Sunday, January 29, 2017

Baked Ziti with Veggie Italian Sausage Crumbles

Awww, baked ziti, a phrase that invokes comfort, cheesy, Italian homemade goodness.

No? You must not be from the Northeast!

Baked ziti, AKA pasta al forno is truly second best only to pizza. If you are an omnivore, adding in some Italian sausage is always a good thing. Fortunately my freezer had some of my homemade veggie Italian sausage (gluten free!), so it was added to the mix. Delizioso!

This can be a quick pantry meal if you already have a few things on hand, such as prepared tomato sauce and veggie sausage crumbles. Preparation is simple: heat tomato sauce, cook pasta, sautee crumbles (all of which can basically happen simultaneously), combine and grate cheese over the top and bake.

If you have to use gluten free pasta as I do, then this is a great dish for hiding the less than exciting texture of such pastas. It also can handle a variety of cheeses, great for using up odd bits and pieces out of your cheese drawer. (What? You don't have a cheese drawer? So sorry to hear that! Get started on that right away!)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Herb Crusted Tofu

Vegetarianizing (or veganizing) meat recipes is so much fun! But it doesn't always turn out great the first time around. Luckily this one did!

Taking inspiration from this fish preparation, this tofu dish is easy to whip together and bakes up in a snap! Super delicious and kid approved! Definitely one of those 30 minute meals that you can finish preparing the rest of the dinner as the tofu bakes. Even beginner cooks will find this not too challenging!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bread Cheese Smothered in Warm Salsa

Once upon a time, there was a woman with a dream job, managing the wine, cheese and speciality food section of a food co-op in Santa Monica, California. She lived four blocks from the Pacific Ocean, rode her bike to work year round, and loved her work. One day, her ambition raised its ugly head and she thought to herself, "I am Bored! Where are the new challenges in life?" So she quit her dream job and spiraled down into misery and sorrow.

True story. It would be a sad story, but that spiral led her out of the Southland to the North Coast where she met the love of her life and has since lived happily ever after.

But during that dreamy job time she never met Bread Cheese. Why not? Where had Bread Cheese been hiding during that dreamy time? Why had the cheese vendors kept it from her? Thankfully, when she arrived in the land of happily ever after, the cheese monger at the local food co-op brought Bread Cheese out of hiding and she joyously felt her cheese life was now complete.

Do you despair that you have not yet found Bread Cheese? Know your rights! Demand it from your cheese monger today! And start on the road to your happily ever after too!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Tofu Pot Pie

Do you recall the first time you had a pot pie? Wasn't it a revelation! Buttery crust, warm, gooey stuff inside (probably chicken - my childhood was pre-tofu in frozen food). Burning your mouth on the hot gravy, but plowing through the next bite because it was so exciting. This was definitely food that your mother did not make at home. It always came in its own foil tin and was disposable (recycling hadn't become a household mandate yet.) 

Fast forward several decades and kids, young and old, still love pot pie. So make them a homemade version and make everyone happy!

The youngest daughter thought this version was "one of best ones" she had ever had. High praise indeed! This one has a rich mushroom gravy with some pan fried tofu tossed in for protein and fun veggies like corn and peas. 

Yes, this is a time commitment recipe, but just think of how pleased everyone will be with the results! If you read the recipe carefully, you will see that you can make the filling while the crust chills. Give yourself some time and enjoy a well made homemade pot pie dinner!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Zarzuela de Mariscos - Spanish Seafood Stew

Fish stews don't usually sound that exciting unless they have names like Zarzuela de Mariscos. Wow! What a mouthful! And let me tell you, as a maker of and afficionado of many fish stews, this one is really spectacular!

Don't let the long list of ingredients daunt you, it is really a tomato based stew with a few key ingredients that make it really amazing - almond meal! fresh rosemary and thyme! Honestly, who knew that a simple combination like that could transform a dish!

This dish definitely goes in the "smack your mama" file, meaning I should whack her a good one for never telling/making this for me! Yeah, it's that good!

So start out the new year with a list of must-make recipes and put this one at the top!