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.

Easy Egg Muffins: Meal Prep

Recipes

Sunny California hasn’t been so sunny the last couple of days, at least in my part of California. Pouring rain and whipping winds are starting to make it feel like I’ll be stuck inside for the unforeseeable future. To make things even better (insert sarcasm here), this weather is supposed to continue through this week and into next weekend. Goodbye, Sun. See you never. But in all seriousness, the one great thing about all this gloom? All of the things I can accomplish at home. Today’s challenge: meal prep for the week and make more bread (because we’ve pretty much demolished almost the entire loaf from last night, oops). So I settle in, batten down the hatches and preheat the oven as I try and ignore the whistling wind sounds coming through my overhead vent. My first meal prep task of the day is breakfast.

I feel like breakfast has become a bit taboo as of late with the trend of intermediate fasting. Basically what that is is a fast that lasts 12-16 hours every day and a window for eating that is the length of the remaining hours (web search for more info). People have had great success with this method from what I’ve seen, of course still based on at least a semi-proper diet and some exercise. I tried out this fasting thing for about a month. I stopped eating at 7pm and didn’t eat again until at least 12pm every day, and while I did seem to notice slight results, I really, really missed the ability to have breakfast. I’m not necessarily a “breakfast is the best meal” kind of person but I enjoy the occasional morning meal every now and then. And having something small to eat during the week sometimes seems to perk up my brain and energy levels while at work (not sure if this is an actual thing, but hey). So I say, eat breakfast when you want, don’t when you don’t want, at least that’s what I do. And when I do eat breakfast, I like it to be something small, tasty and filling and preferably something that won’t break the bank (meaning no drive thru or coffee shop breakfasts). These egg muffins fit that bill perfectly.

Egg muffins are perfect for a weekly breakfast snack. They are easy and quick to make and only require a few ingredients or less if you prefer (seriously, you could make these with just eggs if you like your snacks plain). I like to keep the ingredients fairly simple for these but I imagine you could also probably go a little crazy if you wanted to. I make eight muffins at a time, for my husband and I – that’s two muffins per day for four days. Four fit perfectly in a square flat container and each of us gets one to take to work for the week. The final day of the week we usually sub in something like oatmeal or a breakfast shake (or donuts). I love how easy they are and think having a little mini frittata muffin for breakfast is pretty special. I mean, more special than a prepackaged instant oatmeal for instance. Just pop in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and enjoy!

Do you eat breakfast? What are your favorite breakfast meal prep recipes? And, what would you add to your own egg muffin?

Easy Egg Muffins

These are the filling ingredients I use for mine, but you can really put whatever you want in there!

12 red grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup green onion, sliced

8 large eggs

Muffin pan

  1. Grease 8 cups on a muffin pan, if needed (my pan is nonstick so I skip this part). Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Beat eggs in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. Using a 1/4 cup, spoon eggs evenly into 8 prepared muffin cups.
  4. For each muffin cup add 3 halves of tomatoes and a finger pinch full of green onion (use more or less to suit your taste).
  5. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through (use the toothpick out clean trick).
  6. These will puff up quite a bit during baking, don’t worry! They will settle once you pull them out of the oven. Remove from oven and let rest.
  7. Once cool enough, remove from tin and place in desired container. Refrigerate.

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

Recipes

We are now 5 days into the New Year, and I gotta say, I’m pretty proud of myself so far (cue laughter – a whole 5 days – wooo!) But seriously, everything is going just swimmingly. Still no alcohol, smokes or sweets, which is making me feel incredibly good and energized at this point. My meal plan and shopping for next week is complete. I purchased the majority of my produce from local vendors at my city’s farmer’s market this morning (as well as some other goodies I will share with you), and I even made “chicken” noodle soup from scratch as well as a loaf of French bread to go with it. I am on a roll (or on a loaf?)!

The farmer’s market this morning was amazing despite the freezing cold temperatures and the wind – oh the wind. At one point one of the vendors tents started to flip over, the poor young girl underneath didn’t really know what to do as I grabbed the leg of the easy-up and pulled it back down to earth. Luckily, the vendor next to her was able to tie their tents together and provide some weights for the legs – it was an all out event. Anyway, I was up before the sun this morning, which NEVER happens. I am going to attribute this burst of morning energy to my lack of toxic intake the past 5 days. It was so nice to have coffee and get ready at my leisure while the sun rose. I went to the window every ten minutes or so to see how the sun’s progress was going along with my own. I met my mom at the farmer’s market and we were able to pick up several items including carrots, potatoes, broccoli, celery and even some olive oil and homemade lotion. Here’s a little picture of the things I got that weren’t produce related:

I haven’t tried the biscotti or the spices yet, but both look and smell divine. I cannot wait to enjoy the biscotti tomorrow with my morning coffee. The biscotti comes from a local baking company called The Upper Crust Baking Co. They’ve been around for about 30 years and source their ingredients locally which I think is pretty cool. You can even order some of their products online and have them shipped to you (seriously, if you try this let me know how it goes). The olive oil is from a company called Theofani’s and is possibly the most delicious olive oil I’ve ever tasted. It’s difficult to explain, but something about the flavor is so fresh – so fresh that I wanted to sip the olive oil straight from the sample cup (which I did – no shame). I’ve decided to dub this my “special olive oil” which will be used only for dipping breads and making dressings and not cooking – this stuff is too delicious to be mixed with other ingredients. The last two items come from one of the nicest booths my mom and I met during our visit. Herban Wild is a family run business that offers everything from all natural lotion bars to spice mixes to loose tea blends. The lotion bar is made with local beeswax and feels and smells absolutely amazing. They were also offering samples of their Wild Nettle Chai tea that I cannot wait to purchase (although, my mom did buy some so I guess I could steal some of hers until I get my own). The owners made the tea with sweetener and a little bit of almond milk – it was absolutely divine! It was also a nice touch on a gloomy day that really required you get something warm to drink. All in all, there weren’t as many vendors as there usually are on a good weather day, but I’m grateful to have found the ones that were willing to brave the weather like my mom and myself.

Now, back to the produce… The carrots, celery and potatoes were a part of my meal plan for the week. With the weather being as gloomy and as cold as it is I knew I wanted a soup mixed in for the week. And the only thing better than soup is bread – which I also made and will post about later on. My go-to soup is usually tomato bisque with a good old fashioned grilled cheese sandwich, but this week I really felt like switching it up (especially since fresh tomatoes aren’t in season). I made the quick and easy decision of tagging in some vegan “chicken” noodle soup. I put chicken in quotes because I do not eat chicken and instead used Beyond Meat’s grilled chicken strips, which are actually just some type of plant protein formed and marked to look like grilled chicken. It really is a great substitute and worked out perfectly for my purposes. This recipe was fairly easy to make as well – as usual I did some research into a couple different chicken noodle recipes (vegan and non-vegan) and sort of mixed them together to create the perfect version for me and what I had on hand in my kitchen. (However, big shout-out to http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com who gave me the idea for using the Beyond Meat chicken strips in soup. I have used them as a substitute in many other recipes such as salads, sandwiches and even enchiladas, but I hadn’t tried a soup yet. Check out their blog for loads of other great vegan recipes and meal planning info.) The result – a comforting and tasty soup that will not only provide loads of leftovers for the week of rain ahead but provide a warm nostalgic feel of winters past with mom’s or grandma’s homemade chicken noodle.

What’s your favorite soup recipe to make when the weather is gloomy? Do you buy your ingredients from a farmer’s market? And, are there any go-to products that you’ve found from local or small shops?

Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup

3 medium sized carrots, cut into rounds

2 larger sized red potatoes, cubed (you can peel these too if you like)

3 stalks of celery, cut into slices

3 tsp olive oil

1 1/2 tsp onion powder (equal to about 1/2 onion diced)

1 bayleaf

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced (equal to about 3 cloves)

1 1/2 cups ditalini pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

1 bag of Beyond Meat chicken strips (make sure to get the unseasoned variety)

4 cups vegetable broth

3-4 cups of water (depending on the consistency you like your soup to be)

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Place olive oil, celery, bayleaf, onion powder and garlic in the bottom of a large soup pot and cook over medium heat until they just start to soften or about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients (start slow with the water to build up your consistency, keep in mind the soup will cook down so you may have to add more water as you go) and stir to combine.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, stir occasionally.
  4. Once the soup comes to a boil, place a lid on the pot and reduce heat to low and let simmer until the pasta and potatoes are cooked through. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Keep in mind, you can let the soup simmer longer to enhance the flavors, but the liquid will dissipate and the ingredients will become softer the longer you cook it.
  5. When finished, add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve with homemade bread or rolls for a real crowd pleaser.
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