Friday, November 17, 2017

Salad Without Lettuce

We like to have a salad with our dinner, and usually it's just lettuce and tomatoes as a base, with whatever else we feel like adding, topped with a favorite Ken's Steakhouse salad dressing. However, today we're out of lettuce. A quick Google search found this recipe which will be the perfect accompaniment for our version of Chilighetti.

Corn, Avocado and Tomato Salad
(adapted by me)

1 can corn (17 oz), drained
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients together. Chill a bit before serving.

This was really quite good. We decided the addition of black olives could make it even better, and also that it would be good as a dip/salsa with tortilla chips.

Note: According to what I read, this would probably taste better with fresh ingredients - parsley and lime juice, cherry tomatoes, and corn - especially if it was grilled or roasted. However, I needed a quick recipe using what was already in the kitchen. There just happened to be a ripe avocado in the fridge; lucky us!

Thursday, November 16, 2017


We had some leftover cooked spaghetti, but no spaghetti sauce, and also some enchilada sauce (from here) and as I pondered what to fix for dinner, I was reminded of Chilighetti. It's been years since we've had that so it sounded like the perfect solution.

Today's version will never be duplicated*, but here's another recipe to try next time I feel like having it. This idea of chili on spaghetti is also known as Cincinnati Chili; see here for a history of that dish. Note that when I described what we were having for dinner, there was some skepticism as to how good it would be, which was afterwards proved to be unfounded. So, don't let the "weirdness" of the dish deter you from trying it yourself!

* It included about 1/2 cup leftover marinara sauce and 1/4 cup crumbled sausage from our Pizza Zucchini Boats and about 1 1/2 cups leftover enchilada sauce and 1/4 cup meat from our Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, along with a can of kidney beans and the pasta leftover from the spaghetti we had last week.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Pizza Zucchini Boats

Here's another version of stuffed zucchini. (The one we tried earlier this year can be found here.) The inspiration for this version came from here. I didn't try parboiling the zucchini and it was still nice and tender. It's good to know I can skip that step in the future if I want.

Once again, this recipe is really just a process. Slice the zucchini in half and scoop out the center. Then chop the "insides" and cook in some oil with a bit of onion. Feel free to add mushrooms or peppers or whatever you desire. This was not a vegetarian recipe, so I also added some sausage. Stir in some marinara sauce and spoon the filling onto the zucchini. Top with Mozarella cheese (omit if eating dairy-free) and pepperoni slices. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Focaccia was the perfect accompaniment. And we had Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars for dessert.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Enchiladas and Sweet Potatoes?

One dairy-free dish Alicia likes is Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes; Wayne wasn't sure he'd like that combination. So, we adapted this recipe for our family, and it turned out well. First off, Wayne had his enchilada toppings on a tortilla and ate his sweet potato plain (with butter). I tried the toppings on my sweet potato and they were just fine, although I think I'd prefer the tortilla in the future as well. It's a good thing we don't have to deal with a gluten free diet.

Without Cheese

Danielle's dairy-free sour cream looked quite intriguing and I was interested in trying it. I guess it would never take the place of authentic sour cream, but it was a cool sauce and it won't be difficult to use it up. (Now, how can I use up that jar of nutritional yeast I just bought for this recipe?) I also compared my regular enchilada sauce with the recommended one, and Wayne called my adapted creation a mole sauce. In case you want to recreate our meal, here's the recipe.

With Cheese

Enchilada Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 sweet potatoes, baked
enchilada sauce (see below)
sour cream (see below)
black olives, sliced
avocado, diced
cheddar cheese, grated (omit for dairy-free)

Brown ground beef with onion, garlic and jalapeno. Season to taste. Spoon over baked sweet potatoes and top with desired toppings.

Dairy-Free Sour Cream

1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours, then drained
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Combine all ingredients in food processer (don't forget to soak the cashews first) and blend until smooth (or at least as smooth as you can get it). Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Enchilada Mole Sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups chicken broth
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

Combine dry ingredients in saucepan. Stir in chicken broth and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15-30 minutes.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Szechwan Shrimp

We've had this recipe before and liked it. I figured it was time to have it again, but we ate it all up before I could take a picture. That means it's still a delicious recipe. (This is my adaptation of the recipe in the Better Homes and Gardens New Dieter's Cookbook.)

Szechwan Shrimp

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoos soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pound shrimp, peeled (okay if already cooked)
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup sliced green onions

Combine first seven ingredients for the sauce and set aside. Heat the peanut oil in a skillet. Saute the shrimp if not already cooked, along with the garlic, ginger and green onions. Stir in the sauce and bring to a boil to thicken. If using pre-cooked shrimp, add and heat through.

Serve over cooked rice or rice noodles, with sugar snap peas on the side.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Third Drink

We'll need to get a couple of collins glasses for this recipe. I just learned that a collins glass is a tall skinny tumbler that holds about 12 ounces. Did you know that?


2 tablespoons passion fruit juice
2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
2 tablespoons white grape juice (instead of rum)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla (instead of bourbon)

Shake ingredients and serve in a collins glass over ice. Garnish with mint leaves.

The cast of characters

Wayne: "This is a loser!" The grapefruit juice was pretty overpowering, which meant this was a sour drink. Not our favorite, but I didn't mind it.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Non-Dairy Desserts

For the next couple of months we'll be trying to cook without using milk and dairy products. It might be a challenge, but we're looking forwad to that. In case we need to do it again, I figured I'd try to record what worked and what didn't.

Pumpkin Cake - This recipe was called Harvest Pumpkin Brownies, but it's really more of a cake. I did make an optional cream cheese frosting, but this was still delicious with only a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Pumpkin Wacky Cake - This recipe, which has been in our repertoire for decades, is quite similar to the above recipe. We like it with chocolate chips, but in order to be truly non-dairy, it's best to omit those.

Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies - We wanted to make brownies without using butter, and found a recipe here. Since it looks pretty similar to one I use regularly, just substituting coconut oil for butter, I'm confident we'll like them.

Best Brownies - I was reminded that we have a recipe for brownies that uses shortening and not butter. We tried it again and still like it.

Italian Ice - Since we're having spaghetti for dinner, I searched "Italian desserts" for ideas and came across this recipe. Basically puree strawberries with a bit of sugar, honey and lemon juice and a bunch of ice. Freeze, stir, freeze and serve. Sounds not only delicious but healthy as well!

Funfetti Mug Cake - I made these in custard ramekins and used Halloween sprinkles since that holiday is just a couple of days away. (Note to self: black sprinkles don't look very funfetti-like.) I made one with almond milk and three with dairy milk; see if you can tell which is which!

Chocolate Banana Pudding - This recipe is simply bananas mixed with a bit of cocoa powder, coconut butter and non-dairy milk. Next time we have some soft bananas, we'll have to try it.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pudding - We did try this recipe and it was scrumptious! Combine some cornstarch, sugar and cocoa powder - a regular cooked pudding recipe - and then use chocolate almond milk instead of regular milk. After it's come to a boil and thickened, stir in some peanut butter, which apparently is the secret ingredient to make it super creamy. You can find the recipe here.

Banana Snack Bars
- Since chocolate chips apparently do have some dairy in them, we only sprinkled them on part of the pan. Which side do you think I preferred? I'm grateful I don't have a dairy allergy!

German Chocolate Snack Cake - I adapted this recipe to make something quick and easy. First I halved the cake itself (using water instead of coffee) and baked it in an 8x8 square pan. I didn't feel like making the frosting (which had a bunch of cream and sugar) so just sprinkled coconut and pecans (and a few chocolate chips) on top of the batter before baking. The cake itself was nice and light; I really liked it and look forward to having it again, with or without the topping!