There is nothing quite so wonderful as a home cooked, from scratch meal. That is also one of the fabulous perks of going Vegan. For me, I learned more about food, what nutrition is, where it comes from, the needing meat for protein myth...I learned how certain foods come together, and the beauty of putting the time and love into a meal. It's beautiful to start with your line up of ingredients and lovingly mix, chop, fold, bake, etc.
Except....what about when you want that, but you are...kinda in a hurry? Or...feeling a little bit lackadaisical? S'okay, happens to all of us, so that is when it's time to cheat! So many people worry about when they go Vegan, there will not be as many choices, and there are no 'quick' meal options.
Not true! I cheat, and I cheat often. Noooo....I do not cheat on being Vegan, I cheat on preparing every meal from scratch. I want to share some of my favorite finds with you, my darlings! There are many brands, and each one usually offers a range of a couple different to several options, and the fun is in finding your favorites.
Sometimes, I am super busy, running errands all day, cleaning the house, and have fed the little ones but realize I am suddenly STARVED! TV Dinner time! Okay, I know....no one calls them that anymore, but it's such a cute name. My first favorite Brand is Amy's. Wowza.
This is the Macaroni and Cheeze to top ALL Macaroni and Cheeze. I love this soooo much that I have actually ordered a case of it from my local grocery store. (and that means I get 10% off, bonus!!!!) This is so creamy, so delicious, and so Cheesy that you could serve it to anyone, even people who love to say "I could never be Vegan, I love cheese too much" and they would fall in love(and not even realize it's Vegan!)
Amy's Roasted Vegetable Pizza. Oh my. Trust me, it tastes waaaaay better than it looks on the box, and it seems to cook up in a snap(again, sometimes I am hungry and in a rush!) I like to jazz mine up a bit more by adding some Goddess dressing on top, sometimes Hummus as well, and then some sliced Avocados when it is done baking. (Take my word for it--raw avocados taste 100% better than if you try and cook or bake them. So don't even try.)
The country girl in me loves cozy, creamy comfort food, and Pot Pies are high on my list. Always have been. Amy's makes me so happy that I don't have to miss out on that comforting childhood throwback of the microwave Pot Pie. Of course, you can hand make your very own from scratch pot pie, but this post is about cheating. So go ahead and cheat with this deliciousness.
Kashi makes only a couple frozen Vegan entrees, but I love them!
Kashi's Mayan Harvest Bake. Healthy and Exotic. Plantains, Sweet Potatoes, Kale, and Polenta, oh my. I've noticed that the Kashi meals tend to take longer to fully microwave, but it's worth the wait.
Kashi's Tuscan Veggie Bake is indeed like a trip to Tuscany to experience and revel in food. Lasagna noodles smothered in a sun dried tomato sauce and stuffed with roasted eggplant, yummy yellow squash and red onions.
Annie Chun's Pad Thai rocks my socks! Mainly because it is pretty much as quick as Ramen, except not nasty and it doesn't remind me of my days of starving my way through college and my early 20's. Ignore the directions on the box (She also makes a Vegan Soup bowl with even worse directions, be warned) Just put some hot water in the container, add the noodles and the flavoring, and microwave for about a minute, perhaps two depending on your microwave. Then, stir and add provided peanuts. From there I add in some almond butter and lime juice and mix it all up. Fabulous, and filling.
The name Pamela means Honey. I feel that the maker of Pamela's mixes lives up to that name. As I stated earlier, I adore cooking and baking from scratch. But once in a while, you just have to give in and use a mix. Pamela's are my go to, they come in Vanilla or Chocolate, both are phenomenal, and how cute is it that there are coordinating frosting mixes!?!? Go ahead and customize these, too. For Vanilla, a fun option is to add in some lemon extract and then gently (GENTLY!) fold in fresh raspberries into the batter. For chocolate, you could add in Peanut, Almond or Cashew Butter for something fun, Chocolate or Carob Chips, Peppermint extract and then add some crushed peppermint candy on top...oh the possibilities. I do want to add here, that many, many of the traditional, familiar cake mixes are actually Vegan(Betty Crocker and her friends) I just happen to love this Brand, PLUS they are Wheat Free and Gluten Free, and the frostings only take a couple minutes to make and kick the frosting in a can's butts! If you are going to go ahead and use the more traditional brand of cake mix, just read the ingredients. Look out for whey, casein, and their relatives.
Staying on the track of Gluten and Wheat Free delectables, The Cravings Place has what you need. The brand name just about says it all! The Brownie mix has chunks, CHUNKS, not chips of chocolate, so it is great as is (as are all of their mixes) but as usual, I like to do my own mixology of adding in more things. The Cravings Place has several products, these three are simply my fave go to's.
Bob's Red Mill is a brand I trust and Love, and all of their products are pretty darn high on the 'good for you' meter. Here are two of my pantry staples--Sometimes I want to just whip up a home made Pizza, and sometimes I have a hankering for Corn Bread. It's the simple things....