Friday, October 28, 2011

Achilles and the Shepherd(s Pie)

What's a parent to do when the gigantic boot they have to wear for a messed up achilles tendon that was most likely caused by messed up abs after hernia surgery causes another hernia?  Do you follow?  No?  Just know it is completely unacceptable!  It also makes it difficult for said parent to do much around the house.

So when HotNerd started a new job this week, meaning long hours as he gets acclimated, the kids and I were largely on our own for a few dinners.  That is, the kids were largely on their own -- aside from me supervising (meaning, sitting in the rocking chair, moaning in a bit of histrionic pain, and telling them what to do).

The easy thing to do would have been to scrap any notions of eating vegan and head over to Whole Foods for their roasted chicken.

Instead, we got creative.

HotNerd had made a lovely vegetable, kidney bean soup one morning in the crockpot.  The soup served as lunch.  Ah, but there were left-overs.  Another morning, HotNerd threw together a delicious pot of rice and beans for lunch.  Left-overs again.

Lucky for my children, I am a culinary genius -- a humble one too.  These two bases of left-overs, combined with a bit of creativity, blended with a lack of time and my eldest's love of elbow grease, morphed into some wonderful, quick, delicious, well-received gluten-free, vegan meals.

Vegan Shepherd's Pie
(This meal was almost a necessity after listening to Nectarine regale us with stories about the TWO Shepherd's Pies he'd consumed over the weekend.)

Left-over vegetable soup (3-5 c.)
Kidney beans
1/4 t. sage
1/4 t. thyme
1 t. basil
1/2-1 T. garlic powder
2-3 T. brown rice flour
7-8 red potatoes
1 sweet potato, cut in half

Put potatoes and sweet potato (I don't bother to peel them, but you can if you are blessed with loads and loads of time) into a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, and simmer until you can easily poke them with a fork (about 20 minutes).  Drain

Drain your soup, but reserve the liquid.  Put solids into a baking pan.  Add more beans (to your liking) and any other vegetables you might like that were not in your soup (corn, peas, carrots, etc.)  Add spices to this, mix, and set aside.

Add about 1/2 c. of the soup liquid to your potatoes and mash.  Add more liquid as needed.  Salt to taste if you like (you might also add a bit of garlic powder).

"Frost" the soup solids and veggies with the mashed potatoes.

Bake at 375 for a good 45 minutes to an hour.

Let cool a bit before serving.

Vegan Curry Loaf
(The idea for this one came from a meal Nectarine's mom once made our family -- my, how Nectarine is inadvertently influencing our diets)

Left-over beans and rice (about 2-4 c.)
extra veggies (peas and corn were good)
extra beans if it needs it (I added garbanzo beans)
2 T. curry powder
1 small can tomato paste
1 vegan broth cube
oil for pan

Combine all ingredients.  Oil a bundt cake pan.  Put mixture into pan and smooth down with a spatula.  Bake at 400 for an hour.  Loosen edges with a butter knife and invert pan onto a plate.  Ta-da!  We ate this with Tobasco Sauce and it was a huge hit, making me wonder why this culinary genius hadn't thought of it before.

Blueberry dressed up her serving.

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