National Day of Lasagna – July 29

Today is the National Day of Lasagna.  Lasagna is one of my favorite foods; I was looking forward to creating a delicious dairy-free lasagna.  I hope you enjoy it too.  This will make a 9″ x 13″ pan.

 

12 ounces beef links, sliced

1 large onion, shopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, slightly drained

8 ounces tomato sauce

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

approximately 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

6 no boil lasagna noodles

1 egg, beaten

“Ricotta” – see recipe below

1 package Daiya cheddar*

1 package Daiya mozzarella*

 

 

Make Ricotta & set aside in refrigerator (can be made up to 24 hours before).

Blend Daiya cheeses in blender until finely ground; cover & set aside in refrigerator.

Cook sausage & remove from skillet & set aside, leave oil in pan.

Add onion & minced garlic to skillet/sausage oil & cook until translucent, add to sausage.

In a large saucepan combine diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, parsley & black pepper; heat through & add in sausage/onion mixture & heat through again.

Create filling by combining beaten egg with “Ricotta”.

Layer in baking pan as follows:

1 cup sauce (spread around bottom of pan)

noodles

filling

Daiya cheese

Repeat until baking dish is filled

 

Cover/tent baking dish with foil, bake in a 375°F for 30-35 minutes.  Stand 10 minutes before serving.

 

 

Non-Dairy “Ricotta”

 

10 ounces firm tofu

6 ounces soft tofu

teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

salt & pepper to taste

 

Wrap firm tofu in a clean towel; place between 2 cutting boards & place a heave object on top (eg:  28 ounce can). Rest 20 minutes.

Cut open soft tofu top, turn upside down in bowl & allow to drain while firm tofu is resting.

Unwrap firm tofu & pat dry; crumble in bowl & add remaining ingredients.

 

If you wish a creamier consistency, use a smaller amount of the firm tofu & add a small amount of the soft tofu.

 

 

 

To prepare a day ahead:

Prepare to filling the dish & covering it.  Chill in refrigerator.  When ready to cook, bake at 375°F for 40 minutes.

 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

Comfort Food: Pot Roast

This is one of the ultimate comfort foods – pot roast and vegetables with gravy.  This is reminisce of “Sunday Dinners” that our grandmothers & mothers made each week.  It is made easier & summer friendly by using the crock pot!

 

3 to 3.5 pound chuck roast

1 pound potatoes, in large chunks (or use whole small ones)

1 medium onion, quartered

3 ribs celery, each halved

1 pound carrots (chopped or use baby carrots)

salt

pepper

3 to 5 cloves garlic, crushed

3 bay leaves

1 medium to large Serrano chili, washed, ends cut off & thirds

water

 

 

In a crock pot, place veggies, Serrano chili in bottom.  Salt and pepper meat well on both sides & place on top of veggies.  Cover with water & add bay leaves.  Cook on high 1 hour; flip meat, stir veggies slightly & cook on high another 3 hours or until meat is cooked through.

 

 

Enjoy!

Egyptian Lentil Stew

When researching recipes for the Mediterranean feature, I was intrigued by this recipe.  It sounded unique & delicious.  I really like lentils; and this recipe was an excellent choice for me; it is based on 3 different recipes – I used what I had since I didn’t have all the ingredients for any of the recipes & I LOVED how it turned out.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

Oil

1/2 of a large white or yellow onion, finely diced

1 elephant garlic clove (see below) or 3-4 regular cloves, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 1/2 cups dry lentils

2-3 tablespoons beef bouillon (use vegetable for a vegetarian/vegan option)

water – about 5-6 cups

1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

 

Add oil to a skillet & heat over medium heat; once hot, add onion & cook 5-7 minutes or until translucent.  Add garlic & cook another 1-2 minutes.  Scrape onions & garlic to sides of pan & add seasonings; cook until fragrant & stir into onion/garlic mixture, about 3 minutes.  Add bouillon to water (4 cups) & heat over medium heat.  Pour onion mixture into water & add lentils; stir to break up any clumps in the lentils (I’ve noticed the red lentils clump when poured into water).  Simmer over medium heat until lentils are soft – about 30 minutes.  Check occasionally & add additional water (1 cup at a time), if needed.  Taste & adjust seasonings as needed.  Add lemon juice & heat through.  Serve & enjoy!

 

Note:  I didn’t use any salt in this recipe due to the bouillon.

Elephant Garlic:

     

 

Have you ever tried Lentils?  Do you like them, comment & let me know.

Comfort Food: Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Comfort food at it’s best.  This is a go to recipe for me – I originally created it a couple of years ago in an attempt to re-create my favorite frozen entrée, but without all the extra & unnecessary ingredients.  Originally, I wasn’t pleased with the gravy, so this post gave me a great excuse to go back & re-create it.  I succeeded.  My family tried it & there was almost nothing left when we were done!

 

Salisbury Steak

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup low-sodium beef broth/stock

3/4 cup bread crumbs (I use Trader Joe’s brand bread crumbs – no dairy)

1/4 heaping teaspoon garlic powder (be generous, if you like garlic)

dash pepper

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon Homemade Gravy Mix (Beef)

1 tablespoon dried onions

generous pinch powdered mustard

approximately 1 pound ground beef

 

Mushroom Gravy

3 tablespoons flour

2-4 tablespoons Earth Balance (or your choice of butter substitute)

8 ounces chopped mushrooms

1/2 small onion, diced

1 cup cold water

1 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules

5 tablespoons Homemade Gravy Mix (Beef)

1 cup low-sodium beef broth

salt & pepper to taste (definitely taste before adding salt!!)

 

 

Directions

In a large bowl, combine egg, 1/3 cup low sodium beef broth, bread crumbs, garlic powder, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon Homemade Gravy Mix, minced dried onion and mustard; whisk until thoroughly combined.  Add ground beef & combine, making sure bowl contents are well-distributed throughout beef (best way is to use your hands).  Shape into 6 large patties or 12 smaller patties, cover & set aside.

 

Add beef bouillon to boiling water & set aside; to a large skillet, add about 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or your choice of butter substitute & add in chopped mushrooms & onion; cook until vegetables are tender; scrape to sides of pan. Add beef patties to a second skilled over medium-high heat & cook 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Add remaining Earth Balance & flour, cook until browned in center of pan; slowly add cold water, bouillon and remaining brown gravy mix (2 tbsp); whisk until combined & stir in mushrooms & onions.  Bring to a boil & stir constantly until thickened.  If too thick, add a small amount of beef broth.  Transfer cooked patties to gravy pan & heat through; serve hot.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Appetizers: Teriyaki Wings (Heirloom Recipe)

This fall-off-the-bone-tender appetizer is one of my heirloom recipes from my grandmother; it was her go to recipe.  She loved a good party (family, friends & food) even if she wasn’t rooting for the teams, but by the end of the day she’d decided who she was rooting for & was one of the loudest couch cheerleaders!

It is simple in its ingredients & prep; put it in the oven & let it back while you prep the rest of your party.  Happy Super Bowl!!

 

5 lbs wings
10 oz soy sauce/liquid aminos
1 lb brown sugar
1 very generous teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat to 325°
Combine soy sauce & brown sugar; place wings in baking dish & add sugar mixture. Bake 2-3 hours, until cooked through & sauce has reduced, stirring occasionally. Mix in garlic powder when just about done baking.

 

What other appetizers or foods are you creating for the party?  Comment & let me know.

End of 2016/Looking Ahead with Changes

This year has passed very quickly and so much has happened in the past 12 months that my head sometimes feels like it is swimming.  I am looking forward to 2017 in the hopes that I will be able to move past the recurrent injury & illness that has plagued me all year.  Our family went through a major transition this year as we lost my grandmother (my “grandlady” as I called her – pictured in post image with me).  She passed away just a few short weeks shy of her 88th birthday & she was one of my best friends.  She had been failing for some time, physically, and spent the last 2 months or so of her life in the hospital.  All except the last week, the family was able to be with her around the clock; once she was moved to a rest home we were only able to be there during the day.  She peacefully passed with a life fully lived.  Some days, the loss still feels like it was just yesterday.  She was my number one cheerleader and she was always willing to try my recipes as I transitioned to non-dairy.  Many of the heirloom recipes I shared this past year were hers.  Even though she is gone, her legacy lives on in her many family members & their love of family, cooking and food!

One positive – I started & completed a virtual marathon (definitely not the same as running a marathon).  This is one just to get a body moving & can be done in bits and pieces.  I started off really great but then the injury & illness set in and it was a struggle to keep the momentum up; I didn’t give up, but I did put it on hold a couple of times.  I had just returned to getting in a daily walk when I had the most recent injury over Thanksgiving.  A friend gave me a fitbit as a gift knowing I wouldn’t have purchased one for myself (and I am so excited to have it & absolutely love it!), and, since it tracked my daily movement I was able to use those (very, very) small “walks” to finish the race before the end of this year (2016).  I chose “The Race to Oz” on Yes Fit as my first virtual race.  I will be signing up with Yes Fit again shortly for the 2017 race; I will use this race to track my healing as my physical therapist gets me up and going over the next few weeks.  I am hoping & planning on doing at least on additional virtual “race” prior to the end of 2017 & if all goes well, I might even try for an actual 5K by the end of the year too.  I do have a dream of someday running a full marathon; this is one of the goals for working towards & making living healthier not just a resolution, but a life change.

 

My plans for this blog for 2017 will have to be adjusted for a few months.  My categories for 2017 are continuing the National Day of category & new categories of appetizers/beverages, comfort food and Mediterranean/Healthy cooking.  Unfortunately, due to injury I won’t actually be able to begin those specific categories until March or April.  I’m not able to be up on my feet for the next few months and thus, I’m not able to cook at this time.  Until then, I’m spending my blog time reading recipes and creating recipes that I can get started with as soon as I’m able to be up and cooking.

One of the other things that I am currently doing is receiving a “Farm Fresh to You” box every other week and I hope to create recipes with the items received in each box.  There are multiple box sizes & you custom when you receive them.  The few days prior to your delivery you can custom your box to fruits and vegetables that your family will eat and remove those that they won’t eat (there is a cut off – for example: changes must be made by 10 am Monday for a Wednesday delivery) .  If Farm Fresh isn’t available in your area check out your local CSA for opportunity to get fresh fruits and vegetables.  Kale anyone?

 

With the changes and the inability to cook, over the next few months I am going to blog a few recipes that I have completed but that I didn’t use over the past year as well as the healthier changes I am implementing in my life as I heal and tips and hits that are working (or not working) for me.

I’m also using the time away from the stove to create my first cookbook.  I have a couple of ideas and I’m not sure yet if I’m going to start with one or split it in two.  I’ll make that decision & announce my plans in the next week or so. I’m really excited about this & am looking forward to get started on working the recipes that I’ve been creating.

 

 

Do you have any big plans for 2017?  Any reflections on 2016?  Comment and let me know.

Do you have a “comfort food” that you love?  Comment & let me know & it might end up being featured in that category.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Compare: Non-Dairy Resources

For those of you that celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, I hope you had a great celebration.  Ours was lovely; filled with laughter & tears – the first celebration without the matriarch of our family.

For the comparison this month, I’m not actually comparing non-dairy foods but sharing some of the resources that were a great help to me when I first had to go dairy free.  First, I searched dairy-free & non-dairy and then I switched to Paleo & Vegan recipes as I knew both of those types of diets would be without dairy.

The four main websites I used were as follows:

Go Dairy Free

Against All Grain

All Recipes (I searched vegan/vegetarian, dairy free, non-dairy & paleo)

Taste of Home (same search as above)

 

These resources were lifesaving in the early days & a welcome resource as I grew in my learning to cook dairy free & inspiration of recipes I could potentially duplicate – but as a dairy free version.

 

Do you have another dairy-free website you go to (besides Non-Dairy Queen of Sweets, of course).  If so, comment & let me know.