Sunday Night Tofu Noodle Casserole
Generally, I only make this in the winter/fall/spring (i.e. not when it's blazing hot outside), but Michael requested it the Monday night. I've never made it on any day but a Sunday either. What the hell though, live dangerously.
1 package of short, chunky noodles (whatever you like)
1 green pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 big jar of spaghetti sauce
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (optional)
12-14 oz ground beef style soy stuff (I use Morningstar Meal Starter Crumblers)
1 package of firm tofu (not silken, not pressed)
a little less than a full package of soy cream cheese (about 3/4 cup)
about half a package of soy sour cream (about 1/2 cup)
1 bunch of chives, chopped (you can use scallions if you want here)
1/2-1 tsp salt
Ok. First off, start boiling your water for the pasta and preheat your oven to 350F. Cook and drain the pasta according to instructions on the package.
While that's going on, heat up a little bit of EVOO in a pan with somewhat tall sides. You end up with a lot of sauce, here. Throw in your pepper, onion, garlic, and ground beef and saute until the onions get somewhat translucent and the beef starts to brown. At this point, add the diced tomatoes, if using, and the pasta sauce. Turn your heat to low and allow it to simmer until you're ready for it.
While the sauce is simmering away, get out a med-large bowl for the tofu mixture. Into this add your sour cream, cream cheese, chives, salt and tofu. When you add the tofu, squish it between your fingers so that it has a ricotta cheese-like consistency. Using a fork, MIX WELL. If you don't, the flavors won't mesh and it will taste strange.
Ok, here's the fun part: layering. In a 9x13 casserole dish add a little less than half of the sauce and spread it evenly. Then add half the noodles. On top of the noodles, spread the entire tofu mixture. Top this with the rest of the noodles, and finish by pouring the rest of the sauce over the top. Cover with tinfoil and pop that baby in the oven for about an hour. The last 20 minutes or so, uncover it so that the top gets nice and brown.
This dish is seriously addicting. They need to think up a new name for it so that it sounds more appetizing.
Next is our actual Sunday night dinner. Salisbury Steaks from Vegan Dad. I'm always looking for new ways to try out seitan, and this one was .....nomnomnomnomnom! The one thing I did differently was add thyme instead of dill (didn't have any dill). Oh and I also messed up by not really 'grating' the tempeh. I thought mushing it up with a fork would work ok. I was wrong. It didn't really incorporate into the wheat gluten, so there were little chunks of tempeh and not all of them made it into my final 'steaks' because they kept falling out. So make sure you grate it, if possible.
Anyway, I served this up with some kale (cooked with garlic and lemon zest) and Mediterranean Couscous. Both were...ok. The couscous was very olive-y. Which normally I like, but I think my olives might be bad. I dunno, it just didn't taste right. The kale was fine, but no matter how much I try, I just can't seem to get into kale. I always think, ooooh kale, this will be awesome! But it never turns out right. This was downright bitter. I know there are different types of kale and some are sweet, but our grocery store does not carry it, apparently. So... yeah. I wish I could learn to like kale better, because I know it super healthy for you and supposedly yummy.
Salisbury Steaks w/Kale and Couscous
Mediterranean Couscous (pretty, but not so palatable)
To finish off, I will leave you with a picture of some scones I made a couple weeks ago that disappeared within 24 hours because they were just.that.good.
Incredible Disappearing Scones Act!