Chicken Noodle Casserole

 

Chicken Noodle Casserole 2

Chicken Noodle Casserole
Serves: 6 to 8 Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes Bake Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 pkg egg noodles, cooked according to instructions
3 frozen chicken cutlets
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 small pkg mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 – 2 cups frozen peas
1 – 2 cups vegetable broth
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp parsley
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Cook egg noodles according to package directions and drain. In a large casserole dish, combine noodles with cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, and one cup of vegetable broth.

3. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken cutlets, salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through and lightly browned. Remove from skillet and set aside.

4. Add about 1/4 cup vegetable broth to skillet and deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom of the skillet with a rubber spatula. Pour pan drippings over noodle mixture and stir to combine.

5. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to skillet, add onions and a little salt, cooking until just tender. Add mushrooms, peas, garlic powder, pepper and parsley, and cook until mushrooms are tender. Pour vegetable mixture onto the noodle mixture and combine.

6. Dice or shred the chicken cutlets and add to the noodle mixture, stirring to combine. Add additional broth as needed to moisten.

7. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

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Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese

Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese 2

During the colder Winter months, I tend to crave warm comfort foods, which for me is a list which includes things like vegetable stew, cinnamon oatmeal, warm nachos, and mac & cheese.  I decided to combine a couple of these favorites into one dish, and it’s a new favorite!  My entire family loved it, and I’m sure yours will, too.

I wanted to make a casserole dish which combined nachos and mac & cheese, so I got some simple ingredients together and gave it a try.  I have to say, I will definitely be making this one again in the near future.  I wish I had more shredded to cheese to use in the topping, but it was delicious even with the little I had.  I have increased the amount here in the recipe, but you can add it to your liking.  I didn’t want to completely cover the tortilla strips, so that they would remain crunchy and that worked perfectly.  If you add more cheese it may affect how crunchy they stay.

This recipe is very simple and comes together quickly, so you can throw it together on a week night after work.  From start to finish this dish took me about an hour until it was on the table.  I hope you’ll give it a try with your family, and feel free to add your favorite nacho toppings to the dish.  I served it simply with sour cream, but it would be delicious with some shredded lettuce, diced tomato, and raw onion as well.  You can also add a layer of beans if you like.  Just experiment with it and make it your own.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.

Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese 1

Baked Nacho Mac & Cheese

Serves: 8 – 10

Ingredients:
1 pkg meatless crumbles (I used Simple Truth brand)
2 pkgs taco seasoning or sauce (I used this brand)
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 box elbow macaroni
1 can or jar of your favorite nacho cheese sauce
1/4 to 1/2 cup dairy milk or non-dairy milk
1 pkg tortilla strips or about 1 cup crumbled tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can sliced black olives
1 small can sliced jalapenos (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cook box of macaroni according to package directions .

3. While your water is coming to a boil for your pasta, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and cook until tender and translucent.

4. To the skillet, add meatless crumbles, diced tomatoes and taco sauce (if using powdered taco seasoning, also add about 1/4 cup water). Cook until heated through; remove from heat.

5. When pasta is done boiling, drain and place in a 13 x 9 casserole dish. Add the can or jar of nacho cheese sauce and milk (as needed to thin); stir until evenly coated. Spread an even layer of macaroni across the bottom of the dish.

6. Top macaroni with your meatless taco mixture and spread evenly. Do not mix with the macaroni, just spread it across the top.

7. Add an even layer of tortilla strips/chips to the top of the casserole. Spread shredded cheese evenly over the strips/chips. Top with olives and jalapenos (if using).

8. Bake in oven, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown (be careful not to burn the chip layer).

9. Serve with sour cream and any of your other favorite nacho toppings. Enjoy!

Avocado Pasta Salad

Avocado Pasta Salad 1

I came across a post the other day for this Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing from Simply Scratch and knew I had to make this as soon as possible!  Not only would this be delicious on a salad with some ice-cold, crisp romaine lettuce, but I thought it would taste great in a pasta salad, too.  So I started thinking about the half box of Ditalini pasta I had left from making the Peas and Pasta recipe and just started putting the pasta salad together in my head.  I wrote down my list of ingredients and headed out to the grocery store to pick up the few items I didn’t have on hand.

This Avocado dressing comes together very quickly (I used my NutriBullet to blend it) and can be adjusted for your personal taste and consistency.  I simply boiled the rest of the pasta and drained it, then tossed it in a large bowl with my other ingredients, topped it with the dressing and stirred until everything was nicely coated.  I topped it off with a few turns of the pepper mill and it was ready to serve.  (I ate it right away and it was delicious, but of course you can place it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours if you prefer it to be nicely chilled).

You can alter this salad to include any ingredients you like, it’s very versatile.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  I hope you’ll give a try at your next Summer gathering.  And then stop back by and let me know how you liked it.

Avocado Pasta Salad 2

Avocado Pasta Salad
Serves: 8 – 10
Prep Time: 20 -30 minutes
Chill Time: 2 hours (optional)

For The Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing
Ingredients
1 avocado
1 clove garlic
1/2 Tablespoon fresh lime or lemon juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
water

Directions
1.  In a mini food processor add the peeled clove of garlic, avocado, lime or lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

2.  Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides a few times. Thin the salad dressing out with a little bit of water until it reaches a desired consistency.

For The Pasta Salad
Ingredients
1/2 box small pasta such as Ditalini, Elbow, or Bowtie (can use Gluten free pasta) cooked to package directions
1 – 2 avocados, diced
2 ears of sweet corn, cut off the cob or 1 cup of frozen corn, thawed
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 container grape tomatoes, sliced
2 small cans sliced black olives
1 batch of Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing (see above)

Directions
1.  Place everything in a large bowl and stir to combine. Top with a few turns of the black pepper mill.

2.  Let chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Serve and enjoy.

Can be served alone or on a bed of crisp romaine lettuce.

Peas and Pasta

One of the things I enjoy about eating a Vegan diet is taking ordinary non-Vegan recipes and adapting them so they are Vegan.  I receive emails and subscribe to newsletters from some online recipe sites that are not Vegan-specific sites because I can still find truly delicious looking meals that just need a few tweaks.  And I’m always up for the challenge.  So when I saw this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens, I knew it was one I had to make!

I love peas!  And I also love pasta.  So this one was right up my alley.  It’s easy to make, comes together quickly, can be served either hot or cold, and tastes divine.  You probably have most of the ingredients on-hand already, and the few that you don’t aren’t going to break the bank or have you running all over town to find them.  Simple, easy, perfect.

The sauce is made with peas, combined with shallot, milk and a few spices, and it transforms into this luscious, creamy sauce bursting with pea flavor that clings to each little noodle.  Each bite is a mouthful of pea heaven!  So I hope you will give this one a try, and that you love it as much as I do.

Pasta and Peas 2

Peas and Pasta

Makes: 4 servings
Serving Size: 2/3 to 1 cup macaroni
Yields: 4 cups
Start to Finish: 30 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup dried ditalini pasta (can use gluten free pasta)
2 cups shelled peas (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 2 tsp dried basil)
1 shallot, peeled and quarted
1/4 cup finely shredded Vegan parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon oil (I used Magic Vegan Bacon Grease – found here)
1/4 cup Vegan milk/cream (I used regular, unsweetened, unflavored soy creamer)

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding 1 cup peas the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1 cup pasta water. Drain pasta mixture; return to pan.

2. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor (I used my Magic Bullet), combine the remaining peas*, the basil, shallot, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese, the salt, and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Cover and blend or process until nearly smooth. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add milk/cream to skillet; bring to boiling. Boil gently, uncovered, for 1 minute. Add pasta mixture, blended pea mixture, and the remaining 1/2 cup pasta water to skillet. Toss gently until heated through. Serve topped with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Notes
* If using fresh peas, blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes before processing.

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

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.