Easy Vegan Chili

Recipes

If you didn’t know by now, I am a huge fan of all Beyond Meat products. Their chicken-free strips are amazing as a chicken substitute in enchiladas and “chicken” noodle soup. The new Beyond Famous Star at Carl’s Jr. is my first ever fast food obsession, and their Beyond Beef crumbles are great in just about anything that calls for ground beef. I particularly love using them in spaghetti and pasta recipes and this chili recipe. I suppose I should also mention that this post is not sponsored, nor am I sponsored in any way by Beyond Meat (hello! that’d be awesome though!). I sincerely very much appreciate their products and the versatility of them and love how easy they’ve made the transition to vegetarian for me (well, mostly – will do another post on that entirely at some point).

It seems like most of the United States lately has been cold, cold, cold. And not just a little cold, but like polar vortex cold. Luckily, I live in California where cold to me is not the same as cold to most people; however, that doesn’t stop me from thinking it’s as cold as it’s ever been here. In order to counteract that on a gloomy Superbowl Sunday, I made this vegan chili with some super hot, hot, hot baked potatoes. My plan was to make a big baked potato bar with all the fixings, but once I tasted this chili I sort of forgot about the rest of the things that were supposed to be options (sorry, guests). This chili was the perfect amount of spicy kick and cuddly warmth to battle not only the cold outside but also the terribly lackluster football game inside.

It’s a fairly simple recipe to make, and for those of us who aren’t completely vegan, it’s surprisingly no-fuss and tasty too. Most of the ingredients are items I typically have in my pantry as well which makes it an easy weeknight dinner that doesn’t usually require a trip to the store, because who likes that. Also keep in mind, that if your local grocery store doesn’t offer Beyond Meat products, you can always substitute with your favorite ground beef alternative or leave that part out entirely. Serve with your favorite chili accoutrements, we like cornbread (who doesn’t), sour cream, cheddar cheese, mustard (yes, I’m a weirdo), or throw it on top of a baked potato for an extra filling meal. Also, I don’t have photos for this, because, life, but will try to get some once I make this again.

UPDATE!!! PHOTOS ADDED – I really do make this pretty often and FINALLY remembered to take a pic. Doesn’t it look delish!?

Easy Vegan Chili

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 15.5 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 15.5 oz can sweet corn, drained

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

1 10 oz bag of Beyond beef crumbles, the unseasoned kind

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup water, or depending on desired consistency

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp cumin

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

1 Tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil for cooking onions and garlic

  1. Add olive oil to the bottom of a large sauce pan along with onion and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat until onion starts to brown on the edges.
  2. Add all other ingredients and bring to a boil.
  3. Once chili comes to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for at least 1 hour. This allows all the ingredients to really cook in together and give you a good depth of flavor.
  4. If chili is too thick after simmering, you can add more water to reach desired consistency.
  5. Add desired toppings or use on top of a big baked potato.
  6. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Verde “Chicken” Enchiladas

Recipes

I used to watch ALOT of Top Chef. Like binge-watching for hours and hours and hours. One episode that I can recall, a particular chef made his version of an enchilada (spoilers ahead). I don’t remember exactly what kind of enchilada, but I do remember that he made them with flour tortillas. Long story short, he ended up being kicked out simply because he made his dish with flour and not corn tortillas. I was floored! I had eaten both versions of enchiladas and thought both tortilla options were great even if they were different. So I say, cooking is an experiment, an adventure, and I think you can make your enchiladas however you want to. In fact, one of my very favorite recipes of my mom’s was chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce and flour tortillas. Once my husband had it, it was one of his favorite dinners too. But once I stopped eating chicken a few years ago, I wasn’t able to make this recipe anymore – that is, until recently. I found a way to recreate an old family recipe without sacrificing my values, and I am SO stoked about it!

This is another recipe that I use Beyond Meat products to substitute real meat. Their products are great because they are the closest thing that I’ve found to matching the texture of real meat. For these enchiladas, I use the Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips. Gardein and Morningstar make their own versions as well, but I haven’t tried those yet so cannot say whether those will work well or not. The Beyond Meat strips work perfectly in this recipe since it calls for shredded chicken, and I much prefer their texture over some of the other vegetarian enchilada recipes I have tried. You could also make this recipe vegan by substituting the cheese for your favorite dairy-free alternative. Serve with your favorite Mexican style rice or beans and enjoy!

Also, sorry I don’t have photos of this, but I forgot to take them the last time I made this (I’m a horrible blogger LOL). But I will try to get some the next batch I make.

Vegetarian Verde “Chicken” Enchiladas

6 flour tortillas, soft taco or medium sized

1 28oz can green chile enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese

1 9oz bag Beyond Meat Chicken-Free strips, defrosted

Optional toppings could include, salsa, avocado, olives or whatever else you like!

  1. Take the defrosted chicken-free strips and shred into bite sized pieces. Beyond Meat has a great video on how to do this here.
  2. Take the shredded strips and mix with 1 cup of cheese and some of the enchilada sauce. I don’t use a pre-measured amount, I use just enough to combine the mixture without it being soupy.
  3. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a 9″ square pan (I use glass, or you could use a larger pan and double the recipe if you want more than 6 enchiladas). If not using glass, I suggest spraying your pan down with cooking spray or oil.
  4. Pour some enchilada sauce into the bottom of your pan. The amount is not terribly important as you can add more as you go.
  5. Take a tortilla and lay it in the sauce at the bottom of the pan, flip over to coat tortilla in enchilada sauce. Take the chicken-free strip mixture and spoon into the tortilla – about two spoonfuls.
  6. Roll tortilla up and place in pan seam side down.
  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the remaining tortillas, adding more enchilada sauce if needed as you go.
  8. Once all tortillas are filled, cover them with the remaining 1 cup of cheese and any desired toppings.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.
  10. Let sit for 5 before serving.
homemade pizza with vegetables

Easy Pizza Dough

Recipes

Good pizza can be hard to find. With so many restaurants offering low-cost carry-out and delivery pizzas, it can be difficult to sift through what’s delicious and what’s just cheap. The worst is when you pay a higher price for a pizza and are disappointed when you bite into it. A fool-proof way to avoid either of these instances? Make your own. I think pizza dough can be as daunting as making bread because of the yeast, kneading and rise time but it’s really quite easy once you try it out. And the results are so worth it! Making your own pizza is cheaper, more tasty and more satisfying than buying it from a chain restaurant. And not only that, I find that it’s usually more filling too.

Another great and unique thing about homemade pizza are the toppings. You can put whatever you like on them! I’ve done honey sauce, with arugula and pears, the basic caprese style with pesto and tomatoes, and huge vegetable pizzas with almost every kind of veggie you can think of. The options are endless! You can use this dough recipe to make any kind of pizza that suits your taste. It stays great as leftovers if wrapped in foil or kept in a plastic bag. This particular recipe makes two rather large pizzas with thick crusts. You can split in half if you want smaller pizzas or just one large one. Like many of my other recipes, I use a stand mixer which makes this so much easier, but you can always make it by kneading by hand. The photo posted is a pizza topped with homemade pizza sauce (maybe I’ll post a separate recipe for this), mozzarella cheese, spinach leaves, grape tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms and chopped green bell peppers. It was absolutely scrumptious and I can’t wait to make it again!

What’s your favorite kind of pizza? Does pineapple belong on pizza 😉 ?

Easy Pizza Dough

2 cups warm water

1 Tbsp yeast

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp salt

Olive oil, enough to coat a bowl and baking sheets and to brush on the crusts before baking – shouldn’t take more than a few tablespoons

  1. Place yeast in warm water and let sit until foamy (about 5 minutes)
  2. Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and stir to combine.
  3. Add remaining flour and salt and knead with dough hook until a dough ball is formed.
  4. Place in a bowl coated with olive oil, cover with either plastic wrap or a clean dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
  5. While the dough is rising, wipe the baking sheets down with olive oil and preheat the oven to 400°F.
  6. Once the dough has risen, split into two equal parts and roll out onto the baking sheets pinching around the edges to create a crust.
  7. Place dough in the oven for about 6-8 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and brush outer crusts with olive oil.
  9. Place toppings as desired and place back in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
  10. Let cool and slice; enjoy your homemade pizza!

Recipe adapted from Chef In Training

Instant Pot Vegetarian Potato Soup

Recipes

Cooking during the colder months is one of my favorite parts about winter. During the summer, having the oven or stove on feels counterproductive to the air conditioning blasting, and really food just doesn’t taste as good. But in the winter, every dish I can concoct feels so comforting and snuggly. Especially when I make soups. Soups are one of those things that you primarily eat in winter (unless of course you’re eating a cold soup). You might bundle up in a big comfy sweater and hold your warm bowl of soup close, ready to dive in with an equally warm and comfy piece of bread or a melty, satisfyingly cheesy sandwich. It’s the perfect picture of winter – and it’s making me hungry.

Last Christmas, my dad gifted me an Instant Pot. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was and thought maybe it was just a fancy digital version of a slow cooker. Boy, was I wrong. Basically, an Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker, meaning it uses high pressure to force heat into your food. It’s similar to a traditional slow cooker in that you add your ingredients, set the time and leave it to do it’s thing, but it cooks your food much faster. When I used it for the first time I made this potato soup recipe and was floored by how quickly I was able to have dinner on the table. The chopping and slicing of ingredients actually took me longer than it took the soup itself to cook – no joke. The results were amazing too. A perfectly balanced soup in texture and flavor in about 30 minutes (this would include the time it takes for the pressure cooker to preheat). You could also make this in a slow cooker if you don’t have a pressure cooker. It will take much, much longer, but would still be delicious. (I’ll include those directions at the end of this blog post.) Also, this recipe is perfect for about 4 large servings – my husband and I can eat it for dinner and still have leftovers for lunch – but it can be doubled if you need closer to 8-10 servings.

What are your favorite meals to make when it’s cold outside? What is your favorite soup?

Instant Pot Vegetarian Potato Soup

2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 small shallot, minced

3 cups of vegetable broth

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

3 Tbsp cream cheese

3 Tbsp sour cream, plus some for garnish

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded, plus some for garnish

1 cup almond milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Green onion, for garnish

  1. Add shallot, potatoes and vegetable broth to pressure cooker.
  2. Seal lid and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes with the pressure valve set to seal.
  3. When ready, release pressure valve to venting to release pressure (be careful on this part because the valve will sputter a bit and be VERY HOT).
  4. Once the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and mash the potatoes to desired consistency. I like mine very mashed for this soup, but if you wanted larger chunks you could always mash less.
  5. Add the butter, cream cheese, sour cream and cheese – stir to combine.
  6. Add the almond milk slowly until you reach your desired consistency. If after a cup of milk it is still too thick, you can add more milk.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese and green onion. Bread is also a delicious side with this soup. I love dipping mine in! I’ve also purchased the Morningstar bacon to sprinkle on top which is a nice addition.

For the slow cooker, you’d basically follow the same steps, but instead of pressure cooking, cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 or until the potatoes are tender enough to mash. For a vegan option, substitute the butter, cheese, cream cheese and sour cream for your favorite vegan alternatives. I recommend using a vegan cheese that melts well.

Enjoy!

MelissaRose

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Recipes

Christmas this year was extra special to my little family for a couple of reasons. First, it was basically our one year anniversary in our new house. The previous Christmas we had moved in only a couple days before and so we were only able to accomplish minimal decorations and a small Christmas breakfast. This year was the complete opposite. The house was filled with decorations (actually, still is), a giant tree and the smell of fresh bread and Christmas cookies. I even had time to make a dried orange garland – more on that in another post. Not only was our house filled with Christmas spirit, but our hearts were as well as we were able to host not only my family but my husbands family as well. Christmas Eve was dinner with my in-laws, their other children, their children’s children and a couple other in-laws of the in-laws (phew!) that tagged along. I cooked a big prime rib dinner per my husbands request and let the festivities begin. Since I knew children would be present, I wanted to make a special after-dinner drink for them (and the kids at heart).