I’m just getting back from a wonderful extended 12 day visit with my family over Thanksgiving, and of course returned to an empty refrigerator.  Fortunately, I had a number of items in the pantry and freezer, to get me through until I was able to get a menu and grocery list together.  I thought I’d share these four simple “fast food” recipes to kick off the holiday season in a healthy way!

But before I get to the recipes, December’s Twisted Vegan will be bringing you MORE RECIPES THAN EVER!  December will be quite hectic for me, with parties and villa guests, so I’ll be relying on my favorite standbys to get me through.  Most of the recipes I’ll be sharing will be no-fuss recipes, with 10 ingredients or less, that can be easily prepped using items in your pantry or a quick stop at the grocery.  I’ll also be offering up a few special edition gourmet posts with recipes and menu ideas for Christmas Eve, Christmas Dinner, New Years, and a holiday Brunch.  December’s Cookbook will feature recipes from Robin Robertson’s “Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker” for more hassle-free menu ideas.

I also have some big news to share!  I’m considering a dramatic format change next month to The Twisted Vegan site.  Over November, it became clear to me that the philosophical side of veganism (ethical and environmental), combined with yogic and buddhist philosophy is a huge part of the broader message that I wish to share with the world.  However, some readers might not be interested in this:  A vegetarian or vegan diet may be strictly a matter of health and dieting.  So I’ve been thinking … I also own another URL, VeganViewpoints.com.  I’m considering moving much of the philosophical content (Tuesday’s Tips, Friday’s Food for Thought, and Sunday’s Savasana, along with Vegan Travel information) over to that website, in a magazine themed format.  So beginning in January, The Twisted Vegan will only be offering recipes and dietary information, becoming a subset of the larger philosophical picture shared at Vegan Viewpoints.  This will allow my readership to enjoy only the content that interests them.  But I sure hope you’ll join me over at VeganViewpoints too !!!

Also, beginning next Monday, I’ll be posting a Weekly Menu Planner each week.   If you are new to a vegetarian or vegan diet, my hope is that the planner, and subsequent daily posts will give you continued support and insight into how to transition your own diet.  I’ll be writing a permanent page on this, but when planning a menu, it’s important to get healthy doses of protein (from beans, grains, soy and wheat), healthy oils, along with a plethora of fruits and vegetables.  No, I don’t just eat rabbit food, and by offering you my complete menu plan each week, I think you’ll have a better idea of how this whole diet works.

Now on to our Four Fast Meals ….

On Monday night, Spencer gave me an idea, and I cooked up a super quick Asian Pasta using frozen Morningstar Farms Riblets, Ramen Noodles, and frozen veggies (sorry, I forgot to take a photo due to jet lag!):

Super Quick Ramen Noodles & Riblets with Peanut Sauce
 
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This dinner will come together in under 30 minutes using items in your freezer and pantry.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 package ramen noodles (save flavor packet for another use)
  • 1 package Morningstar Farms Riblets
  • 2 cups frozen mixed asian vegetables (I added zucchini, cauliflower, edamame, baby corn, and red peppers)
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  • Sauce:
  • 3 Tablespoons Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Liquid Aminos
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
  • 1 Cup Pasta water to thin
Instructions
  1. Bring 6 cups water to boil in a medium sauce pan. Add frozen veggies and cook 3 minutes. Add in ramen noodles, and cook 3 minutes longer, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 Cup of the pasta water.
  2. Meanwhile, cook riblets in the microwave according to package directions. Remove from packaging, and thinly slice.
  3. In saucepan, add all sauce ingredients, stirring to combine. Stir in noodles, veggies and riblets with sauce, tossing to coat them in the sauce.

Tuesday, I made up some Sloppy Joes, using a Fantastic Foods product from my pantry.  I had some fairly shriveled grape tomatoes still in the fridge, which were perfect for the “souped up” recipe on the back of the box.  Canned tomatoes would have also sufficed.  You’ll also need half an onion, a can of tomato paste from your pantry, some fresh basil from your garden,  along with some brown sugar and chili powder.  This boxed product can be purchased on-line from my Amazon store,  from FantasticFoods.com, Vitacost.com, or VeganEssentials.com

For lunch one day, I also popped some Caribbean Food Delights Jamaican Vegetable Patties in the toaster oven.  I am able to get these at my local Cost-U-Less, and suspect that they might be available from Costco or Sam’s Club in the states.  If not, they are available for purchase on-line at the link above.  While searching for the manufacturer, I also ran across a recipe for homemade patties on line from Bryant Terry’s Soul Kitchen cookbook.  I’ve not tried this recipe, but based on other recipes in his cookbook, give yourself ample time to prep the homemade version.  Since the frozen kind are available for just $1 a piece, honestly, I’d be hard pressed  to make my own.  To go alongside the patties, I mix up a little dipping sauce:  3T vegan sour cream, 1T mango jelly (or apricot), + Matouk’s hot sauce to taste.

On Wednesday, Spencer got to the grocery store, but did not get home until close to 7PM.  I had planned on a quick meal for that evening from March’s Cooking Light.  Mark Bittman, author of “How to Cook Everything:  The Basic” had written up an interesting article entitled “Less Meat, More Flavor:  Mac and Cheese with Veggies”.  I’ve adapted his recipe for Sweet Potato Chili Mac using vegan ingredients.  I was not overly happy with the quantities specified in his recipe, and found myself adding and subtracting as the meal came together.  I didn’t do a fantastic job of measuring either, so you may need to continue to adjust the quantities as your own meal comes together.  I’ve tried a number of mac and “cheeze” mock ups over the years, but this one with it’s bright orange color from the sweet potatoes really does look like the real deal.  But of course it’s a WHOLE lot healthier.  On my next go round, I think I’ll try using Vegan Sour Cream in place of the Soy Milk.  But here’s how mine came together.  Enjoy!

Vegan Sweet Potato Chile Mac
 
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Using either fresh or canned sweet potatos, this bright savory meal will become a family favorite.
Author:
Recipe type: Pasta
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 4 cups (1 large) sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1½ cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
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  • 1 tablespoon earth balance
  • 1½ cup soy milk
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chili, canned in adobo sauce
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  • 2 links Mexican Chipotle Field Roast Vegetarian Grain Meat Sausages, finely diced
  • 1 (optional) chopped chipotle chili, canned in adobo sauce
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  • (optional) green onion & cilantro , chopped
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, and cook macaroni according to directions, until al dente. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, place sweet potato in a microwaveable dish, add a small quantity of water, and cook on high until tender, approximately 8 minutes. Drain off water, and mash, adding in the earth balance, soy milk, nutritional yeast, and a tablespoon of adobo sauce.
  3. In a small skillet, saute the field roast over medium heat, along with the chipotle chili, until browned, approximately 3 minutes.
  4. Mix together the macaroni and the sweet potato sauce, adding small quantities of additional soy milk if needed.
  5. Spoon onto plates, and top with the field roast, along with chopped green onion and cilantro if available.
 

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