Category Archives: Vegetarian Main Dishes

Easy Enchiladas: A 20-Minute Weeknight Meal!

Oh what a saucy enchilada you are!

One of my favourite throw-it-together meals is Easy Enchiladas. I make these when I want a hot, satisfying dinner, but with little work. I prep the filling in advance and freeze it, precisely so  that I can throw this dish together when I need a hearty family meal that will take me 5 minutes to make (and 15 to bake). That’s right, this dish can be on your dinner table in 20 minutes from start to finish!

These enchiladas are stuffed with seasoned rice and beans, as well as cheese, making these vegetarian. You could easily add some meat if you wanted, but there’s certainly enough protein without it. And when you bite into it, it oozes cheese and seasoned filling, with a nice tang from the…secret sauce.

The secret shortcut step that makes the whole dish so easy? Salsa. That’s right! A jar of salsa, a bunch of tortillas, some seasoned rice and beans, plus some cheese, and dinner is ON!

Want to make some yourself? Let’s!

EASY ENCHILADAS

  • 1 c. seasoned rice and beans (recipe below)
  • 8 small tortillas
  • 1 1/2 c. salsa
  • 1 c. cheese, grated
  • freshly cut green onions, for garnish

Pour 1/2 c. of the salsa in the bottom of a 9×9 pan, and spread out evenly. Take a tortilla and put 1/8 of the rice and beans mixture in the centre, and then top with a little cheese. Wrap it up like a burrito (fold the left and right sides in, then the top and bottom sides), and place seam side down in the pan. Do the same with the other tortillas until the pan is full. Pour the rest of the salsa on top, and sprinkle the cheese and green onions on top of that. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the cheese on top has melted and is bubbly. Then dive in, and enjoy!

Plated and ready for nom-nom-nom-ing!

Seasoned Rice n’ Beans

  • 1/2 c. rice
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. tomato bouillon
  • 1 c. beans, cooked

Mix rice, beans, water, taco seasoning, and bouillon. Boil as per usual, until water is gone (10-14 minutes), stirring occasionally. Will make about 2 cups. I usually freeze this in one cup portions, so that I can pull the mixture out to make my Easy Enchiladas whenever I want.

I like to use my own homemade tortillas using this recipe, because I’m on an anti-preservative kick, but if you want to do store-bought, you do you, boo! Time is a precious commodity.

I love serving these Easy Enchiladas with a fresh and crisp green salad, followed by something deliciously creamy, like my No Churn Rum Raisin Ice Cream! Mm, mm, mmm! Now that’s a yummy dinner!

Next Post: No Guilt Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt, because it’s summer and I like ice cream but not gaining weight.

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And Full Plate Thursday!

When Leftovers Rebel: Sausage & Veggie Hand Pies, with a Whole Wheat Crust

Hand pies: delicious warm and equally delicious cold!

I’ve been trying to slowly health-ify my eating habits, and have switched to using whole wheat flour instead of white flour. I think each has a place in the baking panoply, but for now I’m trying to only use whole wheat flour. More fibre per bite, and with my IBS, that can only be A Good Thing. Every recipe I make, I’m now using whole wheat flour in, and seeing how it turns out. This week it was whole wheat pie crust. (Using whole wheat flour makes pie crust healthy, right? I’m going to say yes.)

I was looking in my fridge the other day, poking around and trying to decide what to make for lunches for the coming work week. I came across a container of herb-roasted vegetables that I had made the previous week. I had eaten most of them, but there was still a couple of cups left. I opened the cheese drawer (or whatever it’s called) and came across a package of vegetarian breakfast sausage patties. I had eaten half the package several months ago, and just never got around to eating the rest. I had tossed the original packaging and didn’t even know the expiry date. I looked at the veggies. I looked at the sausage. I looked at the multiple containers of whole wheat flour that I keep in my fridge (What? I ran out of space in my freezer! Why do I have flour in my freezer? To keep it fresh longer, since I buy bulk packages. Now let’s move on!). I also rifled around in my pantry cupboards and came across a package of brown gravy mix. BAM! Inspiration struck, and lunch was born!

I fried up the sausage into crumbles, mixed in the vegetables, added in the gravy, encased it all in delicious pastry, and voila! Lunches that are easy to eat on the go, for a snack, sitting on the sofa reading a book, and can be frozen and thawed with impunity.

And you know what? The hand pies turned out FABULOUSLY! So yummy! So flaky! So full of meaty goodness with veggies and gravy in every bite! Ah, I do love a good hand pie!

Let’s get to making some!

Rich, meaty, gravy-filled goodness!

SAUSAGE & VEG HAND PIES

Makes 7 hand pies

  • 1/2 pkg. Yves veggie breakfast sausage (or 3/4 c. of sausage crumbles of your choice)
  • 1 package of brown gravy mix (or 1-1 1/2 c. gravy of your choice)
  • 3 cups of herb-roasted vegetables, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 batch of pie crust dough (I used my vodka pie crust recipe, made with only whole wheat flour)

Fry up sausage crumbles. Make up gravy mix. Mix sausage crumbles, gravy, and roasted vegetables together. Set aside.

Roll out pie dough. Using a drinking glass, cut out 7 circles. Take each circle, roll it out a little more, and fit into a muffin pan. Fill each of those with the meat-gravy-veg mixture, until just under the top of the dough. Take the remaining dough, divide into 7, and roll out into circles. Fit the circles on top of each pie, pinching the edges of the crust together. Cut an X in the top of each pie.

Bake in a 425 degree oven until golden and bubbly (the filling is pre-cooked, so you’re really just baking the dough). Let cool before removing from pan. Enjoy your hand pies!

By the way, if you end up with leftover filling, serve it hot over mashed potatoes for a comfort food meal! Mmm…with a nice green salad, that’s a nice way to use up leftovers that are made up of leftovers! (Down with food waste!)

These hand pies are so versatile. You can take almost any leftover vegetables, add in almost any type of leftover finely chopped meat (or veg ‘meat’), add gravy, pop it in pie crust, and who wouldn’t love it? Leftovers are the BEST!

If you make this dish, let me know what veggies and meat you put in the crust! Let’s inspire each other!

Next Post: Hmm. Good question. I’m thinking a vegan fresh fruit galette. Maybe plum or peach? Yes, that! And I’ll tell you how to use bread when making a pie. (Say what?! Oh, you read that right! And read the next post to find the answer!)

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade!

Easy Cheesy Spinach Lasagna: Semi-Hidden Nutrition for the Picky Eaters in Your Life

Looks like spinach, tastes like cheese! In other words, perfect for the picky eater in your life.

I made a scalloped potato and broccoli dish earlier this week, and the cheese sauce that the veggies were covered in was so good that I knew I had to make a veggie lasagna with it. And I did!

This iron and protein-rich dish is easy to make, with an ooey-gooey cheesy top and layers of cheesy spinach and pasta, all layered with a garlicky cheese sauce. Mmm…what’s not to love?

Easily pulled together, you can freeze this dish before or after baking, or prep it in advance and then just set it aside to be baked just before dinner (or lunch! Or both, because yum!).

Let’s get to making it, yes?

Mixing up the (3-ingredient) filling!

Easy Cheesy Spinach Lasagna

Pasta

  • 9 lasagna noodles

Cheese Sauce

  • 2 c. aged white cheddar, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 1/2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 c. chopped onion
  • 1/3 c. butter

Spinach and Ricotta Filling

  • 1 pkg frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed (to get rid of excess liquid)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 containers of ricotta cheese

Cook pasta, drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, mix spinach, ricotta cheese, and eggs together, and set aside.

Make cheese sauce: melt butter and fry onions in the butter until translucent. Add in chopped garlic and fry until fragrant, about two minutes. Add flour, salt, and pepper, stir, and cook for two minutes (to cook the flour). Slowly (and in three separate stages) add in milk. Whisk with each addition of milk. The sauce will be all clumpy at first as it absorbs the milk, but keep whisking and it will smooth out. Once smooth, add in grated cheese, reserving 1 c. of the cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Set aside.

Now it’s time to layer the lasagna! Spread several large spoons of the cheese sauce in the bottom of a lasagna pan. Layer 3 noodles on top. Top with 1/2 of spinach mixture, 1/3 of cheese sauce, and a sprinkle of grated cheese. Repeat the layers. Then place the final 3 noodles on top, spread the last of the cheese sauce on top of that, and sprinkle all the remaining grated cheese on the very top.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for half an hour, or until the dish is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Serve with a crisp green salad, and enjoy your delicious meal!

Layers of golden crusted cheesy goodness!

To a beginner cook (or even a not so beginner one!), lasagna can be intimidating. But really, it’s rather easy! For this dish, you make the 3-ingredient filling, the cheese sauce, and boil the noodles, and then layer it all up. That’s rather easy, yes? Especially for a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal that is great for potlucks, family dinners, or frozen for work lunches!

Next Post: Apple Spice Pancakes and The Birth of A Recipe!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday! And at Happiness is Homemade!

Three-Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta, And When Not to Freak Out

Pasta + cheese = want!

As the name implies, blue cheese is the star of this pasta dish. One pot, three ingredients, super-easy and super-quick to make…what’s not to love?

Unless you don’t love blue cheese. Then, move along lil’ doggie (to another recipe! Such as this one). Otherwise, make this dish and you’ll be in blue cheese heaven!

I first had this dish when I went snow-shoeing with some friends this winter. A bunch of us had rented a cabin and we ate communal-style, with lots of laughter and joking, and with some very good food! One of our friends made this blue cheese pasta, and told us that she developed the recipe when backpacking across South America recently. I’ve modified the amounts of the ingredients to make it more to my taste, as I like a saucier dish as opposed to a stickier one, but the outcome is the same — blue cheese yumminess!

Basically, you toss the pasta with a two-ingredient sauce, stir in some more cheese, and then sprinkle a tad more on top. And voila, done! It’s very quick to make; cooking the pasta is what takes the longest.

Let’s do this, boyo!

All you need!

Three-Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta (serves two)

  • 3 cups cooked pasta (I used cavatappi, but you do you, boo)
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. plus two tbsp. blue cheese, crumbled

Cook pasta, and set aside. In the same pot, whisk the milk and 1/2 c. blue cheese together, until a thin sauce forms. Stir in pasta, and 1 tbsp. blue cheese. Plate and sprinkle remaining tbsp. of blue cheese on top. Et voila, tu es fini!

By the way, don’t freak out when you’re making the sauce and it starts to look a little…blue. That’s ok! It IS blue cheese, after all, and but it does look more appetizing when you’ve stirred in the crumbled cheese and sprinkled a tad more on top.

I will say, if you don’t like blue cheese, you won’t like this dish, as it’s the central theme, obviously. And it’s best to serve the dish with a nice side salad in order to balance out the strong flavour of the cheese. I served this dish alongside my broccoli slaw, and the DH loved it!

Next Post: I have the BEST cake recipe that I developed to celebrate the DH’s recent milestone birthday, and I’m going to be sharing it with you all! What kind of cake is it? Delicious, obviously, but stay tuned and find out the flavour shortly!

Linking up at Meal Plan Monday and at Happiness is Homemade!

Salads I Have Known & Loved: Eat-the-Rainbow Roast Veggie Salad, with Asian Flair

Good enough to eat all day!

I had a hard time coming up with a title for this salad recipe, as I couldn’t decide to showcase the roast veggies in the name or to emphasize the (very mildly) Asian aspect of it. It’s a riff on a salad available from Panera, which is a soup-and-sandwich joint in my neck of the woods. A co-worker bought a salad from there for lunch one day, and it smelled so good that I had to replicate it on my own.

The salad base (as I re-envisioned it) is a mixture of romaine lettuce and spinach, which is then tossed with oven-roasted veggies, shavings of real parmesan, mandarin segments, and sesame seeds, and then finished with a homemade Italian dressing.

The roast veggies are what take this salad to the next level — ever had eggplant, zucchini, baby tomatoes, all oven-roasted and tossed with slightly charred roast peppers? Oh, so good! If you’re thinking blech, roast veggies, then you DEFINITELY need to try this dish, as it will change your mind and make you a roast veggie convert for life! The roasting of the veggies caramelizes them and makes them soft and crispy and sweet and savoury all at the same time. I could happily eat roast veggies on toast with a dash of salt for many a meal (and have done so).

But aside from tasting really, truly yummy, the dish is obviously healthy and a great way to get a whole lot of veggies packed into a single plate. So let’s make some!

Eat-The-Rainbow Roast Veggie Salad, with Asian Flair

(serves 4)

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 pint baby tomatoes
  • 1 large eggplant
  • 1 bunch baby spinach
  • 2 red peppers, halved
  • shavings of (real) parmesan to taste
  • 1 can mandarin segments
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil, plus two tbsp. oil
  • dressing of choice (Panera uses a sweet onion dressing, but I used a homemade Italian dressing)

The first (and very important) step is to slice the eggplant into thin slices and salt them liberally. Stack on a plate and wait for an hour or so for the salt to draw out all the bitter juices. Then rinse off the salt and bitter juices.

Place all the vegetables (except the lettuce and spinach) on two cookie trays, and put 1/4 c. of the oil on each tray. Toss veggies to coat. Bake in a 400 degree oven until crispy and golden, about 30-40 minutes, making sure to flip the veggies with a spatula halfway through the cooking. When you flip the veggies, brush the remaining two tbsp. of oil on the veggies. When fully roasted, the eggplant and zucchini will look golden and caramelized, the peppers will be slightly charred, and the tomatoes will look shrunken. Let cool.

While veggies are cooling, toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan over medium high heat until golden brown (very quick). Let cool.

Slice romaine and toss with baby spinach and mandarin segments. Divide over four plates and divide veggies and place on top. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top, and top with parmesan shavings. Add dressing of choice.

Close-up, sans dressing.

This salad is SOOOOO good! I served it for dinner this weekend, and while it looks all healthy and light (and is!), it was also enough to keep my taste buds happy and my stomach full.

I imagine it would taste even better with a sweet onion dressing, and plan to try that next time. I honestly didn’t think roast veggies would go well with mandarin segments, but it really, truly does. Plus, the vitamin C in the mandarin segments helps your body absorb the iron from the spinach, so win-win! If the health benefits of this salad don’t convince you to try it, do it because it just tastes so darn good! You’ll thank me, you’ll see!

Next Post: Three-Ingredient Blue Cheese Pasta…or Strawberry Custard and Cream Cake? I’m leaning towards the cake because of my sweet tooth, but…I do like my carbs, so it’s a toss-up! Any preferences? Let me know in the comments!

Linking Up at Meal Plan Monday, and at Happiness is Homemade!