Recipe: Spicy Szechuan Style Green Beans (a la PF Changs)

In our recent Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, we received 5 fistfuls (about a pound) of fresh green beans. I cleaned them, put them in a large ziploc bag in the fridge until I could be struck by inspiration.

I was doing the end-of-week veg prep Sunday morning (to make room for the new box arriving Monday), and I came across the green beans. I was watching tik tok last night and saw a video for spicy green beans. I decided to give it a go.

To start, I searched online for a bunch of recipes and Frankestein’d together a recipe using what we had on hand, which wasn’t much. Our fridge died last summer and I still haven’t replaced all of the condiments, in part because of supply chain issues, and also because of freaking inflation.

Spicy Szechuan Style Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 T. your favorite cooking oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 2 T. Diced Garlic (It’s ok to use the stuff in a jar)
  • 1 T. Chili Paste or Sriracha (whatever you have)
  • 2 t. onion powder
  • 1 green onion, white and light green parts only
  • 3 T. Soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T. rice vinegar (or white- whatever you have)
  • Juice of half an orange

Optional, but tasty

  • Sesame Seeds
  • Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

  1. In a large pan or wok, heat oil.
  2. Cook green beans for 5-8 minutes, or until they start to brown and wilt. If your green beans have been stored in the fridge, it will take longer.
  3. While the beans cook, add the 1 T. garlic, chili paste, onion powder, and green onion to a small bowl and combine.
  4. After the beans have browned and wilted, add the chili/garlic mixture and combine/coat the green beans. Cook for 3-ish minutes on medium until the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Add the remaining liquid ingredients (I poured all of them into a mixing cup and set it aside until this step, but you can pour them directly into the pan/wok), cooking on low until some of the water evaporates. Remove from heat, and add sesame seeds and red pepper flakes (less than 1 tablespoon each).

This is a great side dish for any Asian food. I served it for breakfast -grown ups only- over basmati rice, topped with a jammy egg. It was very filling.

This recipe is vegan/vegetarian. If you are sensitive to gluten, replace your soy with tamari or coconut aminos.

Review: Decadent, Creamy Desserts from Bon Devil!

Recently, Bon Devil send us a set of all of their 4 packs of their rich, creamy vegan dessert ganache.

The big kid is vegetarian, and we frequently purchase vegan foods because they are easy to find and I want to support his desire to be vegetarian.

These little cups of ganache are rich, creamy, and smooth. They have a slight coconut aftertaste (they are made with coconut milk), which is delicious by the way. I’ve been using it on fruit, but I can imagine that it would be really good on pound cake, or with cookies/shortbread. That’s how the kids have been eating them, as dip for their cookies.

I know you can eat it by itself, but it’s so rich you really need something a little lighter to pair with it.

They come in four flavors: chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel chocolate, and caramelized banana. In our house, the chocolate and vanilla were the first to get consumed.

If you have tried them, leave a comment and let me know which flavor was your favorite, and how you eat it?

If you haven’t tried Bon Devil desserts yet, you can find them on Amazon and other Mass Merchandisers and Grocery stores.

Thanks to Bon Devil for sending us these tasty desserts to review. I received no financial compensation to facilitate this review, and all opinions are mine. This page may contain affiliate links. For more information about the use of affiliate links and partnerships, visit my disclosure page. 

New Recipe: Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

This is a super easy, yummy recipe. My kids love it because it’s cheesy, and vegetarian (important for my big kid). I’m making a big batch for dinner this week, with plenty of leftovers!

It freezes well so you can make a bigger batch and have some for later.

Chipotle Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag MorningStar Farms® Chipotle Black Bean Crumbles (12 oz)
  • 3 cups cheese, divided (I use Mexican blend)
  • 1 large (28 oz) enchilada sauce (I like green)
  • 16-19 corn tortillas, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 bag (12 oz-ish) fajita blend (that’s onions and peppers)
  • spray release

Directions:

  1. Spray a 9×11 baking dish with spray release.
  2. Layer torn tortillas, black bean crumbles, fajitas blend, tortillas, sauce, and cheese.
  3. Layer until pan is filled, top with cheese.
  4. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly.
  5. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10-15 minutes until the top is brown and bubbly.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, and diced black olives (optional, but a family favorite). I serve with a Mexican Caesar Salad, or Cilantro Lime Rice-a-Roni.

To make this dish vegan, use vegan cheese.

Mexican Cesar Salad

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 cups of your favorite lettuce/lettuce blend (romaine and bibb is great!)
  • 2 tomatoes cubed/sliced
  • ½ cup purple onion, cut into rings
  • 1 small can corn, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ c ranch dressing
  • ½ c your favorite salsa

Directions:

  1. Combine the salsa and ranch together, chill in fridge 6-8 hours before servings. This allows the flavors to blend.
  2. Toss the veggies in a chilled salad bowl with the dressing.
  3. Top with ¼ c crushed corn chips/tortilla chips for some added crunch!

Serve topped with grilled chicken breasts for an entree or without meat as a side dish.  Serves 3 as an entree, serves 6 as a side dish.

 

Easy Hummus Recipe!

Yesterday in my tabouli recipe, I mentioned I’d be sharing a hummus recipe soon. Here we are!

This recipe is super easy, and you can pick up all the ingredients in any grocery store, on Amazon, or even at Target.

Ingredients:

  • 2 15.5 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup tahini (I like Tumeric Tahini from Havens Kitchen)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped (or you can use 1 teaspoon chopped jarred garlic)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 t. cumin
  • salt to taste
  • Garnishes (optional): additional olive oil, everything but the bagel seasoning, toasted sesame seeds, a sprinkle of cumin, sumac, chopped parsley)

Directions:

  1. In a food processor/blender, blend all of the ingredients (except the garnishes)
  2. If the hummus is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of water and blend again. repeat as needed, adding up to 3 teaspoons of water.
  3. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to meld.
  4. Pour into a bowl, top with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and any other additional garnishes as needed.
  5. Serve with veggies, pita, or chips/crackers.

This recipe is vegan, and gluten-free.

 

Easy, Tasty Tabouli Recipe!

I love tabouli (tabouleh)- It’s easy to make, and it keeps in the fridge for up to a week (if it lasts that long). It’s a delicious, easy summer salad.

This is my spin on traditional tabouli- I use Right Rice in place of bulgar wheat, but you can use whatever grain you like. Couscous, quinoa, or Israeli couscous are all great choices. My kids don’t like bulgar wheat.

This week in our Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box we received: Tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, lemon, and parsley.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups grains of your choice, cooked as directed ( I use garlic herb or original Right Rice)
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (I used larger English cucumbers, but you can use the small Persian cukes and slice them into “coins”)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, diced
  • 1.5 cups parsley, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped finely (I like yellow or red)
  • 1/4 cup your favorite oil (olive or avocado are my favs)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook your grains per the package direction, and set them aside to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all veggies and toss with oil and lemon juice mixture.
  4. Fold in the cooled grains.
  5. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours minimum before serving.
  6. Season with additional kosher salt, and black pepper to taste as needed.

This salad goes great with hummus, pita, and grilled protein. I’ll have an awesome hummus recipe up in a few days!

This recipe is naturally vegan. If you use Quinoa or Right Rice, it is gluten-free as well.

 

Become a Just Egg Ambassador!

Have you heard of Just Egg? 

It’s an egg substitute made from plants. And now you can share Just Egg with your friends and family!

Your friends might not believe an egg made from a plant is possible, let alone delicious. But you know it is. Now’s your chance to prove it to the skeptics: gift free JUST Egg to up to three friends. And JUST egg will reward you with a free product too.

When you share JUST Egg with your friends and family, you’re being a force for change in our food system. Because it’s made from plants, JUST Egg is free of cholesterol and it uses less water and carbon emissions than chicken eggs.

Here’s how it works

Step 1: Get your ambassador code and forward it to 3 friends

Step 2: Your friend buys JUST Egg (and saves the receipt)

Step 3:Your friend uploads the receipt and gets reimbursed

Step 4: Then, you get a free JUST Egg product too

 

You understand how a better world is created one bite at a time. So JUST egg is giving you this free JUST Egg to start a conversation that will spark change. Join the bigger conversation at #ShareJUSTEgg. Full terms and conditions here and if you have any issues or questions, please reach out to wecare@ju.st.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Bisque (GF, Vegan)

This recipe is super simple, and I’ve included some steps to shave off more time to get the soup in your belly faster!

Butternut Squash Bisque

Ingredients

  • 1 T. Avocado Oil
  • 1/2 Large onion, diced
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed (You can save time by buying it in the frozen foods section)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Quart Vegetable Stock
  • 2 cups Hazelnut Milk
  • 1t. Rubbed Sage
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil. Add onions, and cook for 5-10 minutes, until clear and fragrant.
  2. Add squash and carrot. Cook approx 10 minutes until softened.
  3. Add vegetable stock, and simmer until veggies are tender/soft.
  4. Remove from heat, add hazelnut milk.
  5. Blend soup with a stick blender until smooth.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve this luscious, velvety soup with hot, crusty bread and a crisp green salad.  It freezes well, in case of leftovers.

Recipe: Hearty Veggie Soup

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This soup is vegan and high in protein!

I made this last month while it was cold and rainy. I keep forgetting to post this recipe. It’s so tasty. And easy. The leftovers (if there are any) freezes well.

 

It’s vegan and gluten-free as is, but you can make changes and use bone broth if you want, or even add meat of your choices I think kielbasa pieces would be really great in this soup!

I used Right Rice in this recipe in place of regular white rice. What I like about Right Rice is that it’s made from Lentil Flour, Chickpea Flour, and Rice Flour.  Those ingredients mean that this “rice” is high on protein! The “rice” thickens up the soup for sure.

 

AAVS2954.JPGI found Right Rice at Grocery Outlet, but you can also order it on Amazon.  You can substitute canned chopped tomatoes for fresh tomatoes- Use what you have on hand.

Hearty Veggie Soup

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 cup bell pepper, diced (I used green)
  • 2 T. cooking oil (your choice)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green or yellow zucchini (whatever is in season or you have on hand)
  • 2 quarts veggie stock
  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (you can also use a large can of diced tomatoes)
  • 1 14oz.-ish can of tomato sauce
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 cups Right Rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T. Penzeys Forward Spice Blend
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large, heavy-bottom stockpot, heat oil.
  2. Saute carrots, celery, bell pepper, and onions until onions are soft and clear, about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and spices. Cook on low for 20-30 minutes, or until right rice is done and soup has thickened up.
  5. Soup can simmer on low as long as you like. I let it simmer on low for about 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with bread and butter and salad.

IMG_9957.JPGForward Seasoning blend contains extra bold black pepper, onion, paprika, garlic, turmeric, spice extractives (including oleoresin of celery, rosemary, black pepper, thyme, basil and paprika).

1/30/2020 Free Beyond Meat Burgers at Denny’s!

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Have you tried the new Beyond Burgers? We had them for dinner a few weeks ago and they are really good.

Denny’s is offering a FREE Beyond Burger with the purchase of any beverage at all participating locations on January 30 from 11am to 10pm, while supplies last. As the first restaurant group within the family dining category to offer a 100% plant-based protein option made with Beyond Meat to its menu, Denny’s is meeting guests’ desire to move toward a flexitarian diet.

The Beyond Burger at Denny’s features a 100% plant-based “meat” patty topped with sliced tomatoes and onions, lettuce, pickles, American cheese, and All-American sauce on a multigrain bun. If you want it vegan, skip the cheese, sauce, and bun and have it lettuce wrapped!

Not all locations are participating, so I suggest calling the location you plan on visiting in advance to double-check. For more information about this deal, click here.

Crockpot Chili Recipe (GF, Vegan, Vegetarian)

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Easy, Delicious, and Healthy!

I realized the other day when searching for my chili recipe on my blog so I could share it with someone on Facebook, that I have not posted my chili recipe, ever! Which is weird, because I make it at least once a month.

What I love about making chili in the crockpot is that you can use either fresh, frozen, or canned veggies, it really depends on what you have in your house, and what your budget is.

Because I get vegetables and fruit twice a month at our local co-op, frequently I will have fresh vegetables that I have diced or prepared and put into Ziploc bags to store in the freezer. It ensures that we have nutritious vegetables with no additives at our fingertips throughout the month.

Another great thing about this chili recipe is you can make it vegetarian, you can put meat in it, or you can make a vegan! This recipe is naturally gluten-free.

Slow Cooker Chili

  • One large onion diced
  • Two bell peppers, diced
  • 3 cups tomatoes. You can either use canned tomatoes, or if you have fresh tomatoes available you can quarter them.  No need to peel or seed them.
  • Two cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 T. Avocado oil
  • 1 pound of meat (optional) I usually use ground pork, but other good choices include ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, or bite-sized pieces of stew meat. If you want a meat substitute, I like these crumbles from Beyond Meat.
  • One can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • One can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3T chili powder
  • 1t cumin
  • Salt and pepper as needed

Optional, but delicious:

1 cup corn niblets. If you use canned corn, drain and rinse it prior to adding.

If you do not care for black or kidney beans, you can swap in Northern beans, or navy beans.

Directions

  1. Personally, I like to brown the meat on the stove prior to adding it to the slow cooker. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch Oven, heat avocado oil and brown meat until thoroughly cooked/browned.
  2. Add onions and peppers, cook until onions are clear and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, and cook, stirring often until garlic is fragrant about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. If your pan has a lot of brown food remnants on the bottom, I recommend taking 2 to 4 tablespoons of liquid (you can use water) and pour it in the pan stirring and scraping all the yummy brown stuff off the bottom. This is where all the flavor lives.
  5. Pour all of the ingredients from the pot into your slow cooker.
  6. Add remaining ingredients, place lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

I love serving chili with cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

This recipe is incredibly versatile.

If you don’t have fresh onions and peppers, you can grab a bag of fajita mix out of the freezer (which is pre-chopped onions and bell peppers).

If you don’t have fresh tomatoes (which let’s face it a lot of us don’t) you can use canned tomatoes. You can use whole canned tomatoes you can use diced, you can use chopped, whatever kind of tomatoes you have in your cupboard.

Use whatever kind of canned beans you have on hand. One time I made chili and I used chickpeas! And it turned out delicious!

If you don’t have cumin and chili powder in your cupboard but you have chili seasoning, use that instead.

I find the chili is a great go-to meal for when you are at the end of the month, and you are low on funds but you have lots of canned goods and frozen veggies.

If you were strapped for time, you don’t have to brown your meat, you can just put it in the crockpot and pour all the other ingredients over top, cook it, and let it cook. Just make sure to break up the meat (if you’re using ground meat) with a spoon prior to serving.