27 October 2014

Menu Monday

Last week we officially turned the corner from glorious fall weather to what I call pre-November weather. November in Vermont is gross. (Clearly I am an expert, having spent all of one November here). But that impression has been confirmed by many others who have seen more than their fair share of Vermont Novembers. It's just gross and cold and rainy/sleety/not-pretty snowy. So what was supposed to be last week's Soup Sunday got bumped to Monday night. It was soup weather and this hit the spot. Note that the recipe only makes one serving, so I doubled and found that the soup actually made more like 3 servings.
Gina can do no wrong in my eyes. This was easy and delicious. I used finely chopped Trader Joe's sweet chicken apple sausages because it seemed extra fall-ish. Only complaint is that there wasn't enough stuffing. I would double the stuffing next time (although that would clearly negate some of the skinny status).
The Best Lasagna Ever (Pioneer Woman)
 It really is the best lasagna ever. I've written about it before. M pretty much always requests this for his birthday dinner. So when we had 3 of his players over for dinner last week, this was what I made. Normally I split the recipe into 2 8x8 pans: one for us to eat now, one to freeze for later. Even then, we typically have leftovers (it's so rich and heavy). I made a full pan this time and we had one tiny piece left. Not pictured is the two boxes of garlic knots that they demolished, an overflowing bowl of Caesar salad that disappeared in record speed, and last week's peanut butter pie. College athletes eat a ton of food.

Vegan Red Beans and Rice (Budget Bytes)
 I feel like including vegan in the title of this recipe may scare people off, but it really shouldn't. There's no frankenfauxmeat or any funky ingredients involved. It's just a naturally vegan recipe when you leave out the sausage and use vegetable stock. I made this last year for Mardi Gras and honestly it's kind of shocking how much meat-like flavor the smoked paprika adds. It seriously tastes like there's some sort of delicious smoked pork product in there, but it is completely animal free. I highly recommend you take up Beth on her suggestion to add a little bit of coconut oil to each serving.

This recipe was huge in the preppy blogosphere in 2009. It's an old fall favorite in our house. I struggle to get the right balance of spice. If you leave in all of the jalapeno ribs and seeds, it's a little too spicy for me. But if you take them all out, it's not hot at all. I'm still trying to figure out the perfect amount. I use half of a rotisserie chicken here.
Also, I apologize for the gross picture, but WARNING: do NOT use Trader Joe's canned pumpkin for this. For some reason, their canned pumpkin has a lot more liquid than other brands and it made for a really soupy sauce. Hence the gross picture. Normally the sauce is much thicker. Lesson learned.