Veggie Mac ‘n Cheeze

Veggie Mac ‘n Cheeze

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The only “dish” I knew how to cook until I was about 15 was Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. No Joke. It was the go-to meal in my family when mom and dad were both working and 4 girls were coming home from after school sports looking for food. So how about a vegan version? I was grocery shopping the other day and saw a vegan mac n’ cheese in a box. That inspired to make my own, and bake it!

Vegan mac n Cheeze ingredients

This recipe calls for 1 or 2 cups of greens. I opted for broccoli and kale as they are two my favorites. Feel free to not use any greens at all, but it does make this meal more filling.

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Adding the greens before the pasta allows them to cook just a little so they decrease in size and mix better with the pasta.

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Honestly, I could’ve easily not baked this and ate it right after I mixed the pasta. But baking is fun and crispy mac n’ cheese is delicious.

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Serves: 5-6

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and grease a pyrex.

In a large pot, boil water and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set the pasta aside in a separate bowl.

Using the large pot, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the nutritional yeast and half of the milk. Whisk together. Add the rest of the milk and all the spices (cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper and garlic powder). Whisk again. Now add the vegan cheese. Constantly stir this until all the cheese has melted. There may be a few shreds that have not melted, which is OK because it will upon baking. Add the greens and mix well. When the greens seem to have decreased in size a bit, add the pasta and mix altogether.

Pour mixture into the pyrex and (optional) sprinkle nutritional yeast on top. Bake for 20 minutes and serve warm.

 

Pantry Must-haves

Pantry Must-haves

Switching to a vegan lifestyle is the not easiest, I will admit that. However, once you have done enough research and get into the groove of it, it is actually too easy. The most important part is to always have your kitchen ready for you when you need to make something of substance. Having a stocked pantry with healthy items will keep you fit and lean by helping you stay away from buying unhealthy food when you are heading home. I have compiled a list of items I always have in my pantry and constantly buy if I start to run out. (This list does not include items I buy once in awhile for specific recipes).

  • Unsweetened Almond/Cashew Milk
  • Vegan soy-free Cheese (Daiya cheese is my usual choice)
  • Vegan Butter (Earth Balance)
  • Nutritional Yeast (Briggs)
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa Pasta (I am a frequent buyer of Ancient Harvest)
  • Quinoa (red or black)
  • Whole Oats
  • Chickpeas
  • Avocado
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • FRUIT and FRUIT and FRUIT – whatever is in season, have it in your house at all times. This will cure any sugar cravings you have and keep the extra pounds off
  • Bananas
  • Leafy Greens – Spinach, kale, romaine or arugula
  • Natural Nut Butter – Buy nut butter that has only two ingredients or less!
  • Peppermint or Ginger Tea – Drink these every night after dinner
  • Organic inner leaf Aloe vera  liquid (George’s is the best!)
  • Raw organic Apple Cider Vinegar (Brigg’s)
Dark Chocolate Truffles

Dark Chocolate Truffles

I’ll make this post short and sweet because that is exactly what it’s like making these gooey, dreamy truffles.

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe banana (VERY RIPE, mashed)
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance!)
  • 1/4 cup of vegan chocolate chips
  • A dash of sea salt

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine the oat flour, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, banana, and vegan butter. Once mixture is smooth, fold in the chocolate chips. Roll the batter into bite sized balls and lay each on the pan. Be sure they are not touching. Throw a dash of sea salt over the balls before cooking

Bake for 12 minutes. Let them cool before biting into them, the melted chocolate chips will be hot!

Vegan Lentil ‘Meat’balls

Vegan Lentil ‘Meat’balls

Vegan Meatballs

 

Who doesn’t love a warm plate of spaghetti & meatballs? Growing up in my household, this was a staple meal. Dad’s meatballs were the BEST! Then I went vegan, so I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite meals, but not for long! It didn’t take me ages to find a vegan recipe for meatballs; it only took me ages to post about it.

Grease your pan or use aluminum foil. Both work fine.
Grease your pan or use aluminum foil. Both work fine.

The only other catch is finding the right pasta. You know, the kind that doesn’t make you feel guilty for even looking at it. I am a huge fan of Ancient Harvest and all of their quinoa products. They make a great quinoa spaghetti that I recommend to all.

Vegan Meatballs Solo

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of green lentils (cooked, about 3/4 cup dry)
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp of italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp rosemary
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax seed + 6 tbsp of water)
  • 1 cup of oat flour
  • (optional) 1 cup of gluten free bread crumbs

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a baking sheet pan with vegan butter, or oil, or anything you usually use when greasing your pans.

In a skillet, saute coconut oil, onions and garlic. Add the zucchini and cook until light browning forms. You don’t want to cook these too much since they will cook in the oven. Throw the mixture into a food processor and add the cooked lentils, italian seasoning and rosemary. Blend until the mixture has a few chunks, but the majority of it is smooth.

Move to a separate bowl and add the 2 flax eggs. Mix well. Slowly add in the oat flour (you might need all of it) and fold the mixture together. If the mixture is too wet to form into balls, then add more oat flour.

Using your hands, take a small handful of the batter and form it into balls.

(Optional) pour the bread crumbs onto a plate and roll each ball around in the crumbs until covered.

Lay the balls on the baking pan so they are not touching. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the balls around so each side can be fully cooked . Bake for another 15 minutes. Let these cool by getting your spaghetti and sauce ready.

Vegan Veggie Calzone

Vegan Veggie Calzone

Vegan Calzone

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pizza dough (I used trader joe’s, or you can make your own Vegan Pizza Dough (That account rocks!)
  • 1 packet of Daiya Mozzarella Cheese
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Banana Peppers
  • Spinach
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Saute the spinach, onions and garlic until the onions are almost soft.

In a bread pan, flat out half of the pizza dough. Lay out all of the veggies and sprinkle the cheese on top. Use the rest of the dough to cover the filling and pinch the edges together.

Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minute, or until the top of the calzone is browning.

Top with oregano and serve with any marinara sauce. I suggest cut it into single slices, if sharing. If not, dig in!

Dark Chocolate Walnut Fudge

Dark Chocolate Walnut Fudge

Dark Chocolate Fugde MixDark Chocolate Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 3 cups of vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups of organic powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups of toasted chopped walnuts

Pour the coconut milk into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and mix in vegan chocolate chips and pure vanilla extract. Whisk together until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine the organic powdered sugar and unsweetened cocoa powder. Fold the dry mixture into the chocolate until consistent smooth texture.

Finally, add the walnuts into the mix.

Put into a 8×8 inch pan, cover, and refrigerate overnight.

Enjoy the next day by cutting into chunks of your desired size!