Tonight I made a dinner that is about as kid-friendly as it gets. I made orange "chicken" and penne and "cheese" with salad and cubed cantaloupe. Ben said "Mommy, your kitchen is just like the inside of a restaurant." And he didn't mean how my kitchen (which was last updated in 1954) looks, but the food. I'm not sure I've ever seen him eat so much at one sitting. What is more gratifying than watching your child devour your homemade cooking? Now I get why traditional [enter ethnicity/religion here] moms are known for their insistence to "Eat, Eat, EAT!!"
DISCLAIMER: This is not a good example of a health-supporting meal. I mean it won't kill you, and nutritionally it beats McD's by leaps and bounds, but do keep in mind that ideally, a healthful vegan dinner should contain fewer processed foods and more whole foods. For this reason, this meal was served with a huge salad and a cantaloupe. Anyway, this was just one of those nights, a night sandwiched between a one featuring homemade bean-and-collard greens soup and another featuring something equally wholesome tomorrow night.
Unfortunately the camera didn't make an appearance so you'll have to picture it in your mind. However I do remember how I prepared everything so I'm happy to share.
3-"Cheese" Vegan Pasta (serves 4)
- 1/2 lb pasta of your choice (we used whole wheat penne)
- 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated (but not "light") vegan margarine, like Earth Balance Soy Free Spread
- 1 packet of Road's End Organics cheddar-flavor Chreese (WHERE DO I GET THIS STUFF?)
- 1/2 cup shredded Italian Flavor Daiya Cheese (WHERE DO I GET THIS STUFF?)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
Boil pasta in sufficient water in a large pot. While pasta is boiling, get the other ingredients ready. You'll want to work fast and while the pasta is still very hot.
When pasta is done, drain the water (do not rinse) and return to the pot immediately; put the pot back on the stove over low-to-medium heat. Add the margarine and stir constantly until margarine is melted. Add the Chreese, Daiya, and nutritional yeast and stir until the Daiya is completely melted. Slowly add the milk until it's at the desired consistency.
I SWEAR this tastes like the real thing.
Orange "Chicken" with Broccoli (serves 2 hungry appetites or 4 small appetites)
- 1 package Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chick'n Strips
- 3/4 lb broccoli florets
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee Orange Sauce and Glaze (available at Asian stores and in the Asian section of large supermarkets)
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp agave nectar (or liquid sweetener of your choice)
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1/4 cup cold water
Take out the Chick'n Strips so they start to thaw.
Lightly steam the broccoli (a quick way: find 2 matching soup bowls. Put the florets into one bowl with a couple tablespoons water. Cover with other bowl. Microwave for 3 minutes. If you're uncomfortable with a microwave, steam the old-fashioned way on the stove).
Put the sauce ingredients into a large (2-cup liquid) measuring cup and stir with a little wire whisk or fork.
Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the Chick'n strips (it's OK if they're still frozen). Stir fry until heated through. Add the sauce. Heat until thickened. Add broccoli, toss to coat. Serve.
(This would certainly go better with a pile of brown rice than with my mac and cheese but hey I had a 4-year-old in mind.)
If you make either of these... let me know how it turned out!