DDD #37 – Muddled Strawberry & Cracked Pepper Gin & Tonic

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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My Youtube vide for this recipe is here- just click the image to watch.


INGREDIENTS

1.5 oz gin

4 oz tonic

Cracked pepper

Fresh strawberries

DIRECTIONS

Muddle the strawberries in a glass & grind fresh pepper on them.  Fill the glass with ice & add gind & tonic.

Consume!

 

 

 

10-Minute Vegan Creamy and Spicy Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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I have posted several vegan mac & cheese recipes but I think this one comes closest to a Kraft experience.  The color is nearly right & it really is creamy & delicious.  I also think – of the pure vegan mac & cheeses (meaning – not the eggplant Parmesan kinda ones – seen below) –

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– this one is most likely to trick a cheese-eater.  The sauce only takes as long to make as it takes to boil pasta – just like Kraft.  Plus – it has a little kick to overpowers any flavor from the nutritional yeast that sensitive palates might object to.  Add some Crystal hot sauce & you have a vegan, cheesy pasta orgy!

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10-Minute Vegan Creamy and Spicy Mac & Cheese

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

8 oz dry pasta

1 3/4 cups unsweetened almond (or soy) milk

1/4 cup potato flour

1-3 tsp Dijon mustard (depending on your taste for the tang of mustard  – I went with 3)

1-3 tsp sriracha (I went with 1 tsp but added much Crystal hot sauce when I served it)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 TBS tomato paste

1 TBS white miso paste

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp mustard powder

Salt to taste

Garnish – Crystal (or other) hot sauce

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Whisk the rest of the ingredients over high heat.  Once it begins to bubble – reduce heat to low & stir until it thickens.  If it gets too thick – add water.

Drain the pasta & toss with the cheese sauce.

Serve with extra hot sauce.

See?  EASY!

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Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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vromans back

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So – I wanted to make a healthier mac & cheese – less cheese (even less vegan cheese) and less pasta.  I looked in the fridge & my pantry & found these potential ingredients.

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As it turned out – I used all but the vegan cream cheese & the Daiya cheddar shreds.    So – the only actual cheese (vegan cheese) in this recipe is the Field Roast Chao Tomato-Cayenne slices.  If you can’t find these or do not like them (I think the 3 Chao cheeses are the best grocery store vegan cheeses on the market so far) – then use Daiya or any other kind of vegan cheese – or even real cheese (if you are not vegan).

This is a very easy dish to make – though it does have a few steps.  The only special tool you need is a blender (or a food processor).  No need to soak cashews overnight.  And – most importantly – it is VERY convincing!  None of the over-powering flavor of nutritional yeast yet all the wet, creaminess of real mac & cheese.  I swear – non-vegans will not identify this as vegan.  It has the additional benefit of using two full heads of cauliflower – but they blend in and become virtually undetectable – so your veggie hating kiddies will likely eat this with little argument (though you might want to reduce the spiciness for tender palates).

My primary excitement about this recipe is the green enchilada roux.  Traditional roux is made with butter, flour & milk.  I definitely wanted to use the green enchilada sauce but I did not want the dish to be swimming in liquid – as I feared it might be if I made a roux with milk and also added the enchilada sauce.  Happy news!  The enchilada sauce blended & thickened with the butter & flour as easily as milk would have but added SO much more flavor.

Again – while there are a few steps (mainly, boiling & draining to heads of cauliflower & the pasta) – none are difficult & the resulting dish is supremely gratifying!   I hope you try it!

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Healthy and Cheesy Vegan Green Enchilada & Spicy Chili Pepper Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower

Serves at least 6

INGREDIENTS

2 heads cauliflower (I used one white & one yellow)

for the roux

4 TBS vegan butter

4 TBS flour

16 oz green enchilada sauce

7 oz vegan cheddar (sliced up or grated)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (SUPER optional – I just had a little left over that I wanted to use up)

for the mac & cheese

1-2 jalapenos – one seeded & diced and one seeded & sliced (optional – depending on your taste for spice)

1 4oz can diced green chilies (I used hot but you could use mild)

2 ears corn – kernels cut from the cob (or about one 14 oz can of corn or 1 cup frozen corn)

1 lb pasta (shape of your choice)

1-2 cups breadcrumbs (I used panko)

Cooking spray

GARNISH: cilantro, avocado, diced tomato, hot sauces, additional fresh jalapeno or canned chilies

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Treat a 9×13 casserole pan with cooking spray.

Cook the pasta according to directions (maybe 1 minute less than suggested) – drain & set aside.

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If you are using 2 different colors of cauliflower – you might want to cut each into florets & then boil & drain them each separately.  Or not.  It doesn’t matter much but the yellow cauliflower purees & looks like a cheesier sauce than white cauliflower will.  Still – some cheddar cheeses are white – so – don’t sweat it, whatever you decide.  If you are just using 2 heads of the same color – boil until just tender (5-7 minutes) – drain & set aside.

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If you used one head of yellow cauliflower – put it (with about 1 cup of hot water) into a blender & puree until very smooth.  Only add just as much water as you need to accomplish this – which could be more or less than a cup of water – depending on the size of the head you used.

If you used to heads of the same color – just puree one head worth as described above.  Set aside.

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Melt the butter in a sauce pan & whisk in the flour.  It should thicken & brown a bit very quickly – maybe a minute.  Add the enchilada sauce incrementally – letting it thicken before adding more – until it is all incorporated & rater thick.

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Add the cheese & stir until it melts.

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Add the pureed cauliflower & nutritional yeast (if using), salt & pepper to taste, and then one diced jalapeno, canned chilies & the corn.

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Combine & adjust S&P – if necessary.

Put the sauce in a large bowl & then add the pasta and the remaining cauliflower florets.  Combine.

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Pour the mac & cheese into the casserole dish & top with breadcrumbs & maybe some sliced jalapeno.  Spray with cooking spray – as this helps the breadcrumbs brown (because vegan cheese does not have the animal fat of real cheese – which is what browns in traditional mac & cheese).

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Bake at 400 for about 30-45 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are browned a bit & the cheese sauce is bubbly.

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Let rest for about ten minutes & then serve.  Garnish with avocado, cilantro, diced tomatoes and/or anything else you like.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy.  I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody.   The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor.  Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness.  I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand).  Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart.   And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for.  Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage.  After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants.  It is the holidays.  Give in.  Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit?  Facing things?  Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches.  Might as well bust out the liquor, too.   Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do.  Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated.  The Holocaust.  Rare or incurable diseases.  And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate.    Works for me.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions

1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

2 tsp mustard powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your pasta.

Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.

When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese.  I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin.  Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it.  If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better.  Season with S&P.  Blend until very smooth.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan.  Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce.  I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese.  Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it.  Stir in the kale until it wilts.  You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it.  Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top.  Voila!

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Baked Spinach Mac & Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

So – digging around in my fridge, I found a huge bag of real cheese.  I have been tapering myself into a nearly vegan diet – especially when I am eating at home – and I don’t even remember buying this cheese but there it was.  Right there – on the day after I made a valiant attempt to drink all the Prosecco & red wine on Earth.  I watched the so-hilarious 90210 Lifetime movie with a friend and – between us – went through a shocking amount of alcohol.  Shocking – I tell you.  What was less shocking was how I felt yesterday.  I definitely earned every bit of how hideous I felt but I was very grateful 1) to be alive and 2) to find a huge bag in my fridge of what I could melt all over pasta.  Oh – I also made roasted potatoes – below.

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Carbohydrates & grease.  I desperately needed both.  So – I indulged in both.  The mac & cheese is pretty straightforward & does not really require baking – unless (like me) you want that crispy crust on top.  Look at that crust!  Mmmmm!  There is nothing more I can say about mac & cheese that you don’t already know.  So – make some of this shit & shove it in the hole in your heart – like I did.  It actually kinda helped.  For a few minutes, anyway.

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Baked Spinach Mac & Cheese

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

4 TBS butter (I used vegan butter)

4 TBS flour

2 1/2 cups milk (I used almond milk)

1 lb grated cheese (I used real sharp cheddar)

1 LB fresh spinach

2 TBS Dijon mustard

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS (or less) cayenne

1-2 cups panko or other bread crumbs

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta for about 1 minute less than the package suggests, drain & set aside.

Melt the butter over med-high heat.  Whisk in the flour & then add the milk in small increments – allowing it to thicken each time.  Add the Dijon & spices.  Whisk to incorporate & then add the cheese – reserving 1/2 cup or more to sprinkle on top later.

Fold in the pasta & spinach.

Grease a casserole pan & put the mac & cheese in there.  Top with remaining cheese & panko.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly & he bread crumbs are browning.

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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vromans back

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I have never had a vegan mac & cheese that I liked.  In fairness, I think the only one I have tried was the mock Kraft at Doomie’s here in Hollywood.  Their vegan Big Mac (above) is a revelation but the mac & cheese is underwhelming to the extreme.

There are lots of ways to make vegan mac & cheese.  Some use raw cashews, soaked overnight & pureed.  Others use sweet potatoes.  This one uses carrots, potatoes & nutritional yeast.  Nutritional yeast has many health benefits and can be purchased in bulk at health food stores & places like Whole Foods.  It is a yellowy, flaky powder & has a nutty cheesy flavor and – it seems – is one of those things you either love or hate.  This mac & cheese tastes primarily of nutritional yeast so, if you are a hater, you won’t like this.  Lots of blogs recommend easing into using nutritional yeast slowly & developing a palate for it.  I liked it right away and so did my friend, Rose, so you might fall into that category, too.  You can dip your finger in some & taste it to see where it falls for you on the flavor appeal scale.

I could not find raw cashews so I used roasted ones & just boiled them along with the vegetables.  It worked fine.

This is a very creamy dish & seems pretty healthy – as mac & cheese goes.  I just need to impress upon vegan newbies that this does not taste like Kraft or cheddar.  It is a very reasonable substitute – like Diet Coke for Coke or Garden burgers for real burgers.  These things do not trick anyone into believing they are the real thing but they are great substitutes.  I will admit – I used a boatload of Crystal hot sauce on mine & it helped a lot.  That isn’t really a cheat because I use hot sauce on all mac & cheese.  So – if there are things you like on your regular mac & cheeses – use those things on this one, too.

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Fast and Easy Stove Top Vegan Mac and Cheese

Serves 2-3 depending on appetite

INGREDIENTS

12 oz dry pasta

1 cup raw potato (I used fingerling but any white potato will do)

2 carrots

1/3 cup cashews (raw or roasted)

1/2 cup vegan butter

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp cayenne

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

3 TBS coconut milk

Pepper to taste

Smoked paprika

Parsley – chopped

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta according to directions.

Meanwhile – boil the carrots, potato & cashews until the veggies are very soft.  Puree them in a blender (adding a small amount of water, if necessary) with all the remaining ingredients (except smoked paprika & parsley).   Puree until it is very creamy.

Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce.  It is just that easy!

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4-Ingredient Easy Enchilada Mac and Cheese (Slow Cooker or Baked)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

~

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I made this using 8 ingredients but 4 of them are actually optional – so I will list them that way below.

This is the easiest thing ever – if you make it with a slow cooker.  My only issue was that I left it in my slow cooker for too long & it dried out a bit but adding more milk and some vegetable stock thinned it back out.

This is pretty dairy heavy so it would be tough to make it vegan – though if you can find high quality vegan alternatives for the dairy ingredients – then give it a shot.

This recipe is for a fuckton of mac & cheese.  I made it for Easter dinner & I had 12 people over & everybody left with mac & cheese.  So – cut it in half if you are not feeding a large party.

I like to mix up the noodles I use – and I used these here – but any pasta will do.

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Easy Enchilada Mac and Cheese (Slow Cooker or Baked)

Serves a shitload

INGREDIENTS

2 lbs pasta – cooked al dente

32 oz grated cheese (I used 1/2 pepper jack & 1/2 Mexican blend but sharp cheddar would be good, too)

32 oz red enchilada sauce ( actually used 48 oz because of the length of time my pasta sat in the cooker)

2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk) – plus more – in the event your mac & cheese gets too dry

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OPTIONAL ingredients: (I used all of them)

6 garlic cloves – minced 

8 oz cream cheese 

1 cup sour cream 

12 oz can evaporated milk

Garnish – avocado, diced tomato, cilantro, sour cream, hot sauce, jalapeno peppers

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DIRECTIONS

Slow cooker:

Put everything in there & heat on high (stirring occasionally) for 2-3 hours or until everything is melted & well-combined.  If it gets too thick – add more milk.

Baked:

Heat the oven to 350.   Make the pasta & then combine it in a large bowl with the other ingredients.  Transfer into casserole dish(es) – treated with cooking spray.  Bake for 30-45 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbling at the sides.

Garnish at will.

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