Friday, July 4, 2008

Comfort Casserole

Ah comfort foods! Various
bruschetta made with
mostly local ingredients:
- tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil.
- swiss chard, garlic scapes,
raisins, cannellini beans,
olive oil.
- roasted garlic & herb "butter".

Roasting garlic couldn't
be easier. Just cut off
the tops off each head
enough to expose the
cloves inside. Then wrap
in foil and bake in a 400
degree oven for half an
hour. Pop out the soft
roasted cloves and voila!
This is still from our remaining garlic share from the farm last year! They're just starting to sprout so I thought it was time to use some serious quantities in preparation for the new harvest coming later this month.


Now here's something all-American...macaroni casserole. This is NOT health food! I think my pregnant nesting instincts took over and I just had to have it. Ryan declared it "the best dinner in a long time!" and "Even better than spaghetti!" My father used to make something similar with tuna and cheese, but here's my vegan version from what I can remember:

Comfort Casserole

1 box macaroni pasta, cooked al dente and drained
2 cups frozen peas & carrots, (or fresh carrots added to pasta water during last 5 minutes)
1 can fried onions (or 2 onions roasted until carmelized and crisp)
1 package Lightlife Chick'n Style Strips, diced (optional)
1 cup grated soy cheese (optional)
2 cups (or one batch) nutritional yeast "cheese" sauce (see recipe below)
1 cup creamy broccoli soup (I use Imagine Creamy Broccoli Soup)

Place cooked pasta in a large casserole dish.
Stir in peas, carrots, 1/2 can of onions, chick'n strips, cheese, 1/2 of the cheese sauce, and soup.
Spoon the remaining cheese sauce over the top.
Cover. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.
Uncover. Add other 1/2 can of fried onions. Bake for another 5-10 minutes.

Nutritional Yeast Cheese Sauce

1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup flour
2 T. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1 cups water
1 T. margarine
1/2-1 tsp. mustard

Place first 5 ingredients in a small saucepan.
Add water and cook over medium heat, stirring consistently until the sauce thickens (5-10 minutes).
Remove from heat and stir in margarine and mustard.

This recipe is easily doubled, and keeps covered in the fridge for days.
Great for mac & cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, casseroles, stuffed shells or enchilada toppings, pizza, etc.

Ryan's lunch for farm camp: tempeh, lettuce & tomato sandwiches; flat pretzels; watermelon; cold spinach; black raspberries.

Ryan loved using this
2-tiered Pokemon
bento. I'm sure it will
get a lot of use this fall
for kindergarten.

Ryan wearing a
flower crown he
helped make at
the farm.

CSA farm share:
- 2 1/2 quarts strawberries
- 1 head green leaf lettuce
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1/2 lb. mixed baby greens
- 12 stems rainbow swiss chard
- 12 stems kale
- 15 garlic scapes
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 quart peas (1/2 snow peas, 1/2 shelling peas)
- 1 lb. carrots

Oops! I totally forgot to photograph AJ's lunch!! He had his first day of preschool camp and obviously pregnancy brain took over. He watched me pack his lunch, and declared every single item to be his favourite: "Spicy tofu! My favourite! Mashed potatoes! My favourite!" Etc. His lunch box came back empty, with the exception of the juice box...he's never been a juice drinker.

AJ's lunch: spicy baked tofu; green beans; mashed potatoes; cantaloupe; mini pumpkin-carrot-apple muffin; a cookie; juice box; water bottle; and a Luna bar (for his morning snack).

Ryan's lunch for his last day of farm camp: strawberries & black raspberries; spicy baked tofu; green beans; onigiri triangle; carrots; mini pumpkin-carrot-apple muffin. Not shown: juice box; Luna bar for his morning snack; water bottle.

We have a patch of black raspberry bushes on our property and each year I've trimmed them back just a bit and we've been getting better and better yields every summer. Ryan has been picking/eating about 1/2 pint each day! But I can't manage to get out there and get a photo before everyone picks them!

At camp the kids made herbal "dream pillow" sachets and drew pictures of the dreams they wanted to have.

I love using kale in
soups. Beans go
particularly well,
along with an orange
vegetable and anything
else you have handy in
the fridge. My favourite
herb for soups is

From the farmer's market:
- kettle corn
- loaf of white bread
- quart of new red potatoes
- 3 tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- loaf of apple pie bread (not husband hid it!)

Just a fun picnic dinner (I'm getting lazy while so uncomfortably pregnant):
- popcorn, green bell pepper, apple, pretzels, tortilla chips, celery & carrot sticks, peanuts/almonds/raisins.
- fresh shelled peas, black raspberries, tiny pickles.
- grilled nutritional yeast "cheese" sandwiches.

Friday the 4th of July:

My husband took the
boys to grandma's pool,
along with a deli style
pasta salad, watermelon,
and popcorn. I usually
add broccoli to this pasta
salad, but some steamed
zucchini seemed like the
logical choice at the
moment. I stayed home and ate a few bowls of my own!


Jumbleberry Jam said...

Your CSA farm camp sounds so cool! Been thinking about you as your day draws near. Thanks so much for the comfort casserole recipe!! I am dying for mac 'n cheez, but can't find a good vegan recipe that is light on the nutritional yeast flavor. Yours sounds like it will be with the Imagine Broccoli Soup mixed in. Can't wait to try it!! Sending birthing blessings your way...

veganf said...

inanna - Hopefully the casserole recipe will give people an idea of how to make what they like, adding different veggies and such. Even if you're not vegan it's pretty easy to figure out what to substitute.