Jerk Chicken Wrap For One

Recipe yields one wrap. To serve two, double each amount per ingredients.

Ingredients:

For Wrap

  • 1 Agave tortilla
  • 4 oz. pre-cooked Jerk seasoned chicken
  • 2 leaves of lettuce
  • 3 sliced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp fruit salsa

For Fruit Salsa

  • 1 small pineapple diced
  • 1 small star fruit diced
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp chopped cilantro

Instructions:
1. Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl and let sit. If needed, it can refrigerate for up to 2 days.
2. Place lettuce on wrap followed by sliced tomato, salsa & chicken.
3. Roll up and cut in half or to desired size.

Makes 1 Wrap/Sandwich

Courtesy of Chef James Harris of Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City

Chocolate Peanut Butter Tarts

Ingredients:

Base

  • 2 cups (8 oz.) pecan halves
  • 1 Tbsp packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp butter at room temperature

Peanut butter filling

  • ½ stick butter, softened
  • ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar

Mousse topping

  • 1 cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp packed soft brown sugar
  • 1 cup (6 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Chop nuts, sugar and cinnamon in processor until nuts are finely ground. Add butter and blend until well combined.

3. Press nut mix into bottom and up sides of 9” pie plate or springform pan. Bake for 15-20  minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool.

4. In a bowl with an electric mixer or in a food processor, mix peanut butter, butter and vanilla essence.

5. Mix in powdered sugar until well blended. Add milk, if necessary, to make it more spreadable.

6. Spread into cooled nut crust.

7. Heat cream, sugar and vanilla in sauce pan or microwave until nearly boiling.

8. Add chocolate, leave for a few minutes and then stir until totally smooth. Let cool.

9. Pour 2/3 of chocolate mix over peanut butter layer and leave in fridge to chill and set.  The mix will not harden like a bar of chocolate, but will be firm enough to cut.

10. Once the remaining sauce has cooled (at least 1 hour in fridge, quicker in freezer; don’t attempt to whisk if it is not cold), whisk with an electric mixer until thickened like whipped cream. This will happen very quickly.

11. Pipe the stiffened chocolate mix around the edge of the pie and serve.

For presentation, reserve 2 Tbsp of the peanut butter mix. Add some milk to make it thinner and pour into a snack size Ziploc bag. Snip a corner off the bag and pipe a continuous circle of peanut butter mix radiating out from the center of the dish. Take a toothpick, knife or skewer and gently drag the tip through circle from outside to the center to form a pattern. Refrigerate to set.

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bake

I have been wanting to try a pasta dish with a red pepper sauce for a while and I recently came up with the idea for this one.  It’s a little different than the usual tomato or cheese based sauces you see, and lends itself nicely to a baked pasta dish.  The sweetness of the red peppers pairs so nicely with the tangy notes of the ricotta, creating a wonderful mix of flavors in each bite.

It may seem like a lot of ingredients and too many steps to make this dish, but the two sauces come together quickly in your blender or food processor, and it’s just a simple rinse in between blending them.  Boil the pasta, saute some onion, thaw and squeeze-dry some spinach and it can all quickly be tossed together and poured into a casserole dish.  Top with some mozzarella cheese and you’re good to go!  The sauces can even be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a couple days.  So this can be a fairly quick mid-week meal that is satisfying and filling, and will most likely yield leftovers.

This recipe is vegan and hearty, and delicious as is, but can also be adjusted to fit within your family’s own tastes and dietary needs.  Even if you don’t follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, I think you should give this recipe a go as it is written here.  You may just be pleasantly surprised at how much you love it.

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bake 3

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bake

Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 6 – 8

Ingredients:
1 box spiral pasta, cooked to package directions
1 – 2 cups frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 yellow onion, chopped and sauteed
Almond ricotta cheese (recipe below)
Roasted red pepper sauce (recipe below)
2 cups shredded non-dairy mozzarella cheese
Parsley flakes for garnish

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the pasta, spinach, onion, ricotta cheese, and red pepper sauce.

Place this mixture into your casserole dish (deep round or oval casserole dish, or 9 x 13 rectangular casserole dish).

Cover the top with the shredded cheese and sprinkle with the parsley.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and allow to cook an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese is melty and browning beautifully.

Serve with your favorite crusty bread and enjoy!

For the Almond Ricotta Cheese:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups almond flour or almond meal
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Simply place everything in a blender and blitz until super creamy and smooth.  Stop and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula if needed.

For the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
(credit for this sauce goes to a member of the facebook group What Fat Vegans Eat)

Ingredients:
1.5 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked in water for at least 4 hours and drained
1 roasted red pepper jarred in oil (or to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 red onion
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional) – see note below
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions:
Place all in a high-speed blender or food processor, and process until silky smooth.

*Note:  Nutritional yeast is NOT regular active yeast.  It is deactivated yeast that adds a nutty/cheesy flavor to vegan dishes.  It can usually be found at health food/organic food stores or online.  It is not essential in this dish and can be omitted.

Greek-Style Gluten Free Pasta Salad

Greek-Style Gluten-Free Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free penne, ziti or rotini
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. of the green of green onions, washed and scissored thin
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped, fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh dill
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or lemon flavor
  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 6-8 oz. can artichoke hearts in brine, drained, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. black olives, drained, rinsed and sliced (optional)
  • ½ lb. grape tomatoes, washed, dried and quartered, or 4 large Campari tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, peeled, deseeded and cut into ¼” to ½” dices
  • 2 Tbsp. gluten-free finely chopped dill pickle
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into small dice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package instructions. Drain and rinse in cold water to stop cooking and chill pasta.
  2. Place zest of lemon, salt, pepper in mixing jug. Add yogurts and whisk or use immersion blender to form an emulsion.
  3. Add mint, parsley, dill and green onion to jug and mix.
  4. Place pasta in large bowl. Stir in vinaigrette.
  5. Add artichoke hearts, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, pickle and red bell pepper.
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning. (Chill before serving, but it is better at room temperature.)
  7. Sprinkle with Feta cheese upon serving (optional).

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Barbecue Jackfruit Sandwiches

I had been wanting to try a recipe for jackfruit barbecue for a while now, so when I visited my local Asian market and saw they had the canned jackfruit, I decided now was the time to give it a go.  There are many, many recipes for jackfruit barbecue out there, but I decided to go with this one from More Vegan Blog and it did not disappoint.  It does have a few steps but they aren’t difficult at all.  It just takes a little time to gather your ingredients, measure, and prep.  I promise you it is worth it.

This recipe calls for 3 cans of jackfruit in brine or water, but I only used two and it made enough for three people to eat their fill and still have enough for three more sandwiches the next day.  It will keep in the fridge for several days, so if you would like to have more leftovers or are feeding a larger group of people, you may want to go ahead and use the three cans.  I didn’t adjust any of the other ingredients and it still came out absolutely delicious.  I think if I were to make three cans I may even increase the amount of barbecue sauce as I prefer my barbecue to be a bit wet and this was perfect with just the two cans.  It may mean that it would be a bit drier if I had used three cans, so just use your own judgment to adjust it for your own taste.

aroy-d-young-green-jackfruit-in-brine

These 20 oz. cans of jackfruit were only $2.59 at my local Asian market and the rest of the ingredients are common pantry staples, so this recipe does not cost a lot to make and goes a long way.  Be sure to get the young or green jackfruit in brine or water and not the ripe jackfruit in syrup.  If you cannot find jackfruit locally, you can order it online through a number of sources but be sure to check out your local Asian markets first as they are likely to carry it.  And if they don’t have it, they can probably tell you where you can find it .

The jackfruit has this amazing combination of texture where the core is more solid and the edges are striated like gills so they shred or pull apart perfectly while you still get the meaty chunks from the core.  You may have to sort of squeeze through the pieces of jackfruit a bit to pop out the seeds, but it’s not necessary as they are edible.  It may change the texture of the pulled jackfruit a bit if you leave them in, but it will still taste amazing.  That is up to personal preference but I went ahead and removed as many as I could.  I mean, just look at this meaty pile of awesomeness!  Enjoy!

Jackfruit BBQ 2

Barbecue Pulled Jackfruit (canned)
Prep Time:  10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time:  55 mins
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
3-20 oz. cans jackfruit in water or brine
1 tsp. olive oil
½ onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. paprika
1½ tsp. liquid smoke
1 cup vegetable broth
½ cup vegan and/or gluten-free BBQ sauce (your favorite store bought or homemade kind)
Buns for pulled pork sandwiches (for gluten-free use either GF hamburger buns or bread)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain and rinse the jackfruit, squeeze and separate the “gills” of the jackfruit.  As you do this, remove the seeds.
  3. Saute the onion in olive oil over medium heat for about 7 minutes or until translucent, then add the garlic and saute a minute or so longer.
  4. Add the jackfruit, sugar, spices, and liquid smoke. Stir until the jackfruit is evenly covered.
  5. Add the vegetable broth, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
  6. Use a spatula or two forks to mash and divide the jackfruit until it looks similar in appearance to pulled pork.
  7. Spread the jackfruit out on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and cover with bbq sauce.
  9. Return the jackfruit to the oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the jackfruit is lightly browned.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

Taco Pasta Salad

taco-pasta-salad

I came up with this recipe because I love pasta salads in the summer, and I love Southwestern flavors.  So I decided to put the two together and it was an instant hit with my family.  This recipe is very easy to customize to your own tastes and diet restrictions.  You can use gluten-free pasta; Vegan mayo, sour cream, and cheese; you can use fresh ingredients instead of the frozen corn and black bean mix; and you can adjust the heat level to suit your own taste by using either hot or mild salsa, or by adding jalapenos or other spicy chile peppers.  I went with what I had on hand and you can, too.  I suggest adding the sauce mix to the pasta a little at a time and stirring it together so that you get it just as creamy as you like.  You can always add more if you like.   This is sure to be a fast favorite in your family!  It was in mine.

Taco Pasta Salad
Serves 8

Ingredients

1 box pasta (spiral, bowtie, etc.)*
1 pkg. frozen black bean, corn, onion, pepper mix; thawed
1 can whole black olives, halved or sliced black olives
1 pkg grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup mayonnaise**
1/2 cup sour cream**
1/3 cup salsa*
1/2 envelope taco seasoning, or to taste*
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro (optional)

Directions

1. Boil pasta in salted water to al dente (you don’t want mushy pasta salad). Drain and rinse under cold water.

2. In a large bowl, add pasta, black bean and corn mix, black olives, and tomatoes; toss.

3. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sour cream, salsa, taco seasoning, and cilantro. Pour over pasta and stir to combine.

4. May be served immediately or after chilling in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Can be topped with shredded cheese**, sliced jalapenos, avocado, shredded lettuce, crushed tortilla chips, etc.

*This salad can be gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta, taco seasoning and salsa. 

**This salad can easily be made Vegan by using Vegan mayonnaise, sour cream and shredded cheese.

Berry Flan

Ingredients:

Crust:
– 2 cups hazelnuts ground finely
– 2 tablespoons honey*
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Blend hazelnuts, honey and lemon juice and press into flan tin (or pie plate) and refrigerate.

Filling:
– 8 oz strawberries
– 8 oz raspberries
– A sprinkle of cinnamon or fresh ground allspice to taste.
– Sprig of mint

Reserve a few berries for decoration, then puree the remainder of the berries in the blender or food processor.

Add spice to taste

Spoon into flan (or pie plate), decorate with reserved berries and mint sprig, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

*For a Vegan version, replace honey with agave or maple syrup.