The foods nationally associated with April are soyfoods, grilled cheese and garlic. I had never realized just how many fantastic recipes using these ingredients there are. Cook with your family, enjoy the beginning of spring and let us know how you like the recipes! ~ Mary
SOY ………… YUCK!!! That is the common thought in most people’s minds when you talk about soy products! It was in mine! Short story long – my daughter attended an alumni ag get together and came home raving about the ways soy was being used for food products and how delicious it was. She wanted me to try it. Told her, "Sorry, I don’t get into soy and I don’t like those products." She told me, "Taste it and give it an honest try and if you don’t like it – you don’t have to eat it." (Don’t you hate it when you hear what you told your children 20-some years prior comes out of their mouths). I tried it and it was delicious – I couldn’t believe I was eating soy and not chicken! Took some to work and no one knew they were not eating chicken!!
Since then, I have made chili with the soy beef crumbles, fajitas with the soy steak strips, spaghetti with the soy meatballs, chicken salad with the soy chicken pieces and more – including the recipe for this month’s Healthy Recipe … try it – you will be amazed!!
Just a note: Not only did we find it at our local health food stores – Earth Fare and Whole Foods – but also at Walmart, Publix and Kroger. Many stores have their own brand names, but we really like Gardein, Morning Star, Beyond Meat and Field Roast. Again, there are many, many brands … you just have to find the ones you like best!! ~ Jena
Simple Garlic Bread
1 loaf Italian bread
Preheat oven to 375°.
Garlic Roasted Potatoes
1/8 cup good olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°.
In a large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. In same bowl, cut potatoes in half or quarters. Toss until potatoes are well-coated. Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet and spread to 1 layer. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until browned and crisp. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking in order to ensure even browning.
Note from Mary: Our Editor-in-Chief Jim Allen contributed this one and it is GREAT!!!
Vegan Grilled Cheese
2 slices sandwich bread (½" thick), Cobblestone or other vegan brand
For classic grilled cheese: Sprinkle cheese on a slice of bread. Top with second slice of bread.
Bacon grilled cheese: Sprinkle half of cheese on a slice of bread. Add bacon. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Top with second slice of bread.
Preheat cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat. Melt half butter in a hot skillet. Add sandwich and cook until golden brown and crispy. Use a spatula to lift sandwich and check progress as needed. Add remaining butter to pan and use a spatula to carefully flip sandwich. Top cooked side with a light sprinkle of cheese. Continue cooking until underside is golden brown. Quickly flip the sandwich once more, cooking just long enough for the cheese on the outside to get fried and crispy. Remove and put on plate. Slice on a diagonal and let the sandwich rest for a couple of minutes before eating.
Note: Serve with your favorite condiments – ketchup, hummus and vegan ranch are great options.
Mexican Style Tofu Wraps
1 Tablespoon soy oil
In medium saucepan, in oil sauté onions until tender; add garlic. Sauté for ½ minute more. Add beans, salsa and cumin; heat for 1 minute. If sauce is too thick, add water.
Add tofu; simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Divide tofu mixture evenly between tortillas. Top each with cheese, lettuce and tomatoes; fold and serve.
Easy Microwave Soy Lasagna
1 pound lean ground beef
In microwavable colander, crumble ground beef. In microwave on high power, brown beef for 5-6 minutes. (This should be drained well.)
In a bowl, pour spaghetti sauce. Add beef. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine tofu, egg and water; beat well. In a 9x13 microwave-safe dish, spread a small amount of the sauce mixture to keep noodles from sticking. (Noodles do not have to be cooked.) Break noodles into dish to fit, making one layer. Pour half tofu mixture over noodles and top with half sauce mixture. Sprinkle half cheese on top. Repeat layers. Cover dish tightly or use plastic, wrapping dish in both directions. In microwave, cook on high power for 8 minutes. Continue to cook an additional 32 minutes on medium high. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.
2 large eggplants
In oven, broil eggplants until soft and mushy. Be sure to turn them as needed so they cook all over and don’t burn.
Remove eggplants from broiler and put them directly onto exposed flame on a gas stovetop or grill. Keep your eye on it as a couple of minutes will do for a nice smoky char.
Allow to cool enough to handle, cut open and scoop out flesh, getting rid of as many seeds as possible. In a food processor or blender, add eggplant and rest of ingredients except garnish. Blend until almost smooth with a little bit of chunkiness.
Serve cool and garnish with parsley, olive oil and cayenne pepper.
Tip: If you don’t have a gas stovetop or grill (or simply what to save some time), slice eggplant into ¼-inch slices before broiling. This will still allow it to have a good roasted taste.
Easy Garlic Kale
1 bunch kale
In a large bowl of water, soak kale leaves until dirt and sand begin to fall to the bottom, about 2 minutes. Lift kale from bowl without drying leaves. Immediately remove and discard stems. Chop leaves into 1-inch pieces.
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic. Cook and stir until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add kale and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally with tongs, until kale is bright green and slightly tender, 5-7 minutes.
25-30 large shrimp, raw and peeled
In a large resealable freezer bag, mix everything except butter. Swish it around good to coat all of shrimp. Or in a large bowl, mix everything and cover TIGHTLY with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
On medium, preheat large heavy-bottom pan with butter. Add shrimp. Stir shrimp for about 10 minutes, until pink and lightly browned.
Serve with loaded baked potato.
Tips: Do not substitute with garlic powder OR dried parsley! Sea salt is stronger than table salt so use less than normal.
Note from Mary: Jim Allen contributed this one as well!
APRIL HEALTHY RECIPE
Italian Soy Chicken Pasta Casserole
8 ounces garden pasta
In large resealable plastic bag, place Chik’n Strips and add dressing. Toss to coat. Place in fridge for 30 minutes or while preparing pasta and other ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Prepare pasta as directed on package, except add green beans the last 3 minutes of cooking. Strain and place in a large bowl. Stir in all contents of bag.
In a medium pan, bring soymilk and spread to boil. Carefully pour into blender. Add parmesan cheese, flour, pepper and salt. Cover and puree for 15 seconds or until mixture is creamy and smooth. Pour sauce over pasta and mix until blended. Place in 13x9x2 pan. Sprinkle tomatoes over pasta.
In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs and cheddar cheese. Sprinkle over casserole.
Bake for 20 minutes or until sauce is hot and bubbling.
* We use rice milk – soy can be sweet. Earth Balance has a totally vegan spread.