I am pleased to say, that I tried some new and wonderful plant based recipes last week and I even found a way to make some of my traditional recipes more plant based. My repertoire is getting bigger and I think I am well under way to "clean up" our traditional Christmas Season feasts as well!
As I have so much to tell you about my food exploits of last week, I think I will have to break my blog up into bite size pieces. But just to give you a taste of what is in store, I would like to share a few of the menu items I made. Some of these are NEW to me while others are my tried and true traditional recipes which I have made a little healthier without compromising on taste.
In addition to trying out some vegetarian Salisbury Steaks, my daughter, Sara, sent me a link to Oh She Glows for some festive Christmas "Meatballs" to be served with cranberry sauce. I am looking forward to doing a test run with this recipe so that we can also have a meatless entrée for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners! If they are as tasty as the Salisbury Steaks, I am so STOKED!
As my family knows, I am a stickler for making sure my leftovers are used up. I HATE wasting food. It is the best way I know to stretch your meal-time budget especially when I heard just how much folks waste. On average, Canadian families throw out $1000.00 of food a year. In Toronto, a single-family is said to waste 275 kilos of food per year. The figures are just as bad in the US. Yes, we can compost it which is a more environmentally appealing solution to putting it in the landfill, but that does not help my budget much. Bottom line, it is much better to EAT the food you buy.
When I plan my meals, I plan to send them for a hot lunch the next day or sometimes I plan on how to use the leftovers in a second meal... either "ditto" which is just a reheat of the meal OR I transform the components of my leftovers into a brand new dish. That being said, sometimes even the best laid out plans go awry and I still end up with single serving of this and that.
If we can't finish these single servings before they will spoil, I will generally move them to the freezer. I have had great success in dicing up left over meats and poultry to be later used in stir fries or in lunch wraps. I freeze single servings of soups, stews, pasta sauces. I even freeze gravy and cheese sauce, even though the experts say you can't. I label and date the freezer containers, and keep a running list of what is in my freezer so I don't lose track. I have also learned that HOW you thaw and re-heat your leftovers is crucial to enjoying them... but that is for another blog!
With all that being said, you are wondering why the little detour into food waste and leftovers? First, because I want to share a kitchen tip to save you money and stretch your food budgets! Second, I thought I should explain why I have a 500 ml mason jar of gravy in my freezer and that it was the need to use up this left over gravy that gave me the inspiration to find a recipe for a meatless Salisbury Steak! Since I already had gravy in my freezer, I only made the Salisbury Steak recipe which I followed to the letter, with a minor change. Subsequently, I cannot comment on the tastiness of the mushroom gravy on the blog post, but it does look yummy. I will definitely be trying it with these Salisbury Steaks next time, IF I don't have any gravy in my freezer.
As promised on the Oh My Veggies site, these vegetarian Salisbury steaks were meaty, tasty and satisfying. I would think you could make them vegan by whipping up a flaxseed egg to substitute for the chicken egg. As I said, I followed the recipe from the site with one minor change... I had already sautéed the finely diced onion before realizing that it was actually for the mushroom gravy which I wasn't making. So, not wishing to waste anything, a threw the cooked onion into the "meat mix" and continued with the recipe. I think the onion addition is brilliant, so it is staying! I ended up sautéing the 4 ounces of mushrooms (as per the recipe) and seasoning my gravy similarly to the gravy in the posted recipe and adding the Tamari too. It was a huge success!
I also tried out a cauliflower & potato mash. I peeled and cooked a few Yukon potatoes. I drained and mashed them in my usual way... a little almond milk, and butter since I didn't have any Earth Balance Spread, with some salt, and pepper to taste. I set it aside. I also steamed about 1/4 of a large head of cauliflower until tender. I dropped the large pieces into my food processor, and whizzed it till it was coarsely mashed. I added some butter, almond milk, salt, pepper and a 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and a generous pinch of thyme. Whizzed it all together until it was smooth and resembled traditional mashed potatoes. Then I folded the potatoes and the cauliflower mash together into the serving dish, Man oh man; it was SO good on it's own, and even better with a slug of the mushroom gravy! The "meat", "potatoes" and mushroom gravy were so comforting and tasty, that even the plain Jane fresh frozen mixed veggies rocked the plate!
|Salisbury Steaks BEFORE Baking|
|Salisbury Steaks AFTER Baking|
|Salisbury Steaks with Cauliflower/Potato Mash, Mushroom Gravy and Mixed Veggies|
Next on the blog docket... Hot Cross Buns and Easter Dinner!