Iris Inn Spinach Artichoke Breakfast Casserole

iris-inn-spinach-casserole

For several years my husband and I made an annual long weekend excursion to the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia. Always in Autumn so we could enjoy the gorgeous scenery dressed in stunning colors of orange, red and gold, and we were never disappointed. In mid to late October Virginia is still warm enough to enjoy outdoor fun like hiking and kayaking with only a sweater or light jacket occasionally needed.

We’ve stayed in many hotels and B&B’s on these vacations, but our favorite has always been The Iris Inn in Waynesboro. (www.irisinn.com). Built as a Bed & Breakfast (never a family home), this establishment offers everything you could want: secluded country location, yet close to many things to do and sites to see, beautiful accommodations from private rooms to individual cabins, and delicious bountiful breakfasts.

As vegetarians, breakfast at any B&B is always a challenge, however our hosts at The Iris Inn always tried to accommodate when we warned them in advance. One morning we were pleasantly surprised when the friendly innkeeper handed out recipes for the breakfast being served. Now, we usually tell people when we eat out that we are vegetarians (to relieve some of the pressure on them), but at home we follow a vegan lifestyle, so I was thrilled to have a copy of this casserole recipe that I easily veganized to enjoy at home. If you are planning to serve a brunch or take a dish to a potluck, this recipe is perfect for either occasion. It goes together quickly with only a few ingredients and is a welcome savory addition to any brunch table that even a vegan can enjoy. I hope you like it!

Ingredients:

3 – 10 oz. packages, or 1 – 32 oz. package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (you can do this overnight)

12 ounces vegan “cream cheese” ( I used Tofutti brand Better Than Cream Cheese)

1/4 cup organic butter or vegan “butter” at room temperature

1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 – 6oz. jars marinated artichokes, drained

Cracked pepper

1/2 cup Vegan “Parmesan Cheese” (Search under “Recipes” to make your own)

-Place spinach in the bottom of a large greased glass baking dish. Top with chopped artichokes.

-Mix together vegan “cream cheese,” “butter,” and  almond milk. Spread this mixture on top of spinach and artichokes in the dish.

-Top with vegan parmesan and cracked pepper, to taste.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

 

 

Miracle Fat-Burner Stew

I found this recipe about five years ago in a magazine, and have used it many times since. It makes A LOT. (I had to buy a large stock pot just to accommodate this recipe — a traditional dutch oven will not do). It is great for when you are cooking for a crowd, but if you are cooking for just one or two you can use one of the variations on different nights so you don’t get bored. It also freezes well. Serve with a crusty wholegrain bread.

Makes 10 (2-cup) servings: 258 cals.; 18 g. protein; 4 g. fat; 45 g. carbs.; 1.54 mg. sodium; 0 mg. chol.; 12 g. fiber

1 1/2 bags (1 lb. ea.) dried lentils

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 c. chopped onions (1 12 oz. bag frozen)

2 Tbsp chopped garlic (6 cloves)

1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste

10 c. vegetable broth

1 can (28 oz.) stewed tomatoes

1 Tbsp. salt

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 bags (1 lb. ea.) assorted frozen vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, & red pepper work well)

3 Tbsp. wine or balsamic vinegar

Sort and rinse lentils. In a very large pot saute onions and garlic in olive oil for 4 – 5 minutes. Add lentils and cook 1 minute, stirring. Add tomato paste and cook 1 minute stirring. Add broth and spices. Break up tomatoes into pieces with back of spoon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are very soft (ab. one hour).

About 10 minutes before serving add frozen vegetables and vinegar. Heat through.

MIRACLE FAT-BURNER STEW VARIATIONS:

To one (2-cup) serving of stew, stir in any of the following and simmer 3 – 5 mins.

CHINESE:

1/2 c. cubed firm tofu

1 tsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. peanut butter (reduced fat)

1/2 tsp. sesame oil

1 sliced scallion

MEXICAN:

1/2 c. salsa

Heat through and top with 1/4 c. shredded veggie cheese

HARVEST STEW:

1/4 c. frozen baby carrots

1/4 c. orange juice

1/4 c. canned pumpkin

1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon

INDIAN:

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. tumeric

1 Tbsp. golden raisins

2 Tbsp plain soy yogurt

1 Tbsp cashews

1 tsp. chopped cilantro

Steamed Vegetable Casserole

This recipe is only a guideline.  You can use whatever vegetables are cluttering your refrigerator.  I usually make it when I have an overabundance of produce and just need more frig. space.  You can also substitute pasta for the brown rice, and it will be just as delicious.

Ingredients for the sauce:

6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Whisk the sauce and put it aside.

Ingredients for casserole:

Whatever vegetables you desire.  Fresh broccoli, carrots, and cauliflower work well.  I’ve also added sweet red peppers, zucchini, green beans, or yellow summer squash to the mix — whatever you have on hand. Cut vegetable into one inch chunks (slice carrot chunks in half), do not chop.

2 cups cooked brown rice or pasta

1 – 2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning

8 oz. grated veggie cheddar cheese

1 – 2 Tbsp. veggie parmesan cheese

Method:

Using a steamer pot, bring water to a boil over high heat.  Put the veggies in the steamer basket, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, gently turning the veggies two or three times.  You want them to be crisp-tender, not wilted (the green veggies should be still bright green); if you see them start to wilt or change color remove the pot from the heat — they are done.

In the bottom of a PAM sprayed oblong glass casserole dish, place the cooked brown rice (or pasta).  Sprinkle half the veggie cheddar cheese over rice.  Spread the steamed vegetables over that and sprinkle reserved sauce over the veggies.   Dust with Old Bay Seasoning, to taste.   Top with remaining cheddar cheese and veggie parmesan cheese.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil, and put in 350 degree oven for just 10 minutes (to melt the cheese).

Beautiful colors — healthy and delicious!


Zucchini Casserole #2

Here is another great zucchini casserole; easy to make comfort food:)

Ingredients:

2 lbs cubed zucchini

1 c.chopped onion

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

4 Tbsp. organic butter

1 c. whole wheat saltine crackers, crumbled

1/2 c. plain organic soy milk

1 c. Vegan Gourmet cheddar cheese, by Follow Your Heart – shredded

1/2 c. pecans – finely chopped (or buttered bread crumbs)

Method:

In a large non-stick saucepan saute the zucchini, onion, salt, and pepper. (Zucchini is very moist, so no water is necessary). Cook over medium heat until zucchini is tender, stirring occasionally. Add the butter, and gently stir until butter melts.

Stir the crumbled crackers into the zucchini mixture, and add the soy milk.

Spray a glass baking dish with vegetable oil (PAM), and spread half the zucchini mixture in the dish. Sprinkle half the veggie cheese, cover with remaining zucchini mixture, then the rest of the “cheese.”

Top with the chopped pecans or bread crumbs.

Bake @ 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with a big salad, and you have a complete dinner that is as satisfying as mac ‘n cheese, but a whole lot healthier.  (4 – 6 servings)

Recipe: Zucchini Casserole

It is summer, and if your garden is anything like mine you have enough zucchini to feed an army. If not, the farmers markets have them in abundance, and they’re very inexpensive right now.

This recipe was originally given to me by my niece and has been used by our family for years. It is the one all the kids ask for when they leave home and start cooking for themselves. I have made a few adjustments to make it even more vegetarian (healthy). In our house it is the main course and always served with cranberry sauce.
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Ingredients:

3 c. cubed zucchini (do not peel)

3 lg. carrots, shredded

1/2 c. chopped onion

1 can cream of mushroom or celery soup

1 c. Sour Supreme imitation sour cream

1/4 – 1/2 c. margarine or organic butter (you decide which you think is the healthier choice)

1/2 bag Pepperidge Farms Herb Flavored Stuffing Mix (The original recipe calls for 1 box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix, but they all contain chicken broth, so I don’t use it)

LIGHTLIFE Chick’n Style Strips, 1/2 package,  chopped (optional)*

Method:

Stir fry the zucchini, carrots, and onion until just tender (do not add water as zucchini is very moist). Set aside.

In a bowl mix together the soup and imitation sour cream.*If you are using the optional Chick’n Strips add those to the bowl now and gently stir. (It’s good with or without them).

In a pot melt the margarine (or butter), remove from heat, and add stuffing mix.  Toss to coat.
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In a glass casserole dish layer:

1/2 stuffing mixture

the zucchini stir-fry mixture

the soup/ imitation sour cream mixture

the remaining 1/2 stuffing mixture

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes

This recipe may be doubled for a crowd — just bake it a little longer.