Tag Archive: food


So things are moving along. My food choices have not given me cause to hang my head in shame. I do need to make a conscious effort to drink more water and I need to start keeping that food journal again. I hadn’t really made a habit of it before I left on my trip and I completely forgot about it while I was gone. Conveniently? Maybe.

I hadn’t intended for these posts to include recipes, but I find that when I come across something I’m really enjoying, I like to share. Last night’s meal falls into that category. I modified my recipe for Tortilla Soup  and made it vegan. It was, surprisingly, delicious. Through the last few weeks I have made two, not insignificant, discoveries about cooking vegan. First, it takes a lot less time to make dinner when you don’t have to cook meat all the way through. I like my veg crisp tender. I like the veg to retain that bite it has when raw. This takes much less time to achieve than when cooking meat. With that being the case, it takes double, or more, the amount of seasonings and spices to achieve the same density of flavor in the same dishes, and I’m not talking about salt here. I’m talking about using double the amount of garlic or ginger or cumin or chili powder. With less time to steep in the delicious tastes while cooking, more is more.

Anyway. My recipe for Tortilla Soup: Vegan Style::

Avocados in first, smother with soup, squeeze of lime, HOLD THE TORTILLAS!

Avocados in first, smother with soup, squeeze of lime, HOLD THE TORTILLAS!

  • 1 can vegetarian black beans; drained and rinsed
  • 1 tub extra firm tofu; remove as much moisture as you can as seen in this video then cut into cubes
  • 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (I only had a can of whole, peeled tomatoes so I put them through my food processor for a few seconds)(You can use fresh tomatoes, but they require cooking down and salt adding to get them to release their juices.)
  • 1 onion; diced
  • 1 poblano pepper; deseeded and deveined and chopped finely
  • 4 garlic cloves; minced
  • 1 1/2  tsps Cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 can chopped green chilies
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 400ºF

  1. Sauté  the onions, poblano pepper, garlic for 2 minutes in a small amount of coconut oil
  2. Add the tofu to the pan, followed by the cumin and chili powder. Salt to taste. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the chopped green chilies and the black beans. Saute for 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the vegetable broth. Bring to a soft boil and reduce temp to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Cut small corn tortillas into 1/2 strips. Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them for 7 to 8 minutes until crisp. Keep a close eye on them because the time between not quite crisp and burned is very short.
  6. Serve with avocados and a squeeze of lime. If you aren’t vegan, you can sprinkle some Colby Jack over it. I like to assemble my bowl and put the soup over it: tortilla strips and avocado first, then ladle on the soup, and finally, top with cheese and lime juice. I like to decimate half a lime for my bowl, but you can do whatever you prefer.

Me? I don’t care much for the corn tortilla strips, but I love the avocados and lime. Seriously, you should try it with lime.

More please!

You may not know this about me, but I like to cook. I’m actually, pretty good, too.

A few years ago, I decided to start making mac-n-cheese from scratch. I found a couple of really good recipes and worked it until I’d made a dish of cheesy mac with which I was happy. I started with this recipe from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food. The adults loved it, but the kids wouldn’t touch it with their eating utensils. (They wanted the fake-y orange of blue box Kraft).

Well, you see, white cheeses melt smoother than the yellow ones, so I wasn’t about to compromise on the color, but what I did do was halve the amount of white cheddar and make up the difference with white American. HOOO-BOY! It’s so good!

But it is very labor intensive. Bring milk to a boil. That, in and of itself, takes time because too high a temperature, and you scorch the milk. Once it’s boiling, you add the cream cheese that has been cut up into little cubes (cutting cream cheese is no picnic, folks). Freeze it a little you say? Well, you really want it almost room temp so that you don’t lose the boil on your milk too much. Oh, and about that, you add the cream cheese a little at a time until it’s fully melted and then add more to, you guessed it, avoid lowering the temp of the milk too much.

Once all the cream cheese is incorporated, you add the grated cheddar/american, again, a little at a time to preserve that milk temp. This takes a little longer. All the while you must be stir-stir-stirring! Once the cheese sauce is done, you stir in the already cooked noodles before dumping the entire concoction into a casserole dish and put it in the oven for 25 minutes. Then, adding the buttered breadcrumbs before cooking it five minutes more (or however long it takes to brown the crumbs).

Most Delicious!

Well, it’s a lot, and it makes big dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas veritable scheduling nightmares. BUT about a year ago, maybe less, a recipe came into my possession for crockpot cheesy mac. I studied the recipe and decided to go for it. I began substituting my own ingredients for the ones on this new, anonymous recipe. And VOILA!

Now, the very involved mac-n-cheese is prettier, but this is JUST THE SAME taste wise. I can’t believe how great it is with so much less effort.

You should try it.

Seriously.

You’ll thank me.

Here it is, my recipe:

T’s Cheesy Mac

Either spray the inside of your crockpot with non-stick spray, butter it, or line it with a crockpot liner. Then mix in your crockpot–

>> One can Evaporated Milk (12 oz)

>> 2 large eggs (beaten)

>> 1.5 cups whole milk

>> 1/4 cup butter (melted)

>> 8 oz cream cheese (pinched up)

>> 8 oz white cheddar cheese (grated)

>> 8 oz white american cheese (grated)

>> 8 0z elbow macaroni (uncooked)

>> 1 tsp salt

>> dash of pepper

Cook on low for 2 hours and 45 minutes. I recommend stirring every 20 minutes or so, to keep the noodles from burning to the side. Yes, this has happened to me. Test a noodle at the end of the time and add 15 minutes if they aren’t quite done (mainly because slow cookers vary).

And there you have it! Super easy. Super tasty. Let me know if you make it. Let me know how you like it.