Spaghetti with Vegetarian “Meat” Balls

 

I  decided that we were eating at home today and spaghetti and meatballs would be on the menu. So I got the ground chicken which would be for my daughter and hubby however for me I was not sure, so I came up with the following. I seasoned the ground chicken overnight so it can be well seasoned. For the vegetarian version, prep work would be roasting the eggplant the night prior.

I do not use eggs instead I use a flax egg, this works perfectly all the time, and you get some benefits with no cholesterol. Don’t be intimidated you can replace it with a whole egg.  I will provide both recipes in this post so if you are like me and need to make both a regular and vegetarian version they are accessible right here 🙂

Vegan Balls

Ingredients

    • I  medium purple eggplant
    • 1 cup breadcrumbs
    • 2 Tbsp garlic salt
    • 2 Tbsp basil
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp parsley
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1/2 cup parmesan or asiago grated cheese (optional)
    • 3 Tbsp flaxseed
    • 2 Tbsp oil (used to keep hands moist)
    • Oil (for frying)
    • 1 jar of Marinara sauce

Directions

      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
      • Wash eggplant, towel pat, prick eggplant with a fork place on a small baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
      • Remove from oven, let cool, cut the eggplant in half and use a spoon to remove the inside flesh.
      • Mash the eggplant in a bowl and discard the skin.
      • Combine all ingredients including the flaxseed in a bowl and mix and set aside for 5 minutes.

**The cheese gave it a nice taste, but if you are vegan go ahead and omit the cheese.

Meatballs

Ingredients

      • 1 pound ground chicken
      • 2 Tbsp parsley
      • 1/2 tsp black pepper
      • 3 Tbsp garlic salt
      • 1 tsp oregano
      • 1 tsp basil
      • 1 tsp onion powder
      • 3 Tbsp flaxseed

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix and set aside. This preparation I prefer to do the day before but it is fine to do it the day off as well.

Note: Ground beef or Turkey can be used in place of ground chicken.

Marinara Sauce

Directions

    • Open a jar of marinara sauce and add to a cast iron pot on low heat.
    • Add 1/2 cup water depending on how thick your sauce is.
    • Add fresh basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary thyme, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook for about 10-15 minutes. Of course, you can make a fresh sauce and works well also. But for something fast I use the jar but I work with it as if it is my own 😉

Combined directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pour 1 tsp of oil in your hands and press mixture together to form a bite-size ball. **The oil prevents your hands from being sticky
  3. Place oil in a medium frying pan and heat.
  4. Working in batches fry the “meat” balls until golden brown.
  5. Using a frying skimmer, flip and cook on both sides. The (vegan) brown quickly so pay attention.
  6. Place “meat” balls on a baking tray with a rack and bake for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  8. Alternatively, you can add your meatballs (without frying) directly to the marinara sauce and cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat. I suggest if you do choose this option, you bake them for at least 15 minutes just to get them a bit firm. But I am sure they will work well if you directly add them to the sauce.
  9. Time to serve, add your prepared pasta on a plate or bowl, top with your meatballs and followed with your marinara sauce and cheese if ou are adding. Enjoy…

Note: I use only organic ingredients when possible.

Blessings, Happy Cooking, and Good health!

Cheesy Popcorn

Here is a snack idea!

Sometimes you would like a snack but not sure what to get.

Have you ever thought how unhealthy the popcorn at the theatre is? Did you see the number of calories in one of the servings?  Most theatres have the calorie counts posted, so a large refillable popcorn at AMC is 1060 calories, I remember back in the days when my family and I would eat the entire bag before the movies and then go and get a refill so we have more to eat during the movies.

However, I am much wiser, now. When I go to the theatres, I purchase a large bottle of water that I can sip on during the movie and when I am at home I make my own and no not in the microwave.

This homemade popcorn has a nice cheesy flavor that you will enjoy!

Ingredients

2 Tbsp coconut oil

1 cup popcorn kernels

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Himalayan salt or sea salt  optional

Direction

1.Heat 2 Tbsp of coconut oil in a cast iron large pot.

2. Add popcorn kernels and mix so they are evenly spread.

3. On first pop, add the pot lid, I prefer to use a glass lid so you can see when popping is complete.

4. Once you don’t hear any more popping remove from heat and sprinkle nutritional yeast and salt I adding.

5. Add to a bowl and enjoy.

Note: I use all organic items when cooking and baking.

Christmas countdown : VegNog

This was my first time trying Vegan “egg” Nog and I must say I am impressed. It does require some patience, but it is well worth the wait. All good for you ingredients, with a secret ingredient of turmeric included.

Ingredients

1  cup raw cashews soaked overnight

6 medjool dates pitted and soaked overnight

2 Tbsp coconut cream

1 tsp vanilla essence

1/8 tsp turmeric powder

1 Tbsp cinnamon powder (plus a stick for garnish optional)

1/2 tsp nutmeg powder (plus fresh grated for garnish optional)

4 Tbsp liqueur (optional)

Directions

  1. Discard the water from the cashews and rinse.
  2. Add cashews, dates with water, coconut cream, vanilla essence, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg to your Vitamix and blend thoroughly.
  3. Add liqueur (optional) it does give it a great flavor.
  4. Pour blended mix in a glass jar and place in refrigerator overnight. (this is where added patience is needed.
  5. Next day pour yourself a delicious cup, garnish with cinnamon stick and topped with freshly grated nutmeg.

Enjoy….

Note: I use only organic products.

Avocado Pistachio Salad

Sick of your regular salad….

Sometimes eating your regular romaine lettuce salad can become uninteresting overtime, it does not matter how many other items you add to it, they all taste the same. My summer salad is a great option, however, this one gives a different taste of a salad.  This salad is made with spinach.

Did you know that spinach is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol? Spinach is high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. In other words, spinach is loaded with good nutrients for your entire body. Organic or homegrown spinach is the best!

Ingredients

6 cups spinach

6 grape tomatoes cut in half

3 Tbsp pistachios

1/2  Hass avocado diced

1 tsp olive oil

1/2- 1tsp  tsp lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Add your spinach to the plate topped with diced tomatoes and avocados. Drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. To finish add your pistachios.

Viola your salad is served.  As an added protein you can include 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans. For non-vegans; vegetarians broiled salmon, and for meat eaters grilled chicken breast.

Enjoy xoxox

Vegan Brownies

Let’s take a look at how I put this all together….

These are the best brownies, I have made. Well, I take that back. I made one couple months ago, however, I did not take any measurements so this is the closest to it. This is pretty good and I am proud to say these are dairy, gluten, and sugar-free. I know you will love it as much as I do. I am not a huge chocolate fan but the chocolate is not too strong so it does not overpower it, reminds me of a chocolate cake :-).

You asked what is the secret ingredient…. yep… you got it black beans. I must add that my daughter does not like beans, black, red, green none at all, but will eat this brownie with no problem.  So, happy teenager = happy mom! 😉

Ingredients

1 can (15 oz can) black beans (drained and rinsed well, you can certainly use fresh beans which would be 1 1/2 cups, but why cook your own beans when you can just open a can. just saying… )

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup oats

2 flax eggs

1/2 – 1/3 cup  sorghum flour

1/4 tsp Himalayan salt

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare your baking dish. I prefer to do individual sizes but this will work fine in an 8 x8 baking dish.
  2. Combine all ingredients (except) chocolate chips in the food processor and blend until completely smooth.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips then add it to your baking dish you can top with additional chocolate chips.
  4. Cook for about 15- 20 minutes. Makes 6 brownies.

Note: The amount of sorghum flour is to your discretion, my sweet girl prefers them as a cake-like texture so I do add the entire half cup however if you like them soft you an even omit it. The flax eggs can be left out but by adding the flax seeds increases the nutritional value. I double the recipe, so I got 12 bite sizes.