Nutty Vegetable Lasagna

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Yay !!! Today is Nutty Vegetable Lasagna day !!! I seem to have a thing with lasagna these days and seem to be experimenting quite a bit with them 🙂 .

Oh ! Before I forget !!! Great news, you may have noticed a few little changes to my site…FINALLY !!!! and a HUGE THANK YOU, SAMANTHA   🙂   XOX  (I seriously could not have done this without you).  There is still stuff I want to do, like increase the size of the social media icons, but for now, it works, and it is fine. The Lynne’s Recipe Trails, Facebook page is up and running, not that I have a clue how to operate it, so please be patient with me….for me, things like this, equal ‘baby steps’. (no joke!)

Now back to this AMAZ-Balls Nutty Lasagna.  This is a great meal, and I strongly suggest you should have a Nutty Lasagna night hahaha.  I swear, my meat and potato hubby, didn’t even miss the meat 🙂  I wonder if he is realizing that he is eating less and less meat these days….Hmmm oh well…..

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The original recipe came from a magazine, which was cut out, and it is dated back sixteen years ago !  so clearly even then I was into my veggies.  I have made a few changes from the original recipe, for instance I included a load of toasted raw almonds, roughly crushed which I include in the layering process. The original recipe just had flaked almonds sprinkled over the top of the lasagna. I mean, really, how can that be enough? I love nuts and the crunch, and personally, biting into the crunch, just made the meal so much more pleasing.  I used Gluten-Free Pasta Sheets, but that was my choice,  any pasta sheets would do.  I added tomatoes into my lasagna, for colour and as I felt the tomatoes would go well with the combo of veggies.  I used a combination of leeks and onions, as I ran out of onions (yes, I know…who runs out of onions?) I did not have parmesan, so used a combination of white and cheddar cheese and increased the cheese amount.  I added a generous amount of nutmeg, because nutmeg and cheese are such good friends.  I increased the amount of cream cheese required, because cheese rules ! and of course I used fresh spinach.  So, yip, I think I have covered it all :-).

Oh, and this meal is super easy and can be made in an hour ! What a plus !

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Nutty Vegetable Lasagna

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  30 – 40 minutes

Total time:  50 minutes – 60 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

9 – 12 Gluten-Free Lasagna Sheets

400 – 500 grams fresh spinach, deveined and chopped

250 grams button mushrooms, chopped

6 leeks, sliced

3 large onions, peeled and chopped

2 – 3 large garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped

2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped

150 grams whole raw almonds

75 grams butter

75 grams flour (I used Gluten-Free)

700 milliliters full cream milk

250 grams plain cream cheese

100 grams grated, white cheddar cheese

100 grams grated, cheddar or matured cheddar cheese

ground nutmeg

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/170 degrees (Fan) / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dry toast the raw almonds, roughly chop (I used a pestle and mortar).

Cook spinach your preferred way.  Squeeze out any excess water, and set aside.

In a medium-sized pan, saute the mushrooms, onions, leeks and garlic.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes until the veggies have softened.  At this point, add the chopped tomatoes. Put the pan aside.

In a medium-sized pot, melt the butter.  Take the pot off the stove and add the flour. Stir together until the flour and butter are mixed well.  You will notice that the mixture starts to clump together and forms a ball.

Now, return the butter and flour mixture to the stove, and on a medium heat, gradually pour in the milk, whilst continuously stirring.  I usually wait for the milk to be totally combined with the flour mixture, before adding more. Continue with this method, until you have used up all the milk, and a thick-ish sauce forms.

Stir in the cream cheese.

Add the cooked spinach.

Add half the grated cheese and a good sprinkling of nutmeg.

Set the sauce aside.

At this point if you are wanting your spinach to be more refined (like I did), I suggest you use a stick blender, to try to break the spinach down a bit.

Now, the layering begins.

Spread a layer of the spinach at the bottom of an oven-proof dish (approximately 23 x 23 x 5 centimeters deep/ 9 x 9 x 2 inches).

The add some of the mushroom mixture over the spinach layer.  Not too much bearing in mind, you want to have at least three layers.

Then take a handful of the toasted chopped almonds from the one bowl and spread over the mushroom mixture.

Place lasagna sheets over the almonds.

Repeat this process, of layering and end with a spinach sauce.

Sprinkle the balance of the chopped toasted nuts over the top.

Then add the balance of the grated cheese over the nuts.

Place in the preheated oven and cook for about 30 – 40 minutes until the nutty cheese topping is golden brown.

Serve with a fresh green salad.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

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Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings

 

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Another Vegetarian Meal guys…I am just on this crazy but wonderful Vegetarian ride at the moment, and its like…I just don’t want to get off it.

Well, its Spring here in good old South Africa, but with the weather we have been experiencing lately, it is hard to believe.  We have had bouts of some miserable weather, I mean about two weeks ago it was even cold for a day to two !  It was like we all of a sudden had the winter we never had this year ! Weird…. Now, these last few days have been so windy, to the point of unpleasantness, and I do not like wind.  Wind, really is not my friend….

But its cool, because over the real Winter time, it was so hot, we were eating salads, and now for Spring we are eating curries and all those nice comfort warming meals…..hence Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings !

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Yum, yum and yum :-). This dish is filled with delicious vegetables, and again it is very adaptable.  I basically again, used the veggies I had in my fridge before they started to look sad and bedraggled…you know how it goes.  Usually I throw them all into a pot and make a soup, or throw them…. (that really sounds awful….I don’t really ‘throw’ them….I place them…yes…I place them….) in a pan and make a delicious healthy frittata or definitely some form of a veggie concoction.

Anyway, back to the dish of the day…..super easy, scrumptious, warming to the soul and those dumplings….to die for :-).

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I thoroughly enjoy dumplings with a casserole, I remember years ago jotting down a recipe from  a cooking show, in which Rachel Allan hosted.  It was a Chicken Casserole with Cheesy Herb dumplings.  Well, need I say the recipe was divine, and the dumplings really just added this special touch to the dish. Since then, if I am wanting something special…dumplings in all forms will be added :-).

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This Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings is easily adaptable and can be made into a Gluten-Free meal as well, just by using a Gluten-Free Self Raising Flour for the dumplings. You can also substitute the full cream milk with a milk of your choice, and then obviously the cheese can be changed, if you don’t want to use tinned tomatoes, you can also use fresh chopped tomatoes…. I love versatile recipes !!!

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Vegetarian Casserole with Cheesy Dumplings

Preparation time:  15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 – 55 minutes

Total time:  1 hour 5 minutes – 10 minutes

Ingredients:

3 – 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil/olive oil/coconut oil

2 – 3 medium-sized onions, peeled and roughly chopped

1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed

3 – 4 large carrots, peeled and grated

2 medium-sized turnips, peeled and grated

3 – 4 sticks of celery, chopped thinly

800 grams of tomatoes

250 millilitres (1 cup) vegetable stock

3 -4 large baby marrows/zucchinis, sliced fairly thickly

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

2 teaspoons dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried origanum

200 millilitres (1/2  tin) of Coconut Cream

salt and pepper to taste

For the Dumplings:

660 millilitres self-raising wheat flour

60 grams salted butter

160 grams cheddar cheese

250 millilitres (1 cup) of full cream milk or buttermilk

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/390 degrees F.

Firstly, once all the ingredients are prepared and measured out, in a large pot, on medium to high, heat up the oil and saute’ the onions, carrots, turnips, and celery. This will take a few minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning.

Add the tomatoes and stir.

Pour in the prepared vegetable stock and baby marrows (zucchini’s).

Cover the pot with a lid and bring to the boil.  Once the mixture has reached boiling point, reduce the heat to simmer and allow the vegetables to simmer for ten to fifteen minutes.

Add the coconut cream and stir.

Taste, and season well with salt and pepper.

Place the vegetables in an oven-proof casserole dish approximately 20 centimeters in width by 10 centimeters in depth (8 inches in width by 4 inches in depth – it needs to hold at least 1.5 Litres/6.5 cups) and then allow extra for the dumplings on the top.

To make the dumplings:

Place the self-raising flour in a large bowl.

Add the chopped butter, salt and grated cheese.

Make a “well” in the flour, and pour in the full cream milk or buttermilk.

Using a knife, stir and mix in the flour into the milk until this mixture forms a dough.

If you feel the dough is a bit dry, add a little more milk by the tablespoon,  This should not be a very sticky dough at all.

With your hands, form balls of dough, (approximately golf ball sizes). These don’t have to be exact, the more rough and rustic they look, the more character they will have. Pack the balls of dough onto the vegetable mixture.  Brush each ball of dough with some milk and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until  the dumplings are golden brown and cooked through.

Serve hot and from the oven.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  If you are wanting to add more to this meal, serve with cooked quinoa or rice…personally though, the dumpling mixture makes quite a few, so that serves as the carbs 🙂

NB*  This meal does keep in the refrigerator if need be, but it must be covered.

NB*  Check your carrots, they may just require washing and not peeling. Remember all the nutrients are in the skins, so if the skins look good, rather not peel :-).

NB*  The oven-proof dish I used was not the correct size, it was far too shallow.  The recipe does state the correct size (no less than 1.5 litres/6.5 cups)

Spring Rolls

295Spring Rolls are a real treat in my home.  They are something I love but just don’t do often enough.  I have no idea why, maybe it’s because they are a little time-consuming, but that shouldn’t matter as they are so worth the wait! Maybe it’s because they are fried in oil.  I am not keen on frying and really don’t enjoy all the fat splattering around, although I must say I have semi alleviated that problem with newspaper.  (Hubby’s idea….genius !) Yip, place newspaper around the stove top by the plates to absorb the fat splatter :-), but I still don’t like frying .  I haven’t figured out if baking them would be equally as tasty ….probably not, how could they be…Baked Spring Rolls???….Really ??? No… Never the less, what with the time aspect, and the fat aspect, and the near fire aspect….yes, the newspaper was placed too closely the plate, and the flame from the gas….need I say more….(yeah, we have fun in my kitchen 🙂 … it was soooo worth it !!! Oh, and I did my usual….pig out with them, so I guess I will be sorted for a month or two.

This Spring Rolls recipe came from a magazine which I cut out and saved many years ago. I am not sure which magazine it came from, I just remember a pile of various magazines, and my mom and I going through them saving whichever recipe we liked.

I have changed this recipe slightly to suit my tastes. What I love about Spring Rolls is the veggies, which I have added more than the original recipe stated. You can also change the veggies to your liking.  I added some finely, chopped leftover chicken this time, but this recipe can be kept strictly vegetarian as well.

244Even though the Spring Rolls are deep-fried, they literally cook so quickly. There is something about that crispy crunch of the fried thin pastry that just cracks in your mouth and then the crunchy veggies …. yum….

I have included two dipping sauces which I usually make, but also a sweet chilli sauce also tastes divine with these Spring Rolls.

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Spring Rolls

Preparation time:  40 plus minutes *

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Total time:  1 hour ten minutes *

Makes 24

Ingredients:

1 cup finely shredded green cabbage

1 cup finely shredded red/purple cabbage

2/3 medium-sized carrots, sliced finely, length-ways

2/3 green chillies, chopped finely (and seeds taken out)

1 medium-sized onion, chopped finely

6 spring onions, chopped finely

4 cloves garlic, chopped finely

2 red peppers, sliced finely, length-ways

2 cups bean sprouts

1 cup finely chopped chicken (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

24 spring roll wraps

vegetable oil for deep-frying

Instructions:

Take Spring Roll pastry squares out from the freezer.

Put some water in a saucer or small bowl, for dampening the pastry edges, and set aside

Place all the sliced and chopped vegetables in a large bowl and stir fry in a wok until slightly done, but still crisp.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now, place a Spring Roll pastry square directly in front of you on a board, turning it so its like a diamond shape with the top corner at the top.

Using a tablespoon, scoop a spoon of veggies from the bowl and place on the Spring Roll pastry square, at the lower tip, but just slightly above the corner, allowing enough pastry to fold upwards. Fold the bottom corner over the filling.

Dampen the edges of the pastry square with a little water, and then fold in the left side, this will overlap the bottom folded over pastry slightly. Then fold the right side, this will overlap the bottom folded over pastry slightly.  The left and right corners of the pastry will practically join at the tips. Then, roll up to form a spring roll. Set aside, and continue till the quantity you are wanting to do is complete.

Deep fry the Spring Rolls for a few minutes until they are golden brown.  You will need to do them it batches.

Drain the deep-fried Spring Rolls on kitchen towel paper.

Serve immediately.

Dipping sauces:  These Dipping Sauces can be doubled up in quantity and can be stored in sterilised jars in the refrigerator for a few days.

Easy Thai Dipping Sauce (makes 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

2 medium-sized garlic cloves

15 milliliters (1 tablespoon) fresh ginger

30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) raw honey

60 milliliters (1/4 cup) soy sauce

125 milliliters  rice wine vinegar

30 milliliters (2 tablespoons) sesame oil

De-seeded chilli, chopped up finely (optional)

Instructions:

Finely chop the garlic cloves

Grate the fresh ginger

Add all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until they are well combined.

Thai Chilli Dipping Sauce (makes 1/2 cup)

Ingredients:

3 fresh red chillies, finely chopped

2 medium-sized garlic cloves, finely chopped

62.5 milliliters (1/4 cup) brown sugar

125 milliliters (1/2 cup) water

2.5 milliliters (1/2 teaspoon) salt

7.5 milliliters (1 1/2 teaspoons) cornflour mixed with 30 milliliters (1 tablespoons) of water.

Instructions:

Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally.  Once boiling point has reached, reduce the heat slightly and thicken with the cornflour and water mixture.

Enjoy 🙂

*  Preparation time will differ, depending on quantity and also with the Spring Roll Pastry Squares, sometimes I battle to separate them.

* Cooking time may differ, again depending on quantity.

NB*  If you don’t want this to be strictly vegetarian, feel free to add chopped meat of your choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegetable Toast

040Now Vegetable Toast may sound a bit odd, but really, it is not.  I did this on Saturday. It is a lovely vegetarian light meal and is perfect for a quick, easy lunch.  It literally can be thrown together in a flash, and it is healthy.

I came across the basics of this recipe years ago from a magazine pullout.  It somehow always intrigued me.  I have tweaked it a bit and all I can say is that it is amazingly scrumptious.

This too, can be considered not only vegetarian but vegan if you choose not to use the cheese…but I just had to use the cheese, I love cheese, I am a cheese addict, although I must admit I was a bit mean with my cheese helping on this little toasts! (sorry family)

Do not be alarmed with the quantity of the baby spinach.  Mine literally towered over my large frying pan.  If the leaves fall, just pick them up and put them on the top of the mountain of baby spinach leaves, and gradually stir through while cooking . Trust me, as the baby spinach leaves cook, they will wilt, and all will be fine.

036Oh, and on the cheese matter, I think if you used your favourite cheese, that would be great.  I just had a light cheddar on hand, so used that, but feel free to go crazy if you are not counting calories (I never count calories…way too much trouble).

Also, any bread can be used.  I used a continental bread this time, and a few slices of gluten free bread for my daughter.

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Vegetable Toast

Preparation time:  8 minutes

Cooking time:  approximately 10 minutes

Total time:  18 minutes

Ingredients:

a little coconut oil to saute the veggies

1 medium sized garlic clove

1 large white onion

250 grams baby mushrooms

175 grams baby spinach leaves

8 slices of continental bread

100 -125 grams light cheddar cheese, grated

Freshly ground salt and pepper

Instructions:

With a pestle and mortar, crush the garlic.

Roughly chop the onion, and set aside.

Wipe the mushrooms, with a dry cloth and then slice thinly.

Put the grill on high.

In a large frying pan, heat up the coconut oil and saute the onion and garlic together for approximately 2-3 minutes.

Add the thinly sliced mushrooms and cook for a further 3 minutes.

By this time the onions, garlic and mushrooms will be soft.

Add the baby spinach to the onion, garlic and mushrooms.  It may seem a lot, but as the baby spinach cooks, it will soften and wilt.

Now, place the bread slices on a baking tray and put them under the grill. Watch these carefully to prevent the bread from burning.  When the one side is done, turn them over and toast the other side until a nice golden brown. Remove from the grill.

Place the vegetable mixture on the grilled toast and sprinkle some grated cheese over the vegetables.

Season well to taste.

Return the toast with the vegetables on, to the grill and allow to cook until the cheese has melted and is bubbly.

Serve immediately and if necessary, add some extra freshly ground salt and pepper.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Fettucine

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This is a favourite of mine for those meatless meals.  Apart from it being super quick to throw together in less than twenty minutes, it tastes amazing too.  For me, this is such a unique dish.  I mean, I would never have dreamt that Peanut Butter combined with curry powder would taste so amazing.  Peanut Butter is a firm favourite for so many, but who would have thought of introducing it to a dinner meal? Come to think of it Peanut Butter is used for some chicken dishes and it works well with Thai meals and as a dipping sauce….hmmmmm peanut butter rocks !

I have had this recipe for about twenty years and it is one I never tire from.  I have tweaked it a bit over the years, and it is easily tweakable (ha ha is that even a word?)…. Anyway, I would suggest if you are going to make it, to sick to the quantities stated, and then if you love it but want it hotter perhaps, then next time you make it, add more curry powder to the mix.

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The hubby loves it hot, so I tend to end up making two pots. His, I increase the curry powder quantity, instead of flat spoonfuls, the spoonfuls become heaped spoonfuls. Then in the other pot I make a milder one for myself and the girls. The recipe below is the milder version.  I just find that the milder version has a pleasant curry taste, it is not overpowering at all.  I thoroughly enjoy the creaminess of the sauce and the slight ‘kick’ this dish has.  I always get my curry powder mix from Gorima’s Spice Shop, they have all the various spices and mix up a curry mix accordingly to your liking.  I always ask for it hot, and they never disappoint.

I also, am into cooking with fresh ingredients wherever possible, as I am not a fan of preservatives and colourants but feel free to use a tin of tomatoes instead of the fresh tomatoes.  Also if you use a tin of the tomato and onion mix, then instead of chopping up the mentioned two onions, just chop up one. I also used a Gluten/Wheat Free Fettucine but any Fettucine or Spaghetti would be just as tasty. I used 100% natural Peanut Butter, but any Peanut Butter would be just as great. You see how versatile this recipe is….its amazing. 🙂

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Peanut Butter Fettucine

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 medium sized onions

1 garlic clove

2 or 3 tablespoons of oil (vegetable, coconut or olive oil)

2 1/2 flat teaspoons curry powder

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 very heaped tablespoons natural crunchy peanut butter (smooth peanut butter is fine)

410 grams fresh chopped tomatoes (or a tin of chopped tomatoes or if you have a tin of onion and tomato mix, only chop up one onion instead of the two as stated above)

salt and pepper to taste

For the fettucine:

225 grams fettucine

approximately 700 millilitres of boiling hot water

dash of salt

Instructions:

Chop up the onion/s into small pieces.

Chop up the garlic clove.

In a medium sized pot, heat up the oil on a medium heat and saute’ the onions and garlic together.

Then, once they are done, add the curry powder, lemon juice, peanut butter and tomatoes.

Stir together until well combined over the medium heat.

Do a little tasting and see if any salt or pepper are needed.

Meanwhile, prepare to cook the fettucine.

When the fettucine is done, serve with the peanut butter mixture.

This dish is great hot, so serve immediately.

Garnish with toasted/roasted peanuts if desired.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  This meal is freezer friendly.  I often make a double batch and freeze whatever is left over.  This is ideal for me, especially on my lazy days.

When you do heap the spoonfuls of Peanut Butter, depending on your Peanut Butter, you may find that the Peanut Butter mixture is quite thick, this you can thin out slightly either by adding more tomato, a little tomato sauce and or tomato paste.

Also, just double check at the end if any salt and pepper is needed.