Posts Tagged ‘Cooked’

Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie

I was craving something hearty the other night and, after some googling and recipe combining, came up with this version of a Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie.  It could be made vegan by using oil instead of butter for sautéing the vegetables and using a vegan mashed potato topping.  I went the lazy route and used some Costco pre-made mashed potatoes that contained butter and milk.

Vegetarian Shepard’s Pie

  • 1/2 c onions, chopped
  • 1/2 c carrots, chopped
  • 1/2 c celery, chopped
  • 1/2 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 c butternut squash, chopped (optional)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c dry lentils
  • 1/4 c pearl barley
  • 2.5 c vegetable broth, divided
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 3 c prepared mashed potatoes

Preheat oven to 350 F

1. Bring 1.5 cups vegetable broth to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Stir in lentils and barley.  Cover and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

2. In a large dutch oven, melt better.  Saute  onions, carrots, celery, butternut squash and garlic until soft and fragrant.  Stir in flour and stir quickly for about 30 seconds.  Slowly stir in 1 c vegetable broth, stirring carefully to incorporate all the flour.  Simmer until sauce thickens and looks creamy.

3.  Add lentil/barley mixture to the veggie/sauce mixture and stir until combined.

4. Pour into a greased 2 qt casserole dish.

5.  Top with about 3 cups of prepared mashed potatoes.

6.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes, or until potatoes are just starting to brown and filling is bubbly.

Dinner is served.

Want to know what my kids did while I was prepping this dinner?  They used the rest of the mushrooms to make fungus shot glasses.  They pulled out the stems, poured in water and took shots.  I had to put my foot down when they asked if I had some quarters.

Filling the Mushroom Shot Glass

This was after her fourth water shot.

I didn’t tell them, but they really did me a nice favor by pouring out half the Brita pitcher worth of water onto their table.  It was nice and clean afterwards.


Love Food (Valentine’s Day Eats)

As I mentioned on Monday, Valentine’s Day has become a much more enjoyable holiday now that I make it about loving on my family and less about the romance.  Nothing against romance, but I prefer romantic gestures to be on less commercialized days.

This is our 4th year of doing a pink and red dinner, but I decided to make this year’s whole day of meals festive.  If you keep reading, you’ll see how we ended the day with a new and unexpected red addition….

Lest I get further ahead of myself, we’ll start the day’s recap…

The husband was supposed to leave really early for a conference call, but got a nice Valentine’s Day surprise of a dead car battery.  No amount of muttering and attempted battery jumping worked, so he shut himself in our bedroom and took the 2 hour call at home.  All this to say, he didn’t get to participate in the special breakfast.

I prepared a Valentine’s Day themed morning meal:

Blueberry muffins from a box (the second appearance in 2 weeks and the last until a birthday) + strawberry yogurt with red sprinkles + whipped cream with sprinkles + strawberries + pink lemonade and sparkling water

My little valentines viewing the breakfast table:

Twirly Straws make everything better.

I had a less festive but no less delicious breakfast of vegan cookie dough oatmeal (recipe coming soon).

I packed my daughter’s lunch for preschool.

cheese tortillas + fruits and vegetables

The preschool class was all abuzz with Valentine’s Day excitement.  It was really sweet.  Not only was it Valentine’s Day, but it was also pajama day, which is adorably exciting to the kids.  Pajamas?  To School?  So funny for 4 and 5 year olds.

My little guy and I came back home, picked up the husband and drove him to work.  After dropping him off, we drove to the gym and I got to enjoy a run with some new music – thanks for the suggestions!  We came back home and had some snacks.

He had a cookie.

I had a redish-green smoothie.

Purple Kale + Strawberries + Raspberries + 1/2 frozen banana + water

We played for a bit and enjoyed some Love Day themed Dora the Explorer.  That show is starting to get old after 2.5 years of watching it, but it is his current favorite and he only gets to watch when his sister isn’t around, so sat beside him, tuned out the strange yelling-instead-of-talking of Dora and played Scrabble on my iPod while he enjoyed the show.

We had some lunch.

PB&J + vegetables

Non-festive Butternut  Squash and Coconut soup (recipe to come) and Kombucha

Upon arrival home from preschool, there was an immediate dumping out of the school valentine’s day bag.  All cards and sweets were thoroughly inspected.  They each got to eat one.  The girl chose a hershey kiss, the boy chose a sucker.  I, however, chose kale chips.

When dinner time finally arrived, we welcomed over some family friends and had our 4th Annual Pink and Red Dinner.  For the fourth year in a row we had Penne with Tomato Cream Sauce (which is almost pink).  New to the table this year was some Valentine’s Day Cheese Ravioli that we found at Costco.  It was pretty good.  I also set out some jarred tomato sauce.

We had red produce: cherry tomatoes, strawberries and red peppers.

And our traditional heart shaped focaccia bread.

As for the new addition to this year’s dinner….

During a rambunctious game of chase (is there any other kind?) in the house (bad idea 1) with overly excited kids (bad idea 2), there was a collision involving my daughter’s tooth and my son’s forehead.  So, the new red addition to our dinner was blood, generously provided by both kids.

After some TLC, a failed attempt to go to Urgent Care (which was jam packed), a quick trip to CVS for some first aid supplies and some ice packs, we patched him up.  He seems no worse for the wear, but may sport a little scar to always remind him and us of Valentine’s Day 2011.

Hope your Valentine’s was equally as exciting, but without the head injury.  🙂

linking up with Peas and Crayons….



Vegan Broccoli Cream Soup

My family used to eat at a restaurant called Black Eyed Pea often when I was a kid.  I don’t even know if those restaurants exist anymore.  Do they?  I would always order the baked potato and soup combo.  For the baked potato, I would order the broccoli cheese spud, which was a baked potato topped with broccoli cheese soup.  For the soup, I would order broccoli cheese soup.  So, yes, it was a double broccoli cheese platter, essentially.

I saw a vegan version of a creamy broccoli soup soup in Terry Walter’s Clean Start and used it for inspiration for a vegan broccoli cheese soup for lunch last week.  Here is my modified recipe:

Vegan Creamy Broccoli Cheese-ish Soup

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c diced onion
  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 4 c chopped broccoli – stalks and florets
  • 2 c rice milk
  • 1 c oatmeal
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 c water
  • miso
  1. Saute the garlic and onion in grapeseed oil until soft in a large Dutch oven.
  2. Add broccoli, rice milk, oats, vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, or until broccoli is soft.
  3. Stir in nutritional yeast and blend (I used an immersion blender) to creamy.
  4. If desired, stir in some miso prior to serving.  Don’t boil the miso if you want to maintain the health benefits.

Kid’s Plate:

My Bowl (with miso):

My daughter liked it.  My little guy took one bite and literally spit it out.  2 out of 3 isn’t so bad.

Where did your family like to dine when you were growing up?


Drunken Beans with Faux-Rizo

Part 2 of the seitan chorizo experiment…

After letting the sausages chill overnight, I took out 3 to use in the Drunken Beans with Seitan Chorizo recipe from Viva Vegan.  It is basically pinto beans cooked with onions, roasted serranos, spices, beer and diced tomatoes.

As I do most times when I make pinto beans, I remember after I make them that I should only make 1/2 lb instead of the full recipe. That is a lot of beans and one can only make so many dinners out of the musical fruit in a week.

I wanted to make something else that I knew the kids would eat, since they are both pretty leery of recipes with spices in them.  I attribute it to the fact that they were both conceived in Minnesota and that somehow ensured that they receive the MN-bland taste buds.  In the spirit of bland-ness, I made plain rice with our new rice cooker that I absolutely love.

I also decided to try my hand at making corn tortillas. In college I actually worked for 2 years in a Cereal Quality Lab where the students and professors tested the quality of various cereal grains from around the state and country.  One of the tests of corn quality was to bake it into a tortilla and then use all kinds of fancy and pricey instruments to test attributes of the tortilla.  So you could say I’ve watched more tortillas being made than the average person.  I have never actually made them by hand though.  I figured that a couple of food science degrees should mean that I have a reasonable chance at making something with 3 ingredients (corn meal, water and salt) and that countless home cooks with much more rudimentary kitchens than I have can turn out daily.  It was actually quite easy.  So easy, in fact, that a child can do it*:

* And by ‘do it’ I mean she could shape the tortillas.  I handled the cooking part.  She is only 5 and I’m giving her at least 2 years before she is in charge of making family dinners.  I kid.

The beans and tortillas cooked side by side like the natural partners they are:

And dinner was served.

The verdict?  Good, but I didn’t think the sausages added much.  The beans were delicious and I will be making them again, but without the seitan chorizo.  For the amount of work (and cost of the ingredients), the chorizo didn’t come through.  I have 3 more in the freezer that I’ll try in another recipe or application, but I’m not rushing to make another batch.  The texture was a bit spongy.

The corn tortillas were great and my little girl loved making them.  In the spirit of transparency, the kids had a dinner of rice, corn tortillas, shredded cheese and fruit.  Nary a bean or chorizo touched their lips.

Veggie Udon Noodles

Tis the season for quick meals that counter all the sugar highs….

Veggie Udon Noodles from Alisa Cooks.  I added steamed broccoli.  For the kids I kept some noodles and veggies unseasoned, as they don’t like dishes that have too much Tamari or Sesame Oil.

Great recipe and one I’ll be adding to our weeknight rotation.

Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins

I had this for lunch last week after finding the recipe in The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone.  I don’t like collard greens in smoothies.  I do like using them for wraps (like these and these), but even then, only eat 3-4 leaves.  With this recipe, a cooked one, I ate the entire bunch in one sitting.

You’ll have to check out the book to get the recipe, but it is quite simple.  The balsamic vinegar helps tone down the bitterness of the greens and the sweet raisins really compliment the flavor.  Pine nuts, well they make anything better.  🙂