Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chick'n Nugget Mac 'N Cheez

Since I am raising my kids to eat vegan, I sometimes get to feeling guilty.  Not because I know that I am giving them the absolute healthiest lifestyle that I feel I can, but because there are a lot of times that they are singled out for being "different" with their food choices.  Now, as adults, we know that being different and going against the grain, often means you're doing the right thing...but for children, it can be a little difficult.  All of that to say, I like to create recipes that look and taste similar to what "normal" kids eat, so that they don't get questioned all the time about their food habits.  This recipe is inspired by the good old Velveeta Shells and Cheese meals that I loved to eat as a child...and boy is it similar!  You'll be surprise at how easy this is, and how quickly your kids will gobble it up!!

Odd things you'll need from the store:

Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders
Raw Cashews
Daiya Cheddar Shreds

The latter of the 3 will more than likely have to be found at a health food store...maybe even all 3, but my grocery store carries the tenders.

Start 2 cups of noodles boiling.  I used the Tinkyada Brown Rice noodles...they work great, and they're fun shapes for the kiddos!

Make the cashew cream.  (Don't freak's really easy!)

1/2 c. raw cashews
1/2 c. water

Throw into a mixer and blend until smooth!

*I used my Vitamix, which does tend to smooth things out a little more than a regular blender...not to be disheartened...just soak your cashews for a few hours, and you'll be fine.  (and don't pretend that you were just going to whip this up last minute and soaking is the deal-breaker...chances are you had to make a special trip to the store for these ingredients, so you actually had to plan ahead for this one...just plan to soak too!)

Once noodles are al dente (which is fancy pants speech for slightly chewy), strain and rinse.  In the pot (don't add the noodles yet), add:

cashew cream
1/2 c. daiya cheddar shreds
1/2 t. sea salt
3 T. Earth Balance Buttery Spread
sprinkle of turmeric (this is just to add more of a yellow color...completely optional)

Stir frequently over low/med. heat until the shreds are melted.


1/2 c. frozen peas
4 Crispy tenders (which you will microwave before hand, and chop into small pieces)  You can add more if you want...just sayin'

Stir until everything is warm and incorporated!  That's it!

Here are some different ways to be creative with this. Try mixing in:

Fried vegan bacon chopped into little pieces
Steamed broccoli
Steamed cauliflower
Chopped Spinach
Chopped steamed carrots
Hemp Seed
Dried Oregano
Dried Basil
Grape tomatoes

So many possibilities!  Hope you enjoy!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chinese Dumplings

I'm so excited about this recipe!  What a fun way to show your family and friends what an amazing host/hostess you are!  Sometimes (okay all the time!) I like to get creative in the kitchen...and I'm not sure how this happened, but I stumbled across a recipe for Chinese Dumplings, and it intrigued me.  After reading through it, it seemed simple enough...not to mention, tasty, so I filed it in my "recipes to make" folder, and here we are!  I cannot stress enough how easy this easy, in fact, that your kids could help you "stuff" the dumplings...IF you were the patient type! (I never am when I'm trying new recipes!)  I had my skeptical kids try them once they were done, and got rave reviews!  My 1 yr. old, double fisted them, and kept exclaiming "yummy"!  These are a winner, make no mistake about that!

In a large saute pan over med/high heat add: (if you feel like things are moving along too quickly, bump the heat down to medium)

3 1/2 T. vegan butter

Once the butter starts bubbling, add:

1 T. grated ginger

Saute for 1 minute (at this point, my 2 yr. old wandered into the kitchen wondering what that "delicious smell" was!)

Add 1 cup chopped mushrooms...preferably shiitake.

Cook for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring

Stir in:

2 T. tamari (or 3 T. soy sauce)
1 T. Chinese 5 spice powder
6 green onions, chopped (green and white parts)

Cook for 3 minutes and then add:

2 T. hoisin (located in the Asian section of most grocery stores)
2 1/2 c. shredded cabbage
1/2 c. chopped matchstick carrots

Cook for 5 more minutes, until the cabbage just starts to wilt

Grab a package of vegan wonton wrappers.  Make a circle with your thumb and pointer finger.  Take one wrapper and push down into the circle, forming a pocket.  Fill the pocket, but be careful not to over-fill (you'll feel like you're hardly putting anything in it), and then secure the top by pinching it.  You'll end up with these cute little "purse-like" dumplings!

There are several ways you can steam these:

1. In a steamer (which is what I used)
2. Place dumplings in a metal colander, set over a saute pan filled 1/4 of the way with boiling water
3. Use a bamboo steamer, lined with wax paper

All methods take 15 minutes

To dip, (because we all know that one of the best features of Asian food is the dipping factor!), just place some hoisin sauce in a bowl, or drizzle the plate with it...nice and fancy like! (Pictured above)

There you have it! You can get about 35-40 dumplings out of this!  I went ahead a doubled it, and froze half for later!  If you're making the mess, and you have the ingredients, you might as well!!