Category Archives: dinner

Golden Tofu

This recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat tofu EVER.  This happens to be how they cook the tofu at my favorite vegetarian restaurant, The Grit. (You can order their awesome cookbook here if you want to.  I highly recommend it! Please note it is not 100% vegan, though many recipes can be veganized.  You have GOT to try the yeast gravy!! Sometimes I just want to order a side of that with a spoon!)   We eat this tofu by itself, as a side, stir fried with veggies & rice, or sometimes we even toss it into a pot roast. It is really easy and oh so yummy!!  This fried tofu is one of those foods that you just gotta spoil yourself with and indulge in from time to time… It definitely makes it into my list of comfort foods.

All you need to make this is a non-stick skillet, a block of tofu, olive oil, soy sauce and nutritional yeast.  Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this, but we often find ourselves fighting like vultures over the last pieces! Hahahaha… seriously.

Golden Tofu

Gather ye ingredients: olive oil, a block of tofu, soy sauce, nutritional yeast. Vegetable oil also works just as well.

1) Cut tofu into cubes, about the size of dice. Lightly oil a non-stick skillet over high heat.  Add a small amount of oil and allow it to heat slightly then add tofu. Saute, tossing until evenly lightly browned. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce, saute briefly again to further brown the tofu. Remove from skillet.

step 1 – before cooking

step 1- cooked tofu before adding soy sauce

2) Rinse and wipe skillet dry. Lightly oil skillet again and place over high heat. Allow the oil to become very hot then add the tofu. Saute, tossing constantly until very well browned. Sprinkle with soy sauce to taste, then sprinkle with nutritional yeast to coat the cubes. Saute several more seconds then remove from heat and serve!

step 2 – tofu being sauteed in soy sauce

The finished product. Fried tofu, served alongside veggies of choice (in this case, homemade cornbread, sauteed sesame-collards and mashed sweet potatoes).

Traditional Tomato Sauce

Do you ever just wonder where the time went? That has honestly been the question I have been asking myself pretty regularly for the last 4 years (or should I just say since my daughter was born!) Despite my delay of posting a blog (sorry about that, by the way), I have been cooking up a storm over here… including all of my favorite oldies, as well as trying some new things.

As you can see, we have our fill (and then some) of tomatoes over here!

Our garden is absolutely exploding with tomatoes!   The last time I told you about my garden, we had a serious abundance of cucumbers… Well, i didn’t really know too many ways to eat them all!  We were literally picking off about 8 cucumbers a day on average for a while there!  We ended up eating a lot on salads… snacking on tortillas filled with diced cucumber/tofutti cream cheese (which is even better with a little salsa, says my 2 1/2 year old)… and we juiced the rest that we got to before they went too rubbery.  I really found that apple/cucumber juice (give or take a carrot or two) is really delicious! As is watermelon/cucumber/apple juice.  I meant to pickle some of our cucumbers, but I wanted to invest in a good canning set-up instead of using the quick-jar method using a pickling pack. I also had a recipe for a cold cucumber soup that I wanted to try (that also contained coconut milk, which I LOOOVE), but honestly, I’m just not really a fan of cold soup and I didn’t ever get around to making it… But alas, now it seems that our cucumber plants are dying.  Next year I may just keep it at 2-3 plants.  6 plants just produced too many cucumbers for us to consume at once!

So… tomato sauce!! This is my basic pasta sauce recipe. It’s easy, its quick, it freezes beautifully and its a GREAT way to use up extra veggies and (of coarse) tomatoes.  If you have fresh herbs, feel free to substitute them for the dry (if doing so, use a little more than the dry amounts). And feel free to add extra tomatoes, spices or veggies of your choice!

I find that making tomato sauce is a bit of an art… You can follow a recipe, but I find its best just to taste it occasionally and add what you think it needs more of 🙂 That being said, this is a great recipe to eat as is… but sometimes it changes slightly depending on what veggies are sitting in our fridge. Sometimes I even stir in a pack or two of faux beef crumbles if we’re in the mood for a “meaty” sauce.

Your Vegan Neighbor’s Traditional Tomato Sauce

1) Saute together everything but the tomatoes (and sugar) until the onion is tender.

2) Mix in the tomatoes and sugar. Simmer 15-30 minutes, to let the flavors blend, stirring occasionally.

Veggies:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 8-10 mushrooms, sliced (optional)
  • 1 green or red pepper, chopped (or use 1/2 cup of each!)

Spices:

  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp each dry basil, thyme
  • generous 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch fresh rosemary
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • generous 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil

Tomatoes:

  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes (or4 cups fresh, pureed)
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato paste (or two 6 oz cans)
  • 5-8 fresh tomatoes, diced (the bigger the better)
  • 1 or 2 tsp sugar, as needed, to balance the acidity

okay, so this picture is a little boring, but here is my humble plate of noodles topped with tomato sauce

my husbands plate looking much fancier topped with homemade sauce, nutritional yeast and fresh basil… leaves me wondering “why didn’t I do that?!”

This is roughly the amount of sauce the recipe makes. The big one went into the freezer, and the small one served 4 plates with leftovers!

If you missed my faux meatball recipe, check it out here!  I plan on experimenting with another meatball recipe soon!

Noodles with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

What is your favorite Disney movie?  Okay… wait.  I’m going to stop myself right there. That may just be an impossible question to answer. Let me say it this way – is there a Disney movie you’d like to see featured on Your Vegan Neighbor’s Dinner and a Movie night?

Last night for our Dinner and a Movie, we watched Disney’s Dumbo and we made a delicious noodle bowl with a sesame-peanut sauce. Read all about our movie night and get the recipe right here!

Happy Vegan Cinco de Mayo

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo which means most of you are probably getting together for a good time in one way or another.  We like to have a vegan taco night at our house once a week or so… it’s one of our favorite (& easiest) dinners!   My kids are extremely fond of dipping chips into refried beans and guacamole.  They could literally make a meal of that if I let them! Their favorite tacos are simple soft-shelled tacos with beans &  lettuce with a mild sauce, or burritos with the same filling.  I usually like throwing a few more veggies (like olives green pepper & onions) & rice into my burritos… and sometimes tofu!

Most store-bought guacamole and tortilla chips are vegan – just read the ingredients!  I prefer to buy organic when possible.

This meal is a good example of something quick (and mostly store-bought) that you can easily throw together. It can be made start to finish in under 20 minutes. If you have extra time, it is nice to make beans & rice or some kind of  pan-fried tofu cubes to add some home-made quality to this meal. If you are lucky, you can go outside and pluck many of these ingredients from your own garden (like lettuce, tomato, onion, green pepper and cilantro) or get them from your local farmers market.

Making tacos is such a deliciously easy way celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I think most of these brands should be easily found in your grocery store, some (or all) items maybe found in the “healthy” section. 

If you can find this stuff, you will quickly be in vegan taco heaven!

My favorite taco shells are made by Bearitos.  They have blue or yellow corn taco shells. We also use their vegetarian refried beans.  The low-fat and the fat-free are both great!   Fantastic Foods makes a “taco filling” that I absolutely love – It comes in a box and you simply mix it with water. Easy and yummy!

And who can eat tacos without sour cream? Not me! I like Tofutti brand the best. 

Best store-bought vegan sour cream ever!

If you are a lover of cheese… shredded Vegan Gourmet cheddar or Daiya cheddar are both good for this occasion.

And of coarse, on taco night, frozen margaritas are always a welcome addition to the table! And to keep the kids from feeling left out, you can easily freeze some lemonade in ice-cube trays and blend it up for their very own slushy!

We just had taco night a few nights ago but we are ready to eat it all over again tomorrow! Yum!

Here is the spread from our last taco night fiesta!

Vegan ground beef, refried beans & rice… the base of an excellent taco or burrito.

Oh yeeeaaahhh….

Agave Glazed Carrots, 2 ways

Personally, I am always looking for new exciting ways to eat veggies… And I am always looking for new and exciting ways to get my kids to eat their veggies!  I am a bone fide veggie lover, but I was not always thus!  In fact, I remember frowning at many a plate of veggies as a child (a.k.a. pretty much all of them).  My turning vegan (or even vegetarian) probably dumbfounded my parents!

Tonight I am tackling ways to eat carrots.  Lets see.. my kids are fond of carrot juice, pot roasted carrots (basically seasoned with olive oil, tamari and sage), plain carrots with hummus, carrot cake (obviously), and… well, that may sum it up.  I guess I should be happy that they eat carrots at all, but it never hurts to keep trying new ways… for everything, all the time 🙂

Carrots are pretty abundant at the farmers market right now.  I love to use fresh local carrots, or organic store-bought.  The deer usually make our garden into their own personal feasting grounds once things start to sprout, so we haven’t planted much yet this year.  In fact, this upcoming weekend I am planning on doing lots of planting and deer proofing our garden.

This first agave-glazed carrot recipe is simple and sweet.  It’s super fast, delicious, and kid approved.

Agave-Glazed Carrots 

  • 1 lb carrots (about 8 medium)
  • 1 Tbsp amber agave nectar
  •  2 Tbsp soy margarine

Put carrots in a pot with just enough water to cover them.  Boil until fork tender.  Drain.  Add margarine & agave to the pot and stir together until glaze forms, then add carrots.  Sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon if desired!

(Pssst! These carrots are also really yummy if you use maple syrup instead of agave nectar and add some dill!)

Balsamic-Agave Roasted Carrots

This method took about 45-60 minutes but the end result was delicious. It has a little more of a “grown up” flavor, if you will. My kids didn’t go for these so much. Oh well. You gotta try everything once! 

  • 1 lb carrots (about 8 medium carrots)
  • 1 turnip (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp amber agave nectar
  • olive oil for coating pan, as needed

** For another option, replace the agave nectar with 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and add 1 tsp each fresh chopped rosemary and sage.

Preheat oven to 425.  Peel and uniformly cut carrots and turnip, if using. Whisk together the vinegar and agave.  Oil up your roasting pan and arrange the veggies on a single layer.  Put about 2/3 of your mix on the veggies. Roast for 25 minutes. Pull out of oven, add the remaining agave/vinegar and toss.  Return to oven for another 20 minutes or until tender!

I love roasted vegetables!  If you haven’t already, you should try these maple roasted parsnips! Roasting any kind of root vegetable makes a great side dish for any season! 

 

“Tow’mater” Soup with Grilled Cheese

For a fun night of Cars watching and good eats, check out this weeks Dinner and a Movie… featuring Disneys ‘Cars’ and one of my favorite comfort food combinations, “Mater” Soup with Grilled Cheese!   Enjoy!

Vegan Filet O Tofu Fish Sandwiches

So, I haven’t blogged in quite a few days… all of this warm summery weather and unusually high temperatures has been keeping us outside pretty late.  We’ve also been busy working on the yard by doing some light landscaping… planting flowers…  starting our herb garden… trimming our peach trees… weeding the front bed… and of coarse we have also spent lots of time just being together playing outside (mostly swinging).

We’re trying to do our part to stimulate the economy by visiting some of our favorite local restaurants too, which is always fun and usually leaves us with delicious leftovers 🙂 Man, this great weather has really been putting me in the mood for a visit to the ocean… but since a beach vacation isn’t in my near future, I decided to make my own ocean experience with these “fish” patties!

After I whipped up this quick yummy 3-ingredient tartar sauce, I realized just how essential the sauce is – it is the sauce that really makes this fish taste for me… probably because the only fish I ate as a kid that I actually liked were frozen fish sticks with tartar sauce!

These breaded tofu “fish” cakes turned out really great and they can also be made fish stick style, which is how I made them for the kids… My husband and I ate our’s as filet sandwiches on a bun with tartar sauce and a slice of vegan american cheese. My husband has since told me his mouth was salivating in anticipation of his next tofu “fish” sandwich, which makes me really happy  🙂  We may make these again for a Dinner and a Movie night and eat them while we watch Shark Tale, the Little Mermaid or maybe (Not) Finding Nemo!

Tartar Sauce

Mix and chill:

  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I like Veganaise)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp sweet relish, excess liquid drained off
  • 1/2 tsp mustard (I used Dijon)

Filet-o-Tofu-Fish Sandwiches

First press your block of tofu, then cut it into 4 slices lengthwise and marinate your tofu in a large tupperware or shallow bowl for as long as possible in this mix:

  • 1 cup water & 2 heaping tsp kelp granules or kelp powder (you will need more for coating, see below)

I used this for my patties and it sure gave it a fishy quality!

After marinating the tofu, dredge the tofu slabs through the mix below thoroughly and pan fry them in a little olive oil. You can also bake these for about 40 minutes at 400 if you prefer, flipping halfway through.

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp kelp granules or powder
  • 4 hamburger buns, 4 slices vegan cheese

* I recommend sprinkling a little extra kelp over the top of the filets as you pan fry them for the ultimate ocean experience! *

marinating the tofu in kelp-water

coating the "fish sticks" with breading

pan frying in olive oil

A simple and delicious sandwich.

Filet o Tofu Fish served with tartar sauce, red quinoa and green beans

A Mess of Mama’s Vegan BBQ

Check out this weeks Dinner and a Movie  🙂  We watched one of our favorites -Emmet Otter’s Jug-band Christmas and made… what other than… BARBECUE!! A mess of mama’s barbecue to be exact… with baked beans.

Check it out by clicking here!

And if you missed it, check out the pictures I added of my Dr. Seuss Omelet

Pea and Potato Samosas with Coconut Jasmine Rice

Hey!  Don’t forget to check out this week’s Dinner and a Movie!

This week we watched Disney’s Aladdin & made Pea & Potato Samosas with Coconut Jasmine Rice!

Check it out by clicking right here!

Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs

Hey everyone! I just posted our very first ‘Dinner and a Movie’ under my new heading titled  “Dinner and a Movie”.  For our first dinner and a movie night, we chose to make Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs to go along with Disney’s Lady & the Tramp! Click here!!!

Remember to check back under ‘Dinner & a Movie’ occasionally to see if there’s a new post up! I will always be featuring kid-friendly flicks.  I hope you enjoy our new tradition as much as I know we will! 🙂