About this blog

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vegetable Fried Quinoa

Because this is the last meal I'm gonna cook before leaving for MEXICO!!!!!

That's right, folks.  For the first time in 5 years I'm taking a real vacation.  [Disclaimer: My trip to Texas two summers ago for the Officer's wedding was supposed to be a vacation, but since I was dying of the black plague for the duration of it, it doesn't really count.]  But anyway, a real vacation, with plane tickets and a passport and a new bathing suit and everything.  I am so super pumped!

Since I'll be gone for about a week, I didn't want to have to buy any groceries at this point, certainly not anything that will spoil while I'm gone, and I figured I might as well use up some stuff I've had hanging out in the pantry for a while- frozen mixed veggies, quinoa, onions that were starting to sprout....  I did have to go out and buy the tofu for this (I was heading out anyway for last-minute toiletries and such), which proved to be a wise addition.  I would definitely tweak the spices in this the next time I make it.  It needs more something, I just don't know what.  But it's good.  Really really good.

Now, all that being said, about how I didn't want leftover food or anything that will spoil while I'm gone?  Yeah, well, I accidentally made enough food to feed a small army.  I wonder how well this will freeze...  I had intended to only use 1 1/2 cups quinoa, but got a little carried and used 2 cups, dry, which yielded 5 or 6 cups.  I'm thinking the flavors will be better suited to a smaller amount of quinoa, so I'm going to recommend 1 1/2 cups.

But you know what's the best part about this whole dish?  My old roomie stopped by for a visit shortly after I had finished cooking, so we got to share a home-cooked meal together, just like the good old days.  Love.

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
14 oz firm tofu, water pressed out
1 lb frozen mixed veggies
3-4 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan, cover quinoa with 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Turn heat to simmer and cover with a lid, cooking for 15-20 min, until water is absorbed.
In a large wok, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute for about 3 min.  Stir in ginger and turmeric and cook for another 2 min.  Add tofu, crumbling it with your hands.  Stir to completely cover with spices.  Add veggies and continue to cook for 5-10 min, or until quinoa is done.
Add the quinoa and soy sauce to the wok and stir to mix well.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and additional soy sauce if desired.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Fajita Lasagna

Because global fusion cuisine is so much fun!!!

I actually don't really know what to call this dish.  Enchilada casserole?  Taco lasagna?  Fajita bake?  No matter what you call it, it's absolutely freakin' fabulous!  Corn shells, refried beans, fajita veggies, enchilada sauce, and cheese, layered together kind of like a lasagna.  So magical!

I had a blast actually cooking at "home" again.  It's been forever!  [And I had the house to myself.  Bonus!]  Chopping veggies, jammin' to worldbeat radio on Pandora, and busting out some sweet dance moves is definitely the best way to spend a Monday evening (or any evening, for that matter).  But the anticipation of actually devouring this meal was agonizing.  It smelled heavenly and I was nearly starving to death.  Luckily, it's pretty quick and easy to throw together.  I dirtied more dishes than a one-pot meal, but whatever.  Totally worth it.  I'd still consider it a weeknight meal.  Or, in my case, an all-week meal, since it yields roughly eleventy-billion servings (rounding up) so I won't have to cook again all week.  So I've got that going for me.  Which is nice.

1 large onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 lb bag frozen broccoli and cauliflower
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper
15 oz vegetarian refried beans
1/4 cup salsa
12 corn shells
10 oz enchilada sauce
8 oz Daiya pepperjack shreds (or non-dairy cheese of choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Spray a large saute pan with cooking spray and heat on medium high.  Add onions and saute for 5 min or until soft.  Add pepper and cook for another 3-4 min.  Add broccoli and cauliflower and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 min.  Add cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and thyme and stir well.  Turn heat to low and add salt and pepper to taste.
In a small sauce pan, heat refried beans on medium, stirring frequently.  After about 5-7 min, beans should be thinner and easy to spread.
Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.  Drizzle salsa over bottom of pan and spread evenly.  Arrange 6 corn shells, overlapping, in bottom of pan.  Spread beans over the shells, making sure shells are completely covered.  Spread veggies evenly over the beans.  Arrange the remaining 6 shells over veggies.  Pour enchilada sauce over the shells, again making sure that all shells are covered.  Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce.
Bake for 25 min, or until cheese is melty and sauce is bubbly.  Let sit for 5 min before digging in.  (This was quite literally the hardest part of the process for me!)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Cheesy" Southwestern Pasta Salad

Because quitters never win.  Or whatever.

It's been almost two months since my last blog post.  What have I been doing the past two months, you ask?  Lying in bed, staring at the wall, wondering what I'm doing with my life.  Nothing.  A whole lot of nothing.  [Well, I take a lot of naps, actually.]  But mostly I've just been really lazy, uninspired, unmotivated, broke, tired, and basically ready to give up on this stupid thing.  I don't have a lot of time to cook, I don't have a lot of space to cook, I don't have a lot of good ideas coming to me lately, so what's the point?  But then I came up with a new recipe (for the first time since Christmas) and I figured, oh what the hell.  I'll share this because it's pretty damn tasty [not to mention cheap and easy, just the way you like it] and you'll all be thanking me for it later.  You're welcome.  Yay mood swings!

I actually bought the majority of these ingredients with the intention of making a leafy salad, but wouldn't you know, the store was all out of baby spinach.  [I'm not even making that up.]  Well, everyone knows that pasta salad is the next best thing, so that's what we've got.  This is actually good both hot and cold, so technically I'm giving you two recipes!  Yay overachieving!!!

12 oz pasta (You can use whatever shape makes your heart happy)
15 oz can petite diced tomatoes with onion
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
11 oz can corn and pepper blend
8 oz can sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup reduced fat vegan mayo
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/4-1/2 cup nutritional yeast (Start small and add more as you see fit)
Cayenne, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Boil water in a large pot.  Cook pasta according to directions on package.  When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water.  Return pasta to the pan and add all other ingredients, stirring well to mix it all up.  Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or overnight.  Or, return the whole pot to the stove and heat over medium high until all ingredients are heated through, stirring frequently.