Category Archives: Home Cooking

Wash Out

Butternut Squash Dressing

squash_stuffing

I’ve always found that it’s hardest to be a vegetarian around the holidays – so much of the celebration revolves around food and so much of that food involves meat.  From turkey to brisket to ham to venison, the traditional feasts revolve around a core protein of the animal variety.  When I first went vegetarian I had to accept that my holiday meal would consists of sides and for the first few years that was rather rough though there was always one exception: the dressing.  More often then not, the dressing would feature breadcrumbs of some form with vegetables and even tho it was normally on the dry side since no gravy – most of them were rather amazing.   For the past few years my contribution to the holidays have been my sweet potatoes but this year I wanted to try and completely veganize a stuffing that would be moist and amazing regardless of gravy.   So I set out to search the internet and various grocery stores to see what all was out there for me to mess with.  In the end I came up with this (in my opinion) awesome dressing that could work for more than just the BIG holiday meals.  In fact, I think it would be the perfect stuffing for an acorn squash!

 

Wash Out

Serves: Serves 8-10 as a side

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • Bag of plain vegan stuffing (Wegmans brand, Pepperidge Farm, etc)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cranberries

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat, add spices and cook for 1 minute while stirring frequently. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 10 minutes, or until onion is golden.
  2. Preheat oven to 375
  3. Add the butternut squash and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes, stirring as needed.
  4. Once the squash is soft, add the stuffing mix along with the stock, water, and cranberries and mix well.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until stuffing is warm throughout.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2015/01/wash-out.html

 I was surprised how many stuffing mixes were vegan as I was expecting most of them to feature whey, eggs, and/or turkey.  Most of the “plain” and “original” varieties turned out to be vegan while most of the ones featuring spices or seasoning were generally vegetarian – featuring whey.  The stuffing was fantastic and moist tho most of us did enjoy it with some vegan mushroom gravy from Whole Foods (seriously, that stuff is insanely good).  All in all an awesome side dish that can be enjoyed by vegans and turkey-eaters alike!

As of now I’m not really that much of a fan on 2015 – the year has just started and so far it’s been rather annoying.  Our first attempt at DIVF was a bust, our FET has been put on hold, my car is on the verge of dying as is our oven, while my cell phone had an accident this morning so it’s basically busted.  I know that most of these things, okay all but the cell phone, are out of our control but at the same time – this is just insane!!!  I thought bad things happened in groups of three and so beyond three at this point.

Looking Back

2014 Wrap-Up

Happy New Year!  Not going to lie, 2014 was a rather rough year and I’m not exactly sorry to see it go.  While I was able to accomplish some goals, new job and new features here on the blog, my biggest “goal” was not reached and there was nothing I could do to change that – just have to accept that there are things in life that are impossible to control.   I did fall a bit short on a few of my blogs goal, mostly due to interference from the goal not met -but I’m okay with that because I did the best that I could. I messed around with some new ingredients and new cooking techniques and while I didn’t do every week of /52weeksofcooking I did more than 2013 so that’s something!  September was also the BIGGEST month ever for the blog, which was an awesome birthday present. I can only hope that 2015 sees such incredible support.   With that said, time to talk about the recipes that gave such awesome numbers with the top 5 recipes of 2014.  The top 5 are based off of unique hits as recorded by wordpress, and limited to recipes posted in 2014.

#1: “Sausage” and Spinach Stuffed Shells which was made in May for /52weeksofcooking’s soy challenge.  I love it when a savory recipe takes first place!!!

#2: Taco Bowl an awesome recipe for when you are craving tacos but either don’t want, or can’t have the shell.  Adding more gluten free recipes to the blog was one of my big goals for the year, and more than 30% of all recipes in 2014 were/are gluten free!

#3 Buddha Bowl which is probably one of the healthiest recipes on my blog as it features raw veggies and delicious whole grains.   This was part of the clean eating challenge on /52weeksofcooking and is also a great recipe for starting out the New Year!

#4 Sweet Potato Falafels with Garlic Hummus came from a Secret Recipe Club Challenge, which I’ll be continuing in the New Year.  Posts will be the first Monday of every month as part of the awesome Group A, which occasional guest posts and features sprinkled throughout the year.

#5 Watermelon Feta Salad which is surprisingly the “sweetest” thing in the top 5 – which goes to show that cookies aren’t always #1.  This salad caused a bit of drama when the original post omitted a few key sentences, but it’s an awesome dish and I’ve made it a few times since.

There they are!  The top 5 recipes of 2014 which happen to be all savory – which I wasn’t really expecting.  While I haven’t most as many sweets this past year, just assumed those few would be the ones to take the care. So with that – enjoy your new year!  I have a few posts in progress and will once again be setting the goal of posting three times a week, but we’ll see what life has to say about that little plan.

Treats you Kind

Pumpkin Streusel Muffin

pumpkin_streusel_muffin

The other weekend I hosted a few friends for a boozy brunch – followed by a Hunger Games Marathon.  I needed something that was quick and easy, just in case the boozy part started before the brunch part.  So I checked out a few of my favorite cookbooks in hopes of a spark, and it worked!  While a coffee cake was out of the question, I decided I could easily adapt the recipe to work for over-sized muffin tins – and that they needed a bit of pumpkin.  This is loosely based on the “quick coffee cake” recipe from Joy of Cooking, just without the egg and smaller amounts of milk plus pumpkin and vegan – so might be more accurate to say this is inspired by that recipe but whatever!

Pumpkin Streusel Muffin

Serves: Yields 6 large muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • Streusel Topping:
  • 2 tbsp dairy-free butter (I used earth balance, as had a guest who can't do soy)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl stir the almond milk and pumpkin puree until creamy.
  3. Quickly add the dry ingredients in to the pumpkin mixture and stir until just mixed. Set Aside
  4. Lightly grease 6 large muffin tins, or use muffin liners. Spook the mixture until cups are 2/3 full.
  5. In a small bowl use two knives, or a pastry cutter, to cut together the streusel ingedients. Once mixture resembles bread crumbs, sprinkle on top of the muffin dough.
  6. Bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out cleanly.
  7. Remove to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes. Then Serve and Enjoy!
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/12/treats-you-kind.html

There were enjoyed with some fake bacon, turkey bacon, buttermilk pancakes, and lots of champagne based fruity drinks.  Most likely will go all out next year when the final movie comes out, and might actually do something “on theme” at that point – but there is something to be said about random carbs and champagne.

Want me Baby

Butternut Squash Lasagna

butternut_squash_lasagna

I’m not a fan of fall weather, even more so when it comes to the season after fall, but I am a fan of many of the vegetables that pop up during these chilly months.  From the winter squashes, to the greens, to the delicious root vegetables – the fall is well stocked with delicious vegetables. Today’s treat features a number of those goodies, including some of the last of the produce from the Farmer’s Market at my office.  Butternut Squash is a familiar vegetable in our house and it really seems to go with everything.  In this case I added some swiss chard, baby kale, and some mashed pie pumpkin (thought the variety was called baby boy but that just resulted in lots of baby costumes) that was leftover from making the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Want me Baby

Ingredients

  • 1 pack of lasagna noodles (ready to use or pre-cooked)
  • 1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup swiss chard, chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups favorite alfredo sauce
  • 1 cup ricotta, divided
  • 1 1/3 cup mozzarella, divided (shredded or fresh sliced)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Lightly oil a roasting pan and place butternut squash in roasting pan cut side down. Bake for 45 minutes. Flip squash in pan cut side up and use a melon spoon, or fork, to remove flesh to a blender. Add garlic and butter and puree until slightly smooth.
  2. Turn oven down to 350
  3. Line the bottom of a 9x9 pan with a 1/3 cup of the sauce and spread around, to include the sides of the pan. Place the first layer of noodles, trimming as needed to prevent overlap. Spoon 1/3 of the butternut squash and pumpkin purees on the noodle. Then top with a third of the greens, 1/3 cup of ricotta, and 1/3 of the Mozzarella. Spoon 1/3 cup of the sauce on top and spread evenly.
  4. Add the next layer of noodles and repeat the layers, then top with the final layer - ending with noodles. Top with the last of the sauce, then the last of the mozzarella (1/3 cup) and the Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes, the cheese should be a light golden brown on the edge and the cheese should be bubbling.

Notes

If using cubed butternut squash, reduce roasting time to 15 minutes and flip at halfway point. For a GF variety, use brown rice lasagna noodles!

http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/11/want-me-baby.html

Lasagna will never be a healthy dinner option, and it’s not always the most budget-friendly option, but it will always be something delicious and hearty and fantastic.  I figured that if I only make it a few times a year it’s not that bad…right???  I’m sending this recipe over to November’s Secret and in Season, which is being hosted by Katie of FeedingBoys and was founded by the awesome Ren.   There are so many delicious fall recipes being linked up over there, I can’t wait to give them a whirl!!!

Gotta, Gotta

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

pumpkin_choco_cookie

When I was in college it was my best friend’s “job” to make a batch, or five, of pumpkin cookies after fall.  After college I realized that if I wanted my pumpkin fix I needed to figure out the recipe or accept a life without these delicious treats.  The main trick I have found is to pre-roast the pumpkin and store the mash in the fridge or freezer until it’s time to use.  In a pinch, canned pumpkin can also work but just make to grab mashed pumpkin and not the pre-made pie filling as it tends to be too runny.  As for the chips, I’m a fan of milk chocolate but as long as chocolate is being used there is no wrong option.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie

Serves: Yields around 60 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Cream the butter and sugar for 10 minutes, until slightly fluffy. Add in the egg, salt, and vanilla extract and beat for 5 minutes before adding in the mashed pumpkin.
  2. Preheat oven to 350
  3. In a small bowl stir together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Slowly add to the wet ingredients and beat until just mixed.
  4. Spoon the dough onto cookie sheets in walnut sized portions. Bake for 15 minutes, or until a golden orange shade.
http://www.dancingveggies.com/blog/2014/11/gotta-gotta.html

These cookies are so good – your dogs might climb up on to the table cat ninja style and eat the last dozen.  Thankfully milk chocolate is not as toxic for dogs as semi-sweet chocolate and Calli is good to go.  Lesson for the future as now we know that she can jump in to the table, regardless of chair placement.   At least we got to enjoy a few dozen before that happened!

I’m sending these over, slightly last minute, to the /r/52weeksofcooking pumpkin challenge!  I also sent a large number of these to my office, where they were totally and utterly destroyed in a short amount of time.