Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hash Browns and Potato Wedge Fries

Making hash browns and french fries without using oil is not something that I learned to do when I was learning to cook as a child.  But who wants all of those empty calories or that oily sheen on everything?  Not me!

I have always made hash browns by putting them in a hot frying pan with about 1/3-1/2 cup of water and then cooking them on medium for about 10 minutes on each side.  But there was a discussion on the McDougall boards a couple of months ago about how to cook hash browns without oil and someone said that Mary McDougall cooked hers dry, so, I tried it this week.  It works great!  It wasn’t quite as crunchy on the outside, but I am going to try it again a couple of times to see if I can get it just right.  These are the pictures of the hash browns.  I usually cook these in my cast iron pan and do not have any problems with them sticking, but I used a non-stick pan for the ones in the picture.  I do not use oil to cook in the cast iron pan, but I do wipe it with a paper towel with a teaspoon or so of oil on it after I clean it to keep it seasoned.  I wipe it until there is no visible oil in the pan.

The other picture is of the baked french fry wedges that my teenagers and I love.  We just wedge clean potatoes, these are red potatoes, sprinkle on salt or whatever we are in the mood for, and bake on 400 until they look like the ones in the picture.  The blue mat that you see under the potato wedges is a silicon bake mat.  It keeps everything from sticking.  I used to use parchment paper to keep all of my no-oil foods from sticking, but I hated to go through so much of something that I couldn't reuse.  The silicon mat works great.  They are pretty expensive, though.  I bought mine for about $5 several years ago when the local Albertson's grocery store went out of business.  I honestly didn't know what I was buying, just that it was 75% off.  I wish I had gotten a couple of more.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Finished Manicotti

Here is the finished manicotti!  It tasted great!

Vegan Manicotti


I made manicotti tonight instead of the Tamale Bites I had planned on…oh well, this looks great, too!  The first picture is what it looked like as I was covering the manicotti with sauce; I left two uncovered for the picture so you could see what they should look like.  I started out stuffing the pasta with a small spoon, but that was taking a lot of time, so I ended up using my fingers to stuff them.  It was easy and quick that way.

I looked at several recipes online and ended up making my own, loosely based on what I saw.

1 box firm Mori-Nu tofu
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 t. dried and crushed basil
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup frozen spinach from a bag
1 box of 14 manicotti shells
1 32 ounce can of tomato sauce
1 rounded teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano and basil mixed
Stir these together.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Mash the first 8 ingredients and mix together well.  Then stuff into the uncooked manicotti shells.  Lay them in a 9X13 casserole dish.  Then pour the sauce on top of the stuffed shells.  Cover with foil or with a lid and bake in oven for about 45 minutes.  Check the pasta to see if it is finished; if so, sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve.

Beans and Cornbread--Leftovers

Leftovers for lunch—still tastes good!  Bean soup over cornbread.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Bean and Spinach soup over Red Cargo Rice

 Dinner!  Bean and Spinach Soup over Red Cargo rice with fresh cornbread.

1 pound of beans of your choice
Put in pressure cooker with about 2 inches of water above the beans
1 onion cut in half or diced

Cook on pressure for 40 minutes.

Then add:
4 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
1 can diced tomatoes
1 bunch spinach or 1 box frozen spinach
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Fish out the cut onion if you used one and throw it away.

Stir and heat everything until hot then serve over rice or eat as soup.  Enjoy!

I usually make this as Bean and Kale soup, but I am out of kale and had spinach, so that is what I used.  It tastes great!

Beans and Rice Storage and Cooking

I wanted to show people how I cook and store my beans and rice.  I put the rice into Mason jars and the beans are in the containers they came in from Whole Foods.  I don’t have enough jars yet for everything, but it is a good start.  I cook a lot in my pressure cooker and use my rice cooker several times each week.  They are both quick and easy.  Tonight’s dinner is going to be beans over red cargo rice with cornbread on the side.  You can see the beans in the pressure cooker and the red cargo rice in the rice cooker.

 Instead of pasta last night, we made chili and cornbread. I just put a piece of cornbread in the bottom of the bowl and a spoonful of chili on top. Yummy! 

When I was growing up, my mother used a cast iron frying pan to make cornbread in all the time. She grew up in Arkansas and sometimes just HAD to have beans, greens, and cornbread. A few years ago, she asked me if I wanted it. Yes! Now the girls and I pull out Mom's pan and bake cornbread in it. We found that oil is not necessary to get that really crunchy bottom--just pop the pan in the oven while it preheats and then put the batter in. Okay, it isn't quite as crunchy as with oil, but close enough for me to smile when I bite into it. I made two batches last night since the first one was almost inhaled by the girls; naturally, most of the second batch is still with us. Sooo, tonight will be beans and kale over red cargo rice with cornbread.