Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sausage Lasagna

As far as I can remember, when my mom made lasagna she made it this way. Don't get me wrong, it's delicious, but I was ready to try out a new recipe. We had some leftover sausage from the jambalaya and I figured now was as good a time as any to try making sausage lasagna. I kinda winged it (wung it?) for this one and just went wherever my nose took me and it turned out beautifully. I felt like Remy from Ratatouille. 

Sausage Lasagna
What You Need:
  • 9 cooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar sauce (if you make your own pasta sauce, more power to ya) 
  • 2 (vegan) sausage links/roughly 1 lb sausage links
  • 1/2 large green pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 oz firm tofu (8 oz ricotta cheese if you're not going the vegan route) 
  • 1 tbsp dry basil
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 package (vegan) shredded mozzarella cheese
The Process: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Slice the sausage links to make half inch quarter pieces and slice the tofu (if using) into small squares. Add to large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until the tofu resembles ricotta cheese texture.
  3. Chop up the vegetables and add to the sausage mixture along with 1/4 cup of pasta sauce and 1/4 cup of cheese and the spices. 
  4. Pour 1/4 cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of your casserole dish. Lay 3 or so lasagna noodles down (depending on the shape and size of your dish), cover with half of the sausage mixture. Then add 3 more noodles and cover that with 1/4 cup of pasta sauce. Add the remaining sausage mixture and cover with the last of the lasagna noodles. Top it off with the rest of the pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese. 
  5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Feeling Adventurous?

So we've been in a cooking rut. Seriously. It's been a lot of pasta and Mexican. So, I decided it was time to seriously switch things up. I guess after making the switch from vegan to vegetarian it was easier to just make things I already knew how to do.

So, what did I make while in this adventurous mood? Jambalaya! I've never made it before, and honestly, didn't think I'd like it all that much. I suggested it to Chris in passing as an option for our meal plan and he was so enthusiastic about it I knew I was being suckered into making it. You live and learn, right? Anyway, I'm really glad he did because it was amazing! I found the original recipe on, and of course tweaked it because that's how I roll.

Vegetarian Jambalaya
What You Need:

  • 1/2 cup (vegan) butter
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chili pepper (2 if you're like me and like your food extra spicy)
  • 1 tbsp creole (to be honest, I didn't have this so I used Old Bay seasoning with some cumin powder. They were close enough in my book) 
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 pound (vegan/vegetarian) sausage
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of chopped tomatoes
The Process: 
  1. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. 
  2. Add the onions, green onions, bell pepper, garlic, serrano chili pepper, celery, and the seasonings. Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, sausage, and rice. 
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let cook until the rice is tender. 

I wish I were a better photographer. I feel like this picture should ooze tasty. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Breakfast Of Course

Holy cow Batman! I haven't posted in ages. I have been slacking. To be honest, I just haven't been in the cooking mood. The things I have cooked recently are regulars in our household and are already on the blog. This morning, though, I was feeling adventurous. I've been craving pumpkin lately, I have no idea why, and so I made baked pumpkin oatmeal. Top it with some warm syrup and it's heavenly!

Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal
What You Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups dry oats
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 1 1/4 cup (vanilla soy) milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tsp cinnamon (plus some to sprinkle on the top) 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
The Process:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients, the canned pumpkin, and the oats in a bowl, then cover the bottom of your casserole dish with the oat mixture. 
  3. Mix the milk, syrup, and vanilla in another bowl. Pour this mixture over the oats. Top it with the raisins and if you're a cinnamon fanatic like me, sprinkle more cinnamon on the top. 
  4. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Serve with warm syrup. 

I'm sure you're wondering what is in my mug. Okay okay, I'll tell you. It's my vanilla mocha latte :) It is 1/4th chocolate almond milk, 1/4th vanilla soy milk, and half coffee which equals pure joy in a cup. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buttermilk Pancakes

I was thinking, maybe I should come up with a clever name and post breakfast type foods on a specific day. Probably Sunday since that's when I have my fancy breakfasts. Well, by fancy I mean something other than just a banana. Anyway, if you have any suggestions of what my breakfast day should be called, please let me know! I'll try to do a little brainstorming myself.

This week I tweaked a vegan pancake recipe from my fav cookbook Get Healthy, Go Vegan. Using a skill I learned while making the Cinnamon Rolls, I turned my vanilla soy milk into buttermilk which I personally think made these pancakes so much better.

Vegan Buttermilk Pancakes
What You Need:
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cup (vanilla) soy milk
  • 1 tbsp white distilled vinegar 
  • blueberries (optional)
The Process: 
  1. Pour the vinegar into a cup containing the soy milk and let it sit for about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients and heat the pan. 
  3. Once the 'buttermilk' is ready, add it to the dry ingredients and mix in the blueberries if you chose to have them. 
  4. Poor the batter onto a non-stick pan or oiled pan. Flip when it starts to bubble, about 1-2 minutes per side. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Softball Fuel

Now that I'm on my (9 day) summer break, I started cooking a little more. I've also gotten a little more experimental and cooked with quinoa and sweet potatoes tonight! Only my second time cooking with either of those ingredients. And it turned out wonderfully, if I do say so myself. I found the original recipe here at Good Life Eats, but it was a guest post by Some the Wiser, and of course I tweaked it some to suit my taste buds (I really don't like olives).

Sweet Chick Quinoa Wrap
What You Need:
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • black pepper to taste
  • Whole wheat flat bread/tortillas
The Process: 
  1. In a large pan, cook quinoa and nutritional yeast in the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Meanwhile, boil the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until soft. 
  3. Once the quinoa is finished cooking, add remaining ingredients to the large pan and simmer until all of the mixture is warm. Fill your wrap and enjoy! 

With the combination of carbs and fats, it was the perfect fuel for Chris before his community softball game. Sasha loves cheering for her daddy. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Grillin' Out

We celebrated my pseudo graduation last weekend by firing up the grill for the first time this spring/summer. I was too lazy to attempt to make tasty vegan burgers so I just bought Boca Burgers. However, Christopher and I worked together to make his burgers extra yummy. I may be vegan but I still have mean grillin' out skills.

Best Burger
What You Need:

  • 2 lbs hamburger meat
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 package onion soup mix
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup instant oats
  • 1 egg
The Process:
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Using wax paper, shape each burger
  3. Grill and enjoy :) 

My burgers are the ones on the left. Just ignore the one that decided to be blazingly bright. 

We topped ours with tomato, onion, spinach, and mushrooms. The mushrooms were camera shy I suppose. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Summer Break

Finals are over! I walked across the stage today :) I have a couple of classes to take over the summer but I am so close to being done with undergrad that I can almost taste it! My parents came to town for the graduation ceremony and afterwards my mom said she and my sister needed to go to the fabric store. Perfect!, I thought. I've had an unfinished project in my kitchen for months. I found the absolute best fabric that incorporates all the colors we use in the kitchen!

The project started off with this piece of furniture. Originally a cabinet I suppose? I'm not sure what you call this, but the doors had fallen off years ago and it was a dull tan that didn't fit in at all with our kitchen.

I started off by sanding it down to get it closer to the original wood. I then used paint we had lying around to paint it. I used a white we used for the trim in the living room and the same blue I painted the canvas with.

As you can see from the above two pictures, we keep dog food in this cabinet. We also have a bin of dog toys that go in there. It's convenient to have a place to put them but they were kind of unsightly in the kitchen, right by the table. So, today, I added fabric curtains! 

I attached them using little squares of velcro. I did this for two reasons. The first being because this is where the dog stuff goes and the dogs know that and hang out by it so the fabric is bound to get dirty. With velcro I can take it off, wash it, and put it back on! The second being that I can change it later if I decide the flowers are too bold or summery. Maybe later I'll do a plaid for the fall and winter? Either way, right now it makes me smile :D