Pasta

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don't miss dairy

Emily Stokes
I'm a lady who loves cheese, sour cream, & ice cream, but I recently became lactose intolerant. My key focus in recreating dairy recipes is taste, but I try to be as health conscious as possible. Some of my recipes are low lactose rather than dairy free. I'm also a writer, teacher, nanny, dog mom, housewife, native Yinzer, current Californian, and social organizer extraordinaire.

Pasta

Dairy-Free Chicken Broccoli Alfredo

I love cheesy pasta dishes. I was disappointed when I went back to Pittsburgh in August and had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants–Joe Mama’s–and realized that all of my usual orders were smothered in cheesy sauces: Hug Yo Belly Gemelli, Herbed Chicken and Penne, Nonna’s Gnocchi, and the list goes on.

Another Pittsburgh restaurant, Eat ‘n’ Park, was a common place for me and my husband to go for a quick lunch or dinner. Our usual was their Chicken Broccoli Alfredo. In college we loved to go to The Underground at Carnegie Mellon, where we would get a plate of hot pasta topped with creamy Alfredo sauce and marinara. The point is, I used to order Alfredo all the time.

I gave it up for awhile, refining my tastes by ordering complex pasta dishes at Italian places and trying new things with more nutrition. But lately I’ve been craving cheesy things.

The only solution to that is to experiment with dairy alternative products and to create masterpieces. My dairy free chicken broccoli Alfredo is definitely a masterpiece. It tastes better than the real thing and I’m serious.

I could eat this everyday!

I used the most realistic tasting dairy-free alternatives: Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almond Milk, and Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream. Aged parmesan cheese has very little lactose, 0mg per serving, so it’s not going to bother lactose intolerant people in small amounts. In large amounts it will, so if you eat a lot be careful or take a Lactaid pill. It cannot be eaten by people with a milk allergy.

For a completely dairy-free version, I recommend using Vegan Grated Parmesan Cheese Alternative by Galaxy Nutritional Foods. There’s also a parmesan cheese alternative on the market called Parma. It’s made with walnuts, salt, and nutritional yeast. 

Dairy-Free Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 3 tablespoons Smart Balance Light Buttery Spread
  2. 1 cup almond milk
  3. 1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  6. 1 tablespoon water
  7. 1/3 cup parmesan cheese or parmesan cheese alternative
  8. 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish
  9. 2 chicken breasts, sliced and grilled
  10. 1/2 lb of linguine
  11. 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli, plus water for steaming
Instructions
  1. Timing is everything in this recipe so prep your ingredients before starting. Make sure your chicken breast is cooking before starting the sauce, pasta, and broccoli. I cut mine into four thin strips and started grilling them on my George Foreman Grill at the same time I started cooking the pasta. I also recommend broiling--6 to 8 minutes per side--for a grilled chicken taste. Start pasta by following the directions for cooking on the back of the box. Prep broccoli for quick light microwave steaming by putting it in a dish with a tablespoon of water and covering it.
  2. Once your pasta and chicken are cooking, start the sauce. Melt Smart Balance in a large saucepan over medium heat. After it is melted add almond milk, sour cream, and garlic powder. Whisk to combine.
  3. Dissolve the cornstarch in water in a small dish and gradually add to milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Bring sauce to a simmer. Cook for five minutes or until mixture has started to thicken. Add parmesan cheese and whisk to combine.
  4. While the sauce is thickening, steam fresh broccoli for two minutes in the microwave. Go back to the sauce, remove from heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley.
  5. Cut your chicken into small strips and combine all ingredients in the saucepan to coat with the Alfredo sauce, alternatively you can layer them: pasta, chicken, broccoli, and sauce. Garnish with a sprig of parsley. Mangia!
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Dairy Free Mac’n’Cheese

Cheese lovers: do you think your body really enjoys all that grease, cholesterol, and hard to digest lactose? Of course not! I know it tastes amazing, but so does my lactose free mac’n’cheese.

Well, I didn’t actually use macaroni, but I did use hearty whole wheat penne! Unsweetened almond milk brings this dish to life, along with vegan butter and lactose-free cheese. It has a couple of secret ingredients that you would never have guessed: egg and dry mustard. Topped off with flavorful french fried onions! It will make you wonder if this isn’t the real thing. How can I ever miss mac’n’cheese again?

I can recommend a few lactose-free cheeses to choose from. Trader Joe’s has a shredded soy cheese that’s a blend of mozzarella, cheddar, and jack flavors. I used that for this dish. It’s not vegan and has milk protein in it, so beware if you are allergic to milk protein. It’s great if you are just lactose intolerant. If you are looking for dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan, then I recommend using Daiya Shreds in cheddar.

Parmesan is an aged cheese and has very little lactose. If you can tolerate this, use the real thing. If not, I recommend a product called Parma!, or use nutritional yeast instead. GO Veggie also makes a soy-based parmesan topping.

Follow the directions according to pictures or scroll to the bottom for an easy to follow printable recipe.

What you need:
1 pound pasta 
1 egg
4 tablespoons vegan butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons dry mustard
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese alternative
1/3 cup parmesan cheese alternative
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Topping:
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese alternative
1/2 cup to 1 cup french fried onions, alternatively you can use breadcrumbs

Directions:
Cook pasta until firm but not done. Knock off about 2 minutes of cook time. Drain and keep in warm, covered pot.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Beat egg in small bowl and set aside.

Melt vegan butter  in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes. 

Pour in almond milk. Add mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened.

To temper egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the almond milk sauce into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg.

Slowly pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking until smooth. This will create a nice, thick mac’n’cheese.

Add lactose free cheese and 1/3 cup of parmesan alternative, stir until melted.

 
  

Mmm creamy, cheesy goodness.

Add sea salt and pepper plus more to taste. You can also add any other spices at this point.

Pour cooked pasta into sauce and stir to combine.

In a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking oil, add pasta and cheese mixture.

Top with french fried onions and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese alternative.

Bake 5-10 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned. Taste approved by cheese lovers!

Dairy-Free Mac'n'Cheese
Serves 6
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Ingredients
  1. 1 pound pasta*
  2. 1 egg
  3. 4 tablespoons vegan butter**
  4. 1/4 cup all purpose flour***
  5. 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  6. 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  7. 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese alternative
  8. 1/3 cup parmesan cheese alternative****
  9. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  10. 1 teaspoon black pepper
For topping
  1. 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese alternative
  2. 1/2 cup-1 cup french fried onions or breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta until firm but not done. Knock off 2-3 minutes of cook time. Drain and keep in warm, covered pot.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Beat egg in small bowl then set aside.
  4. Melt vegan butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add flour, whisking constantly. Cook for 2-3 minutes, careful not to burn.
  5. Whisk in almond milk. Add dry mustard and whisk until smooth. Cook for 5 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat to low.
  6. To temper egg, slowly pour 1/4 cup of the hot almond milk sauce into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the egg.
  7. Slowly pour egg and almond milk mixture into sauce, whisking until smooth. This will create a nice, thick mac'n'cheese.
  8. Add dairy-free cheese and 1/3 cup of parmesan alternative, stir until melted.
  9. Add sea salt and pepper plus more to taste. You can also add any other desired spices at this point.
  10. Pour cooked pasta into sauce and stir to combine.
  11. In a large casserole dish sprayed with cooking oil, add pasta and cheese mixture.
  12. Top with french fried onions and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese alternative.
  13. Bake 10 minutes or until the surface is lightly browned. Taste approved by cheese lovers!
Notes
  1. *I used whole wheat penne, but macaroni works of course! I also recommend Tinkyada's gluten-free brown rice elbows.
  2. **I used Smart Balance Light.
  3. ***Use cornstarch to keep this gluten-free.
  4. ****You can also use nutritional yeast.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman's Macaroni and Cheese
don't miss dairy http://dontmissdairy.com/
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Homemade Cabernet Tomato Basil Sauce

Making your own tomato sauce can be super easy!

There are many complicated and time consuming ways to make tomato sauce. I researched a thousand recipes that all called for skinning the tomatoes and boiling down the sauce to make a thick, rich tomato sauce.

For one thing, I didn’t want to toss out all the skins–it seemed so wasteful. I’ve been refining my gardening skills which is why I need to make tomato sauce. I spent months caring for my plants to get those beautiful tomatoes! Maybe I could toss the skins of store bought tomatoes but not my homegrown roma’s. Besides, the skins have the highest concentration of antioxidants.* I’d rather not throw out the health benefits.

Aren’t they so pretty?

I also don’t have the right tools for pureeing and straining, and I didn’t want to stand at the stove boiling the sauce forever. I mean, come on, I have laundry to do!

So I took my own fresh approach. I got out the slow cooker to make it easier. I generally like my tomato sauce herby and with a touch of sweetness. A sweet and salty tomato basil sounded perfect for my roma’s, and since I’ve been growing oregano as well, I decided to add that to the batch. Finally, I added a taste of cabernet to give it a unique flavor. My husband said it was award winning! It’s definitely the type of sauce I would expect of a great restaurant.

Honestly, homemade tomato sauce is simple and it’s hard to go wrong. It’s much healthier than store bought sauce and tastes better. By eliminating some of the steps it becomes a quick process yet maintains great quality. You know what you put into it and know what you get out of it.

Ingredients:

2 cups roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped (makes 2 servings)
1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons cabernet sauvignon
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10-12 fresh oregano leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
10 fresh basil leaves, chopped

Directions:

1. Turn your slow cooker on high. While it’s warming up, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Toss onions into the saucepan and sprinkle with a pinch of the sea salt and pepper. Cook for three minutes or until tender, then add minced garlic. Cook for no more than thirty seconds.

Should look like this.

Are those tomatoes chopped? I like that my “waste” pile is very small.

2. Add tomatoes and wine to the saucepan and stir to combine with oil, onion, garlic mixture. Let cook for a minute, then add sugar, the rest of the sea salt and pepper, oregano, and basil. Stir to combine. Cook for five minutes, uncovered.

Two cups.
Salt and peppered.

4. Transfer to hot slow cooker and let cook on high for one hour. I let my Crock Pot heat up for 15 minutes before transferring the sauce. A doubled recipe may need another half hour to an hour to cook. You can also simmer over medium low heat on the stovetop for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over pasta–I used tri-color farfalle and added some ground turkey cooked with a little salt and pepper.

Cooking in the Crock Pot.

This recipe makes about 2-3 servings, enough for one meal for a couple. Easily double if you need to make more or want to freeze some for later. I have about enough patience to chop two cups of tomatoes at a time :-).

Finished product.

Fun Facts:

*Did you know that the olive oil in the sauce helps your body to absorb the carotenoids found in tomatoes?

*Also, in the case of tomatoes, cooking for prolonged time at high temperatures makes carotenoids more available. I got my info from www.whfoods.com.

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