April Fool’s!!

I made a few new meals this week that I’m hoping work as well for you as they did for us.  First was an old favorite of my husband’s (Shepherd’s Pie) redone in an artful presentation especially for April Fool’s day.  (The lentils, peas and carrots are mounded underneath the mashed potatoes.)


The surprise success this week was a restaurant dish I was trying to recreate- Shiitake Tofu Lettuce Cups.  I served this with baked (okay, microwaved) sweet potatoes which was a nice tradeoff for the brown rice we so often eat with Asian food.  The final new meal was an attempt to use almost entirely frozen ingredients to create a warm, hearty dish.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed potatoes

Gravy (fat free or not)

Cooked or canned lentils

Frozen peas and carrots

Although my family loves the full version of Shepherd’s Pie made in a pie crust and baked, it’s extra work and the crust contains extra fat, so the weeknight version looks more like this.


The mashed potatoes are the most time consuming, so start them first.  Then start the lentils, followed by the gravy.  Because I was making individual servings this week, I made all of the ingredients separately instead of combining them as I normally would have.  This was a little more work but worth it for the prank.


Shiitake Tofu Lettuce Cups

1 head of butter lettuce

6-8 large shiitake mushrooms, cleanedshiitake_tofu_2

1/2 block of extra firm organic tofu (the refrigerated type)

1/4 c carrot shavings, diced

1/3 c diced sweet peppers (red, yellow, green or whatever you’ve got)

1/4 c cashew pieces, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned

1 T sesame seeds


2T water

2T honey

1 T organic soy sauce or tamari

1 T Bragg’s amino acids

1 t ginger powder

1 t garlic powder

Add the sauce ingredients into a small jar and shake to mix.

Stem the shiitake mushrooms, discarding the tough parts of the stems.  Dice the caps and stems and sauté in a dry skillet over medium heat until the mushrooms exude their juices.

Add the sauce to the mushrooms, dice the tofu into small pieces and add to the skillet.  Once the mushrooms and tofu have absorbed half of the sauce, add the carrots and peppers. When the veggies are crisp tender, remove from heat.  Add toasted cashews and sesame seeds.  Serve with lettuce leaves and lots of napkins!


Veggie, Bean, Rice Bake

Frozen veggiesIMG_3797

Frozen or canned beans

Cooked brown rice

No-chicken veggie broth

Pour the frozen veggies and beans in the bottom of a glass casserole dish.  Add cooked brown rice to cover the veggies and beans. Pour veggie broth over the rice to almost cover the rice.  Season with pepper.  Cover and bake until heated through.  Especially if you’re using leftover rice this dish comes together very quickly however does require 15 minutes or so of baking time.  It’s one of those dishes that reminds us that simple meals can nourish us and taste good.

Notes:  Whenever I make a batch of beans, I always make a big batch and freeze the leftovers.  I do the same when processing large batches of vegetables like carrots and broccoli, which is what I used in this dish.




  1. Aunt Mil says:

    Great gag with the “ice cream”.