Monday, November 19, 2012

Easiest and fastest Vegan Mac & "Cheese"...

I love love love mac & cheese.....after I went vegan, I thought I would never experience the yummy creamy texture of my homemade cheese sauce. I tried to duplicate it with Daiya Cheddar Shreds, non-dairy milk, flour, and (my) seasonings, but as much as I love Daiya shreds for so many other dishes, it just wasn't working for me in my "cheese" sauce. 
And then...(drum roll please)...Daiya announced they had a new vegan cheese product, "wedges". Of course, I couldn't wait to try them, and finally my local Whole Foods had them in stock! Yippee....
So, one day, I was craving mac & cheese, but had no non-dairy milk. Hmm, what to do? I decided to try a short cut, (who doesn't love a short cut!??). I had some of the new Daiya Cheddar Wedges, so after I cooked my pasta, I cut them up into little squares, threw them into the bowl with the hot pasta, stuck the bowl in the microwave, and...(another drum roll)...super creamy, perfectly melted mac & cheese...
So, just to be technical, here's the "recipe"...

 1 cup cooked pasta of your choice
Daiya dairy free wedge in either cheddar or jack style*
*(I started with cheddar, but now I use jack style-just a personal preference)
Cooked vegetable of your choice, (optional, but I usually throw in cooked mushrooms)
Whatever seasonings you prefer- (I just use black pepper)
Cut up your Daiya cheese wedge of choice, (I'm using jack style)
Add to cooked pasta (in a microwave safe bowl)
Add your seasonings...
and your veggie(s)- mushrooms for me...
microwave for 30 secs to 1 minute, (depending on your microwave), until daiya is melted.
Take out, stir & enjoy!
Let me know what you think!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Spinach & Mushroom Quesadillas

Ah, my first post! I'm a little nervous and kind of scared, so please, bear with me while we take on this journey together...
Spinach Mushroom & (vegan) Cheese Quesadillas!
I have to say, one of the best investments I've made since becoming vegan is a quesadilla maker. 
 It was fairly inexpensive and well worth it! (Plus it's red, my favorite color!)
You really can put anything in a quesadilla, but here are my ingredients-
Ezekiel tortillas
baby spinach, (Trader Joe's brand)
kalamata olives, (also TJ's)
sauteed baby bella mushrooms*
Daiya dairy free jack style (cheese) wedges. 
You can add any other veggies you like, (tomatoes, artichokes, broccoli, kale, cabbage, etc...)
*To be honest, it would take a while to saute the mushrooms, but after I return home from a Trader Joe's shopping trip, (where I get a package or two of the sliced "baby bellas"), I cook them right away and keep in the fridge. I dump them in a large frying pan, cover with water til boiling, then simmer until most of the water is gone. Then I add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar, some spices, (garlic powder & onion powder), finish cooking til all the liquid is gone. Then I have cooked mushrooms ready for the week and any recipe that I want to add them too! You can also used canned sliced mushrooms.
Onto the recipe....

Put your tortilla on the quesadilla maker, layer with spinach, then mushrooms, olives, a few slices of Daiya, any seasonings you like, another layer of spinach, then top with a tortilla, close the machine, plug it in, and cook til ready!
After it's done, I use a pizza cutter to slice it.
Then eat & enjoy!
If you have all the ingredients ready to go, you will be eating this within 10-15 minutes!
My quesadillas vary on what I've bought at the store and what I have on hand, this one and a mushroom, cabbage and Daiya cheddar shreds are my two faves.....
Please, tell me what you think of my first post! And let me know what ingredients you'd use.