I have started tracking my meals & activity on MyFitnessPal.com & with my FitBit Tracker. One of the things I need to do to track my meals is to create recipes that reflect the correct calories, protein, sodium, etc. You just input the ingredients on My Fitness Pal & tell it how many servings, the site figures out the rest.
Last night I made my super easy Spicy Spaghetti with TVP. It is my go to meal when I don’t have a lot of time (or am feeling lazy. I’m entering the recipe on MFP anyway, so I thought why not share it here as well!
1 Can Diced Tomatos (15 oz, I use Basil, Garlic & Oregano)
2 Cans Tomato Sauce (15 oz)
1 Cup Dry TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein)
1 Tbsp Garlic powder
1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Box Thin Spaghetti (Made With 100% Semolina)
Put Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, TVP, Garlic Powder & Cayenne Pepper in a skillet, stir together & cover. Cook at medium heat while preparing pasta.
Cook pasta as directed.
Some time back, me & the bf went over to a friends place for movie night. He, knowing that we are vegan, had purchased some snacks that he thought we could eat. He, not being vegan, didn’t know about all of the mystery ingredients that come from animals that many manufacturers feel the need to put in their products. Milk, whey, casein… and the ever mysterious “natural flavors.” This is when I discovered that microwave popcorn is not usually so vegan-friendly.
The following day, I decided to go to the grocery store and take a look for myself. I couldn’t find one brand/variety that was definitively vegan. So I went home and did some Internet research. I found lots & lots of recipes for DIY microwave popcorn, including the paper bag method which I have adopted as my go-to method since.
- Take a quarter cup of popcorn kernels & place them in a paper lunch bag
- Fold over the top a few times securely & place in the microwave on its side
- Set the timer for 2 minutes (like any microwave popcorn, you need to listen for the pops to slow… indicating doneness)
- Eat as is or mist with olive oil & sprinkle with salt (I like to grind my salt in a coffee bean grider to make it into a really fine dust.) Shake the bag to coat all popcorn & eat!
I haven’t found the right way to apply a buttery substance (Earth Balance, or my preference: Smart Balance w/ Flax), because it always makes the popcorn mushy & damp… yuck! I have however experimented with other spices instead of, or in addition to, salt. My favorites: Old Bay or Cayenne Pepper… yum!
Recently, the bf went on a trip for work. When he travels, he is always looking for quick meals & snacks that he can make in the hotel room, since usually he only has access to a fridge & microwave. On this last trip he found Pop Secret Sea Salt. It’s only ingredients are: Whole Grain Popcorn, Palm Oil, Sea Salt & TBHQ (I love short lists of ingredients!) Now, the paper bag method is certainly healthier, as TBHQ (while vegan) is not the best thing to put in your body… but if you are not in the mood to pick up paper bags, popcorn kernals, salt & spices and assemble them yourself, this is the next best thing. Enjoy!
I have tried nearly every veggie burger on the market, and even made my own from scratch. By far, my favorite is the Gardein Beefless Burger. To me it has the best flavor, and it tastes like a burger, not a grain patty. Don’t get me wrong, I eat a lot of grains, black beans, etc. … but I prefer them in other than patty form.
I never realized how delicious a frozen veggie burger could be though, until I visited Founding Farmers on a recent road trip to DC. They have an entirely vegan menu created in Partnership with VegDC.com and Compassion Over Killing. It consists of mostly Gardein products, which I was a little disappointed with before going there. After all, I make Gardein meals all the time at home, so why would I want to pay $8 for a Gardein burger that someone else made? …because it’s amazingly delicious… that’s why! Ever since my visit to Founding Farmers, I have been experimenting with my homemade Gardein burger…was it the way they carmelize their onions? The homemade agave mustard? The fresh rye they put it on? What is the FF Secret?
Well, last night I got closer to perfection… or perhaps I achieved perfection, but of a different flavor. Here’s what I did:
+ Ketchup, Mustard, Lettuce Leaves & Slices of Tomato to top burger
- Roast your chile pepper in the oven. I use this method: How To Roast Chiles
- While the chile sweats in the plastic bag, heat the olive oil in a large pan & begin to grill the onions.
- As the onions begin to brown, coat both sides of each burger with A.1. Sauce & place in pan.
- Cook burgers on each side for 4 minutes.
- After burgers have been cooking for about 6 minutes, butter buns & place butter side down on the hot pan (you can use a seperate pan, if desired.)
- Peel your chile, slice in half longways & remove seeds.
- Flip burger one last time, and place cheese on top.
- Pile the onions on top of the cheese.
- Remove the buns from the pan & put mustard &/or ketchup (I like both) on each side.
- Layer the ther ingredients on the bottom bun in the following order: chile (folded), burger with cheese & onions on top, tomato slices, lettuce & top bun.
Yield: 2 servings.
Cooking the buns this way makes them warm & almost fluffy. I used to heat them in the oven, but that just makes them dry. The chile adds a whole new dimension of flavor & texture that is wonderful! I always use the A.1. sauce… the bold & spicy gives the burger a little kink, but doesn’t burn your mouth. The burger looked so good that I didn’t even think to take a photo, but I will certainly be making these again & will add a photo then. ENJOY!
*Gardein (& the other brands mentioned here) did not pay me to write this. These are the brands I, after trial & error, have found to be my favorites & it was just SUCH an amazing burger that I had to tell someone!