Tuesday Tip: Measuring Shortening

Measuring Shortening | @HipVegetarian

Here’s a cooking tip that my mother taught me: how to measure shortening.

Measuring Shortening | @HipVegetarian

If you need a half cup of shortening, then fill your liquid measuring cup with a 1/2 cup of water. Then scoop in enough shortening to left the water level up to 1 cup.

Measuring Shortening | @HipVegetarian

Need a cup of shortening? Then scoop in enough shortening to raise the water level to 1 1/2 cups.

Spaghetti Cheese Balls

Spaghetti Cheese Balls | @HipVegetarianAs a replacement to meatballs, I use a recipe my Mom gave me that I’ve renamed to Spaghetti Cheese Balls. It really didn’t have a name, so I came up with one that seems to describe it best.

Made out of cream cheese, Ritz crackers, and pecans — well to say this recipe isn’t tasty, would be a lie.

Both boys and the husband like this. Even more importantly, this is a fun recipe to have the boys help me with in the kitchen. From crushing the crackers to scooping the “dough,” there is something for everyone to do.

Spaghetti Cheese Balls

8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
1 1/2 sleeves, Ritz Crackers, crushed
1/16 – 1/8 cup Salted Pecans or Cashews, chopped
Dash, Seasoning Salt
Dash, Garlic Salt
1/8 – 1/4 cup, Bacon Bits
1/2 cup, Onions, chopped
1 Egg

Mix all the ingredients together. Use a 1 inch scoop, and place into a pan of oil. Fry until the cheese balls are golden brown.

Spaghetti Cheese Balls | @HipVegetarian

Vegetarian Baby Food at Green Vegetarian Cuisine

This morning I stopped by Green Vegetarian Cuisine to scope out the new baby food Chef Mike to starting to provide for his littlest customers.  The video is a little shakey, but I’ll get better over time, right? Click on the image below to check it out.

 Gourmet Baby Food | @Hip Vegetarian Cuisine

My Sunday Confession: Sweet & Tangy Poppy Seed Dressing

MySundayConfessionEvery week I collect recipes out of the local newspaper — we have an award winning food section, and quite often it gives me inspiration to cook. Now whether I act upon the inspiration is another story.  However  a month or two ago, I clipped a recipe for Apple Annie’s Tea Room & Bakery Poppy Seed Dressing. Folks, this recipe is just sinful. I had to try it. When I make it again, I think I’ll adjust a few of the ingredients to help bring the calorie count down, down, down — way down. I feel so guilty that there is still a whole tub of it in my refrigerator that still needs to be used. I dare not tell my husband what’s in the ingredients. Though if you want to try this dressing and live in San Antonio, I can tell you that a trip to Apple Annie’s would be worth the effort, just let this dressing pass your lips.

Sweet & Tangy Poppyseed Dressing | @HipVegetarianSweet & Tangy Poppy Seed Dressing

1/2 cup Sugar 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard 1/8 teaspoon Salt 1/4 cup Vinegar 1 cup Vegetable Oil 1/2 tablespoon Poppy Seeds 1/2 tablespoon Orange Rind, grated 1/4 cup Sour Cream Place sugar, dry mustard, salt, vinegar in a mixing bowl and mix. Slowly add oil and whisk until it becomes a thick emulsion. Add poppy seeds, orange rind and sour cream. Mix well.

Green Vegetarian Cuisine’s New Location at The Pearl {Giveaway}

green logo art | @HipVegetarianSometimes when sit down and reflect over the past few years, I realize how blessed (and I mean really blessed) my friend Mike has been.

A beautiful photo of the North Flores location now hangs at The Pearl. Photo was taken by Scott Martin.

A beautiful photo of the North Flores location now hangs at The Pearl. Photo was taken by Scott Martin.

Mike is one of my husband’s, Paul, best friends, and somehow he talked Paul into joining him on this little crazy adventure back in 2006 — a vegetarian restaurant in San Antonio. At the time, San Antonio didn’t have a vegetarian-only restaurant. They were trailblazers in a city that loved its meat.

Mike and his Mom Lulu were already infamous with San Antonio locals for their chicken fried steak and 3 lb cinnamon rolls at Lulu’s Bakery & Cafe. However Mike had this vision to share his passion of vegetarian food with the city. So he bought a 100 year-old brink building on North Flores that was just a shell. Half of it had no roof. There was only a dirt floor. Its history started as a bakery in 1896, before it transitioned to a produce company, a bar, and then sketchy rental rooms.

Mike remodeled it and made it beautiful.

Since then they’ve certified Green as a kosher restaurant. Chris, Mike’s brother, joined the team, and they’ve opened up a second location at Alon Towne Centre on NW Military. As it turned out, San Antonio liked having a vegetarian restaurant.

And then the blessings kept coming — they were given the opportunity to open up at the historic Pearl Brewery on the museum reach of San Antonio’s River Walk.

If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you’ll see I mention Green quite often.  That’s because I’m proud of what Mike, Lulu, Chris and Paul have made it into.

Mike, Chris, Paul and LuAnn

Chris, Mike, Paul and Lulu

Green is closing it’s North Flores location. Friday was its last day. Emotions are mixed about the move. Talking to the wait staff, some are near tears about leaving their comfy home on Flores. Others are excited about new, artistic facelift at The Pearl. However Mike is making sure some some of Green’s original elements will make the move too — like the lamp shade wall and graffiti picket fence.

If you haven’t ever visited Green before, or are a regular customer, be sure to enter my $25 gift card giveaway below. Deadline to enter is Thursday, March 7, Midnight.

Also be sure to comment and to share your favorite menu item at Green. Mine is the Mediterrain Bowl, but lately I’ve been craving the Monk Bowl — made with kale, beans and quinoa. It sounds rather simple, but the flavors are complex.

Green Vegetarian Cuisine is located at The Pearl, Full Goods Building, 200 E. Grayson and at the Alon Towne Centre, 10003 NW Military, Suite 2115.

green1 Enter to win a $25 Gift Card to Green in this Rafflecopter giveaway.

Crust-free Chicken Pot Pie (v) (gf)

Crust-Free Chicken Pot Pie (gluten free & vegan) | The Hip Vegetarian | @hipvegetarianThe other day I was looking at my round white potatoes and thought hmmm, they might work well as a crust replacement for a chicken pot pie.

So last night I fired up the stove, cut my potatoes in thin slices, fried them until they were golden and used them as the crust for one of my favorite entrees.

Inadvertently I made my pot pie vegan, because I was out of cream; and quite honestly, I didn’t miss the cream AT ALL. The pot pie still had great flavor for the gravy.

Usually I use flour as a thickener, but this can easily be converted to gluten-free by using corn starch.

To cut down on fat, I saute my onions, celery and garlic in water instead of oil or butter.

The great thing about a chicken pot pie is that you can use what ever you have on-hand in the refrigerator or freezer. Peas, pearl onions, mushrooms, carrots, green beans, corn — whatever little bit you need to use up — just throw in your stew.

Crustless Chicken Pot Pie

2 medium Round Potatoes, thinly sliced
1 bag, Morningstar Chicken Strips, Meal Starters
1/4 cup, Water
1 medium Onion, chopped
3 ribs Celery, diced
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
3 carrots, chopped
4 tablespoons, Cornstarch
1 cup Dry White Wine
2 cups, Broth
Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon, Thyme
1 cup, frozen Peas
2 cups, Mushrooms, sliced

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9×13 baking dish.

Slice potatoes into thin slices and lightly fry in a skillet until golden. Line the bottom of casserole dish with a layer of potatoes. Set the rest aside.

Fry chicken strips until golden. Set aside.

Saute onion, celery, garlic and carrots in 1/4 cup of water until soft. Add water add needed during sauteing. Stir occasionally.

Add wine and vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper. Mix corn starch in a little bit of cold water, until it’s disolved. Add to mixture on the stove and bring to boil for 2 minutes. Stir to prevent lumps from forming.

Bring to a boil. Add thyme, peas, mushrooms. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, 5-9 minutes. Add chicken and remove from heat. Pour mixture in baking dish and layer the top with remaining potatoes.

Bake until bubbly; approximately 20-25 minutes.

Cranberry Holiday Tea

This recipe comes from my mother’s cookbook. It’s one of the few things I can remember her making for the holidays. With 2 cups of sugar and orange juice, the cranberry tartness fades away in this warm smooth tea.

This original recipe gave me the inspiration for a mocktail version I posted over at The Bloom Blog, turning it into a sparkling cold drink. So be sure to pop over there and say hello.

Cranberry Holiday Tea | The Hip VegetarianCranberry Holiday Tea

1 quart Cranberries (3 12 oz. bags)
2 cups Sugar
2 quarts Water
2 cups Orange Juice (fresh)

3 tablespoons Lemon Juice
2 sticks, Cinnamon

Mix and boil cranberries, sugar and water until cranberries pop open. Strain cranberries from the juice and discard.

Add Orange Juice, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks. Simmer on the stove for about 10 minutes.

Serve warm.

Pasta Asiago with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Pasta Asiago with Spinich & Sun-Dried Tomatoes | @HipVegetarian

Pasta Asiago with Spinich & Sun-Dried Tomatoes | @HipVegetarian

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I was slightly tired of left overs; so I pulled out a recipe I recently found in the San Antonio Express-News.  Their Taste section is the main reason I subscribe to the Sunday paper, and I have a stack of recipes that I want to try, to prove it.

I made the reduced-fat version of the recipe, which is listed here. I also added chicken strips from Morning Star to give it a protein boost.

Pasta Asiago with Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Makes 6 servings

12 ounces whole-grain pasta
1 bag, Morningstar Chicken Strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
11/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup Vegetable broth, divided use
2 cups fat-free half-and-half
1/2 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (not oil-packed)
1 (6-ounce) package baby spinach

Instructions: Boil pasta according to package directions; drain, set aside and keep warm.

Saute chicken strips in a nonstick skillet. Set aside.

In a separate skillet, add olive oil and the red onion. Sauté onion, using broth if necessary to prevent scorching, until soft. Add garlic.

Combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the vegetable broth to dissolve. Add the rest of the broth to the dissolved cornstarch and pour the mixture into the skillet. Bring to a boil. Add half-and-half and return to a boil. Add Asiago cheese and stir. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes.

In a large bowl or pan, combine chicken or shrimp, pasta, sauce and spinach, and stir until the spinach is slightly wilted.

There is a nice tasty, original fattening version of this recipe at http://www.mysanantonio.com/life/food/article/Reduced-Fat-Pasta-with-Spinach-Asiago-and-3982289.php#ixzz2EEn7Ukp7.