Monday, March 29, 2021

Vegan Dump Dinners - Moroccan Red Lentil Soup

Vegan Dump Dinner - Moroccan Red Lentil Soup
 Need a delicious soup to come home to in the evening? 

This is a great one to put in the slow cooker or Crock Pot, and come home to after Lenten services, or some other time that you need dinner to be ready when you are.


This is how to make it:


Moroccan Red Lentil Soup Vegan Dump Dinner
Fill Gallon Zipper Freezer bag or Plastic Freezer Container with the following:

1 # bag (about 2 1/4 cups) Split Red Lentils, Rinsed well and sorted
2 (15 oz) cans Chopped Tomatoes with their liquid
1 Cup Chopped Onion (frozen or fresh chopped - about 1 onion)
1 teaspoon minced Garlic (I use the pre-minced stuff from a jar in the produce section of the grocery)
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Salt
A few grinds Black Pepper

Label, Seal, and Put bag in freezer.
The day before you use it, put it to the fridge to thaw.


Split Red Lentils

To Prepare:
Add Contents of bag to slow cooker with
7 Cups Water
Cook 5 Hours on High 

To serve:
Puree with Immersion Blender &Season with the following
(put more of these on table for diners to season to taste):
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice (to brighten flavors)
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Salt

Can be served with Crusty Bread, Rice, or Tabbouli, and Garden Salad or Crudites

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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Orthodox Lenten Menu 2021, with Less Time in the Kitchen

Orthodox Lenten Menu with Less Time in Kitchen
This year, Orthodox Christians celebrate Pascha (Easter) much later than do Catholic and Protestant
Christians. While others are about half way through Lent, our Lent just started on March 15. 

Orthodox Lenten foods exclude meat, poultry, most fish, dairy, and eggs. In other words, mostly Vegan foods. This menu is all Vegan, with an emphasis on reducing your time in the kitchen, and your money spent on foods, so that you can focus on the tasks of Lent - Prayer, Fasting & Almsgiving. 

If you really hate cooking, but still want to observe Lent, check out this post:

40 Day Lenten Menu for People Who Hate to Cook

If you have family members who do not observe Lent, and you need to prepare food for them, check out these posts:

Month of Meals for Vegan and Omnivore Family 

This year's Lenten menu is a simple double. I made a three week plan, and then repeated it for a full Lent worth of recipes. Many of these recipes can be doubled for the freezer, so I'll make a note by each one to give freezer ideas. If you play it right, half the days of Lent (which can be quite busy with services!) will be almost cooking-free : )

1. Lentil Soup over Spaghetti (Double Lentil Soup and Blend it to Freeze. Serve with Vinegar on Holy Friday)

Lentil Soup over Spaghetti

2. Bamies Yachni (Quadruple Sauce, and add to Peas & Artichokes, and to Revythia, and Gigantes to serve later in Lent. For the second 1/2 of Lent, you may want another quadruple batch of sauce)

Bamies Yachni

Peas and Artichokes Yachni
Peas & Artichokes


Gigantes (Greek Giant Beans)

3. Chinese Stir Fry Over Rice (Cook Extra Rice for Freezer, but veggies must be made fresh)

Chinese Stir Fry Over Rice

4. Greek Style Black Eyed Peas


Greek Style Black Eyed Peas

5. Calzone Casserole (Make Extra Bread Mix to use later - you can use it to make breadsticks to go with Spaghetti, or with a number of other meals)

6. Revythia (use Sauce from Freezer, day 2)


7. Spaghetti (you can make noodles in microwave & use jarred sauce, or make homemade sauce & freeze half) Use your Bread Mix from day 5, if you like.


8. Veggie Fajitas (Make Extra Sauteed Veggies for Freezer, and Extra Refried Beans for Freezer. You can also send the Refried Beans in Lunch Burritos)


Veggie Fajitas


Refried Beans

Lunch Burritos with Leftover Refried Beans, Rice & Salsa

9. Skyline at Home (Double Bean Recipe for Freezer)

Skyline at Home

10. Peas & Artchokes Yachni (use sauce from freezer)

Peas and Artichokes Yachni
Peas & Artichokes

11. 10 Minute Lazy Day Lo Mein (This is a super easy recipe, but still, it is possible to freeze cooked spaghetti & veggies to use later, if you like & have the freezer space)

10 Minute Lazy Day Lo Mein

12. Chili over Rice (Make Extra Chili for Freezer & serve over potatoes later in Lent)

Chili over Rice

13. Gigantes (Use 3 to 4 cups of Sauce from Freezer)

Gigantes (Greek Giant Beans)

14. Veggie Burgers, Oven Fries (both from Freezer Section of Grocery Store - I use Vegan Boca Burgers & serve with all the fixin's - buns, mustard, ketchup, onion, tomato, etc). If you prefer homemade, here's my recipe Burgers & Fries, Vegan Style

Burgers & Fries, Vegan Style


15. Moujendra (This may be doubled & frozen)


16. Eggplant Stew  (Both the Stew & the Rice may be doubled & frozen)

Eggplant Stew

17. Black Bean Soup (May be doubled & frozen)

Black Bean Soup

18. Pad Thai (cannot be frozen - needs to be made fresh each time)

Pad Thai

19. Tabbouli & Lentil Salads (Grains & Legumes may be doubled & frozen for later use - then after thawing, add fresh veggies & dressing)




Lentil Salads

20. Fasolia Yachni (may be doubled & frozen to serve later)

Fasolia Yachni

21. Bulgur Pilaf (may be doubled & Frozen)

Bulgur Pilaf

And, of course, even during Lent, sometimes you need a little treat. Many Converts to Orthodoxy are shocked to find that sugar is not one of the foods on the forbidden list (though, without a doubt, it should not be overindulged in during Lent). 

To keep our easy cooking theme, I'll share one of my more popular easy desserts - 

Vegan Cookies from a Store-Bought Cake Mix.


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Monday, March 15, 2021

Vegan Dump Dinners - Lentil Soup (Oil Free, Gluten Free)

Vegan Dump Dinner - Lentil Soup
In Orthodox homes, Lentil Soup is the classic dish to serve during Lent. I always say that that's why they're called "Lent"ils. But no one believes me ; ) 

However they got their name (the real story is some boring thing about how they're shaped), they're traditionally served on the first day of fasting seasons (such as Great Lent and Advent), as well as on other days of strict fasting, like Holy Friday or Christmas Eve. This recipe is Oil Free - so it is perfect for those occasions. 

Of course, during Lent we have a lot of services to go to, and our main focus is not supposed to be food and cooking. Which makes Lent the perfect time for "Dump Dinners." 

Most dump dinners (including this one) can easily be thrown into a gallon zipper bag or plastic food container, and put in the freezer with ten minutes or less time investment. The night before you want to prepare it, put the bag or box in the fridge to thaw. The day you want to eat it, dump it in the Crock Pot or Slow Cooker - and a few hours later you have dinner all ready and waiting for you when you come home from Church : )

This is my own recipe - designed from scratch (tho this is its first year as a Dump Dinner). I've been making it for about 30 years, and it is one of my most requested by the extended family. Most of the family loves it. My daughter, however, will be happy to work out a deal - especially if, like Esau, you'd like to sell your birthright for a bit of Lentil Stew ; )

Cooking this one takes 4 hours on high. So, if you plan to come home at 7:30, put it on to cook around 3 or 3:30.

Lentil Soup Dump Dinner

Put ingredients in Gallon Freezer bag or Box

1 Pound Bag of Lentils, Rinsed and Sorted (no need to cook before freezing)

1 Bag Frozen Mirepoix Mix OR 1/2 cup each Onion, Celery and Carrot (more to taste)

2 teaspoons Minced Garlic  (I use the kind from a jar sold in the produce section of the grocery)

1 Bag Frozen Chopped Spinach

1 Can (15 oz) Chopped Tomatoes with their liquid

1 teaspoon Dry Mustard

1 teaspoon Dry Ground Ginger

2 teaspoons Salt (more or less to taste)

Label Bag & place in Freezer (note: I don't add liquid till cooking time to save freezer space)

The day before using, put in refrigerator to thaw

Vegan Dump Dinner Lentil Soup - ready to Freeze


To cook: Put in large slow cooker or crock pot with 8 cups water (tap temperature). Cook on High 4 to 4 1/2 hours. 

We like this dish three ways in our family:

1. As prepared, with Crusty Bread and Fresh Veggies and Olives for garnish, 


Lentil Soup with Olives

2. Blended, with Wine Vinegar added at the table; or 

Blended Lentil Soup - Just add Wine Vinegar


3. Over Spaghetti Noodles the next day. 


During Non-Fasting Seasons, or if you have a family member who doesn't fast, it's also delicious with Shredded Cheddar Cheese over the top - just starting to melt.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Mediterranean Primavera Bake


Mediterranean Primavera Bake

This delicious combination of Veggies, Cheese and Eggs is easy to make, and delightful to eat.It doesn't require precise measurements of veggies or cheese, but can be thrown together according to your tastes.

The combination of zucchini, tomatoes, olives, cheese and oregano gives it a bit of a Mediterranean twist.

If you love Tomatoes, and hate Black Olives, you're free to add more tomato and leave out the olives. Likewise, if you dislike onion, just omit it.

The idea is to layer about 1 inch of vegetables into the dish, then about a cup or cup and a half of cheese, and top with blended egg mixture. 

If you'd like to make this in advance, dish can be assembled the night before covered, and stored in the fridge. The next day, uncover and bake when you're ready. It's a great dish when you plan to have friends over for brunch.

This is how I make it.

Mediterranean Primavera Bake

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

 Grease a square glass baking dish

 In the baking dish, Layer

2 Sliced Zucchini 

2 Roma Tomatoes, diced

1/4 small onion, cut in thin crescents

6 Black Olives, Sliced

1 teaspoon Oregano


Mediterranean Primavera Bake - Layer Veggies in Dish


Top with

1  Cup Shredded Mozzarella

1/4 to 1/2 Cup Cubed or Crumbled Feta 

Mediterranean Primavera Bake - Veggies Topped with Cheese

Then Blend:

3 Eggs

1 1/2 Cups Milk

3/4 Cup All Purpose Baking Mix (such as Bisquick or Great Value Brand)

1/2 teaspoon Salt

A few grinds Black Pepper

Pour Blended Egg Mixture gently over veggies and cheese in dish - the mixture usually just comes to the top of the veggies & cheese.

Mediterranean Primavera Bake - Veggies Topped with Cheese and Egg Mixture

Put dish in preheated oven and bake till golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes.

Remove from oven, and wait 5 to 10 minutes before cutting and serving. (it will deflate a little at this point - no worries!)


Mediterranean Primavera Bake - Fresh from the oven

Serve with Crusty Bread and Salad, or with Muffins & Fruit.

Mediterranean Primavera Bake - serve in Squares

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