Archive for the 'chicken-less strips' Category


Girls just wanna see 80’s icons


Yeah, that’s Cyndi Lauper.  Yeah, we got to see her on September 1, 2010.  And, yeah, she can still rock the house.  Well, in this case, she rocked the Oregon Zoo here in Portland.  My only regret is that I never saw her perform live during the 80’s.  But I’m really glad I got to see her this week.  The fact that she is 7 months older than me and bouncing around like a little kid up on that stage was totally inspiring.  Her most recent song styling is the blues, and baby, she can sing the blues.  I believe she can sing anything.  Her range is phenomenal.  A couple times she apologised to the elephants (the open lawn amphitheater was near the elephant habitat) because she would hit these amazing notes and hold ’em for a crazy long time.  

She still uses some of her old moves from the 80's

We were camped a bit far from the stage, but thanks to Katie and her trusty Nikon D70s and a fancy pants zoom lens, she was able to capture some pretty good shots of the diva.  Actually, it was probably a blessing that we were a bit farther away with our camera.  There was one woman who actually caught the rath of Ms. Cyndi Lauper.  Apparently the woman was videoing the show instead of appreciating the fact that she had a perfect spot to watch all of the action live, up close and personal.  Cyndi wasn’t havin’ it.  She told the woman to get the camera out of her face.  She told her that she was up there singing for her and that she should have the courtesy to watch and enjoy the show, because she was there now.   Later, I guess the woman continued to tape, because Cyndi looked at her in disgust again and said “You’re really pissing me off, girly!”  Tell her how you really feel, Cyndi.  

As I mentioned, the venue was an amphitheater lawn affair.  That means people drag blankets, lawn chairs and food to these concerts.  Thankfully the zoo allows outside food.  The only thing you are forced to purchase (besides the tickets to the show) are beverages.  I saw A LOT of wine bottles being purchased.  And, the sight of A LOT of staggering zombies at the end of the night tells us that the zoo made A LOT of money off the sale of booze and semi expensive concert tickets.  

Of course, Vampire Gran dragged a blanket, lawn chairs and food for the evening.  Our picnic consisted of Spicy Veggie “Chicken” Wraps, watermelon cubes, grapes, bagel chips, hummus and Molasses Ginger cookies.  I had left over ingredients so I made the wraps again for dinner last night.  Here’s how I made ’em: 

First I make a sauce using equal portions of frozen orange juice concentrate and Veganaise.  Then add habenero powder to your desired heat preference. 

three ingredients, could not be easier


mix it up, there's your sauce

I sauteed Trader Joe’s chickenless strips with garlic and onion powder, dried oregano, kosher salt and cracked pepper. 

tastes just like.........

Then I mixed it with the sauce to keep it moist. 

The strips soak up more flavor and keeps it from drying out

While the strips are soaking, I thinly sliced some green cabbage, julianned red and yellow bells pepper, small diced some red onion and rough chopped cilantro.  Mix it all together ala salad. 

Ooooo, purty!

Then, in individual shallow bowls, I prepared the innards for these spicy wraps.  I made two wraps hence I used two bowls. 

almost ready to toss

You could actually serve this as a salad at this point.  I tossed it, then added cubed avocado. 

this is making me hungry

Ok, now heat up a wrap on a griddle or wide saute pan.  I used Trader Joe’s 100% whole wheat wraps – mighty good.  Heat until soft and pliable. 

Nice and pliable? Lets get ready to wrap it up!

Now we're cookin'

Mound the filling in the center of the wrap…… 

Step 2....

Fold the bottom up and away from you, sorta burrito style, but only the bottom gets folded. 

Almost done

Fold one side over and then tightly roll until the whole shebang is encased with the top open, showing off the delicious, mouth-watering contents.  This may take some practice, but if you are familiar with making burritos, you will have no problem. 

Mmmmmm.......wanna bite?


Oh, brain fart!  I forgot one very important SPICY ingredient.  Jalapenos.  You can use fresh or jarred.  I opted for the jarred in this case.  We do like our food spicy and hot, so I get a little heavy handed sometimes. 

Now we're talkin' spicy

Right, now wrap that all up again.  These wraps make great road food.  Since we didn’t want to haul an ice chest to the zoo, I just wrapped them in plastic wrap and popped ’em into my backpack along with all the other food.  If you’re not going to devour them within, say an hour and a half, I would keep ’em cool in the refrigerator or an ice chest. 

I mentioned Molasses Ginger cookies up there, didn’t I?  These are, hands down, my favorite cookie.  But, guess what?  I’m gonna leave you hanging like a season finale.  And I, like Cyndi Lauper and her band here, am going to take a bow and hopefully leave you wanting more.  Good Night!!!!!! 





Enchilada casserole tutorial

 A few weeks ago we had  a party at our place  and I made a vegetarian “chicken” enchilada casserole.  Everyone loved it!  Some people were very confused, saying “I thought you guys were vegetarian; there’s chicken in here!”  Well, yeah, but no.  There wasn’t any dead yard bird in there, just good ol’ Trader Joe’s Chickenless Strips.  I’ve posted a picture of the box a few posts back.  I like using those things.  They are so handy when it comes to doing recipe reduxes involving chicken.  Trying to make mostly vegetable heavy meals now days, I like to indulge in some processed stuff once in a while.  Moderation in everything, right?

The night before last I decided to make the casserole for dinner.  Since it was such a hit at the party, I thought I should share it with my blog audience this time.  So here goes:

The first layer

This is made like a lasagna, in layers.  The first layer I spooned in some green enchilada sauce (yes, from a can!), two corn tortillas (or what ever fits in your dish), sprinkle a little grated cheese (I used pepper jack and cheddar), chopped onion, sliced olives, chopped jalapeno, and chopped Trader Joe’s Chickenless Strips (I sauted these first in a little olive oil, added garlic powder, cumin, salt and chili powder to taste).

Layer two more corn tortillas

Ladle more green enchilada sauce on top

Add a little grated cheese

Add the chickenless strip chunks, sliced olives, chopped jalapeno, chopped onions

Load the top up with cheese

And bake it until it looks like this!  Preheat your oven while you are building your casserole to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until it is browned and bubbling.  The other night when this was baking I made Spicy Quinoa instead of rice and refried black beans.  I’ve shown you in past posts how I make refried beans so I’m not going to get into that this time.  I am, however, going to show you  a little step by step action with the quinoa.

Before you heat the pan, have a measuring cup with the liquid ready.  I have a 1 cup plastic measuring cup that has all of the cool markings on it.  I put 1 – 2 tablespoons of chili paste or salsa into the cup and add water or stock up to the 3/4 cup  marking.  Add a small amount of olive oil to a small sauce pan.  Heat over medium high heat, saute a couple tablespoons chopped onions, add some salt, cumin and chili powder to taste and 1/2 cup quinoa.  Stir often until quinoa starts to brown a little.

  Add your liquid and reduce heat to low and cover pan with lid.  Cook until all of the liquid has evaported, about 19 minutes.  Fluff with fork when done.

And this is what it looks like when it is done!  My lighting is a little strange here, so don’t freak if you make this and it isn’t this color, okay?

Add a  green salad and you’ve got yourself a nice balanced meal.  This is better than any Mexican restaurant and a lot lower in fat.  The whole thing takes less than an hour from start to finish.  And, yeah, we really eat meals like this almost every day.  Just ask Katie!


I see healthy people…….

Fantastic salad meal with quinoa, purple potatoes and chickenless strips

Ever since my spouse had her surgery in early December of 2009, I’ve had to change my way of thinking about food.  She told me, in a narcotic haze, that she needed nutrition to facilitate healing.  Yes, even in a Oxycodone  stupor, she still talks like that.  Nutrition has always been a nasty word to me.  In my silly mind, nutritious foods always sounded bland, dull and boring.  And vegetarian nutritious food, even worse. Yes, people, I am the worst vegetarian because I don’t cook or eat a lot of vegetables, until now……….  

After getting over my 2 day pout fest about having to rethink how I cook and what I have been feeding us for the past two years, a light bulb went on in my head.  Yeah, just like in the cartoons! I  know how to make things taste fantastic.  Garlic and spices!  Everything tastes better when it is properly spiced.  I also looked at it as a culinary adventure.  This is my chance to perhaps try some vegetables that I’ve never had before or to discover new methods for preparing the old stand bys.   Lilias Folan, a television yoga instructor, used to always say “The joy is in the journey” and boy, was she ever right.  

Oh, we still eat pizza and veggie burgers and fries now and then, but a lot less frequently.  Quinoa and brown rice are our new carbohydrate.  We hardly ever eat pasta and we both have noticed that when we do, we always feel too stuffed.  I try to make sure we have at least one dark green vegetable each night for dinner.  I’ve replaced the anemic Romaine hearts from Trader Joe’s with the dark green Romaine heads for our salads.  There is an awesome kale and carrot salad at the deli at New Seasons Market that I am totally addicted to.  

The other night I came up with the salad meal you see pictured at the top of this post.  It was soooo yummy!  

I cut a purple potato into bite sized chunks and steamed until tender firm.  Set aside to cool.  I steamed some broccoli until still bright green and crisp, then I removed it from the heat and plunged the broccoli into ice water to retain the color and stop the cooking process.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels and set aside.  

I had some left over cooked quinoa in the fridge.  I added the beautiful bright green broccoli to it along with some shredded carrot, finely chopped red onion, some grape tomatoes that I halved, about a tablespoon of shredded Parmesan cheese and a handful of Trader Joe’s Golden Berry Blend ( dried fruit blend of golden raisins, cherries, cranberries and blueberries) and tossed gently to distribute everything.  

I cut up about half a package of Trader Joe’s Chicken-less Strips.  If you have not tried these, you should.  They are better than the Morning Star Farms brand, also cheaper and much lower in calories, fat and sodium.  Also, the list of ingredients is a lot shorter and all full of natural stuff that we have all heard of and can pronounce!  And they are VEGAN!!!

The first word on the back of the box is "Nutritious!

 Using a non-stick pan, I heated 2 teaspoons of olive oil and when nice and hot, I tossed in the steamed purple potatoes and sautéed them until lightly crisped, then I tossed in the chicken-less strips and a clove of minced garlic and some poultry seasoning.  Once everything had a nice golden look to it, I removed from the heat and set aside.  

Next I cut up several dark green leaves of Romaine and thin slices of red cabbage. and tossed in a large bowl.  

OK, almost ready to plate this wonderful nutritious meal up!  

I made my dressing:  

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil  

1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar  

1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s Aioli Garlic Mustard Sauce  

1 tablespoon raw honey  

Whisk together until emulsified.  

I took the bowl with the quinoa mixture in it and tossed with just a little of the dressing, saving the rest for the greens.  

Next toss the remaining dressing with the greens mixture.  

Place Romaine salad on the plate.  

Place a generous position of the quinoa mixture on top of the greens.  

Final step, place the potato-chicken-less saute on top.  

Eat your NUTRITIOUS meal!



Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 101 other subscribers