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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vege Pene Stroganoff

Add some veggies and garlic bread and you've got a nice supper.
This is admittedly an adaptation of a more traditional stroganoff recipe. The beautiful thing about what our forefathers used to call "made" dishes is that there is room for adapting the recipe to what you've got on hand.  This can be made with almost any sort of pasta you want. I chose pene pasta because I was out of egg noodles, but it works either way. It works with several types of vege-meats. This one is pretty adaptable.


Get a great big bowl for mixing the pasta. It's very messy as you can see!
  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Should be slightly al dente'. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, drain the juice from the Vegetarian meat can into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Brown Beefless Chunks in butter, margarine or olive oil. If you use Choplets or Vegetable Steaks, cut them into strips before browning.
  4. Put browned vegetarian meat into large mixing bowl.  Use the skillet to saute the onions and mushrooms. When ready, add to browned vege-meat in the big bowl.
  5. In skillet add tablespoon or so of flour and stir into olive oil. Heat till it starts to thicken. Add the liquid from the vege-meat can and allow it to thicken slightly. Add evaporated milk, sour cream and allow to thicken again. Add water to the sauce till it thickens again. Add water a little at a time till you have a nice saucy consistency. 
  6. Pour the pasta into the big bowl with the vegetables and the vege-meat. Mix and then add the sauce. Stir in olives and you're done.
As I said you can use several different noodle-like pasta types and any of several beefish vege-meats. Choplets probably make the best stroganoff dishes. It's pretty easy to make, sits well overnight, travels well and is easy to expand to makes lots and lots of delicious pasta.  Sprinkle a little Parmesan on it when you serve it up and it's really nice.

How cool is that?

Tom King
(c) 2015

Thursday, August 13, 2015

King Hacienda Taco Enchilada Bake

I call this the King Hacienda Taco Enchilada Bake to differentiate from the King Ranch (no relation) dishes I’ve been posting.  So that you do not confuse this example of Tex-Mex cuisine with that developed on the famed South Texas Rancho Deluxe, let me specify that the King Hacienda is rather less imposing.  We are the other King Family enterprise which consists of a pair of Texas ex-pats living up here in liberal Washington State. It's a sumptuous 1 bedroom hacienda located over a garage deep in a South Puyallup cottonwood swamp, just an ash cloud’s throw from Mt. Rainier where Sheila lives with her husband, Tom and Daisy the Wonder Dog.

You may notice that my King labeled dishes tend to have a certain cheesy quality to them. If you object to cheese, you are certainly free to use grated tofu, grated soy cheese or anything else you can find that’s of a cheesy texture and which melts. It is my own belief that cows are quite proud of their cheddar products and don’t mind me using them to create Tex-Mex dream dishes for celebratory purposes.

The King Hacienda Taco Enchilada Bake is a lovely dish that I based on a Krysten Schwartz recipe on  I simply vegetarianized it. The recipe doesn’t call for a lot of spices. I use Loma Linda Taco Filling which is already spiced up. The rest of the flavors come from the ingredients, which are as follows:


  • Small can or ½ large can of Loma Linda Taco Filling
  • ½ large onion diced
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Picante sauce
  • Small can tomatoes and green chiles (Rotel mild)
  • 10 corn tortillas


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Carmelize diced onions in skillet then add taco filling and brown
  3. In small bowl mix sour cream, tomatoes & green chiles and Picante sauce
  4. Spray the bottom of a 9x12 casserole dish with spray cooking oil and add a few little dabs of Picante sauce.
  5. Lay 3 or 4 corn tortillas over the bottom of the casserole dish
  6. Add a layer of cooked onions and taco filling
  7. Spoon in a layer of the sour cream/picante/chiles mix
  8. Add a layer of grated cheddar
  9. Add a second layer of tortillas. (Tortilla chips will work too, but will make the dish saltier)
  10. Add the rest of the taco filling and onions
  11. Add the rest of the sour cream/picante/chiles mix
  12. Top with cheddar cheese and bake at 350 degrees until bubbly. If you are going to reheat it for potluck the next day, pull it out before it browns on top, then heat until the cheese starts to brown on top just before serving.

Note:  This is a great way to use up leftover vege-taco meet after a taco supper or something. I can also get two of these enchilada bakes out of a single large can of Loma Linda Taco Filling – a nice contribution to a big potluck. This dish is even better if you make it the day before. The flavors permeate through the dish and give you a lovely panoply of tastes in every bite.

Have a Happy Potluck!

Tom & Sheila King
© 2015

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Southwestern Veggie Burgers

This was a fun sort of vegeburger recipe and turned out really tasty.  We had a giant can of Loma Linda Taco Filling and only used about half of it when we made tacos. Sooooo.....

I'm hungry for vegeburgers and fresh out of regular vegeburger, so I thought, "Why not come up with a Tex-Mex vegeburger.  I already know how to give regular vegeburgers a Tex-Mex flavor, but I wonder if Taco Filling will give it a little more bite?"

Here's what we came up with in the El Rancho de' King kitchen.

What You're Going to Need:

Can(s) of Loma Linda Taco Filling (or however much you have left from Taco Night)
Oatmeal (optional for texture)
Chopped onions
Chopped jalapenos (optional)
Mono-unsaturated oil
Hamburger Buns  (# depends on size of group)
Mayo/Salad Dressing
Picante sauce
Shredded Cheddar cheese or Cheese slices (if you want cheeseburgers - cheddar is best)


  1. Get out a big bowl and put all the Taco Filling in it. How many servings you get out of this recipe will depend on how much Taco filling you use and how big you make the patties. You don't need seasoning because the Taco filling is already seasoned. However, feel free to add a little cumin. I did. Gave it more of a Tex-Mex aura.
  2. For every large can of Taco Filling, add a quarter cup oatmeal, a quarter to half of a chopped onion, two eggs (to hold the patties together), 2-4 tbsp of flour and however many finely chopped jalapenos your group can tolerate.  I go very light out of deference to the tender mouths in the group. You can put the rest in a bowl and set them with the condiments. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Chop the lettuce, slice the tomatoes, slice some onions, slice the avocados. Set up a burger bar with a plate for the burgers, then put out buns, mayo, ketchup, picante sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, avocado and shredded cheddar/cheddar slices in that order for successful burger building.
  4. Once the burger bar is set up start frying up the patties so they will be hot as everyone cues up. If your church has a big grill, you've got a perfect setup. I've used 4 large frying pans to keep up with the demand.  It works for a potluck or a burger sale for Pathfinders in the church gym. The hot vege-burger is what's important to making the burgers extra special. 
Note:  Let people know that these are Tex-Mex burgers so they won't think something is wrong with them. Also make sure the tender-mouths know that the bowl of little green bits isn't pickle relish, but jalapenos.  You might make a separate mix without jalapenos and set up a hot vs mild plate of burgers on the burger bar. 

Makes a nice change-up for burger night with your youth group and also is a great way to use up leftover Taco Filling around the house. This is also a fun thing for small church groups or socials.

Bone Appetite!

Tom King
(c) 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

The South Of the Border Salad

This salad recipe is likely a variant of the venerable Adventist haystack. It was apparently invented by a restauranteur who owned a little cafe in an antique mall in downtown Cleburne, Texas, five miles from Keene, my hometown. Now Keene is an Adventist college town and notable SDA ghetto.  It is little wonder the basic haystack idea drifted into the Tex-Mex cuisine in the nearby Johnson County Seat.  They had a Pappa and Mama version, probably in deference to all the Adventist vegetarians that came into the place.  The Papa version used hamburger and was more expensive. The Mama salad used ranch-style or chili beans, but otherwise, both were basically the same

The South Of the Border Salad was advertised and listed on the menu by it's three primary initials. The South Of the Border Salad was named what it was named I figure, both for its Tex-Mex flavor and because it gave the local heathens a giggle whenever some very proper Adventist customer or little old Baptist lady, when ordering, would nervously point to the menu or describe the salad by its ingredients or call it a Mama Salad, rather than say the name listed on the menu.  It's an easy-to-make potluck dish and can be added to a haystack potluck setup by baking a bag of potatoes or two ahead of time.  It's versatile for a potluck because you just set out the ingredients and let everyone make their own version. Way better than pizza too!  This is pretty much a whole meal by itself, so while it's listed as a salad, it's a lot more than just an appetizer.


  • Baked Potato, Large
    Start off your South Of the Border Salad with a baked potato.
  • Butter/margarine
  • Salt
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Chopped salad veggies like peppers, onions, cucumber carrots or whatever you've got.
  • 1/2 cup Avocado or make up a big bowl of guacamole
  • Jar or two of Picante Sauce
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (for potlucks just buy a big bag of it already shredded)
  • Bit carton of sour cream
  • Bottles of Ranch and Catalina Salad Dressing
  • Black olives
  • Pot of Ranch Style Beans or you can use Loma Linda Five-Bean Chili, Chili Man or barbecue beans of some kind.
  • Loma Linda Vegeburger, Worthington Vegeburger or Morningstar Farms Grillers Recipe Crumbles (you can even brown up some Loma Linda Taco Filling)
  • Tortilla chips and Fritos
  • Chopped Jalepenos
  • Monster jar of Picante' Sauce (Pace or San Antonio Riverwalk is great)
Add tortilla chips and beans or chili

  1. Bake up a bag of potatoes in the skins before the event. You can take them already baked and heat them up in the church's warming ovens.  Most Adventist churches have these. By the time potluck is on, they should be nice and fluffy inside. 
  2. Cook up a big pot of Ranch-Style beans or Vege-chile.  
  3. Chop up your veggies, grate your cheese and set out the sour cream, tortilla chips and what not all out in a row in order of how you build your South Of the Border Salad.
Constructing the South Of the Border Salad: 
Next add all the salad stuff and voila!  You're done.
  1. Break open the potato and spread it out over the bottom of the plate. You can leave the skin on or peel it off.  It's up to you, but I like all the vitamins to come with my potato.
  2. Butter and salt is optional.
  3. Add a layer of tortilla chips
  4. Spoon on a layer of chili, barbecue or Ranch Style Beans
  5. Make a a bed of lettuce and start adding all your chopped veggies. Get what you want. Make it with onions or without. There are no rules. 
  6. Sprinkle a bunch of shredded Cheddar over the top.
  7. Decorate the whole beautiful pile of stuff with dollops of avocado or guacamole, salad dressing, Picante sauce, olives, crouton, vege-bacon bits (TVP) and chives or whatever else you like.  Add a little peak of sour cream and you have created a magnificent meal - run for the table
This salad is best consumed quickly which is never a problem for me. That way, the salad stays cool and crisp while the potato and chili give you a nice warm base. It's great!  I've seen teenage boys consume two or three of these in a row. Sadly, this feat of gastronomy is no longer permitted me by either my physician or (more importantly), by my Sweet Baboo who does not wish me to explode and die.
Bon' appetite!*

(c) 2015 by Tom King

*And, yes I spelled it "appetite" on purpose - the American way not "appetit" like the French. This is, after all, an American Tex-Mex dish and we don't pronounce words all French and sissified.  Just sayin'.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

King Ranch Vege-Chicken, Mac and Cheese

King Ranch Vege-Chicken Mac & Cheese

Once again we journey back down to the King Ranch (no kin of mine - they're rich/I'm not) to borrow a recipe and vegetarianize it for potluck. This is a lovely one that turned out ridiculously delicious. Again, this is a potluck dish and therefore celebratory in nature. I do not suggest you make a whole skilletful of this stuff and eat it by yourself (even if you do share some with your wife and the dog). It's made to be consumed in normal portions at Sabbath potlucks where calories do not count as we all know.

If you've tried out my King Ranch Chicken recipe, you have a general idea where we're going. It's a fresh, Southwestern Tex-Mex take on the macaroni and cheese casserole. Mostly, the big difference between it and King Ranch Chicken is that we're substituting macaroni for tortillas. It's really good and won't last long on the potluck serving table, especially if you draw attention to it by baking it in a big iron skillet. There's just something about serving things in a big iron skillet that makes them look that much more tasty.

Here's how it works:

  1. Macaroni or similar pasta
  2. Salt (to taste)
  3. Milk
  4. Loma Linda Chicken Chunks or other vegetarian chicken substitutes like Worthington Fri-Chik, Worthington Diced Chik or even cut up Morningstar Farms Chicken Nuggets or Patties.
  5. Cream of Mushroom soup
  6. Cheddar Cheese
  7. 1/4 to 1/2 cup sour cream (optional)
  8. Velveeta
  9. Chopped onion
  10. Chopped bell peppers
  11. Margarine
  12. Picante sauce or (if you like it a bit hotter) Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Chilis (small can)
  13. Chili Powder
  14. Cumin
  15. Tortilla chip crumbs
  16. Black olives (optional)
  1.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Put a big pot of water on to boil.
  2. When the pot of water boils add enough macaroni to fill the skillet after the macaroni swells up, or (as I did) throw in bits of leftover rotini, pene or whatever loose leftover dried pasta you have hanging around the kitchen. I like the variety and it's a great way to use up any leftover macaroni products you have in your cupboard. Don't worry about quantity. The recipe is very forgiving.
  3.  While the macaroni is boiling, get out your big iron skillet or a dutch oven and saute' a handful of chopped onions and a handful of chopped bell peppers till they soften. I threw in a few mild red bell peppers and an even fewer hot red peppers for color.  You can use any color bell pepper you want. 
  4. When the peppers are done, set them aside in a small bowl, put a light smear of olive oil on the bottom of the skillet and cook the Chick'n Chunks till they start to brown.
  5. Meanwhile back at the Ranch, your macaroni should be done.  Drain it and pour it into a large mixing bowl.  Add a tablespoon of margarine and an eighth cup of milk or so, 4 to 6 ounces of Velveeta cut into cubes to make them easier to melt.  Stir well until the cheese begins to melt. Add sour cream if you want to. Makes things smooth and nice.
  6. At this point, I like to add leftover cheeses to the mix. This time I had some provolone slices I cut into strips and some Parmesan I sprinkled into the mix. You can also add the cheese packets from Kraft Mac & Cheese boxes too. The cheese flavors make a nice mixed flavor. Don't add the cheddar cheese yet.
  7. As the cheese gets melted, add the onions, peppers and by now cooked Chick'n Chunks. Stir vigorously.  Stir in Rotel tomatoes & chilis or Picante Sauce. For a nice Tex-Mex I use either Pace Picante Sauce or San Antonio Riverwalk Picante' Sauce (available at Walmart). I go mild, but knock yourself out. Both come in medium and hot also.  Rotel even has a "mild" version but where's the fun in that?
  8. Add salt, cumin and chili powder to taste. I only added about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of each. My folk like their Tex-Mex mild. 
  9. Stir it all up thoroughly.  Wipe the inside of the skillet with margarine to coat the sides and reduce stickage.  Pour in all that cheese macaroni.  Top with shredded cheddar and lightly crushed tortilla chips.  I always save the crumbles at the bottom of the bag for use on casseroles. I've got a special jar just for chip crumbles. My Sweet Baboo hates when I leave a bag with just a few crushed chips at the bottom. I respect that and have changed my methods of chip crumble storage.
  10. Now that you've got a mound of cheesy mac casserole in your skillet, covered with cheddar and tortillas, pop it all into the oven and cooked till bubbly on top with little browned spots - 20 minutes or so, but watch it so you don't burn it.
Take along one of those nice straw hot pads and set the skillet on top of it. I make an aluminum tent over the whole thing while transporting it. One of the great things about this dish is that it tastes even better if you make it Friday and take in on Sabbath. It holds up nicely in the warming oven, especially if you freshen it with more crisp tortilla crumbles. It looks great. has a name you can remember so you can tell people exactly what it is when they ask you for the recipe. 

Neat Trick for Would-Be Potluck Legends:
If you want to be really helpful to your fellow potluckers, make up a stack of business cards (you can get them for your computer printer at Office Depot or someplace like that).  Print the name of the dish and the web address where they can pick up a copy of this or any other recipe we've shown you here. People like knowing the name of the dish and where they can get the recipe without having to follow you around to get it.

I like this dish because it doesn't taste like ordinary Mac & Cheese. It has a nice Tex-Mex flavor. If I would do anything different, next time I'd make sure I had some black olive slices to put on top.

You should pester all the great cooks at your potlucks to send me their recipes at . I'll post it on the website and give them credit as the chef who donated the recipe. Then they can do handout cards to share recipes with fellow potluckers.  The younger moms will really appreciate getting new recipes that can one day become family favorites.

Let me know how it comes out. 

Tom King
(c) 2015