I am not a food blogger (kind of a food blogger addict, though). However, I am emerging from an "everything I cook sucks" phase (everyone hits that patch every once in a while) to becoming a functioning home cook again. That phase is diabolical - it started weeks ago, with a lentil dish I'd made a hundred or more times, which ended up tasting odd and worsening with every attempted fix. Several other failed dishes followed, inexplicable and frustrating. Even my local falafel takeout - my go-to after a failed cooking venture requires cheap quick takeout to dispel - has changed hands and acquired a certain irredeemable dinginess.

I seem to be emerging, though, and have whipped up some delicious dishes lately I thought I'd share.

Imprecisely yours, the Lazy Gourmet.

Veggie Shepherd's Pie - convenience food heaven with the imprimateur of healthy.

1 bag Morningstar Farm veggie crumbles (frozen)
1/2 box or so of mixed vegetables (frozen) (I used peas and carrots)
about 1 cup pearl onions (frozen)
about 1/2 a large bottle of tomato juice or V-8 (trust me. Ever buy a bottle of V-8, have a few glasses, and realize you don't like it much?)
Worcestershire Sauce (dust it off, it's crucial)
Black pepper
2 cups prepared instant mashed potatoes (I use some brand in a small blue box - one envelope makes 2 cups - you don't even need milk even if the box tells you that you do.)
grated cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375.

Spray with nonstick spray a 9 inch square pan. Dump in the frozen goods. Pour in the juice. Season with black pepper. Stir. Shake in (I'd guesstimate about 6 good shakes) Worcestershire Sauce - the sauce should go brownish red at this point in the pan. Stir well to distribute sauce and veggies.

Spread mashed taters over the top. (Leftover would be fine, I'm sure). Aim for complete coverage. Sprinkle with cheese, or not.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top browns slightly and the sauce gets bubbly and pokes out around the edges.

Inelegant but tasty. Freezes and transports to work well!

Broccoli Ricotta Pesto Pasta

3 Cups steamed broccoli, more or less. (Ziploc steamer bags are a freaking miracle, trust me. Worth the price of admission, cause you won't cook those well-intentioned veggies otherwise)
1/3 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c toasted walnuts
1 clove garlic
Zest of 1/2 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
Black pepper and salt
1 small container part-skim ricotta cheese
Your favorite pasta

Dump the steamed broccoli (cooked in bag or you can just boil it up until it's bright green but not soggy), cheese, nuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest into a food processor. Pulse until chopped fine. Turn on the processor and drizzle in the olive oil until you get a smoother paste (pesto - paste - get it?). You may need a little more oil. Season with black pepper and a little salt.

Cook up as much (I guess a box or less - I use very little) pasta as you like - but be sure to pull out 1 cup or so of cooking water before you drain it.

Now, you can be flexible in the assembly. Add some or all of your pesto to a big serving bowl. Stir in some hot pasta water, a little at a time, until the sauce is smooth. You may not need all of it. Now, add the ricotta cheese and the drained cooked pasta. Mix well. Add some pepper or lemon to taste. Enjoy! Also packs off to work and freezes well.

My Weird Comfort Food Soup

I make this an awful lot.

Lipton Ring o Noodle Soup
2 Eggs
Handful grated Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese

Cook up soup according to package directions. Beat the eggs with the cheese. Stir it into the boiling soup. Stir a bit until the egg is shredded and cooked.

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