stuffed cabbage soup


Tapping into our inner lazy, this soup manifests. Stuffed Cabbage is a Hungarian specialty in which cabbage is rolled around a filling of ground meat and rice, and  is then cooked with sauerkraut and a few tomatoes. 

Since I try to find the fastest way around a boulder of any kind, unless it is a special occasion, at which time I will painstakingly roll said cabbage around stated filling, I decided to make this dish into a soup, at which point I came up with this creative name -
Stuffed Cabbage Soup.

It utilizes all of the main ingredients that are in the stuffed cabbage, including the ground protein, rice, sauerkraut, sour cream and tomatoes. It came out to being a delicious alternative to its more labor-intensive cousin.

Cost Breakdown

TVP (or seitan): $1
sauerkraut, cabbage: $2.50
tomatoes, broth, rice: $2.50
onion, garlic, sour cream: $1
Total to make 5 servings:
$7.00






creamy italian polenta pie

This Creamy Italian Polenta Pie is easy to make and really delicious. I made mine very creamy - to the point that it had a little difficulty setting up when cold; if you make this with the intention of having firm polenta, you can use less liquid, about 2/3 c less milk. The added liquid from the diced tomatoes gives the polenta the decidedly un-traditional hue of pink and adds the extra liquid which makes it so creamy. 

In addition to the polenta (cornmeal) and tomatoes, this 'pie' has kidney beans, baby spinach, baby kale, cauliflower, onions and a healthy dose of garlic layered on top.

You can make this, let it sit up and add add cheese and bake it until warmed through and the cheese melts. This is a wholly unnecessary, but delicious, alternative. Otherwise, just serve this as soon as it is assembled. 

Cost Breakdown

polenta, oil, seasonings: $1
milk, tomatoes, beans: $5
cauliflower, onions, baby greens, garlic: $3

Total to make 6 servings:

$9.00







annual gyros

It has been well over year since I have made Gyros and I can only delay in making them for the family for the sake of the blog for just so long: "Must make something new!" so goes my mantra.

For all the juicy details of what a Gyro is and my fascinating personal look into the Greek restaurants of Chicago-land, head over to last year's post.

This time around, however, I don't want to bore you with details, and instead only temp you with pictures.

I used the Simple Chicken Seitan Recipe, cooked for 4 hours as a roast instead of cutlets, and sliced it thin. 

Yeah. Still totally great! If you haven't gone here, yet, it is time to book the trip. 

Cost Breakdown

seitan: $2
pita: $2
olive oil, lemon, herbs: $1
yogurt, cucumber: $1.50
tomato, onion, lettuce: $1.50

Total to make 5 servings:
$8.00






RECIPE UPDATE: this soup has been tested and revised and will be featured in the upcoming cookbook "Everyday Vegan Eats," by Zsu Dever.

loaded nachos

Back in Texas, before we were vegan, or even vegetarian for that matter, David was supremely fond of Chili con Queso, cheese sauce with chilies. Having grown up near the border, he tends to be particularly fussy regarding Mexican-style food - especially this cheese sauce. 

I have been working on making a cheese sauce that does not utilize commercial brands of cheese such as Follow Your Heart and Daiya and still tastes like cheese; this is just what I have come up with. David was extremely happy and satisfied with this recipe, and if you have fond memories of creamy, velvety, cheese sauce, I encourage you to give this a try. 

The sauce is great as is, but because he was a dedicated fan of the Chile con Queso, I made this version with diced tomatoes and diced chilies. 

 The recipe uses roasted red peppers, which have a tendency to mold before being used all up, so after giving this recipe a try and deciding that it will be a regular meal ingredient, measure out your three tablespoons portions into ice cube containers or just mounded on a cookie sheet. Freeze and move the frozen mounds of red pepper into a freezer bag. Thaw a portion a bit before making a batch of the sauce and you won't again be reaching into your fridge only to find ruined red peppers.

We wound up licking the bowl clean and making it a requirement that the kids learn how to make this in order to ensure them a more delicious future. The sauce is easy enough to make and truly worth the effort.

Cost Breakdown

beans: $2
chips: $3
olives, onions, jalapeno, lettuce, avocado: $2.50
sauce: $2
tomato and chili: $2
Total to make 5 servings:
$11.50







sweet and sour thai tofu


Below is a Sweet and Sour Thai Tofu. Thai food is explosive and fiery, while being warming and comforting. I wanted to make a Thai version of the Chinese Sweet and Sour whatever, using Thai ingredients. 

I marinated the tofu in Red Curry Paste, which can be store-bought or easily homemade. While you could deep fry the tofu to achieve a crispy surface texture, I just stir fried it. I also stir-fried some red peppers and pre-steamed green beans and carrots to add some color. The sauce adds the sweet and sour elements: sweet comes from sugar and the sour is from tamarind paste. 

I used a lot of red curry paste, so this dish sang on the tongue for a while after dinner, but that is part of the allure of Thai food for me. You, of course, can be more moderate with the heat. Are you, too, a fan of Thai food?

Cost Breakdown

tofu: $4
green beans, carrots, onions, garlic, pepper: $4.50
red curry and sauce: $1.50
rice: $1
Total for 6 servings:
$11.00







green chili + contest winner

We are all familiar with the red version of chili, laden with hearty beans, red chili powder and, typically, a beef alternative such as ground TVP or ground soy. This version is heavy and satisfying, especially come the cold winter days.

My Chipotle Chili below is a great example:

Chipotle Chili


Little known, at least by me, is the lighter, fresher adaptation of the red chili: the White Chili, or sometimes referred to Green Chili or Chili Verde, for all those Spanish speakers out there.

In this chili, instead of beef, chicken is used, instead of red chili powder or chilies, green, fresh chilies are utilized. And, instead of kidney beans, white beans are included.

I decided to green this up something good and used poblanos, Anaheim and jalapeno peppers. I also made use of other essential chili components: green onions, cilantro and lime juice. 

This was so good! And so easy to make with the help of your food processor. The veggies are first sweated (covered and cooked) to allow them to soften, but not get any color, and then the chili, including the rest of the ingredients, are cooked for about 20 minutes.

Serve and devour anytime of the year. In fact, right about now is a good time. 

Do you have a favorite style of chili or, like me, have only been privy to the red one?

Cost Breakdown

peppers: $5
onion, garlic, broth mix: $1
beans: $8
seasoning, lime, cilantro: $1
Total to make 8 servings:
$15.00


Green Chili



Let's not forget about the drawing for Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! from the Blog Tour Post. There were 58 entries. According to Random.org, comment number...7...who is: Cabby! is the winner! Please contact me by tomorrow (Nov. 3) midnight-or-so at veganaide(at)yahoo(dot)com. 
Thanks and congratulations.

For those who didn't win this time, check out the other great bloggers participating in the Blog Tour and have more chances to win. And, well, if you can't wait, go grab your own copy! I promise you won't regret it!