Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Square Meals and Pizza Stuffed Pasta Shells

We made Square Meals from Simply Heavenly!: The Monastery Vegetarian Cookbook by Abbot George Burke. When I cook out of this book, I think of our friends Marty and Laura who gave it too us and my mom who loved to cook things for Parker from this cookbook. She especially liked to make Square Meals for him. We have several pictures of him eating square meals. I don't make them as often as I should. They are great to have around, especially for our little three year old grazer. They are also nice to take on trips. They keep well in an airtight container, you can freeze them, and they taste better the day after you make them so they are the perfect snack food.

We decided to make the Dal Filling and the Pizza Filling since those are two of my favorites. I wanted to make the Broccoli and Cheez Filling (Parker's favorite) too, but we ran out of time. Rob is great at making pizza dough so I had him make the dough and I made the filling and put them together (with some help from all the kids so they aren't so "square", but we don't care what they look like). Next time we will make up our own fillings and the dough turned out stickier than usual. Here is the dal right before we put them in the dough. This dal is pretty basic with red lentils, vegetable broth, potatoes, mustard seeds, garlic, ginger, tumeric, cumin, sea salt, canola oil (a lot of the recipes call for corn oil, but canola oil works fine), coriander, and cayenne pepper. I use any leftovers with rice.

Mom's Square Meals always looked perfect, even when she had Parker's help, but mine come out funky looking some times. This was one of those times, but I guess with all three kids involved in some way, I'm lucky they came out edible so. They were devoured quickly so all is well.

I don't have a picture of the pizza filling cooking, but I used up most of the dough with the dal so we only have a few Square Meals with pizza filing. We intended to make more dough, but Rob was done at this point. I highly recommend making these on a weekend when you can make several batches. The pizza filling is actually Tomato Sauce 2 recipe and Notzarella Cheez recipe with onion, mushrooms, garlic, bell pepper, olive oild, and hot pepper flakes added in. So, we were left with some Tomato Sauce 2 (a basic tomato sauce with molasses as the surprise ingredient), Notzarella Cheez (nutritional yeast and rolled oats based), and some combined with the extra ingredients to make Pizza Filling. (This is the way the cookbook is organized and how they are able to have 1,400 vegan recipes in one cookbook. It is also the reason I didn't cook much from it until my mother fell in love with it because I hate having to flip back and force between recipes. It the cookbook you could be stranded on a desert island with and never go hungry.) I bought some pasta shells a while back intending to make Sweet Potato Stuffed Shells with Coconut Curry Sauce again, but I hadn't gotten around to it and the shells were just sitting in the cupboard waiting. I thought, why not make Pizza Stuffed Pasta Shells? I cooked the shells and then used three casserole dishes so they could be cooked for lunches easier (we don't own a microwave so heating up left-overs takes some advance thought). One dish I stuffed the shells with the Pizza Filling and covered with the Tomato Sauce 2 drizzled with a little extra Notzarella Cheez. Another dish I stuffed the shells with the Notzrella Cheez and covered with Tomato Sauce 2 for sort of a manicotti feel. The third dish was a mix of the two. They were all so yummy, I might just make the sauce for shells sometime.

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