Food Network has Turned Me Into a Culinary Goddess


So, the other night while watching Food Network Star and then, subsequently, Iron Chef America (it was a long, sleepless night) I transformed into a chef. I’m serious! I have spent a lot of time screwing up recipes: the first time I made stale macaroni stuffed bell peppers, that time I made spanokapita with the wrong type of dough. It’s hard being a vegetarian in general, but when I also made the switch to mostly veganism due to my gastrointestinal issues it became doubly difficult to eat as deliciously as I wanted. Basically, I don’t eat dairy but I make exceptions for lactose-free dairy and eggs.

Selfie cooking shot -- look at me go!

Selfie cooking shot — Vintage kick ass apron not included in recipe.

While watching Food Network Star, one of the contestants, Nicki Dinki — no, I did not make this name up — made a winning chili which almost prompted me to get out of bed at 2 AM and go to HEB for the ingredients. I held back, but the rest of the night I was dreaming of Vegan Chili and by Matti’s request, Vegetarian Chicken Pot Pie. Chicken Pot Pie was a comfort food for Matti growing up so I spent a lot of time looking at recipes. Also, because the only experience I had with Chicken Pot Pie was when Cherisa Fee’s family made it for dinner and told me I couldn’t stay over because there wasn’t enough. I sat in the middle of the dinner table watching them all around me with little pot pie plates, sniffing and staring at me, their eyes screaming why are you still here and when can I eat my damn pie. The dad was a preacher. I never tasted the pie.

So, I had to make a great pie. I found a few different recipes and fused them together. You see that most of it is vegan but there are some dairy elements I added to make sure it had that authentic taste Matti would enjoy. Basically I’m a domestic goddess.

Mostly Vegan “Chicken” Pot Pie:

  • ¼ cup vegan margarine (I used smart balance)

    Finished product -- don't judge a book by it's cover people

    Finished product — don’t judge a book by it’s cover people

  • ¼ cup shredded carrot
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ¼ cup chopped green onion
  • 1 cup frozen mixed veggies (I used peas and corn)
  • 8  brown mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 cup vegetable “Chicken” Flavored broth (I got Imagine brand No Chicken Broth)
  • 1 cup lactose free milk (for completely vegan use soy milk or cream)
  • 2 cups Quorn Chick’n Tenders
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 package of puff pastry (thawed)
  1. First, heat butter in large pan on medium-high heat. Add carrot, celery and onion and cook for five minutes. Add mushrooms, cook for a few minutes unti veggies are tender.
  2. Add in flour and salt until relatively smooth (mine still had some flour crumblies on it but that’ll go away soon, scouts’ honor).
  3. Mix in vegan “chicken” broth and milk. Use a whisk if you have one — I did not so I used a fork which worked perfectly. Cook this for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. This was the point where I began to try the mixins and had to go to the mirror to say to myself “damn girl.” So repeat this step if necessary.
  4. Then add your remaining seasonings, fake chicken and frozen veggies, however, calling this “fake” chicken is a grave insult because of how much it tastes like the real thing. Seriously, my meat queen best friend, Anna can testify to that and she eats beef jerky, just sayin’. Place on low heat and let the flavors mix for about 20 minutes.
  5. Make sure pastry is thawed. Get one sheet out, place it on the bottom of 9 inch baking pan/glass/whatever, trimming if necessary, and bake for five minutes at 400 degrees or until begins to puff.
  6. When mixture is to your liking, remove from heat and pour into your baking dish on top of pastry, cover with another pastry sheet, fold sides however you want or trim if necessary. I like thick crust so I rolled the excess pastry a little on the edges to almost make a pizza crust. Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until crust gets golden.
Eat me.

Eat me.

Matti literally ate 9/10s of this pie in one sitting. He even just brought me an ice coffee as I am writing this because in his words: “I was like uhhh I’ll just make brewed coffee because Starbucks is so stupid but then I was like, that Chicken Pot Pie was really good.” So if you make this pie your boyfriend will start buying you iced coffees. I don’t know what else I need to say.

Vegan Spicy chili:photo (92)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 cup Quorn Meatless and Soyfree Grounds
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chipotles in adobo
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 –  28 ounce can diced tomatoes, with their liquid
  • 3 cups cooked red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 cup cooked black beans, drained
  1. Heat oil in medium heat in large pot.
  2. Add onions, carrot, celery, garlic and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  3.  Add chipotles, oregano, cumin, chili powder and salt, stir that shit up.
  4. Add huge can of tomatoes and 3 1/2 cups water (use 4 cups if you like it less thick). Simmer for 45 minutes uncovered over low heat. (Does anyone know why you cover somethings to simmer and others you don’t? I’m genuinely curious).
  5. Add beans and Quorn meatless grounds and simmer for another 30 minutes. Make sure you check it and stir often so it doesn’t produce a crusty layer on the top — no one likes crusty chili.
  6. Pretend you are a culinary genius who will take the world by storm.
photo (93)

I don’t photograph well. -Chili

I’m Mexican. This chili is actually spicy but in the good way that you can still breathe and water cools you off. This may have been a trick since Matti can’t eat super spicy food. It did not work, however, he still had an entire bowl. I had two. The best part about these recipes though, is that you really should have leftovers which means a day off from cooking.

After all of this, I decided to also make vegan cookies. I’ve made them before and their the balls. Also, the best part is that they are completely vegan so you can eat the batter without worrying about salmonella. So, win, win! I will share this amazing recipe later because I must now go swim off all the food I have eaten in the last 24 hours.

On a separate note, if anyone’s hungry I have some leftover food in my fridge…

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2 responses to “Food Network has Turned Me Into a Culinary Goddess

  1. I am obsessed with Food Network and it is amazing the kind of things you can learn from it! Good luck experimenting and check out some of my recipes on my blog!

    • It really is — I just tried using tamarind for the first time in a pad thai recipe and it was amazing. Thanks and I look forward to checking out your blog! Always want new recipes and food inspiration.

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