Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BBQ Tofu Sandwiches

You're not going to believe this but after this post, I will be completely caught up on my recipes! I've always had folders and folders of pictures just waiting to be posted but this is the last one. I better get cookin' for some new ideas :) This is a pretty old recipe, one I made in August and it's the perfect vegetarian summer meal!

I genuinely like tofu. Honestly, I do. I like tofu that has been manipulated to taste good (it's possible, I promise!) but I can't just fry it up normally and eat it in slabs. It's kinda weird to me. Anyway, I LOVE this recipe. Before making this recipe I thought I hated coleslaw too. Apparently not.

BBQ Tofu Sandwiches
from Eating Well, June 2010 issue
Serves 2

  • 1/2 package (14 oz) of firm tofu 
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup prepared BBQ sauce
  • 3/4 cup coleslaw mix or finely shredded cabbage
  • 1 Tb. low-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp red wine vinegar
  • pinch garlic powder
  • Hamburger buns, pickles, thinly sliced onions...

Cut a long slit along the edge of the tofu package and drain. Open the tofu package and place tofu on its long, narrow side and slice in half lengthwise. Slice one half in half again; place the other half in a tupperware container and cover with water. Tofu will keep in fridge for up to 7 days after open. 

(I'll admit, I didn't cut it like this. I didn't read the directions and just cut it like I normally do. I'm sure it makes for a texture difference though, so I'm definitely going to try it that way next time.) Place tofu slices on a clean dish towel and fold the towel over so the tofu is covered completely on the bottom and top. Put a heavy cookbook on top of the towel and let sit for 10 minutes. This releases some of the tofu's excess moisture and makes the final product chewier. 

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle dry tofu slabs with salt and add to pan. Cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Do not bother tofu while it's cooking! If you leave it alone, a nice, perfect crust will form!

While tofu is cooking, prepare the coleslaw by combining coleslaw mix, mayonnaise, vinegar and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Salt and pepper to taste. Let sit in fridge while you finish the sandwiches.

After tofu is done browning, reduce heat to low. Add BBQ sauce and carefully turn tofu to coat with the sauce. Cook for 3 minutes more, or until BBQ sauce becomes bubbly and starts to reduce. 

To assemble the sandwiches, place half of the coleslaw on the bottom bun. Top with a tofu slab, a couple pickles and onion slices. Spread remaining sauce from the pan on the top bun. Serve with corn on the cob for a complete bar-be-que experience. 

Nutritional Information (1 sandwich on a whole wheat bun): 259 calories, 10 g fat (1 g sat), 12 g protein, 5 g fiber

The coleslaw makes this sandwich. This was in an article devoted to tofu recipes that everyone would enjoy. So if you're wanting to try it but don't know where to start, START HERE. It's a very easy recipe that has incredible flavors. Take a bite and I promise you'll think it's the beginning of June again. :)

I've been really sick this week. The kind of sick that keeps you out of work for two days. The throw-up, sleep all day and still not feel better kind of sick. Not to mention that I'm really not a good sick person. I go stir crazy not accomplishing anything all day. It feels like such a waste of my time. In fact, this post was written today when I had to do something but I couldn't concentrate on anything actually challenging, like homework. I really hope I can kick this thing and SOON since my sister is getting MARRIED this weekend! Wahoo! At least my dress is gorgeous and not like this...YIKES.

Other news? I've drank my weight in ginger ale this week. Not a big soda fan but that stuff is miraculous against upset stomachs. Good ole AB says it has something to do with the rhizomes or somethin. Idk, but it has helped me a lot over this past week. But it's also done a great job of making me feel bloated. That with my inability to exercise (doc says I have to take the week off) makes me very nervous about fitting into that dress on Saturday. I'll just have to do a bajillion sit-ups right before putting it on ;)

Other, other news? The stuff for my GIVEAWAY came in the mail today! YIPPEE! I'm cooking (or baking, actually...teehee) something very special for y'all so stay tuned...hopefully I'll be healthy enough to have it done and ready to go by Monday! 

Have a great weekend! Until next time...♥

Friday, September 24, 2010

Veggie Sausage Bake

I am going to share one of my favorite recipes. 4 months into vegetarianism and I'm already in love with veggie sausage. I never even liked regular sausage but I can't get enough of this stuff. It's got such a great flavor without that greasy, lardy taste you get with regular sausage. It's the one vegetarian item that I think most people would enjoy, even if they don't like vegetarian products because it's just that good. :)

I think I used another recipe as a guide but I'm not sure where it came from...this recipe is just written on a piece of paper which means that I didn't exactly like what the recipe said and changed it a bit.

Veggie Sausage Bake
Serves 2
  • 5 oz vegetarian sausage (I used 2 links Morningstar Farm's Italian Sausage)
  • 1 1/2 cups WW shaped pasta (rotini, macaroni, penne...whichever you like)
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tb. + 1 tsp. flour
  • 1 oz white cheddar (Monterey jack works well too)
  • 2 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook pasta in boiling water 6 minutes and drain. Do not cook pasta all the way.

Heat skillet and coat with nonstick spray. Cook sausage until browned. Remove from skillet and cut into slices (sausage will crumble a bit, which is perfect). 

Cook zucchini 1-2 minutes. Add sausage into pan along with spices. Cook 1-2 minutes more. 

After finding out just how expensive pre-made vegetable broth (some were $5 for 32 oz!! which still baffles me since vegetables are not more expensive than a whole chicken!), I was very happy to find this little guy in my Publix. Each cube makes 2 cups of broth and this whole container was only $1.49! That's more like it. Just place a cube in a measuring cup and pour 2 cups of boiling water over it. Stir and viola! Vegetable broth.

Combine broth and flour in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add to zucchini mixture. Add feta.

Prepare casserole dish with nonstick spray. Combine mixture and pasta into prepared casserole dish.

Top with cheddar. Bake 15-20 minutes. 

Nutritional Information (for half): 492 calories, 15.2 g fat (4.8 g sat), 9.5 g fiber, 28 g protein

As you can probably guess by the protein amount, this meal is very filling! This is in my top 3 meals because of taste, the serving size for the calories and how well it keeps me full. 

Plans for the weekend?? Heading out for my sister's wedding rehearsal. I can't believe the wedding is next weekend! This summer has just flown by. 

In other news, a fabulously delicious giveaway will be appearing on this blog very shortly! You want to stay tuned, I promise ;) Until next time...♥

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vegetarian Taco Salad

I am quickly falling in love with this taco filling. Once again, this something that was made because I had extra produce on hand and needed to do something with it. I am recently discovering that this mix can be used for many things! My favorite is topping for a taco salad, but in a burrito and as a dip are up there too. Plus, it's so easy, it shouldn't even really be considered a recipe!

Fabulous Do-Everything Taco Filling
Serves 2

  • 2/3-1 cup kidney beans, cooked (depending on how much is leftover from the previous dish in my case...)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup corn, or 2 corn on the cobs, cooked and kernels cut off
  • 2 Tb. taco seasoning
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

Spray a nonstick skillet with spray. Add green pepper and cook 2-3 minutes. Add beans, corn, taco seasoning and broth/water. Bring to a boil and let simmer 1-2 minutes or until liquid has thickened.

Nutritional Information (using 1 cup beans): 130 calories, 1 g fat (0.2 g sat), 5.7 g fiber, 6.4 g protein

Vegetarian Taco Salad
Serves 2

  • Versatile taco filling
  • 2 oz tortilla chips (number of chips depends on type - read the bag)
  • 2 cups lettuce (I cut it chiffonade because it's easiest and looks gorgeous!)
  • 1 avocado (6 oz fruit)
  • 1/2 cup LF Mexican blend cheese
  • Salsa and sour cream

Start each salad with 1.5 oz of tortilla chips and top with 1 cup lettuce. 

Dice avocado and top with salt and pepper. I used to always ignore the salt and still do in some things where I don't think it needs it, but don't do it here. Fresh avocado needs to be topped with a little (not a whole lot!) of salt and pepper to reach full potential. Seriously. Do it and you won't regret it.

Top each salad with 1/3 of the filling and half of the diced avocado.

Lastly, top each salad with 1/4 cup cheese and salsa and sour cream. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information (using blue corn chips, 4 Tb. salsa and 1 Tb. LF sour cream): 538 calories, 28.4 g fat (7.1 g sat), 16.6 g fiber, 18.7 g protein

A tad bit higher than my normal diet dinner (I try to stay in the 400-500 range) but well worth the splurge. So tasty and so filling! If you want a lower dinner, leave out the chips...that brings it down to 398 calories! I do love my chips though so we'll just have this occasionally :)

Y'all would be so proud of me! The last two nights I have almost completely caught up on my chores! I've been a busy, busy bee after work...the apartment is near spotless. I need to get it all done during the week since my weekends are completely full lately and I hate using that as an excuse for a dirty apartment. Tonight should be my last installment...dishes, vacuuming the carpet and mopping the floors. 

Until next time...♥

Monday, September 20, 2010

Broccoli and Goat Cheese a game of tag!!

I was very nervous making my first soufflé. I had always heard they were tricky and hard to make. My experience couldn't have been any more different from that description. This was easy peasy and a fabulous way to use some of my free goat cheese. Not to mention mighty, mighty tasty!

Broccoli and Goat Cheese Soufflé
from Eating Well
Serves 2-4

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
  • 1 Tb. butter
  • 1 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tb. AP flour
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning 
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (mine was spreadable and while it may have had a different texture, the taste was fine)
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat four 10 oz ramekins with cooking spray and place them on a baking sheet. (I didn't have 10 oz ones...I used 7 oz ones and somehow it worked out fine...weird.)

Cook broccoli until tender-crisp, not all the way. Mine was a frozen steam-in-bag type and I just did 3/4 of the alloted time. Finely chop and set aside. 

Melt butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Adjust as needed to prevent mixture before getting too dark; it should be the color of caramel. 

Add milk, mustard, seasoning, and salt. Cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 1-2 minutes. 

Remove from heat and immediately whisk in egg yolks and cheese. This is the point that I almost fainted from the deliciousness of that smell! Seriously, I was floored by how good it smelled.

Beat the 5 egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. 

Add cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. 

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold half of the whipped whites into the milk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites and the reserved broccoli just until no white streaks remain. 

Transfer to the prepared ramekins or soufflé dish.

Bake until puffed, firm to the touch and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160°F, about 20 minutes in ramekins or 30 minutes in a soufflé dish. Serve immediately. 

Nutritional Information (per soufflé): 254 calories; 17 g fat (8 g sat, 6 g mono); 184 mg cholesterol; 10 g carbohydrates; 16 g protein; 1 g fiber; 398 mg sodium; 199 mg potassium.

The nutrition info is the reason that it serves 2-4. It makes 4 soufflés. I couldn't figure out anything I wanted to serve on the side, however, so we just both had 2 soufflés. I was very impressed with the way these turned out...very yummy and super easy so don't be scared! Try them! :)

Sorry I haven't posted in a week. The beach weekend was fabulous of course :) but it threw my schedule off. And then I got sick mid-week and I still haven't caught up on laundry or house chores. I need to get a handle on it this week though since the wedding is less than 2 weeks away! I tried on my dress last night and it actually looks better than it did when I first got it. Woohoo! I guess I forgot that I lost some weight since July.  ;) haha I didn't take many pictures over the weekend...and all the ones I did take were of the beach, not people. Oh well. It sure was beautiful there.

And now for the game of tag! I stole this from Brittany's blog because I do love answering questions! :)

What’s this mean? It means I’ve been slated to answer 8 quick questions about myself and to tag some of my BFFs in return. Here goes:

1. Milk Chocolate or Dark Chocolate?

2. What’s your favorite color?

3. Do you have any creative hobbies?

Does baking count? :) 

4. What was your favorite subject in school? 

5. What is your favorite season? Why?
I hope everyone already knows this...FALL! Of course, Fall. pumpkins and apples and beautiful weather and football! It's the perfect season!

6. Who inspires you to sing like crazy when nobody is around? Anything done by those Glee kids. :)

7. What’s your favorite dessert? Can you make it?
Chocolate Torte from Provino's. It's beyond fabulous. I haven't tried to replicate it yet...I figure that would be extremely dangerous knowing how to make the best thing I've ever tasted. 

8. How did you learn to cook? 
I helped around in the kitchen when I was little with my mom and dad and I have been baking cookies since I was 12. Trial and error along with copious amounts of Food Network taught me how to cook. When you're trying to save money, cooking at home everyday is the best option...and that gives me 7 days a week to learn. :)

And now for my tags!

Keep it goin' ladies! :) Until next time... ♥

Monday, September 6, 2010

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy Labor Day! I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend while I type away from work. Blah. You wanna know what is fun, though? Winning $50! This blog has an easy giveaway to win $50 via PayPal. Check it out.

While I try to attain a healthy lifestyle, there's one thing that stands in my way each time: dessert. I have always had dessert every. day. It's rarely more than 200 calories and I believe that I am healthy 90% of the time, which is a good way to live my life in my opinion. BUT. I would like to get rid of my dependence on dessert. It's a compulsion. I have to have dessert. Even when there's nothing that really tickles my fancy, I have to figure something out for dessert. So I'm constantly striving for the day when I can decide if I want dessert. Until then, however, I keep searching for healthier these fantabulous cookies.

Bev's Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Eating Well website
makes 2 dozen cookies

  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F and coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Grind oats in a food processor or blender. 

Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in flour, baking soda, and salt. I was worried about the oatmeal giving too many chunks in the cookies but look how well it blends with the flour! It's basically just there for a lower calorie flour and the flavor.

Beat butter in a large bowl with a mixer until fluffy. Add oil, sugars, egg, and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy.

With the mixer running, add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop by "heaping teaspoonfuls" or using a small cookie scoop. (Mine is this one that holds 2 tsp of dough, which may be why I got 2 dozen instead of 2.5 dozen cookies like she said.)

Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until firm around the edges and lightly browned 13-15 minutes. Mine were done exactly at 13, possibly even 12, so be sure to check yours. Transfer to cooling racks after 2 minutes to avoid over-baking. 

These were soo good! Honestly. They were. I had some friends over after the game and these cookies were practically gone by the next morning! My favorite thing about these cookies was the non-lack of chocolate chips. I hate diet cookie recipes that cut out half the chocolate or put in mini chips instead. I'm not easily fooled when it comes to chocolate, people! Not to mention that one of my friends even specifically asked what kind of chocolate it was because it was better. I told you my lovely Ghirardelli chocolate chips make a difference! ;)

Nutritional Information (per cookie, with 24 cookies made): 122 calories, 6.25 g fat, 1.25 g fiber

In other news...the BEACH in 4 days! I'm half-and-half. I'm really excited because I haven't been out of the state for 5 years, or to the beach for over 6. Buuut, I'm also nervous because I bought a bikini over the weekend for the trip. I'm not quite up to what I'd like to be to be baring in a bikini but my friend with me assured me I was in good enough shape to wear one. I guess my mirrors make me look different. ;) 

I'm working on an auto-post for you guys later this week so you won't miss me too much. It's a fantastic dinner we had last night. My first time making a soufflé! Until next time...♥

Friday, September 3, 2010

Veggie Ravioli Bake

I have a lot of stuff in my pantry. A LOT if you include my freezer stuff. So some weeks, I just have to buy produce. And I'll aimlessly throw things into the cart at Earthfare until it's full of yummy vegetableness. Then I get home and I have no idea what to do with it all before it goes bad. Out of necessity comes invention...

Veggie Ravioli Bake
from me!
Serves 2
  • 2 servings frozen ravioli (about 30 pieces)
  • 1 large or 2 small zucchini, chopped 
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/4 cup Italian blend cheese

Cook the ravioli to package directions. Steam the zucchini halfway; do not let it get soggy!. Always buy whole mushrooms and chop them yourself. They're normally the same price and they're normally so much fresher than pre-cut ones. And it only takes a minute to chop them...

Lay the ravioli in a single layer in a baking dish. Top with mushrooms, zucchini and then pasta sauce. 

Cover with foil and bake at 350° F for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, top with the cheese and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Enjoy! Super easy and pretty good if I do say so myself. Not so much the second time when I used yellow squash instead of zucchini. I didn't think it would make a difference but it did. The zucchini is heartier than the yellow squash, I guess.

Nutritional Information (for half): 339 calories / 7.5 g fat / 6.7 g fiber

Lately, I've been thinking how much I want to create my own layout. I hate having to depend on someone else's layout and I recently noticed that there's no button to go to "older posts" (WTF?!) which is super annoying. So I was thinking about what I would do for a header...and then I realized how much I would love to pose in my apron and a chef's hat, which of course had my searching for chef's hats. There's a plain one at Sam's for like 3 bucks but the one I really want...

OMG, right?! I about died when I saw this hat. Beyond adorable! I was going to make a picture header with that picture I had in mind and then several pictures of the food, which is the real star here, we all know that. Any ideas?? And remember, I really don't want to spend money (other than the chef's hat!) and would prefer to create it myself...:)

Have a great FOOTBALL filled weekend!! Until next time! ♥

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Overnight French Toast

Overnight French Toast
Serves 4

  • 4 Tb. butter, room temp
  • 12 3/4inch thick French bread slices*
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tb. maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • confectioner's sugar and extra syrup
*I used day-old French bread. AB says that French toast should always be made on day old bread so that it's thirsty. :) Basically, I took a loaf of French bread and left it out for a day before using it.  Please don't go to Publix and ask the bakery lady for day old bread. And after she tells you that they make their bread fresh daily, don't ask where the trash can is. Luckily, I was just a witness to this event, not a participant. 

Spread the butter over bottom of a 9x13 pan. I didn't do a very good job of reading this obviously, because you can see that I did not spread and my butter wasn't room temperature. BAHaha. Oh well. 

Arrange bread slices in the pan.

Combine eggs, milk, sugar, syrup, vanilla and salt in a large bowl; whisk until well blended. Pour egg mixture over bread. Turn bread slices to coat evenly (damn, I must have been super tired that night since that's two steps I missed!). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

The next morning, turn off alarm and put on your robe before heading into the kitchen. I know you're still groggy but make sure that your oven is preheated to 400° F. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve with extra syrup and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. 

NOM NOM NOM. This was the best and easiest French toast I have ever had. Sooo good. I may just have to pick up a loaf of French bread tomorrow ;)

UPDATE: Upon being asked for the nutritional information, I went to my food log to find the calories. In my food log, underneath the day, I often figure out the calories of meals by listing the ingredients one by one. This led me to discover that while I found the recipe above, I didn't exactly follow it....haha Here is a revised ingredient list that I used to make it a little more diet friendly:
  • 9 oz French bread (didn't need the whole loaf)
  • 2 Tb. butter (may omit it next time since I know see the purpose is just greasing the pan...)
  • 6 eggs (Organic Valley...yes, it does matter because they have 10 less calories per egg)
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 Tb. sugar
  • 2 Tb. fat free maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Nutritional Information (per slice): 182.7 calories / 7.2 g fat 
Omitting the butter (which I will def try next time): 160 calories / 4.7 g fat 

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