Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Throwing Things Together and a New Faux Chicken

When it comes to cooking, I'm the queen of throwing stuff in a pan and having it taste good. What I lack in technique, I apparently make up for in instinct. Just as I am the designated pancake flipper in this house, I am the one who makes the impromptu meals when nothing in the kitchen seems to add up to one full dinner. I am the Macgyver of the pantry.

The routine is pretty set at this point in my employment. I come home and dinner is usually waiting or in the process of being finished. I do little, but there have been a few nights when the cupboards were on the bare side a la Mother Hubbard. At such times, I do what any superhero would do. I rip off my outer layer of clothing, revealing my secret identity. (Then, I put on a more sensible outfit because I'm messy.)

Here are two end-of-the-pantry meals I've cooked up lately:

Option 1:
This one is my vegetarian version of the chicken and mushroom rice my mom used to make when I was younger. It involved chicken stock, minute rice, chicken pieces, green beans, and canned mushrooms. The chicken stock contained a fair amount of MSG, which my mom can't tolerate very well, so she either avoided eating this particular meal like the plague or she suffered the inevitable MSG headache.

I cooked up some rice (2 cups, I'd wager. That's what I usually cook up.) Then I searched the cupboards. I needed the obvious ingredients. What was more, I needed something to use instead of the chicken and stock.

Butter and Green Bean Mushroom Stir Fry (no MSG required)

The ingredients for this will be rough because I didn't stop to make note of how much I threw in while I was throwing, but all of said ingredients come from cans. This means, if you put in one can and it doesn't seem to be enough, add another one.
Ingredients List
French Cut Green Beans
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Butter Beans
Water Chestnuts
A pinch of miso

Stir fry it all together in a saute pan and hey presto! Dinner is served.

Option 2:
This is a variation on a recipe I learned a few years back, in which zucchini gets peeled lengthwise with a veggie peeler all the way around until you hit seeds. This leaves thin strips of zuke that resemble liguine. Then, you can stir fry them up and add your favorite pasta sauce. It's the no carb pasta of champs.

Of course, I like carbs and find that as a veggie, they are just plain necessary to provide me with adequate nutrition. So here's a few Italian 50/50 of faux pasta and regular.

Whole Grain and Zucchini Pasta Stir Fry

3 small zucchinis, peeled as indicated above
whole grain pasta (enough for two servings, give or take)
pasta sauce (about half a jar)
1 tomato, diced
a handful or two of kale (mine was frozen and crumbled)

Stir fry it all together in a saute pan and once again, food.

I served this one with Gardein's faux crispy chicken tenders. I have to say, not bad. The man tasted them too and said that he thought they tasted more like real chicken than any other veggie meat product I've tried to date. Unlike some brands, this one is a mix of soy protein and seitan. This, of course, makes me want to get my hands on some 100 percent seitan all the more. 

What's more, they have seven grains and are vegan-friendly (no eggs, no dairy). I'd recommend them, but they are a little pricey. I got mine on sale half off and that put them only slightly cheaper than a boca-type product. Overall, though, thumbs up.

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