Potato Crust Spinach Pie

My sister, except for a brief period of time, has been vegetarian her whole life. When I took over Thanksgiving duties from my mother — something that made both of us happy — I made it a point to include a main dish that worked with my sister’s dietary restriction. That dish was a riff on spanakopita, a phyllo dough-wrapped spinach dish. I made mine as a casserole, featuring rice.

What I didn’t know at the time was that I was feeding my sister — and me — something that was making us very sick. We are both now gluten free and much healthier for it!

But I do miss that dish. It was a perfect vegetarian (though not vegan) main course, packed with flavor and nutrition. I’ve finally taken the time to recreate the dish, this time using thinly sliced potatoes in place of phyllo. As with that long-ago dish, this one was a hit (and gone the next day!).

Meatballs: The Easiest of Comfort Foods

Meatballs are one of the world’s great comfort foods. And they’re one of the world’s most versatile foods. You can work with any type of ground meat, beans, or grains. Add seasonings to suit your mood. Bake, grill, pan roast, or simmer in a sauce. Eat.

Meatballs are also quick to make. The hard part is getting your ingredients lined up (ye old mise en place). Still, since meatballs generally cook up in about 15 minutes or so, it’s not hard to get them done in under thirty minutes. This makes them an attractive option for weeknight meals. Continue reading “Meatballs: The Easiest of Comfort Foods”

Strawberry, Kale, and Buckwheat Salad

This salad is great for parties, weeknight meals, or hot summer evenings. Buckwheat adds great flavor, especially since it’s dressed in a lemony sauce. I love that the whole thing is on the table in under thirty minutes — while the buckwheat cooks, you can prepare the strawberries.

I make this salad without cheese for a vegan option. If you like cheese — and it will add a salty component to the dish — ricotta is great. Feta works. Even blue cheeses are lovely. I also love to add toasted nuts or seeds, like pumpkin, to the dish for some crunch.

Note: start testing the buckwheat for doneness about twelve minutes into the simmer. You want the grains to be firm, not mushy. That way they hold their shape and add texture to this salad.

Traditional Lasagna

I’m not a huge tomato sauce person, but lasagna is one of my weaknesses. How could I resist? Gooey cheese, layers of meat and noodles, that sauce pulling the whole thing together. And because I couldn’t find gluten-free lasagna noodles ahead of time, I bought 12 boxes from Amazon. That’s a whole lotta lasagna.

The way I figure it, I have enough noodles to last me several years!*

It takes about five minutes of Internet research to discover that everyone has a favorite lasagna recipe, ranging from quick to laborious. Or, there is no wrong way to make a lasagna. Take what works for you and don’t worry too much about doing it “right” — as long as it’s tasty, you’re good.

This recipe involves making your own Bolognese sauce, so it will take some time (think of a terrific sauce simmering on the stove all afternoon, that’s what we’re doing here). Letting the sauce simmer develops a rich flavor — one I find hard to replicate with store-bought sauces (which, of course, I use when time is working against me).

As you will see in the notes, you can skip steps 1 − 6 if you are pressed for time.

* — Okay, truth: those noodles will be gone in no time since I’m testing different lasagna styles.

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