How Our Family Eats Vegetarian

Alicia 's unofficial guide to Vegetarianism
I became a vegetarian 9 and a half years ago when I was trying to get pregnant with my first baby. I read a bunch of literature, and was horrified at the treatment of animals in the farming and food industries. I was excited that eating less meat makes a substantial difference in helping the environment. I was excited to see the health benefits. But for someone who learned how to cook using meat as a staple ingredient, it took some time and testing to figure out what worked for us.
I went "cold turkey," my husband has gradually become vegetarian after losing his taste for it (he jokes that I ruined him with my hippie ways). I think it is great for everyone to do what they can to at least cut down on meat consumption, meatless Monday is a fantastic movement and a good place to start for some people.
So here are some tips, some links to favorite websites and blogs, and some of my favorite recipes.
Fake Meat alternatives:
Tofu. The poster child for the hippie/granola type. Much maligned, oft made fun of. But I’ve found it is really useful, just make sure you know how to use it properly.
  • Stir Fry: We make this at least several times a month. The quickest meal there is. Buy frozen stir fry veggies, a package of smoked tofu (they sell this at Winco--it’s seriously awesome. It will probably change your mind about how tofu can taste), a big package of Yakisoba noodles, and a bottle of General Tso’s sauce from the Asian food aisle. Chop up the tofu, saute in a large skillet for a couple of minutes. Add the veggies, saute until tender-crisp. While the veggies are cooking, microwave the noodles for a minute in the microwave per package suggestion. When the veggies are done add the noodles and a quarter to a half bottle of the sauce. Stir, let simmer for a few minutes until hot. Enjoy! Seriously takes like under twenty minutes for a really healthy, filling, balanced meal.
  • If you are having an asian food craving, here's the best way to make crispy tofu at home. Buy a package of firm tofu and freeze. This will really help the texture, trust me. Thaw, then press dry between paper towels or I like to use a clean tea towel, with something heavy on top. Chop into bite size pieces, place in a plastic bag or a large tupperware with several TB of cornstarch, and shake to coat. Then place in a skillet with oil, and pan fry. This will make really delicious, crispy tofu like you get in restaurants. Smother in your favorite sauce, and serve over noodles or rice with your favorite veggies.
  • Use firm tofu as a replacement for paneer in Indian dishes. Target actually sells a mean Tikka Masala sauce under the Archer farms brand (I’d tried Costco’s and Trader Joe’s, and hadn’t liked them as well). I like to add chickpeas, carrots, and sauted onion as well. When the tofu has simmered in the Masala sauce long enough, it really does have a similar texture and flavor to paneer. Not quite, but close. Delicious.
Seitan or Wheat Meat. This is something I discovered through reading Mark Bitman’s cookbook, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Great resource btw. I used his recipe to make my own. It involves mixing vital gluten flour (I recommend Winco’s bins) with spices and water to form a very stiff, rubbery ball, and then boiling in vegetable stock for about an hour. You can then slice it, chop it, fry it up like you would other meat. My husband really likes seitan marinated in BBQ sauce and then pan fried or grilled. I’m not as big a fan of seitan eaten in big slices like that, but it can be fantastic when chopped up and added to things. When you look on the side of the can of vegetarian chili, you will often find something like wheat gluten as an ingredient. I have made a batch, then chopped it up fine and marinated it in a mixture of brown sugar and hot sauce to form a kind of buffalo chicken meat, then added it to burritos. There are a ton of seitan recipes out on the internet to experiment with. Definitely check out VeganDad’s (see link below) seitan recipes . . . his buffalo wings are really good.
Tempeh. I’m actually just beginning to explore the delights of Tempeh. I’m having a harder time finding it in grocery stores, but Trader Joes does carry some good stuff. The blog Vegandad.blogspot.com is one of my absolute favorite resources. Every single recipe I’ve tried of his has been fantastic. I made his swedish meatballs for Christmas dinner (which uses tempeh) and they were yum.
Websites I’ve found are the best place to find awesome vegan and vegetarian recipes. There are all these cool home chefs experimenting and then sharing, and recipes get passed around. It’s a fun community and people are so generous in sharing what they find that works.
Already prepared veggie meat from the freezer aisle is going to be more expensive, but for the odd craving (and the time savings!) it is sometimes worth the extra money. Our favorites are the Morningstar breakfast sausage links (spray with cooking spray and bake in the oven--so good) and the chick’n nuggets/patties. When I was pregnant with Wesley I totally craved those chick’n patties on a hamburger bun, with some veganaise, lettuce and pickles.
Fridge/Pantry Staples:
  • Hummus: Go-to sandwich spread. Perfect snack material. Food of the Gods. You can make huge batches of it relatively cheaply by soaking chickpeas overnight, cook them in the crockpot the next morning, and by evening you can have hummus galore. My favorite recipe here: Hummus Recipe. I love to build sandwiches with thick layers of hummus, tomato, lettuce, avocado, cucumber, salt and pepper. So good.
  • Nuts: Seriously, Winco bins save my life. We have almonds on hand for a quick snack. I chop them up and use them in this Harvest Bread (I make mine into muffins so they are easier to throw in a lunch or hand the kids for a snack. Seriously with boys, it is so hard to keep a full pantry!): Betty Crocker Harvest Bread. I like to use whole wheat for my Harvest Bread. Great source of protein, fiber and vitamins. We also keep unsalted cashews on hand. Cashews make the best cheese/dairy substitutes! If you ever consider going vegan, this is a must: cashew cream cheese
  • Curry Packets. We love Japanese curry. I love how it is so easy to throw together, is super filling, and doesn’t take a lot of time. They come in boxes in the Asian food section of any grocery store and look like this:
In a large skillet, saute onions in some oil until translucent. Add chopped potatoes (our favorites are Yukon gold and sweet potatoes), carrots. Add enough water to skillet to almost cover tops of veggies, bring to a boil. Turn down heat to a high simmer, cover and cook until vegetables are tender, about ten to fifteen minutes. Add cooked garbanzo beans, (tofu and be great here if you are prepared to let it simmer longer) and curry packet. Stir in curry, simmer until thick and hot. Serve over rice.
  • Sweet Potatoes. So versatile! Curry, soups, fries :o). I'll post two of my favorites below.
  • quinoa. So much love for this. Protein packed, nutty flavor. Great for breakfast with almond milk and honey, or in a veggie burger.
If your kids are used to having lunch meat on sandwiches, this is a yummy alternative. It slices thin and layers nicely with veggies and cheese: infamous seitan
  • Every variety of Bean: I love Navy beans (or other white beans) for vegetarian chili with corn bread and veggie burgers. Black beans are awesome to have around for all kinds of mexican food. Add slightly mashed black beans to quesadillas, grill up your own burritos, etc. I like to make up a crock pot full of pinto beans every so often, then reserving some of the cooking liquid add rice to for the last hour or so of cooking. Add taco seasoning and cheese, and you have a great quick burrito filling. Homemade burritos are fantastic to freeze for a quick, filling snack or light meal (again with the hungry boys in the house!). I load up a flour tortilla with the filling, roll and grill in the George Foreman grill (you don’t even have to spray it) for a few minutes to seal. Then when they are cool you can throw them in a freezer bag and they keep really well. Chickpeas are probably my favorite, because they are so, so versatile. I add them to everything, from soups to curry to Indian food. You already know how I love hummus :o). They are mild, nutty and add protein to make dishes a little more filling. Plus you can roast them for a delicious snack.
  • Lentils:  Absolutely need to keep these on hand. There is this great pate which makes another great sandwich spread: http://weelicious.com/tag/pate/. Lentils cook so quickly, no soaking required, so that is a plus. They are a fantastic ground beef replacement; just cut back on the liquid in your recipe by about ¼ cup.
 My all time favorite recipe is taco pizza. This is what I ask my mom to make for my birthday, and what I would ask for as my “last meal,” haha. Homemade crust--super easy I promise. (Note--if you use whole wheat flour, just knead the heck out of it in your mixer. Plan extra time for it to mix so the gluten can develop. Add a little more olive oil as the fiber soaks up more liquid than white flour). After you roll out the dough on the stone, bake for ten minutes in the oven. Remove from oven. Spread refried beans over the top--homemade are the best but in a pinch any vegetarian refried beans will work. Over this layer salsa, sour cream (there is awesome vegan sour cream by tofutti--they make yum cream cheese as well), guacamole. Over this crunch up tortilla chips. Grate cheese, bake for ten minutes more. Remove from oven and add shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, cilantro, and green onion. Enjoy. Seriously.
My favorite magazine is Vegetarian Times. While many recipes do call for some rather exotic things, it is worth a peruse every month. They highlight a different vegetable in every issue, with several ways to cook it. Check your public library, I can check it out for free over my tablet every month through the Zinio app. I screenshot the recipes I’m interested in.

I think you would be surprised how adaptable most recipes are to vegetarianism. In a pinch, seriously look online because there is a huge community of people who are constantly experimenting to find recipes that are not just healthy, but delicious things your kids will actually eat! Also, feel free to message me if you have further questions. Love to talk about this stuff :o)
Our Current Favorite Recipes:
Thai Red Curry "Chicken"

Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• INGREDIENTS
• 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
• 1 package gardein chicken strips or extra firm tofu, drained
• 1/2 large onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons red curry paste
• 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced then chopped into 2” pieces
• 1 orange bell pepper thinly sliced then chopped into 2” pieces
• 1 small zucchini, sliced
• 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 13.5 oz. can quality coconut milk (I like Chaokoh)
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon Asian/Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (like Mae Ploy)
• 2 tablespoons less sodium soy sauce
• 2 tablespoon fish sauce
• 2 tablespoons lime juice
• 1 tablespoon brown sugar
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• sriracha to taste (optional)
• Garnish
• lime zest to taste
• fresh basil
• fresh cilantro
• fresh lime juice
Directions:
Heat oil over medium high heat in large nonstick skillet. Add onion, red curry paste, and chicken substitute and saute until onions are translucent.  Add bell peppers, zucchini, ginger and garlic and saute 1 minute.
Add half of the coconut milk. Mix remaining coconut milk with 1 tablespoon cornstarch and add to skillet along with all remaining ingredients (expect Garnishes).
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the vegetables reach desired crisp-tenderness. If you would like a thinner sauce, thin with water (I don’t do this). Discard bay leaf.
Garnish with additional optional fresh basil, cilantro, lime zest, lime juice and Sriracha to taste. Serve with rice.


Teriyaki "Chicken" Noodle Bowls

Prep Time: 1 hr | Cook Time: 10 min | Makes: 4 servings | Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 2 (5.6-ounce) packages refrigerated Yaki-Soba, seasoning sauce packets discarded*
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1/3 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
• 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 package gardein chicken strips or extra firm tofu, drained
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
• 1 green onion, thinly sliced
Directions:
1. In a large pot of boiling water, add Yaki-Soba until loosened, about 1-2 minutes; drain well.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water; set aside.
3. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, honey and 1 cup water; bring to a simmer. Stir in cornstarch mixture until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes; let cool to room temperature. Reserve 1/4 cup and set aside.
4. Place chicken substitute in a 9x9 pan. Cover with soy sauce mixture. Place in the oven on 350 degrees for 30 min. 
6. Stir in Yaki-Soba and 1/4 cup reserved soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.
7. Serve immediately, garnished with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired.

Spinach And Artichoke Baked Pasta

Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 14 oz of Orecchiette Pasta ( or short pasta: I've used macaroni)
• 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
• 1 Cup of Chopped Onion
• 3 Cloves of Garlic ( Minced)
• 1 Cup of Sour Cream
• 4 oz of Cream Cheese ( Room Temperature)
• 3/4 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
• 1 teaspoon Lemon Juice + Zest
• 10 Oz of Spinach ( Make sure to squeeze excess moisture, after it has been thawed of course)
• 13.5 Can of Artichoke Hearts rinsed and chopped
• 1 Cup of Mozzarella
• 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
• 1 Teaspoon of Pepper
Directions:
Preheat Oven To 425
Cook pasta according to the box. Keep 1/4 Cup of the Pasta Water before you drain the cooked pasta.
Heat oil in pan and cook onions for 8 – 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute.
In a large bowl – Mix Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, Parmesan, Lemon (juice and zest), onions, and garlic. Add Pasta and mix.
Stir in spinach, artichokes, 1/4 cup of cooking liquid from the pasta, salt, pepper, and 1/2 Cup of Mozzarella
Place mixture into greased 2.5 – 3 qt casserole dish and place the rest of mozzarella cheese on top
Place in the oven till golden brown on top – about 10 – 15 minutes.
Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup
Makes: 8 servings | Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
• 1 cup finely diced celery
• 1 cup finely diced carrots
• 1 cup finely diced onions
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano
• ¼ cup fresh basil
• 4 cups chicken broth
• ½ bay leaf
• ½ cup butter
• ½ cup flour
• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
• 2 cups half and half, warmed (substitute milk for less calories)
• 1 teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon black pepper
• (optional) cooked orzo pasta
Directions:
1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, onions, oregano, basil, chicken broth and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft. At this point I added all of the vegetables to a blender and blended until smooth. If you have a hand immersion blender that would work great. If you prefer a chunkier texture you can leave it as is or even blend just some of it. Return blended veggies back to the slow cooker.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare the roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add the flour. Stir roux constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly whisk in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 1-2 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper.
4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so. You can leave slow cooker on warm until ready to serve. Serve with warm rolls and a green salad. Add a spoonful of orzo to each soup bowl just like they do in the restaurants if desired.



how to make paneer recipe method


Prep Time: 30 min | Cook Time: 5 min | Makes: 1 small block of paneer - approx 200 to 250 gms | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:

• 1 litre full fat milk
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar or 3 to 4 tablespoons curd or yogurt
• cheese cloth or muslin or a thin cotton napkin
• some bowls and a heavy weight

Directions:

boil milk.

when the milk starts boiling, add the lemon juice or vinegar.

as soon the milk completely curdles, remove from fire.

strain the milk in the cheesecloth.

drain the whey.

collect the cheesecloth together with the coagulated milk shreds tightly.

place it on a plate and keep a heavy weight on top of the cheesecloth.

check after 30-40 minutes.

the paneer would be set.

once warm or cooled cut paneer into cubes or any shape.

you can also refrigerate the paneer. keep it in an air tight container or immerse the paneer block in a bowl of water and keep in the fridge.

paneer stays fresh for 3-4 days.



Paneer Tikka Masala

Makes: 4 Units US | Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
1 TB unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno chile, minched
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt
1 (8 oz)  can tomato sauce
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:
melt butter on medium heat.
Add garlic & jalapeno; cook 1 minute.
Stir in coriander, cumin, paprika, garam masala & salt.
Stir in tomato sauce.
Simmer 15 minutes.
Stir in cream; simmer to thicken- about 5 minutes.
Add in Paneer or Tofu chunks, simmer 5 minutes.
Garnish with cilantro Serve with basmati rice, naan or pita bread.
Note: You can make your own garam masala. McCormick also makes garam masala; it's available in super markets.



Pad Thai

Makes: About 5 servings | Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 10 oz Thai rice noodles
• 1 pkg gardein chicken strips or extra firm tofu, drained
• 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
• 1 Tbsp lime juice
• 1 Tbsp fish sauce
• 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips and strips halved
• 1 1/2 cups matchstick carrots
• 2 cloves garlic
• 4 green onions, whites minced, greens sliced into 1-inch pieces
• 2 cups bean sprouts
• 3 large eggs
• 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, roughly chopped
• 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
• Red pepper flakes and sesame seeds (optional)
Directions:
Prepare rice noodles according to directions listed on package. In a mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, lime juice and fish sauce, set aside.
While noodles are cooking, heat oil in a wok or large and deep non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot add chicken substitute and saute until lightly browned, about 4 - 6 minutes.  Add bell pepper and carrots and saute 1 - 2 minutes then add garlic, green onions and bean sprouts saute 1 minute longer. Push veggies to edges of pan and crack eggs into center. Cook and scramble until eggs have cooked through. Add in chicken, noodles and sauce and toss everything together and cook 1 - 2 minutes.
Serve warm topped with cilantro, peanuts and optional red pepper flakes and sesame seeds.


Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Makes: 6 servings | Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 cup diced onion
• 2 cloves garlic, diced
• 1 can (19 oz.) enchilada sauce
• 1 (10 oz.) can Rotel tomatoes
• 1 1/4 cup water
• 1.25 oz package taco seasoning mix
• 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
• 3 cups dried rotini pasta
• 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
• Green onions, olives, diced tomatoes, and cilantro to garnish
Directions:
1. Select Saute and add oil to the pressure cooking pot. When oil is hot, add onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for one minute.
2. Add enchilada sauce, tomatoes, water, beans and taco seasoning mix to pressure cooking pot; stir to combine. Add diced chicken breasts and pasta.
3. Cover and lock lid in place. Select High Pressure and 4 minutes cook time. When timer beeps, turn off pressure cooker and use a quick pressure release.
4. Select sauté and cook, stirring often, until the pasta is tender about 1 minute.
5. Turn off pressure cooker and pour pasta into an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the pasta and broil until the cheese is melted and starting to brown.
6. Served topped with green onions, olives, diced tomatoes and cilantro.

Broccoli Soup
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 1-2 stalls broccoli
• 1 1/2 cups veggie broth
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1 1/4 cups cheese
• 1/2 cup onion, chopped
• 2 cups milk
Directions:
Simmer broccoli and onion in broth until tender. Meanwhile in another pan, melt butter, add flour and salt and pepper. Stir in milk until thick and bubbly. Add to broccoli, stir in cheese until melted

Carrot Dogs [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Makes: 8 | Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 8 large carrots
• ¼ cup gluten-free tamari
• ¼ cup water
• ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
• 1 tsp. garlic powder
• A few dashes Liquid Smoke
• 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
• 8 gluten-free hot dog buns
Toppings:
• Mustard
• Sauerkraut

Directions:
1. Peel the carrots, cut off the ends and cut them into the shape of hot dogs that will fit your buns. Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the carrots until they are just fork-tender, about 15 minutes. Drain them and run them under cool water to stop the cooking.
2. In an air-tight storage container, mix the tamari, water, vinegar, garlic powder and liquid smoke. Marinate the carrots in the fridge for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
3. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Remove the carrots from the marinade and arrange them in the skillet in a single layer. Add a few spoons of the marinade and cook until the carrots begin to caramelize. Rotate them often.
4. Serve on buns with mustard, sauerkraut and red onion sauce or your favorite toppings.

Ingredients 
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 quarts vegetable broth
1 3/4 cups Dannon® All Natural plain yogurt
2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Directions 
1. In a soup pot heat oil. Add onions and cumin and saute 3-4 minutes. Add potatoes and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer soup 20-25 minutes.

2. Puree soup with 1-1/2 cups Dannon® Plain Yogurt and parsley or cilantro. Serve each portion of soup with a dollop of remaining yogurt and a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.



Leek Potato Soup      
Ingredients 
1 pound leeks, cleaned and dark green sections removed, approximately 4 to 5 medium
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Heavy pinch kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
14 ounces, approximately 3 small, Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 quart vegetable broth
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon snipped chives
Course 
Main
Directions 
Chop the leeks into small pieces.

In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold.
Servings 
6

Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole

Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 16 oz spaghetti noodles
• 2 lb jar of marinara sauce
• 1 pkg veggie crumbles, or omit entirely
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 8 oz cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup sour cream
• 1 cup cottage cheese
• 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
• 2 cups shredded cheese ( I use cheddar/colby blend)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9X13 pan or two 8X8 pans.
2. Boil noodles according to package, drain and stir with a drizzle of olive oil so they don't stick together.
3. In a stand mixer combine cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Mix well and set aside.
4.  Mix together veggie crumbles marinara sauce.
5. Begin by layering half of the noodles in the bottom of your greased pan.
6. Top with 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese.
7. Layer on the cream cheese mixture.
8. Top with remaining noodles.
9. Spread marinara sauce with ground beef over top.
10. Bake for 30 minutes then sprinkle with 2 cups cheese and return to oven for another 15 minutes.
11. Let cook for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
12. Enjoy!
13. *If you want to freeze this, double wrap the casserole in heavy duty foil with instructions written on top. Thaw over night in fridge and top with cheese the last 15 minutes as directed.

Really Good Vegetarian Meatloaf (Really!)

Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
• 2 cupswater
• 1 teaspoonsalt
• 1 cuplentils
• 1 smallonion, diced
• 1 cupquick-cooking oats
• 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese or 3/4 cup swiss cheese, cheese or 3/4 cup monterey jack cheese or 3/4 cupAmerican cheese
• 1 egg, beaten
• 4 1/2 ounces spaghetti sauce or 4 1/2 ounces tomato sauce
• 1 teaspoongarlic powder
• 1 teaspoondried basil
• 1 tablespoondried parsley
• 1/2 teaspoonseasoning salt
• 1/4 teaspoonblack pepper
Directions:
1 Add salt to water and boil in a saucepan.
2 Add lentils and simmer covered 25-30 minutes, until lentils are soft and most of water is evaporated.
3 Remove from fire.
4 Drain and partially mash lentils.
5 Scrape into mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
6 Stir in onion, oats and cheese until mixed.
7 Add egg, tomato sauce, garlic, basil, parsley, seasoning salt and pepper.
8 Mix well.
9 Spoon into loaf pan that has been generously sprayed with Pam (non-stick cooking spray) or well-greased.
10 Smooth top with back of spoon.
11 Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 45 minutes until top of loaf is dry, firm and golden brown.
12 Cool in pan on rack for about 10 minutes
13 Run a sharp knife around edges of pan then turn out loaf onto serving platter.

Taco Braid
Difficulty: Easy
Ingredients:
For dough:
• 3/4 cup water
• 1 tsp yeast
• 2 TBSP sugar
• 2 TBSP butter softened
• 2 TBSP nonfat dry milk powder
• 1 egg, beaten
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 2 cups flour 
For filling:
Refried beans
Taco filling (see recipe below)
cheese
olives (optional)
Directions:

Mix dough in mixer with dough hook attachment.
Raise till double
Roll out on jelly roll pan
Fill, braid and raise 30 minutes

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes

Bomb Taco Filling
Ingredients:
2 Black bean Veggie Burgers
Taco seasoning

Directions:
Thaw Veggie burgers in microwave. Put in nonstick skillet and crumble. Add taco seasoning and water according to package directions. Cook until the water has reduced and thickened. Serve with tacos, burritos, etc.

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