Showing posts with label Season Wrap Up. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Season Wrap Up. Show all posts

Jun 21, 2021

summer solstice - spring wrap up

Hello, hello Dear Readers! Happy Summer Solstice!

Today marks the longest day of the year, which means it'll only get hotter from here on (or colder in the other half of the hemisphere). With the US heading out of the pandemic, I hope it bodes better for all of us.

Since it is the end of the season, I am releasing my fourth free meatless, vegetarian and vegan zine, this one for Spring 2021. This makes a complete year of free zines and I hope a few of you have found them helpful. If you have any suggestions for the next year of zines, drop me a note. 

You can head to the  ** free zine **  page above (Link HERE) and download your zines for free. Printing instructions are in the pdfs; it is an easy way to have fast and easy recipes at your fingertips.

This past season I have prepared staples:

Seafood Tofu is a fast and easy marinating method that gives the tofu a hint of the sea. Of course, it depends on how long you marinate it in the seaweed-flavored broth, but about 20 minutes is all you need. It can be grilled, broiled, battered and fried. 

Zsu's Curry Powder is homemade curry powder and you need homemade curry powder to achieve the best flavor for your dish. Store-bought curry has lost its fizz and you never know how long it's been on the shelf. 

Spring, or any season, really, is a great time for soups, and this season I had plenty:

5. Middle Eastern Lentil Soup  is a unique take on lentil soup. This recipe uses the Indian-method of cooking lentils that retains the shape of the lentils after they are cooked through.

6. Texas Chili is very authentic and very delicious. It takes me back to Austin, where we lived for almost a decade. Top as you like, but the chili itself can be stove-cooked or slow-cooked. 

8. Creamy Cauliflower Soup is my take on Bakers Square Cauliflower Au Gratin soup and it is exactly the way I remember it (way back in my vegetarian days). 

11. Caldo non Pollo Soup is fast and easy soup that uses any chicken-style protein (or beans) to get a hearty and delicious soup on the table in less than 45 minutes, including rice. Have I mentioned it's a one-pot meal? Bonus!

Sandwiches are easy and fast, and this season I had two special ones:   

7. Sriracha Buffalo Sandwich is my take on a regular Buffalo Sandwich, but kicked up to sriracha level. With bits of crisp soy curls, it is perfectly spicy and awesome. 

9. Baja Tacos is authentic San Diego fare. Complete with seafood tofu, slaw, avocado and sauce, it is just perfect! The tofu is air-fried or can be baked.  

Pasta is a  vegan staple, frankly, and I made:

4. Primavera Alfredo is my take on an Alfredo pasta but packed with vegetables. This is just how I remember having Alfredo pasta back in my restauranteur days. Creamy and rich, but fast and vegan.

12. Cabbage Pasta is my childhood favorite pasta dish. This is a perfect way to use up any cabbage you have hanging around after you used what you needed in a recipe (thanks, Susan! Great tip!)

Finally for some "main" meals. I guess those would be anything that doesn't fall into the previous categories. 

1. Trinidad Chickpea and Potato Curry is my son-in-law's mother's recipe, authentic from Trinidad. It's already vegan by design, so I just wrote up the recipe and thank her profusely for this amazing dish. In fact, by page hits, this was a run-away favorite! 

2. Twice Baked Mexican Potatoes is my spin on a twice-baked potato. This is a weekend meal, but that's because the potatoes take a long time to bake. Nevertheless, it came in at second for popularity. 

3. Maple Dijon Seitan with Rice Pilaf is another Bakers Square redo. I worked at Bakers Square for five years during my younger twenty's, and while I never had the chicken part, I did have the sauce and cheese over the rice pilaf (again, my vegetarian days). It is deliciously accurate. The seitan is also easy to make and store in the freezer, if needed. 

10. Bainghan Bharta with Potatoes is so tasty! I hope more people will have the chance to have it. I am very cautious about sharing Indian recipes and I make sure they are worthy before doing so. This one is up to par. The eggplant is easy to prepare and the potatoes fill out this traditional dish.

The only thing left to do is get the pdf, figure out what you haven't made, yet, and start creating your menu. 



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Mar 20, 2021

spring equinox - winter wrap up

Hello, hello Dear Readers! Happy Spring Equinox!

Since it is the end of the season, I am releasing my third free meatless, vegetarian and vegan zine, this one for Winter 2021. You can head to the  ** free zine **  page above (Link HERE) and download your zines for free. Printing instructions are in the pdfs; it is an easy way to have fast and easy recipes at your fingertips.

I am listing the past season's post in order of popularity, as indicated by page hits. Thus they are:

1. Kettle Goulash came  in at the top of the heap! And that makes sense, because this Hungarian classic is rich and delicious - and really easy to make. 

2. One Pot Chili Mac is a Dump Dinner and I love it! I love chili mac as it is, and making it into a Dump Dinner is the answer I didn't know I was looking for. A lot of people thought so, too, as it was the second most popular this season.

3. Pot Roast Charcuterie  was a wonderful weekend meal that brought the family together. I know it might seem like we should all eat a meal together every day, with four adults in the house, even that is asking for a lot. Once a month will do me fine, given how quickly time flies, anyway.   

4. Mexican Breakfast Burrito was a terrific way to start our day - even though it lead to some heated sweet potato debate. Of course, we were debating as we were eating.  

5. Stroganoff Burrito was an interesting way to serve Stroganoff and it truly worked! This one is packed with mushrooms and sauce.  

6. I was very excited to share Knoephla Dumpling Soup with you! If this rich and hearty soup slipped by you, make sure to get it on your menu. Simply delicious.   

7. I was a little surprised to find that Indian Butter Seitan was not more popular. I know its meat equivalent is certainly so - and this version is so easy and tastes so amazing. I do hope more folks catch it on the rebound. 

8. Tex-Mex Tortilla Bake is most definitely a dump dinner and very tasty, indeed! It's fast, healthy, easy and tasty - not much more to it than that. 

9. Sausage and Butternut Squash Stew is definitely the sleeper of the recipes. I know the butternut squash part of it can throw some people, but I promise - if you try it, you won't be disappointed. 

10. Stromboli  can be many things - you can make it like a pizza, with sauce and cheese, or make it like a hoagie that is baked. I went for a combo of the two with this one. 

11. One Pot Tetrazzini was as close as we are getting to a dump dinner, but because some attention was needed, I didn't feel right casting it as a Dump Dinner. Still, very easy, fast and delicious.

12. And the new kid on the block is Pot Pie Pizza . As the name implies, it is a combination of a pot pie with pizza. Another perfect winter dish. 

Along the season I shared some staple recipe with you: Simple Seitan Loaf, Savory Tofu and Savory Soy Curls

The only thing left to do is get the pdf, figure out what you haven't made, yet, and start creating your menu. 

For more inspiration, see the Winter Solstice - Fall Wrap-up HERE.


Download Winter 2021 zine HERE

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(coming, too)

Dec 21, 2020

winter solstice - fall wrap up

Hello, hello Dear Readers! Happy Winter Solstice!

Today marks the shortest day of the year, but that means that the days from here on will be longer and brighter. It's been a tough year for all, and I hope that you and yours are doing the best you can. No doubt that 2020 kept on taking, but today signals a brighter future - I sincerely hope, for all. 

Since it is the end of the season, I am releasing my second free meatless, vegetarian and vegan zine, this one for Fall 2020. You can head to the  ** free zine **  page above (Link HERE) and download your zines for free. Printing instructions are in the pdfs; it is an easy way to have fast and easy recipes at your fingertips.

This past season I have prepared staples, like the

1. Complete Roast recipe above, with all the required sub-recipes. The Roast takes about 3 hours of time to make, but it is mostly hands-off. If you make it for a large group next year, double the ingredients and enjoy your feast. 

12. The Easy Simple Seitan recipe was part of the Picatta dish, which only takes 15 minutes to get to the table. It is a family favorite and I hope more of you try it.

6. Breakfast Tofu is a life-savor for any morning. My hubby and I have been enjoying a daily breakfast sandwich made with the Breakfast Tofu on an English muffin, with a vegan sausage and vegan cheese. It is hearty and delicious and ready in 10 minutes. Faster than any drive-thru.  

Fall is a great time for soups, and I showed you how to make 

7. Chicken-free Rice Soup , which you can completely customize and is ready in 30 minutes. This winter I will be bringing you a soup like it, but cooking the rice in the soup so you won't even have to do that separately. 

11. Southwest Vegetable Soup was a take-on  the Chili's restaurant version. Apparently it is a very popular soup and I can see why. Another very easy but very fast soup to make. Please try it! It is thick and flavorful.

4. Ranking high on the blog is Vegan Beef and Barley Stew. Yes, it is hearty and filling. It is perfect for cool weather. Use the slow cooker, pressure cooker or the stove.   

In addition to the Breakfast Tofu Sandwich, I also brought you 

2. French Dip. Easy Simple Seitan is perfect here (recipe is in the zine for Easy Simple Seitan - takes 45 minutes to cook, with 5 minutes prep) but the real star is the au jus. Making vegan au jus is completely doable and this recipe shows how wonderful it can be. Not more than a few ingredients and a little simmering. 

9. Curried Chicken-free Salad sandwiches are amazing! This is made with Soy Curlz (which I will do a Making Monday post for), but store-bought protein or seitan would work as well. Even Savory Tofu (again, another Making Monday for the winter!) is excellent in this take on Whole Foods Curried Chicken-free Salad recipe. 

Since pasta is a food group for many of us, I made

8. Creamy Vodka Sauce Pasta. This is my eldest daughter's favorite pasta dish! I know making your own nut milk is at first daunting, but try it. You'll be surprised how a little practice with making your own nut milk reaps a lot of reward. 

10. Creamy Lemon Pasta with Crispy Lentils brings some brightness to a droopy day - lemons tend to do that for me. They are a bit of sunshine. In fact, lemons are a cool-weather fruit, so it is very apropos that  they should be best at the time of growing darkness. The crispy lentils are a bit of surprise here, but the flavor profiles are in harmony. 

Finally for some "main" meals. I guess those would be anything that doesn't fall into the previous categories. 

3. Kung Pao Tofu happens to be the all-time high ranker on this blog. It has had the most views. With that in mind, I created this recipe that emulates that one, but is easier and faster. An old refrain, I know.

5. Shepherd's Pie is another perfect fall or winter dish. This one is easy to make and uses vegan grounds. Of course, use lentils if you like and swap vegetables in and out. You can even make it with cauliflower mash instead of potatoes.

12. Picatta has already been mentioned above, but another shout-out can't hurt. 

Alfredo Scampi Pasta Bake is a new recipe, but it is already garnering plenty of interest. I can see why - with a prep time of 5 to 10 minutes, it being a Dump Dinner and tasting good - there is a lot to like! And this coming winter I have a few more Dump Dinners scheduled - something else to look forward to.

The only thing left to do is get the pdf, figure out what you haven't made, yet, and start creating your menu. 


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Sep 12, 2020



Time: 30 minutes
Dishes: air-fryer or oven, blender, large skillet, medium skillet

Hello, hello Dear Readers!

Consider this vegan, vegetarian and meatless recipe more of a template than an absolute recipe (whatever that means, at dinner time!)  It is a traditional dish in the sense that you adjust it to whatever you have handy and go with the flow.

The sauce is a standard recipe you should use, but it is simply broth, tomato, onion, garlic and bell pepper. I used Anaheim pepper, but use whatever pleases you.  Once the sauce is reduced a bit, you add old tortillas (typically fried in oil - but here, air-fried - oven works, too). I've even seen tortilla chips used, but haven't tried that, yet. The sauce is thickened a bit more with the added tortillas, though not much. It's more of a vehicle for the filling.

For the filling this time, I have beans, zucchini and spinach, but, here again, add what you have available. If that is a link of leftover vegan sausage or ready to turn vegan tofu eggs, add them. If you have a cup of pinto beans, add that. Seriously, whatever is handy, needs to go or is leftover. 

This meal is also pretty fast, so it is perfect for weeknights! If you have an avocado, fresh cilantro or vegan cheese, it's a great way to finish the dish.


On A Separate Note:

I have compiled the past 16 recipes into a booklet, Zsu's Summer 2020 Vegan Recipes . To print, download it and choose print. Choose Booklet and (if an option) check Front Only. Print and flip the pages. Check Back Only and Print again. Email me if you have any issues.  

At the very bottom (below the Pinterest image) is the image link or here is the PDF link.

~ Zsu

Speedy Cooking Tips:

  • Prepare the tortillas first.
  • Prepare the sauce next.
  • Prepare and cook the vegetables.
  • Few minutes before tortillas are ready, heat the sauce; this is about the time the beans and spinach are added to the vegetables.


Makes 4 servings 


1. Tortillas: Slice the tortillas into strips. Spray with oil and air-fry until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

12 corn tortillas

oil spray

2. Sauce: Add the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Add to a large skillet and set aside.

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, lightly drained

1/2 small onion, quartered

1/2 Anaheim pepper (the other half in the Beans)

2 garlic cloves

3. Vegetables: Add to a medium skillet over medium heat and cook until golden, about 8 minutes, using a lid. Season with salt:

spray of oil

1 medium zucchini, chopped

1/2 Anaheim pepper, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

4. When the zucchini is golden, heat the Sauce over high heat until boiling. Reduce to simmer and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the Tortilla strips a few minutes before serving and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the strips are softened. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Add the beans and spinach to the Vegetables. Cover and cook until the spinach is wilted. 

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

4 to 5-ounce baby spinach (about 4 cups)

6. Serve: Add some Tortillas with the Sauce to a plate, top with the Vegetables and Beans and avocado or vegan cheese. Season with salt:

1 diced avocado or shredded vegan cheese (optional)


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