Monday, March 28, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project hits it's First Anniversary - Let's Celebrate with Vegan Spanish Chicken!

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Today, we are entering into a new phase of Betty's Book. We've been calling it the Double Meat Dinners. Yes, there are a number of recipes in Betty's Big Red that call for multiple animals in one meal. There are even a few, like The Italian Grill and Seafood Lasagna, that call for three or four. But more about those later. The good news is that Betty gives us a lot more than just meat to work with.

Today is the perfect storm of Meatless Monday and The Betty Crocker Project Anniversary Week, and so it only seems fit we start off the week with Spanish Chicken--also known as Basque Chicken. This pretty, fancy, wonderful dinner is a mock-meat-lovers dream come true! It has it all. Beautiful colors, rich unique flavors... and olives.

This dinner makes enough for two people to have leftovers for a few days... but there weren't any in our house, because it was to good to stop eating. No regrets. Well, one regret: that we didn't have any leftovers to eat.

Thank you, Betty Crocker, for inspiring us to make a dish we probably would have never tried, and for all the inspiration you have given us this year. When I take a long hard look at who I was when I started this project, I have to admit that I was in a very bad place. I was disappointed in my career, and I was deeply disappointed in myself for not being as successful as my friends and even my husband**. For years I had lost myself in cooking, even before I began this project. I focused on figuring out how to make vegan versions of dishes that seemed impossible. It was how I used my creative energy, and found some sense in a world that at the time seemed beyond my control. It was what I had to contribute. It was how I bonded with my friends and my husband who I could feel myself drifting away from as my career stood still and theirs' prospered. It was how I found a place for myself. It's hard to admit these things about yourself, but I think that I can. Because one year later, things are very different. And they seem to be moving into a better place every day.

This project has given me an outlet for all of my creative energy, and has provided me with people to chat with about vegan living and cooking (when I get the chance). And most of all, it has inspired me to be the best me I can be. Thank you Betty Crocker, all you loyal lurkers, public followers and yes, even Julie Powell***... your support, encouragement, and existence has changed my life.

Are you weeping yet? OK, enough mushy stuff for now... there might be more this week. Prepare yourself. Double Mock Meat Dinners - GO*!

Vegan Spanish Chicken
  • 2 Cups Your Favorite Vegan Chicken (You can make this with Gardein, LightLife, Morningstar Strips, Match Vegan Meats... we used May Wah this time but any of the above would have been great.)
  • 1 Package Tofurky Italian Sausage (You can also use Field Roast Italian Sausage - Betty suggests slicing into coins, but we liked them left whole.)
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 1 Large Red Bell Pepper (sliced)
  • 4 Clove Garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoon Oregano (dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon Braggs
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Artichoke Hearts (drained)
  • 1/2 Cup Spanish Green Olives (pitted and sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 3 Cups Brown Rice (cooked)
Make your Brown Rice per instructions on the package.

Heat your oven to 400. Put your Vegan Chicken in a glass baking dish, and spray with Olive Oil Cooking Spray with a light even coating. Then bake for 15-20 minutes. Half way through flip your Vegan Chicken once to make sure they bake evenly. Remove them from the oven once they are golden brown.

In your loyal cast iron skillet, heat your Olive Oil on a medium heat. One your Oil is hot, add Tofurky Italian Sausage and Red Wine. You'll want to cook your Sausages evenly in the Red Wine. As it cooks, you'll notice a deep red coating form on the Sausage from the Red Wine reducing. Remove your Sausages when they are browned and have a heavy even coating.

Then add your Red Bell Pepper, Garlic, Diced Tomatoes, Oregano, Braggs and Cumin to the Olive Oil and what is left of the Red Wine. Stir constantly. Once your sauce begins to bubble, add Artichoke Hearts and Olives and then cover and cook for another minute.

To serve, place Vegan Chicken and Sausages over your Rice and then cover with your Sauce... and smile because no animals were hurt in your Double Mock Meat Dinner and that's pretty cool.

*Yeah, I know it's "HO!" but I was worried you guys wouldn't get that.

**When I say "successful" I mean able to really make a difference for animals and influence and encourage others to. That's what matters to a career animal advocate.

*** You all might know her better as Lobster Killer.

PS - Time is running out to enter to win some FREE METHOD PRODUCTS! Enter today... No regrets!


  1. Looks absolutely fantastic!

  2. I found out about your site from Veg News and I'm so glad I did! It's funny with down to earth recipes and I've enjoyed the ones I've tried so far (Hopping John, the cupcakes, pizza dip - yum!). Hope you compile this into a cookbook soon - you are a vegan superstar on the rise!

  3. I wanted to say thanks for all of the effort you've taken to making my favorite childhood recipes available to my family. I've recently become vegan and stumbled upon your website while cruising the web for family-friendly vegan meals. I've tried several of your recipes to rave reviews from my meat eating stepson and look forward to trying many more. I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your website!

  4. Happy Anniversary! You rock! I can hardly wait to try Vegan Spanish Chicken.

  5. Happy Anniversary, I've been following you for a long time now and love what you've done with Betty's Book!!!