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RECIPES FOR LIFE
                         By Carmen Allgood

One of my passions in life is cooking.  I love the challenge of pulling together a delicious, healthy meal in no-time-flat, and believe that the preparation of a meal is and should be a 'holy encounter' mixed with love and gratitude. In a previous life I taught Vegetarian Cooking Classes and had nearly 1,200 students before I got back into radio.

There's been a very noticeable trend and movement in the world towards a vegetarian life-style, and our dietitians and medical science are touting the bennies of eating lower on the food chain.  If you are transitioning to a meatless and dairy-free diet, I hope you find this page of use and value to you.  If you just want to 'lighten your load' and feel better as a result of your food choices, that's good.  Everything in its own time.  Hopefully some of our readers will share some of their recipes with us, and make this another great chapter in our lives.  Enjoy!  

Helpful Hints - If you or any family members have lactose intolerance, the good news is that in this day and age we have fantastic cheese alternatives made with rice or soy products. Great for sandwiches, pizza, entrees, soups, you name it - these products are lower in fat and delicious. The best source on the planet right now is Galaxy Nutritional Foods, which are found in the cooler section of most major food stores. For more information visit GalaxyFoods.com




ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
2 Tbs  olive oil
1 Veggie bouillon

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Grey Poupon Mustard (optional)

Look for firm, large Brussels Sprouts. If you can only find small ones, then cook them whole rather than cutting them up. With the large ones (at least the size of a silver dollar) slice off the end, cut them in half, discard the outer leaves, and rinse in cool water.

Use a large skillet, or deep sauce pan, and bring enough water to a boil to cover a layer of the sprouts. Add bouillon cube and dissolve. Add sprouts and gently boil for about 7 - 10 minutes until they are al dente. Drain, and pour into a casserole dish or cooking sheet - toss with oil. Add the mustard to the oil for a deeper flavor. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, stirring once. For the last 3 minutes, broil them to crisp the edges. Serve hot, over rice or as a side dish. Enjoy!




TOSTADAS
Corn tortillas - white or yellow
1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
1 can chili beans, black or pinto beans or combination
1 cup cooked short grain brown rice
Toppings: diced onion, avocado, salsa, jalapeno peppers, soy cheese, tomato, lettuce, sprouts, black olives

Toast the tortillas in a little hot oil on a skillet until soft. Top with brown rice, beans, and toppings of choice. Ready in minutes if the rice is prepared in advance. So satisfying you can even eat these for breakfast!  Enjoy ...


RED CABBAGE AND ONION

1 red cabbage
1 white onion
2.5 Tbs olive oil
Pinch of salt


It just doesn't get any easier than this for a delicious fall side dish! Peel and slice onion in rounds, and quarter them. Heat  2 Tbs. olive oil in a non-stick deep skillet, add onion and cook on medium low heat until onions soften and start to brown on edges. While onion is cooking, peel the outer leaves off the cabbage and discard. Cut cabbage in half, and cut out the white stem. Slice in thin strips, and place strips on top of onions and cover with lid. Let cook for about 10 minutes and then drizzle cabbage with 1/2 Tbs. olive oil and stir to mix onions with cabbage. Cook mixture for about 35 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and keep cooking until cabbage is soft. Serve hot and enjoy!


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THAI TOFU RED CURRY 
1 Tbs "A Taste of Thai" Red Curry Paste (found in 1.75 oz packages)
1 Can (13.5 oz) Coconut Milk, regular or lite
Canola oil - enough to pan fry tofu
Salt to taste (optional)
1 lb package extra firm tofu
Cooked jasmine rice or noodles
You can jazz up this fantastic recipe with sauteed diced zucchini, red pepper, or mushrooms.

Drain tofu and cut into 1/2" squares.  Pan fry in oil until brown and crispy on all sides.  Set aside. Pour 1 can of coconut milk into a saucepan.  Over high heat, whisk in 1 TBSP Thai Red Curry Paste.  Add a dash of Fish Sauce or salt if desired.  Bring to a boil stirring frequently.  Reduce heat, add pan fried tofu, and cook 3-4 minutes until thickened. Serve hot over jasmine rice or into cooked noodles. Serves 4! Enjoy...

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SWEET POTATO and CINNAMON GYPSY SOUP
3 Tbs olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow or white onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped fresh Roma tomatoes
3/4 cup chopped green, yellow or red peppers
1 - 15 oz can cooked chickpeas
3 cups veggie stock or water, adjust as needed
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp  cinnamon
1/4 tsp  cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs Tamari or soy sauce

In a  kettle or large saucepan, saute onions, garlic, celery and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about five minutes. Add seasonings, and the stock or water. Cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. Add remaining vegetables and the chickpeas.  Simmer and stir gently another 20 to 30 minutes or so until all the vegetables are tender.

This is probably one of the most delicious winter soups you can make at home. The fragrance of the cinnamon adds that 'special comfort' as it wafts through the house. Try with a variety of green vegetables, or use any kind of squash in this recipe as well. Takes about 1.5 to 2 hours for prep and simmering. Serve with warm flat-bread, a mixed field green salad, and enjoy!  Serves 6.

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BLACK BEAN SOUP

1 cans black beans
1/8 cup diced red onion
1 diced carrot
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup fresh green chilis or 1/8 cup diced jalapeno or banana peppers
1 Roma tomato - diced
1/4 cup diced green pepper
1 or 2 diced garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 cup corn or short grain brown rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1 Tbs lime juice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
minced cilantro for garnish
water as needed

This hearty soup is one of the fastest soups you can make, and really hits the spot on a snowy day. If you can prep the black beans in advance to avoid using canned beans, more power to you! Otherwise, canned beans are the best bet if you are in a hurry and don't have a pressure cooker or time to soak and cook beans for a day.

Drain one can of beans and puree in a blender to a smooth consistency. In a heavy pan, saute onion in olive oil until softened. Add carrots, green pepper, celery, chilis/peppers, and garlic, stir and cook on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add diced tomato and seasonings and continue to cook until tomato is soft. Add 2nd can of black beans with or without juice and add the pureed beans and stir. Simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes, and add lime juice, and small amounts of water as needed. If you add frozen corn, do so a few minutes before you are through cooking, or add cooked short grain brown rice to bowls just before serving. Top with cilantro, and voila! Crusty french bread or warm tortillas are great with this soup along with a simple green salad. Yields 4 servings. Enjoy!

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VEGGIE STIR FRY
1/2 zucchini - cut in thin rounds and then in half
3 green onions - washed and cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 green pepper - cut in strips
2 carrots - peeled, cut in thin slices on the angle
1 stalk celery - washed, cut in 1/4" slices on the angle
1 can water chestnuts
handful of snow peas
1/2 block firm tofu - cut in 1" squares
handful of bean sprouts per serving
2 Tbs peanut oil
2 Tbs corn starch
1 veggie bouillon
2 cups boiling water
1 tsp crushed red pepper - optional
Tamari to taste
Freshly grated ginger root
2 cups cooked short grain brown rice, or jasmine rice

There are a lot of combinations of veggies to pick and choose from to create your stir fry - broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, and bamboo shoots for example.  Use what works for you, and have fun with this simple, quick and easy dish.

Dissolve the veggie bouillon in 2 cups boiling water, mix in corn starch and set aside.  Prep the veggies, and heat peanut oil in a heavy skillet.  Add zucchini, peppers, carrots, crushed red pepper, and celery to skillet. Cook on medium heat until veggies start to soften.  Add tofu and gently stir until cooked.  Add water chestnuts and snow peas and continue mixing gently for a few minutes.  Push all the veggies to the side of the skillet and add bouillon water with corn starch to the center of the skillet and  stir briskly until sauce thickens.  Put half a cup of rice in a bowl or plate, spoon veggies on top, add bean sprouts and 1/2 tsp of grated ginger and a splash of soy.  Yields 4 servings.  Serve hot and enjoy!




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MEXICALI HOMEFRIES
6 small red or gold potatoes
4 - 6 corn tortillas - cut in to 2 inch strips
1 red, yellow or green bell pepper - or a combination - cut into thin strips
2 diced Roma tomatoes
2 large minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup minced onion - red or yellow
1/2 cup chopped black olives
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 Tbs fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
minced parsley or cilantro for garnish
1 cup grated Monterey Jack soy cheese - optional
1/2 cup olive oil

This is a major meal in a skillet that hits the spot on a cool fall day.  Boil scrubbed potatoes for about 15 minutes, then rinse in cold water and slice thin. Prepare the other ingredients while potatoes are cooking.  Heat olive oil in large skillet and add sliced potatoes to hot oil.  Cook for about 12 minutes, stir over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper - mix well.  Add bell peppers, tortillas, tomato and olives.  Stir for another 10 minutes until everything is tender and well-blended.  Stir in crushed red pepper and add lime juice.  Gently stir for a few more minutes until the dish is brown and crisp - add soy cheese just before serving and garnish with parsley or cilantro.  Serve immediately - yields 6 servings.  Enjoy!




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VEGGIE BURGERS
1 Box Boca Burgers (there are several varieties which are all great!)
1 TBS cooking oil
Sliced red or yellow onion
Tomato slices
Sprouts or lettuce leaves
Soy cheese slices
Dill pickle chips
Splash of tamari
Whole wheat burger buns
Mustard, ketchup, mayo or whatever condiment you like

There are usually 4 burgers to a box so adjust accordingly (duh).  Add oil to a heavy skillet and heat.  Toss in frozen patties and cook til browned and then flip and cook other side.  I put a few drops of tamari on each burger which adds a great kick to it!  If you like your onions sauteed, toss those in the skillet as well.  While burgers are cooking, prep all the items you would like to add.  I like to just have it all on one big platter and let peeps pick and choose what they want to top their burgers.  This is a meal that's ready in under 10 minutes so if you are serving anything else with it, like french fries , then allow time for other items to be done in advance.  Other suggestions are to saute  zucchini, carrots, peppers and top off the burgers.  Add soy cheese just before ready to serve.  Most veggie burgers are stable enough to cook on a grill as well. Serves 4.  Enjoy!


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PESTO PASTA
1/2  box small shell pasta - or1/2 package bow-tie pasta
1/2 each red and green bell pepper - diced
2 Roma tomatoes - quartered and diced or sliced
2 cloves garlic - crushed and diced
1 or 2 slices of red onion - diced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 T olive oil
1/2 tub of pesto

Put oil in saucepan and heat on low.  Add red onion and crushed red pepper and saute until onion is softened.  Add garlic and diced peppers.  Simmer for a for a few minutes and add tomatoes.  Keep heat on low,  cover pan and cook for another 5 minutes.   While veggies are cooking, prepare your pasta.  There are a lot of interesting pastas you can use to make this dish look as appetizing as it is!  Rinse and drain pasta, return pasta to pan and stir in half tub of pesto.   Mix thoroughly to coat the pasta then add veggies, stir gently.   This dish is best served hot,  but some like it cold.  Serve with whole wheat garlic toast and a field green salad.  Serve and enjoy! Yields 4 servings



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MADRAS LENTILS
2 cups cooked lentils
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 can red beans, rinsed
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 cup cream substitute
pinch of salt
1/8 cup sunflower oil
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 T chilies - green
1/2 cup of water

Saute onion in sunflower oil until softened.  Add green chilies and cumin powder - stir for a couple of minutes until mixed well.  Add cooked lentils, tomatoes, beans and cream, and mix well.  Add water and salt and simmer for 10 minutes.  The aroma from this dish will bring them running to the table faster than a dinner bell!  Serve with warm tortillas or chips.  Garnish with cilantro and a slice of red onion.  Enjoy!

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VEGGIE GNOCCHI - ITALIAN POTATO DUMPLINGS
1 16 oz package potato Gnocchi
1 16 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 garlic clove - peeled and crushed
1 Tbs chopped parsley
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shredded parmesan, or vegan cheese substitute.

Heat olive oil on low in a saute pan.  Add garlic and cook until golden brown, then remove garlic and discard.   Add tomatoes, parsley, and basil.  Saute for ten minutes or until tomatoes are tender.  Add gnocchi to boiling, slightly salted water while simmering the sauce.  Gnocchi cook rapidly so 3 - 4 minutes or until they float to the top.  Drain water - pour sauce over the cooked dumplings, and serve hot.    Add cheese and down the hatch.  Serve with rye bread, simple green salad.  Enjoy!


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GREEN BEAN POTATO SALAD
1 lb (3.5 cups) fresh green beans
2 lbs (2.5 cups) red potatoes
3 minced garlic cloves
3 Tbs fresh dill
4 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 cup diced red pepper
1/2 cup choped red onion
Note: Substitute lemon juice for balsamic vinegar - and use fresh basil instead of dill.

Steam the green beans for 5 to 8 minutes.  Dice potatoes into bite-size pieces, and cook in boiling water until tender. Mix dill, vinegar, oil and mustard.  Add onion and bell pepper to cooled beans and potatoes, top with the dressing and mix well.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.  Enjoy!



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GREAT PASTA and MARINARA - OKAY, SPAGHETTI!
1 Tbs olive oil
3 cloves garlic - crushed or sliced
1/2 diced onion, red, white or yellow
1/2 cup diced zucchini or green/yellow pepper
1 can tomato sauce
1 can sliced Italian tomatoes with basil and oregano
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/4 cup red cooking wine
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 package favorite pasta - or use fresh pasta (shells, spaghetti, linquini, etc.)

Pour olive oil in a heavy saucepan and heat on low.  Add diced onion and saute until tender then add the garlic and any other veggies that suit your tastes.  Toss in the bay leaf, add crushed basil, oregano and red pepper.  Stir occasionally for a few minutes and drizzle red cooking wine over mixture.  Let simmer for a few minutes.  Add Italian tomatoes and sauce, throw in the sugar (this helps cut any bitterness) and keep heat on low for a slow simmer for at least 45 minutes.  Stir it up as needed.  Cook your pasta - drain, and you are good to go.  This is also a great sauce for lasagna or pizzas.  Serve with a crisp salad and garlic bread and enjoy!


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SPINACH SALAD
1 lb. washed spinach
1/2 cup pinenuts or garbanzo beans and walnuts
1/2 large red onion - sliced in thin O's
1/4 julienned carrots
1/4 cup olive oil
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 tsp grey poupon mustard
Pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Oddly enough, this salad could be the hit of the day at a family affair or small party.  Make sure there is no dirt on the spinach, that would be a mistake!  Even if the package says pre-washed 3 times, I still fill a deep pan or bowl with fresh water, and dunk the leaves in a bunch head-first into the water and lift the spinach out.  After several dunkings, I'm satisfied when there is no residue of sand or dirt in the bottom of the pan.  Use a salad spinner to drain water, or a ton of paper towels!   Slice your onion in thin O's, and cut in half if that suits you.  I like the presentation when they are whole.  Pour the olive oil in the bottom of a large bowl, add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and a little crushed garlic if you wish.  Add mustard and mix with small whisk or fork until well-blended.  Add spinach on top of dressing, and start dredging the dressing from the bottom up to coat the leaves.  Add onion and pinenuts, and continue dredging for about a minute.  Transfer to serving bowl and eat asap - as the dressing will start wilting the salad.  Enjoy!


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BBQ BLACK BEAN WRAPS
1 can black beans
2 Tbs cooking oil
1/4 cup diced yellow, red or white onion
1 carrot peeled and diced
1/2 block firm tofu, diced
1/2 medium sized zucchini - diced
1/2 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup favorite BBQ sauce
Tortillas
Shredded cabbage, spinach leaves or sprouts - optional

Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in 250 degree oven while preparing the mixture. Rinse and drain black beans.  In a heavy skillet, heat oil  and add onion, carrot, zucchini, tofu, and saute until soft.  Add beans and corn and gently mix in BBQ sauce.  Spoon 1/2 cup of mixture into tortilla, add cabbage or sprouts, fold sides in and roll tortillas.  Cut in half, and serve hot.  These hearty  wraps are also easy to serve at parties.  Makes 6 wraps.  Enjoy!



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STUFFED PEPPERS
1 cup cooked couscous, short grain  or long grain brown rice, lentils, or basmati rice
6 bell peppers - a combo of green, red and yellow or orange looks good!
2 cups grape tomatoes or 1-16 oz. can Italian stewed tomatoes
1/2 medium yellow or white onion, diced
1 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt, optional
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper if you want it spicy, optional
2 cups marinara , optional

Lightly oil a large shallow baking dish, and preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash peppers, and slice off tops of peppers,  remove seeds and gently cut away excessive stems.  Halve the tomatoes and toss in a bowl with onion, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix in the grain of c
hoice.  Spoon equal portions into peppers, replace tops on peppers, and roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, until  tender.  Carefully cut peppers in half, lengthwise and drizzle with marinara.  Serve hot and enjoy!  



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NEAT LOAF
1/2 cup diced onion
5 slices hearty whole wheat bread - cubed into 1" pieces, may contain seeds and nuts
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts - crushed
1 Package firm tofu - Try White Wave for the best results
1 Tbs grey poupon mustard
1 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1/2 cup favorite salsa
1/8 cup vegetable oil
2 cups water

Put tofu in food processor and blend until creamy, add mustard, tamari, and salsa.  In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil and add diced onions.  Cook on medium heat until onions are soft, and add walnuts.  Stir in tofu mixture, and blend well.  Add bread cubes, rolled oats and stir, then add water and mix gently.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until all the water is absorbed.   Lightly oil and fill a dozen-rack cupcake pan with enough Neat Loaf to nearly fill each hole, and bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Remove pan from oven.  Use a knife to cut around the edge of each loaf, and then flip on to a baking sheet.  Place baking sheet in oven and continue baking until loaves are crisp and golden on the outside, about 20 minutes.   You can drizzle with miso gravy,  and add mashed potatoes and green peas for a pleasing and tantalizing meal.  These little loaves are also delicious when mashed gently and served wrapped in a tortilla.
Yields 6 - 8 servings.  Enjoy!



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CHILI NON CARNE with QUINOA
1 medium sized leek - washed, sliced, inlcude most of the greens
1 can or bottle of beer ... the alcohol will evaporate during cooking process
1 can each black beans and kidney beans - rinsed and drained
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 oz can hatch green chiles
1 can crushed or stewed tomatoes
1 Tbs chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 cup quinoa
2 T cooking oil
3 cups water

In heavy sauce pan, heat oil and add sliced leeks.  Saute for a couple of minutes to soften  then  add garlic,  green chiles, and beer!  Whoo Hoo.    Add chili powder, cayenne pepper, and basil.  Simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add beans, black olives, tomatoes and water.  Cover and continue to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Rinse the quinoa and add about 15 minutes prior to the end of cooking the chili.  If you've never used quinoa, this is a power food that comes in about 5,000 varieties, and ranges from black to white.  It unfurls when cooked and looks like tiny pieces of lace.  Other uses are for salads and soups.  Serve Chili Non Carne with a hearty bread and salad. Yields about 8 servings.   Enjoy!

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MILLET TACOS
1 cup uncooked millet (makes about a dozen tacos)
1/2 package favorite taco seasoning
Taco Shells
1/4 cup diced zucchini - optional
1/4 cup peeled and diced carrots - optional
Toppings: Sprouts, lettuce, spinach, tomato, sliced green onion, avocado slices, soy cheese,  peppers, salsa, hot sauce - the works!

These little tacos are always a big hit with everyone, and you won't miss the burger at all.  You can cook the millet with diced veggies or not.  If you use zucchini and carrots, dice them into pieces about the size of a green pea, saute in a little hot oil for a few minutes to soften, and use the same pan to add 3 cups water, bring to boil, and add  taco seasoning to taste - if you like it hot, add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or extra chili powder.  Whoo Hoo!

Bring water to a boil, add the millet, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 45 minutes.  Do not stir while millet is cooking.  Make sure all the water is abosorbed, and turn off heat.  Let sit for about 20-30 minutes, and voila.  The taco shells will need to be heated in the oven at about 200 degrees for a couple of minutes.  They scorch and burn easily so keep an eye on them.

Spoon millet into shells, about 1/3 full.  Add the toppings of your choice, and have at it.  Be prepared to have extras ready because they'll be coming back for more.  If you have extra millet leftover, sprinkle it on a salad, or add to soup or casserole.  Yields about a dozen regular-sized tacos.  Enjoy!



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NEATBALL SUBS
1 cup cooked short grain brown rice
1 - 16 oz can drained/rinsed red kidney beans
1/2 cup favorite salsa
1 tsp fennel seed  - toasted or saute in a little hot oil before using
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 cups marinara (spaghetti sauce) 
6 slices of soycheese  
(optional)
Hoagie rolls, burger buns or experiment with hearty types of bread!  You could also wrap in tortillas for easy meals.

Mash beans and mix well with salsa, fennel seed, and basil.  Mix with short grain brown rice. Shape into 2" balls and fry in just enough oil to coat a heavy skillet.  Slightly flatten neatballs after you turn them and cook until crisp and golden brown. 

Cut rolls or buns lengthwise and place 2 or 3 neatballs on bread.  Top with soy cheese, and a couple of tablespoons of marinara.  Place subs under broiler until hot, and edges of bread start to brown.  You can also toast the bread a little before topping with neatballs and sauce. Yields 4-6 open-faced sandwiches.  Enjoy!

                                                                                                                                                      
TIME SAVERS
Cook the brown rice the night before you are going to use it and this meal will  be ready in about 20 minutes.  To prepare rice, wash in strainer first, and use one cup of rice to about 2.5 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover,  and simmer on low heat for about 45 to 50 minutes.  The trick to perfect rice is to never stir it while it is cooking.  Make sure all water is absorbed before removing from heat, and leave the cover on and let rice set up for about 30 minutes.  Store overnight in the fridge.  One cup of uncooked natural rice will yield about 3-4 cups of cooked rice, so use  leftover rice in soups, salads, or other entrees.   Fennel is a strong spice, and you should saute it in a little hot oil for a minute or two before adding to mixture.  Some love it, others don't,  so test the waters and find out!   Not for everyone.  Even without
the use of fennel these subs are delicious.  Happy eating!