Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baked Buffalo "Chicken" Bites

I know what you're thinking. "Why is there chicken on this vegetarian blog?" "What a scary, big knife she has. Looks dangerous." "Has she lost it and finally eaten some Chick-fil-a?" Because believe me, I miss Chick-fil-a. But no, I adapted Pennies on a Platter's Buffalo Chicken Bites to be vegetarian!

Baked Buffalo "Chicken" Bites
  • 2 1/2 cups fake chicken product, finely chopped (I used a bag of MorningStar Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips. And by all means use real chicken if you want. I guess.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup buffalo sauce (Texas Pete is better than Frank's)
  • 3 ounces low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups low fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 cups crushed Corn Flakes

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce until combined. Stir in the cheddar cheese and green onions.

Use an ice cream scooper to plop balls of the chicken mixture on a separate baking sheet or plate. I covered and refrigerated mine for an hour or so as I ran errands to ensure they'd be solid enough to dip.

In three separate bowls, set out the flour, eggs and Corn Flakes like an assembly line. This is actually pretty similar to my zucchini chips. Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg and ending with the Corn Flakes. Again, this will get pretty messy and I even stepped back to photograph it to prove I'm not exaggerating. Tip: do not assemble in the smallest corner of your kitchen counter.

Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing. Yields 18-20 large bites.

I think these are delicious on their own, but I heated up two and put them on my Subway Veggie Delite sandwich and oh man was it good. I think you could fool a meat eater into thinking these were made with real chicken.

How to grill pizza... wrong

This pizza looks delicious, yes? So flavorful and healthy and crispy from the grill. What an exciting endeavor, spending a Saturday making whole wheat pizza dough and then cooking on my little grill for the first time! Well... not so much.

Once my charcoal was nice and hot I rolled out my dough, slathered it in olive oil, and flipped it onto the grill. Once the dough was bubbly and seemed to be actually baking I put my toppings on top.

I used LE Roselli's Pizza Sauce (My absolute favorite. BUY IT. Or make your own. Whichev.), hunks of mozzarella, shaved parmesan, a handful of arugula and a few basil leaves from my windowsill garden.

Once the cheese got a little melty I slid it onto my handy dandy pizza board. I love this thing. You can slice directly on it and not damage it. But you'll notice some strange black marks to the right of the board that were not there before I put the pizza on it. Hmm.

I know what you're thinking. "Wow, Jane, that pizza looks delicious! What could've gone wrong? I would be happy to eat that amazing pizza." WELL.

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED. I completely BURNT the entire bottom. The dang pizza was only on the grill for probably 6 or 7 minutes. So awful. I will never recover.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Spicy Baked Zucchini Chips

One of the best things about my conversion to being vegetarian is I'm forced to try vegetables I avoided before. Zucchini is one of the ones that I always picked out of pasta, casserole, or what have you. But when I stumbled upon this easy, simple recipe via my Pinterest from Natalie's Killer Cuisine, I knew I had to try it (with slight modifications, naturally).
Spicy Baked Zucchini Chips
  • 2 zucchinis, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup parmesan, shredded
  • 2/3 cup crushed Corn Flakes
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 egg whites
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice zucchini as thinly and uniform as possible. My parents have a mandolin but I was too lazy to go borrow it. Place the slices for at least 10 minutes to let excess moisture drain. Mix together all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until frothy. Lay these out like an assembly line because it will be quite a production.

Slice by slice, place the zucchini in the egg mixture, then coat in the Corn Flake mixture. I know this sounds relatively easy and quick, but my hands were coated in egg whites and cheese within minutes. I couldn't even document the assembly process. So messy.

Place each slice on a baking sheet and when the baking sheet is full, bake for 5-6 minutes. Pull out the baking sheet and flip over the zucchini chips (again, not as easy as it seems. Or maybe I need better spatulas.) Return to the oven for another 7-8 minutes.
Serve warm with bleu cheese dressing (I love Marzetti's Simply Dressed Blue Cheese) to tame the unexpected amount of spice. Why did I think adding a lot of red pepper was a good idea? I mean, just look at them. They LOOK spicy. Very, very tasty though.

Whole Wheat Oat & Peach Pancakes

Saturday mornings are the only time I get to actually cook and enjoy a breakfast. Monday through Friday I get up at the crack of dawn to work 8:30-5 (I am clearly enjoying my summer to the fullest extent possible) and Sunday is the only day I sleep in past 9 and lounge around in bed with my cat. But Saturdays I get up, cook breakfast, and work in the yard before it's 97 degrees by 10 a.m.

One of the best things about living in Georgia is our peaches. I can buy pounds of them for mere pennies (okay, not really, but almost) at the local farmers' market. This year they're small, sweet, and juicy.

I adapted these pancakes from Jessica's Whole Wheat Chocolate Peanut Butter Pancakes to make my own sans peanut butter and chocolate BUT plus peaches and rolled oats!

Whole Wheat Oat & Peach Pancakes
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plain rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 cup milk, plus 1/2 cup or so
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Georgia (from nowhere else!!) peaches, thinly sliced
Stir together dry ingredients. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and oil. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened. But to be honest with y'all, I just dump everything in the bowl together and stir it when my eyes are glued shut still at 8 a.m. Oh and add more milk as needed because the oats will absorb a lot. I like my pancakes pretty thick but I think most prefer them thinner.

Cook on preheated pan until bubbles form and edges start to dry. Place peaches on top. Be sure to slice yours thinner than mine because flipping becomes difficult when you have huge hunks of peach to contend with. Flip and cook until lightly browned. Makes 9-10 small pancakes.

Drown in butter and syrup and enjoy! Happy Saturday. Or Tuesday. Whatever.