Cook Bake Eat

by ericamclellan

Yesterday I was on a roll in the kitchen.

I used to dislike cooking because I thought I wasn’t good at it. But after working in two jobs that required regular cooking groups and lunchtime meal prep, I began to understand the relationship between food and health, food and community, and food and self-esteem. I started to enjoy the process and, of course, the result.

Here are the recipes that I made yesterday. My response to introducing my cooking to people is that if you like it, I made it… but if you don’t, Rueban did. Cat chefs are not always known for their skill, due to the lack of thumbs and constant shedding.

Engine 2 Sweet Potato Lasagna 

1 onion, chopped
1 small head of garlic, all cloves chopped or pressed (I usually use 4-5 cloves)
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 head broccoli, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
1 can corn, rinsed and drained
1 package Silken Lite tofu (I use soft tofu)
1⁄2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
2 jars pasta sauce (I just use regular tomato sauce)
1 box whole grain lasagna noodles
16 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained (I use fresh spinach, and just cover the pan as a layer)
2 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
6 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
1 cup raw cashews, ground

Preheat oven to 400. Sauté the onion and garlic on high heat for 3 minutes in a wok or nonstick pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until the onions are limp and the mushrooms give up their liq- uid. Remove them to a large bowl with a slotted spoon. Reserve the mushroom liquid in the pan. Sauté the broccoli and carrots for 5 minutes and add to the mushroom bowl. Sauté the peppers and corn until just beginning to soften. Add them to the vegetable bowl. Drain the tofu by wrapping in paper towels. Break it up directly in the towel and mix into the vegetable bowl. Add spices to the vegetable bowl and combine.

Cover the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch casserole with a layer of sauce. Add a layer of noodles. Cover the noodles with sauce. This way the noodles cook in the oven, saving time and energy. Spread the vegetable mixture over the sauced noodles. Cover with a layer of noodles and another dressing of sauce. Add the spinach to the second layer of sauced noodles. Cover the spinach with the mashed sweet potatoes. Add another layer of sauce, the final layer of noodles, and a last topping of sauce. Cover the lasagna with thinly sliced roma tomatoes. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the cashews, and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving.

This recipe seems to think that you can have pretty much double the number of layers able to fit in your typical lasagna pan. In order to fit in my pan, I do the following layers:
– sauce
– noodle layer (I pre cook mine)
– veggie layer
– noodle layer
– sauce
– spinach layer
– sweet potato layer
– sauce
– tomato layer 7e80cb0ed2e1f9758109f4fc817bd8c6

And my mom’s banana bread recipe, which is a strange thing to say because she is allergic to bananas…

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk (I use almond milk)
1 tsp baking soda
3 ripe bananas (mashed)
2 tsp baking powder
Approx. 1 1/2 cups flour

Mix butter, sugar and eggs (well beaten). Add milk to which the baking soda has been added. Add bananas (mashed). Add flour and baking powder. Bake in loaf pan—moderate oven (350degrees), approx 1 hr. Yield: 1 loaf.

The amount of flour is approximate as the amount was forgotten in the original recipe. When I asked about it, the woman told me: “you just know when the amount is right.” So good luck with sorting out the amount…I have used the 1 ½ cups amt with good results.