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Friday, May 26, 2017

Wilted Spinach Salad




Here's an old fashioned recipe with fresh spinach, boiled eggs and a vegetarian substitute for bacon drippings. Worthington Stripples or Morning Star Veggie-Breakfast Bacon Strips and the oil you cook them in make an excellent substitute for bacon drippings such as our grandmothers used in their "salad".  It can be partially prepared the previous day and all you need is to heat up the dressing just before serving. It's actually quite good and an unusual salad for potluck.  

Ingredients:
  • 6 cups spinach, washed, drained very well and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced green onion
  • 3 hardboiled egg, coarsely chopped
  • 5 slices Stripples, cooked and chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup red vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper (optional)
Directions

  1. Combine spinach, onions and eggs in a large salad bowl.
  2. Cook Stripples/Breakfast Strips in skillet until crispy; remove and drain on paper towels.
  3. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of oil you cooked the Stripples in.
  4. Add vinegar, water, sugar, salt and pepper to the oil and heat to boiling, while stirring to blend evenly.
  5. When ready to serve, pour over spinach mixture and toss gently.
  6. Sprinkle salad with Stripple/breakfast strip crumbles. 
Serving Suggestions:

Put the eggs, fresh spinach and green onions in a large Tupperware bowl and seal it up.  Set aside the cooked vege-bacon and go ahead and boil the sauce. Set it aside in a small sealed container. When you get to potluck, open up the greens, heat the sauce in the microwave until warm and pour it over the greens, onions and eggs mix. Crumble the crisp vegebacon over top of the salad and serve.

It's actually quite good and worth the effort of doing the last minute prep work.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ten Layer Mushroom Lasagna



You could call this a "Dump" Lasagna, as it is made with a lot of stuff I had lying around the house and is loosely adapted from a Campbell Soup label recipe. It's actually pretty good right out of the oven and probably will taste better after it sits overnight in the fridge and is reheated. If you are not a mushroom fan, there are plenty of ways to substitute the elements of this recipe (see "Variations" below). It's not as hard to make as you think and doesn't take very long to put together. And most of us vegetarian cooks have most of this stuff already in our pantries.

First three layers - noodles, cottage cheese and sauce
This recipe is an equal opportunity offender. The recipe uses milk, mozzarella, provolone, and cottage cheeses (which upsets the anti-dairy Vegans), pasta with gluten (which sends the anti-gluten crowd into low Earth orbit), and sets off the anti-mushroom folk with it's use of mushrooms and mushroom soup (which sets off the anti-salt faction). It uses vegeburger which sets off the anti-soy crowd. One would think I set out to make a dish that is certain to draw criticism. Actually, I just like lasagna and don't care what the food Nazis think. It's healthier than lasagna with hamburger or Italian sausage in it, so I am content.

Lasagna is a fun dish to get creative with if you have any head at all for substitutions. You could, for instance, substitute fresh spinach for fresh mushrooms. You can take out the cottage cheese if you want and just use the mushroom soup sauce or do it the other way round. You probably shouldn't substitute chocolate chips for the vegeburger, though. That would be silly.

Have fun with this and see you at potluck!

Ingredients:
Layers 4 & 5 - Sliced Provolone & slice mushrooms

  • Sliced black olives
  • 1 cup Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 bag Morningstar Farms Recipe Crumbles
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 1/2 chopped Bell Pepper
  • 1 can Mushroom soup 
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 9 Lasagna noodles 
  • Sliced fresh mushrooms or small jar of mushrooms drained
  • 2 slices Provolone Cheese (or more mozzarella)
  • 1/2 large carton cottage cheese  
Directions:
Layer's 6-9: Mushroom sauce, noodles vegeburger
and spaghetti sauce

  1. Heat over to 400 degrees.
  2. If the lasagna noodles you use are not "oven ready", you'll need to prepare the noodles according to the package directions. I used both oven ready rice gluten-free rice lasagna noodles and regular whole wheat lasagna noodles because that's what I had. I put the oven ready noodles on the bottom of the casserole dish and put the wheat noodles on to boil.
  3. In a skillet put a little olive oil and heat. Add Griller Crumbles, onion and bell
    Griller crumbles, onion and peppers sauteed in olive oil.
    pepper and brown the crumbles and soften the onions and peppers. 
  4. First layer - In a large casserole dish, cover the bottom of the casserole with lasagna noodles.
  5. Add second layer - Spread cottage cheese over the noodles.
  6. Add third layer - Spaghetti sauce over cottage cheese, spreading evenly.
  7. Add fourth layer - Provolone strips or mozzarella strips laid flat on top of what you have so far.
  8. Add fifth layer - Mix can of mushroom sauce and 1/4 cup milk and pour over mixture.
  9. Add sixth layer - Slice fresh or canned mushrooms and spread sliced 'shrooms over the top of the cheese slices.
  10. Add seventh layer - Spread lasagna noodles over the top of the 'shrooms.
  11. Add eighth layer - Spread vegeburger crumbles, onions, and pepper mixture over the top of the noodles.
    Layer 10: Cheese and olives - ready to pop in the oven
  12. Add ninth layer - Spread spaghetti sauce over vegeburger layer
  13. Add tenth layer - Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over all and sliced olives over that. I count them as one layer, though technically those few olives might make it eleven layers. I just like the symmetry of ten layers.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees till sauce bubbles and cheese is melted.
  15. Switch oven to "broil" and broil at high for 2 minutes. Watch closely or it will burn on top. This helps brown the cheese a little bit and looks nice.
Serving suggestions:

Set the casserole on a hot pad to cool and cover with aluminum foil or the casserole lid if you have one. Once it reaches room temperature, you can put it in the fridge overnight, which will allow the flavors to spread throughout. Heat it to 170 degrees in the oven or warmer about an hour or so before potluck.

Variations:

You can actually leave out any of the layers you want to. If you hate mushrooms, leave 'em out or substitute something else. You can make a basic cream sauce or use another cream sauce with any flavor you think suitable. This recipe uses less cheese, so you can substitute extra cheese for the mushroom soup sauce if you want. You can leave out the vegeburger or substitute Loma Linda or Worthington vegeburger, with or without the onions and peppers. You can even substitute spinach for the fresh mushrooms if you want. It works pretty well any way you want to (except, of course, with chocolate).

(c) 2017 by Tom King


Friday, May 19, 2017

No Sugar Added Apple Pie



This is an experimental Apple Pie which hopefully doesn't send my blood sugar into low Earth orbit. It's made with 100% white grape juice and a sprinkle of Stevia in place of sugar. The apples are fresh. I peeled them with my handy dandy apple peeler and corer machine, a bit of kitchen tool self-indulgence I picked up a year or two ago. The pie is tasty, but not overly sweet. Here's how I made it.

Ingredients:
  • 5 apples peeled, cored and sliced.
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup white grape juice
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. margarine or butter
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 pie crusts
  • Spray oil
Directions:
  1. Place water, grape juice, allspice, cinnamon, corn starch, flour, in large pot and heat till blended.  
  2. Add apples to the mix and bring to a low boil.
  3. Spray the pie pan with oil and spread bottom pie crust over the pie pan.
  4. Fill the crust with the apple mix.
  5. Sprinkle the apples mix with Splenda or Stevia. Spread small dots of margarine or butter over the top of the filling.
  6. Spread the top crust over the bottom, flute the edges to seal the top and bottom.
  7. Cut 5 evenly placed slits in the top crust to vent while baking
  8. Bake at 350º until the crust edges and top crust begin to brown
  9. Cool for an hour
Serving Suggestion:

It's really good pie, warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream (sugar free for me).  It's lightly sweet and the cinnamon and butter makes it pop.

© 2017 by Tom King

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Vege-Chicken Rotini Alfredo





This one's quick. You can make your own Alfredo Sauce. It's not very difficult. If you're in a hurry, Paul Newman's Alfredo Sauce works great. You can stir it all up ahead of time on Friday and the flavors will be thoroughly infused throughout the dish by potluck on Sabbath.

Ingredients:

  • Bag of Rotini (I like the whole wheat kind)
  • Jar of Alfredo sauce.
  • Morningstar Farms Vege-chicken Strips
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion chopped
  • Chopped Bell pepper



Directions:
  1. Prepare the Rotini according to directions - al dente' is best. When done, drain in collander.
  2. In a large skillet, saute' onions and Bell pepper and vege-chicken strips in olive oil, till the vegetables are caramelized and the strips begin to brown.
  3. Pour in Alfredo sauce and heat until it starts to bubble.
  4. Pour Rotini into a casserole then pour the sauce over the pasta and stir it up. 


Serving Suggestions:

Cover and refrigerate overnight or eat it hot right out of the pan.  If you premake it to carry to potluck, simply reheat it in the church warming oven or heat in the oven (better) or in the microwave to 170 degrees internal temperature.

© 2017 by Tom King

Friday, May 12, 2017

Custom Cole Slaw Dressing




Here's something you can make up ahead of time to create an instant Cole slaw for potluck. Kraft® makes a similar Cole slaw dressing in a bottle, but if you're making slaw in the industrial sizes, here's a recipe that's easy to double and is really really good. Also, if you're like me and can't do the sugar, you can add Stevia or Splenda to it ans since it's not cooked, you get a nice sweet taste to your dressing without shoot your blood glucose out of the park. You can chop up your own cabbage, carrots and such or you can buy a bag of Cole slaw already shredded, just add dressing. Here's how to make your own so that it tastes just like you want it to:

Ingredients:
  •  1-1/4 cup mayonnaise. (I like to split it half and half between mayo and Miracle Whip Salad Dressing®, but that's just me)
  • 1/3 cup sugar or 1/3 to 1/2 cup Stevia, Truvia, Splenda, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed (every well-equipped potlucker's kitchen should stock this stuff)
  • 1/2 teaspoon season salt or creole seasoning (I like Tony's® but that's just me)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice 
  • Salt to taste
Directions: 
  1. Mix all ingredients together into a bowl and stir with a wire whisk.
Serving Suggestions:

This dressing has a lovely sweet taste minus the whang some Cole slaw dressings seem to have. And if you sub something for the sugar, you don't have to feel guilty about the lightly sweet taste. You don't want to waste it though. Walmart up here sells fruit in jars by an outfit called Polar® (see the jar in picture to the right).  I hang on to the big ones because they are the perfect size to hold a can of olives after you open them or to put leftover BBQ beans or to store my homemade ranch dressing in.  It also works great for this stuff too. If you double the mix and make a family-sized Cole Slaw, you should have just enough left to fill up a jar and store in the fridge for later in case you need to make an emergency Cole Slaw.  If you've got a big group for potluck coming, you can get a bag of Cole slaw mix at the store and carry that, a bowl and your jar of Cole slaw dressing to church and mix it up fresh on the spot a few minutes before serving. It's best that way instead of storing the mixed up slaw overnight in the fridge so that it goes all soupy. The slaw is crispier that way.  Cole slaw mix usually includes cabbage, purple cabbage and carrots. There are some things you can add to vary your slaw, to wit...

Jazz your Cole slaw up a bit by adding some combination of these things:


  • Slivered almonds and crushed Ramen noodles for an oriental version
  • Chow mein noodles
  • With raisins like our grandmothers used to make.
  • Cashews or peanuts
  • Dill weed or parsley
  • Finely chopped celery
  • Red onions
  • Toasted sesame seeds
There are other variations that involve different dressing mixes and ingredients. The ones here are just a few things that work with this particular dressing. And it's never failed to be a hit for me. The dressing is everything for a good slaw and this one is my very favorite.

© 2017 by Tom King

Friday, May 5, 2017

Aunt Sheila's 1-Cup Easy Peach Cobbler

Blueberry/peach cobbler variant (makes the batter blueish)


Need an easy-to make potluck dessert? This one is a unique take on cobbler. You can use a cake mix, but I much prefer this rich crusty buttery take on the inimitable peach cobbler. The recipe is really easy to double or triple if you've got a large casserole dish. It's also easy to memorize the recipe.

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
    Blueberries go in before you pour it if you use them in combo
  • 1 C. milk
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1tsp. vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 qt. fruit, can or jar (peaches, cherries, blackberries, blueberries or combination thereof)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Cover the bottom of the baking dish with melted butter.
  2. Melt butter in baking pan or casserole dish.
  3. In a bowl Mix milk, sugar, flour, baking powder, egg, salt and cinnamon (if desired). 
  4. If you add blueberries to other fruit, add the blueberries directly to the batter. 
  5. Pour batter into the casserole on top of the butter.
  6. Add fruit to the batter, but do not stir it. Let the fruit float on the batter. When you bake the cobbler, the batter will rise up around the fruit and cover the fruit. The butter and the rising batter absorbs the flavor of the fruit.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour till a knife inserted in the doughy bits comes out clean and the top crust is brown and buttery.
Serving Suggestions:
Ready to go in the oven.


Serve nice and hot and bubbly around the edges. It's really good with whipped cream or ice cream. I like it with a little evaporated milk, but that's me. It's a really easy recipe and is expandable. Just double or triple the ingredients and use a larger baking dish. Not nearly as hard as a pie-crust cobbler and tastes really crisp and buttery. 










Sunday, April 30, 2017

Spinach Enchiladas



This recipe I based on one by Niki Lorenz in the Tyler SDA Church Cookbook. I modified it a little to suit the ingredients on hand, but it's a pretty easy recipe to play around with and it's got a lot more fiber and vitamins than most enchiladas. Anyway, her we go...

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 Small onion chopped fine
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 cup evaporated milk 
  • 1 oz. Velveeta Cheese
  • 1 pound cheddar cheese
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 can spinach
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 can Rotel Tomatoes and Chilis
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can of sliced olives
DIRECTIONS:
The sauce!

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Drain out the spinach in a collander and press out the excess water
  3. Place spinach, green onions, Rotel, soup, and sour cream in the food processor and process until smooth and creamy sauce is formed.  
  4. Pour enough sauce into a large casserole to cover the bottom of the dish
  5. In a skillet, saute chopped onions until tender. Add Velveeta cut in small cubes.
  6. When the cheese starts to melt, add 3 1/2 cups of shredded Cheddar Cheese and milk and simmer till melted. Stir till smooth.
  7. Heat the tortillas in the microwave for 50 seconds to soften them.
  8. Divide the cheese and onion mixture between the 12 tortillas roll them up, then place them side by side in the casserole dish. 
  9. Cover with the rest of the green sauce, then cover with the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle the olives on top.
  10. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling slightly.
  11. Cover with foil and set it aside. 
Ready for the oven...


SERVING DIRECTIONS:

Store overnight in the fridge.  Heat to at least 170 degrees. If the church has warming ovens, then get your enchiladas in before Sabbath School so it will be warmed up by potluck. This is an unusually colored enchilada what with the green sauce, but it's quite good.  I intended to take a picture when it came out of the oven, but we were hungry and by the time I remembered to take the picture, we'd already eaten half of it.  The spinach really gives it a lot of really good flavor.


© 2017 by Tom King





Vege-Strip Steak Egg Noodle Stroganoff



This stroganoff recipe is loosely based on Peggy Ray's stroganoff recipe in the Tyler SDA Cookbook. Peggy's a terrific cook and the recipe was a good starting point, making it easy to modify. I don't use the onion soup because it makes it a little salty and I don't need the salt at this stage of my life. It's hard to keep any leftover stroganoff around. People can't stop getting into it.

INGREDIENTS:
  • Morningstar Farms Vegetarian Steak Strips
  • 1/2 Chopped onions
  • Egg noodles
  • 6 oz sour cream
  • Sliced fresh mushrooms
  • Mushroom soup
  • 1 Tsp. beef seasoning in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 package of Lipton Onion Soup Mix (optional)
  • Butter, margarine, olive oil
  • Small can of sliced olives 
  • Cup of crushed potato chips 
DIRECTIONS:
  1. Caramelize onions in a skillet while cooking the egg noodles according to directions.
  2. Cook the noodles slightly al dente' and drain.
  3. Dice onions and slice mushrooms and add to onions before they are quite caramelized.
  4. Add water and beef seasoning when mushrooms and onions are well cooked. 
  5. Add 1/2 bag of Vegetable Steak Strips and cook well.
  6. Add can of mushroom soup and sour cream and stir mixture well and heat till it bubbles.
  7. Add sliced olives, stir well. 
  8. Pour noodles into large casserole dish and stir in sauce.
  9. Sprinkle crushed potato chips over the top of the casserole and cover with foil.
SERVING DIRECTIONS:


Put in the oven at 170 degrees and heat before the potluck. Keeps well in the fridge overnight and actually tastes better the next day if you make it on Friday.  Morningstar Farms' meal starter frozen vegetarian meat alternatives are really useful, given that you can buy them at Walmart and various grocery stores - handy if there isn't a nearby health food store.

© 2017 by Tom King

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Asparagus Allemande


Only had 1 can, so it's more sauce than asparagus, but you get the idea.
 
Asparagus Allemande

Got a couple of cans of asparagus you don’t know what to do with? Or maybe you picked up some fresh asparagus in the produce aisle. Here’s how to make a nice asparagus dish for potluck. This is pretty much cooked asparagus in something called an Allemande sauce. I toned it down a bit from the French version of an Allemande and made one spice substitution, but it’s close enough to call it an Allemande sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp George Washington chicken style broth powder
  • salt (to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 2 cans asparagus
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ cup evaporated milk
  • ½ cup water

Directions:


  • Melt butter in large skillet
  • Stir in flower until it thickens
  • Add evaporated milk and all spices
  • Add water and lemon juice till sauce is the right consistency
  • Drain asparagus and add to sauce. If using fresh asparagus, boil if first till tender then add to Allemende sauce.
  • Heat till bubbling slightly.

Serving Suggestion:

Pour the mixture into a serving dish. Garnish with sprigs of parsley. Can be reheated on Sabbath before potluck. It’s a different take on asparagus but if you can get a couple of cans on sale, it’s a nice and unexpected addition to your potluck repertoire and won't break your budget.

 © 2017 by Tom King

Sheila’s Texas Style Potato Salad


All the potato salad that was left after a "light" lunch

Mama’s tater salad is epic and best of all – no mustard. I suppose you could add some, but you’d ruin it in my not-so-humble opinion as a noted gastronome.  This recipe serves a platoon of Marines and likely will be scraped clean at potluck.  It’s best made on Friday and served cold on Sabbath. It only improves the longer it sits in the fridge. It won’t spoil. It will be eaten within 2 days in most cases. Just don’t let the family get at it before potluck or you could be carrying an empty bowl to church.

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 well-scrubbed potatoes
  • 1 - 1½ cups Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
  • 1 – 1½ cups Hellman’s or Kraft Mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon pickle relish
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¼ cup finely chopped Bell peppers
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • Small jar of pimento
  • Salt, onion and garlic powder to taste
  • 2 small cans sliced olives
  • 6 hard-boiled and chilled eggs
  • Paprika

Directions:

  1. Boil eggs and chill
  2. Boil unpeeled potatoes till tender but slightly firm. Allow to cool.
  3. Peel and dice potatoes into half-inch cubes and place in serving bowl
  4. Peel boiled eggs and grate into serving bowl.
  5. Add mayo, salad dressing – adjust by adding more or less to taste
  6. Add relish, pimento, celery, peppers, onion, and black olives. (Reserve a few black olives to garnish finished salad).
  7. Stir in garlic and onion powder to taste. Go easy. You can’t back up.
  8. Sprinkle paprika and olive slices on top to garnish.
  9. You can add a few sprigs of fresh parsley to give the whole thing color.

Serving Suggestions:

Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Take to potluck, but get toward the front of the line. Either that or make two bowls and hide one till you get to the front of the line.  Just a suggestion.

 
© 2017 by Tom King

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Pea Salad





Pea Salad


This is one of my favorite side dishes, especially with Barbecue Tender-bits and almost any other vegetarian main dish. Lots of good stuff in this and it is a nice flexible recipe to boot.  You can add all sorts of fun stuff to it.  Double it for

Ingredients

  • 1 can of LeSeur Peas or a package of frozen peas, partially thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped onion (you can also use chopped green onions)
  • 1 ½  cup cheddar cheese cubed (you can also use Velveeta)
  • ½ cup Kraft mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Miracle Whip salad dressing
  • 3 tablespoons sweet pickle relish or 3 sweet gherkins choped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1 avocado cubed (optional)
  • ¼ cup sweet bell pepper – chopped (optional)
  • 2 firm Roma Tomatoes diced (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. That’s pretty much it.  Transfer it to a pretty serving bowl and you’re done. I like to sprinkle a little Paprika on top to give it color.
  3. Chill until served.

Note:  Works even better if you make it on Friday for Sabbath potluck. Just keep it in the fridge till you leave for church, then put it in the fridge there. It’s really good cold.

© 2017 by Tom King

Monday, March 6, 2017

Crock Pot Salsa Vege-Chicken

This is the cheesy version with sliced green onions.



To continue with our Crock Pot themed dishes, here's a simple salsa chicken without cheese or tortillas if you want to do it that way. Cheese and tortillas are strictly optional. Here's how it works:

Ingredients:
  • 1 large or 2 small cans of Worthington Fri-Chick, Loma Linda Fried Chik'n, or Morningstar Farm Vegetarian Chicken Patties. 
  • 1 cup salsa (homemade or store-bought) or Picante Sauce
  • 1 can petite diced canned tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp taco seasoning
  • 1 cup diced fine onions
  • 1/2 cup celery diced fine
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • Can of sweet corn drained (optional)
  • 3 tbsp sour cream (reduced fat is okay too)
  • 5 tortillas cut in quarters (optional)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
Directions:
  1. Place vege-chicken in the bottom of the crock pot
  2. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the vege-chicken and then layer the vegetables and optional tortilla quarters, and corn.
  3. Pour a half cup of water over the mixture, set it on low and cook for six to eight hours.
  4. During the last hour, cover with cheese to let it melt (optional)
  5. Dollop sour cream on the top to serve.
Serving Suggestions:

Makes about 8 servings or so. The recipe is easy to double. If you have a removable crock, all you have to do is cover it when you prepare it on Friday and carry crock and cooker to church for potluck. Plug the crockpot in before church and it should be nice and warm before church. Add the sour cream when you pull out the crock to serve your Crockpot Salsa Vege-Chicken.

© 2017 by Tom King


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Ranch Style Beans for Haystacks





If you’d like to make your own beans for haystacks instead of relying on those giant cans of Ranch-Style beans, here is a version of a Texas version of Ranch beans. I tried it out, made a few adjustments and today we gave it a try.  You can make huge amounts of beans with an army of crockpots and Dutch ovens or large pots. The recipe takes patience because of the need to slow cook the beans, but it’s a good dish to prepare on Friday for the Sabbath potluck.  If, like me you have massive stores of pinto beans, you can say, “I’ll bring the beans,” and not be taking the easy way out or feel guilty that you aren’t doing your part.

Ingredients:

  • Medium bag of Pinto Beans
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 small can mild Rotel ® tomatoes and chiles
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1 diced red, yellow, orange or green bell pepper
  • 15 oz. can of tomatoes (or 2 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled)
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 oz imitation Bacon Bits
 Tools:
  • Crockpot
  • Large pot or Dutch oven or large cast iron skillet
  • Measuring cups and spoons
Directions:

  1. Soak beans overnight. Some add baking soda to the water. Be sure you have enough water because the beans soak up a lot of water.
  2. Next morning drain and rinse the beans and put into crockpot with salt.
  3. Cook on low for four hours
  4. In pot, Dutch oven, or cast-iron skillet add oil, onions and peppers and sauté at medium heat. Add imitation bacon-bits or Loma Linda ® Worthington® vege-burger or Morningstar Recipe Crumbles® and cook till softened or browned.
  5. Add can of diced tomatoes, heat and add warm water and all spices, sugar and vinegar.
  6. Depending on your taste you can do one of two things. You can puree the spice, vegeburger and vegetables mix or leave it as it is which will give you a little more texture to your sauce.
  7. When the pinto beans are done, drain and rinse them and add to the pot with the vegetable, tomato and burger sauce.
  8. Gently heat and simmer in the crockpot on low for an hour or two till the beans absorb all the flavors. Stir occasionally until the beans are as thick as you prefer.

Serving Suggestions:

If you have a crockpot that has a removable ceramic pot, simply lift it out with the beans when you are ready to carry them to church. I just take the whole crockpot so that I can plug it in to heat the beans during the service and it’s ready to go by lunchtime. It makes more room in the warming oven that way.

There are as many ways to prepare the beans for haystacks as there are things to put on haystacks. Check here for the haystack recipe, but remember. Both of these recipes are starting places. I’ve eaten haystacks with canned baked beans, refried beans and even black beans that some militant vegan thought would be a good idea. It wasn’t bad.

The thing is, it’s hard to go wrong with all that lettuce, tomato, cheese, salad dressing and corn chips or tortilla chips (depending on your religious belief visa-vie the whole Fritos-versus-tortilla-chips issue). I’ve seen it done with goat cheese, tofu, soy cheese and no cheese at all. I’m a cheddar kind of guy myself. That said, I didn’t balk when the guy brought a can of nacho cheese sauce to potluck for the haystacks. Haystacks, like Jesus, accept what you come with and are very forgiving.

Just sayin’

© 2017 by Tom King