Meatless burger….yea

I have been looking for a quick burger option that I can replace fast food burgers with.  The only thing is that they are high in calories and fat and uber expensive.  Seriously, these things come in a dozen or so.  If you hate them, you are stuck eating them for a LONG time.  I looked into the fake meat ones, but I always worried about the taste and texture.  I decided to jump and got MorningStar Farms Grillers Prime for my dinner.

The box! (Exciting right?)
MSR_Box

 

The burger still frozen.  There are only 4 in the box and they are wrapped in pairs, because you have to cook more than one at a time.
MSR_Frozen

 

I’m a rebel!  I only cooked one!  Muahaha!  *Ahem*
This is after cooking 7.5 minutes.  See, I read the box wrong and didn’t realize you had to flip it over halfway through.  This IS the cooked side, though.  I did notice one thing about the burger.  It was very greasy.  Apparently meat-like = greasy.
MSR_Cooked

 

All dressed up for my mouth.  I also had onions and ketchup under the lettuce there.  Ritz sour cream and onion cracker chips on the side
MSR_Plated

The taste itself was actually not bad.  I knew it wasn’t a real burger, but didn’t care.  It did, kind of, get lost in the bun and toppings though.  I could detect a slight crunchiness to the patty when I bit in at first.  The further in I got, the less crunchy it was.  I could definitely tell from the texture that it wasn’t a burger.  It is a recognizable texture that I used to get form the spicy chicken patties they no longer make (or that was Boca, I can’t remember).  I have 4 more burgers to eat and I am going to try cooking them in the Griddler and toaster oven, too.  But, based on this experience, I don’t think I would buy them again

Not Your Normal Mac and Cheese

Always on the look out for some new way to pair cheese with some kind of pasta, I was excited to make Gnocchi Mac and Cheese.  I was nervous about the cheeses included.  They are cheeses (besides parm) that I have never had before.  I don’t like strong cheeses, really, but the picture looked sooooo good!

Ingredients.  I didn’t have milk, so I used half and half (who doesn’t have milk?!?)
GMC_Ingredients

Gnocchi prepared for the saucing
GMC_ReadyForSauce

Sauce ready.  The recipe says medium heat, but that was way too hot for my pans.  I should have gone medium low.  See those black marks?  That’s the garlic.  A moment of silence for the poor garlic.  I also forgot to add the salt and pepper.  I don’t think the salt was missed, but the pepper might have been a nice touch.
GMC_SauceDone

First layer on the gnocchi
GMC_FirstSauce

I didn’t add a whole 1/3 cup of parm like the original recipe.  I think it would have been way too much with all the other strong cheese in the dish
GMC_SecondLayer

All baked up
GMC_Baked

….it doesn’t look like the picture I saw.  This may be because I added too much cheese.  Possibly because of the half and half?  I don’t know, but it was really oily.  Did I eat it still?  You betcha!

GMC_Plated

Another view
GMC_FinalPLate

I ate it with the Spicy Chicken from the last post.  It was REALLY rich, but good.  I think I will have to be more careful about the cheese next time.  I will probably also pair one of the stronger cheeses with mozzarella or another mild cheese.  I will tell you, if you don’t have a place that will cut the cheese (HA!) into smaller chunks, this recipe WILL be pricey.  I don’t know if it is worth it.  It is good, I will give you that, but what do I do with the rest of the expensive cheeses I bought?  It is a really good idea, though.  And I want to make it again, just in a more affordable way.

Almost as good as Stouffer’s

When I was growing up, my mom used to make the Stouffer’s vegetable lasagna (Family Size) every once in a while for an easy meal.  For a long time, I HATED it.  All those vegetables messing up the crunchy sides and creamy sauce – blech.  As I got older, I started to like it more and more.  Now, it’s one of my favorite frozen meal indulgences.  I don’t remember where I came across this one, but when I decided to explore vegetarian dishes, I knew I had to try it.

I did change some things, though.  I don’t like zucchini very much reheated, so I add more broccoli, carrots and included onions.  I only used about half the mozzarella cheese – it seemed plenty to me.  I didn’t add any extra parmesan either (see below).  I also didn’t use jarred Alfredo Sauce.  I looked for a simple recipe that didn’t make too much for a single person.  Some of the recipes used a quart of half and half!!  I didn’t need that much.  I did a little dance when I found this one that only used 1 cup.  I messed up on the parmesan cheese and ended up using 1.5 cups.  WAY too much…..for the sauce on pasta.  It ended up being perfect for this recipe.  It was a little thick, so I tried heating it up and ended up adding a little water.  Broth would probably work good, too, but I didn’t have any vegetable broth.

On to the pictures (you’re gonna like this!)

Ingredients
WVL_Ingredients

Cooking the veggies
WVL_CookingVeggies

Mixing with the sauce
WVL_Mixed

First layer
WVL_Layer3

Second layer
WVL_AlmostReady

CHEEEEESE!
WVL_ToppedCheese

All baked
WVL_Done

My plate
WVL_Plated

 

These are SO good.  I am going to add them to my cookbooks.  A few things: I did not need to spray the muffin pan with non-stick spray.  My pan is non-stick, so I figured I didn’t need it.  Also, since I made my alfredo sauce, it had a bit more fat in it than the light stuff at the grocery store.  I don’t know if that made a difference or not.  They didn’t stick when I took them out, but they did try to separate.  I just made sure not to grab the top wonton and put the fork/spoon all the way to the bottom of the cup.  I want to try this again and again.  I really liked the combination of vegetables that I chose, too.  I can’t wait to have these tomorrow.

Bagel Sandwich

The worst thing about going veggie is that I immediately wanted a sandwich.  Do you know how hard that is to do when you aren’t eating meat?  Luckily, I had squirreled this recipe away for just this time.  It’s not really a recipe per say, but it helps to formulate a sandwich that you wouldn’t normally think of.  There are better pictures on the site, but I did take some of my own

Ingredients – I used some different cheese because this is what I had.  I also didn’t use the green onions because I forgot to write that ingredient down.  And minus tomatoes.  I just don’t like those ones 🙂
VBS_Ingredients

Cut up your ingredients and get them ready to go while the bagel is toasting.  I didn’t use as much cream cheese as the original because 4 ounces for 1 sandwich seemed like a lot
VBS_LaidOut

Start layering
VBS_Layer1_2 VBS_Layer3 VBS_Layer4 VBS_Layer5 VBS_Layer6 VBS_Layer7

Cut in half and enjoy
VBS_Complete

….well, enjoy if you like avocados.  I figured I would give them a try because a couple days previous, I had some guacamole and I enjoyed it.  This time, I remember why I don’t like them.  I think they taste like dirt.  I immediately took them off my sandwich and continued eating.  It was a very flavorful sandwich even without the green onions.  I ended up having it a couple more times.  Now, I don’t know what to do with the avocado, but I think it has been in my fridge too long.  Ah well, at least it was only a dollar.

It’s Sunday – one week from the start of my veggie week.  I mostly did ok, but I didn’t get to make one recipe that I really wanted to (coming later).  The only hiccup was the day that everyone on my team decided to go to lunch together since one was getting married and going to be gone for a month.  I figured we would go somewhere that had vegetarian options, but noooooooo, they decided on a steakhouse.  I mean REALLY??  Instead of getting soup and salad, I just buckled and had some steak.  In my defense, at least I only got a half a steak sandwich and a salad.

I think I am going to extend the veggie diet for a few more days with a couple changes.  For breakfast tomorrow, I want some scrambled eggs and I like them with cheese and, you guessed it, meat.  I have some turkey sausage that I will use for that.  Also, I have a recipe for a frittata that I want to try.  It has some bacon in it, so I will be having that all week – just a little meat.  For lunch and dinner, I will stick to vegetarian.  I have a few more recipes I want to try 🙂  Then Saturday – back to normal!!  Chicken and mac and cheese planned – woo!

Almost failed on day 2

Wanna talk about going on the edge?  I made a recipe with COOKED CABBAGE *GASP*.  I could eat coleslaw all day, but not a huge cooked cabbage person.  I decided to take a chance on this recipe.  I am sure you are wondering how I almost failed, not to worry, I am getting to that 🙂

Ingredients – I forgot to include the butter
CON_Ingredients

Cooked noodles.  It was here you were supposed to reserve some pasta water.  I forgot, so I went searching for something.  I almost used some chicken broth in the freezer……waaaaait, that’s not vegetarian.  CRAP!  I didn’t have any wine or vegetable broth.  I just ended up using some plain water.
CON_Noodles

Food processor?  We don’t need no stinking food processor!!
CON_HandMix

Cooking the breadcrumbs
CON_Breadcumbs

Heating the oil.  It was at this point I thought “Crap!  I still need to slice the veggies!!”
CON_Oil

I only used half the cabbage – can you blame me?
CON_Cabbage

It did shrink quite a bit.  This is the point that you need to use the reserved pasta water to deglaze the pan, except if you are me 🙂
CON_DoneCooking

Ready to mix
CON_ReadyToMix

FINALLY!  Feed time!!
CON_Plated

 

The white spots on the last picture is just parmesan cheese.  Because, if you’re like me, and you go looking for chicken broth in the freezer, you will also leave the cheese in there to get partially frozen.  I also overcooked the noodles a but.  I think it needs to be shocked to stop them from cooking.  It actually worked out because, as I have said, I suck at mixing pasta, but it kept breaking.  I was pleasantly surprise, I really like this.  The onions were so sweet.  I used vidalia instead of the yellow in the original recipe.  I also use some buckwheat noodles instead of the whole wheat pasta.  I thought “sauteed cabbage, sauteed onion.  Japanese noodles!!”  You made the same connection, right?  Right?  Aww…….

 

PS – yes, I know this isn’t on the schedule, but instead of subjecting you to a month a vegetarian recipes, I figured I would just post a bunch this week.  Also to make up for missing last Thursday 😉

Dip for Dinner? Ok.

For the first meal, I decided to whip up this Taco Dip Platter.  It was perfect for a simple, filling meal

Ingredients
TDP_Ingredients

Mix the seasoning and the yogurt and spread onto plate/bowl.  This is only about half that
TDP_FirstLayer

Mix the hummus up and put that on top
TDP_Hummus

Next is the salsa
TDP_Salsa

Then the cheese
TDP_Cheese

Onions
TDP_Onion

And Lettuce
TDP_Done

I suppose you could use some cut up veggies, but I choose to eat this with some chips.  Healthy, shmealthy.  You can use any vegetables that you want to top it.  I am a picky eater, so I only used extra onions and lettuce.  This reminded me a lot of a dip that my mother made when I was growing up.  It was really filling, too.  I was surprised it could sustain me for hours.  I didn’t really like the hummus layer, but I have a weird relationship with hummus.  I like it sometimes and other times, I can’t stand it.  This time, the texture didn’t quite fit in with the dip.  The second time I made it, I just omitted it.  I loved this that I could see myself eating it often.  I am not ashamed to say I had this for lunch and dinner and lunch again today…..well a little ashamed 🙂  I hope all the recipes for veggie week go as well as this one did!

Garlicky shells of deliciousness

I found this side recipe and wanted to try it so bad, I built a meal around it instead of using a main dish.  I found it on Iowa Girl Eats (again).  If you haven’t checked out her site, you really need to go peek.  This is the first of two recipes of hers I will be posting in the next week.  This recipe is for Creamy Garlic Shells.  As a person who has eaten those noodles and sauce packets for dinner on multiple occasion, I was excited to read that she developed something to replace it with real food.  It takes about the same amount of time, too.  Nothing weird – made of stuff I pretty much always have in my arsenal of ingredients……just forgot to include them in the pictures

Ingredients.  Missing: Garlic
CGS_Ingredients

Measured out ingredients.  Missing: Garlic and flour
CGS_MeasuredOut

Sauce.  Missing: The white bowl in the previous picture
CGS_Sauce

Finished.  Missing: my fork
CGS_Finished

Dinner.  Missing: my second helping 🙂
Dinner_04252013

Pair this with the steak from the previous post and you got yourself a great dinner!  On the side, corn on the cob.  I actually baked this in the oven in the husk.  325 for 25 minutes for 2 cobs.  I was skeptical, but it actually worked.  The husk and silk just slide right off.  I think when the corn gets bigger, I will have to leave it in for 30 minutes.

I don’t know how else to end this post – lol.  It was good, it was great and easy.  Go make it!