Archive for the ‘Dinner’ Category


It has been quite a while. (Sorry, Alva!)I have no excuse, but to say absolute laziness has taken over, and I haven’t taken any pictures of the food I’ve made. Believe me when I say I have made some awesome food. Soups, cookies, stews, bread… All sorts of yum. To be honest, I have thought a lot about the blog, and thought a lot about taking more pictures, and making more blog-worthy food, but thinking and doing are two very different things! But tonight’s dinner was delicious, and to give myself just one more reason to procrastinate on other things, I will blog about it.

Tonight’s dinner featured my two favorite things, well three actually.. no four, yes four of my favorite things: Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans, hot peppers, and cornbread. The last one was accompanying our meal, but still..

Black beans and Sweet Potatoes make the most wonderful combination. I invite you to create new ways to use these together. I have put them in everything, usually with a southwestern twist, but they have found their way into burritos filling, enchiladas, soups, stews, casseroles… I wish I could tell you the list goes on, but it stops there.. Believe you me I am thinking of ways to put them into just about anything.

I guess my love of black beans and sweet potatoes goes back to when I was first learning to cook vegetarian and a pan of sweet potato-black bean enchiladas made my family swoon. For the record, I am the only known vegan in my family, and I am also the cook of the family. So when I decided to go veg, so did my family (at least when I am doing the cooking). I have tried all sorts of recipes on them, some great, some not so hot.. But those enchiladas were and continue to be the most requested meal I make. So, in order to mix it up a bit, I like to take that combo to different degrees. Tonight I feature them in a soul-satisfying chili.

We recently received quite a winter snow storm, and soup was definitely on my mind. Something to warm the belly after a long day of play. But with winter storms comes icy roads, crazy drivers, and low visibility… Translation: Gotta work with what I got. Luckily, I had made a huge batch of black beans earlier and I always keeps sweet potatoes on hand. So Chili was born.

Sweet Potato-Black Bean Chili

1 purple onion, diced

1 carrot, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped

3 cloves garlic, or more to taste, minced

1-2 dried chili peppers, to taste, minced

5-6 cups vegetable stock

4 cups black beans, or 3 cans, drained and rinsed

2 cans diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 TBSP cumin

1 tsp Cayenne

1-5 shakes liquid smoke, optional, to taste

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Garnish with a dollops of Tofutti sour cream and chives

In a large soup pot, saute onions in a bit of oil or veg broth until translucent. Add carrots, celery, sweet potato, garlic and chili pepper, heat, stirring occasionally, until carrots lose some crispness, about 5-7 minutes. Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, black beans, cayenne, cumin, stir to combine and cover. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Let the pot simmer for about 45 minutes or longer. Really it can be 30 minutes, but I like to have all the flavors combine and allow the beans and potatoes to give off some starch and thicken the sauce a bit. In the last 20 or so minutes add liquid smoke. This gives it a bbq flavor and just another level of depth. If you do allow it to simmer for a while, make sure to add more stock or water if it becomes too thick. The chili is done when the sweet potatoes are soft and the broth is a bit thicker. Serve with sour cream and some skillet cornbread. YUM! This recipe makes a big ol’ pot of chili, enough for dinner, and then leftovers(x2).. OR, invite over some friends and enjoy it together. But, This recipe is even better the next day!

A note about Cornbread:

I love cornbread. It is my favorite, and whenever I make it, I can’t stop eating it. Tonight I make skillet cornbread by using my go-to cornbread recipe, which is the consistency of pancake or cake batter, and pouring it into a piping hot cast iron skillet. I heated the skillet in the oven while it was preheating to 425 and then I melted 1/2 TBSP earth balance in said mini iron skillet. Placed it back in the oven to make sure it was good and hot, then took it out, poured the batter in, and put it right back in the oven. The hot skillet creates a crust on the bottom of the cornbread so it is crunchy and delicious, much like a really thin crouton layer.. Always a welcome surprise.

This recipe is satisfying and healthy to boot.. I leave you with that! Stay warm!

Read Full Post »



With Fall coming in full force here in Nevada, the nights are getting a lot colder, and the need for comfort food is rising. Making my weekly meal plan, I find myself wanting easy, no fuss food that warms the belly and fills the house with yummy aromas! Lasagna was on the menu, and boy was I glad! I am not a huge pasta eater (gasp!), but I do love a nice plate of pasta from time to time. This lasagna is inspired by The Vegan Table‘s Spinach Lasagna. I am a student and I work, so sometimes there isn’t a whole lot of time in the day to prepare food. Lasagna is one of those dishes that so many people think requires a lot of time. I am here to tell you that is not true! Much of the time with lasagna is inactive.. the oven is doing all the work. Below I will show you my quick version of this awesome recipe. Ready, go!

lasagna 2

Weeknight Lasagna

1 box, or nine lasagna noodles ( I use whole-wheat)

1 jar organic tomato marinara sauce, about 4-5 cups

4 cups, or 2 cans white beans

1 cup, packed basil leaves

juice of 1 lemon

1 16oz package organic frozen spinach, thawed

1 T agave

5 garlic cloves

1/3 c non-dairy milk

Salt, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375*F.

While getting ingredients together, put bag of spinach in the sink with warm/hot water to thaw. You could certainly do this in a microwave, but I don’t have one, so the sink it is. Bring water for pasta to a boil. While the water is heating up, place garlic with lemon juice in a food processor or blender and mince. Next, add white beans, milk, basil, agave, and salt, blend or process until smooth. You may want to add the basil with the garlic to puree it a bit more before the addition of the remaining ingredients. By this time, the water should be boiling, salt water, and add pasta. While pasta is cooking, transfer bean mixture to bowl. Remove spinach from package, and press it with paper towels, or a dish towel to remove excess water. Mix together bean mixture and spinach, making sure to taste and season accordingly. I think I used about 1/2 t salt. Make sure to check on noodles, if done, drain, and lay noodles on a sprayed cookie sheet to cool slightly. In baking dish, spread about 1/2 c sauce on bottom. Add first layer of noodles. Top noodles with half Spinach-bean mixture, and then 1-1 1/2 cups pasta sauce. Place next layer of noodles, followed by spinach-bean mixture, and then pasta sauce. Place final noodles on top. If you have remaining bean mixture, smear that on the top, followed by remaining pasta sauce. Bake at 375* for about 45 minutes, or until the edges are darker, and sauce is bubbling!


The cooking time is a while, but putting it all together is a snap. Take the extra 45 minutes to make a salad, have a glass of wine, and relax!


This recipe is quick, easy, and soy free (depending on the milk and noodles). Served with a salad, it’s healthy too!  You could easily do what the original recipe calls for and use tofu instead of beans, but I really liked the fact that this was a soy-free recipe!

Bonus, since it’s just the two of us, we had this for dinner, then a lunch later in the week, and then dinner again! I think it may have even been better the next day! One quick night of cooking and we got to enjoy it for a few days!

Read Full Post »

MoFOGood Evening!

So, as promised, I am back tonight with something a bit more savory. This stew was inspired by a similar recipe in “The Vegan Table”. I made the actual recipe from the cookbook a few weeks ago and LOVED it.

Last summer, I spent some time in Morocco and fell in love. Morocco had always interested me. It’s blending of Arabic, North African, and European influences converging in a geographically diverse and beautiful location. I wanted to experience everything! I wanted to know all about women in Morocco, food, history, architecture, and the list goes on.

morocco 2

Since this is a food blog, I will stick to food..I loved the cuisine, culture, and philosophy on food. The food memory that sticks out the most to me is the tagine. A tagine is a traditional cooking dish made of clay. The Moroccan tagines look like a cone. They are made for cooking stews and such at low temperatures for a really long time. The first meal I had in Morocco was a tagine of couscous and vegetables. I remember the experience so vividly. I taxi’d to a recommended restaurant in Casablanca, though the name escapes me, it was a plush restaurant, and when I say plush, I mean pillow-y.. Pillows were everywhere, and at that moment I knew I wanted a dining room full of pillows..

But I digress, back to the food.. I ordered a traditional tagine and when it arrived at my table, the top was removed and holy yum. The dizzying aroma hit my nose and I was in heaven. Cinnamon, saffron, cumin, stewed raisins, couscous… Heaven. Oh and vegetables.. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes.. Mouth watering yet?? I know mine is! Anyway, one of my favorite memories was the first bite. I had a cup of sweet mint tea, a loaf of bread, and a vegetable tagine. I set up the perfect bite of couscous and veggies, closed my eyes, and savored the experience. That bite was about the food, but it was also about so much more. I was a single, western female in Morocco. I had arrived solo and was happy for the exciting experience that lay ahead. I was excited for all the things I was going to be doing, but I was also so excited to be eating couscous in Morocco.. And let me tell you, couscous tastes amazing in Morocco.. It is second to none.

So, it was natural that I wanted to recreate this when I got home. I have since made various stews and soups to suit the Moroccan spice blend I love so much. Saffron, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika. So, SO good. Tonight’s dish features those spices, but with a bit of a different take on the ingredients..

My Sweet Potato Stew features carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, green bell peppers, garlic, onions, and of course sweet potatoes.


Michelle’s Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato Stew

2 T water

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Green bell pepper, chopped

3 Carrots, chopped

3 Sweet Potatoes, chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, with juices

3 cups chickpeas

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch saffron threads

salt, pepper, to taste

1/4 t ginger

1/2 t cumin

1/4 t paprika

1 T maple syrup

2-3 c. vegetable broth

Saute onions, garlic, and carrots with 2 T of water in a medium-high heat skillet, until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add bell pepper, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and spices. Stir constantly to coat, then add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, maple syrup, and vegetable broth. Don’t worry if the vegetables aren’t fully covered by the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. When sweet potatoes are fork-tender, remove cover and keep on heat to reduce liquid. In the picture above, you can see quite a bit of liquid, I didn’t reduce the liquid enough and ended up with a more soupy consistency.. I would’ve preferred less liquid.. Serve stew over couscous, brown rice, or quinoa.

This recipe is pretty quick and easy. I like to add whatever veggies I have lying around. White potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, or any other veggies that you may like! The flavor of the “sauce” is the best.. the longer you let it reduce, the richer and sweeter the liquid will become. The grain will soak up the flavors and really add another level to the stew.

I also like to cook my grain with a cinnamon stick to infuse the flavor even more!

Happy Travels!

Morocco 3

Read Full Post »


Good evening!

So as many seasoned bloggers know.. and as I am finding out, delicious pictures don’t just happen. You know the pictures I am talking about; the ones that make you salivate. The soft light, the colorful vegetables jumping off the screen, basically the pictures you wish you could taste. I have always been interested in taking pictures. I try my best at taking artistic, interesting pictures, but more often than not, I either fail miserably, or produce a great shot.. One. Great. Shot. I can’t seem to get down the aperture, focus, exposure… and the list goes on. This is yet another reason why I have decided to blog. I want to take great pictures. I want to produce the type of photos that make you want to lick the screen.

You may ask yourself, where is this post going? It is going right into a delicious meal, that did not have the most appealing photo finish. Tonight, I made Susan V’s Gardener’s pie  found at http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2008/05/skillet-gardeners-pie.html. It was so yummy, and super easy to make, but my pictures did not turn out as tasty as the dish.. SO forgive me, I am working on it! Without further stalling, I give you a slightly modified version of the Gardener’s pie.

Making Gardener's Pie

I omitted the spinach since I didn’t have any on hand, and added zucchini, a chili pepper, and used fingerlings potatoes for the mash. Next time I make this, I am going to use the concept, and probably do a sweet potato mash with a southwestern filling, I’m thinking corn, tomatoes, jalapeño, and whatever else I can think of!

The not so pleasing photo

That’s a mini bread roll peaking out the back.. I made it from leftover pizza crust and herbs.. Perfect for sopping up all the yummy sauce! I am so glad I have leftovers.. I few minutes in my toaster oven, and this baby is ready to go! Oh and while I am at it, I should mention. You will not be finding anything microwaved on this blog… I like to enjoy my food, and that means the process in making it too! So, for Vegan MoFo day2, that’s all! G’Night!

Read Full Post »