Archive for the 'chickenless strips' Category

04
Sep
10

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?

Nice!

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!!!!!! 

 

 

THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT!!!!!!

17
Mar
10

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!

14
Dec
09

Tastes just like Chicken Soup!

Winter staple gone vegetarian

This time of year always means two things to me:  Sweater weather and soup.  As I get older, the pretty pull over sweaters of my youth have given way to cardigans (for fast removal during those pesky hot flashes!) and my soups have become more complex.

I have always loved soup.  I could eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  When I was a kid, I would go on soup jags.  Everyday, for weeks, I would eat either chicken noodle or tomato soup for lunch.  Of course, these soups all came from the familiar red and white can and you just added a can of water.  That was how soup was made in our house.  Being a kid and never having tasted real home made soup, I didn’t know what I was missing. 

When I grew up (stop laughing, those of you who actually know me!) and started cooking for my own family, I made several attempts at home made soup.  I will admit that a lot of them were bland and lacked flavor.  Soup stocks were still a mystery to me so suffice it to say, my soups were pretty watery. 

Years fly by (calendar pages fly by in rapid succession, like in the movies) and my love affair with soup has blossomed into a comfortable relationship.  I can whip up a soup in no time flat.  Good soup. Hearty soup with lots of flavor and enough heat to coax the chill out of your bones at this very cold time of the year.  When I owned Naked Baker I made two types of soup every day.  I made my own vegetable stock.  My customers loved my soups.  I only wish that this recipe I am about to share with you had existed when I had my little shop.  I know it would have been a favorite. 

Six years ago I cut a recipe out of the food section of the newspaper.  It was for a chicken soup.  Now, being a vegetarian, I would never make chicken soup.  But I love to do a redux of nonvegetarian dishes and make them veggie friendly.  This soup became an instant hit with family and friends.  It is velvety in texture, chunky with bits of goodness and pure comfort food. 

TASTES JUST LIKE CHICKEN SOUP! 

  

8 OZ CHICKENLESS STRIPS (Trader Joe’s or Morningstar Farms) 

2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL 

3 TABLESPOONS BUTTER 

1 MEDIUM ONION, FINELY CHOPPED 

3 STALKS CELERY, FINELY CHOPPED 

2 LARGE CLOVES OF GARLIC, MINCED 

1 TEASPOON DRIED TARRAGON 

1 TEASPOON DRIED OREGANO 

2 TEASPOONS HUNGARIAN PAPRIKA 

2 TEASPOONS KOSHER SALT 

½ TEASPOON FRESH GROUND PEPPER 

½ CUP PLUS 2 TABLESPOONS FLOUR 

8 CUPS NO CHICKEN BROTH (Imagine Brand) 

1 14.5 OZ DICED TOMATO IN JUICE 

¾ CUP HEAVY CREAM 

2 CUPS THINLY SLICED FRESH SPINACH 

Hot sauce to taste!

 Cut chickenless strips into bite size pieces.  Heat a small amount of oil in sauce pan.  Add chickenless pieces to hot oil, sprinkle with salt, poultry seasoning and dried garlic or garlic powder to taste.  Saute until pieces are lightly browned, about 3 – 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside. 

Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium high heat.  Add butter and melt.  Sauté onion and celery until the onions are translucent, about 7 – 8 minutes.  Add the garlic, tarragon, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring, for 3 or 4 minutes.  Add the flour and stir until well combined.  Slowly whisk in the no chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Add the tomatoes, with juice, and cream.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the “chicken” pieces and simmer another 10 minutes.  Stir in the spinach just before serving.  Serve with extra hot sauce to help warm you up!

 




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