Category Archives: Dinner

Baked Vegan Macaroni Casserole


I made this macaroni casserole a couple of weeks ago to satisfy an urge for comfort food.  It hit the spot!  Although I will not claim that it is exactly like it’s non-vegan equivalents, it is pretty darn good all the same.  I served it with my Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup for the ultimate cozy Sunday afternoon meal.  Recipe below!

Baked Vegan Macaroni Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cooked Macaroni noodles (I used whole wheat and it tasted fine in the casserole!)
  • ½ c raw cashews, processed into a powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium chopped potato
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 c non dairy milk
  • Juice of half of a lemon
  • 3 T corn starch
  • 1 tbsp oil/earth balance
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t Dijon mustard
  • ½ t tumeric
  • ½ t onion powder
  • ¼ t black pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • dash of soy sauce
  • **Garnish:  Paprika, bread crumbs, ground almonds
  • **Optional:  Peas and halved cherry tomates

Instructions:

  1. Grease a large casserole pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook your macaroni noodles according to the package instructions and drain.  Put in casserole pan and set aside
  3. In a food processor, blend the raw cashews with the carrots, potato, and garlic, and process until well combined.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the macaroni, the garnish, and the optional ingredients) to the food processor and process again until a smooth “cheese” sauce forms.
  5. Pour the “cheese” sauce directly onto the macaroni noodles and toss to coat the noodles evenly.  If you want to add optional ingredients to your casserole, now is the time to do it!  I added a bag of frozen peas and some spare, halved cherry tomatoes for color and nutrition.
  6. Top with paprika (for a little kick), bread crumbs, and crushed almonds (for some crunch).
  7. Cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Serve!  This recipe makes enough to serve about 4-6 people, depending on how hungry everyone is.

-Dominique

Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup


We’ve had a couple of cold weekends in Pittsburgh lately, so I decided to throw together some tomato soup out of two cans of plain tomato sauce I had in my pantry (which is actually just my dining room floor…college kitchens are tiny!).  In my pre-vegan days, I would have let heavy whipping cream give this tomato soup it’s comforting creaminess, but I veganized it with some full fat coconut milk and added thickness by blending it with carrots and potatoes.  I wouldn’t skip the the Herbs de Provence, they really elevate the flavor, adding an air of French sophistication (maybe?)

Anyways, the result is a thick and creamy tomato soup that even my tomato soup hating boyfriend and roommate really enjoyed.  Recipe below!

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 3 large cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 t Herbs de Provence
  • 1 t basil pesto
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 medium chopped potato
  • 23 oz (for me, one small can and one regular-sized can) of plain tomato sauce
  • 4 T full fat coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (wait until the end to add)

Instructions:

  1. Coat a medium saucepan with olive oil and sauté garlic on medium heat until fragrant.  Add the onion and carrots and turn heat to low.
  2. Add the spices and combine, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, potatoes, and tomato sauce.  Turn the heat to medium, and wait until the soup starts gently bubbling and potatoes are tender (for me this was conveniently the same time).  Take the soup off of the heat and allow it to cool down a bit.
  4. Put the soup in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Pour it back into the saucepan and heat on low.
  5. Slowly add the coconut milk while stirring the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

Enjoy!

-Dominique

Quick and Easy Indian-Inspired Chili (Vegan) with Coconut Basmati Rice


Last night I had a bunch of produce that had just about outlived it’s fridge time so I decided to cook up an Indian-inspired chili to use it all up! The only part of this recipe that is time consuming is the veggie chopping, other than that you just throw everything in the pot and let it simmer away. It ended up being pretty spicy because I was a little heavy-handed with the crushed red pepper flakes (oops! I adjusted the recipe afterwards as to not kill anyone), so I paired it with some mellow coconut basmati rice.  It was really yummy and really filling!

Image

Spicy Indian-Inspired Chili

Yield: About 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½  each of garam masala, cumin, & turmeric
  • ½ t each of cayenne, nutmeg, ginger, & cardamom
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped (I did green, yellow, orange, because that’s what I had on hand)
  • 3 small or 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • ½ jar of marinara sauce
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • olive oil

Instructions:

  1. In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil and garlic on medium heat.  Add the chopped onions along with all the spices and sauté until your kitchen smells like magic!
  2. Add in a little more olive oil (to cover the bottom of the pot) and toss in the chopped zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn, and beans.  Toss it around with a spoon so everything is combined.
  3. Add the marinara sauce and vegetable broth and mix.  Heat until the entire mixture boils, then turn down the heat to low.
  4. Simmer the chili on the stove for about twenty minutes (or more if you want, I just used this time to make the rice) to let the flavors meld.  FLAVA FLAVVVVE!!!
  5. EAT!

Notes:

  • If you like your chili to be spicier, add crushed red pepper flakes along with the other spices.  BE CAREFUL THOUGH! Once you put them in, you can’t take them out. (If you don’t heed this warning and your chili ends up being too spicy, salt it a bit and it will tone the spice down).
  • You can essentially use any vegetables or beans that you want in this recipe, or leave them out entirely.  I just used what I had on hand!  This is why chili is awesome.

Coconut Basmati Rice

Yield:  About 3 cups (6 servings, 1/2 cup each)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ c basamati rice, rinsed and drained until it doesn’t make the water cloudy (this took about 4 rinses for me)
  • 1 c coconut milk
  • 1 ½ c water
  • ½ t turmeric
  • pinch of salt
Instructions:
  1. Put everything in a rice cooker and mix so the turmeric and and coconut milk are well combined with the water.
  2. Turn the rice cooker on and let it do it’s rice cooker magic!
  3. EAT!
Notes:
  • If you don’t have a rice cooker (I actually don’t, but my lovely roommate Abbey let’s me use hers [and all her spices (THANKS ABBEY!)]) then you can easily do this on the stove following these basic cooking instructions.  Just use the same ingredients/water and coconut milk ratio above.
  • You can easily do this with another kind of white rice, I just had Basmati in my pantry.

Happy cooking 🙂

-Dominique

Spicy Homemade Falafel Recipe


Today, after I took my first final, I needed to relax and forget about studying for a bit!  For me, relaxing usually means whipping something up in the kitchen.

I wanted to make something that I could enjoy now, but also freeze and eat throughout the next week.  I was craving Middle Eastern food to go with some hummus I needed to use up, so I figured I’d try my hand at making falafel.  This isn’t the most traditional of falafel recipes; I usually find falafel to be pretty bland so I added extra cayenne and red pepper flakes to give it a little kick!  If you don’t like spicy food, omit the red pepper flakes and cut down on the cayenne to mellow it out a bit.  Also, I had a bell pepper that I needed to use, so I threw that in the food processor too!  Yum.

Spicy Falafel

Yield:  Between 18-24 falafel balls, depending on how big you make them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) of rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1/3 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper, but whatever you have on hand is fine!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 7 T flour (or more, if it isn’t forming a doughy enough texture)
  • 2 T tahini
  • 2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 t baking powder
  • hot pepper flakes, to taste
  • oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor.  Pulse until it turns into a wet “dough”.  Some chunkiness is fine, depending on how you like your falafel.
  3. Put vegetable oil in a skillet and heat at medium.  While oil is heating, grease a large oven pan and flour an area next to the stove (you’re setting up your little falafel factory’s production line!)
  4. With some flour on your hands, start scooping falafel out of the (unplugged!) food processor and shaping it into patties or balls.  Set on floured surface.
  5. Drop falafel balls into the oil, cooking for about 2 minutes on each side to make the outside nice and crispy.  Don’t worry about cooking the falafel through, you’ll do that later!
  6. Transfer cooked falafel to lightly greased pan, and put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove falafel from pan, and use a towel to absorb excess grease.  Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If your falafel isn’t sticking together in the oil, add more flour to the “dough”.
  • If you have extra time, you can refrigerate falafel balls before frying them.  This may also help them stay together.  (I was impatient and took my chances, but it worked fine anyways)
  • If you don’t like to fry foods (it can be scary in a multitude of ways, hot oil freaks me out sometimes), feel free to bake these falafel balls or patties in your oven!  10 minutes on each side should do it.

Enjoy!

-Dominique

Scotland Recap: Edinburgh Eats!


In contrast to Campbeltown, there was such a large selection of restaurants in Edinburgh! It was almost overwhelming to choose which ones to go to, but with the help of our Lonely Planet tour book, we narrowed it down to some great places. Here are my favorite meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in Edinburgh!

For breakfast, I loved the Urban Angel Cafe (also serves lunch and dinner). It was cozy and hip, and boasted local, organic, free trade produce. Gotta love that!



To drink, my mom and I ordered tea

Chai tea with Honey and Steamed Milk


and Nicole and Gigi got smoothies.

Smoothie #1 (Strawberries and Fresh Squeezed OJ)

Smoothie #2 (Berries and Yogurt)


To eat, my mom got mueseli,

Freshly Made Muesli!


Nicole and Gigi got French toast,

French Toast (with Homemade Bread) and Bacon


and I got Eggs Benedict. The Hollandaise sauce was PERFECT, tangy and creamy!

Eggs Benedict

The only thing about Urban Angel was that it was definitely overpriced for what it was. That’s the cost of organic, local eating, I suppose.

My favorite lunch was at the Deacon’s House Cafe, a small cafe built in the space that used to be the infamous Deacon Brodie’s workshop! TO give you the reader’s digest version, Deacon Brodie was an upstanding cabinet maker by day and a thief by night. When he was finally caught, he was hung on gallows he designed himself. Pretty cool, huh? We actually just walked into the cafe on a whim, but it turned out to be quite good, and you all should know by now that I love anything of historical significance.

Deacon Brodie was the inspiration for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


I got some delicious soup and a cheese scone…a very Scottish lunch!

Vegetable Soup and a Cheese Scone from Deacon Brodie's


Nicole opted for a BLT on a bagel and some hot chocolate, both of which she said were great as well!

Nicole with her BLT bagel and hot chocolate at Deacon Brodie's

My favorite dinner, and probably favorite meal in all of Scotland, and one of my top five restaurant meals EVER, was at Mums.

I left my heart at Mums ❤


Mum’s motto is “Eat Great Comfort Food”. As soon as I read that, I knew I was in for a treat. I am the comfort food queen!

My new life motto!


The restaurant itself was small, but cozy. Selections of the day were written on chalkboards, and the waitstaff and cook were very friendly and helpful!
EVERYONE’S food looked delicious.
Nicole’s Mac and Cheese was perfectly cheese and creamy, and so filling that she couldn’t finish! And yes, those are hand-cut homemade chips.

Mac and Cheese with Chips


Dad’s special ordered lamb pie (the chef didn’t want to make it at first because she didn’t think it would taste good, but finally she caved under my dad’s begging). The pastry was as big as a whole loaf of bread! He was like a kid on Christmas morning.

Dad feasting on a lamb pie


Delicious Lamb Pie is Revealed!


I got the classic “Sausages with Mash and Gravy”. They had a huge selection of sausages, even vegetarian ones, all made fresh. I opted for a one chicken and blue cheese sausage, and one classic Mum’s sausage (pork and herbs). Both were equally delicious! There were also tons of mash (mashed potatoes) options! After a long deliberation period, I chose cauliflower and cheese. And I went with classic gravy.

My Sausages and Mash (pre-gravy)


My Sausages and Mash (Post-Gravy) with Dad's Veggies

I have never been so full or so happy finishing a meal. Mum’s is truly the best of British comfort food!

Cute postcard and candies with our check!

Keep reading to find out about all the amazing sights we saw in Edinburgh!

-Dominique

Scotland Recap: Campbeltown Eats


Campbeltown (and Scotland on a whole) did not really serve many foods to suit my palate, however, there were a couple of places that I was quite happy to go to for breakfast or dinner!

We stopped by Auntie Mo’s, a sort of deli in the heart of Campbeltown, for some fresh sandwiches, pastries, and pies. Everything was cooked fresh that morning on site. I got a Cornish Pasty, which was like a meat pie with carrots and turnips! It was piping hot and delicious, a great comfort food, and quite portable. The pastry was light, buttery, and flaky, but the fillings made it so hearty. I loved it!

Cornish Pasty

Another Scottish staple is fish and chips (what Americans would call French Fries). Although I am not usually one for a completely fried meal, I couldn’t resist ordering the Beer-Battered Haddock at our favorite Campbeltown restaraunt, The White Hart Tavern. I swear my dad and I both agree that these were the best fish and chips in all of Scotland! The fish was great (probably so fresh, as Campbeltown is a fishing village by the sea), and the batter was so light and just greasy enough. SOO GOOD!

Beer Battered Fish and Chips!

Another of our favorite Campbeltown treats is the homemade vanilla ice cream from The Chocolate Box (a candy store). We literally stopped here at LEAST once a day for this creamy, sweet goodness. My dad is an addict! The ice cream is homemade on site using milk from AWARD WINNING DAIRY COWS! So Scottish 😉

Doesn't get any better than that!

Yummy Ice Cream!

Now you know about where we stayed and what we ate! Stay tuned to find out what we actually DID in Scotland!

-Dominique

Myrtle Beach Day 3: Tanger Outlets and Fajita Dinner


This afternoon my family and I headed out to the Tanger outlets to do some shopping! I didn’t do as well as I wanted to, but I got some great basics that will definitely last me a long while, all for under $100 total.

White Button Down and Navy Ruffle Tank from The Gap

"Toothpick" Skinny Jeans and Brown Woven Belt from J. Crew

For dinner my sister Nicole, my cousin Cassie, and my mom made a wonderful fajita buffet with Spanish rice, chicken, peppers and onions, lettuce, cheese, black beans, homemade salsa, and homemade guacamole. I loaded my plate up with everything and made my own “Burrito Bowl” a la Chipotle.

Rice, Chicken, Onions and Peppers, and Black Beans

Salsa, Guac, and Chips

After dinner I played with Violet a little…

…and then learned to play Canasta with my grandparents. They LOVE card games, and it’s a fun thing to do in the evening at the beach!

Canasta uses 4 decks of cards, so you need a cardholder!

Of course tonight I had to stop all activity to watch my newest obsession, The Bachelorette! My dad thinks that the Bachelorette should be renamed The Biggest Loser this season because he hates Ashley. I’m not a fan either. Ever since the “roast” session when she freaked out when William did exactly what she told them to, she’s revealed herself to be extremely insecure and unstable. I think she was highly dishonest with the boys about the Bentley situation, and selfish in the way that she handled it.
As for the guys, I am OBSESSED with JP.

My Beloved and My Nemesis

He is so adorable and sweet and romantic and I adore him. I want him to win but at the same time I don’t because I don’t want him to be stuck with Ashley. Alsoooo, does anyone know why they literally give away the entire season at the end of each episode? TMI! Keep a girl guessing!

-Dominique

Let’s Chat

  1. Have you scored any good shopping deals lately?
  2. What is your favorite card game to play?