Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Easy Vegetarian Comfort Food

Though it was 68 here in Rochester today, and though we all would love to cling to the delusion that fall simply turns into spring with nothing in between, those of us who live in the northeastern parts of our lovely country must face the truth.  Your world may look like this now:

This picture came from here.
But soon, it will look like this:

This one came from here.

You will not want to leave your house.  You will need comfort, and what is more comforting than easy-to-make, fairly-healthy food?  Hopefully this post can help.  I have compiled my favorite recipes for warm, delicious dinners; none of them are actually my recipes, but I have used them many times and swear by them.  Maybe they will become staples in your kitchen, too!

Butternut Squash Pasta with Spinach and Blue Cheese
from Budget Bytes

Photo courtesy of Budget Bytes.

I rely heavily on this blog, especially now that I'm, as they say, "in between jobs."  The author is a fantastically-skilled, penny-pinching cook, and this recipe is divine.  The main ingredient is butternut squash, which is great from the summer/fall farmer's markets but can be found, during winter, in supermarkets.  She estimates a total cost of $7.55 for 6 servings, and only an hour and a half total prep and cook time.  The result is a yummy pasta mush almost like mac 'n' cheese, but much healthier, and tangy, too.

Goat Cheese Tortelloni with Roasted Butternut Squash
from Wegmans

Photo courtesy of Wegmans.

Here's another butternut squash one.  This recipe comes to us from supermarket giant Wegmans.  (I hope they don't mind me sharing their recipe!)  If you have a Wegmans around you, you're at an advantage for this one, since they use their own brands of basting oil, butternut squash soup, and tortelloni, but I'm sure you could find substitutions at other stores.  Unlike the previous recipe, which had some kick to it, this recipe is all comfort: mild, creamy, cheesy goodness.

Mushroom Lasagna
from Smitten Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.
This recipe may not really be easy or too quick, but I had to include it because boy, is it worth it.  My boyfriend had been dropping hints about wanting a good lasagna, but as I'm not a huge fan of pasta sauce, I looked for an alternative and found this savory, smooth piece of heaven.  Layers of nutty mushrooms, b├ęchamel sauce, and parmesan cheese come together to make an impressive dish to pass at a holiday meal or to freeze and save for a tasty end to a stressful day.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Cheesy Polenta
from Eating Well

Photo courtesy of Eating Well.
Ah, butternut squash appears once again.  I just can't stay away from it in the winter!  This Eating Well recipe also uses cauliflower, another great winter veggie.  Roast the vegetables together – an excuse to turn the oven up real high and heat your house a little extra – and then pile them on top of a great mush of Parmesan-infused polenta.  One bite and that winter chill you accumulated throughout the day will finally leave your bones (until the next morning).

Don't wait for the first snowfall to start trying these recipes!  Let me know how it goes, or if you have your own favorites you'd like to share.  I'm constantly searching for new cooking ideas!

Next Post's Topic: Holiday Treats

Disclaimer: I'm a vegetarian, and though I do think the world would be a better place if everyone chose not to eat meat, I think it's fine that people do and don't mean to use this space to make readers feel guilty about their choices.  The recipes I choose to share are vegetarian because I am, and because I think raw meat is super gross and would never cook with it, not because I'm trying to brainwash anyone.