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Posts Tagged ‘make ahead’

MoFO

Hello!

With Fall coming in full force here in Nevada, the nights are getting a lot colder, and the need for comfort food is rising. Making my weekly meal plan, I find myself wanting easy, no fuss food that warms the belly and fills the house with yummy aromas! Lasagna was on the menu, and boy was I glad! I am not a huge pasta eater (gasp!), but I do love a nice plate of pasta from time to time. This lasagna is inspired by The Vegan Table‘s Spinach Lasagna. I am a student and I work, so sometimes there isn’t a whole lot of time in the day to prepare food. Lasagna is one of those dishes that so many people think requires a lot of time. I am here to tell you that is not true! Much of the time with lasagna is inactive.. the oven is doing all the work. Below I will show you my quick version of this awesome recipe. Ready, go!

lasagna 2

Weeknight Lasagna

1 box, or nine lasagna noodles ( I use whole-wheat)

1 jar organic tomato marinara sauce, about 4-5 cups

4 cups, or 2 cans white beans

1 cup, packed basil leaves

juice of 1 lemon

1 16oz package organic frozen spinach, thawed

1 T agave

5 garlic cloves

1/3 c non-dairy milk

Salt, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375*F.

While getting ingredients together, put bag of spinach in the sink with warm/hot water to thaw. You could certainly do this in a microwave, but I don’t have one, so the sink it is. Bring water for pasta to a boil. While the water is heating up, place garlic with lemon juice in a food processor or blender and mince. Next, add white beans, milk, basil, agave, and salt, blend or process until smooth. You may want to add the basil with the garlic to puree it a bit more before the addition of the remaining ingredients. By this time, the water should be boiling, salt water, and add pasta. While pasta is cooking, transfer bean mixture to bowl. Remove spinach from package, and press it with paper towels, or a dish towel to remove excess water. Mix together bean mixture and spinach, making sure to taste and season accordingly. I think I used about 1/2 t salt. Make sure to check on noodles, if done, drain, and lay noodles on a sprayed cookie sheet to cool slightly. In baking dish, spread about 1/2 c sauce on bottom. Add first layer of noodles. Top noodles with half Spinach-bean mixture, and then 1-1 1/2 cups pasta sauce. Place next layer of noodles, followed by spinach-bean mixture, and then pasta sauce. Place final noodles on top. If you have remaining bean mixture, smear that on the top, followed by remaining pasta sauce. Bake at 375* for about 45 minutes, or until the edges are darker, and sauce is bubbling!

Lasagna

The cooking time is a while, but putting it all together is a snap. Take the extra 45 minutes to make a salad, have a glass of wine, and relax!

Salad

This recipe is quick, easy, and soy free (depending on the milk and noodles). Served with a salad, it’s healthy too!  You could easily do what the original recipe calls for and use tofu instead of beans, but I really liked the fact that this was a soy-free recipe!

Bonus, since it’s just the two of us, we had this for dinner, then a lunch later in the week, and then dinner again! I think it may have even been better the next day! One quick night of cooking and we got to enjoy it for a few days!

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MoFO

pear

Afternoon!

For the last few days, Northern Nevada has had quite a chill going. We’ve gotten snow and rain!!! Two things I absolutely love! Fall is here, and I am a happy lady! Fall to me means comfort. Like I’ve mentioned, I love apples, but I am no picky fruit eater. I love anything really. With the exception of a few I am sure.. Can’t think of anything off the top of my head though! So when I had a bunch of pears that were ripening way faster than I thought they would, I had one thing in mind. Pear Sauce. Like it’s mama, which would be apple sauce, it is perfect to use up all that fruit coming in by the bushel. Now I wish I had fruit coming in by the bushel, but the only fruit tree I’ve got is an apricot tree that I have yet to see any actual evidence of it being, in fact, an apricot tree. SO, when I say fruit coming in by the bushel, I am dreamily referring to the fruit tree I will one day have (yes, that means avocado trees too, Nic)! Anyway, so long story short, I had pears that needed to be used. I have never had pear sauce before, but I imagined it would work about the same as applesauce. So I chopped up the Bartlett beauties, threw them in a pot with some water, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon, and nutmeg….

pears Before

If I tell you that the house smelled so good I couldn’t help but smile, would you believe me?!? It was awesome. I didn’t have any extraordinary expectations for this pear sauce, but holy yum. It was so good. After these babies cooked down on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, I threw them in my vitamix, making sure to remove the cinnamon sticks, and gave it a whirl. What came out was nothing short of a holiday party in my mouth. The texture was buttery. It was the smoothest sauce I’ve ever had, pear or otherwise. Then, after a few little tasters, it hit me. Almond extract. I will say no more. Try it. Love it.

pearsauce

I can’t believe there’s no sugar, PEAR SAUCE

10 ripe pears, I used Bartlett, if you are using a pear with a thicker skin I would advise pealing(eek) or cooking a bit longer

4-5 cinnamon sticks

1/4-1/3 c. water, or any kind of juice you’d want to infuse the sauce with.. blueberry juice??

cinnamon, to taste (I didn’t use as much as I usually would because the sticks took care of that)

nutmeg, to taste (or omit if you’d prefer)

1/2 t Almond extract ( I may have used a bit more, but I didn’t measure so, start here and add to taste)

Throw all ingredients, except almond extract in a heavy bottom pot. Cover, and turn on heat to medium-medium-high. Let the pears hang out for a while, about 30 minutes, and check for doneness. When the pears have lost their “bite” and reduced down to a nice soft consistency, remove from heat. Let the pears cool a bit, then throw them in a blender or food processor. Blend until desired consistency is reached. I liked it super smooth and creamy. Sometimes though, with applesauce, I like to keep it a little chunky, keeps my mouth guessing. After blending for a minute or so, add the almond extract. This added a whole new level to this sauce. Enjoy!

*On a side note, I didn’t add lemon juice, plumb forgot.. So it may be a good idea to add lemon juice if you plan on having the pearsauce in your fridge for a while, or are going to can it. I don’t think mine will be around long enough to warrant lemon juice. But I’m just saying!

Pears and Almonds have a natural affinity for each other, and trust me when I say that it adds to this sauce immensely. I had some hot out of the blender, which is my prefered way to consume it, but I also have a bunch in the fridge for whenever the mood strikes.. I have big plans for this sauce. Fat-free pear muffins here I come!

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Hello!

One of my best time saving tricks is to make food ahead of time. I will do a veggie chop that will last over a few meals or salads, make beans one day to last the whole week, or make a meal plan that will use up leftovers from the night before. Another thing I really like to do is make sandwich filling and enjoy it all throughout the week. One of my go-to fillings is a tofu salad sandwich, somewhat reminiscent of egg salad sandwiches of yester-year. Before I was vegan, I never much cared for egg salad, or eggs in general, but for some reason, I love tofu salad sandwich filling. I like to put it on greens, top crackers with it, or of course put it between two yummy toasted slices of bread.

eggless 2

For this batch, I threw together what I had in the house, as per usual. SO without further ado:

Egg(less) salad

1 block extra firm tofu, pressed to remove excess water

1/4 c. tofutti sour cream or vegenaise, this measurement is to taste, I prefer a drier salad, whereas others may opt for a creamy, wetter one.

2T Dijon mustard

2 ribs celery, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

a few shakes paprika ( I experimented with smoked and liked the flavor)

1/4 t dried dill

1/4-1/2 t turmeric

a few shakes cayenne ( I prefer spicy, so I use a bit more than others probably would)

salt and pepper, to taste.

Crumble tofu into a bowl and add remaining ingredients. I prefer to mix my spices with the sour cream and then add it to the tofu, celery, onion mix. I think they get more evenly distributed!

When serving, I sometimes like to throw a bit into a skillet and heat it up for a few minutes. It takes the rawness out of the onions, and really brightens the turmeric to give it that deep yellow. I serve it with sprouts and mustard. If I was a bigger pickle fan, some relish would be a nice addition.

eggless

Put it in a sandwich, on crackers, or grab some celery sticks and have at it. It’s quick, easy, and really tasty!  Make it once, and enjoy it the rest of the week!

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