Vegan at Heart

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Turn a Quick Dinner into Something Special
06 Jun 2011

Dear Vegan at Heart,

This week your mission is to add at least one of these easy-to-find products to your shopping list to help turn a quick dinner into something special.



This week's mission is brought to you by guest blogger Annie Shannon of the super popular

Know just how popular their Betty Crocker Project is? The New York Times editors are reading it!  

A little over a year ago, my husband and I started to cook our way through
 The Betty Crocker Cookbook, making all the recipes vegan. The mission of our little project was to prove that anything can be vegan. We've tackled spare ribs, New York cheesecake, clams in white sauce... even a fried egg! The ironic thing is that we get asked a lot what we eat on "nights off" from our little project, and people always seem shocked by how even the simplest, easiest recipes can be made vegan using basic products you can get at any grocery store. I mean let's be honest, even someone who takes every Paula Deen recipe as a personal challenge can appreciate having a delicious dinner in under 20 minutes.

So, this week your mission is to try one of my 5 favorite vegan products that'll help kick your "night off" up a notch.  


A-1 Steak Sauce 

Bless you, A-1 Steak Sauce, for being a zesty, citrusy and just plain ol' awesome condiment that goes perfectly with french fries, tofu, onion rings, hasbrowns, veggie burgers... even pizza. You deserve better than to be called steak sauce, because you're vegan masterpiece that is great without the steak. If you're the DIY type, you'll want to try this recipe. It tastes just like the original, but doesn't have the corn syrup.



Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning 

Next time you're eating a baked potato or French fries, try sprinkling on a little creole seasoning instead of salt. You'll need less to get a nice kick to your food, which is better for you, but the extra flavor will do wonders for your mood too. It's a amazing what a difference the little things can make. We use Tony's Creole seasoning a lot at our house, in everything from vegan hard boiled eggs and fried pickles to vegan crab cakes.


Liquid Smoke  

(This is our Smokey Garlic Alfredo.)
If you read our blog, you know I use this stuff all the time. It's a great product that adds a deep and rich flavor to mock meats or sauce without adding salt. I know a lot of folks don't use Liquid Smoke because they don't like artificial flavorings. The thing is, Liquid Smoke adds flavor without being from "chemical city." Liquid Smoke is actually a scientific wonder that's made from
 ingredients we've all heard of , and that you can even make in your own kitchen. Next time you're frying up a veggie burger or vegan sausage, toss a dash of liquid smoke into the oil and enjoy the flavor of a Sunday afternoon BBQ in the middle of the week.

Taco and Skillet Sauce

This is my new favorite. Recently, I found a series of skillet sauces created by Frontera owner and Top Chef Masters winner Rick Bayless... and yes, one of them is vegan! We used ours to make this Double Taco Burger, but it's also pretty great on vegan chicken for fajitas. This sauce even uses agave nectar instead of honey for sweetness. But be sure and read your labels: there are 2 green packets, and one is vegan and the other isn't. You can see the ingredients list in this post from The Kitchn. There are many other brands out there to explore, and I plan on finding more little gems like this for our "nights off".

S&B Golden Curry Sauce

Just add your favorite vegetables and vegan chicken and serve with brown rice. You'll have a great dinner and some even better leftovers for lunch the next day. Simple, wonderful and what we're having for dinner tonight!













Happy experimenting!





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