Grilled Cheez n Beans

This afternoon we will take a brief departure from Greenlite Meals so I can get these pictures out of my phone 🙂

Whenever my brother comes home, he buys a bunch of random food and then doesn’t eat half of it. I think we still have pickled watermelon rind from last summer tucked away in the back of the fridge. I dunno what else he left behind, but Sunday I found a package of steamed beans. I dunno what possessed me to put them in a sandwich, but it worked.

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I also tried Daiya Chive & Onion Cream Cheese-style Spread for the first time. The texture is slightly different than dairy cream cheese, not sure what it is…but I loved the flavor. I have a feeling you’ll see this repurposed in a couple recipes here, but first I wanted to use it as it’s meant to be, just a plain old spread.

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Sandwich stuff. The beans were bland, so I added a little Tabasco sauce and salt.

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Spread the inside of two slices of bread with the cream cheese, and the outside with margarine.

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Place the first piece of bread margarine side down on a skillet over medium low heat, spoon the beans over the cream cheese side. You can put as much as you want, but remember it might get a little messy to eat. Top with Daiya shreds,

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then the second piece of bread cream cheese side down. Cook each side until golden brown.

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I don’t really recommend cutting the sandwich in half, I just thought it would look nice for the picture 🙂 It wasn’t as messy to eat as I imagined, though – I think all the melty cheese and cream cheese held it together. The flavor was sort of like a bean burger with extra onions and sour cream, but without all the work.

I am also imagining replacing the beans with tortilla chips sprinkled with Frank’s Redhot Sauce. You can put just about anything in a sandwich. I love sandwiches. What’s your favorite?

Carolina BBQ & Avocado Sandwich

Okay, last Wednesday I made Carolina Jackfruit BBQ for the Lenten potluck, and I burned it, and I wanted to throw it away and I couldn’t believe anyone wanted to eat it! But they did. I had the leftovers in the fridge for a few days before I could bring myself to try the BBQ again and see if I could figure out why everyone liked it so much. You know what? I really liked it leftover and cold! And as I mentioned, I had a bunch of avocados to use up.

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So I made this really simple sandwich with the leftover BBQ, thinly sliced onion, and sliced avocado in pita bread. I didn’t add anything else, it was great just like this. I still think I would prefer the jackfruit Not blackened, but this is really good!

By the way, this is still oil free and perfect for a strict fasting day.

Recipe Recap
1/2 C Carolina Jackfruit BBQ
Thinly sliced onion, to your liking
Sliced avocado, to your liking

Classic ALT

Avocados were on sale when I stopped at the grocery store Saturday, so I stocked up. Of course even the green ones I snagged are already ripe enough for use now, so im in hurry to find ways to use them besides just making guacamole. A classic ALT sandwich seemed like a good place to start.

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The beauty of this sandwich lies in its simplicity, it’s just a clean version of the BLT. Here we have avocado, lettuce, and tomato on your bread of choice.

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There’s no need for mayo since the avocado provides all the delicious fat you need. Just sprinkle the tomatoes with salt if you’re missing the saltiness of the bacon. Simple as that. It’s a surprisingly filling sandwich, ready in minutes.

Depending on your bread, it can also easily be oil free – perfect for a strict fasting day.

Meaty Grilled Cheese n Crackers

So, I mentioned earlier I got my hands on a box of Earth Balance cheddar flavor squares. Of course they’re great right out of the box, but what else can you do with them? I filled a grilled (Daiya) cheese sandwich with them!

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A few slices of Tofurky Roast Beef-style deli slices, a handful of crackers, and a handful of shredded Daiya cheddar. Processed food at its finest.

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The crackers give the sandwich a little extra saltiness, and a nice crunch.

Oh yeah, funny story about this bread. As I was about to put it away I noticed the ingredient list on the bag. I said to the BFF, “Look how many ingredients are in this bread! There must be at least 27 ingredients, it’s ridiculous!!!” (27 is the number I like to use to describe an excessive amount) We then complained about store bought bread and talked about how we know we should be baking our own bread at home for this very reason (well, plus freshly-baked bread is just wonderful). Then I turned the bag over. It was 24 grain bread. I didn’t know there that many grains. It was good bread.

Italian qrunch sandwich

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Last week when I stopped at Meijer to pick up wedding cards, I had a strong, overpowering urge to check out the frozen foods. I was delighted to see a new item – Qrunch Burgers! They were on sale for half the price I paid at Horrock’s, so I couldn’t resist buying a box. I think it was meant to be.

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This time I tried the Spicy Italian.

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You can see the spices in it. With the Italian sub I made earlier still on my mind, I decided to try something similar with the Qrunch burger. I whipped up a batch of my vegan mozzarella tahini sauce, and turned two slices of plain Ezekiel bread into delicious garlic bread (lots of margarine on each side, lots of garlic on each side…toast it!).
Preheat the oven to 375.

I figured since it looks well seasoned, I didn’t actually need a marinara sauce, just lots and lots of fresh tomato. No spices added, other than what’s in the mozzarella sauce.

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The burger took on a lovely golden hue after a couple rounds in the toaster.

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Smear some of the mozzarella sauce on one piece of toast, add the Spicy Italian Qrunch burger…

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more sauce, a bunch of slices of tomato, more sauce. On the other piece of toast, I just smeared it with the sauce, piled on the tomatoes, added more sauce. I used one roma tomato.
Place the sandwich halves in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and the tomatoes are tender.

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Remove from oven. Once cool enough to handle, two become one…one big, fat sandwich.

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The burger was even spicier than I expected, it reminded me of Italian sausage. I bet this would be great chopped up and added to pasta in place of meatballs. Probably the best $3 I’ve spent in a long time. The fool who wrote the commercial cracking jokes about “quee-no” burgers needs to try one of these!

skinny mini sandwich

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I mentioned last night, I have been very bad lately and not making much to eat. Well, this is what happens on the days I don’t get to Marie’s.

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When we were little kids, my dad would buy a special treat for my siblings and I each week when he went grocery shopping. I always asked for a Butterfingers, I think my sister got a Snickers bar and our brother a Bar None. Unfortunately the Bar None is no longer sold, except in Mexico. Anyway, all that to say our dad now buys me a special treat from the vending machine at work each week. A bag of chips. Chips are great with sandwiches.

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To go with it, I made this tiny little sandwich by cutting one long slice of Feldkamp Fitness bread in half. I spread spicy mustard on one slice and Vegenaise on the other, sprinkled one side with a little nutritional yeast, and piled on two torn up leaves of romaine lettuce.

This is what I’ve been reduced to. I did do some baking last night, I’ll post it later.

Mock Tuna Chickpea Salad Three Ways

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A couple weeks ago I saw Sophia’s Mock Tuna Salad over at Silk and Spice. I decided to try it the next day, but it was one of those things where after I got started I realized I didn’t quite have everything I needed. It still turned out so well, though, I decided to do some experimenting.

Each recipe begins with one can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.

Mock Tuna Lemon Salad
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Basically, this one came about because I had less than half the amount mayo the original recipes call for, and I added a ton of lemon juice.

So, in the bowl of your food processor add: chickpeas, 1 heaping Tbsp vegan mayo, 4 Tbsp lemon juice (juice of one huge lemon), 1 tsp nutritional yeast, 1 tsp nori flakes, salt & pepper to taste.

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Pulse, leaving chickpeas slightly chunky. I left mine really chunky.

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1/3 C celery, finely chopped; 1/3 C pickles, finely chopped; 1/4 C onion, finely chopped.

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In a bowl, add veggies to chickpea mixture,

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stir. I let mine chill for 15 minutes.

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I made open face sandwiches so I could eat tons of the salad without so much bread. It’s supposed to make 4 to 5 sandwiches, but instead I got 2 open face sandwiches and ate the rest with a spoon! All that lemon made me think of another kind of tuna salad I used to eat sometimes before I went vegan…

Mock Syrian Tuna Salad
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I think this is one of those “Syrian” Syrian recipes – something my great-grandmother made up when she came here, not anything anyone eats in Syria. Anyway.

For this recipe, you will need about 1/3 C fresh parsley (or, to taste), 1 large lemon, 1 green onion (or, to taste).

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Finely chop the parsley, chop the green onion, juice half the lemon.

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In the bowl of your food processor, add chickpeas and 3 Tbsp olive oil,

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with 2 Tbsp nori flakes, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, lemon juice & salt to taste. Pulse as above. Place in bowl and…

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add parsley and green onions.

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Stir. Taste it – you may want to add more olive oil, and if you’re even just a little Syrian, chances are you’ll want to add more salt. This definitely benefits from being chilled.

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I ate mine with Ezekiel bread, but we’d usually have this with pita. Do as you please.

The final recipe is another way my dad likes to make it. This time I remembered to buy another jar of veganaise!

Mock Tuna Salad with Peas
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Chickpeas in the food processor with 3 Tbsp mayo, 1 tsp nutritional yeast, salt & pepper to taste. Oh, and 1 heaping Tbsp nori flakes. I used a different amount of nori in each recipe because I was trying to figure out how much of a fishy taste I like.*

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Pulse, pulse, pulse. I did make it a little creamier this time.

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Add peas – I did about half a can, but you can use as much or as little as you want. My dog is happy to eat any leftover peas.

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By this time I realized there was no point in making a sandwich because for me, the bread is just the vehicle to get this tasty salad to my mouth.
The cool thing about this last recipe is between the can of chickpeas, half a can of peas and two slices of Ezekiel bread (slightly toasted is the way to go, by the way), you get a whopping 42 grams of protein! This is great for your main meal of the day, and it’s so filling you won’t need anything else to go with it. If you have a lot of self control, you might even have enough here for two meals 🙂

*I prefer 2 Tbsp of nori flakes. I didn’t actually have the flakes, though, I had the sheets used for making sushi. I just cut them up with food scissors.

Maybe I’ll get really hardcore and try a mock tuna melt sandwich or mock tuna casserole…. Thanks for the inspiration, Sophia!

Qrunch burger with curry sauce

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Well, thinking about a dum aloo burger, I decided the least I could do is make a nice curry sauce for an open face Qrunch burger sandwich.

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I started with lots of onions, one heaping 1/2 cup…

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sauteed in canola oil until they were nice and soft.

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If you have pre-made curry seasoning, add it to taste. If not, add to taste: salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, turmeric. When it seems about right, add just a tiny bit more because…

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you’re going to add 2 tsp of flour, then stir it in and…

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add 1/2 C water. Stir.

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Cook over low, stirring occasionally, until a sauce is formed.

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A couple recipes I looked at called for the addition of sour cream. Instead, I added 1 heaping Tbsp of toom-

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Middle Eastern garlic spread. If you don’t have any, you could use a vegan mayo instead and cook some fresh, minced garlic with the onions in the first couple steps.

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The sauce should be nice and creamy now. If it’s too thick, add and stir in water 1 Tbsp at a time. Meanwhile,

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cook up one Qrunch burger patty and one slice of toast. Put the patty through one cycle, then add the toast during the second cycle. It’s kind of fun.

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You could add veggies to this – if it weren’t 95 degrees over here I would have also baked some potatoes like I had for the last burger. Tomatoes would also be excellent. But this simple version is great, too – bread, sauce, burger…

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and even more sauce.

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It is wonderful. I ended up eating all four patties within 3 days. I need to make a batch of my own burgers, but I seriously plan on trying the three other Qrunch burger flavors. It’s just awesome to finally have a good-tasting vegan burger with a great texture and healthy ingredients. I recommend buying a box, if for no other reason than to support a budding vegan business; however, once you try the burger it might become a staple quick-fix item.

za’atar sandwich

This is nice quick snack if you have a loaf of Syrian bread to use up – not pita, but thick loaves called talamee. We get some from Tete about once a month…actually, it’s very easy to make, I’m not sure why we don’t do it ourselves. That’s for another post.

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Halve the bread lengthwise…

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and place the two pieces cut side up on aluminum foil (or use a baking sheet if you don’t want to be wasteful). Drizzle with olive oil,

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sprinkle on the za’atar. Oh, you’ve never heard of za’atar?

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Well, it’s a simple blend of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac and salt, sometimes with other spices like oregano. You can find it any Middle Eastern market. Interestingly this one claims to be homemade, I wonder if a little Jordanian grandmother mixed it up in her kitchen.
Anyway. Place it under the broiler on the low setting until…

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the bread gets a nice golden brown color around the edges, and the sesame seeds look nice and toasted. You can eat it warm or at room temp.

Even easier: if you have pita bread and don’t feel like using the oven, you can just dip the bread in oil, then dip in the za’atar. I first had this while visiting a friend in California, his dad told us it was “brain food.” According to Wikipedia, though, “In the Levant, there is a belief that za’atar makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za’atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam or before school. This, however, is also believed to be a myth fabricated during the Lebanese civil war to encourage eating of za’atar, as provisions were low at the time and za’atar was of abundance.”

Oh well, it’s a nice thought. And it’s pretty high in iron and calcium, so maybe your brain will be happy with you for making a wise snack choice.