Saturday, September 29, 2012

Vegan Baked Penne recipe - this is good, people!!

I've been absent for weeks now---focusing on other stuff.  I've done the elliptical everyday for two weeks (except one day).  Not sure how much weight I've lost but I've definitely lost a lot as my clothes are all baggy.

The other day my neighbor gave me a bag of fresh-picked tomatoes from her garden along with an invitation to help myself to the basil plant.  This inspired me to concoct a super awesome vegan dish that I have to share.  I mean, this dish totally rocked.  It was also the first time I've had pasta since before I went on my juice fast.

5 cups cherry tomatoes
1 yellow onion
1 bunch (large branch) basil
8 cloves garlic
Oregano, sea salt and other seasonings.
1/2 cup vodka
Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella cheese (Follow Your Heart)
Yves Ground Round
Dreamsfield penne pasta (I use dreamsfield because it's low carb)

Start with the marinara sauce:

First, take the skin off about 5 cups of cherry tomatoes.  (It's easy if you put them in boiling water for a minute before transporting them to ice cold water---the skin will just fall right off).  Once skinned, I processed the tomatoes and put them in a crock pot.

Saute one yellow onion along with 8 garlic cloves.  Put sauteed mix in crock pot.

Take a bunch of fresh basil, chop finely and put in crock pot.

Add sea salt, black pepper and oregano and other seasons to taste (I use something called Everyday Seasoning from Trader Joe's).

Add a half cup of vodka.  This will extract additional locked flavors.

Cook on low for 5 hours.  Timing with slow cookers are subjective based on brand and size. My "low" becomes more of a high as it starts lightly boiling after a few hours.  This is usually when I know it's done.

Dissolve a half container of Tofutti cream cheese into the mixture along with one package of Yves Ground Round.

Boil a box of low carb pasta from Dreamsfield til al dente.  Then mix with marinara/ground round concoction.

Spread in a baking pan or casserole dish and top with a layer of shredded Vegan Gourmet mozzarella cheese.  The brand I use is from Follow Your Heart.

Cover with foil and baked in preheated 350 oven for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

You are done.  Sprinkle with nutritional yeast for extra flavor.

For a pasta junkie like me who had been on a pasta hiatus for almost three months, this was the best way to break my pasta fast and it was well worth the wait.  

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