Lentil Potato Burgers

These tasty vegan burgers hold together very well.  They are so easy to make too.  This recipe makes about 10 burgers.  I pan fried all the patties and wrapped the ones we didn’t eat individually in foil and put them in the freezer for quick future meals.  Just microwave them,  slap on a bun, and add condiments for a quick meal.

Lentil Potato Burgers

1/2 cup onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups cooked lentils, drained and mashed
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 cup whole wheat or white bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)
salt & pepper, to taste

Saute onion and celery in olive oil until tender.  Combine everything in a bowl and mix well.  Form patties and fry in a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat until browned on both sides.  These burgers may also be baked at 350 degrees on a well greased baking sheet.  Bake about 15 minutes and turn over and bake another 15 minutes.


Whoopie Pies

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Move over Chocolate Gobs and make room for these Whoopie Pies.  They are much easier to make and taste better (which is saying something….I love the Chocolate Gobs).  The filling for these treats contain marshmallow cream.  Marshmallows are not vegetarian, but marshmallow cream does not contain gelatin, so it is fine for vegetarians.  Marshmallow cream is also great for making vegetarian s’mores.

Whoopie Pies

Batter
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
2 cups flour

Filling
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup marshmallow cream (Fluff)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Coat baking sheet(s) with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.

Batter:  Beat butter, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla, then cocoa powder until blended.  With mixer on low speed, slowly beat in milk until blended.  By hand, stir in flour. Drop level tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet(s).

Bake 8 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed.  Cool on baking sheet 1 minute befoe removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Filling:  With a wooden spoon, vigorously mix all ingredients untl blended and smooth.

Spread 2 teaspoons onto flat side of half the cookies; top each with another cookie, pressing to adhere.

Storage:  Refrigerate in an airtight container with wax paper between layers up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.

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Pumpkin Chai Bread

This is a nice twist on pumpkin bread.  It was a hit with my kids, especially the toddler.  I think he ate an entire mini loaf by himself. The spices are not overwhelming, so I might add a tad bit more of each spice the next time I make it.  I also like black pepper in my Chai tea, so I think I may add a little bit of black pepper next time too. This recipe is enough for 3 mini loaves.  They bake for 35 to 40 minutes (use a toothpick to check to see if they are done).

Pumpkin Chai Bread

Cooking spray
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2/3 cup sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 eggs
½ cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup canned pumpkin purée

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat the inside of a 9- x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine all dry ingredients (through cardamom) in a large bowl.

Whisk eggs, milk, oil, and pumpkin in a medium bowl until thoroughly blended. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until just blended. Spread batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the bread until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (60 to 65 minutes). Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.


Artichoke Mashed Potatoes

It’s ridiculous how good these are.  Two of my favorite vegetables in one dish.  In the picture, this dish doesn’t look all that exciting, but it tastes wonderful.  Definitely an easy way to dress up ordinary mashed potatoes.  I did things a little different than the recipe states….I blended the artichoke hearts with a little milk in the cup attachment of my Braun hand mixer and then folded the artichoke puree into the potatoes that I had already mashed (with butter and more milk) with a hand held potato masher. If you like your potatoes a little creamier, use a hand mixer to whip the potatoes.

Artichoke Mashed Potatoes 

6 large Idaho Potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 can artichoke hearts (non-marinated), drained
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork. Drain.

In a large mixing bowl, pureé artichoke hearts with half the butter and milk, using a hand blender or mixer. Add potatoes and remaining butter and milk and mix until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Recipe source:  The Idaho Potato Commission


Simple Corn Casserole

This is a very simple side dish that is perfect for Thanksgiving.  There is no salt in this recipe, so it is perfect for anyone on the DASH diet (a low sodium diet to help lower blood pressure).

Simple Corn Casserole

1 15 ounce can corn, drained
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, well beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine corn, melted butter, flour, sugar, milk, and eggs.  Mix well and pour into a buttered 1.5 – 2 quart casserole dish or loaf pan.  Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.


Green Bean Casserole

I love green bean casserole. I don’t make it often, but when I do, I usually make the nostalgic version using canned green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions. I was perfectly happy with it.  I had never made green bean casserole from scratch until recently, when I had green beans, mushrooms, and half and half in the fridge that needed to be used. Wow! I didn’t go the extra step and make the fried onions to go in/on the casserole, but nonetheless, it was amazing!  I’m adding it to our Thanksgiving menu this year.

Green Bean Casserole

1 pound fresh green beans, washed, ends trimmed, and cut in half
1 8 ounce package mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup half and half (more may be needed to reach desired consistency)
salt and pepper, to taste

1 large onion, very thinly sliced
flour
oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
To prepare onion topping (optional):  Toss the onions in the flour and shake off excess flour. Fry onions in hot ail in small batches until golden brown.  Remove from oil and let drain on paper towels.

To prepare green beans:  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 5 to 10 minutes (or until they reach desired doneness – remember, they will continue to cook in the oven). Drain green beans in a colander and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to give up some of their liquid, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter.  Once melted, sprinkle the flour over the mixture and stir. Cook for about 1 minute, not letting the flour burn. Decrease the heat to medium-low and whisk in the half-and-half. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring often. You may add more half and half to thin the sauce if it gets too thick.

Add the reserved green beans to the sauce. You may also add some of the fried onions (if using) to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into a small casserole dish. Top with the remaining onions (if using). Place into the oven and bake until bubbly, approximately 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Alternatively, breadcrumbs can be used to top the casserole instead of fried onions.