Potato Cabbage Casserole

Just in time for the yearly deluge of Irish-type dishes on blogs and recipe sites, here is my version of a tasty concoction of potatoes and cabbage.  It doesn’t take very long to put together and then you have about an hour to do other things while the oven finishes things for you.

You can use any type of vegan link/hot dog/sausage in this.  A few years ago a local grocery store was clearancing out some Boca links for $1 a package – and eventually marked them down to 25 cents!!  My husband called me and asked how much freezer room we had.  He cleaned them out…and brought home 40 packages!!!  Yes – 40.  We were feeding 3 hearty young male appetites at the time and these went a long way to help out our food budget.  You can’t find those particular links any more (and I think they may have had egg whites in them), so I’ve substituted Tofurkey Italian Sausages instead.  (I know, that is hardly Irish, is it?  But what are you going to do?  Use whatever you can find that fits the description better.)

Potato Cabbage CasseroleFor the dish pictured here, I happened to have purple cabbage on hand.  It would look nicer if it was green cabbage, but the purple does contain more vitamin A…and, as I mentioned, I already had the purple version.  😉  I also suspect that I sliced up more cabbage than just a pound as the balance wasn’t what it was when I made it with a measured package of coleslaw mix.  Truth be told, the actual measurements aren’t super critical – you just want a nice balance of potatoes to cabbage.

Potato Cabbage Casserole

  • 4 medium potatoes, halved and sliced (peeled, if you prefer)
  • 1 c. chopped onion (or more)
  • 1 bag coleslaw mix or 1 lb. thinly sliced cabbage, rinsed
  • 4-6 vegan links/hot dogs/sausages, optional
  • 2-4 T. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 2 T. orange juice, or freshly juice 1 small-to-medium orange
  • basil taste
  • salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Mix the potatoes, onions, and cabbage in a 4-qt. baking dish.  Drizzle the oil, Bragg’s, and orange juice over it all.  Sprinkle on the basil and salt.  Mix well.  Lay the links/hot dogs/sausages over the top (or you may slice them and mix them in, which I prefer for the larger links.)  Cover with foil and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the potatoes and cabbage are tender.

Corn Chowder

After a long absence, I am finally posting a new recipe!  (Sorry, folks ~ I got a new job and it’s using up any extra minutes I used to spend on my blog.  I’ll get better at this juggling thing soon, I promise!)

This recipe came about because I got hungry for corn chowder one day and just decided I would make some no matter what.  I had an okay recipe from eons ago, but after looking at it, I deemed it dull and lifeless.  I demand more taste and more nutrition from my fare now.  Because of that, this won’t look like your usual pale chowder.  I couldn’t help myself ~ I had to throw in some greens!  😀  But you should be used to that by now if you are following my blog.  (You see, my teen boys wrinkle their noses up if I serve cooked greens by themselves, but they have no problem eating them if they are in a dish.  So you see the method to my madness….)

Corn ChowderRest assured, this is a marvelously creamy, comforting soup for a chilly winter day!

Corn Chowder

  • 2 lg. onions, diced
  • 4 small potatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 12 oz. frozen turnip greens with diced turnips (or another green of your choosing)
  • 2 lbs. frozen sweet corn ~ thaw and reserve 2 c.
  • 1/3 c. raw cashews
  • reserved corn
  • 1/4 c. barley or brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dillweed
  • 2 c. plain non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • parsley

Boil the first 5 ingredients in a large pot until tender.  Add the sweet corn (still reserving the thawed 2 c.)  Blend the next 6 ingredients that are listed until very smooth.  Bring the veggies back to a boil and stir in the blenderized mixture.  Keep stirring until it thickens.  Turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Add the extra salt if desired and some dried parsley before serving.  (The extra salt isn’t added until the corn is cooked so that the corn doesn’t become tough and chewy.  That’s also why the corn isn’t added at the beginning of cooking the other veggies, so that especially the potatoes can absorb most of the salt from the water beforehand.  If you are in a hurry, dump the corn and salt in at the beginning.  The extra cooking time may make up for the it.)

Sauerkraut Special

A friend of mine went to her husband’s home country of Poland to visit his family.  She is vegetarian and I guess it was a challenge to eat at restaurants at times.  She told me about a dish her father-in-law had that sounded pretty tasty if it could be veganized.  It was full of sauerkraut, mushrooms, and various meats.  I thought it would be fun to give it a try.  Now, I love sauerkraut…if it’s well-rinsed.  If it’s full-strength, it is a little too much for me.  If you like it super strong, then go for it!  😀

I didn’t use a lot of different types of veggie “meat” substitutes here, though it was my intention to do so.  Unfortunately, when I reached for some veggie burgers to chop up for this, they were gone.  *sigh*  If no one has raided your supplies to fill their bellies, then toss in 2-3 different things ~ try soy curls made into chicky strips, soy burgers or crumbles, Tofurkey links, etc.

Sauerkraut Special

  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. (or more!) portabella mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 pkg. Tofurkey Italian ‘sausage’ links, sliced/diced
  • 4-6 c. frozen hash brown shreds, or shredded fresh potato (to be honest, I didn’t measure this…I just eyeballed about how much I wanted in the dish)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 large jars of sauerkraut, rinsed (unless you like potent sauerkraut)

In a very large frying pan (mine was non-stick) saute the onion, mushrooms, Tofurkey links and potatoes in olive oil.  I didn’t measure the oil, because I just kept adding a bit as they cooked.  If it looked too dry – as if things were going to start sticking – I added a bit more.  Cover.  Cook until the links begin to brown and the onion softens well, stirring occasionally.  Toss in the sauerkraut and heat thoroughly.

Serve with soy sour cream, if desired.

Substitution Soup (aka: Eggplant-Cabbage Soup)

This is a bit earlier in the year than I usually make soup ~ but with cooler evenings arriving earlier than normal, I couldn’t resist.  Last week I found a very large organic eggplant at Kroger.  I’d never seen one there before, so I quickly pounced on it!  Since I needed to use it before it went the way of other science experiments in the back of my frig, this influenced my decision to make this particular soup.

My dear high school friend who taught me about this soup has a different name for it than I use.  She calls it garbage pail soup, because you can throw in just about anything you want and it’s likely to taste good.  Use up the veggies that just can’t wait much longer.  Throw in whatever meat-like substitutes you like.  Just start with the base of the soup and have fun.

I do wish the greens would stay brighter for visuals with this soup, but my family doesn’t like the texture of them wilted at the last minute of cooking time, so I have to put up with duller-looking greens.  The good thing?  It still tastes amazing!  (I ate 2 large bowls of it.)

There is one thing you should know.  This makes a HUGE pot of soup that will last you for more than one meal.  You can freeze some of it.  You can add something new each night to it to make it slightly different.  Or you can invite a crowd over for supper.  🙂

Substitution Soup

Absolutely necessary:

  • 12-16+ c. filtered or well water (depending on the size of your cabbage and other veggie amounts)  Good water is important to the taste of your soup
  • 1 small-to-medium cabbage, diced or sliced
  • 1 eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 2 large onions (more if you like)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T. basil (more if using fresh)
  • 1 1/2 – 3 tsp. Marmite or Vegex (add the smaller amount and taste test later)
  • 6-8 T. chicken-style seasoning     (ditto)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 T. +/- sweetener (depending on how acidic your canned tomatoes are), optional

Variables:

  • herbs and seasonings of choice (including Spike*, or Mrs. Dash)
  • 3-6 c. diced or shredded potatoes* (or use small cauliflower florets or corn)
  • 1-2 lbs. green vegetables ~ may be frozen (chopped leafy greens such as spinach*, kale, turnip greens*, etc., zucchini – diced or shredded, green beans, chopped broccoli, etc.
  • 1/2-1 c. dried lentils* (or add canned beans at the end of cooking time)
  • 1/2-1 1/2 c. brown rice*, millet, barley (increase cooking time), or other whole grain
  • veggie meat of your choice ~ use more than one kind for added interest ~ chorizo* (for a spicy version), TVP, seitan, homemade or canned gluten pieces, broken soy curls*, soy hot dogs or links, Gimme Lean, chopped up soy burgers, Tofurkey “sausages,” etc.

Throw everything from the “absolutely necessary” list into a large stock pot.  Bring this to a boil while you chop everything else, adding as you go.  The cabbage will decrease in size as it cooks, so you may not need as much water as you think you might.  You may always add more later, as well as more seasonings to balance the extra water.  When the lentils, rice, and potatoes are cooked, taste the soup and see if it needs something, like more salt, or some other kind of seasoning.  Adjust it as needed.  Let the soup cool to serving temperature as a large stockpot of soup can be seriously hot.  Pair it with some marvelous bread and enjoy!

*my choices for the soup pictured

Vacation Zucchini Casserole

What do you do with excess zucchini when friends go on vacation and welcome you to help yourself to their extras?  (Especially when you miss one that hides well and it gets pretty big?)  You invent a new casserole, of course!  Doesn’t everyone do that?  ;D

Vacation Zucchini Casserole

  • lots of zucchini, sliced thinly – no more than 1/4″ thick (mine was about 1 ft. long with a 3″ diameter)
  • frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
  • 1 8-10 oz. package vegan cheese, shredded
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly and broken apart into separate rings or half rings
  • 2 jars (24 oz.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1 pkg. vegan chorizo (mine was from Trader Joe’s, but Walmart has one, too)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Chop chorizo with a fork into the spaghetti sauce.  Put 1/3 of the sauce into the bottom of a 4 qt. dish.  Add a layer of frozen potatoes so that the sauce is barely seen or not at all.  Add a layer of zucchini.  Cover with half of the cheese.  Add a layer of onion rings.  Add another 1/3 of the sauce.  Cover with another layer of zucchini, then cheese, then potatoes.  Finish with the last 1/3 of the sauce.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Turn oven up to 450° and continue baking for another 45-60 minutes.

Serve with garlic bread to dip into the marvelous saucy, spicy juices, or serve over rice, quinoa, or pasta.

Vegan Potato Salad

Both my mother and mother-in-law were good cooks.  I learned much from both of them.  (I don’t think my mother used very many written recipes, but just tossed and tasted.  I used to watch her in awe, thinking I’d never be able to do such a thing!  Apparently, it is passed on genetically, activated when you reach a certain level of time spent cooking, because my daughter and I now do this, too!)  This post is actually a combo of both of these fabulous cooks’ versions of potato salad, only veganized, of course.

My mother-in-law always added sliced green olives to her potato salad.  (Now, I had never been, and still am not, a fan of those little buggers ~ except in potato salad, where I love them.)  She also used sliced cucumber, but my mom diced up little sweet gerkin pickles or her own bread-and-butter pickles into her version.  (I’m a little lazier than mom, so I make use of sweet relish instead.)

I make plenty of this while I’m at it!  Not only does everybody love it and, therefore, eat lots of it, but if I’m going to mess around with boiling and cooling potatoes, I might as well do the whole 5-lb. bag and be done with it.  Then if there is any left from the first day, I have leftovers for lunch the next…which are duly “fought” over by everybody.  (Now you know why I make so much to begin with!)  For those of you who aren’t feeding an army, take this to a potluck or family gathering…or…decrease the recipe as desired.

Actually, this isn’t technically a measured recipe…it’s more of a rule-of-thumb to go by.  When my daughter, K, makes it for her hubby, she adds more green olives than I do, because she loves them in many things.  (In fact, K made the pictured salad and it is her version.)   If my family needs more raw veggies in their day, or I want to stretch the salad even farther than normal, I add extra cucumber and onion.  Personalize it and make it your own.  My moms would be so proud!  🙂

Potato Salad

  • 5 lbs. potatoes (don’t use russet potatoes, they are too grainy), peeled and cut up into large-bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 cucumbers, peeled, quartered, and sliced
  • 1/4 c. give-or-take of sweet relish
  • chopped onion to taste
  • small jar of green olives, sliced – or more
  • 1 c. or more Vegenaise with some mustard stirred in to make it creamy yellow
  • salt to taste

Cook diced potatoes in salted water until just barely soft enough for a fork to pierce.  (They will continue cooking as they cool, so you don’t want them mushy, or your salad will be paste.)  Drain and place in a bowl until cool enough to put in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly.  (If you are in a hurry, spread the potatoes onto a large cookie sheet to cool.)

When potatoes are chilled, mix with remaining ingredients.  If possibly, chill for an hour or two to meld flavors.

Marvelous served with baked beans, sliced tomatoes, and watermelon!

Vegan Flat Meatballs or Meatloaf

Sometimes I discover a great dish completely by accident.  Sometimes I even discover two ~ with the same ingredients!  A few weeks ago, I had some packaged vegan “meatballs” from Trader Joe’s that I wanted to use up in spaghetti sauce over pasta.  Hubby and I are avoiding wheat, so I had to find something else for us while the teenage vacuums ate the meatballs and pasta.  I had 6 or 8 small leftover Unburgers in the freezer.  I figured those would work for us as a kind of, well, flat meatball.  I layered them with spaghetti sauce and popped them into the microwave.  We scooped them onto cooked rice ~ and it was unbelievably good!  (Hubby did say he’d prefer not having the sunflower seeds in the Unburgers this way.  I didn’t mind them.)

Segue to last Friday.  I needed food prepared ahead of time that could be reheated in the oven for after church the next day.  I remembered just how good those Unburgers were as flat meatballs.  I didn’t have enough leftover Unburgers in the freezer (I was down to 1), and I wanted to omit the sunflower seeds this time for hubby’s and an allergic family member’s sake anyway.  So, I whipped up a fresh batch of very large patties (4 1/2-5 inches.)  I thought about trying to form them into balls and baking them, but I didn’t have the energy or time to experiment.  I layered the patties in a 4-qt. dish with spaghetti sauce, filling all the nooks and crannies with sauce, too.  (I had a loaded casserole and only 2 patties leftover.)  I covered the dish with foil and popped them in the frig until the next morning.  I put them in my automatic oven the next day set to bake for an hour along with some smashed potatoes.  Unfortunately, we had car trouble after church and didn’t get home and eat until much later than planned.  The oven had stayed warm for the most part, so I just turned it back on for 15 minutes or so when we got home to make sure everything was hot enough.

Surprise!!  My flat meatballs and sauce destined for topping the smashed potatoes had turned into something completely different!  The Unburgers soaked up all the excess moisture from the spaghetti sauce and became a marvelous super thick meatloaf!  I quickly pulled out some vegan-style “butter” and soy sour cream for the potatoes that were now without their saucy topping.  Everybody ~ all 7 of us ~ loved it!  And that 4-qt. dish?  Well, there was only half of it gone, even after J ate his fill.  Next time I will make a smaller pan and save the other Unburgers in the freezer for an “oh-no!-there’s-nothing-in-the-house-to-eat-fast-and-we-have-to-leave-soon” night.  (Come on…you don’t have those nights?  Then how about an “oh-no!-I’m-too-blasted-tired-to-cook” night?  Uh-huh…I thought so.)

So, now I have 2 recipes ~ sort of.  Wait…actually there are 3 things that can be done with the Unburger ingredients list.  How handy!  This is multi-tasking in triplicate.  😀

If any of you like to experiment, try forming the Unburger batter into meatballs and bake or fry them.  Then let me know how it comes out.

Vegan Flat Meatballs or Meatloaf

  • Leftover Unburgers (or a fresh batch)
  • spaghetti sauce (I used a fairly plain one with mushrooms)
  • rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes

Layer Unburgers with spaghetti sauce (plenty if you want saucy flat meatballs) and either immediately heat up and serve over hot rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes, or cover and refrigerate; heat at 375° for 45-60 minutes the next day and serve as a meatloaf-style dish.

Smashed Potatoes

A really upscale restaurant here in town serves “smashed” potatoes.  Not mashed.  Hmmm.  Come to find out, they’ve figured out a way that they don’t have to pay their staff to peel potatoes!  lol  Basically, they just cook red potatoes and mash them with the peels still on them.  Actually, it’s healthier for you to eat the peels, so, I suppose that could be their goal.

Since I love labor-saving things and healthy food, I decided to try it at home.  I scrubbed red potatoes and chunked them up, boiled them, and mashed them with non-dairy milk.  They aren’t “pretty” potatoes, but they taste good.

Smashed Potatoes

  • Scrubbed red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • non-dairy milk
  • salt to taste
  • non-dairy “butter,” if desired

Boil potatoes until very soft ~ you want them to break apart when you pierce them with a knife or fork.  Drain and mash with non-dairy milk (please make sure it’s not vanilla or coconut flavors!), adding “butter” if desired.

If you add enough non-dairy milk to them so that they are plenty moist, you may put them in a covered casserole dish to be reheated the next day for 30-45 minutes at 375°.  (Just don’t have car trouble so they are left in the oven extra long…or they come out not quite as moist as you had hoped…like the picture above.)

 

Cheesy Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

I was going to make baked potatoes and have bunches of toppings from which everyone could choose.  Then I remembered how much my husband hates “working” to “prepare” his food.  If it doesn’t hop onto his plate ready for immediate transfer to his mouth with no visible effort on his part, then he’s not really interested ~ especially if it’s a work day (he’s in construction and works hard all day.)  And he doesn’t like baked potatoes that much even if I spoiled him and fixed it for him.  So…scratch that idea.

Next idea.  Some kind of scalloped potatoes.  They went over very well.  And no one had to “fix” their own.  😉

I made these the day before so that when we came home from church, they would be in the automatic oven already toasty and ready for us to sit down to eat.  I baked them for 45 minutes at 350° on Friday, then the next day I set the timer for another 45 minutes at 375°.  We got home a little early and I began to wonder if they would get done fast enough, so I cranked the oven up to 400° for the last half hour.  They were hot all the way through – but not crispy on the edges at all (like I prefer!)

Per usual, this makes A LOT!  It’s perfect to take to a potluck, or a big family get together, or so you can have leftovers the next night (if you don’t have a human 17-yr-old vacuum like I do.)  Or you could cut the recipe in half if your family hates leftovers.  Another option is to split the recipe into 2 separate pans and share with another family who is having a tough time, is ill, or just brought home a new baby (like my son and daughter-in-law just did ~ making me a 1st-time grandma!)

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

  • 1 onion (at least baseball sized or larger), cut up into large chunks
  • 1 c. nutritional yeast flakes (NOT baking yeast)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika (more to sprinkle on top, if desired)
  • 2 lg. garlic cloves
  • 1 c. raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 3-4 drops hickory smoke liquid
  • 1/4 c. melted virgin coconut oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 c. non-dairy milk (not vanilla)
  • 5 lbs. boiled, peeled potatoes

Preheat oven to 400°.  Dice or slice the cooked potatoes and place in a 4-qt casserole.  (Mine ended up not quite sliced OR diced, because I left the whole potatoes boiling too long and a large number of them fell apart as I sliced them.)

Whiz the remaining ingredients, except the non-dairy milk, in a high-powered blender until smooth.  Add the milk and whiz briefly just to stir.  Pour over the potatoes and gently mix things together so that the potatoes get coated with the sauce.  Sprinkle with extra paprika, if desired.

Cover with lid or foil and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours (depending on how crispy you would like it to be.)

Optional:  Bake for 45 minutes, cool, and refrigerate until the next day.  Then reheat for 30-45 minutes at 400°.  If you are using an automatic oven, do calculate in some extra oven-heating time and add it to your 30-45 minutes.

NOTE:  If you choose to halve this recipe into a 9″x13″ pan, please remember to decrease the cooking time or the temperature of the oven.

Roasted Potatoes

BBQ SoycurlsPotatoes can get ~ mmm ~ boring if you have them the same way over and over again.  There is a simple way to mix things up a bit, though.  When you roast potatoes, you gain quick control of 2 interest points.  First, their texture – will you bake them until they are crispy, or just until they are cooked through, or somewhere in between?  Second, their seasonings – and the sky’s the limit here – plain, lemony, Cajun, Italian, Indian, spicy….use your imagination!  I’m going to give you my go-to version here.

Hubby teased me when I said I was beginning this blog.  He said, “How are you going to share recipes?  Do you even USE recipes?”  I just looked at him with my mouth hanging open….because he’s there SO often (cough, cough) when I cook.  But then I laughed, because he’s partially right.  I used to watch my mother cook with a little of this and a little of that, going strictly “by feel.”  I thought I’d never learn to do that.  Well, evidently it is in the genes, because I go “by feel” when I create a recipe – and sometimes coming up with correct measures later can be a challenge!  Roasted Potatoes are one of my “by feel” recipes every time I make them.  I’m going to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone this time and try your hand at adding seasonings “by feel.”  Hey, the worst that can happen is that you need to put salt and seasoning shakers on the table to add more, because unless you have a really heavy hand can you really over-season chunks of potatoes?

Though this recipe is written to make a cookie sheet full, it can easily be cut in half or less, but it would still be a good idea to use a cookie sheet.

  • 5 lbs. potatoes, cut into pieces – smaller pieces bake faster and can have more crispy-on-the-outside (or use baby potatoes and cut into wedges)
  • olive oil – 2-4 T. is plenty
  • Italian seasoning – just enough to have nice flecks on all of the potatoes
  • salt
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Pour olive oil over them and toss until everything is even coated.  You want just enough olive oil to coat things well – not only to help the spices cling, but to keep the potatoes from sticking forever to your cookie sheet!  Sprinkle seasonings over the mixture and toss again until well coated.  Spread out onto a large cookie sheet that has edges.  Bake for 30-60 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your potatoes.  Serve with ketchup or barbeque sauce.

 Variation: Choose from a selection of large chunks of onion, turnips, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, whole baby carrots, etc., – or dice/chunk up some gluten pieces, seitan, or other meat substitute – and toss with the potatoes.