Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Mousse

This was SO easy, and turned out to be really good! And if you use dark chocolate chips, it’s vegan! I doubled everything and I still only ended up with 3 glasses of this (glass is pictured). The recipe doesn’t say what to do after you have made it (and mine was a tiny bit runny), so I portioned it all out in the glasses and put them in the fridge for a couple of hours. They really firmed up and the texture was like a really good pudding. I topped them with whipped cream and few chopped pecans. Mmmm.

rating: 9

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Mousse
(http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/)

serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1/2 package Mori-Nu silken-firm tofu (or 6 oz silken tofu)
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
3/4 c chocolate chips, or 1 and 1/4 chocolate bars in the flavor of your choice (3-oz bars) (or you can use my sugar-free chocolate chip recipe)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1/16 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp agave or other sweetener

Directions:

Melt the chocolate, either on the stove or in the microwave. Then throw everything into a Magic Bullet or food processor and blend until super-smooth. (I used a Magic Bullet. If your food processor is really big, or if you’re using a blender, it might be a good idea to double the recipe in order for the contents to blend.)

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Zucchini Parmesan Crisps

We have a LOT of zucchini coming from our garden right now! I’ve been looking on Pinterest for new zucchini recipes to make, and this is one of them! I have to say, I didn’t love these, and they sure are messy to make (all that dipping before frying).

rating: 6

Zucchini Parmesan Crisps
(http://damndelicious.net/)

serves 4
time needed: 25 min.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Panko
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 zucchinis, thinly sliced to 1/4-inch thick rounds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, beaten
Directions:

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
In a large bowl, combine Panko and Parmesan; set aside.
Working in batches, dredge zucchini rounds in flour, dip into eggs, then dredge in Panko mixture, pressing to coat.
Add zucchini rounds to the skillet, 5 or 6 at a time, and cook until evenly golden and crispy, about 1 minute on each side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
Serve immediately.

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Creamy Vegetable and Gnocchi Soup

Other than chopping up some veggies, this soup comes together pretty quickly (especially if you buy your gnocchi, like I did!). My only complaint with this soup is that I should have let the veggies cook a tad longer. They were still really crisp, and could have used some more time to soften up. My son really liked this soup, and added hot peppers to his bowl!

rating: 9

Creamy Vegetable and Gnocchi Soup Recipe
(http://foodfamilyfinds.com/)

time needed: 40 min.

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:
2 russet potatoes
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour- I bought my gnocchi

Soup:
3 tablespoons salted butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups yellow onion, finely sliced
2 cups red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup celery, finely sliced
½ cup all purpose flour
2 (or 3 for thinner soup) cups chicken stock (I used vegetarian “chicken” stock)
3 cups half & half
½ teaspoon ground thyme
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
pinch of salt and black pepper
2 cups fresh baby spinach

Directions:

Prepare gnocchi by boiling the whole potatoes until fork tender. Carefully peel the potato skins off and discard. Use a potato ricer or fork to mash the hot potato over a large work surface dusted in flour.
Pour the beaten egg over the potatoes and cover with flour. Use a scraper or your hands to gently fold the ingredients together until they form a solid ball of dough.
Cut the dough into four equal chunks and roll each chunk into a rope of dough, about a ½ inch thick. Cut the dough into ½ inch wide cubes and lightly dust in flour. Roll each piece of dough over the backside of a fork to add grooves and set aside on a plate.
For the soup, heat a large pot over medium heat and melt butter with olive oil.
Add the vegetables and stir, cooking for about 15 minutes until the vegetables become tender. Add flour and stir until the vegetables and sauce form a thick paste.
Add chicken stock, half & half, thyme, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for 15 minutes until soup thickens.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and drop a handful of the gnocchi into the water. When the gnocchi rises to the surface of the water, use a ladle to remove the gnocchi, draining off excess water and transfer them to the pot of soup. Repeat until all gnocchi are cooked.
Add a handful of fresh baby spinach to the soup, stir and cook on low for another 5 minutes.
Serve immediately.

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Parmesan Baked Potato Halves

These are a nice, different way to prepare potatoes as a side dish! It was super easy, but they do take a while to cook. Some of these had a really good crust on them, and some of them, the crust came off a little. Maybe I needed to let them sit a little longer after I pulled them out of the oven? In any case, good taste, the potatoes were perfectly cooked, and had a good flavor.

rating: 8.5

Parmesan Baked Potato Halves
(http://www.favfamilyrecipes.com/)
Ingredients:

6 small potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
1/4 cup butter
grated parmesan cheese
garlic powder
other seasonings (to personal preference)- I used dried parsley

 
Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and pour into a 9×13 inch pan and spread evenly across the bottom. Generously sprinkle parmesan cheese and lightly sprinkle other seasonings all over the butter. Place potato halves face down on the butter and seasonings. Place in preheated oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Cool for at least a FULL 5 minutes before removing from the pan, otherwise the parmesan crust won’t stick to the potato. Serve on a plate with a side of sour cream for dipping.

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Vegan Philly Cheezsteak

Okay, I have never had a REAL Philly cheesesteak, so I have nothing to compare this to. Also, I had mozzarella in my fridge, so I used that instead of buying vegan cheese. So there’s that. But. BUT. This is an AWESOME sandwich! Not sure if it’s the tofu that makes it, or the garlic avocado aioli, but wow, this was so good. This is not a sandwich that you whip up on the spur of the moment- it does take some planning. You need to marinate the tofu, then slow bake it. The tofu still comes out rather soft, so it doesn’t have the texture that your typical cheesesteak meat would have, but on its own, it’s still very good. You aren’t going to fool any meateater into thinking this is a “real” Philly cheesesteak, but it’s a fine sandwich!

rating: 9.4

Vegan Philly Cheezsteak
(http://www.namelymarly.com/)

Ingredients:

Slow-Baked Cheezsteak Tofu (See Recipe below)
4 hoagie rolls
1 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
Sliced mushrooms (optional)
Garlic Avocado Aioli (See Recipe below)
Daiya Wedge Jack Cheese (I used regular mozzarella)

Directions:

You’ll want to begin by making the Slow-Baked Cheezsteak Tofu. I recommend making it the day before, but if you’re in a rush, you can do a quick marinade and cook the tofu on the spot. Just know you get the best flavor by letting that tofu slow-bake, but it’s going to be great either way.
Tear off four slice of aluminum foil and have them ready to place your sandwiches on. Heat the oven to 250 F.
Place the olive oil in a skillet and turn up the heat! To about medium to medium-high, that is. Add the red bell peppers and onions and cook until tender. Add the mushrooms (if you’re using those) and cook a few more minutes.
Place one bun on each strip of aluminum foil. Spread both sides of each bun with the Garlic Avocado Ailio. Now add several prepared Tofu Philly Cheezsteak slices to each hoagie bun and top with sautéed veggies, and 2-3 slices of the vegan cheese. Come on, try a piece of that Philly Cheezsteak Tofu. You know you want to. Mmmm, it’s good!
Wrap the sandwiches in the foil, place them in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or so.
Remove them from the oven and let them cool for just a bit before serving. These go great with baked potatoes on the side. Oh heck, it’s a Friday night…why not live a little and have these sandwiches with potato chips or french fries if you want.
My friend Julie suggest that if you don’t eat them all, then store them in the fridge in the foil. That way when you’re ready to eat, you simply put it in the oven and bake at 250 for 15 minutes or so until everything is nice and warm and melted again. Ahh, life is good.

Slow-Baked Cheezsteak Tofu
Ingredients:

2 medium green onions, roughly chopped
1 block extra firm tofu, drained
1 teaspoon garlic powder
⅓ cup Bragg (or soy sauce)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons agave nectar
4 tablespoons rice vinegar (if you don’t have rice vinegar, substitute apple cider vinegar)

Directions:

Heat your oven to 200F. I used my convection oven for this because it has a timer on it, but any oven will do.
Press the block of tofu with a clean dishtowel to remove some of the excess liquid. Slice the block in half and from there make thin slices, to resemble steak strips.
Time to prepare the marinade. Add the chopped green onion, garlic powder, Bragg (or soy sauce), oil, agave nectar, and vinegar to a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds until ingredients are combined, but are still a little on the chunky side.
Pour a little bit of the marinade in the bottom of a baking dish. I used a pyrex 2-quart (7 X 11″) dish. Then place tofu strips on top of the marinade. Cover with a bit more marinade and add another layer of tofu strips until you get to the top. I use a criss-cross pattern to lay the tofu to allow for maximum marinade coverage (MMC). MMC is important. There will be a test…next week!
Once you’ve laid out all the tofu strips, tilt the dish this way and that (slowly) to allow the marinade to saturate all the tofu. You can even use a spoon and allow the marinade to pool on one side of the dish and pour it across the middle of the tofu where it’s needed.
Place the dish in the heated oven and bake for 1 and a half hours. I know. That’s a long time, but set a timer and walk away. Go paint your nails. Get a message. Have tea and coffee with friends. You know, all those things you do on a given day. If you use an oven with a timer, you don’t have to rush back; the tofu can sit in the oven as it cools down.
Once the tofu has been good and slow-baked, I like to brown the strips to give them some nice color. Place 1 -2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and heat up to medium-high heat. Add several slices of tofu at a time and cook until browned on one side, then turn them and brown them on the other side. Feel free to pour any extra marinade over the top of the tofu as it’s cooking. That just adds extra flavor. Repeat this step until all the tofu has been browned.
You can now use this same skillet to begin Step One of the Vegan Philly Cheezsteak recipe above.

Garlic Avocado Aioli
Ingredients:

1 medium avocado
2 tablespoons vegan mayo (I used Earth Balance’s Mindful Mayo)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Directions

Slice the avocado and remove the skin and the pit. Be sure to get as much as the avocado meat as possible!
Place the avocado in a small bowl and add the mayo, garlic and salt. Stir until everything is well combined.
Viola! You now have a delicious and appetizing aioli that you can use on any sandwich.

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Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean + Goat Cheese Enchiladas

We planted zucchini in our garden this year, so this recipe helped me use up our bounty! The zucchini really shrunk down to almost nothing in 30 minutes, so next time I would try 20-25 and see how that goes. But these ended up being really good! I liked them more than my family (son doesn’t care for goat cheese, and husband said he thought these was “okay, nothing great.”). Well I thought they were GREAT! Except for the roasting of the zucchini (which took a few minutes), these are pretty quick and easy.

rating: 8.5

Roasted Zucchini, Black Bean + Goat Cheese Enchiladas
(http://www.sproutedkitchen.com/)

serves 4

Ingredients:

3 large zucchini/summer squash, 1/4” dice (about 4 cups once chopped)
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/4 tsp. lemon pepper/garlic salt (I used garlic salt)
1/2 of a small red onion or 4 green onions, finely chopped (I used green onions)
1 15 oz. can/ 2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained
5 oz. soft goat cheese
10ish corn tortillas (the amount will depend on how full you stuff them)
12 oz. red enchilada sauce, see note above

for serving:

1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 avocados
squeeze of lime
Directions:

Preheat oven to 425′. Place the zucchini on a rimmed baking tray, drizzle with 2 tsp. of the olive oil and lemon pepper and toss everything with your hands to coat. Spread in an even layer, using two pans if it looks crowded. Roast on the middle rack for about 30 minutes until the edges are brown. Remove to cool. Turn the oven down to 375′.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the onion and black beans. Set aside 1 oz. of the goat cheese for the topping and crumble the rest into the bowl. Add the cooled zucchini and toss everything together very gently.

Over a burner, lightly char both sides of the tortillas, about 1 minute per side. This is not an essential step, but I find that it helps keep the tortillas a bit sturdier and it looks pretty. Set up your assembly with the tortillas and the filling.

In an oven proof rectangle dish (I used a 7×13 rectangle but a 9×13 works great too) pour 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of the dish. Working with one tortilla at a time, fill it with a heaping 1/4 cup of the filling and roll it up like a taquito. Lay it in the dish seam-side down. Continue with remaining tortillas, squeezing the enchiladas in tight (you may have extra filling, it’s great on it’s own as a snack or in a quesadilla). Brush the tops of the tortillas with the remaining olive oil. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle reserved goat cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes until warmed through and the top is just crisp. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Top with lots of chopped cilantro, diced avocado and a squeeze of lime.

photo (6)

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Mama’s Pound Cake

Just to clarify, this not my mama’s pound cake, but Paula Deen’s mama’s pound cake! This was the first time I have ever made a pound cake, and I was a little nervous. But this was easy! I thought it would be more involved or time-consuming, but it wasn’t at all. I did have a little scary moment while the cake was baking. The cake rose higher than I thought it would, and was in danger of hitting the rack above it in the oven! So I had to take the cake out, mid-baking, and lower the rack it was on. Whew! Disaster avoided! :) This cake wasn’t as dense a pound cake as I have had, but it was still good.

rating: 8.8

Mama’s Pound Cake
(http://www.foodnetwork.com/)
Ingredients:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, plus more for pan
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup milk (I used 2%)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

With a mixer, cream butter and shortening together. Add sugar, a little at a time. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl and add to mixer alternately with milk, starting with the flour and ending with the flour. Mix in vanilla. Pour into a greased and floured tube pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

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