E2: Chalupas

The name chalupa scares me, because all I think of are creepy tacos from Taco Bell, and a small dog insisting that I try them. Anyone else remember that? I’m terrified of Taco Bell because of both their mystery ingredients, and the way their food makes me feel after I eat it. UGGGGH.

But the Chalupa recipe from the Engine 2 Diet was undeniably amazing. Really. Of course I made a few changes to it (easy, easy changes). But I can’t express the joy this dinner brought to me. One bite of it was like being a kid again, at some favorite mexican restaurant with my family, eating something simple that a child would love: tortillas, refried beans and lettuce. See? Completely simple and easy.

So, to review the changes (or “upgrades” as I like to think of them) to this recipe:

  • Use two corn tortillas (I got a 12 pack from Trader Joe’s that were great) and sprinkle a tablespoon of cheddar daiya cheese in between. Then, broil following the steps in the book.
  • Salsa isn’t necessary. At all. I just topped ours with some additional green onion, lime juice and Tapatio. That’s all you need.

See? I’m pretty sure I actually made this easier than the original recipe, since you don’t have to go to all the trouble of making fresh salsa, or destroying this with jar salsa (ugh!). Also, I know this was a total success because my husband did not suggest that I put green chilies on it, and he wants green chilies on EVERYTHING.

E2 Week: Sweet Potato Bowl

You have to admit, even if this recipe from the Engine 2 Diet didn’t taste good, it looks beautiful. Also, I got to eat an entire half of an avocado! I haven’t had that much avocado in one sitting in ages…so good. I partially decided to make this because it sounded so strange. Mango? Sweet potato? Balsamic Vinegar? Lime juice? Cilantro? It was a weird mishmash of different textures and tastes–mostly sweet and sour–that ended up working really well together. The only problem–too much cilantro. Normally I love the stuff, but it fought with the other flavors. Still–for a dish with no seasoning–this was amazingly flavorful. I’d for sure make it again, but I’d cut back on the pepper (so much bell pepper!) and, of course, the cilantro. Nice job, E2!

 

Southwest Pizza

After long debates with myself about calling this “Mexi-corn Pizza” I decided that was a) too racist, and b) too…corny to be posted on the blog. So, Southwest Pizza it is! Which is really more honest, anyway, since this doesn’t exactly resemble Mexican food in any fundamental way. Except for the cilantro and corn. And avocado.

This was one of those meals where I thought, “vegans get to eat this? And it’s healthy?” but it totally is. It’s weird when something feels sinfully good, but is also incredibly good for you. I suppose that’s what veganism is all about.

Southwest Pizza (makes 1 large pizza):

  • 1/2 recipe of pizza dough from Vegan with a Vengeance, or any kind of premade or other recipe dough you like.
  • 1 jar salsa (use as much as you like. I’d recommend getting something that seems saucy, as opposed to fresh salsa. I like Trader Joe’s.)
  • 1 small summer squash, sliced VERY thin
  • 6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 of a small onion, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 package of Trader Joe’s fake ground beef (it’s awesome) or any brand you like. You need about 1/2 cup of total fake meat.
  • 1/3 cup daiya pepperjack flavor (you can omit this, but it is delicious!)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • cilantro for garnish. And flavor!
  • hot sauce (I recommend Tapatio for this)

Now, roll out your dough. Have I given instructions about how to make pizza before? Yes! The real difference between this pizza and the link is that you order the toppings different: salsa, onions, garlic, squash, corn, then beef. Bake until the squash is done, being careful not to overcook the crust (so if you need to turn down the temp a little, that’s fine). Add the daiya, and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes, until it’s nice and melted. Let the pizza cool and add the cilantro, avocado, and hot sauce.

Other toppings that would taste great: black olives, green onions (sprinkled on with the cilantro), green peppers, and diced green chilies.

My husband gave this pizza a rating of: “It made both my stomach and mouth happy.” Good enough for me!

 

Chilaquiles…what?

I had no idea what chilaquiles were until I made this. And I thought I knew a lot about Mexican food! Guess not.

These are the Tofu Chilaquiles from Happy Herbivore. I gotta say, it tasted a lot like a tofu scramble, but with a little flair thrown in. I’m not sure I loved it as a dinner, but as an enchilada filling or a breakfast burrito (with some roasted potato) this would be divine. And look at the tomatoes! God bless my friends out in the country. I couldn’t grow a decent tomato here if my life depended on it. And trust me, I’ve tried.

 

Baked Chimichangas!

Mmm…mmm…chimichangas! It’s fun to say. And fun to eat!

I love me some baked burrito. I love how it makes the outside all crispy, the bottom all mushy, and you can eat it with a fork! And a knife! And put pretty three colored sauces on top! I filled this one with brown rice, black beans, anasazi beans, tomatillo salsa and vegan chorizo. That recipe is so awesome, and makes TONS. I don’t even know what to do with the rest of it! Maybe some bowls, since I’m all out of tortillas now.

The sauces on the top are a little more tomatillo salsa (just from a jar, I KNOW), some quick salsa (no onion), and some onion cashew crema that I made up myself! Actually, out of desperation, since I totally messed up the cashew sour cream recipe from Vegan Brunch. Oops!

Onion Cashew Crema:

  • 1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked for an hour at least
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp mild vinegar
  • 1/2 of a small sweet onion
  • 2 T dehydrated onion flakes

Now, put all ingredients in a blender and whip them up! Try to get most of the bits of cashew all ground up–this isn’t easy, so give it some time. When it’s done, just pop in the fridge to cool down. Makes a ton–at least a cup. I only used about 1 T to top these burritos–er–chimis, so now I don’t know what to do with the rest of it. The cashews make it a little bit diet unfriendly, but it’s worth it. I mean, you’re probably only putting about two or three extra grams of fat on there. Don’t sweat it! You need to eat fat to live! TO LIVE.

So, yay! Thanks again for the awesome dinner, Happy Herbivore!

Anasazi Bowl!

I love Anasazi beans. I know I’ve mentioned that before, but it needs to be said again. GREATEST BEAN EVER. I also didn’t realize that you don’t need to soak them–which makes sense, because I do soak them, and they cook in half the time of normal beans. They are like pinto beans, but better, with a stronger flavor and a very tender texture. I can’t get enough of these beans! And luckily they are sold in stores where I live, but they are completely worth ordering online, just to try them. I sort of want to do a road trip out to Dove Creek, Colorado, for some bean tourism.

So this bowl features the best beans in the world, but it also has brown rice, crispy summer squash (slice thin, spray with oil, bake at 425 for 30 mins), and homemade salsa.

Do you love homemade salsa? Me, too. Here’s how I make mine:

Homemade Salsa (makes about 2 cups):

  • 4 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped in half
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro

Put all the ingredients in your food processor, and pulse it a few times. Not too much! You still want it to be a little chunky. If you don’t have a processor or blender, that’s fine, just chop everything up as small as you can, and mix it together in a bowl. It’ll taste the same, but the consistency won’t be as saucy. Don’t worry! Also, let your salsa chill out in the fridge for a while for the best flavor.

I was thinking of other items that would be good in this bowl: corn, marinated carrots & jalapeños, jicama and sweet potatoes all come to mind.  And most definitely a little avocado. We’ve had really bad luck with avocados lately, so I didn’t feel like spending $2 to see if we’d get something tasty or some gray-black mush. Ew!

I like it this way, though, with squash and beans just like the Anasazi would have eaten it! Though consuming dinner in a cliff-dwelling you carved yourself might make it taste even better.

Pasta de the place I sorta used to live near

Here’s Pasta de los Angeles, in all it’s mixed-up glory. It’s a recipe I make often from AfR, though it isn’t one of my favorites. But there’s a part of my brain that goes…mmm…hot salsa pasta? Yeah. Tomatoes, cilantro, garlic, black beans–it’s all there. But when I get done making it, I usually don’t want to eat it. Odd, right?

It’s a tasty dish, easy to make, and the spinach adds a looooot, despite the fact it seems like a strange addition. I also like to put in corn, since it gives a hint of sweetness that the original recipe is missing. And I put on lots of hot sauce. Usually Dan’s Texas Dew Drops. Of which I have a massive stash in my cupboard. I LOVE YOU, DAN!