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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Lazy fare

Some days I feel like preparing fresh dough, making homemade tomato sauce and scouring the freshest ingredients in order to make knock-out vegan pizzas. Lately though, amidst the mountains of readings, case comments, and legal memos, I’ve started to think that less is more. Less work in the kitchen that is! I’m not quite back to my undergrad days of Kraft Dinner, canned soup and peanut butter off a spoon (okay, fine, I still do that last one sometimes…), but being so busy has forced me to come up with quick and satisfying weeknight dinners. These vegan pita pizzas have become a staple around my house. I recommend using whole wheat pitas, broccoli, and chia seeds to up the nutritional factor on these bad boys!

Easy pita pizzas
Makes 2 

2 whole grain pitas
1/2 package of Daiya mozzarella
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 tbsp of chia seeds
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Place pitas on baking tray lined with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread tomato sauce on the surface of both pitas, sprinkle on the oregano, chili flakes, salt and pepper before adding a generous layer of Daiya. Next, add the broccoli florets and chia seeds and bake for about 20 minutes or until crusts are golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Aaannd then get back to studying!

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When I discovered that this vegan queso dip existed, I got more than a little excited. After promptly ordering several jars of the stuff, there was nothing left to do but wait for its arrival. Clearly, the sauce made for some fabulous nachos but I wanted to think of a more creative way to enjoy it. Enter: vegan Mexican cheesy pierogies. Crazy, I know! But they turned out to be just as amazing as I had hoped. Crispy on the outside and ooey-gooey on the inside. Paired with fresh salsa, they made for quite the Saturday night feast!

If you aren’t all as eager as I am to order vegan cheese dip off the internet (but really, is that weird?), then adding a pinch of cumin to this recipe would work well too. And I imagine throwing in some Daiya and non-dairy milk wouldn’t be too shabby of an option either. Whatever you choose, these pierogies really are as good as they look. And come on, doesn’t everyone love themselves a little fiesta?

“Cheesy” Mexican Pierogies with Homemade Salsa
Serves 4 

Pierogies:
20-30 eggless dumpling wrappers
3-4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup vegan cheese sauce
Vegetable oil for frying, amounts may vary

Salsa:
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 scallions, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Begin by boiling the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Once fork tender, drain and mash, adding in the Earth Balance, salt and pepper. Meanwhile, saute the onions in 1 tbsp of veg oil over medium heat until soft and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Stir onions and 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce (reserving 1/4 cup for later) into the mashed potatoes and set aside.

While the potatoes are boiling and the onions are cooking, simply combine all of the salsa ingredients and refrigerate until time to eat.

Working in batches of 4-6, carefully add about 1/2 tsp of the cheesy potato mixture to the centre of each dumpling wrapper. Top with a dollop of the reserved cheese sauce and fold into half moons, sealing edges with a fork. The pierogies can be fried immediately, but I prefer to steam them first in order to soften them up. Steam for no longer than one minute per batch. In a large pan, heat about 1 tbsp of oil over medium and fry pierogies for about 3 minutes per side, until crispy and golden brown. Repeat until all of the pierogies have been cooked. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven until it’s time to eat.

To serve, top the hot pierogies with salsa and garnish with a slice of lime. Sit back, relax and enjoy with a cold beer!

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Cheese please!

Photo by pwisenberg

Hello everyone!

As I write this I am sitting in the library avoiding the endless pages of reading that await me… Such is my new life as a law student. School, however, has been great so far! I’ve met tons of awesome people and my teachers all seem engaging and approachable. Needless to say, I’ve been super busy these past few weeks and haven’t had much time to come up with new recipes, let alone blog about them.

I actually made this meal a while back for a going-away dinner that Paul and I hosted during our last weekend in Toronto. I love mac n’ cheese as much as the next person and was so excited when I saw this incredibly simple recipe for vegan cheese sauce on Angela’s fabulous site. I wanted more texture than your traditional creamy dish so I added cauliflower florets in with the noodles, topped the whole thing with breadcrumbs and Daiya (duh!) and baked it until the crust was golden and crispy And, let’s be honest, serving things in individual-sized ramekins instantly makes a meal cuter!

Everyone (even my carnivorous friends) loved this dish and Paul is constantly urging me to make it again!

Vegan mac n’ cheese
Serves 4
(double the recipe to serve a larger group or to have leftovers)

1 package whole wheat macaroni
1/4 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
1 tsp Earth Balance
1/2 pacakge Daiya vegan cheese shreds (cheddar or mozzarella)
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
sprinkling of paprika
salt and pepper to taste
this easy cheese sauce recipe

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until still quite firm. Drain and rinse under cold water to prevent from cooking further. Transfer macaroni to a large bowl and stir in the raw cauliflower florets. Meanwhile, in a small pot, prepare your simple cheese sauce, transfer to bowl of pasta and cauliflower, and toss it all together. Grease your baking sheet (or ramekins) with the Earth Balance. Add the pasta mixture to the baking sheet and top with Daiya, bread crumbs, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Finally, sprinkle everything with paprika and bake for 20-30 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.

xo Robin

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photos by pwisenberg & i

Hi all!

Today I am one happy birdie and here’s why: Tonight, two of my very best girlfriends are coming to visit. There will be vodka spritzers, tear-inducing fits of laughter (there always are) and late-night whispering/giggling. Tomorrow, I get to enjoy dinner with my parents (it’s been ages) and on Saturday, Paul and I leave with a friend for an epic cross-Canada road trip! We will be driving west for about 5 days until we end up in Vancouver where I hope to enjoy the scenery and scope-out some good vegan eats. Early next week, we’re visiting family in Victoria, B.C. and then heading to Ottawa to hopefully find an apartment for the fall when I’ll be starting law school (eek!). It’s going to be a whirlwind but I cannot wait!

When we decided to do the road trip, I immediately wondered what the heck I would eat for 5 days in car, travelling through a lot of rural countryside, no less. So, I did what I always end up doing- I packed my own food! I made scrumptious “cheesy” Daiya bites, two types of quinoa salad, and an incredibly addictive trail mix. Hummus and veggies will also be along for the ride as will peanut butter (perhaps my biggest weakness), jam, whole grain bread, plenty of fresh fruit and, duh, potato chips!

I apologize in advance for the upcoming lack of posts and I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer!

Robin xo

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Dog days

photo by pwisenberg

No, you’re not dreaming- that really is a vegan chilli cheese dog! Sometimes, ideas like this just come to me and I feel the need to make them right away. Such was the case with these show-stoppin’ dogs I made for a couple vegetarian friends of mine. I used Yves‘ hot Italian sausages and smothered them in homemade chilli and Daiya cheddar shreds. The one you see pictured was excessively topped with both items (for photographic impact, of course) but, who am kidding, I ate the whole thing! Hey, at least I added a salad for good measure.. right?

Vegan chilli cheese dogs
Serves 4 

4 Yves hot Italian sausages
4 whole grain buns, grilled
1 package Daiya cheddar shreds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp each of cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, chilli powder
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp beer
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 can beans of your choice, drained but not rinsed
salt and pepper to taste

To make the chilli, begin by heating the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, bell pepper and jalapeno and cook until soft. Next add the spices, bay leaves and salt and pepper. Stir together until flavours appear combined and everything starts to smell yummy. Stir in a squirt of ketchup for sweetness and then deglaze with a splash of beer. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated before adding the tomatoes and the beans. Stir everything together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes until the flavours have developed and the chilli is thick and chunky. Remove the bay leaves before serving and rectify the seasoning if necessary.

Meanwhile, heat your BBQ to medium-high. Add slits to the hot dogs so they heat more thoroughly. Cook the sausages until the outsides are slightly charred, turning occasionally. Next, grill the buns until hot and crispy. Now you’re ready to assemble these little babies! Once the dog is in the bun (did I really just say that?), add a spoonful of chilli and a handful of the cheese. Top with another spoonful of chilli to speed up the melting process. Wrap the whole thing in tinfoil and place on the grill. Cover and allow the cheese to melt, about 5 minutes (waiting is the hardest part). Finally, eat the damn thing!

Oh, and don’t forget the salad.

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photo by pwisenberg

Yes, that is a grilled cheese! Or should I say a grilled “cheeeese”? Since adopting a vegan diet, I’ve steered pretty clear of imitation cheese. But every now and then I crave the savoury and satisfying taste of ooey-gooey cheddar. I used a soy-based vegan cheese for this sandwich and was pleasantly surprised when it melted beautifully. To spice up this traditional sammie, I made a vibrant southwestern pesto complete with cilantro, jalapenos and even some chia seeds for crunch! And let’s be honest here, even the fanciest of grilled cheeses can benefit from a little ketchup.

Spicy vegan grilled cheese sandwich
Serves 2

4 slices good bread
Earth Balance butter for spreading
8 slices dairy-free cheddar cheese

Southwestern pesto

1 cup fresh cilantro
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1 small avocado, sliced
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chia seeds
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

To make the pesto, pulse all of the ingredients in the food processor while slowly adding the olive oil. Butter the outside of each slice of bread, while spreading the inside of one slice with the pesto. Add the cheese and grill the sandwich in a small pan over low heat. Keep the pan covered to speed up the melting process. For best results, keep a close eye on the sandwich and cook each side for at least 5-6 minutes. Serve with ketchup and gobble it up!

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