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Lentil Tacos

January 17, 2013

photo (10)Β photo (7)photo (9)

We’re back home in Canada! Living in Europe was a really amazing experience, and I’m so glad we had the opportunity to go. I enjoyed the travel experiences immensely, but I also enjoyed how Sean and I made dinner almost every night. That was really nice, and it’s a great way to bond if you cook together.

Now that we’re back we’re retrying some of the foods we missed while in Europe (nachos, Starbucks, etc). However, I don’t feel the need to really be eating this things as much as we were before we left. So that’s great!

I’m working on trying to do a meal plan each week, but this week I kind of failed at it. I just started my new job on Monday, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment especially after not working for 4 months. Thursday night was deemed Taco Night, so we made tacos! I think it was the only night this week I legit cooked what the meal plan dictated, haha.

I got this recipe from AllRecipes.com. It was pretty tasty, I didn’t change much.

Lentil Tacos
From allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 1 cup of green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup of vegetarian chicken broth
  • 1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • salsa (add at the end, to taste)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a large pot. Add onions and garlic and cook until tender, approx 5 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, taco seasoning, and crushed red pepper flakes. Stir for 1 minute.
  3. Add the broth, bring pot to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, turn heat down and simmer with a cover for 25-30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  5. Remove the cover and allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
  6. Slightly mash the lentils, then add salsa to taste.
  7. Serve with your favourite fixin’s!

These were really good. My brother’s favourite food is tacos so I was glad that he enjoyed these. They get the brother stamp of approval. πŸ™‚ I find lentils are a really great substitute for ground beef, especially with the right herbs and spices.

We served our tacos with a mix of hard shell and soft shell tacos. For toppings we used shredded romaine lettuce, salsa, cheddar cheese (I missed cheddar cheese while in Europe!!!), plain greek yogurt, and pickles. I know pickles is kind of a weird topping, but we’ve always eaten tacos this way. They’re so good with tacos, I don’t know why.

My favourite thing to do after eating hard shell tacos is to take the left overs and make a “taco salad”. It’s a good way to clean up a messy plate. πŸ™‚

Forty Clove Garlic, Chickpeas and Broccoli

December 7, 2012

Forty Clove Chickpeas

Tonight for dinner we ended up making forty clove garlic, chickpeas, and broccoli! It was so good. πŸ™‚ It’s not actually forty cloves of garlic, but it is 10! So it’s pretty garlicky which obviously means it’s super delicious. We ended up slyly using our landlady’s oven again since she’s not here for the weekend. Hooray! And this time we weren’t caught.

Forty Clove Chickpeas and Broccoli via Appetite for Reduction

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of broccoli (we used one head of broccoli)
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced (not a part of the original recipe but we didn’t have a 1 lb of broccoli!)
  • 10 cloves of garlic, diced (recipe calls to smash it but people said the garlic was still undercooked while the broccoli was cooked)
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of oregano
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (didn’t have this)
  • 1 cup of vegetable broth

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Chop broccoli, pepper, and garlic. Add to a 9 x 13″ pan along with the garlic. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and oregano.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping half way through.
  4. Add the vegetable broth and bake for another 15 minutes or until some of the broccoli is browned and garlic is tender.

We just ate this, and it was really good! I found that the liquid wasn’t all absorbed but I think it may be because we didn’t use the right amount of broccoli. However, it was still pretty good. The garlic was really yummy and the broccoli was good partially crispy! Next time I make it I will definitely use the 1 lb of broccoli.

As I get closer to New Years I’ve been reflecting on being a vegetarian. I really enjoy it and I’m happy I made this decision. I feel healthier but also lighter because I’m not eating huge quantities of meat. I do have cravings every now and then but I realize that it’s more that I miss the social interactions i.e. chicken wings at the pub with some beer. I’ve found a lot of great meals and am being more adventurous with my meals which is also great. It forces you to be creative which I think is great as someone who likes to cook.

I’ve been toying with the idea of going vegan as my New Years 2013 resolution but I’m not really sure. I typically eat mostly vegan but I do enjoy cheese and milk still. I have a lot of thinking to do! I do cook mostly vegan though, so I feel good regardless.

Anyways! That’s my little stance on being a vegetarian. I’m enjoying it and I think I will continue to keep it up!

Macaroni and Cheese

December 4, 2012

Mac and Cheese

It was really cold today so we were craving some comfort food. Originally we planned on making burritos but ended up going with good ol’ mac and cheese. πŸ˜‰ It wasn’t a complicated recipe but it did take some time. It was also kind of awkward because we don’t have an oven in our kitchen so we used our landlady’s kitchen. She did say it was ok for us to use her kitchen when she wasn’t here, so we did… And then she walked in half way through, haha. I think she ended up not really minding (I hope so at least!). Worst case scenario we move home on December 20th. πŸ˜‰

Macaroni and Cheese via AllRecipes

Ingredients

  • 8 oz of uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups of cheddar cheese (we didn’t have cheddar so we used a cheese blend)
  • 1/2 cup of flaked parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 1/4 cup of butter
  • 2 1/2 tbsp of flour
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of onion powder
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • pinch of paprika
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 cups of bread crumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Cook elbow macaroni according to directions.
  3. Meanwhile, heat butter on medium low heat until melted. Add the flour slowly to make a roux. Slowly add the milk and stir constantly.
  4. Add the cheeses and stir constantly on low heat until cheese is melted.
  5. In a greased saucepan, pour the sauce over the cooked pasta.
  6. In a separate sauce pan, melt the 2 tbsp of butter. Then add the bread crumbs and toast.
  7. Top the macaroni and cheese with the breadcrumbs, along with a sprinkling of paprika.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Serve.

This was a pretty good dish, a bit bland. We did add more spices than the original recipe called for but I think cheese/milk are going to be pretty bland anyways. Considering that’s the bulk of the meal it makes sense. The calorie count is extremely high for this but we also had smaller servings than the recipe said it made… We also ate this with some broccoli so we didn’t feel completely awful! It’s comfort food, not health food haha. I would recommend this dish but I would also recommend doctoring it to fit your palate because it’ll be pretty bland otherwise. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure meal!

Arabian Rice & Lentil Soup

November 12, 2012

Lentil Soup

Once the temperatures in Maastricht dropped, we ended up making this soup. We got the recipe from Appetite for ReductionΒ which is a really great vegan cookbook. It focuses on making really healthy, low fat/low cal food that’s filling and satisfying. This recipe definitely hit the bill, and had a really nice flavour profile. πŸ™‚ The rice was silky and the lentils were really nice in texture.

Arabian Rice & Lentil Soup from Appetite for Reduction

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 medium sized onion, diced small
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • pinch of freshly ground pepper and salt
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups of chopped carrots
  • 1 can of green lentils, drained and rinsed (supposed to use red lentils but we didn’t have them!)
  • 1/2 cup basamti rice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (we didn’t have a zester!)
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

Directions

  1. Saute onions over medium heat in a pot until translucent (4-5 minutes). Add the garlic, pepper, and salt and saute for another minute. Add the spices, stir the onion and garlic are evenly coated for approximately 15 seconds.
  2. Add the rice, lentils, carrots, zest, and broth. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once the soup begins to boil, stir and reduce heat so soup simmers. Cover again and cook for approximately 40 minutes.
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings to taste, add lemon juice. Serve!

This recipe was low maintenance (yay), delicious (double yay), and very filling! We really enjoyed it. The only issue we had was that the rice continued to absorb the broth and whatnot after we put it in the fridge for leftovers… So this may not be a great soup to make if you want a lot of left overs. However, it still tasted pretty good.

Chickpea Cutlets

November 10, 2012

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We decided to make Veganomicon’s Chickpea Cutlets for dinner. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately we ran into a few hitches with the recipe, mainly lack of ingredients! However we soldiered through and produced some delicious looking cutlets. It was funny because our roommate came in while frying the cutlets and asked if we were making pork! So they must be convincing lol.

Chickpea Cutlets
Veganomicon by Isa Chandra-Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (recipe links to PPK recipe)

Ingredients

  • 16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 vegetable broth
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 a potato, skinned
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (we used tamari sauce)
  • 1/4 cup EVOO (we used 1/6)
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp of rosemary

Directions

  1. Mash chickpeas with garlic until smooth but not pureed.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and knead. Strings of gluten should form. Shape the cutlets.
  3. Preheat a skillet to medium-heat, add oil and cook the cutlets for about 6-7 minutes per side (until browned).

This cutlets were good! It’s been a while since I made them so I’m trying to remember the details, but we served them with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes. It felt like a good hearty meal. πŸ™‚ We weren’t able to get some of the ingredients here (i.e. vital wheat gluten) but we made do and they still turned out really tasty. I bet these would be good with some gravy as well.

Chickun Noodle Soup

October 29, 2012

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I ended up getting pretty sick for a few days with a cold. I was really craving aΒ nutritious, yummy, comfort meal. So Sean very nicely made this soup for me! All on his own. πŸ™‚ It was great to have him make it and it was also delicious! The soup made a lot of left overs too so that was also really nice because I was able to eat it for lunches and whatnot while he was at work.

Chickun Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 celery stalks, slivered
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large carrot, cut in rounds
  • 1 can of cannellini beans (white kidney beans!)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • pinch of ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp Italian seasoning (we didn’t have this so he made his own of basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, and thyme)
  • 3 cubes vegetarian-chicken bullion
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 handfuls of small noodles (vermicelli)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (or to taste)

Directions

  1. In a pot add oil, onions, and spices (minus bay leaves), then saute.
  2. Add the broth, carrots, celery, and the beans.
  3. Simmer for 35-45 minutes and then add any remaining vegetables.
  4. Once the last ten minutes are approaching, add the pasta.
  5. Remove the bay leaves, salt, and adjust the flavourings.

Anywho, this soup was really delicious. I’m looking forward to Sean πŸ˜‰ making it again next time I am sick. It was a good and hearty soup, so what else can you ask for when you’re sick?

Black Bean Burgers

October 21, 2012

Black Bean Burgers

Since moving to the Netherlands, we had been craving some of our favourite things like vegetarian burgers. I made this recipe way back in October (!) so I’m a bit fuzzy on the details. I do know that it was pretty easy and we enjoyed it! We served it with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli so it was similar to the steak dinners we used to make (minus the steak! :))

Black Bean Burgers via Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup cooked rice (recipe called for brown, we used Basmati)
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup of onion
  • 3 tsp of chili powder
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp corn starch

Directions

  1. Saute the onion and peppers in a tsp of water (or oil if you choose) until softened.
  2. Mash the black beans and then add the rest of the ingredients to the mash along with the onion and pepper.
  3. Preheat a skillet on medium low heat. Form the ingredients into patties then begin to cook them on the skillet.
  4. Cook until browned on each side.

This recipe was pretty good! We unfortunately didn’t have burger fixings but we enjoyed these patties on their own. We made around eight I believe and they were really good reheated. πŸ™‚