Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fresh Veggie Soup

Many of the recipes in this blog make use of convenience foods. Sometimes, however,, we do have some fresh veggies in the fridge and the will to use them. It doesn't take long to put together a decent soup from whatever happens to be in that vegetable drawer, within reason, along with prepared vegetable broth.

For this one we used a quart of vegetable broth, a few carrots, one average zucchini, about a cup of frozen corn, half an onion, and some small pasta. You could add bell peppers, cabbage, green beans, just about anything that sounds reasonable.

Heat the broth while you cut up the vegetables. Cut them in small pieces so they will cook faster. Cut them in this order, and as you finish each one, throw it in the pot: Onion, carrot, pasta (about a half cup or so dried - use the alphabet letters or similar size for quick cooking), corn, zucchini. Generally, cut up the veggies that will take the longest to cook first. When the pasta is looking nearly done put some bread in the toaster or get out the crackers.

If you're feeling quite gourmet you might do as we did here - snip a few fresh basil leaves from the plant you have outside (or on your windowsill) and sprinkle thin snippets onto the top of the soup. Parsley is nice, too.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Puff Pastry Pizza

I borrowed this idea from Vegan Italiano. The basic method holds for whatever you put on the top.

Defrost one sheet (1/2 package) of frozen puff pastry for about 30 minutes. When it's malleable (soft enough to push around) lay it on a baking sheet on which you have rubbed a bit of olive oil.

puff pastry

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Gently stretch the pastry to the edges of the pan and create a little lip. Alternatively, you can place the pastry on a floured surface and roll it out.

puff pastry stretched out

If the pastry is not stretched or rolled evenly the cooked product will shrink in odd ways. Place the pan into the oven for ten minutes. Meanwhile, slice up some veggies and cook them in a bit of olive oil. Use whatever veggies are handy that make sense. In this case the fridge was not overflowing so I used carrots, onions, mushrooms, parsley.

pan of sauteed veggies

When the ten minutes are up, take the pastry out of the oven. It will be cooked.

Spread tomato sauce (whatever type you like) over the crust, toss on some cut tomatoes if you like, and add the cooked veggies. Pop back in the oven for about five minutes to warm through.

Because the pastry is so light and flaky, it cuts easily. Because the pastry is so light and flaky, it's also quite high in fat. But without cheese it's still a healthy meal.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Roasted Vegetables

If you can cut up a few veggies this one's for you.

For this dish use:

2 russet potatoes
8 oz. mushrooms (cremini are hearty)
1 fresh red pepper
1 onion
1 package chicken seasoning mix

OR choose your own veggies. Carrots, green bell peppers, turnips make nice options. Throw in some drained extra-firm tofu, cut into slabs, for additional variety and taste.

Clean the veggies and cut into pieces. Mix with seasoning mix (choose flavor to your own taste). Place in baking pan, cover with foil, bake at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.

Chili and Broccoli

This meal takes about five minutes and can be prepared entirely in a microwave if you so desire.

Fresh or frozen broccoli
Canned vegetarian/vegan chili
Rice (microwave or minute rice is fastest)

Prepare all as directed on the labels.

Quick Sweet Gnocci

This vegan meal is SWEET. It’s gnocci (ptato filled pasta) with carmelized carrots and rosemary.

We used frozen gnocci, available at almost any grocery store. We cooked according to the directions on the label.

In a separate frying pan, we cooked sliced carrots with a little oil, a little sugar, and a little sherry.

We added the carrots to the cooked gnocci and topped with some rosemary.

Healthy Vegan Top Ramen-ish Soup

This is a cheap, simple, quick, nutritional soup, especially when paired with a multi-grain slice of bread or a baked potato. It’s basically a healthy Top Ramen. (Not in the noodle sense, in the cheap and quick sense.)
The ingredients: vegetarian/kosher soup bouillon, frozen vegetables, nutritional yeast, and water.

The instructions: bring 2 cups water to a boil, add a handful of frozen veggies, a tablespoon of nutritional yeast, two tablespoons of bouillon.

The ingredients shown here:

The soup shown here:

Crossposted at Elaine's diary.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Baked Tofu

tofu marinating
baked tofu

Baked tofu is not difficult to make but sometimes we don't want to scrounge for ingredients. Instead, take out a package of marinade mix, mix as directed, and marinate cut tofu slabs (extra firm, "Chinese style") for a half-hour or longer. Bake on cookie sheets at 350 - 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes. Depending on what marinade mix you've chosen (we know you look at the ingredients before you buy) the tofu will go well with a variety of grains and veggies.

In this case we chose a "southwestern" marinade mix from Kroger's. It was a bit spicy. When placed on top of hot brown rice it makes a nice meal. A little greenery can be mixed in (I always like broccoli or spinach)or set on the side. You might want to scrape together the leftover marinade that clings to the cookie sheet and sprinkle it over the rice, or use some bottled sauce (barbecue might be a good choice) to add more liquid to the meal.
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