Category Archives: Meats

Italian Sausage, Swiss Chard & Bean Soup

It be COLD outside here in Vancouver BC! What is better than some warm soup with crusty bread after a long day of work and/or child rearing? A TV show I discovered on a weird Italian channel we have has given me some inspiration to create a new soup flavour. Lidia’s Family Table is one of my new favorite cooking shows. She’s not annoying to watch and I’ve learned a lot about food and new ways to look at certain ingredients. I took her Savory Potato Broth and then made my own additions for this soup. The broth is easy to make and gives a great base for anything you’d like to add to it. She uses this broth as a base for several of her own soups. You can make the large amount that she does and freeze the other half for later.


One bunch red or green Swiss Chard
1 can Cannellini or Navy beans, rinsed
2 spicy Italian sausages
8 cups of Savory Potato Broth
1/2 lemon juiced
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
day old baguette for garnish
fresh chopped Italian parsley for garnish

Squeeze Italian sausages out of their casings into a frying pan in little balls and fry up until cooked.

Heat broth and add the can of rinsed beans and cooked sausage. Taste and season again. It may need more salt.

Chop up the Swiss chard (remove long stems) and stir into the soup. Add lemon juice, this will brighten it up a bit. Cook for around 25 to 30 minutes or until chard is soft and no longer crunchy.

Slice bread up into thin slices, brush with olive oil. Scrub each piece with a chunk of garlic (cut in half) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Chop up the ends of the baguette into crouton size and toss them in a little oil and salt and pepper. Place in a 425 degree oven for around 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy.

Serve soup with a few croutons, fresh grated Parmesan cheese and chopped Italian parsley. SO good!


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Filed under Meats, Soup

Vegetarian TVP Beefy ‘Meatballs’

My friend Anne Marie and her little man Emmet were coming over today to hang out as their floors are being replaced in their home. I thought it might be nice to send my vegetarian friend home with some dinner as I’m sure her and husband Rick will be more inclined to move their furniture back in then cook a healthy meal. I scoured the internets to find a vegetarian ‘meatball’ that had a beefy flavour. I found one and decided to give them a try. They come from the blog A Vegan For Dinner  and due to her daunting request to reference her I thought it was in my best interest! 😉 “But this recipe is so fab, if I ever find out you stole it and didn’t give me credit, I will so figure out where you live and sign you up for weird sexual newsletters and/or incontinence catalogs through the mail. That’s a promise.”

These would be great with a simple tomato sauce over spaghetti or sweet and sour sauce over rice as she references. Anything with an asterix * beside it means I’ve either changed her recipe or made an addition to it. I’m hoping she won’t mind!?

Vegetarian TVP Beefy ‘Meatballs’

In a small bowl, mix:
1 cup hot water
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon ketchup
2 tablespoon soya sauce
2 tablespoon vegan beef bouillon
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
*1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon thyme
*1/2 teaspoon oregano
*1/2 teaspoon basil
*1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
*1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds (optional)

*Saute in olive oil till translucent: (I couldn’t help but add a little fresh onion and garlic)
1/2 minced onion
2 cloves garlic crushed

Then Stir In:
3/4 cup TVP crumbles
Allow to sit until cool. *I reheated liquid in microwave before adding TVP.

Vegans: Mix 1 Tbsp ground flax *or chia seeds with 3 Tbsp water. Beat with a fork, then lit sit until it begins to gel. Set aside.
*Vegetarians: Wisk up one egg.

In a large bowl, mix:
2 tablespoon cornmeal
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoon vital wheat gluten flour

When TVP mixture is cool, stir it into the dry ingredients along with flax/or egg and water/TVP mixture. Mix well and knead dough into a solid ball. *Let this rest for around 5 minutes and allow the gluten fibers to form and relax.

Shape into 32 “meatballs” and fry in oil until brown. Alternately, you can bake on an oiled pan at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes. *I divided the dough into 4. Then each of those into 8 small balls. I placed the salt shaker in the picture so you can see how small they are. I also forgot to add the chili flakes so i sprinkled them on the balls after putting them on the cookie sheet for baking.

Use as you would any other meatball, like spaghetti or sweet and sour sauce. Do not allow the meatballs to sit in the sauce for an extended period of time; add close to the end of the cooking period, just long enough to heat thoroughly. *I grated a ton of mozzarella and fresh chopped Italian parsley on mine. I seriously couldn’t tell it was not meat. Great recipe Tracy!!


Filed under Meats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies

Several months ago my good friend Mia and her husband Branden moved to Texas. We decided it was best for me to come for a visit and experience Mia’s new found love – the city of Austin. I must say I have never been to a city quite a friendly as Austin. The people are warm and engaging, the food is amazing, the weather (in October mind you) is a perfect sunny day everyday. So far, I’m sold! Like myself, Mia has a love of the kitchen and impressing her guests with culinary delights whenever possible. She swears by anything Martha Stewart has put her name to and after flipping the pages of her latest publication we decided it was in our best interest to give this recipe a go. It’s a tad on the timely side, but well worth the wait. A great meal for an evening dinner party in the future chilly months ahead.

This recipe is copied from Martha Stewarts website here and I have added a few extra points* and my own pictures. (My drinking buddy below ;))

Braised Short Rib, Stout and Potato Potpies

For The Filling
4 pounds boneless short ribs, cut into 2-inch pieces Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons safflower oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 bottles (12 ounces) stout, preferably Guinness (3 cups)
2 rosemary sprigs
1 pound cipollini onions, peeled

For The Topping
6 medium russet potatoes (3 1/2 pounds)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

*To remove the peel on the small cipollini  onions, cut off both ends and lightly score down the side. Place in a sieve and dip into boiling water for up to 30 seconds. Let them cool a few minutes and then carefully remove the skin. Set aside.*

Make the filling:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge short ribs in flour, coating all sides. Transfer to a large plate.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Working in batches, brown short ribs, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a large plate using kitchen tongs. Reduce heat to medium. Add yellow onion to Dutch oven, and cook until golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.

Return meat to Dutch oven. Add stout and rosemary.

Bring to a simmer. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake for 2 1/2 hours.

Remove Dutch oven from oven, and add cipollini onions. Braise until meat is tender and onions are cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Shred meat using 2 forks. Season with salt and pepper. Divide filling among eight mini (1-cup) pie plates, or transfer to a 12-inch (8-cup) gratin dish.

Make the topping: Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees.

Peel potatoes, and very thinly slice each (preferably on a mandoline). *Mia and I only used 3 potatoes, so I recommend only cutting up three and then more if you need to.* Arrange potatoes over meat to form tight concentric circles, working around the edge and overlapping each potato by three-quarters. Brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake until topping is golden and filling is bubbling, about 45 minutes for mini potpies (1 hour for large potpie).

Serve with a fresh salad and a chunk of French bread to soak up all the gravy!


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Hungarian Beef Paprikash

This is a super inexpensive meal, which is good as cash is a tad tight right now in our house (and apparently in a LOT of other homes as well) . Stewing beef costs next to nothing and same goes for potatoes and onions. If you are watching the waistline use a fat free sour cream. The creaminess is what makes this dish memorable. This recipe is easily doubled if you have a larger family. If you’re not a fan of potatoes, you can use rice or a broad type of pasta noodle. You could easily veganize this by substituting the beef with chopped portobello mushrooms and use a vegan sour cream… yum!

Hungarian Beef Paprikash


.5 kg or 1 lb stewing beef
1 large diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 or 2 chopped bell peppers (your choice of colour)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika (sweet kind)
salt to taste
1/2 cup chicken or beef broth or water
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/4 cup sour cream

Finely chop your onion and saute in the oil until softened. This is important – REMOVE* the pot from the heat and add the paprika.

*I recently learned that Hungarians remove the pot from heat before they add paprika. It allows the flavor in the spice to come out without getting burnt.

Stir briefly (1 minute) and then add 2 to 3 tablespoons of the broth/water. Return to heat.

Let this bubble a bit and then add the garlic and meat and salt to taste (1/2 teaspoon? more if you like da salt). Cook at medium heat and stir often to avoid sticking. Add more liquid if needed. Toss in the chopped bell pepper.

Combine part of the sour cream with the flour and mix well getting out all of the lumps – add to the rest of the sour cream and mix again. Add this to the sauce and let it simmer. Add remaining broth if it becomes too thick (like it a tad more runny so I add all the broth).

Serve over boiled potatoes, rice or a broad pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley and more sour cream if you like it extra creamy! ps. the leftovers are awesome…


Filed under Hungarian, Meats

Meatloaf Sandwich

Everyone needs an easy tasty treat for dinner sometimes. There is comfort in a cafeteria styled sandwich melting with processed cheese is there not? After last night’s horrible riot in Vancouver due to the Canucks losing the Stanley Cup, I – who doesn’t even watch much hockey, was pretty sad over what happened to our city. Food always makes us feel better and tonight called for something nostalgic. I give you the Meatloaf Sandwich – hardly any cooking involved!

Meatloaf Sandwich


Store bought meatloaf
Hamburger buns
Processed cheese slices

Pop open buns in your broiler for a few minutes to get a nice toast on them (you can butter them first if you like).

Slather them with mayo and sliced up meatloaf. Top with onion and ‘cheese’ and broil them for a few minutes till they melt.

Cover with Ketchup. Eat them.

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Vegan Rosemary Garlic Hot Dogs

Popping a hotdog in a bun as often as I might want to is most likely not the best thing for my health. I already know what goes into most of them yet I still eat them. I decided to try and switch up some of my vegan sausages to make something ‘hotdog’ flavored – and – it WORKED. I added some TVP to give them a more meaty texture. I know there’s a lot of spices, but you’re trying to create something that doesn’t just taste like salted tubes of wheat and soy. Topped with all your favorites, I swear you won’t know the difference!

Vegan Rosemary Garlic Hot Dogs


1 1/4 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
1 cup TVP
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon ground dry rosemary
1 teaspoon chilli pepper flakes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder

1 3/4 cup Beef flavored broth (be sure it’s vegetarian)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar (stir well to dissolve)
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon tamiri or soy sauce
4 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary (if you have some)
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley

Grind up your tablespoon of rosemary and teaspoon of pepper in a spice grinder (I use our old coffee grinder). If you don’t have one you could try mincing it up with your knife.

In a large glass or ceramic bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients very well and create a well in the center. In a separate bowl whisk together the water, garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil and soy sauce. Using a fork, gently stir the wet into the dry ingredients. Keep mixing the dough until it begins to firm up a bit. the TVP will take a bit of time to absorb the water. If dough mixture is too wet, you can add another tablespoon of flour if needed. It will feel quite fluffy and light, not dense like a bread or cookie dough. Kneed it a bit till it comes together like dough.

Scoop 1/2 cup dough mixture at a time and shape into logs or patties. Place them on piece of aluminum foil and roll them up, twisting ends.

Place sausages in your steamer and steam for 30 minutes. I used a big pot with my old school veggie steamer on the bottom. Be sure to check that the water doesn’t dry up while cooking!

Once the sausages have cooled, remove from the foil (the moisture inside will make them soggy) wrap well in cello wrap and refrigerate or freeze until ready to eat. The sausage may feel a tad dry on the outside but will soften and firm up after chilling. These will need to be fried in a little olive oil or grilled to give them a nice crispy texture. Top with all of your favorite hotdog toppings, mm mm good!


Filed under Meats, Vegan, Vegetarian

Gluten Free Vegan Italian Sausages & Patties

SO – were have I been? Well, I had a baby! Jonah Alexandra was born on an early April morning at home. We had a great water birth and Jonah is doing great. Sleeping through the night already. Looks like she’s going to be a good sleeper and eater!

So here’s another version of my Spicy Italian Vegan Sausages but without the wheat, so this makes them Vegan AND Gluten Free. Super tasty in a grilled bun with all the fixin’s or maybe used for breakfast sausage and gravy?

Gluten Free Vegan Italian Sausages & Patties

1 cup TVP (Textured Veg. Protein)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tbsp vegetarian chicken bouillon
2 tbsp granulated onion
1 to 2 tbsp fennel seed, optional
2 tsp coarsely ground pepper, preferably freshly ground
2 tsp ground paprika
1 tsp dried chili flakes, optional or 1/2 if you can’t handle heat
1 tsp ground smoked paprika
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground allspice (didn’t have and used Italian seasonings)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix all of the dry ingredients well in a medium sized bowl.

Add wet ingredients and let sit for 5 minutes so TVP can absorb moisture. Form dough into patties or sausages.

Heat oil in a frying pan (enough so that the patties can ‘fry’).

Cook for around 3 to 4 minutes each side or until they are nicely browned and crispy.

Sauerkraut, Veganaise and Dijon and Deli mustard, melted Daiya cheese on a toasted bun… can’t go wrong. So good!


Filed under Meats, Sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian