Ratatouille Leftovers

You guys know I can’t pass up an opportunity to use up leftovers in a new dish. It’s part of the fun in making food in the first place. So when I had a big pot of delicious ratatouille left after dinner, I put on my superhero cape and got to work.

I use no-boil or “oven ready” lasagna noodles when I can find them. Two reasons: time-saving and I don’t boil the skin of my hands off by handling hot slippery noodles. When possible, I assemble my lasagna the moment I know I’ll have leftovers. Having a large lasagna pan with a lid makes that super-easy. Just slap it together and refrigerate or freeze it until you’re ready for it to bake.

I do keep some jars of pasta sauce on hand, although it’s super-easy to make your own from fresh tomatoes or cans of tomatoes or tomato sauce. What I use depends on the time I have and what flavors I want in my lasagna. As a fair warning, I LOVE garlic. So a classic Napoletana made with roasted garlic is usually my go-to kind of sauce (Yes, I know Barilla isn’t exactly high-end).

Ratatouille Lasagna

  • 1 pkg oven-ready lasagna noodles
  • 1-2 C ratatouille
  • 1 recipe tofu ricotta
  • 1 (14-16 oz) jar pasta sauce (or 2 C of your own devising)
  • 2 C kale or spinach, washed, dried, sautéed
  • Daiya mozzarella shreds

In the bottom of a 9×13 casserole or lasagna pan, spread about 1/4C of pasta sauce. Cover with a layer of noodles. Top with the kale and half the ricotta and a sprinkle of Daiya. Add a layer of noodles and coat with sauce. Spread with ratatouille and top with Daiya and some sauce. Layer with noodles. Spread with the rest of the ricotta mixture. Sprinkle with Daiya. Top with noodles. Use remaining sauce to completely cover the noodles. Sprinkle  with more Daiya. Cover pan with foil.

You can refrigerate this up to two days, freeze for (probably no longer than) a month, or bake it immediately for an hour in a 350F oven. Remove foil during last 10 minutes of baking.

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Eventful Bacon

It’s been a heck of a hiatus, and my kitchen is still recovering. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from making the mess bigger!

After an absolutely dreadful cold that sapped me of any will to do anything (including eat! yikes!), I’m finally almost back to 100% and ready to go again. It’s been an interesting coupla weeks, lemme tell ya.

My mom flew in in the midst of everything to celebrate the Little Dude’s third birthday (three? already??), and I baked him up a little cake from a Duncan Hines mix (that right there should tell you all you need to know about how I was feeling!). Some of these flavors fall in to that “accidentally vegan” category, so I went with the Dark Chocolate Fudge mix. Normally, the box wants 3 eggs, 1 C water, and 1/3 C oil added. That wasn’t going to cut it for the VV household, obvs. I sifted in 1 1/2 tsp of baking soda with the dry mix and used 1 C soy milk with 1 tsp apple cider vinegar in place of water. I found a 3.2 oz Buddy Fruit (apple + banana) in the pantry that I mixed into the batter as well. It worked for the 4″ round cake and several cupcakes.

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I’m not calling that an official recipe — just letting you all know that it can be done!

I was inspired by Phoney Baloney to mimic their coconut bacon after I found a tub of coconut chips at my favorite Asian market. I dragged my mom along to it and she seemed a little overwhelmed. She survived though, enough to help me demolish some of this crispy tastiness. So, here’s the scoop — in a really flexible format. Ha.

Special Sauce

I have no exact formula for this. Bear with me. I love Sriracha you guys. Like. Really love it. And I can’t bear to toss out that tiny little bit that’s impossible to get out of the bottle. It makes me sadface really badly. So, I turn it into my special bacon sawce.

  • sriracha dregs, in bottle
  • 1/4 C Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (coconut aminos, shoyu, soy sauce, etc.)
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke
  • optional: 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire or maple syrup

Add all to bottle and shake.

Coconut Facon

  • two or three handfuls coconut chips
  • 2-3 tsp “special sauce”

Preheat oven to 325F. If you have a convection oven, preheat it to 300F. In a small bowl, combine chips and sauce and stir to coat. Spread chips in a single layer on a parchment-lined rimless cookie cheet. Bake 20-30 minutes, until crispy. If using a convection oven, the time will be shorter and you’ll only need to “stir” the chips once, about halfway through. A conventional oven will require some babysitting. You’ll need to flip the chips about ever 5 minutes or so to keep them from burning. Store in an airtight container or bag in the fridge for about a week. To crisp up the chips, bake at 250F for a few minutes, or dry-fry on the stovetop.

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