Monday, June 25, 2012

Actually Good Vegan Mac and Cheese- Soy/Wheat/Gluten Free

  So I've already posted a recipe for cheese sauce in the recipe for Cheeseburger Macaroni, but since Macaroni and Cheese is a more common (and much easier) dish, I thought I'd make it a seperate post.
 Most vegan 'cheese' sauce is one of those things that is so hard to get used to. A lot of people say that you'll like it more the longer it's been since you've actually had cheese... well as someone who eats real cheese when we eat out occassionally (since we are not vegans but rather avoid almost all animal products at home due to our son's severe allergies), I don't have months or years to dedicate to forgetting what real cheese tastes like! This cheese sauce is delicious and DOES taste (and feel!) like cheese sauce though. It's a milder flavor than that neon orange powdered Kraft stuff, but that stuff isn't cheese either... if you've ever had homemade mac and cheese, the flavor is very similar to that.

 Keep in mind that when making this sauce, it's really not necessary to measure exactly. I'll put measurements to give you an idea of how much you need and you can certainly use them, but you'll probably want to tweak this a little for your own tastes anyways. Enjoy!

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

12 oz corn or corn/quinoa pasta elbows, cooked according to package directions
3 Tbl Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Spread
3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk, divided (or other plain non dairy milk of your choice)
1/2 package (about a cup) of Daiya Cheddar Cheese shreds
big pinch of each garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, ground mustard and turmeric*
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of water (if needed)

In a small saucepan, heat buttery spread and 1/2 cup of almond milk on medium heat until butter is completely melted. Add Daiya cheese shreds and stir until almost all melted. Add in the seasonings and stir to incorporate. Whisk in lemon juice and remaining milk and continue stirring until all the cheese shreds are melted. Remove from heat. If sauce is too thick, add water. The sauce will thicken slightly when it cools. Pour cheese sauce over cooked macaroni, stir well and enjoy!

*The turmeric is just for color. If you don't have it, it's not a big deal

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Brownies- Vegan, Wheat/Gluten and Soy Free

  I have made brownies with our new diet restrictions a few times, and while some have been edible, none of them had any real resemblance to the texture of brownies. Most were very dense and in order for the whole middle of the brownie pan to not be completely gooey, the sides had to be burnt beyond tolerable limits. *Sigh*
 A dear friend of mine sent me this recipe from where, I am not sure, but we tried it today for a Father's Day dessert and they came out wonderfully! They are fluffy like cake (in fact you could probably nix the chocolate chips and use this as cake!) and all cooked evenly. Though it was not off-putting to us, you can definitely taste the banana. I wonder if I make these with only one banana and more applesauce if that would make them even better...

Perfect Brownies

2 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose baking flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ripe bananas
1 large apple, cored and sliced (or 1 cup unsweetened applesauce)
*1/2 Tbl water
Seeds of one vanilla bean OR 2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups vegan chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life Mini Chips
Olive oil to grease pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a blender, blend apple slices and water until pureed (Skip this step if using applesauce, also I left the peel on mine and it did not make a difference but you can remove yours before blending if you like). Add banana and vanilla and blend for 10-15 seconds, until pureed and well blended.
In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder until well blended. Stir in apple/banana mixture, making sure there are no lumps. Stir in chocolate chips.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan with olive oil. Pour in mixture and spread evenly.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool about 10 minutes before cutting.

* If using pre-made applesauce, do not add water!

"Cheese" Stuffed Turkey Burgers

  I saw a cheese stuffed burger patty while watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives the other day and decided to try it last night while my husband had the grill going. These came out lovely but you'll have to take my word for it because I forgot to take a picture. :/  They were like puffed up, fat burger patties.
 Around here we often eat burger patties with no buns since wheat, rice, oat, and egg free buns are hard to come by. It often feels like we are missing something, but these had enough personality to hold their own on the plate without buns. Even though they call for some hot sauce they had really no hotness, just great flavor and when you cut into the middle, all this yummy gooey cheese came out... so good. I imagine that on a bun that fits your particular needs with all the typical yummy condiments, these would be spectacular!

By the way, I think these scaled down into meatballs would be to die for!

Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers
1 1/2 lb lean ground turkey*
1/2 tsp salt
a few cracks of fresh ground pepper
2 tsp Frank's Original Hot Sauce (or other vegan hot sauce)
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella Shreds (or Cheddar, or even Pepperjack)

Mix all ingredients except cheese in a bowl until well incorporated, but be careful not to over mix. Form ping pong ball size balls of turkey into 8-10 thin patties. Take about 3/4 tsp cheese shreds and place them in the center on a patty, then place another patty on top. Carefully press and smoosh the edges of the two patties together. Repeat with the rest of the patties. Grill 6 minutes on each side or until well browned.

I found other variations of this recipe online that included grilled onions and bacon bits in the cheese mixture in the center. I'm not quite sure how that might work with turkey bacon but I'd certainly be willing to try!

*I've found in my many adventures cooking with ground turkey that the quality and fat content of the turkey is imperative. We typically use Butterball but I found some frozen "tubes" of Jenni-O ground turkey at Walmart for pretty cheap so I tried it. It contained much more fluid/fat than what I was used to (reminded me of ground beef) and everything I tried to make fell apart. Meatloaf, burgers, meatballs, etc. The cheap stuff is great for taco meat, or Shepherd's pie, or any other dish that calls for browned ground turkey, but if you are forming anything out of it, use better quality, leaner meat!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Allergy Free Homemade "Cheese-Its"

I would like to start by thanking Fork and Beans for this amazing recipe! A close friend of our family found this recipe and forwarded it to me and to be honest I thought it wouldn't be worth the effort but I was wonderfully mistaken! These are FABULOUS!!

Just a side note, if you have young children with food allergies, use discretion when replicating popular allergen-containing snack foods (especially those that look and taste an awful lot like the real things, as these do!) because it may make it difficult for them to determine if a food is safe or not when they are away from you, like at school or on a play date.

Allergy Free "Cheese-Nots"

3/4 cup wheat free all purpose flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Daiya Cheddar Shreds (this might be good with Pepper Jack too!)
3 Tbs Soy Free Earth balance buttery spread
1 Tbsp cold water
About 1 Tbsp ourse salt for sprinkling

Pre heat oven to 375.
In a small bowl, stir flour, xanthan gum, and salt together until well blended. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat Earth Balance and Daiya together with a hand mixer until well blended. (You can also just use a fork and good ol' fashioned arm muscles!) Pour half of the flour mixture into the cheese/butter bowl and stir until nicely blended, then add the remaining flour mixture and stir until incorporated.
Add cold water and mix. You want the dough to be ever so slightly crumbly, not sticky at all, but wet enough that you can form it into a ball. If it's too dry, add water 1/2 tsp at a time until desired consistency is reached.
On parchment lined surface, knead the dough into a smooth ball. Divide the dough in half and place one part in a bowl in the fridge. Roll the remaining half between two sheets of parchment to about 1/4 inch thick. Using a pizza wheel (or pastry cutter if you want to get fancy!) cut the dough into 1 inch squares. Using very gentle fingers or a metal spatula, move each square onto a large parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch of space in between each square. Once all squares are on your sheet, use a narrow straw to poke a hole in the center of each square. This isn't necessary but it gives it the authentic Cheese-It look! Sprinkle very lightly with coarse salt. Place sheet in the freezer for at least 10 minutes while you roll and cut the other half of the dough ball.
Bake for 17-20 minutes.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Turkey Shepherd's Pie- Dairy, Wheat, Soy Free

  I've actually made a great allergy free Shepherd's Pie before but the process was super time consuming and, while it was tasty, I never felt like making it again. This recipe was a little easier and tasted even better.
 To save time and dishes you can use mashed potato flakes and canned creamed corn (I know Del Monte's is dairy free) but here's how to make the whole thing from scratch!

Turkey Shepherd's Pie

Mashed potatoes:
4 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2-3 Tbl Soy Free Earth Balance buttery spread
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup PLAIN unsweetened almond milk (or water or dairy free milk of choice)
6 cups or so water for boiling

Creamed corn:
1 1/2 cup frozen sweet corn kernels
pinch of salt
1 Tbl Soy Free Earth Balance buttery spread
1/2 cup PLAIN unsweetened almond milk
1-2 cups water for boiling

Turkey mixture:
1/2 Tbl olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1.25 lbs lean ground turkey
2 tsp salt
4 or 5 cracks of fresh ground black pepper
big pinch of paprika
pinch of cayenne

1 cup or so potato chips, crushed (I mean one cups worth while they are whole, then crush them, which will give you about 1/4 cup. You don't need a whole cup of crushed chips!)
pinch of paprika

For potatoes: In a large pot, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add in potatoes and salt. Boil for about 15 minutes until fork tender. Drain. Add butter, milk, and garlic salt and mash with a potato masher until smooth.
For creamed corn: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil and add corn kernels. Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 6 minutes. Drain corn and place about 3/4 of the corn in a food processor or blender and pulse a few times. Return the pureed/chopped corn to the saucepan with the whole corn and add butter, salt, and almond milk. Return mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to low and cover, simmering for about 10 minutes.
For meat: In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for a few minutes until they become transparent. Add turkey and break it up with a wooden spoon. Add seasonings and stir well. Once all of the meat has browned, turn heat up to medium high and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring once. This is to crisp up the meat a bit.

Line a casserole dish with the turkey mixture, then layer on the creamed corn. Smooth the mashed potatoes over the top and then sprinkle on crushed potato chips and paprika. Broil for just a few minutes, keeping your eye on the chips as they can burn quickly! Once you see some golden brown coloring developing on top, remove and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.