Portobello Fajitas

Who doesn’t perk up when that skillet of sizzling fajitas passes by the table in a Mexican restaurant?  This is an excellent opportunity for a vegetarian meal.  Using portobello mushrooms and squash is a great way to make this meal an even healthier choice. I decided to give it a try with homemade fajita seasoning. It was a success, so I thought I’d share.

Homemade Fajita Seasoning:

  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion granules or onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • 1/3 cup water

FAJITA INGREDIENTS

  • 2 portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash
  • 1/2 a medium onion
  • 1 large bell pepper

NIGHT BEFORE

Mix the dry ingredients for the fajita seasoning

Fajita Seasoning Mix
Fajita Seasoning Mix

Chop the portobello mushroom caps, onion, bell pepper, and squash.

Chopped squash, bell pepper, onion, and portobello mushroom
Chopped squash, bell pepper, onion, and portobello mushroom

BEFORE SERVING

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a large skillet.  Cook the vegetables on high 3-5 minutes. Add the fajita seasoning with the vegetable base and 1/3 cup water. Stir until the sauce thickens.

Fajita Vegetables in a Skillet
Fajita Vegetables in a Skillet

Serve with your favorite fajita toppings.

Portobello Fajitas with all the Fixin's
Portobello Fajitas with all the Fixin’s

 

Chinese Beef and Pepper

This recipe is adapted from the recipe book my mother received as a baby gift (See the post “Thank you, Linda Clark.”). The apologies offered by the authors is negated when changed to a slow cooker recipe.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 lbs cubed beef roast
  • 4 green peppers, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 lb bean sprouts
  • 3- 4 cups boiling water
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper,
  • 3/4 cup beef bouillon
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch

NIGHT BEFORE

Cube the roast or take some out of the freezer that you have already cubed.

Slice the bell pepper and pour enough boiling water over the pepper to cover completely.  Let stand 5 minutes.

Bell pepper covered in boiling water
Bell pepper covered in boiling water

Slice the onions.

sliced onions
sliced onions

Wash the bean sprouts.

bean sprouts
bean sprouts

Put the onions, bell pepper, garlic (put through a garlic press), bean sprouts, and cubed beef in a slow cooker and store in the refrigerator.

Slow cooker ingredients
Slow cooker ingredients

Cook in the slow cooker on low for 5 hours.  Remember you can use a lamp timer to start and stop your slow cooker because few of us are working 5 hour shifts.

BEFORE SERVING

Stir together the bouillon, sugar, and corn starch. Stir into the slow cooker during the last 15 minutes of cooking.

Chines Beef and Peppers
Chines Beef and Peppers

Serve over a bed of rice or chow mein noodles.

Chinese Beef and Peppers over Chow Mein Noodles
Chinese Beef and Peppers over Chow Mein Noodles

 

 

Pasta e Fagioli

I have to credit one of my cousins for this quick and easy soup.  We stayed overnight at her house on Thanksgiving and she fixed this as a quick meal the next day after we had overdosed on turkey.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 can Italian style diced tomatoes
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable base
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup uncooked macaroni
  • 1 pound cooked Italian sausage (optional)
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Ingredients for Italian Soup

Add all of the ingredients except the macaroni and Italian sausage to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

Ingredients in a saucepan
Ingredients in a saucepan

Add the macaroni and reduce to a simmer.

Add macaroni
Add macaroni

Simmer on medium low heat for about 9 minutes or until the macaroni is tender.

Italian Soup-Vegetarian Style
Italian Soup-Vegetarian Style

Add Italian sausage if you wish or keep it vegetarian.

Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water if you like more broth in your soup.  I keep my broth thick because my husband thinks all soup is better if you add cream.

Asian Lettuce Wraps

I like the lettuce wraps at Pei Wei, but I have never understood why they are made with chicken. My aversion to chicken begins with a love story. When my college boyfriend graduated, he got a job in Northwest Arkansas.  When I would drive from Stillwater, OK to Rogers, AR down US 412, the stench of the poultry farms infiltrated the car before I even hit the state line. However, I was so in love that I followed this guy to Northwest Arkansas.  My apologies to those of you who think that Northwest Arkansas is one step from heaven, but I remember it as being one step from hell. When the wind was just right, the pungency of the chicken processing plant permeated the air.  I often did substitute teaching at Rogers High School where the disaster drills included one that required everyone to run across the field behind the school.  This was different from a fire drill.  I asked what this drill prepared us for and was told it was in case something happened at the nearby Chick’n Quick Factory.  This really made me question what goes on at a chicken processing plant. So, after 10 months without a full-time job and a growing disdain for chicken, I found a job in Oklahoma and moved away.  In the end, the boyfriend also moved back to Oklahoma and finally married me, but sometimes my stomach churns with disgust at the mere mention of chicken.

Here is my version of lettuce wraps that requires no meat.

FILLING INGREDIENTS

  • 12-16 leaves iceberg or  butter lettuce leaves
  • 12 oz. extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions

SPECIAL SAUCE INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 clove minced garlic

NIGHT BEFORE

Rinse the lettuce leaves and store them wrapped in a tea towel in the refrigerator.

Wash the green onions and store them in the refrigerator.

Drain the tofu and press out excess water using a clean tea towel. Chop the onion.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Brown the tofu.

Tofu in a skillet
Tofu in a skillet

Add the onions and cook a couple of minutes until the onions are tender.20150714_174854

Drain and chop the water chestnuts and refrigerate.

Mix together the hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and chili paste.  Store in the refrigerator.

Mix up the ingredients for the Special Sauce and store in the refrigerator.

BEFORE SERVING

Place the browned tofu and onions in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the hoisin sauce, garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, and chili paste that you mixed together the night before.  Continue heating as you add the water chestnuts. Use your kitchen shears to “chop” your green onion into the mixture.  Stir until the green onions begin to wilt.

Lettuce Wrap Filling
Lettuce Wrap Filling

Serve on the lettuce leaves.  I topped mine with rice vermicelli for looks.

Asian Lettuce Wraps
Asian Lettuce Wraps

Add some Special Sauce and enjoy!