Wednesday, March 9

Cook Book Challenge Week #9

Vegan on the Cheap
Last Night's Menu:  Smoky Red Bean Chili with Chipotle-Cornbread Dumplings and Chocolate Chip-Walnut Rice Pudding
Tonight's Menu:  Mexican Rice and Bean Bake with Cheezee Sauce

We had an early dinner again last night, partly because it was raining after school so we couldn't run and partly because it was an easy slow cooker meal.  I threw everything in the slow cooker before leaving in the morning, which was as easy as opening a few cans and chopping a few vegetables.  Then, per the recipe, about 45 minutes before we were ready to eat, I mixed up the dumplings and plopped them atop the chili.  By the time they finished, the entire top of the slow cooker was filled with fluffy dumplings!  We love cornbread with chili, so this recipe saved time and effort.  The dumplings were really good, but not as spicy as I expected.  The chili was smoky (no surprise) and spicy (again, no surprise), but next time I might add some extra vegetables such as corn or broccoli and maybe an extra chipotle pepper.  There was enough for a filling dinner and leftovers for lunch.

We ate the rice pudding for dessert later in the evening.  It was the first time I made rice pudding, which is really no more difficult than making plain rice.  Since I hadn't made this before, I followed the recipe pretty closely.  I used almond milk, but cut the sugar in half.  Also, I served it with a sprinkle of cinnamon.  It is for sure something I will keep in mind for a sweet, but not too unhealthy treat!

Tonight was another quick dinner, Mexican Bean and Rice Bake.  It was really quick to prep and fairly quick, ready in just under an hour.  I also made the Cheezee Sauce, which was an excellent choice.  I melted in to the bake and brought everything together.  I didn't take a picture of this meal, because, well... it was beans and rice.  Let me give you a visual-- imagine pinto beans and rice on a place with some runny sauce.  I'm not saying it was bad, it was really good, just pretty simple and not the most photo-worthy meal that I've made.  We served it with a big salad and tortillas on the side.  As my dad would say, "It hit the spot."  In fact, if I don't leave the kitchen soon, I might eat the whole pan...

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