Amber’s Famous Burritos

Mexican food has always been my favorite (with pizza coming in a close second). There was a restaurant called Tumbleweed in Lexington that was always my first choice on the occasion that I got to pick where my family would eat. The chips and salsa were amazing, but the “Burrito Deluxe” is what kept me coming back for more. That’s what inspired my original famous burritos, but since going vegan I’ve had to tweak the recipe a bit. Honestly, I think I might like these even more than the originals. Oh, and what makes them famous? Anyone I’ve made them for has always requested them a 2nd time!

Ingredients:

Qunioa Taco “Meat”
8 Tortillas (burrito size)
2 15oz cans Refried Beans
2 8oz cans Enchilada Sauce (I use Old El Paso)

(For serving)
2 Roma tomatoes (diced)
1 Avocado (diced)
Shredded lettuce

Directions:

1. Prepare the quinoa taco “meat”. Between cooking the quinoa and then baking it in the oven this can take close to an hour so sometimes I’ll prep it ahead of time.
2. If you did the quinoa ahead of time you’ll need to preheat the oven to 375.
3. In a large baking dish, spoon 2/3 of a can of enchilada sauce over the bottom – be sure to cover the bottom so the burritos won’t stick!
4. Fill each tortilla with 1/4 can of beans and 1/8 of the quinoa taco meat. Roll it and place it seam side down in the baking dish.
5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
6. Serve warm with toppings. I like tomatoes, avocado, and lettuce.

Italian Pasta Salad

If I had to choose only one thing to eat for the rest of my life it would be pasta in some form.  This pasta salad would be a top contender!  I love it because it’s easy to prepare, colorful, and delicious.  I’ve taken this to a few potlucks and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.

Ingredients:

8 ounces Cooked Pasta (I like rotini)
1 Cucumber, quartered lengthwise, then chopped into bite sized pieces
14 ounce can Whole Medium Olives, halved
16 ounce package Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Red Onion, diced

(Dressing)
6 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Salt

Directions:

Whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl.  Toss the pasta and veggies together in a bowl.  Pour the dressing over the pasta and veggies and stir it together.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour so all the flavors meld together.

Greek Supper Club

It’s my turn to host supper club again.  A group of 8 of us have been doing this for 4 or 5 years now.  The idea is that everyone takes a turn making a 3 course dinner based entirely on new recipes.  It gets us in the kitchen practicing our cooking skills and gives us a chance to host or attend an awesome dinner party once a month.  I love Asian food and have cooked up a bunch of noodles and curries in the last few weeks.  I was trying to find a way to tie it all together into one dinner party, but really just ended up with a strange, in-cohesive mess of a menu.  Thankfully I was reminded last night after a dinner out with my Aunt and Uncle how much I love Mediterranean food.  I’ve never tried making it before, but wouldn’t it be nice if I knew how to made home made hummus and falafel? Yum!  Here’s what I’m planning for my menu.

Appetizer: Pita & Hummus, and Falafel & Tahini

Main: Greek Salad, Veggie Kabobs/Roasted Veggies, Lemon Rice, Greek Potatoes

Dessert: Oreo Stuffed Brownies topped with Vegan Ice Cream

Vegan FTW

Some day I will take the time to write out my own story of how and why I made the best decision of my life.  But for now, because he is so eloquent, articulate, and sexy, I’m going to let James Aspey do the talking for me. Did I mention he is hot and has an Australian accent?

Roasted Root Veggies

Anyone else love beets and parsnips as much as I do? They just opened up a Sprouts around the corner from my office and it has become my go-to for produce. They have great prices and selection, and even some novelties every now and then. Most recently I bought their pack of red and golden beets. Throw in some parsnips and carrots and you have a very colorful and tasty root vegetable side dish.

These veggies come in a variety of sizes, you want to aim for about 1.5 cups of each once they’re chopped.

Ingredients:

2 Beets
3 Carrots
2 Parsnips

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400. Peel and chop all the veggies into 1 inch chunks. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and spread out on a baking sheet (I like to line mine with foil or parchment paper). Bake for at least 45 minutes – longer if you want your veggies softer.

Sweet Potato Hash

Before I gave up meat I was on a Paleo diet. I know, it seems crazy to go from one extreme to another (although the 2 ways of eating do actually have a few things in common). It was when doing Paleo that I fell in love with sweet potatoes and I’d eat at least one a day. Sweet potatoes are delicious, filling, and nutritious so this recipe became my go-to breakfast. There are just 4 ingredients, a little prep, and it basically cooks itself.

Ingredients:

1 Sweet Potato, diced
1/2 Onion, diced
2 tbsp Coconut Oil
Pinch of Salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450. Melt the oil in a cast iron skillet in the oven. Add the onions and sweet potatoes and stir until coated. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir and bake 10 more minutes. Add the salt to taste, stir and serve.

I typically like to chop up sweet potatoes when I have time and keep them in the freezer so I have a continuous supply on hand. It makes breakfasts and side dishes so quick and easy!

Sticky Fried Plantains

When I was eating a Paleo diet I was trying all kinds of new things since I was forced to cut a lot of foods out (grains, sugar). I am so glad I discovered plantains, they are delicious! This makes a filling breakfast or a nice sweet treat after dinner.

Ingredients:

1 very ripe Plantain, 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices
5 dates, diced
1 handful Pecans, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil

Directions:

Fry the plantains in the coconut oil over medium heat in a skillet, about 3 minutes per side. Stir in the pecans and dates for about 2 more minutes. Serve warm.

Southern Style Kale

I’ve lived in Georgia for about 15 years now so it’s inevitable that I’ve learned to do a little bit of Southern cooking – I still refuse to drink sweet tea more than once a year though. I love love love southern style greens. They’re traditionally cooked in chicken broth with some variety of pork which makes them a no-go when eating out. They are just as delicious and much more nutritious when slow simmered in vegetable broth at home. If you’re a traditionalist serve them with pepper sauce.

Ingredients:

1 bunch Kale, torn into pieces
1 medium Tomato, chunked
1 onion, sliced or diced
1 large Garlic Clove, minced
2 cups Vegetable Broth
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1 pinch Cayenne Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Directions:

In a large pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the tomato and spices and cook for another minute. Pour in the vegetable broth and add the kale. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Cajun Skillet Vegetables

This is a pretty hearty dish so it can be eaten as a main course. It is healthy and is nice and flavorful with just the right amount of spiciness.

Ingredients:

1 yellow onion, cut into bite sized pieces
1 green pepper, cut into bite sized pieces
4 red potatoes, (skin on)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Creole seasoning

Directions:

  1. Boil potatoes until soft.
  2. Sautee the onions in 1 Tbsp olive oil until they’re translucent and starting to brown.
  3. Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces and add to skillet with onions along with other Tbsp of butter.
  4. Add green peppers to skillet and cook everything about 5 more minutes until green peppers are soft.
  5. Add a generous amount of Cajun seasoning to taste.

Lo Mein

I looove noodles.  Spaghetti, ramen, orzo, rotini, you get the point.  Lo mein is one of my go-to orders for Chinese takeout.  What’s better than being able make some of those favorite dishes at home?  I have tried countless recipes for lo mein, but they never quite satisfied me the same way as when it comes directly from that take out carton.  Until now…  I combined several recipes and came up with a vegetarian version that completely satisfies.  It makes for delicious leftovers that are even tasty eaten cold! The small amount of Sriracha sauce adds some nice flavor, but it’s such a small amount that even someone who doesn’t love spice can handle it!

Ingredients:

1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 box whole wheat spaghetti noodles (3 servings)
1/4 green cabbage, thin sliced
2 carrots, shredded
3 green onions, chopped (I use the whole thing)
2 Tbsp low sodium Teriyaki sauce
2 Tbsp low sodium Soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Sriracha sauce

Directions:

1. Cook the noodles until almost al dente and drain.
2. Heat the sesame oil over medium heat and then add in the veggies and noodles. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the Teriyaki sauce, Soy Sauce, and sugar. Continue to cook a few more minutes until veggies are soft.
4. Turn off heat and stir in Sriracha sauce.