‘baking’ Category

  1. best favorite banana bread

    April 25, 2017 by Angie

    I have tried several banana bread recipes over the years. This is my go to. My all-time “best favorite”. I originally found it on the blog Hell Yeah It’s Vegan! The blogger totally revamped the site and did away with some of the recipes. The banana bread recipe featured there now is quite different. I found the old one here, but can’t tell if all of the text is from the original blog. Either way, it’s the same recipe I’ve known and loved. Because it’s such a favorite, I’m blogging it myself to keep it forever.

    I’ve made this banana bread with chocolate chips many times. Below is my slightly altered version to reflect the ingredients I always use and my actual method for baking the bread.

    This banana bread is always a huge hit. Last night I made it to bring to my library’s volunteer appreciation breakfast. I was told it went fast.

    This recipe is vegan if you hunt down vegan chocolate chips – which is much more difficult now that Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips have milk in them. R.I.P. Ghirardelli vegan chocolate chips.

    Ingredients
    5 medium to large, very ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use Smart Balance oil and measure out a scant 1/4 cup.)
    3/4 cup sugar (I go slightly scant on this as well.)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup unbleached flour
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
    a pinch of ground cloves
    1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    2. Grease a loaf pan.
    3. You need really ripe bananas for this. If you’re like me, you froze some bananas a while back and they’re still in your freezer because you didn’t take them out to thaw on the counter earlier. Procrastinators: place the bananas in a microwave safe bowl and defrost them until you can peel them. Place the peeled, freezy banana goodness in a new bowl and continue defrosting for 2-3 minutes. Now you’re ready to mash the bananas with a fork.
    4. In a large bowl, mix bananas, oil, sugar, and vanilla extract together by hand.
    5. In a separate bowl, combine flours, spices, salt, and baking soda.
    6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; stir by hand until there are no chunks of flour visible. Do not overdo it or use a mixer. You want to stir it just enough to mix the wet and dry, but not so much that it gets gummy. Lumps are to be expected!
    7. Fold in the chocolate chips.
    8. Pour into the greased pan. I like to tap the pan around a bit on the counter to get the batter settled in there nicely.
    9. Bake for approximately 30 minutes and then start checking it. It takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to bake fully. I look for a golden top and test with a toothpick. When a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out relatively clean, you’re good to go.
    10. Cool on a cooling rack.
    11. Enjoy as soon as it’s cooled off enough or wrap aluminum foil over the whole pan and bring it to brunch, your potluck, your library volunteer appreciation breakfast – feed somebody delicious banana bread!


  2. vegan zucchini meatballs

    December 19, 2016 by Angie

    I love a fake meatball. Ever since Nate’s Meatless Meatballs became impossible to purchase without insane shipping costs, I’ve been searching for a suitable alternative. I’ve previously made some pretty great TVP-based “meatballs”. Alas, TVP is also nearly impossible to buy where I live now. I found this recipe for vegan zucchini “meatballs” on Pinterest from the blog Making Thyme for Health.

    Vegan Zucchini ‘Meatballs’

    They were pretty easy to make – easier than the TVP version. They did not bake all the way through in the middle, but I adjusted the recipe below with suggestions I think will correct that problem. I added more spices than called for in the original recipe. The taste and texture were really good. The only downside to this recipe is the cleanup. It was so heinous that Robbie asked me to never make it again 🙁 I suppose I will have to save this recipe for a day when I have the time to cook and do the dishes so, like never, basically. Huge shout out to my dish doing husband who makes cooking possible.

    a saucy "meatball"

    Ingredients

    1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
    2 tbsp minced garlic
    1/2 c rolled oats
    1/2 tbsp dried basil
    1/2 tbsp dried oregano
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 tbsp nutritional yeast
    juice of 1/2 lemon
    1 1/4 c shredded zucchini
    one jar of spaghetti sauce
    pasta of your choice, cooked as directed on the package (Robbie had fettuccine and I had zucchini noodles.)

    vegan zucchini meatballs with zucchini noodles

    Instructions

    1. Use a food processor with the shredding blade attached to shred the zucchini. I used almost two large-ish zucchini. Measure it out to be sure you have at least 1 and a 1/4 cups of shredded zucchini. Set aside.
    2. Remove the shredding blade and use the food processor to blend the drained and rinsed chickpeas, minced garlic and oats. I used pulse for 5 seconds three of four times to get everything finely chopped. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
    3. Add the basil, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and nutritional yeast to the chickpea mixture. Stir to combine with a spoon.
    4. Add the shredded zucchini and lemon juice. Stir to combine again.
    5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    6. Form the mixture into balls and place them, spaced apart, on the lined cookie sheet. I believe I had enough for 15 balls at about a rounded tablespoon each. Bake for 15 minutes then turn them over and bake for another 15 minutes.
    7. While the “meatballs” are baking, prepare the pasta and heat the spaghetti sauce.

  3. spinach artichoke dip

    December 14, 2016 by Angie

    I’ve tried several spinach dip/spinach artichoke dip recipes. This one is the go-to. It’s never too soggy, too tart, or too rich. It’s a Cooking Light recipe so it’s a little less terrible for us than some other recipes out there. It also doesn’t call for any mayonnaise (blah!) which means it’s the cheesy, delicious kind of spinach dip rather than the far inferior, mayo-based variety.

    I used this Cooking Light recipe posted on myrecipes.com with slight variations.

    Ingredients

    1 8 oz package of shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
    1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
    4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
    14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
    2 8 oz blocks light cream cheese, softened
    10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
    crackers or chips for serving

     

    spinach artichoke dip on a triscuit
    Enjoying some of my spinach artichoke dip at the campus potluck

    Instructions

    1. Open the package of spinach and place the frozen spinach in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes. Flip and microwave for two more minutes. After that, I stirred the spinach around to expose the frozen bits and microwaved for one more minute.

    2.Put the cream cheese blocks out on the counter to soften them.

    3. Construct a spinach draining apparatus. I put a double layer of paper towels in a colander over a plate and poured the thawed spinach in there. I put another layer of paper towels over that and squished the water out. I had to change the paper towels again. You want to be sure the spinach is drained really well.

    4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

    5. Drain the artichoke hearts. I again placed a double layer of paper towels on a plate (RIP trees), picked the artichoke hearts out of the can and placed them there, then topped with another layer of paper towels. Press them paper towels to get the water out. Chop the artichoke hearts into small pieces.

    6. Mix 1.5 cups of the shredded Mozzarella, the sour cream, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, the black pepper, the minced garlic, and the cream cheese blocks together in a large bowl.

    7. Add in the spinach and the artichoke hearts. Stir everything together until it’s a beautiful dip.

    8. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees on the middle rack or until it starts to get bubbly.

    9. Serve with crackers or chips. I like Triscuits!

    pan of spinach artichoke dip

    The whole pan of dip – I bakcd it at home but forgot to get a photo. This is after warming it in the microwave at work.


  4. eggplant parmesan

    May 28, 2016 by Angie

    My mother-in-law makes the best eggplant parmesan. The best. I tried to make eggplant parmesan a couple of times using other recipes and I didn’t like what I made. The recipes called for salting then frying the eggplant slices leading directly to disaster. Even Italian restaurants seriously mess up eggplant parmesan so making delicious eggplant parmesan has been a culinary goal of mine for years.

    Blanky's eggplant parmesan

    Blanky’s stellar eggplant parmesan

    My mother-in-law shared her recipe with me along with some tips and the brand of sauce she uses – Ragu Chunky in a giant plastic container. Can you believe that? That sauce is key!

    The recipe is this baked, not fried, version from Martha Stewart. Baking is lower fat, less messy, and a lot easier than frying. I followed the recipe pretty closely because I really wanted it to succeed this time! My small changes included the addition of a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder to the bread crumb and cheese mixture and decreasing the initial baking time as advised by my mother-in-law.

    I don’t buy eggs, but I do keep Eggology egg whites in the house. Robbie looked up the conversion for me. Two tablespoons of egg whites are equivalent to one egg without the yolk. He poured four tablespoons of Eggology into a bowl and added 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance oil to try to make up for the fat missing from the two egg yolks he omitted. From there he added the two tablespoons of water and whisked.

    I ran out of the bread crumbs and cheese mixture halfway through and had to make another one. I will double it from the start in the future.

    I had to bake the casserole longer than the recipe said to achieve the coveted bubbly, golden brown status. I think my oven is wonky so YMMV.

    I’m happy to report that my eggplant parmesan was amazing! It was not exactly like my mother-in-law’s but it was really, really delicious. Way better than what I’ve had at many restaurants and I’ve eaten more than my fair share of restaurant eggplant parmesan.

    eggplant parmesan

    Next time I will do everything the same except I’ll also slice the eggplant more carefully to get consistently thin slices and I’ll be prepared to bake the final casserole longer, maybe even using the broiler for a couple of minutes at the end.

    unphotogenic serving

    Lifetime culinary goal achieved!


  5. spaghetti squash black bean mexican bowl

    March 12, 2016 by Angie

    I made this Mexican-style dish from Kalyn’s Kitchen recently. It’s a hot black bean mixture with avocado salsa served over roasted spaghetti squash strands. Robbie and I both loved it. We ate it all.

    avocadoy beany goodness

    My spaghetti squash wasn’t very large so the ratio of black beans/salsa to spaghetti squash is a little off. The deliciousness was unaffected.

    spaghetti squash underneath

    There it is! Spaghetti squash peeking out from underneath all the beans and veggies.

    I followed her recipe pretty closely. The changes I made were I only halved the spaghetti squash instead of quartering it. It wasn’t big enough to require quartering and I really struggle to cut through them. I don’t have Vege-Sal so I used salt, as suggested. I skipped the green chiles and the green tabasco sauce. I don’t keep those things on hand and we don’t really like them anyway. The dish is very flavorful. I didn’t miss the things I omitted. Kalyn’s Kitchen did it again with a great, healthy recipe!

    bowl!
    Mmm, limey avocado.


  6. stuffed zucchini

    March 6, 2016 by Angie

    I’m always looking for new sides. Somehow (maybe MyFitnessPal emails?), I came across this post for Summer Veggie Stuffed Zucchini from the Mountain Mama Cooks blog. I can rarely leave a recipe alone so I changed it up a little.

    eat zucchini filled with zucchini!

    Ingredients

    olive oil spray
    2 zucchini per serving, depending on the size of the zucchini. I used 6 small zucchini. Larger zucchini will work out better.
    1 small red bell pepper, diced
    1 bunch of green onion, diced
    tablespoon of minced garlic
    about 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, quartered
    1/2 cup to 1 cup fresh spinach, stems removed
    1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    1/2 cup breadcrumbs
    salt and pepper, to taste

    stuffed zucchini in a row

    Instructions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with olive oil.

    2. Wash the zucchini and trim off the ends. Slice all the zucchini in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to gently scoop out the insides of the zucchini halves. Save the insides in a bowl.

    3. Arrange the zucchini “boats” on the prepared cookie sheet.

    4. Prepare the red bell pepper, green onion, cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Cut up the zucchini pulp.

    5. Spray a pan with olive oil and cook the bell pepper, white parts of the green onion, and the zucchini insides with a tablespoon of minced garlic over medium heat for about ten minutes.

    6. Add the rest of the green onion, quartered cherry tomatoes, and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted and everything is heated through.

    7. Pour the vegetable mixture into a bowl. Add in the shredded parmesan and breadcrumbs and stir. Start filling the zucchini “boats” with the vegetable/cheese/breadcrumbs mixture. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs and parmesan on top of each stuffed zucchini if desired.

    8. Bake the stuffed zucchini for about 25 minutes.

    stuffed zucchini with baked tofu


  7. spaghetti squash “lasagna”

    February 12, 2016 by Angie

    I’m really into spaghetti squash lately. I found this recipe from UpRoot Kitchen and made it with a couple of changes. Robbie even liked it. I want to eat delicious cheesy, saucy, spaghetti squash everyday so this recipe is a major winner in my book.

    a "slice" of spaghetti squash lasagna

    Look at that – mmmmmmm.

    My Changes:

    I omitted the egg, grape tomatoes, and crushed red pepper. Recipes with ricotta love to tell you to throw an egg in there. I just don’t and there are no consequences, as far as I can tell. The grape tomatoes and crushed red pepper were less “omitted” and more “forgotten in hunger”. I used a block of part skim Mozzarella instead of the shredded variety. I like that I can cut or peel off small pieces which melt beautifully.


    the whole lasagna

     Melty Mozzarella pieces

    side view

    Here’s a view from the side right out of the oven!


  8. butternut squash & goat cheese penne

    November 8, 2015 by Angie

    I like fall and squash. I saw this recipe for penne with butternut squash and goat cheese on the Food Network’s site. I made deliciously cheesy pasta based on it.

    butternut squash & goat cheese penne

    Cheesy penne and butternut squash closeup

    Ingredients

    box of penne pasta
    medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
    yellow onion, diced
    olive oil
    salt & pepper, to taste
    about 5 oz goat cheese
    dried basil
    garlic powder
    parsley flakes
    crushed red pepper
    shaved parmesan cheese

    big bowl of yum

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
    2. Wash the butternut squash. Peel the skin off using a peeler. Cut the squash into small cubes.
    3. Dice the onion.
    4. Oil a cookie sheet with olive oil. Arrange the butternut squash cubes and diced onion on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes. Set the vegetables aside to cool once cooked.
    5. While the vegetables are baking, start boiling water to cook the pasta according to the directions on the box.
    6. In a large bowl, add the goat cheese and break it up with a spoon.
    7. Add in the cooked and drained pasta. It’s okay if a little hot water gets in there – it will help melt and mix up the goat cheese. Stir to coat the pasta with the goat cheese.
    8. Add in the baked butternut squash and onion and stir gently.
    9. Top with the spices to taste and stir. Sprinkle with a handful of shaved parmesan cheese.

    a serving

    So good!


  9. twice baked spinach spaghetti squash

    September 29, 2015 by Angie

    I cooked and ate spaghetti squash for the first time last week. I’ve never met a squash I didn’t like so I’m not surprised that I really loved this. I used this twice baked kale spaghetti squash recipe from Food52 as a guide.

    a savory bite

    Serves two people as an entree.

    Ingredients

    1 medium spaghetti squash
    olive oil
    salt and pepper, to taste
    minced garlic, about a teaspoon
    yellow onion, diced
    a bag of fresh spinach, stems removed
    1/2 to 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
    red pepper flakes, to taste

    twice baked spaghetti squash

    Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. Wash the spaghetti squash and then cut the top off of it so you can put it down without it rolling all over the place.
    3. Use your most serious knife to cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise.
    4. Scoop the seeds and pulpy stuff out of each half. Try to leave the part under that intact.
    5. Drizzle olive oil over the insides of the squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the squash halves facedown on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 45 minutes until the inside of the squash has softened and there are some browning, crystalizing parts.
    6. While the squash is baking, chop the yellow onion. De-stem the spinach leaves.
    7. Heat a pan with some olive oil in it. Add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until the onions are softened. Add the spinach leaves and cook until they have wilted. Set the vegetable mixture aside.
    8. When the squash looks ready, take it out of the oven, but leave the oven on. Heck, crank it up to 425 degrees.
    9. Using a spoon, scrape out the insides of the squash halves. It will look like spaghetti!
    10. Transfer the spaghetti looking insides and the vegetable mixture to a large bowl.
    11. Add the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir to combine.
    12. Spoon the mixture back into the squash shell halves. Sprinkle the tops with a little more parmesan cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes on 425 or until the cheese is melted and starts to brown a little.

    they are twins!


  10. veggie and egg white breakfast “muffins”

    July 7, 2015 by Angie

    I have been on the hunt for a new high-protein, low-carb, breakfast food. I got the idea for these egg white muffins from my co-worker and used this recipe from I Don’t Go to the Gym as a guide. I found certified humane egg whites online from Eggology. It makes me feel a lot better about eating eggs. Nutritionally, the Eggology egg whites really can’t be beat.

    veggie and egg white muffins

    Disclaimer: A silicone muffin pan is required. I killed a metal muffin pan the first time.

    Ingredients

    olive oil
    2 green onions, sliced
    2-3 yellow squash and/or zucchini, finely chopped
    a big handful fresh spinach
    about a tablespoon of minced garlic
    2.5 cups of Eggology egg whites
    a handful of reduced fat shredded Mexican cheese, optional (I forgot to add cheese to the muffins shown and they are just as tasty without it.)
    add dried oregano, turmeric, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to taste

    Steps

    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the silicone muffin pan with olive oil. Place the muffin pan on a cookie sheet.

    2. Wash and finely chop the veggies of your choosing.

    3. Pour a little olive oil in a pan and add the squash and garlic. Cook for a few minutes. Repeat adding the green onion and then the spinach last.

    4. Transfer the sautéed veggies to a bowl. Pour the egg whites into the bowl. Add a handful of the shredded Mexican cheese and salt and pepper to your liking.

    5. Pour the egg white and veggie mixture into the greased silicone pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

    6. Pop the adorable muffins out of the pan and gobble them up! Or save them to microwave for breakfast throughout the work week. I have been baking them on Sunday and eating four each morning on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I could stretch it to Thursday, but I start to get freaked out about leftovers by then.

    a happy breakfast

    They are perfect with a Robbie-made soy latte <3