Category Archives: Meatless

Our Favorite Homemade Tortillas

P1050759We love tacos around here. I make them a lot. It’s one of those meals that everyone at the table is always excited to eat- and without complaints- yay!

Switching to my own homemade Taco Seasoning from packaged taco seasonings was one of the first changes I remember making when I began to switch to truly homemade food.

But, this favorite meal of ours still needed a change…the tortillas.

So, we have recently switched from the store-bought pre-packaged tortillas to this homemade version.

And here is why- Instead of eating this along with our tacos: whole wheat flour, water, vegetable shortening (partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oils), contains 2% or less of leavening (sodium bicarbonate, sodium aluminum sulfate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, calcium sulfate), salt, molasses, vital wheat gluten, fumaric acid, mono- and diglycerides, fully hydrogenated cottonseed oil, guar gum, sodium metabisulfite, soy flour, calcium propionate, and potassium sorbate (preservatives), enzymes. (found here)….

…we now enjoy tortillas made with only flour, salt, baking powder, lard (or butter), and water!

These tortillas are sturdy enough to hold all your fillings without falling apart, they are soft, and you will find them a little thicker than store-bought tortillas.

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Beans for Dinner (slow cooker-nothing canned)

P1040954Are beans a common dish at your table?

It used to be that when I thought of beans, I would think of old westerns, tin plates, and the solitary food that cowboys ate on the range. Who still eats beans? Isn’t that even the old joke- “Money’s getting so tight, we’ll be down to eating beans for dinner” ?

Well, I think beans are underrated. They may not be a trendy food, but they are SO nutritious. Beans are filled with iron, protein, vitamins and fiber. They are low in cholesterol (in fact they help lower cholesterol!), very low in fat, and very heart -healthy! (Check out the nutrition of Pinto beans, and black eyed peas for starters. Both are found in this recipe)

And let’s not forget, beans are also cheap!

Maybe good’ ol beans deserve another look!

This recipe, prepared in the slow cooker, begins with dry beans- nothing canned. This allows you to control the sodium and start with no preservatives. Added to the beans are onion, garlic, and peppers- which are also fresh and healthy choices. (Have you ever researched all the benefits of garlic? It’s truly an amazing food.)

These beans could be your main dish or side. I like to serve them along with brown rice or cornbread. Having beans for dinner is also a great option if you are looking for something  meatless since beans tend to be very hearty and filling.

Feel free, too, to play around with your combination of beans. There are so many varieties.

I’ve included my favorite combo in this recipe.

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Fresh Homemade Pizza Sauce (short-hand notes)

P1040298Looking for an alternative to bottled or canned pizza sauce? Want a pizza sauce that is fresh but doesn’t take forever to make? Well, I did too.

Here is how I’ve been making it recently- in short-hand style- meaning, I did not use specific measurements- it will require you tasting as you go. But, you can also play with it to make it more customized to your own tastes. This will serve as a good springboard for you to make your own perfect pizza sauce- totally fresh!

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Homemade Pizza Crust

homemade pizza picmonkeyI’ve always liked homemade pizza. It’s such a great, laid-back meal and so customize-able to your own family’s tastes. You can go meatless and fill it up with cheese and veggies, or you could go the other way and do a meat-lovers. You could have fun and add pineapple and gourmet cheeses, and the list goes on.

What are your favorite pizza toppings for homemade pizza?

The pizza dough recipe featured in this post is quite simple and one of our favorites. One batch will make 2 medium round pizzas that can feed approx. 2 people each- so 4 people all together (depending on how thin you roll the crust and how hungry the people are who are eating!) Or, you could divide the dough into smaller pieces and roll out to make smaller individual pizzas!

PRINTABLE RECIPE

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • pinch of red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active, dry yeast
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.

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Stir to combine and set aside so the yeast can dissolve while you are working on the other ingredients.

In a food processor (or bowl) add the flour and salt, garlic powder, pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Mix.

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Add the olive oil and mix until combined.

Now, pour in the water/yeast mixture with the food processor running. You may need to add additional water- 1 Tbs. at a time- you are looking for the mixture to turn into a soft dough that no longer clings to the sides of the bowl.

Take this dough out and turn onto a floured surface and just slightly knead. Form into a ball.

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Pour a small amount of olive oil into a large bowl. Spread it around the bottom to coat. Place the ball of dough in the bowl and then turn it over, so the top is covered in the oil.

Cover the bowl with a clean, warm, damp cloth.

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Set aside to rise for at least 1 hour. (you can use this as soon as it is done rising, or you can store it in the refrigerator in a closed container until you are ready to use it)

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When the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and place on a clean surface.

Divide into 2 pieces and allow to rest for several minutes.

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Working with 1 section of dough at a time, roll each piece into a rough circle (or rectangle- or whatever shape you want, really!) on a lightly floured surface.

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Sprinkle a little bit of cornmeal down and place the dough on top just to coat the bottom lightly (this prevents the dough from sticking to the pan and also gives a nice texture)

Then transfer the dough to a baking stone or pan.

Top with your favorite sauce, cheeses, and other toppings.

Bake at 425 for approx. 12 minutes- or until the cheeses melt, the top is bubbly and the bottom of the pizza is beginning to brown.

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The pizza pictured here includes: sauce, 1 cup of freshly grated mozzarella, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, white mushrooms, red pepper, fresh spring onions, and a little bit of black pepper. Mmm..mmm..mmm!

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PRINTABLE RECIPE

dough recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentis

Creamy Cheese and Broccoli Rotini (stove-top)

P1030373Have you noticed that I have a lot of recipes that include the word “creamy” in the title? I guess I’m not very creative when it comes to descriptive names. But it just goes to show that creamy dishes are definite favorites in our household. And if it ain’t broke- don’t fix it!

But really, this one is a winner- we all like it a lot. I love that it is quick and easy to throw together- no baking required. It’s all done on the stove-top (with just a few seconds under the broiler). This is also one of my favorite meatless dishes. I like to try to do at least one meatless dish each week to help the ‘ol wallet out.

So, what is it? It is whole wheat rotini, along with broccoli and cauliflour, coated in a creamy garlic white sauce- similar to alfredo. (but alfredo generally uses parmesan cheese in the sauce).  Then topped with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.  Continue reading

Eggs over Fried Onions and Potatoes (sweet potato and white)

P1020901We love to have Breakfast for Dinner around here! We raise chickens, so we have the wonderful benefit of always having fresh eggs available. (so nice!) And so I like to make use of this great commodity by preparing Breakfast for Dinner on a regular basis.  It’s a great way to incorporate a meatless dish into your menu and it’s also budget-friendly.

This recipe includes three separate features, put together to create a pleasing blend of flavors and textures. On the bottom is sweet potatoes and russet potatoes, baked until tender and simply seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper. Right there you already have some sweet and savory flavors going on.  The next layer is fried onions. I think these are what really make the dish, because they have such natural sweetness that really brings everything together and really compliments the eggs. And then, the top layer is a fried egg that breaks open to cover everything with it’s delicious yolk.

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Recipes 002Macaroni & Cheese has to be in the top 5, at least, in the comfort food world. This creamy version is no exception! I have always used this particular recipe as my “go-to” for mac and cheese- and it is often requested for birthdays and get-togethers in my extended family. Kids (and adults) love it, as there are no funny chunks or flavors or hidden pieces of this or that tucked inside. No- this is plain and simple mac and cheese at its unadulterated best!

Perhaps you usually think of Macaroni and Cheese as a side, but I almost always use this recipe as my Main Dish. I generally try to have 1 meatless meal on the menu each week, and I think this dish works perfectly for that. For the meal, serve it with a green vegetable and muffins or pinto beans. (My mom makes mac and cheese with pinto beans and stewed tomatoes. I LOVE that! But, since I’m the only one in my household that will eat stewed tomatoes- I don’t get to make it that way. Poor me.)

So, without further comment, here is the recipe for this thick, creamy, cheesy, hot and steaming, bubbling macaroni and cheese!

8 oz. macaroni (I like to use whole wheat to boost up the nutrition)

2 Tbs. butter

2 Tbs. flour

1 tsp. salt

2 1/2 cups milk

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, divided

paprika

Bring water to a boil. Add macaroni, and cook according to your package instructions. Drain. Place in a lightly greased casserole dish. (an 8in, 11x7in or a 2 qt. will work fine)

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, stir in flour and salt until the flour is fully incorporated with the butter

Add milk

Using a whisk, which will help to break up the clumps, stir almost constantly until the mixture thickens.

Add 1 1/2 cups of cheese and stir until melted (and just as a side note, I almost always prefer to use freshly grated cheese. I think it makes a big difference in the texture of the sauce)

Now pour all of the sauce over the macaroni and give it a little stir to make sure there is sauce in all the cracks.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese over the top

Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper, to taste.

Lightly sprinkle with paprika (optional)

Now bake, uncovered at 375 for about 20-25 minutes, or until bubbly.

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