Sunday, November 25, 2007

Biscuit Topped Vegetable Stew

Lucky for me, my mom sometimes buys really good cookbooks but then decides she doesn't want them and so they get passed on to me. The latest one is Veganomicon which is not only full of great recipes but is also really fun to read.

We went shopping for a couple hours this afternoon and it was sleeting by the time we came home. Perfect weather for something that warms up the kitchen and tastes really comforting and old fashioned. I made some slight changes to a recipe called "Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits".

This meal got a thumb's up from all three of us - something that almost never happens!

Biscuit Topped Vegetable Stew

2 potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 leeks, thinly sliced

1 small onion, diced

1 1/2 cups carrots, cut in 1/2 inch cubes

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

1 cup green beans, cut in thirds (I used haricots verts - the skinny French green beans)

15 oz can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed

3 cups vegetable broth

3 tablespoons corn starch

Salt and Pepper to taste


3/4 cup soy milk

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup shortening

Place the potatoes in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

In the measuring cup, stir together the broth and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a separate measuring cup, combine the milk and vinegar and set aside (it will look curdled).

In a large iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, leeks, and carrots, and cook 10 minutes, until softened and beginning to brown. Add the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the potatoes. Raise the heat slightly and stir in the broth and cornstarch mixture. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer 7 minutes.

While the stew is simmering, prepare the biscuits. Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl. Blend the shortening into the dry ingredients so that it looks like crumbs. Stir in the milk/vinegar mixture. Knead lightly a couple times, adding flour if the dough is too sticky.

Once the stew has cooked for 7 minutes, add the white beans. Turn off the heat. Place globs of the biscuit dough on top of the stew about an inch apart. Place the skillet in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the biscuits are beginning to brown.

Kay: If I was rating this dinner from 1 to 10, I'd give it a 9. I really liked the biscuits. I don't usually like carrots but they tasted good in this. I didn't care for the onions.

Mom (Dana): This recipe looked a little overwhelming at first but I actually enjoyed making it. I prepped everything first which definitely helped. This tastes like something my grandma would have made. Of course hers would have probably had a lot more fat as well as chicken!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving by Kay

On Thanksgiving, I spent the afternoon at my Grandma Mary's house. We had a big feast for lunch/dinner. At the beginning, we were just waiting for people to come. We played games and I played with my youngest cousin, Courtney. She is one year old. I'm sorry about the bad picture. This isn't from yesterday, it is from November 4th.

I ate ham, turkey, scalloped potatoes that I hated, broccoli, and best of all, amazing pudding! My Aunt Mary Jean brings it every year and Larry, my uncle, and I eat it all up! Yesterday, I asked her if I could put the recipe on the blog. Here's the famous pudding.

Aunt MJ's Amazing Pudding

-Jello vanilla pudding


-vanilla wafer cookies

-cool whip

In a big bowl, place a layer of cookies.

Make pudding according to directions.

Pour a portion of pudding over cookies.

Make several layers of cookies and pudding.

Top with cool whip.

Crumble a couple of cookies on top.

She didn't put this but I think she put it in the refrigerator until the cookies get mushy.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


No recipe from us today (I hate Thanksgiving food). Just a quick note to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving and to let you know that we have our first snow flurries!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Corn Bread and Beans

Corn bread and beans was one of the recipes my mom taught me when I moved out of the dorms and into an apartment at college and was going to have to cook for myself. I used to cut the recipe in half but it still made so much that I would eat it every day for lunch and dinner for almost a week. So, obviously, I like this meal!

When we were dating, Bill used to eat dinner at my parent's house almost every night, even when I was at work. The one thing he didn't like was corn bread and beans. He would walk in the door and we'd say, "you aren't going to want to stay today" and he would say "not beans!!". When we moved into our apartment and had to do that first huge grocery shopping trip, he watched me pick up applesauce, then corn meal, but when I got to the navy beans he said, "Please tell me you aren't going to continue the tradition of corn bread and beans." But I loved them, so I made them. About 6 months later he actually requested them and had to admit that the taste had grown on him and he was actually craving them. I never stopped harassing him over that!!

Even if you don't want to venture into the world of corn bread and beans, you'll love this corn bread. I taught Kay to make this when she was, believe it or not, 4 years old. She's been making it ever since.

To prove that she makes it completely by herself, I took a bazillion pictures while she slaved away in the kitchen! Here she is, step by step.

Measuring the flour:
Stirring all the dry ingredients together:
Whisking the wet ingredients:
Pouring the wet ingredients into the dry:
Pouring the batter into the pan:

This is a picture of the bean soup part of the meal. They don't look very interesting! Finally, here is Kay who snuck off to the family room to lick the bowl from the corn bread?! I'm all over cookie dough, cake batter, etc. but corn bread batter - not so much!
Corn Bread

1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and combine. Pour into a greased 9X9 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Bean Soup

1 pound dry navy beans
8 cups water
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 bay leaf

(Most recipes will tell you to soak the beans over night but I never bother.)

Combine the water, beans, celery, onion and bay leaf in a large pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. After about 1 hour, add the salt and pepper. Continue cooking 2-3 hours, stirring periodically. For the final 30 minutes or so, remove the lid. Add more water if needed.

Kay: I didn't think I ever liked the beans but tonight they tasted good. It might be because I am a little sick with a cold. My dad really likes me making the corn bread because he says mine is the best.

Mom (Dana): I almost fell over tonight when Kay said "these beans taste good"! She eats her corn bread and beans separately. Bill puts his beans on the corn bread. I do it the correct way (obviously!!) which is to put the beans on the corn bread and then top that with applesauce. Don't say EWW - it's good! My mom does that also but then mushes it all together. My dad puts raw onions on his.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Pinto Gallo

I love this recipe! It is really fast if you have leftover rice already made up and it tastes fantastic. I adapted this from a McDougall recipe. It was one of those recipes that sounded bland and boring but I had all the ingredients so I gave it a try. I immediately got on the Internet and e-mailed this to several people after making it the first time, it was that good!

It seems like every time I make it, I add one more ingredient to it so that it now barely resembles the original.

For the cilantro and ginger, I use the herbs in squeeze tubes that look like this:

I love these things. I have almost every type offered!

Pinto Gallo

Make rice. (For our rice steamer I used 1 cup Jasmine rice and 1 1/2 cups water).

Put 1/4 cup vegetable broth in a large skillet. Add one small onion and one red bell pepper, both chopped. Cook over medium high heat, stirring frequently until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add 1/4 cup more broth and 2 cloves of garlic, chopped. Cook again until the broth is absorbed.

Add 1 tsp cumin, 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (or 1 tsp dried), and 1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground). Cook for 2 minutes. Add about 3/4 cup of corn (can or frozen) and one can of pinto beans, drained. Cook until heated through.

Add 3 cups of cooked rice to the mixture. Pepper to taste. Mix well.

Serve with salsa and chips.

Kay: I don't like my foods mixed together like this. This is ok but I'd rather have corn, rice, and beans separate. I like that we eat it on chips though!

Mom (Dana): This warms up really well. The recipe is very versatile and you could add just about any beans and vegetables that you like. Lime salsa is especially good with it.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Macaroni and Cheese

For some reason, I thought life would settle down when soccer season ended. Wrong! I've had just as many projects at work as I have at home and it has left me very little spare time. We have been cooking and eating plenty, though, so I have several weeks worth of recipes that I can post!

I probably have about 10 mac and cheese recipes. We used to eat it at least once a month if not more. Then last winter, Bill started having problems with dairy so we've had to cool it on our cheese-heavy favorites. Then we found this recipe in Kay's cookbook (that she talks about here) and we were saved. We all really like this version because it is so creamy.

The recipe takes 2 cups of cheese. You can use all regular cheese if you like. I split it half and half with either the vegan recipe I've included at the bottom or a batch of Chreese if I have it on hand.

One more story about mac and cheese. In September Kay came home from school and said, "Did you know that you can buy macaroni and cheese in a box at the grocery store?!" I had to laugh at her amazement because that is, of course, the only way most people ever eat it. I certainly never had from scratch mac and cheese until I was an adult. How funny that Kay is the opposite and never had it from a box!

Macaroni and Cheese
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk (or soy milk)
2 cups cheese (we used 1 cup cheddar and 1 cup "cheeze sauce"
8 oz elbow macaroni
1/2 cup crushed crackers or bread crumbs (we used multi grain ritz)

Cook the macaroni according to the box directions for the shortest time listed.

In a medium sauce pan, melt the margarine over low heat. Add the flour, stir to mix, and cook 1 minute. Slowly stir in the milk, adding about 1/2 cup and a time. Continue to stir the sauce until it is thick and bubbly (this is a bechamel sauce, by the way).

Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the cheese until melted and combined. Add the cooked macaroni. Pour into an oiled 9 X 13 pan. Top with the crackers or bread crumbs.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Cheeze Sauce

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt

Mix these ingredients together in a small sauce pan. Whisk in:
2 cups water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (actual prepared mustard, not the powder)

Cook this over low heat, stirring constantly until the sauce thickens.

Kay: Every time we've had this it's been really good. It doesn't taste like fake cheese at all. It tastes like regular cheese. I like to eat the Chreese by itself with chips, too. It is not good in omelets though so don't try it!

Mom (Dana): The first time I made this, I didn't tell Bill that it had vegan cheese in it and he ate it up without a complaint! Kay actually requests this specific recipe now.