My fear of cooking is a strange animal. What some people find relaxing, I have always found stressful. Instincts? None. If I didn’t have what a recipe called for, I panicked. The weird glitch in this machine is Spanish cooking. That makes sense to me. But that is a story for another time (come back for V!).
Changing our eating habits has changed the way I view cooking. Preparing food for my family is fun and easy. Vegan baking, especially, just makes sense to me. I use my growing collection of vegan cookbooks for inspiration but then adapt them to what I have in my kitchen.
The vegan experiment continues to be interesting. I find the more I cook with real ingredients, the less I want to use the fakes (soy cheese, soy burgers). My son’s perpetual runny nose as cleared up after over a year. Personally, my energy continues to escalate.
Monday afternoon my daughter and I were chatting about something or other (with a 5-year-old you never know) and she said, “Mommy, you should have a restaurant.” What should I call it, I asked her. She thought for a long minute and then said, “Mama’s Happy Gift of Food. And you could serve Happy Casserole every day.”
This made me feel so good about the changes we’ve made. Below you will find my “Happy Casserole,” a dish my daughter asks me to make every day. Mix it up, make it your own.
Happy Casserole (as named by my daughter)
Use whatever green vegetables you have on hand, fresh or frozen, if you prefer to peas and broccoli. I mix all the ingredients with my hands and let my kids help. Feel free to toss in a handful of your favorite savory seasonings. I used Italian Seasoning.
Two 15 oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 onion, chopped
2 cups carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cup broccoli florets, chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup whole wheat Panko (or breadcrumbs)
3 TBS olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp salt
Cheese or rice/soy cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Mash up chickpeas with a fork or potato masher until they have the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes (about 2 minutes).
- Mix vegetables into chickpea mash. Add panko and mix, the oil and mix, and the vegetable broth and salt. Mix one last time.
- Press the mixture into a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15 minutes.