I happily anticipate the day when I can host my first Thanksgiving dinner…may be a while thanks to the enormity of my good Catholic family and the smallness of my house, but as soon as hubs and I can afford our first mansion on the beach, I’ll be all over it. For now, I’m happy being the one who shows up with a shopping bag full of tupperware so I can relive the magic for days to come.
I really can’t take credit for throwing a bunch of leftovers together in a pile and calling it original–even though Thanksgiving leftover mashups are the single best meals of the year. But this is most certainly not another post-Turkey Day sandwich or grilled cheese. That would be too predictable.
This pile of goodness comes to you layered sky high on a tortilla and bathed in melted brie.
Leave it to me to take the most quintessentially American meal and make it…you know…ethnic.
No matter what you happened to save from dinner–and if you’ve got any fun additions please let us all know!–these are crazy good. I honestly don’t think you could put anything on a tortilla and smother it in gravy and cheese and have it not be good, do you? Even then…just add more cheese.
Pile o’ Thanksgiving Tacos
mashed potatoes and/or yams
salad greens/green bean casserole
any other leftover goodies you’d like
Reheat leftovers if desired.
Make a nice little pile of leftovers on each tortilla, layering the dryer stuff first and the wet stuff last.
Top with slices of brie. If using cold leftovers, toss the tacos under the broiler to melt the cheese.
The slow cooker rice casserole is my new go-to meal option. Seriously, changed my life…not only is it just insanely easy, but it’s the best way I’ve come up with like, ever, to use up my random assortments of leftovers. I have yet to find anything that doesn’t marry up with rice.
What’s even better is the texture is nothing short of, well, stuffing. And if you’re a stuffing hoarder like me this is pretty much the best thing since Stove Top.
I could eat nothing but stuffing for the rest of my life and be totally happy. It’s the epitome of carby, sweet, savory, salty, warm, comforting goodness. But this casserole? It’s like I transported through time to the Thanksgiving table. And it’s about a thousand times easier to make. And yes, I know stuffing is super easy to make anyway. Think about that one…
I wish there was a way to take a picture of this that didn’t make it look like a pile of something nasty because it’s so effing good I can’t even stand it. I mean, it’s a literal mash up of a million things so I honestly don’t know what to do unless I dressed up the dish with a sash and crown and just called it America’s Sweetheart. Maybe that would get the point across? Maybe I just need more sleep.
This recipe is extremely customizeable…note how pretty much every ingredient has something else that could fill in. Honestly, feel free to use whatever you’ve got on hand. The basic formula that works the best for me is just 2 cups of dry rice, 4 cups of liquid (like stock) and a can (1 1/2 cups) of coconut milk to add some richness. On top of it all…anything goes. So go nuts! (Add nuts!!)
What with being unemployed and all and not exactly having a place to live until August 1, hubs and I are spending a few weeks with my parents. The older we all get, I’m starting to have more and more respect for how my folks have handled life after the last kid left home 8 years ago. Dad has been 100% retired for most of it and has steadily accumulated projects and community stuff to stay busy whenever he isn’t out on the motorcycle. Motorcycle rallies–the kind with checkpoints and landmarks to find within a 24-72 hour time limit over some region of the country–are pretty much his purpose in life. Mom still works as a nurse but has managed to keep the 3, 12-hour shifts a week for over a decade. I can only hope I’ll be so lucky. She’s been a gardener her whole life but when kids came along and life got busy we didn’t have much besides the flower beds and a few vegetable patches, but the garden beds have multiplied in the last few years to include everything from cucumbers and squashes, corn, beans, herbs, winter veggies, and, to my surprise when I came home last week, collards and kale (“everyone at work was talking about how much they love this stuff called ‘kale’ so I went and got a pack of seeds…). With my dad as a handy helper (he does the garden building and vegetable eating part) and a really commendable renewed devotion to personal health on their part, we can always count on fresh produce at home. So, obviously that brings me to today’s recipe. With the exception of the yogurt, everything here has been freshly grown and that’s pretty darn cool if you ask me.
Since summer is, you know, hot and all, I’ve been doing a *lot* of salads and cold veggies with dinner instead of the typical warm side dishes. Saves time, that’s for sure–one of my husband’s favorite things to toss on a plate next to the main event is a sliced heirloom tomato with salt and a drizzle of melted butter (speaking of which, grilled tomato and butter sandwiches are the bomb and I could probably eat them every day forever).
I got a little…fancy…with last night’s salad, as you can see. The dill was calling my name, I couldn’t resist. I’ve got fantasies of doing this again with some smoked salmon later this week. Please tell me I’m not the only one who’s dying just thinking about it….?
Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dill Dressing
1 c Greek yogurt
1/2 cup (packed) fresh dill, minced
3-4 large cucumbers, sliced and diced
1 large onion, sliced
about 2 cups of cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 c apple cider vinegar
Toss all the veggies and the dill in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk together the yogurt and vinegar, then pour over the veggies.
Mix until well combined.
Cover and let everything marinate for at least an hour before serving.
I have been doing a lot of Vegan meals lately, haven’t I?
The way I see it, making at least one meal a day is 100% plant-based is a phenomenal way to get an array of veggies and nutrients in my diet. I’ve ranted about it before, but the one thing anyone or any “diet” can agree on is that we could all use more veggies. Over the years, what I would consider to be “My Paleo” has certainly changed–I’m kind’ve over the whole eat-nothing-but-giant-hunks-of-meat-all-day-every-day. Nowadays it’s more like a 25/75 split between animals and plants. I eat my eggs with greens and grilled veggies…my steaks with tons of salad and sweet potatoes…and even have the occasional meal that’s purely plant-based (my mornings lately have begun with fruit, kale, and coconut milk “ice cream” topped with Paleo Krunch). “My Paleo” now is a lot more balanced and I’ve noticed such a huge difference in how I look and feel. This past year I lost 15 pounds and just feel…better.
I really do agree with a lot of the thoughts behind Veganism–namely that processed “foods” are, well, crap, and that we’re missing out on so many of the valuable nutrients in plants. I’m also sympathetic to the moral arguments…I’m not against eating animals, since humans need a lot of nutrients from the muscles and organs of others and have evolved to consume them, but I am against eating factory farmed animals subjected to inhumane conditions both because it’s unhealthy for them and unhealthy animals make unhealthy meat and because, frankly, it’s just cruel.
I’ve slowly become the people from Portlandia who insist that their chickens need to be happy and have little chicken friends to lend a shoulder when they feel sad.
ANYWAY, let’s talk about last night’s dinner. As far as I’m concerned, plantains are always a good idea…I’d think of this as almost a deconstructed mofongo. I added the collards as almost an afterthought and am SO glad I did. They really do add a nice bitterness to balance the sweet of the plantains and coconut oil and make everything just a little more vibrant. As a main dish, it’s perfect over cauli rice but I’d bet that it would be great with a root vegetable mash, big baked potato, or even as a side.
Cumin Spiced Fried Plantains w/ Collard Greens and Roasted Peppers and Onions
1/4 c coconut oil
3 large plantains, peeled and sliced
2 onions, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
4 cups collard greens, washed and chopped
1 t chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t black pepper
Heat the oils over medium high heat in a high sided skillet
Add the plantain slices, frying about 2 mins per side until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil behind.
Add the peppers and onions. Fry in the remaining oil until soft.
Reduce the heat to medium and add back the plantains and add the collards and seasoning, stirring to coat everything with the coconut oil and spices.
Cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the collards are nice and soft. You can definitely leave it longer if needed–the flavors will only get richer!
Having gone to college in southern New York, I became absolutely infatuated with the bazillions of Greek diners we frequented any chance we got. Pancakes the size of my face…the ginormous pastry display…gobs of butter on EVERYTHING…
And, of course, the Greek food. I was on a moussaka kick at one point–even made MDA’s primal version–but my favorite has always been the delightfully crispy and cheesy spanakopita. Spabakopita…which also happens to be the most Paleo-unfriendly dishes around thanks to the phyllo (which is the best part, duh!) and cheesy goodness.
Having nothing but time on my hands this summer, I finally cracked it. I’ve been obsessed with Cappello’s pasta for a long time, and even more so now that the ingredient list changed to make them 100% Paleo (no more potato starch). While not exactly the flaky crispity crusty phyllo, the lasagna noodles make a perfectly delicious substitute for the shell. Making this baby dairy-free was no problem at all, especially since I’ve been experimenting so much lately with cheese alternatives.
The result was beyond even my expectations. Even my husband–who rolls his eyes every time I tell him we’re having a meatless meal–went back for seconds!
The cauliflower mixture–before mixed with the spinach and all the rest of the ingredients–stands very well on its own as a topping or base for other recipes. I’d like to say it tastes a little like feta cheese…but faux feta or not, it’s great. I’ll probably post the recipe for just that piece in the next couple days.
1/2 head cauliflower
4 green onions
1 t salt
1 t black pepper
1 t marjoram
1 t thyme
1 t oregano
1/4 c olive oil
1/2 c chopped Kalamata olives
1 t onion powder
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 c coconut milk
1 lb frozen spinach
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 package Cappello’s lasagna noodles
Steam the cauliflower until soft. Place in a food processor with the olive oil, oregano, marjoram, thyme, lemon juice, coconut milk, green onions, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Pulse until you have a rough puree…not as smooth as you’d want for mashed potatoes but more smooth than cauliflower “rice.”
Heat a drizzle of oil over medium-high in a skillet. Add the garlic and onion, then saute until soft.
Add the spinach, sautéing until excess water has evaporated off.
Mix the spinach mixture with the cauliflower mixture, along with the olives.
In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of the spinach-cauliflower mixture.
Lay a layer of lasagna noodles on top.
Pour the rest of the spinach mixture on top of the noodles.
Top with one more layer of noodles.
Cover tightly with foil, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Uncover, brush some olive oil all over the top, and return to the oven for 10 more minutes.