Maybe it’s the holidays. Maybe it’s the weather – there is over 2 feet of snow outside. Maybe it’s all the diet commercials on TV (I can be oppositional that way). I don’t know what it is but lately, I’ve been HUNGRY and craving foods that are definitely NOT diet-friendly. Now that doesn’t mean I’ve been indulging in them; in fact, I probably burned calories from all the fantasizing and salivating 🙂
But I’ve been watching a lot of TV food shows and I’ve really been craving the kinds of comfort foods I used to love back in the P.V. (pre-Vegan) days. For me, that means savory, fried, and greasy appetizers. For me, that also meant wearing size 24 pants.
|Me in size 24 pants|
So I have 2 very important reasons why I WILL NOT eat those foods: (1) I am NOT giving up being a size 8 for anything but a size 6…I hope… and (2) I am NOT EVER going to knowingly eat anything that involved pain, suffering, exploitation or murder of a living being.
|Me at size 8 pants|
I do want to create Vegan versions of all my favorite appetizers – that’s the easy part. For me, the hard part is still portion control. Even though Vegan food is healthier and has less calories per serving (usually) and even though it only takes half a serving of Vegan food to make me feel as full as non-Vegan food (Vegan food is just more filling whether it be soy, legumes, fiber, greens, etc.), I still have to be careful about how much I eat. I still have to be aware of when I feel satisfied and stop before I feel full (or too full), no matter how good the food is and how much is left on my plate. I have gotten better at that and so I can indulge in some of my favorite non-diet friendly foods sometimes without ruining my progress.
For the past few days, I had been craving nachos. A big plate of tortilla chips with ground “beef,” olives and ooey-gooey cheeze with salsa and sour cream on the side. Luckily, I had everything I needed to make it in the house. Well, almost everything…I would have loved some guacamole. Maybe next time.
First I made my own Vegan version of picadillo using Gimme Lean “Beef,” onions, garlic, bell peppers, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, corn and spices. Then I layered the chips, picadillo, black olives and Daiya cheese – both mozzarella and cheddar – into a casserole dish and baked it. Vegan sour cream and salsa on the side and we were in nacho heaven.
For the picadillo:
1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 chipotle pepper, chopped (canned with adobo sauce)
1 tube Gimme Lean, “beef” flavored
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup frozen corn
1-8oz. can tomato sauce
1-2 Tbs. adobo sauce (from the can of chipotle peppers)
For the nachos:
Blue corn tortilla chips
1 cup Daiya cheese, either flavor (I used a combo of mozzarella and cheddar)
8 oz. pitted black olives, sliced
Salsa, Vegan sour cream, guacamole (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. First, prepare the picadillo. In a skillet, add some cooking spray and saute the onion, garlic, bell pepper and chipotle pepper until softened, about 5 minutes. Turn off the skillet, move the veggies to a bowl and allow to cool.
In a large bowl, add the Gimme Lean (it’s easiest to handle if your hands are wet) and break it up a bit. Add the cooled onion, garlic, bell pepper and chipotle pepper to the bowl. Add the spices (no salt is necessary because there is salt in the chips, the cheese and the olives) and mix thoroughly with your hands.
|Uncooked Gimme Lean with sauteed veggies|
Return the skillet to medium heat. Add 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Add the Gimme Lean mixture to the skillet and break it up with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato sauce, 1-2 Tbs. of adobo sauce (depending how spicy you like it) and the frozen corn. Mix well and let cook until the picadillo is browned, about 10 minutes.
|Cooked Gimme Lean Picadillo|
When the picadillo is ready, spray a casserole dish lightly with cooking spray. Layer the dish with tortilla chips. Then spoon half the picadillo onto the chips. On top of the picadillo, add half the Daiya and then half the black olives.
Repeat the process with the remaining ingredients to create a second layer.
Bake for about 20 minutes until the Daiya is melted and gooey.
Serve while hot with salsa, Vegan sour cream, guacamole or whatever you like.
This makes a delicious appetizer if you have company or it can be a meal by itself.
Eat it before you make that New Year’s resolution to lose weight 🙂