Archive | January 2013

Cottage Cheese Pecan “Meat” Balls

My parents didn’t start out as vegetarians, but by the time my brother and I were toddlers, they had switched to a very strict, healthy diet of plant-based foods.  Truth be told, Mom said I never would eat any meat products, even as a baby.  Anytime she would try to feed me beef, chicken, hot dogs…whatever….I would spit them out.  So I guess I was “born” a vegetarian!

This dish is good several different ways when you’re looking to add a protein to your Meat-Free Monday meals.  If you are vegan, you can try substituting the cheese for tofu.  I personally have not tried to “vegan-ise” this recipe, so it would definitely be an experiment!  These meatballs are great in spaghetti sauce, bake them in a marinara or cream of mushroom soup sauce and serve as a side dish.  Or you can make “meatball” subs with them!

Here’s what you’re going to need:

Large mixing bowl, large wooden spoon, raw wheat germ, 16 oz. container of fat-free cottage cheese, pecan meal, onion, eggs, seasoned bread crumbs and a square baking dish with a lid.

Cottage Cheese Pecan Meatballs

1 cup fat-free cottage cheese (8 oz.)

1/2 cup raw wheat germ

1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs (Panko is great too)

1 cup pecan meal

3 eggs (I use 2-farm fresh eggs)

1 large onion, minced

 

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Combine all ingredients well and using a cereal tablespoon, scoop out into your hands and roll into balls.  The mixture will be thick, but very moist.

Preheat your oven to 350*F.  Spray your baking dish with non-stick spray.

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I actually doubled this batch and made bigger “meat”balls even though they’re not exactly the same size! And because onions and my hubby are not friends, I substituted 1 tsp onion powder for the chopped onions to keep the flavor.

Cover and bake for an hour or until golden brown.

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Serve and enjoy!

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Tofu Vegetable Lasagna

Many times I’ve gone through the frozen foods section at the grocery store and come home with a single serving of that wonderful brand that makes a vegetable lasagna.  Throw it in the microwave and zap it for a few and then enjoy every morsel until its gone. 

Unfortunately, lasagna can be a not-so-good food if you aren’t careful about what goes into it.  I’ve been messing around with my recipes for years tweaking here, substituting a little there, trying to make them healthier but keep all the taste  and textures that we all love.

This is my version of that frozen entrée! This is a fabulous way to get veggies in for your otherwise really picky eaters! The recipe follows at the end of this post.

In a food processor using the grate plate:

Grate 1 medium carrot, 1 zucchini

move to a bowl and set aside

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Take a whole pack of fresh organic baby spinach – like the packs you find in the salad and produce section of your store.  Sauté it with finely diced onion in a little extra virgin olive oil.

Take a block of tofu – I used organic extra firm tofu and pulsed it in the food processor with the “s” blade until it was smooth like ricotta cheese.  It gets really thick just like the real ricotta.

Transfer the spinach mixture and the tofu mixture to a bowl.  Add the grated carrots and zucchini, sea salt, onion powder, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and parsley flakes.

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Now time to layer the noodles!  You can pre-cook your noodles, but I am far too impatient for that when it comes to lasagna!  I just put enough sauce in to cook the noodles while the dish bakes.  Works good as they come out perfectly al dente.

Spray your baking dish with non-stick spray coating the bottom and sides well.  Start with a layer of noodles, then filling, shredded skim mozzarella, pour some white sauce (recipe at end of this post). Then repeat your layer until you run out of filling.  This made two layers which is perfect for us.

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Finish off the top by pouring the white sauce over the noodles covering well.  Then top with Panko bread crumbs and a little shredded skim mozzarella.

To help with potential baking overflow, I’ve place my baking dish on a cookie tray lined with foil.  This makes for easy clean up and helps keep my oven cleaner.

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Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until bubbly and the Panko has browned.  Let set for 10 min before serving!

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Tofu Vegetable Lasagna

1 block of organic tofu, drained

1 medium carrot, peeled and grated

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 small onion, finely diced

1 package baby spinach, organic preferred

1-2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp Italian herbs, dried

1 tsp dried parsley

pinch of French Grey Sea Salt

Lasagna noodles

 

Sharp Cheddar White Sauce

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1-2 tbsp of flour

Make into a roux and once the flour is well saturated with the oil

Add about 1-2 cups un-sweet nut milk or skim/low fat milk.  Make into a thick white sauce, constantly stirring with a whisk.

Add 1 cup shredded Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar and Monterrey Jack.

Continue to whisk until the cheese is melted.

Pour over the noodles as indicated above.

 

Enjoy!