I was still at school, working, when Mark called on my cell. Actually I was in the copy room (next door) but I could hear the light strains of Crowded House before I heard T’s voice answer. “Mom!” he called down the hall. “Daddy called. He said it’s sleeting and we should go home.” So we quickly packed up and drove home. I had told Mark I would cook dinner but he had obviously not heard me because he was preparing something else when I walked in. Truth be told I wasn’t feeling well, so it was ok with me. But we were hit with a dilemma; Not enough lentils to make lentil & brown rice casserole. Now, I could have gone to the store but 1) The weather was iffy and 2) It takes 90 minutes to bake so dinner would have been much too late if we had to wait for the 30 minutes it would take me to get to the store, get what I needed, and get home. We were only 1/4 cup of lentils short, so I suggested cutting up some vegan burgers and putting them in, adding a sort of ground meat texture to the casserole. Mark got it assembled and baking while I continued to do school work, just on my home laptop now. The burgers ended up being a good call. They sort of disintegrated into the casserole but added some texture and flavor.
Right before the casserole was to come out Mark decided to put together a fruit salad. I realize that in season local is best, but sometimes…. Since T can’t have apples or oranges anymore we’ve had to get a little creative. This salad had pears, blueberries, strawberries, and grapes in it. We were all fighting over the last of it.
Lentil and Brown Rice Casserole is an oldie that we have been making since T was born, 11 years ago. It originally came from “The Complete Tightwad Gazette” by Amy Dacyczyn. We have modified and changed and modified some more over the years, but it remains a healthy, easy, and cheap meal to feed us all well especially when it is cold outside. This is the version we made tonight.
3 cups veggie broth
1/2 cup lentils
2 vegan burgers, frozen and chopped up
1/2 cup uncooked brown rice
1/2 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Put all ingredients but broth into a 9×12 baking pan and mix. Add the broth and mix. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes. Let cool a little before you serve. Season with salt and pepper at the table. You can add a cheese sub on top after baking if desired.