    • salt and pepper to taste
TO MAKE THE CRUST:
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  •  1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled corn or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp ice water

1) First make the filling by cooking the potato & carrot in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse and set aside

2) In a small saucepan, bring the stock and tamari to a boil over med-high heat.  Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer, stirring, until thickened 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

3) Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer the onion to a lightly oiled 2-quart casserole dish.

4) Reheat the skillet and add the “meat”. Season with salt & pepper to taste and cook, stirring until browned, about 5 min. Transfer to the casserole dish.  Stir in the peas, potatoes/carrot mixture, and sauce and set aside.

5) Preheat the oven to 350 F.

6) Make the crust by combining the flour & salt in the food processor, pulsing to blend. Add the oil and process until the mixture is crumbly.  With the machine running, slowly add the water and process until the dough forms a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle slightly larger than the casserole dish. Place the crust over the casserole and crimp the edges. I found that rolling the dough on parchment paper made it a breeze to flip the crust over right on top of the casserole. 

7) Bake until the filling is hot and bubbly and the crust is lightly browned, about 45-55 minutes.  Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Devour.

Perfect for my pot pie!

This is the "chicken" I used - it was great!

Here is the filling before adding the sauce...

... and after adding the sauce! Time to make the crust!

~ ~ ~ rolling out the crust ~ ~ ~

Hey! I'm ready for the oven now!

Here it is just out of the oven! Time to set the table!

The first piece always crumbles apart, but... who cares?!

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And yes, we all cleaned our plates! AND my husband and I both had seconds…
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It was really funny & sweet because during dinner, my daughter said to me, “Mom, I’m in love with your food!” and when Arlo was taking his last bites, he said “WOOW“! (It was kinda like saying wow how that Joey guy says “Whoa”!)
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"All Done!"

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Old-Fashioned Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Walnut Scones

My kids are just like me – they can’t resist a good scone or muffin!  And it sure comes to our advantage that I enjoy baking so much… We’d be spending a fortune if all the baked goods that we consumed on a regular basis were store bought… hmmm…. yeah, I think maybe owning a bakery would be a good idea!  I am my own ideal customer 🙂

Old-Fashioned Strawberry Chocolate-Chip Walnut Scones

The first time I made these scones, I used a boxed egg replacer.  They turned out so perfect, that I have just stuck with this recipe ever since… I would love to try these sometime using a flax egg, but I just haven’t wanted to change a thing!

  • 1 “Egg” (I like to use Ener-G-Egg Replacer for this recipe)
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup raw sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold butter (aka Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup soymilk
  • cinnamon/sugar mixture for sprinkling (optional but recommended)

1) In a small bowl, make 1 “egg” with egg replacer & set aside.

2) Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment paper.

3) In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Cut the cold butter into the flour mixture using a fork.  You want it to be crumbly, like bread crumbs or slightly larger like pea sized crumbles.

4) Stir in the chocolate chips, walnuts and strawberries.

5)  Mix the soymilk with the egg and whisk well.  Pour into the flour mixture and mix by turning and kneading the dough until it is all mixed and there are no large clumps of flour. You may be tempted to use a tad more liquid but I assure you it won’t be necessary if you keep kneading the dough and flipping it.  (If you feel it absolutely necessary to add more liquid I urge you to only add an additional tablespoon where needed or your dough will end up sticky.)

6)  Gather the dough into a ball and flatten on a lightly-floured surface.  Pat dough down gently until its about < 1 ” high and cut into 8-10 pieces, obscure shapes or triangles, whatever pleases your eye.  Place the pieces on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  I like to make mine in zig-zags 🙂

Getting the dough ready to flatten out and cut my shapes. I decided to go for 8 this time around...I think the cinnamon/sugar zig-zag makes them pretty.

8 mostly triangle-ish shapes

The cinnamon/sugar zig-zag makes them even yummier... is that possible?

7) Bake about 15 minutes until tops are just starting to turn golden.  (Watch the bottoms for they tend to brown faster than the tops.) Cool on a wire rack.  Devour.

Voila! Stack them as you please (or just eat them)!

Homemade Pizza, Vegan Style

Who doesn’t love pizza?  There is something very satisfying about making a delicious homemade pizza, made to order.  Some people think that when you go vegan, you  have to give up pizza, but that is simply untrue. After all, all a vegan really does is replace the animal ingredients with plant-based ones.  It’s easy… and most of the time it is better for you!  In fact, when I became vegan, I also discovered that I really enjoy a pizza loaded with veggies without cheese at all!

But, there are definetly times when I feel like eating a cheesy pizza… & when I do, I like to use either Follow your Heart brand Vegan Gourmet mozzarella or Daiya mozarella. My husband prefers the flavor of the vegan gourmet, but I think both are just delicious!  (You may want to note that the daiya “cheese” is a gluten & dairy & soy free cheese… And also, it does tend to melt better on a quick cooking time, (such as this 12 minute pizza), which is probably why our local pizza shop offers the Daiya cheese on the vegan pizzas rather than the other brand.)

delicious daiya "cheese"

So, when Im in a pinch for a quick dinner this is my go-to crust.  It doesnt require any real rising time, which means by the time you blend the dough up, you can practically slap it right onto your pizza pan, top it with sauce, veggies & cheese and bake it for 10-14 minutes… so this can definetly be an under 30 min meal from start to finish 🙂

 Your Vegan Neighbor’s Quick & Easy Pizza Crust

(makes one large crust)

  • 1 1/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp yeast (I use a kind that I buy in a jar in the flour aisle of Kroger, Fleishmans bread machine yeast)
  • 2/3 cup hot water + enough olive oil to meet the 3/4 cup mark on my measuring cup

(If you are unfamiliar with using yeast, you should note that water that is too hot will kill the yeast.  You do not want to use boiling water.  In fact, I usually stick in my finger to see if it is a good temperature.  It should be tolerable to the finger – it shouldn’t burn you, but it should feel hot!)

1) Preheat oven to 450 F.

2) Mix dry ingredients in the food processor.  Pour the hot water/oil in through the feed tube and let the dough form a ball.   Process for about 40 seconds, then transfer to a lightly-oiled bowl or a floured surface.

3) Let rest for several minutes while you prepare your toppings, then punch it down & roll it /stretch it out to fit your pan. If it doesnt want to stretch as big as you want, just let it rest another minute, and if it gets too thin & starts to tear anywhere, just pinch it back together.

4) Add sauce, toppings & bake for 10-14 minutes until cheese is melty or crust is golden brown.

making the doughball

Here is my dough ball after resting about 10 minutes while I chopped all my veggies!

It is good with cheese or just plain and loaded with veggies!

Misc pizza tips: I use a pizza pan with holes in the bottom.  I think that helps the pizza cook more evenly.  I also give my pan a quick spray w/non-stick cooking spray to ensure that my pizza doesn’t get stuck!  When my pizza is about to go in the oven, I think that drizzling a little olive oil all around the edges of the crust gives the pizza a fantastic end result!

Your Vegan Neighbor’s Homemade Pizza Sauce

Whisk together the following ingredients and spread on prepared crust! This makes enough for 2 pizzas.  (You can also freeze half for another time!)

  • 1 – 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 can of water (use tomatoe paste can)
  • generous splash of olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • < 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 3/4 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/2 dry – I have a big rosemary bush so I almost always use fresh rosemary!)

Some of my favorite toppings are chopped broccoli, onion, cubed tofu, black olives, spinach, garlic, artichoke hearts… You’d really be surprised at what your kids might eat when it’s cooked into a delicious pizza! The Yves brand soy pepperoni is pretty good but my kids think it’s a little too spicy for them. And sometimes we just go for a plain pineapple & cheese pizza 🙂  Mmmmm!  I think I’m ready for another slice…

Look! There's a piece of broccoli going in with that bite!

Taking a cautious bite of fresh baked (& little hot) pizza!

Hot Chocolate, Marshmallows and MORE!!!!

Yes, Virginia, they do make vegan marshmallows.  If you aren’t hip to all vegan ingredients, you may not know that marshmallows contain gelatin, which is an animal by-product.  However, don’t let it get you down – there are several brands of vegan marshmallows to choose from.  Two off the top of my heads are Dandies, and Sweet & Sara… there is also a brand in a tub called Suzanne’s that makes a “rice-mellow-creme” which makes super easy & yummy rice krispy treats!

yummy sweet and sara vegan marshmallows

Though I certainly enjoy eating marshmallows straight from the bag, there is nothing like a good mug of hot chocolate filled with them to warm you up when you have been playing outside.  My kids got a play house for Christmas, so, its pretty clear to me that I’m gonna need to be bundling all three of us up to go play outside quite often throughout the new year, fueling our insides and warming our hands with mugs of hot cocoa 🙂

Nothing warms you up quite like a shot - in this case, a shot of hot chocolate! This was my humble little cup - the kids wanted bigger cups (surprise, surprise)!

Vegan or not, homemade hot chocolate is really quite simple to make.  I also have an extra “healthy” hot chocolate recipe that includes pureed sweet potatoes… I know… it’s one of those things that sounds really weird, but trust me – it tastes delicious AND it gives the kids an added boost of nutrients (and they won’t even know it!)!  Give it a try sometime!

Old Fashioned Vegan Hot Chocolate

  • 2  1/2 cups soy milk
  • 3 Tbsp raw sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash cayenne (for those of you who like it *spicy*)

Heat all ingredients together over medium heat, whisking well, then simmer until hot! Enjoy! (tip: it whisks together really easily once it is hot)

Secret-Ingredient Hot Chocolate

  • 1  1/4 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup pureed sweet potatoes
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
  • dash pumpkin pie spice (optional)

Blend all ingredients together and heat, then serve!

AND WHILE YOU”RE AT IT…
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Vegan S’more’s
If you have vegan marshmallows lying around, you might as well spoil yourself and make some vegan s’mores too!  All you need is marshmallows, graham crackers and some dark chocolate.   Many graham crackers are vegan unless they contain honey. Nabisco original graham crackers are what we currently have over here.  It is also really easy to make your own graham crackers!  Vegan chocolate is easily found in your neighbor health food store (Earth Fare, Trader Joes) but these days even Kroger and Publix usually carry one kind of vegan chocolate bar or another, you just gotta read the ingredients!  (Tip: look on the wrapper for the vegan symbol, which is a green “V”.)   Wow!… just scrolling through a search of images of “vegan chocolate bars”, a brand named Organica even makes a vegan white chocolate!  I’m gonna have to try that!
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just in case you forgot how…
Its super easy to make s’mores… in fact, I think I probably made my first one in kindergarten (with the help of an adult, of coarse!)… First break a graham cracker in two, then in the microwave, heat one square of chocolate on one side of a graham cracker for about 20 seconds (give or take).  Then do the same with the marshmallow on the other side of the graham cracker.  Put them together like a sandwich and enjoy!

ahhh - I just couldnt resist! Next time I will try to get a picture BEFORE I bite into it!

Another fun thing I enjoy doing with vegan marshmallows is making ambrosia.  My grandmother, Mom Mom, used to always have ambrosia around when we would come visit as kids and I have always loved the mixture of coconut, fruit & marshmallows ever since!  It’s a quick throw together desert that kids love!
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Mom Mom’s Ambrosia
  • 1 regular can mandarin oranges (drained)
  • 1 regular can fruit cocktail (drained)
  • 1 regular can crushed pineapple (NOT drained)
  • 1-2 cups vegan marshmallows*
  • 8 oz vegan sour cream (Tofutti brand is my favorite)
  • 1 cup shredded coconut

Mix and chill! Devour!

** Vegan marshmallows are primarily really big for some reason (comparable to the regular jumbo sized ones), so for this recipe, I actually cut my marshmallows into mini-mallows, which was a little sticky on the scissors, but it was pretty quick and made it, as Goldilocks would say, “just right”!