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Easy Meat-Free Slow Cooker Lasagna

1 jar (28oz) of Spaghetti Sauce
6 or 7 Lasagna Noodles
2 cups (8oz) Shredded Mozzarella Cheese  (divided)
1 carton (15oz) Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 can of Black Beans

Mix together Ricotta, Parmesan, Black Beans, and most of the Mozzarella (save some to sprinkle on top).

Spread 1/4 the sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Break noodles into small (1 inch) pieces, layer on top.  (you’ll use 1-2 noodles for each layer)
Spoon 1/2 the cheese mixture over the noodles.  Spread out to the edges.
Spread 1/3 of remaining sauce over that.
Break more noodles and place over sauce.
Spoon remaining cheese mix over the top.  Spread out to the edges.
Spread 1/2 of remaining sauce over that.
Another layer of broken noodles.
Top with remaining sauce.
Finish with the Mozzarella Cheese you saved out.

Cover and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or until noodles are tender and cheeses are melted.

Additional Options:
Spinach
Romano Cheese instead of the Parmesan
Seasonings of your choice  (oregano, marjoram, pepper, garlic)
You can also add meat if you so desire.

I normally make a double recipe, which just fits inside of my slow cooker.  I’ve found the best order of layers is:  Sauce,  Noodles,  Cheese Mix, Sauce,  Noodles,  Cheese Mix,  Sauce,  Noodles, * Sauce,  Noodles,  Cheese Mix,  Sauce,  Noodles,  Cheese Mix,  Sauce,  Noodles, * Sauce,  Mozzarella.
* = repeated layers
I don’t measure out “equal amounts” I just eyeball it.  Some times I have leftovers, sometimes I have to do some thinner layers on top, but it works.

I also mix in ranch salad dressing once it’s in my bowl.  You may think “EEWW!”, but think of what ranch dressing is.  Most of it is already in there in a way.  If you like ranch dressing, and are feeling adventurous, give it a try….

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WillowMoon’s Veggie Soup

12c Water
5 Vegetable Bullion Cubes
3 medium Potatoes
3 stalks of Celery
1/2# Sliced Carrots
1/2 medium/large Onion
1 can Stewed Tomatoes   (use the juice too)
1 can of Navy Beans   (washed and drained)
1/2c dry Barley
3-4c chopped Kale   (I prefer the purple)
1/4c (or less) of chopped Parsley
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1 tsp Marjoram

Measure water into pot, add Vegetable Broth cubes, and set to boil.

Chop Potatoes, Celery, Carrots, and Onion.  Add to Broth water as you go.
Strain the Stewed Tomatoes over the pot (so the juice goes in) and cut the tomatoes into bite sized pieces.
Add Navy Beans and Barley.
Chop and add the Kale.  (you don’t want to add the kale to early because it will wilt)
Add the seasonings*.

Let it cook for as long as needed.  If you are cooking it all day, wait to add the Potatoes and Kale because they will get soft/wilted.
Right before serving (up to 10 minutes before) add the Parsley.   (it will get bitter if you add it too soon)

*I like alot of seasonings, so adjust them to your preference.*
Add or remove anything you want.
This is a great recipe because you can make it anyway you like.

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WillowMoon’s Potato Mushroom Chowder

10c Milk
2c Water
1 Vegetable bullion Cube
3-4 medium Potatoes
1/2# Sliced Carrots
6oz frozen Peas
1 can of Navy Beans   (washed and drained)
1/2c dry Barley
1pk Baby Bella Mushrooms
1/4 medium/large Onion
4TB Butter    (melted)
1 tsp Crazy Salt
3 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1/8 tsp Oregano
1/8 tsp Marjoram
1/4c (or less) of chopped Parsley
Flour    (as needed)

Measure milk and water into the pot, add Vegetable Bullion cube, and set to the lowest heat possible.  DO NOT BOIL!  Boiling (especially too quickly) will curdle the milk.

Chop the Potatoes and Carrots, add them with the Peas, Navy Beans, Barley, melted Butter, and the seasonings*.

In a frying pan saute the mushrooms and the onions (divide if necessary).  Add to the pot after they are cooked.  This step is optional, I just happen to really like the flavor of sautéed mushrooms.  You may want to leave all of them raw, or just saute half.
Hint: you can melt the butter in the pan before you saute the mushrooms to grease it.

To thicken into a chowder:  take a cup or so of the liquid (no veggies, just the liquid) and place it into a bowl or cup.  Stir in flour until it is quite thick, almost a dough (it’s a lot of flour).  Pour flour/liquid mix back into the pot slowly, stirring as you add.  Repeat if needed.
If the soup doesn’t thicken, raise the temperature SLOWLY.  You may need to bring it to a slow boil.  DO THIS ONLY AS LONG AS NEEDED, then turn the temp back down to low.

Only cook for as long as it takes to heat.  (20-30 minutes in my case)

Right before serving (up to 10 minutes before) add the Parsley.   (it will get bitter if you add it too soon)

*I like alot of seasonings, so adjust them to your preference.*
Like the Veggie soup, add or remove anything you wish.  A good additive could be cauliflower.

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WillowMoon’s Veggie Burgers

2 cans of Black Beans
1/2c Rolled Oats (don’t cook them)
1/2c Short-Grain Rice  (measure uncooked)
1 medium Onion
1 medium Potato
4 large Portabella Mushrooms  (approx. 3-4c chopped)
2TB or 2cubes of Vegetable Bullion  (or use any combination of spices you desire)

Start by putting the rice to cook.  Drain and wash the beans and run them through the food processor, but don’t over do it, just pulse it a couple times to break them up a little.
Chop the mushrooms and onion and saute them.  Chop the potato and add them to the mushrooms/onions and run them through the food processor until there are no big chunks.  It doesn’t have to be super smooth, just don’t leave any big pieces.  Drain the rice when done.

Put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir until fully mixed, which might take a while.  If it is too hard to mix add a little water (only a little!).  Once mixed fill a bowl of water and wet your hands before forming the burger patties.  You might feel like you want to skip this step, but trust me, don’t.  The burger mix will stick to your hands like crazy unless you wet them first, and a bowl is much nicer then running to the sink all the time.  Grab some of the mix, maybe about a 1/2 a cup worth, and form it into a burger shape.  Make them smaller than you think you need, unlike meat they don’t shrink when you cook them.  And be careful not to make them to thick because 1-they won’t cook properly and 2-they tend to break apart if too big.  After every burger or two rinse off your hands in the bowl of water and then keep going.

To cook:        (I’m sure there is a bunch of ways to cook them, but this is how I do it)
Heat up some olive oil in a frying pan and cook one or two burgers at a time (a large pan could handle more).  Leave the burgers untouched until the underside is brown and starts to pull away from the pan.  This can be harder to tell when using a non-stick pan, I usually just pay attention to how easily they slide in the pan.  Then use a spatula to flip them over, but do so carefully or they’ll fall apart.  Again leave them untouched until brown.  If you need to you can flip them back over.  Make sure you keep some oil in the pan, don’t drown them, but don’t let them dry out either.  Without proper oil you’ll end up with a scorched shell and a raw interior.
Then just slid them onto a bun and top like you would a regular burger.

If you have a problem with your burgers falling apart add some more rice or potatoes.  They help everything stick together when cooking.

You can store these burgers two ways:
1 – cook them and then put them in the fridge/freezer for later use.  I haven’t tried it this way, so I don’t know how they would store and reheat.
2 – shape them into patties and place them on a tray (coat it with cooking spray or oil first) and place them in the freezer until frozen solid, then you can package them however you’d like.  I just put them into the pan right from the freezer and cook like normal.

makes about 12 burgers

The great thing about this recipe is that the beans and rice combine to make a perfect protein that is almost better than meat itself.
You can add anything you like to these burgers, but you may need to play with the amounts to make it work.  The only required ingredients are the first four, but I really recommend using the portebellas, they really make it taste like beef burger.  Some possible additions:  green peppers, cheese, ketchup; and if you want more of a “garden” burger:  zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, kale, spinach….

You can use this recipe to replace meat in a lot of things.  If you need ground meat just put a layer of the mix into a pan and brown, flip over, brown and then break it apart (great for burritos or tacos).  Shape them into balls for “meat”balls.  If you want a chicken flavor replace the black beans with chickpeas (you can even bread them!).  The sky really is the limit!

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One response to “Recipes

  1. Phillip

    June 12, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I just eyeball it too.

    Phillip aka eggsuckingpup

     

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