Tasty Tuesday: Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese

Tasty Tuesday: Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese

Thanksgiving is among us, kids! The holiday we’ve been waiting all year for.

Time to break out the sweatpants & have your Charco-caps & Pepto-Bismol at the ready.

kev hart

It’s. About…To Go DOWN!!

My favorite (and most problematic, stomach-wise) food during this festive holiday has always been & will forever be baked mac & cheese. Don’t even come my way with that boxed crap.

If you do, I will hurt you.

Anywho, with me being a new vegan I had to figure out a way to make the super yummy dish without dairy. That meant no heavy cream, no milk & (gasp) no cheese.

If you follow my Instagram, you’re well aware that I’ve tried perfecting this recipe a few times. I thought I’d had a winner when I topped a version with sauteed Vidalia onions.

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Although my husband had no complaints, it still wasn’t quite yet perfect in my eyes. I still wanted it to taste like the real thing no matter what.

**Ingredient Disclaimer**

Even with my self-proclaimed laziness, I must forewarn you, this recipe does require some ingredients that aren’t easy to find.

By that I mean, Aldi ain’t got it. And if Aldi ain’t got it, and it requires me to drive elsewhere, then I consider it hard to find.

  • I found my Vegan Shredded Cheese at Schnucks (GoVeggie), a local St. Louis grocery chain. GoVeggie or Daiya brands melt surprisingly well
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  • I found my Vegan Butter (Earth Balance) & Non-Dairy Creamer (So Delicious) at Whole Foods,  for about $3 each
  • vegan buttercreamer

 

 

So without further delay….here it is, the one you’ve all been waiting for….

 

Recipe:Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Salt
  • Non-Dairy Shredded Cheese
  • Macaroni, or pasta of your choice (I used a gluten-free noodle from Aldi)

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The Cheese Sauce

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  • Vegan Butter
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Flour
  • Garlic Powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Non-Dairy Creamer

Directions:

  1. Cook your pasta according to package directions, drain & set aside
  2. In a saucepan heated at Med-High, melt vegan butter
  3. Add dry ingredients (pepper, garlic powder, flour, nutritional yeast)
  4. Turn heat to low. Slowly add in your non-dairy creamer while whisking
  5. Once your desired consistency is reached, pour mixture over drained pasta & combine thoroughly
  6. Pour & spread noodles & cheese sauce into a greased casserole dish
  7. Drizzle olive oil over your dish (to prevent drying)
  8. Top with a layer of non-dairy shredded cheese
  9. Top the cheese layer with small scoops of vegan butter
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes
  11. Broil at 500 degrees for 5 minutes

In true soul food fashion, I didn’t measure out anything. Idk why, but that’s just how I was taught when making these kinds of dishes, you kind of learn to measure by tasting & eyeing the ingredients along the way.

Feel free to vary the measurements according to your liking. If you prefer your cheese sauce to be less thick, use water to thin it out. If you’d like it even thicker, use cornstarch or more flour to thicken it up.

 

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Dassit!

 

It’s unbe-cheese-able!! HAHAHAHAHA!!

Ok, ok…I’ll admit, not my “grate”est pun. (giggles incessantly)

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I do hope you guys enjoy this take on a classic soul food staple.

Have a Happy Holiday 🙂

-A

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Cuddle Season Comfort Food: 3 Ingredient Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup

Cuddle Season Comfort Food: 3 Ingredient Vegan Broccoli Cheddar Soup

It was 70 degrees over the weekend. I know it’s November. But alas, SEVENTY. DEGREES. SEH. VENN. TEE!!

Don’t let the tricks of St. Louis weather fool you. Brace yourselves, cuddle season is yet and still among us.

That being said, it’s right around this time of year that I start craving soup. My absolute fave is the broccoli cheddar from Bread Co. (All you non-Saint Louisans may know it as Panera, but ‘round these here parts….it’s Bread Co.)

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Anywho, I was craving Bread Co., and I was being too lazy to get up and actually go buy said Bread Co.

I’d temporarily misplaced my phone because adulting sucks, so utilizing Bread Co.’s delivery option was a no-go. I know right? FML! We’ve all had those days.

So goes the tale of how I (reluctantly) ended up working a miracle in my little kitchen.

I try not to include too many difficult, expensive, hard to find items, but this recipe does call for something you won’t find in an Aldi:

Nutritional Yeast

 

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Nutritional yeast is a deactivated yeast sold commercially as a food product in the form of flakes or as a yellow powder. It has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes.

I found mine at Whole Foods for about $4. All other ingredients were from Aldi & cost me roughly under $10 (not including seasonings that I already had on hand)

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Totally worth the trip to Whole Foods, this ingredient was the star of the show and it definitely gave that cheesy taste.

RECIPE: 3 INGREDIENT BROCCOLI CHEDDAR SOUP

Ingredients

2 or 3 Yellow Potatoes, diced

1 pack Frozen Broccoli florets

1 cup carrots, shredded

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Seasonings

½ cup Nutritional Yeast

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp Cayenne pepper

4 Cups Water

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Directions:

  1. Prep your veg. I know, it’s a pain. Chop your potatoes, steam/chop your broccoli, shred your carrots. Trust me, you’ll want to get it all out of the way first. (Sidenote: I used my blender to chop my broccoli, and a mandolin to shred my carrots)
  2. In a large pot, bring seasonings, potatoes & carrots to a boil in 4 cups water
  3. Transfer mixture to blender & blend till you reach a consistency you like(Another sidenote: If you have an immersion blender, you can use that as well
  4. Transfer mixture back to pot, add chopped broccoli, stir
  5. Dassit!

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We enjoyed this soup, but I will definitely do some things differently the next time around. Thinking I might sneak in other veggies like cauliflower or some non-dairy milk to make it creamier. Whatever floats my boat at the time. 

 

Either way, this was a “soup” er yummy way to kick off cuddle season with my love.

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Get it?! Soup-er! (slaps knee) Lol, I couldn’t resist! Ok, ok, I’ll see yall next time.

Stay tuned for my Vegan Baked Mac & Cheese, just in time for Thanksgiving. 

-A

Foods with FLARE: Inexpensive Go-To Options for when you’ve got the IBD Blues

Foods with FLARE: Inexpensive Go-To Options for when you’ve got the IBD Blues

When I started this blog I swore up & down that I wouldn’t become one of those Super Health Nuts.

You know, the ones who are all “Ummm….is this nonfat?”

Or “Sorry I don’t eat animals, and you shouldn’t either because……the environment”

And I can’t forget the “No” folks. Those are the ones that make my skin crawl, especially when standing in line behind them to order.

“Can I get that with NO sugar, NO dairy, NO flavor, NO fat, NO high fructose corn syrup, NO nothing.” 

Ugh! I have a massive internal eye roll every time I come across one of those people.

rdj eyeroll

 

 

And then, the unthinkable happened. I BECAME one of those people.

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I’ve been living with Ulcerative Colitis since 2008, and I’ve been in remission for 5 whole years now. I’d realized back in 2013 that processed meats were the cause of many of my flares, prompting me to go meatless. Since then I had been without incident, until a few weeks ago.

For those of you without an Irritable Bowel Disease, let me hip you to the tea: Flares are NOT fun. Everyone is different, so it stands to reason that everyone’s symptoms are also different. Symptoms can be anything from intense abdominal cramps to frequent diarrhea, to bloody stool, and other symptoms. Sometimes it can be so severe that you can be hospitalized. I had all the above & then some but luckily for me, mine was nowhere near hospitalization bad. The worst I suffered from this last flare was some extreme fatigue & a little short-term embarrassment in the restroom. But it was still a flare nonetheless. 

So to manage my symptoms, once again it was back to the drawing board. Back to the elimination method. Meaning I had to yet again figure out what to eliminate from my diet. So I began researching…

I consulted my food diary and quickly realized what the culprit was: DAIRY.

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Granted, I was eating mostly grains & veggies, but they were almost always covered in some sort of dairy product. If I made a zucchini & squash casserole, it was held together by a mixture of sour cream & scrambled eggs. Making a sauce? It was nothing to throw some heavy cream in it to thicken it up. Late night snack? You guessed it! Cheese & crackers.

I ate so much cheese it’s a wonder I didn’t turn into a block of cheese myself

(Though, I did have a nightmare once where I woke up as a life-sized grilled cheese sandwich and drowned a terrible death in a bowl of tomato soup..but that’s neither here nor there)

That being said,  I recently made the decision to adopt an entirely plant-based diet.

I WENT VEGAN Y’ALL!!

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I know what you’re thinking. “OMG Nooooo!!! We’ve lost another one. She’s gonna be a super annoying nutritionally conscious health nut! What are we gonna do with this weirdo?! Revoke her invites to any future potlucks, this heffa aint cooking nothing worth your time if it’s meat AND dairy free.”

I know, I know, I’ve beat myself up about it the first few days, but I promise you it’s not that bad. Remember guys, my hubby is still an avid meat-eater and cheese connoisseur. So fear not on the recipe front. I’m forever dedicated to frikkin deliciousness & I vow not to leave you hanging.

I will even throw in a recipe or two that I make specifically for my carnivorous husband.

On that note, I’m dedicating this post to all those guys & gals out there singing the Irritable Bowel Disease Blues

Here are my 7 favorite foods to eat during an Ulcerative Colitis flare. They’re easy on your wallet and your tummy 🙂

THE BRAT DIET

(Bread, Rice, Applesauce, Toast)

The first 4 items are ones my mom hipped me to long ago. They are tried & true no matter what has you bedridden be it IBD or the flu (Look, I made a rhyme! Lol). 

And let’s be real, tis the season for all those common cold germs so stock up, kids!

Bread

My personal favorite is the King’s Hawaiian Dinner Rolls. They’re just sweet enough to feel like a dessert but still savory. Careful though, they are addictive. And of course, Aldi carries a similar product for just $1.29

Rice

Cooked white rice is perfect for anything. Use it as a side dish or throw in in a veggie soup to feel fuller faster

Applesauce

As a legit sufferer of a sweet tooth, applesauce to me is grossly disappointing. But alas, there are a number of flavored applesauce varieties so it gets the job done.

Toast

When all else fails, regular schmegular toasted sandwich bread slices are the bee’s knees. I like to start off with mine plain, and then work my way up to toppings like peanut butter or Nutella

And of course, my personal faves….

Bananas & Potatoes

Y’all are gonna think I’ve lost my ever-loving mind, but for real…this combination is legit. There are so many ways to eat them! You can freeze your bananas & blend it like ice cream, or you can slice them up into little discs. You can mash your potatoes or cut them into wedges & bake them for some yummy fries. This is my absolute fave go-to meal during a flare.

Water

Last but not least..water. The unsung hero. Water truly doesn’t get enough credit, but in general and ESPECIALLY during a flare, you must make sure you’re staying hydrated. Your tummy will thank you!

 

What about you guys? Are you living with an Irritable Bowel Disease? What are some of your fave things to eat during a flare? Are you vegan? What prompted you to make the change? 

Til next time,

Stay (mostly) meatless!

-A

Meatless Monday: 3 Ingredient Better Than Aldi, BOMB AF Black Bean Burgers

Meatless Monday: 3 Ingredient Better Than Aldi, BOMB AF Black Bean Burgers

Yes, it’s Tuesday.  Yes, this post is a day late. Sue me.

If you guys haven’t noticed by now, I tend to lean towards recipes with few ingredients.

I keep trying to tell y’all. This is because I’m lazy.

Once I actually muster up the strength to get into my kitchen the first thing I have to do is wash and/or put away any previous dishes. So by the time I’ve satisfied my OCD and have a clean kitchen to work with, I don’t want to stay in my kitchen for much longer measuring out ingredients & dirtying up even MORE dishes.

I know what you’re thinking: “Just buy paper plates, already!”

Man look, call me boujee or whatevs but after a childhood riddled with mismatched cups and paper utensils, I vowed that when I became an adult with my own house I would have a select set of ceramic & glass dishware. We all have that one relative who uses food containers purchased with their food item to store leftovers.

You know how frustrating it is to go into the fridge for butter for your toast or to make a grilled cheese sandwich, only to find that there’s leftover chili in the container?

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So when I got my first apartment, nothing was exempt. All my cookware had to be part of the same set, and my Tupperware had to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye as well as functional. Judge me if you must. But it’s the little things that bring me joy in this world..and yes matching dishes is one of them.

But alas, matching or not..I try to limit myself from having to be stuck in dishwashing hell either way.

AAAAANYWHO…Black Bean Burgers.

Being meatless for a while now, this is one of my favorite go-to meals. I mean, who doesn’t love burgers & fries? While I absolutely love the veggie burgers offered at Aldi, I am not always able or willing to go to the store. These varieties, especially the black bean burger, got me to thinking of ways to make meat-free burger patties at home.

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I’m gonna get a little TMI with you for a second. If you have any, and I mean ANY issues with digestion or being “regular”…this is the burger you need in your life. Seriously, I’ve never been so regular in my life. You can almost set your watch to it.

So for those of you with an Irritable Bowel Disease such as myself, be it Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease or GERD..rest assured you now have a quick 3-ingredient solution for when you haven’t had a BM in a while. And we all know how important it is to stay regular when maintaining your symptoms in remission.

So by all means, poop with impunity!!  We’ve all “bean” there.

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(Slaps knee…Whew! I crack myself up!) Y’all know I had to leave you with a food pun. Lol

 

RECIPE: 3 Ingredient Black Bean Burgers

Yields: 8 patties

*Feel free to add in any other veggies you like. As you can see, I chose red onion for this batch

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INGREDIENTS

  1. 2 Cans Black Beans, mashed

           *Side Note: I got a potato masher for $1 at Family Dollar but a fork works too

  1. 2 Cups Oats, ground

           **Another Side Note: Instead of buying oat flour, I grind oatmeal in a blender

  1. Pasta Sauce (however much helps you stir everything together)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Mix ingredients together in large bowl

Form into patties & place on greased baking sheet

Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown

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Then…Enjoy!!

I toasted my bread in some olive oil & topped my burger with spinach, tomato & sauteed onions, mustard & barbecue sauce.

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Til next time, stay (mostly) meatless!

-A

Sweet Treat Saturday: BROWNIES! (Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Only 2 Ingredients)

Sweet Treat Saturday: BROWNIES! (Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Only 2 Ingredients)

If you know me at all, you know my absolute favorite dessert is brownies.

For my 23rd birthday party, I specifically asked to only be gifted with brownies of all kinds..homemade, store bought, didn’t matter. I’d just been working out & eating well for months up until my birthday and I was ready to do some damage.

I’ve always loved chocolate period, but when you combine chocolatey goodness with the dense gooey texture of a good brownie….Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiile, it’s heaven on earth!

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Sometimes when you just need a good late night snack, you want to indulge on something that takes little effort to make. I’ve seen recipes for brownies in a mug and other seemingly simple hacks but they always involve measuring out ingredients and dirtying up multiple dishes and ain’t nobody got time for that!

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I’m super excited about this recipe because most of y’all have seen “What the Health” on Netflix and were ready to go vegan with a vengeance. I totally understand, so I figured I’d at least try my hand at dairy-free desserts. SO….OUT WITH THE EGGS!

My husband and my best girlfriend are deathly allergic to nuts, so anything I came up with could not include nuts as a substitute. SO….OUT WITH THE NUTS!

(**Disclaimer: The brand of brownie mix used here warns that it was manufactured on shared equipment with peanuts and tree nuts. If you don’t want to chance it, feel free to try another brand of brownie mix. Don’t say I ain’t warn ya tho!**)  

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Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity also came on my radar. My sister and I both deal with terrible migraine headaches, and my research cited gluten might be a trigger. I recently stage managed a show where the actors were to drink alcohol onstage, but one of the actresses could not consume gluten, and therefore could only consume tequila, as it is gluten free. This experience got me to thinking of ways to eliminate gluten from my diet. And what better way to go for it than to start with my all time favorite dessert?!  SO….OUT WITH THE ENRICHED FLOUR & WHEAT GLUTEN PRODUCTS!

So what are we left with? How can we possibly have brownies that are absolutely yummerz without those 3 staples? And how the heck can you do it with only 2 ingredients?

Fear not, kids. I give you…the two mystery ingredients:

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Yep, that’s it. Gluten free brownie mix (from Aldi of course #DontSleep)  and Canned pumpkin.

CANNED PUMPKIN?!!

Yes. Canned. Pumpkin.

Before y’all come after me with Tiki Torches, hear me out:

The pumpkin not only makes these brownies moist, but they act as the glue that holds everything together, much like the eggs would. Be advised though you might have to put in a little extra elbow grease just to make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.

I had my family try some of these brownies, and before I had a chance to tell them what was in it, all they raved about was the chocolatey taste. So even if you despise veggies like pumpkin, you’d be hard pressed to even notice it in your dessert because it’s overwhelmed by the chocolate in the mix.

This pumpkin-infused treat is so yummy you’ll be screaming “Oh my Gourd!”  

See what I did there??

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Lol, Pumpkin Puns…or should i say….

PUN-kins

hahahaha (slaps knee) Whew! I crack myself up. Ok, ok…I’m done for now 😉

 

Ingredients

1 box Gluten free brownie mix

1 can pumpkin

Directions

Mix ingredients in bowl

Pour into greased pan or casserole dish

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Allow to cool for 10 minutes

Dassit!

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Give this recipe a try and let me know if you love it.

Til next time, stay (mostly) meatless.

-A

Frugal Fri-PAY: 4 Amazing Aldi Hacks To Keep Those Coins

Frugal Fri-PAY: 4 Amazing Aldi Hacks To Keep Those Coins

I love Aldi.

I mean that from the depths of my soul.

If Aldi grocery stores were incarnated in human form, I’d consider divorcing my husband and marrying that human.

I would cook for Aldi, I would clean for Aldi, I would happily have little Aldi babies.

For those of you living under a rock, Aldi is the inexpensive food market chain owned by German company Albrecht Discounts (abbreviated “AlDi”), who also owns Trader Joe’s. The chain began in 1948 and now has about 7,600 stores in Germany, Europe, Australia, and the United States.  

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Aldi has been my cornerstone and saving grace for many moons. From being a newlywed, back to college, and to my youth, me & Aldi go waaaaayyyyy back. I’m not even going to act like North St. Louis ain’t raised me. But even if you live in more prominent areas, there is no denying that Aldi is the most cost-effective grocery store around. I believe this is in part because their product manufacturers do not spend as much money on advertisements. As a result, the products are off brand, but there is no upcharge, and you as a consumer get the same products as high-end grocers for less than half the price.

Now there are some of y’all out there who are brand whores & proud of it.  I’ve actually met people who turn their nose up at the average Aldi shopper. To that I say, do you boo boo. Do YOU!! If name brand cereal is how you get your kicks in life, then by all means, do what makes you happy. If you got it like that, I say go for it!! 

But honey, I’ll take ‘Chocolate Waves’ over ‘Oreos’ any day, especially if they’re less than half the price.

There was a point where I dabbled in Extreme Couponing, and this was the only time in my life that I couldn’t shop at Aldi because the prices there are so low that they do not accept manufacturer’s coupons. That is literally their store policy.

That being said here are 4 ways I’ve learned to use my frugality for good, even at places like Aldi, where saving money is already a given.

1.Set & Subtract

You’re in the aisle. You see an item on your list. You see the price, whip out your calculator and tally up each item you plan on buying as you place it in your cart. You finally get to the register with a rough figure of how much you’re about to spend. Then the dreaded moment arrives when your cashier announces your total,( Sidebar: Is it just me or do cashiers intentionally announce this a little more LOUDLY than they should?) and that total is not at all what your calculator said it would be.  How many times have we all found ourselves in this predicament?

I used to shop this way myself so don’t feel bad. You’re not a terrible frivolous spender without any self-control, so chill out. There will always be a discrepancy with this method unless you account for items not originally on your list, and taxes, which varies depending on the area. For example, an Aldi in the ‘hood of North or West St. Louis city may charge tax at 8.11%, whereas an Aldi in a Chesterfield suburb in West County will charge around 6 or 7%. (Another Sidebar: Why the poor & disadvantaged in St. Louis are being charged more in taxes is an entirely different blog entry for another day, but stay with me here)

To have a more realistic outcome on your calculator, implement my handy dandy ‘Set & Subtract’ method. Meaning:

  1. a) SET a realistic cash amount as a goal for how much you plan to spend. No more no less. Resolve that you will not succumb to Swipe-itis and leave your debit card at home. Once your cash is gone, it’s gone. If you happen to receive Food Stamps, you can still set a limited amount for yourself to swipe.
  2. b) Enter your cash limit amount in your calculator. Each time an item lands in your cart, SUBTRACT it’s listed price from the amount of cash you have on hand. Instead of giving you an estimate of how much money you’re about to spend, your calculator will now show you an estimate of how much money you get to take home (if any).

I’ve done this a few times, and by the grace of God, sometimes I leave with more money in my pocket than I calculated for.

2.Skip the first aisle

“Make sure the first thing your consumers see when they walk in the door is items they don’t need but will want to spend money on.”

This marketing scheme is the same in most grocery stores but it’s especially true for Aldi because their store layout is practically identical. The very first aisle in every store is chips, crackers, candy, & sweets. Every single store. And to add insult to injury, you HAVE to walk down the very first aisle to get to the rest of the store because the aisle is literally blocked off from everything else. This is no coincidence, kids. As much as I love Aldi, they still want your money, honey! And what better way to fall off your financial & diet goals than to buy something you don’t NEED to eat.

Don’t give in.

Skip the first aisle & head straight to the produce section. If there’s something on your list you really need from the first aisle, and your self-control is wavering…you can always go back to get that item later when your calculator has already put in some work and you’re of sober mind.

3. Beware of Special Buy Items

I live and die by a list but even Aldi occasionally throws me off my game with their Special Buy items. Could be anything, really. Home decor, kitchen utensils, small appliances, lifestyle gear, or my personal favorite…limited edition food items. Aldi has no shame. And they get you because there’s no telling how long Special Buy items will be on the shelves or if there will be new shipment of the exact same special buy items to your store.

So if you see something you think you could use, you either buy it right then & there or risk never seeing it again in stores. I’ve fallen victim to this a few times mainly because the item in question was such a great value for the price. I’ve gotten a knock off NutriBullet from Aldi for about $30, that’s a steal considering they usually run for at least $80. And my little knock off has lasted me about 4 years now.

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Just the other day I saw an electric vegetable chopper on Facebook for about $50. But lo & behold, I get to Aldi…I’m doing my shopping…minding my own business and there’s a comparable model on sale in the Special Buy section for less than $30..WITH TWICE THE ATTACHMENTS AS THE ONE ON FACEBOOK???!!!

Just take all my money, Aldi! Just TAKE IT!!

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Yeah, just skip the Special Buy aisle too while you’re at it.

4.Circle Back

So you made it through the trenches with your list, calculator, and your sanity intact. You’ve conquered the Special Buy Demon and resisted the Snack Aisle Spirit. Hallelujah!

At this point (keeping your calculator at bay), you can circle back through the store one last time and reward yourself with an item not originally on your list. At this point, you have an opportunity to consider which is a priority for you: a temporary treat, or keeping those coins? Doing this AFTER you’ve got everything on your list into your cart, ensures that you’ll be smart about the money you have left over to treat yourself. 

I do this because in many areas of my life, especially grocery shopping, I am on AutoPilot. I like to get it over with as quickly as possible so that I’m less tempted to overspend or forget anything. If I’ve done a great job staying on-task, I’ll reward myself by going back for those sea salt kettle chips or salted caramel candies that I saw in the first aisle (cash budget permitting, of course).

I also do this because try as I might, sometimes I ignore my intuition and go to the store hungry. This is the absolute worst way to shop!! But alas, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a snack for the ride home. I mean, you gotta get your strength up before you haul all those grocery bags into the house, right?

So there you have it, guys & gals. 4 Ways to save at Aldi. What money saving hacks do you guys like to use? Comment & let me know!

Til next time, Happy Fri-PAY!!

Your favorite “frugal foodie”,

-A

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan Sliders

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan Sliders

Soo….. you got a bunch of baby eggplants & you don’t know what to do?

Never fear my loves, I got 3 words for you:

Eggplant.

Parmesan.

Sliders!!!

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Inspired in part by my absolute favorite sandwich of all time from Snarf’s, these eggplant parmesan sliders made me almost forget there was no meat in them!

THE SAUCE IS THE BOSS

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I decided to forego regular marinara sauce for this recipe and instead chose Freddie Lee’s Ghetto Sauce. It’s made, packaged, & sold locally here in St. Louis. It’s frikkin delicious and that’s an understatement.  I found this divine gift from above at the Historic Soulard Farmer’s Market one Saturday afternoon. I just gotta say, this sauce really took this dish to a whole new level. It is marketed as a multipurpose sauce and baby they ain’t lying. I’ve used it as a marinade for salmon, and as a salsa in my tortilla soup. And as if it being delicious wasn’t enough, it’s gluten free and has no high fructose corn syrup! Now that’s something I can get with. 

No worries though all you non-St.Louisans. Even if you don’t have Ghetto Sauce on hand, regular pasta sauce will do just fine.

PREPPING THE PRODUCE

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So first of all, let me just say that when you’re working with eggplant you must remember it is mostly water so you will need to prep it by drying it out.

I did this by slicing them all into small discs then placing them in a colander with a bowl underneath to catch the water. Sprinkle sea salt over each layer of eggplant, then place a paper towel over the top & weigh it down with something heavy. I used two cans of soup, but you can use anything heavy like a tea kettle or a jug of water. Let your eggplant sit for about 30-45 minutes.

I know, I know, it seems like forever but just watch an episode of Blackish, or Queen Sugar, you’ll be fine. These sliders are worth every minute of your time.
When you return, pat the eggplant dry with a paper towel & get ready to roast it, baby! I seasoned mine with olive oil & pepper but you can use whatever you like.

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After roasting, it’s time to prepare your sliders!

INGREDIENTS

Sliders:

  • Dinner rolls or Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • Eggplant, sliced & roasted
  • Red pasta sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella

Butter Glaze:

  • Melted butter
  • Minced garlic
  • Parsley flakes
  • Grated parmesan

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Slice the rolls in half lengthwise.
  3. Place the bottom half on a 9×13 baking tray.
  4. Spread the eggplant evenly on the rolls, followed by the red sauce, then mozzarella,
  5. Place the remaining half of the rolls on top
  6. Mix the melted butter with the garlic, parsley, and parmesan.
  7. Brush the top of the rolls with the butter glaze.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes.
  9. Slice, then serve!

I must say, this dish was truly egg-cellent, some might even say egg-straordinary!

(hehe, I had to throw those in there guys) 😉

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Give this recipe a try and stay (mostly) meatless 🙂

-A