Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftover Pie Surprise

"Did you come in for a pie, sir? Do forgive me if me head's a little vague..."  Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street

So, I survived hosting Thanksgiving Dinner at our house for the first time. I normally do quite a bit of the cooking for Thanksgiving, (desserts, side dishes) but I end up having to prep in advance, pre-cook, and then transport it all to my parents' house.  This year, my folks were living in Italy for the Fall, so my brother, his wife, kids and various friends all came to OUR house to celebrate.

And, boy did we celebrate!

My menu was pretty close to last year's, with a few exceptions.  I swapped out the green bean dish in last year's post with PPK's Green Bean Mushroom Casserole, which always gets rave reviews.  And, for a starter, I also made up a pan of my Spinach and Artichoke Dip.

One thing I never realized about hosting Thanksgiving is that even after all the guests have scooped their left-overs "to-go", I was still left with a metric TON of food.

My dear friend, Scott, and his Dad joined us this year, and during the dinner, they were talking about how they used up their leftovers in Thanksgivings past:  They make a pie!

Brilliant!  One (1) box of puff pastry later, and I was ready to roll. I decided to use my lovely cranberry stone Pampered Chef pie plate, which got no use this year because I made Pumpkin Cheesecake instead of pie.  

Assembly:  I started constructing this labor of love with a nice, thick layer of my mashed potatoes.  I thought that would make quite a suitable bottom layer.  Then, I added my remaining four (4) CHICKPEA CUTLETS, sliced into bite sized pieces, and topped that with my home made gravy. Next, came a layer of Green Bean and Mushroom Casserole, followed by a sprinkle of leftover Apple Cider Glazed Sweet Potatoes.

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And, last but not least, my favorite: A thick layer of cornbread stuffing with onion, celery and sage. I pressed down gently on the layers, and then topped the pie with a sheet of puff pastry.  I crimped the sides of the pastry around the pie plate, and made two (2) little hearts with the trimmings (aw).

Then, I brushed the whole pie with some unsweetened almond milk, sprinkled the top with a bit of Old World Seasoning from Penzey's spices, and cut a few slits in the top for the steam to escape.  I then baked this (quite solid) pie in a preheated oven (400°) for 30-40 minutes, until the crust was puffed and golden brown.
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So, there we have it! Comfort food made completely from leftovers, that would even give Mrs Lovetts a run for her money o_O
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My lunch! (so, you could see the layers)
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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Best Spinach Artichoke Dip

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

This recipe is a deliciously-creamy, vegan version of the popular appetizer. I know you will LOVE this, and your dairy loving guests will have no idea that this wonderful dish is not made with mozzarella, cream cheese or mayo. My dear friend, who is lactose intolerant, did NOT eat the dip at first because she was convinced there was dairy in it. The white beans in this blended with the vegan cream cheese make the perfect non-dairy base for the spinach and artichokes. I guarantee, this will give TGI Friday's version a run for its money!

  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can cannellini beans or 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces vegan cream cheese (I use Tofutti brand)
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I use Daiya brand) (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Add the drained beans into a food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as you go.
  • Next add the vegan cream cheese to the bean mixture, and blend until both are well combined and creamy.
  • In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sautee pan.
  • Add onion and cook until nearly translucent.
  • Add garlic and cook one minute more until fragrant.
  • Add artichokes and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in bean mixture from the food processor, as well as the panko and nutritional yeast.
  • If using the vegan cheese, you may stir it into the dip completely, or sprinkle over the top.
  • Cover with foil and cook about 20 minutes.
  • Remove foil and cook for 10 or 15 minutes more, until a little browned and heated through.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip