Dinner


In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month the Soyfoods Council is challenging Recipe Redux to inspire family, friends, and readers to add more soy foods to their diet by creating recipes using one of the most versatile soy foods available–tofu!

If you’ve been following my post for the last week, you’re already familiar with my Creamy Tofu Alfredo and Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding recipes I made in an attempt to add more tofu to my (and my husband’s) diet(s). You also may have checked out other Recipe Reduxers and their tofu-riffic recipes here, but if you haven’t, take a look and you’ll see some soy-licious recipes!

My third experiment: cauliflower pizza crust meets tofu patty

Background: I made a cauliflower pizza crust recipe for dinner and was very happy with the flavor, but not so happy with all the cheese. I came across some recipes that used tofu in place of cheese, which seemed like a very good idea to cut calories and fat. By using some lite tofu I was able to reduce the amount of cheese, but this would give the pizza crust an entirely different texture. Rather than making a limp crust, I decided to make a batch of patties…skinny tofu patties!

The verdict: The success is in the seasoning. Oregano, basil, and a little bit of red pepper flakes made this a very flavorful dish. The tofu and egg create a  chewy, slightly spongy texture, sort of like a thin omelette. I had a few patties left over from dinner and they were great for a light lunch. Matter of fact, I think I prefer them cold.

Skinny tofu patties

Skinny Tofu Patties
They’re great hot or cold, with a salad or by themselves. Perfect for an on-the-go meal.

Ingredients:

1/4 block firm light tofu
1 cup cauliflower florets with stems on, steamed (I used pretty orange cauliflower here)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
3 mushrooms, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried pepper flakes
2 eggs, beaten

optional toppings:
mushrooms, thinly sliced
chopped tomato
asparagus

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with silpat or spray with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, add tofu, oregano, basil, salt, and dried pepper flakes and mash with a fork. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and mushrooms, stir to combine.

grating orange cauliflower (white and purple work equally good!)

Using a box grater, grate steamed cauliflower florets, holding by the stem end. Eat stems! Mix everything together, add eggs and mix well.

Drop heaping tablespoons of mixture onto prepared baking sheet and spread until thin and 4″-5″ in diameter. Top with mushrooms, tomatoes or asparagus. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until top starts to brown. Makes about 10 skinny patties.

Disclosure: by posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Be sure to check out the other tofu-riffic recipes at The Recipe Redux: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/10/grilled-tofu-blt-sandwich-giveaway/.


Last week I posted a Chocolate Pumpkin-Coconut Pudding recipe as part of a Recipe Redux Challenge brought on by the National Soyfoods Council in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Soyfoods Council is challenging Recipe Redux to inspire family, friends, and readers to add more soy foods to their diet by creating recipes using one of the most versatile soy foods available–tofu!

Since tofu tasted so good as a dairy substitute in the pudding I made, I decided to experiment with main dish meals that could also benefit from this stand-in without sacrificing taste or texture.

The experiment: alfredo sauce

Alfredo sauce. image source: http://www.buzzle.com

Background: The original alfredo recipe uses cream, butter, and Parmesan cheese cooked and served over noodles, sometimes with additional seasonings like parsley and garlic. My version uses tofu and almond or soy milk for the creamy base, and with the addition of a few seasonings, it tastes luxuriant and flavorful enough to rival the original, fat-filled version.

The verdict: I served the alfredo sauce on Ancient Grains Quinoa Spaghetti and Sea Tangle brand kelp noodles. My husband liked it (though adding some shredded Parmesan cheese on top made it closer to the real thing!) Adding lemon juice helped to sharpen up the flavor of the sauce, adding a much needed acidity to cut through the creaminess.

Creamy tofu alfredo with peas and kelp noodles–sample size!

Creamy Tofu Alfredo, serves 4
This versatile sauce–which comes out to less than 100 calories per serving–can be kept vegan or served with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, cooked chicken, or both! Pairing the sauce with 1 1/2 cups of zucchini noodles adds 45 calories, kelp noodles just 6! Got room for dessert?

Ingredients:

1 box Mori Nu Silken Lite Tofu, firm
1 cup soy milk or almond milk (plus extra if you want sauce less thick)
1/2 teaspoon nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
add-ins:
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup broccoli florets
4 mushrooms, sliced
juice from half a lemon

Noodles of your choice (raw zucchini noodles, kelp noodles, cooked pasta noodles, etc.)
fresh spinach

Directions:

In a blender on low speed, combine tofu and milk until smooth, stopping blender and scraping down sides with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add yeast flakes, salt, and red pepper flakes. Blend on low speed until combined, about 20 seconds. Set aside.

In a medium sized sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sautee until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, add garlic to tofu mixture and blend on low for 10-20 seconds or until combined. Pour tofu mixture into sauce pan, bring to simmer over medium heat. Add frozen peas, broccoli florets, and mushroom slices. Cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to simmer. Turn off heat, stir in lemon juice.

Serve over your choice of noodles and fresh spinach.

Creamy tofu alfredo with quinoa pasta.

Creamy tofu alfredo on kelp noodles.

Disclosure: by posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Soyfoods Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Be sure to check out the other tofu-riffic recipes at The Recipe Redux: http://teaspooncomm.com/teaspoonofspice/2012/10/grilled-tofu-blt-sandwich-giveaway/.



Happy WIAW! Busy, busy is what I’ve been, but I’m back with a very cozy casserole recipe from Better Homes and Gardens, some fall pictures, and even something pink for Breast Cancer Awareness month. Thanks once again to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting a very awesome virtual get-together.

It just started getting chilly around these parts, and though the leaves are dropping, there’s still lots of fall color. Here’s what the scenery looked like in front of our house the past couple of months:

August 10, 7 a.m., 60s.

September 25, 7 a.m., mid-40s.

October 4, 6 p.m., low 60s.

Why do I take a picture of the road and why at these times? Because I think it’s pretty for one, and also because that’s when my husband leaves for work and when he comes home. :)

After seeing my husband drive off, I headed back in to do some of my own work (feed cats, check fun email, do regular work, maybe laundry). One day I had to run errands and stopped into Best Bagels in Town to get some of their featured flavored coffee as a treat. I noticed some new bagels that morning–PINK bagels! 25% of the proceeds from these pink bagels will go toward breast cancer research. I couldn’t resist, so I got one with pumpkin cream cheese:

Maybe a strawberry cream cheese would have looked prettier, but this tasted great!

If supporting a good cause can be delicious, then I’m all for it!

Over the Columbus Day weekend we did some shopping at Waterloo Premium Outlets. I am glad that my husband enjoys shopping, and he actually has better fashion sense than I do (he gets it from his stylish mom!) With lots of store sales and discount coupons to get the most bang for our buck, I was looking forward to this shopping trip.

But of course, we needed sustenance! Ithaca was on the way and we stopped at our favorite brunch spot called Simeon’s. I always get their quiche, my husband likes their pulled pork sandwich, and we always order steaming mugs of deliciously dark coffee:

Quiche of the day: sausage, roasted peppers, fontina, mozzerella. Last time it was bacon and caramelized onion. The time before that…I can’t remember, but it was delicious!

Savory pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and sweet pickles.

After our wonderful brunch we headed up to the outlet mall. The place was packed, but we were able to slowly make our way around to our favorite stores and picked up a few sweaters, jackets, and small housewares.

It was a great day: beautiful drive, delicious brunch, shopping trip, and another beautiful drive back home!

Dinner that night was leftover chicken enchiladas (delicious recipe found here) but the next day I made my first non-box tuna noodle casserole. I used to like making the box mixes of Tuna Helper, but I won’t ever eat that again after making this homemade casserole! I especially love the addition of Dijon mustard, and after reading a great tuna tip from Whatever is in the Kitchen, using a generous squeeze of lemon helped to brighten up the flavors very nicely. Use whatever cookable vegetables you like, use whatever noodles you like. I love celery but my husband hates it, so I just chop enough for myself and add it to my fresh spinach greens.

Tuna Noodle Casserole, adapted from a Better Homes and Gardens recipe
Serves 4. With side salad, serves 6. :)

Ingredients:

4 ounces dry noodles (anything goes: spaghetti, shells, rotelles, elbows, made of spelt, sprouted grain, or buckwheat)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped onion or leek
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup broccoli and/or cauliflower florets
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/ 4 cup flour
2 1/4 cups lowfat milk
1/4 cup dijon mustard (add more to taste)
2 5oz. cans water-packed tuna, drained
1 lemon
1/2  cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

In a large stock pot, boil noodles according to package directions. Drain, set aside.

In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat until frothy. Add onion or leek, cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic, cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add broccoli and peas, stir and cook for 1 minute.

Sprinkle in flour, about 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring around until it gets thick and sticks to the veggies before adding more. Slowly add 1/4 of milk, stirring until thickened and heated before adding more. Add 1/4 more milk and stir until it gets thick again. Add 1/4 more milk PLUS mustard, stirring well before adding remaining milk. Stir until heated through.

Adding the milk gradually will make it nice and creamy. I used orange cauliflower, leeks, peas, broccoli, and sprouted grain spaghetti.

Remove from heat, add zest of one lemon to pot, stir. Add tuna fish and stir until incorporated. Stir in juice of 1/2 lemon. Add cooked noodles, stirring gently to coat well. Put in a 8″x8″ pan or 9″x13″ pan (depending if you want thick pieces or thinner ones). Top with shredded Parmesan cheese.

I poured about 2/3 of the noodle mix into this 8×8 pan and topped with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until top is golden. Serve with fresh spinach or a side salad and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve it up on a bed of spinach (no dressing needed.)

Do you have a favorite noodle casserole recipe? (Speaking of casseroles, I wonder if anyone has ever found out what really is in Julie Kotter’s famous Tuna Casserole…)

This Saturday my husband and I went to check out Applefest in Greene, NY. Sponsored by the United Methodist Church, this even is held every fall and features apple and rhubarb pies, apple sauce, apple butter, apple barbecue sauce, apple salsa, fresh apples sold by the pound, and sharp white cheddar cheese made specially for the festival and by hard-working volunteers. There’s also dozens of crafters with all kinds of great products like rustic home decor, hand-knitted dog sweaters, handmade jewelry, and food products.

What better way to make apple butter than in a gigantic cauldron?

How cute are those candy corns?

Cozy up your home with crows, country stars and pot pourri.

Rustic signs, even for NY Giants fans.

This vendor certainly had a love for owls. Her bags and children’s clothing were colorful, fun, and made with cozy knitted sweater pieces.

T-shirts with colorful sleeves made of knitted sweaters.

Most of her shirts were in children’s sizes…but not this one!

I lucked out, this was the only owl shirt left in my size!

I took this photo because of the “Hawaiian Shave Ice,” but only now I saw the sign for “Deep Fried Candy Bars”—dang!

This cute little guy was waiting in line with his dad to get some apple salsa…or apple butter, or apple salad dressing, or applesauce…

Despite the tempting smells of apple dumplings, pulled pork sandwiches and elephant ears that surrounded me with every step, I already knew what I wanted to come home with: barbecue sauce!

An all around good, sweet barbecue sauce!

I haven’t sampled enough barbecue sauces to make a good comparison from one product to the next, but I really do enjoy this Apple Butter Barbecue Sauce made especially for sale at the Applefest. It’s sweet and very slightly tangy. No big smoky flavor, no hot spice, just a good, all-around barbecue sauce. Dinner on Saturday and Sunday was a barbecue chicken pizza using this sauce:

Saturday: we could hardly wait to eat this pizza, had to keep on peeking in the oven!

Sunday dinner: chicken barbecue pizza with spinach, eggplant, mushrooms, onion, and grapes.

A little heavy handed with the cheese, but the apple barbecue sauce was perfect.

I like to prebake my crust to get it nice and crisp then add the toppings in this order:

1. sauce
2. half the cheese (1 part parmesan/asiago to 1 1/2  parts mozzerella)
3. flat stuff: spinach, eggplant, pepperoni, onions
4. lumpy stuff: mushrooms, barbecue chicken, ground meat (note: meats are pre-cooked)
5. rest of the cheese (to hold everything together)
6. decorative stuff (grapes, figs, cherry tomato halves)

It’s not something I follow to the letter, but it does help to know flat stuff comes first then lumpy stuff next. :)

Are there any fall festivities going on in your neighborhood? Did you celebrate Moon Festival? Oktoberfest is just around the corner, too!

When was my last WIAW post, two weeks ago? And it’s Wednesday AGAIN?? My how time flies!

Jenn at Peas and Crayons continues to show us how great it can be to Fall into Good Habits this month, and the habit of trying new things (such as a delicious Chicken Enchilada recipe I’ll be talking about) can be habitual, especially when you know how much fun it is not only learn something new, but to EAT something new!

But before we hit dinner, let’s start off with a look at my early morning meal. Breakfast is sometimes peanut butter toast but this morning I nibbled on some peanut butter-chocolate chip rice krispies treats I made over the weekend. I used a couple tablespoons of powdered peanut butter, but the flavor wasn’t too strong. I still enjoyed it, though, especially with all those chocolate chips:

A small heart-shaped dish was the mold for these crispy treats.

Lunch was my usual favorite: yogurt bowl mixed with vanilla protein powder, a rib’s worth of finely chopped celery, 1/4 apple, 1/3 mushy banana, and fresh pineapple:

I keep the pineapple stored in a plastic bag and slice off what I need. Stays nice, fresh, and neat!

Experimenting with new recipes can be a good way to break up your usual cooking repertoire, and I enjoy checking out what’s new at REM Cooks. His recipes are delicious and versatile, often making sauces that can be used in two or more recipes. He recently posted a recipe for a deliciously spicy salsa verde, but it was the photos of his chicken enchiladas that won me over. The next day I got all the ingredients I needed and made one of the most delicious and easily scarfed chicken dishes I’ve made in a long time.

Mexican food isn’t something I’ve experimented much with, but this is an easy recipe even if you are not an avid cook. “Some assembly required” is the key here, but all you have to do is read his easy-to-follow directions and you’ll be sitting down to a delicious Mexican dinner in no time. NOTE: the salsa verde recipe is SPICY, so if your’e like me and will grab anything within reach to quench the fire, stick with two serrano chiles for a medium heat (Richard also suggests using the milder jalapeno chile). Or, make it full-strength and have some ice cold cervesas ready and waiting!

These chicken enchiladas are amaaazzzziing!!!

If you are hungry for delicious Mexican food, please try this Chicken Enchilada with Salsa Verde recipe. You can also turn them into tacos:

My two tacos with shredded chicken, refried beans & cheese with salsa verde on the side.

My husband seemed to love it twice as much as I did:

FOUR tacos topped with a medium-spicy salsa verde.

In addition to these four tasty tacos, he also ate one cold leftover enchilada, which I was hoping to save for lunch the next day. Oh, well. :(

With the chilly autumn weather we’ve been having recently (low 30s this morning!) these heat-packing enchiladas and tacos will definitely be on my regular menu rotation. What are some of your favorite spicy comfort foods? (We also love  pho, and miss eating at Ha Long in Kalihi!)

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