Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Carmelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

This is very good and filling.  I'm not huge on onions, and the recipe originally called for 2.  I used one, and it was still a bit much.  I'll try 1/2 next time.  But if you are a big onion lover, go for it.  I also found that 2 cups of bread crumbs was way too much.  I would only use 1 or 1.5 next time.  I tasted the cashew ricotta after it was done and was disappointed in the flavor, but after I put it all together, it worked.  If you don't want to go vegan, you could probably buy ricotta.  But where's the fun in that?

3/4 lbs uncooked ziti or penne pasta
1 onion, sliced very thinly
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
white pepper and cayenne
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1/4 cup vegetable broth

Sage Bread Crumbs:
2 cups bread crumbs, preferably fresh and homemade
1/3 cup walnut pieced chopped in a food processor until resembling coarse crumbs
1/4 cup Earth Balance (you can substitute olive oil, canola oil or a blend of these)
2 tsp dried, rubbed sage
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/2 tsp ground paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cashew Ricotta:
1/2 cup raw cashew pieces (approx 4 oz)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves fresh or roasted garlic
1 lb firm tofu, drained and crumbled
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp salt

To make the Cashew Ricotta: In a food processor, blend together the cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic until a thick creamy paste forms. Add the crumbled tofu to the food processor, working in two or more batches in necessary, until the moisture is thick and well blended. Blend in the basil and salt.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 11-inch lasagne type baking pan with olive oil, or use two smaller pans.

Prepare the ziti according to the package directions, about 10 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, make the caramelized onion: preheat a large heavy-bottomed pan, preferably cast iron, over medium heat. Saute the onions in oil until some onion bits are very brown and caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes. Set aside.

Place the Cashew Ricotta in a large bowl and fold in the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, white pepper, cayenne, and vegetable broth and mix. Add the cooked ziti and caramelized onions, stirring to coat the pasta. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and press lightly with a rubber spatula to level it.

Make the Sage Bread Crumbs:
Melt the Earth Balance in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Stir in the bread crumbs, walnuts, dried herbs and paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Stir constantly until the mixture is lightly coated, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and sprinkle evenly over the ziti.

Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until the top of the ziti is golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.  Number of Servings: 12

Green Chile Tortilla Bake Recipe

This is really good.  I know it has cream cheese AND cheddar cheese, but I only used half the package of cream cheese (it's all I had) and probably half the cheddar cheese.  But most of us are lactose intolerant so it's a necessity AND it lessens the evils.  So try it with half and see if you notice!

(note that the ingredients are listed in TWO different areas - don't forget the bottom list when you shop!)

First- make your green chile sauce:
Green Chile Sauce Recipe
2 cups fresh or frozen roasted chiles, skinned, stemmed, seeded, chopped
(I used canned)
5 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded, chopped
3 cups vegetable broth- reserve 4-5 tablespoons
Pinch of sea salt, to taste
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
A dash of golden balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon agave syrup
2 tablespoons potato starch or sweet rice flour
(I used corn starch)

In a large saucepan, combine the chiles, garlic, tomatoes, broth, sea salt and pepper, vinegar and agave syrup. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; reduce the heat a bit and maintain a gentle, constant low simmer for ten minutes.

Add the potato starch to the reserved broth and whisk to make a thickening paste.
Stir the paste into the green chile and continue to cook, stirring, for another 7 to 10 minutes, until the sauce is thickened but not gluey.

As always, taste test. If you used very hot chiles and the sauce is too spicy, add more agave to soften the heat. Remove from the stove and set aside.

Make your casserole:
2 1/2 cups green chile sauce (see above)
10 to 12 corn tortillas
1 8-oz. package soft cream cheese- room temperature
(I used half)
1 cup grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, or vegan cheese (I used half)
1 medium red onion, diced fine
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 teaspoon cumin, to taste
Juice from 1 large lime

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray or oil an 8x8-inch baking dish.

Spoon a half cup of the chile sauce into the baking dish to cover the bottom. Tearing some tortillas in half, if necessary- to fit- take four tortillas, one at a time, and dip each one quickly into the hot green chile sauce, then place it into the baking dish to make a bottom layer.
Spread the softened cream cheese onto the tortilla layer; add the grated cheese.
In a bowl, combine the onion, garlic and  beans. Season with cumin and lime juice.
Add the or bean mixture to the casserole and spread evenly.
Spoon a half cup of green chile sauce over the beans.
Follow with another layer of dipped tortillas. Press down with a spatula.
Pour the remaining green chile sauce all over the top, allowing it to seep in around the edges.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes until it is hot and bubbling.
Allow the casserole to sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving. Serves 4.
This is a great option for a picnic or gathering.  No mayo - no eggs - no spoiling!!  And it's so healthy!  If you use quinoa, you may have to adjust the water.  Check the package to see how much water it requires.  I've used frozen corn in a pinch and it is great too!!


3/4 c. bulgur wheat (or quinoa)
1 1/4 c. water
2 scallions (green onions)
1 med. red or green pepper
1 cucumber
2 ears of corn
2 med. tomatoes
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 c. chopped mint leaves
2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 c. lemon juice
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil. Add bulgar wheat. Remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes until water is absorbed. Steam corn for 5 minutes or until tender but still firm. Let cool, then scrape off the kernels. Chop scallions, pepper, cucumber and tomatoes. Add to wheat along with corn kernels. Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar.

Blend in garlic, mint and thyme. Add dressing to wheat and vegetable mixture. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Yield: 6 servings.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Good stuff!  Not sure where this recipe came from, I think it was shared with me over facebook or email.

2 TBL Olive oil or Coconut Oil
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 Medium Red Onion, diced
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 large Garnet Yam, cut into cubes (1/2 inch)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 28-oz can of Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
3 cans Black Beans (or 4 cups freshly cooked)
1 c. water
1 TBL. cumin
1 TBL. Chili Powder (I use a Chili Blend)
1 tsp. Cocoa Powder
1 c. chopped Cilantro for garnish (optional)

In large pot, heat oil over medium heat and sauté garlic, onion, red pepper & sea salt until soft (about 4-5 min). Add the cumin & chili powder and stir to combine. Cook for another minute. Add chopped sweet potato, water & lime zest & tomatoes, cooking about 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the black beans, lime juice and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes, or until potatoes are soft.

Top with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired. Serve over rice.

Banana Oat Bundles

These got me through my gluten free, sugar free month long challenge I did a few months back.  They're surprisingly good, especially chilled!!  They only have a few tbsp. of oil, but I'm sure you could replace it with apple sauce.  Let me know if you try it!

A cross between a cookie and a mini-muffin, these bundles are a tasty, wholesome treat that are fast to prepare and can be enjoyed hot from the oven, or cooled to pack in lunches!

1 cup quick oats
1 cup ground oats (grind quick oa...ts in a processor until fine and crumbly)
1⁄4 cup unrefined sugar (I used agave)
1⁄4 tsp sea salt
1⁄4 tsp cinnamon or ground cardamon
1⁄4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup overripe banana, puréed (roughly 2 large bananas) (see note)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 – 3 1⁄2 tbsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 350°F (176°C). In a large bowl, combine the oats, ground oats, sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and sift in the baking powder. Stir through until well combined. In another bowl, combine the puréed banana, vanilla, and canola oil, stirring through. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir through until just well combined. Drop large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 1 minute, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Makes 12-15 bundles.

Note: Use a food processor or blender to purée the bananas. It produces a smooth, almost liquefied texture, which takes a long time to achieve by mashing.

Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Brownies

These are really good.  I think I even shocked Tim.  The original recipe called for brown rice flour, but I tried it with that and didn't like them as much. Walmart used to carry sorghum flour, but I haven't been able to find it lately (which is probably a good thing).  I'm sure Whole Foods has it though.

I got the original recipe from here:  http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2006/01/dark-chocolate-brownies.html

5 ounces Belgian dark chocolate (I used an unsweetened dark chocolate bar)
1/2 cup butter or vegan margarine such as Smart Balance (or Spectrum Organic Shortening)
2 organic free-range eggs
1 cup packed organic light brown sugar
1/2 rounded cup almonds, processed into a fine meal
1/4 cup sorghum flour 
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or 1 teaspoon vanilla plus 2 teaspoons peppermint extract for mint brownies)
 1/2 cup extra semi-sweet chocolate chips for the top

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch square baking pan with foil and lightly oil the bottom.

Using the microwave, melt the dark chocolate and butter in a large (microwave safe) measuring cup. Stir together to combine. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs on medium high till frothy. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth.

Add the melted chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture a little at a time - incorporate it slowly- and beat well for a good minute. The chocolate will look smooth and glossy.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: almond meal, rice flour, fine sea salt and baking soda; whisk together. Add the dry flour mix into the chocolate mixture and beat well for a minute. Add the vanilla, beat another half a minute or so.

If you are adding nuts, stir in the nuts by hand and spread the batter into the prepared baking pan [this brownie batter is much thinner than any brownie mix batter I've tried- don't worry, it's going to be wonderful]. Shake the pan a little bit to even out the batter. Layer the semi-sweet chips all over the top of the batter and press them in slightly, if adding.

Bake in the center of a preheated 350 degree F oven for 33 to 35 minutes, or until the brownies are set. Don't overcook. (Err on the side of gooey, if you must- that's what I do; I find gluten-free brownies taste better slightly undercooked and soft in the middle than over-cooked and crumbly.)

Cool on a wire rack; and remove the brownies from the pan by gripping the foil edges. Chill before cutting.
Makes 9-12 servings.

Jelly Donut Cupcakes

So yummy!  These are from Veganomicon.  My favorite part is that you can eat the batter!  No eggs!  The recipe calls for the cheapest jelly you can find.  I used our "healthier" jelly once and it wasn't as good.  So get the smuckers!  And they're good right out of the oven AND the next day. Two different experiences!  So try to save some.

  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup + 2 tbs sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raspberry, strawberry
  • 2 tbs powdered sugar
How to make it
  • Preheat oven to 350º and line a cupcake tin with paper liners. In a mixing cup, combine the soymilk, vinegar and cornstarch and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Create a well in the center of the flour for the wet ingredients.
  • Mix the soymilk mixture with a fork to dissolve the cornstarch and pour into the flour mixture. Add the oil, sugar and vanilla, and mix well.
  • Fill the liners with batter 3/4 full. Place a heaping spoonful of jam into the center of each cupcake, being careful not to overfill. The jam will sink into the bottom of the cupcake during baking.
  • Bake cupcakes for 21 to 23 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, and then set uncovered overnight in a cool and dry place. This will make the tops slightly crispy, like a donut crust. Using a sifter, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with coffee.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing

I got this from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  So far all the cupcakes I've made are delicious so they may just do that (take over the world, that is).  These are our favorite so far.  I made these for Sam's birthday.

1 cup canned pumpkin
⅓ cup oil
1 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chocolate chips (I use mini choc. chips)

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners.

Step 2
In a medium bowl, combine pumpkin, oil, sugar, soy milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir with a fork. Once well combined, fold in chocolate chips.

Step 3
Fill liners 2/3 full. Bake for 22-24 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before icing.

Cinnamon Icing (doesn't make much - pipe or spread on a tiny amount):
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp. margarine - melted
1 tbsp. soy milk (I used almond)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Add the margarine, soy milk, and vanilla and stir with a fork until smooth.  Keep at room temp. until ready to use.  The mixture should look opaque and honey brown.  If it's glistening a lot or looks too liquid (mine was) add a little extra powdered sugar.

Black Bean Tacos with Roasted Peppers and Onions

I can't find where I found this recipe but it's really good!!

SIDE NOTE: I leave most of the toppings at the end and these are yummy as is.  I also don't think you need 1 tbsp. of olive oil in the taco mixture.  Just spray a bit of Pam in there.

Roasted Peppers and Onions:
·    2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
·    1 large onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
·    1 Tbs. olive oil (I use less)

·    1 Tbs. olive oil
·    1 medium-size onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
·    6 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 Tbs.)
·    2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
·    1 15-oz. can diced organic fire-roasted tomatoes
·    1 Tbs. chili powder
·    1 Tbs. ground cumin
·    1/8 tsp. hot sauce, or more to taste
·    16 organic corn taco shells, warmed

Toppings (optional)
·    shredded lettuce
·    salsa
·    2 large tomatoes, diced (2 cups)
·    avocados, diced (about 2 cups)
·    shredded Cheddar or Jack cheese
·    low-fat sour cream

Preheat oven to 450F.

1. To make roasted peppers and onions: toss peppers and onion with oil on large baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes, stir, and roast 15 minutes more, or until vegetables   are tender and peppers are beginning to blacken. Transfer to small bowl.

2. Meanwhile, make tacos: heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft. Add garlic, and cook 1 minute more, or until fragrant. Stir in beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce and 1 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 15 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Mash beans until filling is thickened, but chunky, and most beans remain intact. Adjust seasonings, if necessary. Transfer to serving bowl.

Pass taco shells, filling, roasted peppers and onions and toppings around the table.

  © Blog Design by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates

Back to TOP