Mushroom, Spinach, and White Bean Casserole

Recently, I have been on this casserole kick. Don’t know where it came from. I didn’t grow up with casseroles. When I hear the word “casserole,” I think of Paula Deen and her twang as she talks about adding mayonaisse and cream of mushroom soup to cans of green beans. Definitely not my kind of cooking. The other kind of casserole I kind of know are the hotdishes of the tater tot variety that I use to see at various Minnesota potluck dinners. Again, not my taste. Though I do love tater tots. One day I will turn tater tot hotdish in to a healthier me kind of dish.

This morning I cooked up some brown rice, and had a nice vegetable market haul sitting in my fridge. I decided to elevate the casserole and the brown rice in to a mighty tasty dinner. Behold, the healthy and hearty casserole!

Mushroom, Spinach, and White Bean Casserole (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

10 oz. chopped mushrooms (I used a mixture of crimini and white)
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1.5 cups chopped spinach
1 can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1-2 handfuls of shredded cheese (I used cheddar and monterey jack)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup parmesean cheese
2 tsp. tarragon
2 tsp. thyme
ground black pepper
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 tsp. Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

In a large pan saute the mushrooms in some olive oil. Add a bit of salt. Stir.

Add in the onions and garlic. Saute a few minutes. Add in the spinach and the beans. Let some of the liquid evaporate. Add in the rice mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, sour cream, cottage cheese, shredded cheese, and spices. 
Combine the rice mixture and cottage cheese mixture in a large bowl. Stir until well combined.

Pour mixture in to baking dish. I used a 9×13 and a 9×9. Sprinkle with 2/3 of the Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and place in oven for 30 minutes.

Remove foil and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes more or hot throughout and golden along the edges. Sprinkle some of the chopped tarragon, and the remaining Parmesan.


Veggie Lentil Loaf

Sunday is my day to make things. I spread out my wings in the kitchen, so to speak, and get down to business. It will never be my day to shine as a once-a-month cooking type person, but I can at least try to get createive in the kitchen. I try to make something new, using a new skill or a new ingredient. Whatever it may be – I have a few extra minutes, so why not use it to cook something tasty. I get extra excited when whatever I make becomes an easy meal for during the week.

I am trying to make more gluten free, whole meals that can serve everyone. I don’t like having to prepare multiple meals to fit the eating habits of various family members. I’m also trying to spend less and use up more in the house. 
Looking through my cabinets I found some trusty lentils. I’ve been wanting to make a lentil loaf for a long time. I came up with this recipe. Seems to work!

Veggie Lentil Loaf

2.5 cups of cooked lentils (I recommend you cook the lentils in veggie broth)
2 cups rice, cooked (I used basmati)
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 yellow onions, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, grated
10 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. rosemary
2 tbsp. flax + 2 tbsp. water OR two eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place lentils in a large mixing bowl and mash half of them. Add the rice to the bowl.

If you are going the flax seed route, this is where you will mix the flax seed with the water and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Saute the onions and garlic for a few minutes. Add in the mushrooms and carrots.  Add in the spices. Saute for another 3-5 minutes.

Add the vegetable mixture to the lentil/rice mixture. Mix in the ketchup and another tablespoon of olive oil.

Press the mixture into loaf pans. I had enough mixture for two loaf pans. Drizzle ketchup on top of each loaf.

Bake in the oven for about an hour.

I served this with a vegetarian onion gravy made up of earth balance, veggie broth, onions, garlic, herbs, and potato starch as a thickener.

Dinner was some lentil loaf, roasted brussel sprouts, and sweet potato fries. Yum!

You can definitely play with it.


Apologies for the not so pretty picture…
it was just that kind of night

Veggie and Soy Chorizo Burritos

It was a Thursday night like any other. Need to get some shabbat shopping in. Need to get some shabbat cooking in. Would love to get a gym session in. Any other night, right? On a typical Thursday night, we have a bad habit of running to get takeout. It’s so much easier, but it adds up, you know?  J doesn’t like pizza. The kids don’t like eating meat, and recently both J and I both get sick whenever we eat from the kosher Chinese place. Our options are limited for dining in town. I am trying to limit the eating out to places that are really worth it.  A $50 meal out where I feel good about eating it – both health wise and taste wise.

So this past Thursday, found me in the kitchen, as always, with little time to spare. The kids had pasta, cheesy noodles – a reward for behaving so well in the grocery store. All right, all right, it was a bribe. I admit. Through all this, I am also trying to clean out the kitchen for Pesach. Trying to use stuff up for the big royal clean up/clean out.  I found some soy chorizo in the fridge and this can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that have been begging to be used up. Burritos it is! Yummy!

Veggie and Soy Chorizo Burritos (serves 6-8)

1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1  package soy chorizo (I recommend Frieda’s or Trader Joe’s brand – Frieda’s has a hechsher)
1 zucchini, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
1 cup corn
1 can small white cannellini beans
1/2 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
6-8 flour tortillas (depends on how much filling you like in your burritos
cooked white or brown rice
shredded cheese blend (monterey jack, cheddar – it’s all good)
sour cream (optional)

In a large saute pan, saute the onions and garlic in a small amount of oil.  Maybe two teaspoons.

Add in the soy chorizo and cook it a bit. Note: The casing is inedible in the soy chorizo. squeeze the soy meat into the pan.

Add in the cumin, salt, and pepper.

Add in the veggies. Saute for a few don’t need the veggies too soft.

Now add the corn and beans. Cook a few more minutes. 

Stir in the peppers in adobo sauce.  This gives the whole mixture a nice smokey taste. So good.

Lay out your tortillas on a plate. It’s good if you heat the tortillas covered in warm oven for a few minutes. 

Plop some rice, then some filling, and then the cheese onto your tortilla.


Now it’s time to roll up your burrito.  Fold the bottom in a bit and also the top. Now roll up from the side. Now take a bit. You know you want to. Enjoy!

Red Lentil Coconut Curry

We got home at 5:30 p.m and my daughter promptly asked me what was planned for dinner. I honestly had no clue. My mind was drawing a blank. The kids had pasta last night. Couldn’t do that again. I knew that they would object to fish or meat tonight. I wasn’t in the mood for a fight. What to do, what to do. I didn’t want to pull out the fish sticks or soy nuggets. I only use those when I have no options.

I quickly threw on some rice to cook. That’s easy enough. I then thought back to earlier today and the yummy smells of thai food that my coworkers ordered. Yummy coconutty curry smells. I had to do something with that! I quickly put together a makeshift red lentil curry dish. Packed with protein and amazing flavors. This recipe can easily be played with and adapted. Add whatever veggie you see fit to the dish. Totally fit the craving bill for today!

Red Lentil Coconut Curry

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped

1.5 tbsp. ginger, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
.5 cup red pepper, chopped
.5 cup green pepper, chopped
1 small potato, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
handful of mushrooms, chopped
1.5 tbsp. curry powder
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cups dry red lentils
1 can coconut milk
3.5 cups vegetable broth

In a large pan, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger over a medium-high heat.

Add in the chopped veggies and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the spices and stir.
Stir in the coconut milk. Add in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and cover. Cook until the lentils are done, around 30-40 minutes. 
Add more salt or cayenne to taste. 
Serve over basmati rice. Jasmine rice would also work.



Pad See Ew for You!

I love Vietnamese food first and foremost, but good Vietnamese is not as prevalent on the East Coast (surprise, surprise) as it is back home in Minnesota. So I have moved over to Thai food. Thai food is abundant in my corner of the world, and a good meal along with a good deal can be found fairly easily around these parts. One of my favorite noodle dishes at Thai restaurants is Pad See Ew. It is one of those dishes, that in my opinion, is the test factor as to whether or not the restaurant is worthy of my business. That dish more so than the Pad Thai. It is really basic comfort food, tastes great, and is very easy to make.
Pad See Ew

vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 eggs
1 container extra firm tofu, or seitan
2 tablespoons dark/black soy sauce
1 bunch Chinese broccoli, chopped
1 pound wide rice noodles
fish sauce

scallions for garnish

Make sure you have all your ingredients ready to go, as this dish cooks fast.

In a bowl, pour boiling water over the rice noodles. Set aside.
Heat a wok or large skiller. Add a drop of the oil. Beat some eggs into the hot oil. Scramble and set aside.

In the same pan, toss in your garlic. Add a drop more oil. Toss in your protein – tofu/seitan/dead animal option.

Toss in the Chinese Broccoli. Cook, stirring to get all the veggies cooked and in there. Strain your noodles and add to the pan. Stir and stir some more. Stir in the dark soy sauce. Stir in a tablespoon or so of the fish sauce. Stir in the scrambled eggs. Stir some more. See a theme?

Portion some onto a plate. Dress with a few chopped scallions. Enjoy!

Cabbage & Chickpea Curry

I love quick and easy. I thrive on quick and easy.

Tonight was no different. Monday night. Come home from work. Five minutes to make sure I have what I need to get some food on the table. Once again, I am trying to use things up. Hate throwing up random remnants of food in the fridge. I also like dinner to be stretched to lunch the next day.
In the mood for curry. I scrambled together the spices, set up some Basmati on the stove, and peeked in the fridge. Like some divine presence, I found cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, and chickpeas all ready to go.
Came up with this:
Cabbage & Chickpea Curry
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp ginger, chopped
1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas (mine were from a can)
3 cups cabbage, shredded (or you can use the bagged mix)
2 carrots, shredded
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp sweet curry powder
1 green chillies, seeds removed and chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth (optional)
In a large saute pan, heat the oil. Saute the onions. garlic, and ginger. Cook for 4 minutes.
Add in the spices and continue to cook for a couple minutes.
Add in the cabbage, carrot, chickpea mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir every so often. I chose to add some vegetable broth, but it is not necessary…I just like my curries to be a little saucy so the rice can soak up the yumminess.

Sample a bite or two from the pan. (I promise – I won’t say a word).

Serve over Basmati rice.


Lentil Burgers

I have been on a vegetarian dinner kick. I am usually an accidental vegetarian, but lately I have intentionally been subjecting the family to vegetarian dinners. I don’t get too many complaints. A recent dinner was lentil burgers. I was inspired by a lonely bag of red lentils sitting in my pantry. They were waiting to be made into some type of dal recipe, but I had some other plans. I had a photo to go with this recipe, but it disappeared in the abyss of my computer. You will have to just trust me that they both tasted yummy and looked yummy.

I served the burgers with sweet potato fries and some brussel sprouts. Yum!

The burgers were served on a bun with lettuce, onion, and a bit of tzatziki. Yum.

The recipe is below.

Lentil Burgers

1 cup lentils
2 cups vegetable broth
1 small onion, chopped
1 egg
1/4 cup flavored bread crumbs
2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. oil

Bring the broth to a boil over high heat. Add the lentils. Cook covered on low. Cook until all liquid is absorbed. Let the lentils cool.

Once cool, add the rest of the ingredients, except for the oil.

Form the burgers into burger size patties. Do not make them too thick. Let the formed patties cool in the refridgerator for 30 minutes.

Oil a fry pan. Cook the patties in the oil, about 5-6 minutes each side, or until lightly browned.

Serve as you would a burgers, as suggested above, or however you feel lentil burgers deserved to be eaten.


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