Category Archives: pasta

Crock-Pot Vegan Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

(This is a crock pot recipe, but it only cooks for 1 – 1  1/2 hours & is best if you can occasionally give it a stir.  It can even be started the night before and assembled before cooking. Start cooking this 1  1/2 hours before serving time.)

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Fall calls for the start of comfort foods. I can’t get enough thick soups and casseroles this time of year! I remember loving my mom’s chicken noodle casserole when I was a kid. Though this is not based on her actual recipe, it is kind of like my veganized version from my childhood memory. I have been trying more crock pot recipes out lately & intend to try more, especially the long-cooking ones… It’s amazing to come home from work and smell dinner cooking. Its like having your very own private chef! This would be an easy dish to take to a fall pot luck!

I was so pleased that my 3 & 5-year old kids liked this. In fact, I didn’t tell my daughter she was eating seitan (she thought it was “tofu chicken”, which she loves) until she was into her second serving and asking for more of the “tofu”. She was even giving me seriously exaggerated “MMM”‘s! every time she had a piece (she was loving it so much she was rolling her eyes with every bite!).  When I told her she was eating seitan -& loving it – her eyes practically popped out of her head! LOL… We have had numerous failed attempts at finding ways to get the kids to eat seitan, it’s just not one of their favorites. SO, I was stoked it was a hit! Hurray for another delicious & healthy recipe that they enjoy! 🙂  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! This could easily be baked in the oven in a casserole dish though I until I try it myself, I cannot vouch for oven temp/cooking times as of yet.

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Vegan Chicken & Mushroom Casserole B.B.C (Before Bread Crumbs)

Crock-Pot Vegan Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms ( I used 2 cans, which rang in at about 8 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp vegan chicken-flavored bouillon (I used one square of Edward & Sons Not-Chicken Bouillon Cubes by dissolving it in a bit of the milk, heated)
  • 4 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups seitan, plain or chicken-flavored, torn or chopped into small cubes. Use store-bought or homemade seitan. (I actually used plain seitan and it was great… One box was about 1.5 cups &I had about a 1/2 cup already in my fridge that I threw in to use it up.)
  • 8 oz dried pasta shells of choice (whole wheat or regular – I used some penne noodles but most anything would work.)
  • 3/4 cup peas (opt. – I just love peas, so I added some in there!)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme dried
  • salt and pepper to taste (the veg bouillon cube is so high in sodium I didn’t add any additional salt)
  • 2 Tbsp flour, if needed to thicken
  • Bread crumbs or topping of choice (think panko, crushed Ritz, crushed potato chips, French fried onions…)
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A few of my ingredients.. though you could also use fresh mushrooms and peas if you choose.

1) To make the cashew cream sauce, blend in a food processor until smooth & creamy:

  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

2) Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent, about 3-5 min. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms reduce in size and are tender, 5-10 min. (If you use canned mushrooms, just cook 5-10 min as well to blend flavors.)

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At this point you can refrigerate both the sauce and the veggies, separately, until the next day if you are preparing this ahead.

3) Oil the crock of your slow cooker and combine the sautéed veggies, cashew cream sauce, disintegrated bouillon cube, milk, seitan, pasta, thyme & pepper in the slow cooker. Mix thoroughly and cook on high for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until the pasta is al dente. Give it a good stir about every 20 minutes or so.

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Ready to seal her up for an hour and a half to cook and thicken up!

4) If the pasta is ready but the sauce isn’t thick enough, stir in the flour. This should help thicken it up. (Note: I added in the flour to find that after I had taken the lid off the crock pot, it thickened up more on its own very quickly!) If desired, add your topping before serving. Devour!!

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D’oh! I forgot my bread crumbs!!! (I did add some a moment later once I was eating and realized they had been forgotten!! I put a little fresh basil on mine.)

This was truly delicious & easy. Will make again for sure. Id love to try baking it in the oven sometime with some French Fried Onions on top.  Let me know if you try that! And as always, suggestions and comments are appreciated!

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Vegan Manicotti

With my plate pretty full from working during the week & getting used to my daughters school routine, I’m on the hunt for some fast & easy dinners… So are you, right?!  Most days I work until 5:30-6pm, so I love a good homemade meal that I know the kids will eat AND that I can whip up fairly quickly. Kids or no kids, one can never have enough recipes like that in their possession!

In my experience, most kids – and some adults – are finicky eaters (one time they love something and the next time they wont touch it!) so I get really excited when I make something that my kids really love EVERY time. It is so comforting to know when they are going to bed with a nice full belly! Here’s a few links to some of our favorite family meals that are fairly quick to make: fettucini no-fredo, biscuits and gravy, soysage casserole (prepared ahead), homemade vegan mac, pancakes/waffles (sorry no direct link, theres too many to choose from!), pot pie, homemade pizza… &  spaghetti with meatballs!

My family loves this tofu ricotta! I love it for a few reasons – it is fast, it is versatile (it makes several meals – lasagna, manicotti, ziti), the dishes can be made ahead or frozen, & its  healthy- the ricotta is full of protein (tofu) & vitamin B-12 (nutritional yeast), two things that are especially great for vegans. In fact, I think this ricotta just so good that I keep putting off trying vegan ricotta using cashews, a recipe I’ve been meaning to try FOREVER! I’ll get around to it soon, it’s just that Vegan Gourmet Soy cheese is very accessible to me and I personally think its delicious. I have never tried to make this ricotta recipe with Diaya, but I’m sure it would be yummy too. Let me know if you try that!

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Vegan Manicotti

Manicotti is super easy and simple. The hard part is stuffing the noodles without splitting them! (Be sure to cook up lots of noodles cause they split fairly easily.) I think the best, fastest & most attractive way to achieve this is to use a pastry frosting piping bag or making your own by cutting the tip off the corner of a large freezer-ziplock bag. You can also just stuff jumbo shells if you prefer… They are easier to fill, but I find them messier overall. (TIP: Another quick meal to make with this ricotta is making baked ziti – cook & drain ziti noodles and just stir it all together (ziti noodles, ricotta, and sauce), shred some more cheese on top and bake it up!)

You will need :

  • 9×13″ baking pan
  • 1 jar of sauce
  • 1 batch of Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1 box of Manicotti Noodles (Ferrara is what I usually use)

1) Make this tofu ricotta in a food processor. Blend all ingredients but pulse the basil in last, if you are using fresh basil.

  • 1 block tofu (I like to use extra firm)
  • 1 cup shredded vegan gourmet mozzarella, packed
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil – pulse in last! (2 tsp – 3 tsp if using dry basil)

2) Cook noodles according to box. (Mine cooked about 8-9 min.) Take the noodles out of the boiling water when they are done and lay them on paper towels to wait until they are cool enough to handle.

3) Spread a little sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 12 baking dish. Now fill the noodles carefully with the tofu ricotta by spoon or piping bag (I recommend the piping/ziplock bag method).

4) Arrange the stuffed noodles side by side in the pan. Cover with sauce and bake 25 minutes at 350 F. That’s all there is to it!

Serve with fresh garlic toast or bread. Mmmmmm! So easy and satisfying!

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The proof is on the plate… or in this case, an almost empty plate!!

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Arlo in action! Chomp! Chomp!

I cant even tell you how happy I am now that I found my camera!  Blogging recipes isn’t as much fun when you can’t share the visual of the finished product! More to come very soon! 🙂

Pumpkin Penne Pasta

Jeepers… Halloween is fast approaching and I still haven’t made my vegan caramel apples… or picked my costume!  Zoinks! Time to get a move on!

We’ve been pretty busy over here the past week but we did manage to squeeze in a family favorite for our ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night!  We watched Disney’s “Cinderella” (which was finally just released on dvd) & we made some easy & delicious pumpkin penne pasta! Click on the link to view the recipe and read all about our movie night!

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!

Vegan Macaroni Salad

We started out our day this morning in the garden.  Our garden is currently producing cucumbers at warp speed , so I’ve been trying to think of recipes that use cucumbers.  Ironically, this recipe doesn’t contain any cucumbers, but bear with me! There will be some coming! I am not a HUGE cucumber person… I’m not sure why I planted 6 (yes, six!) cucumber plants in our garden this year.  But, on the bright side, it’s been forcing me to eat cucumbers with a vengeance.  So far, with our first ones, we’ve been making salads… eating cucumber & cream cheese sandwiches… we have had hummus with slices of cucumber on the side… falafel patties topped with cucumber and tomato.  I think I may try to make my own pickles this year with some of them.  What is your favorite thing to do with cucumbers?

This morning we made a big “Green Juice” in the juicer, containing (surprise!) cucumber, apple, kale, spinach and celery.  It was really refreshing! My kids didn’t care for it though -not sweet enough I guess!  Maybe I will add more apples for them next time.

It’s finally starting to really feel like summer here in good old Georgia, with pleasant morning temperatures climbing high late in the afternoon… but it’s not late enough in the year to be deathly hot yet!  Ahhh… it’s totally one of those days that makes me want to make sweet tea (if you’re from the south you will know what I mean) and grill out vegan hot dogs with macaroni salad and potato chips on the side… which brings me to today’s recipe – Macaroni Salad!

This macaroni salad is delicious, easy AND healthy… it is tofu based instead of mayo based… You could use vegan mayo if you wanted to, but trust me and try this first – everything I have ever made from scratch always turns out better!  Make this ahead of time and keep cold until ready to serve.  Even though it’s not made with mayonnaise, I personally don’t like to leave anything that should be cold sitting out in the hot sun for long!  This is a great salad to have around on the Fourth of July or at any picnic or cookout!

I changed very little from the original recipe, which is from Vegan Planet, one of my first and very favorite cookbooks! Robin Robertson never lets me down.  She makes vegan cooking seem so easy!

Vegan Macaroni Salad

  • 8 oz elbow macaroni noodles
  • 1/2 cup minced celery (I only used 1/4 cup)
  • > 1/2 block silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup grated onion
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • cayenne pepper (optional)

1 – Cook the noodles in some boiling salted water until al dente, 8-10 minutes.  Drain and rinse well under cold water.  You want to rinse off the starch and stop them from cooking any furthur and turning into mush! Put them in a large bowl and continue on.  (You could even shock the noodles in a little ice bath to stop them from cooking and chill them really quick if you wanted to.)

2- In a blender or food processor, combine the tofu, soy milk and process until smooth.  Scrape down the sides and process again. Stir in by hand the onion, celery, relish, lemon juice, mustard, salt and cayenne to taste (or save the cayenne for last and sprinkle on top as serving).  Add the cold (drained) pasta noodles and mix well.  Cover and chill at least 1 hour before serving cold. Devour… alongside your other favorite summer dishes!

This easy macaroni salad is a great addition to any BBQ, cookout or picnic!

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!

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! 🙂