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Looking For Inspiration

January 13, 2011

I feel like lately, my meals have had the winter blahs.  Maybe it’s because I’ve been trying to eat lighter after our winter indulgences, or maybe it’s the lack of seasonal, fresh produce, but for some reason, I just haven’t felt inspired at ALL in the kitchen lately. 

This happens to me every so often, and the way I see it, I can either do one of two things: eat frozen veggie burgers and boring sandwiches and wait for inspiration to strike me, or I can seek out the inspiration on my own. 

Tonight, I opted for the latter.  I pulled out a bunch of veggies and random ingredients from the fridge and the pantry with nary an idea of what I planned to do with them.  I just kind of got chopping, and created this dish as I went along…and I have to say, it was really tasty!

First, I chopped up a head of cauliflower and put in the oven to roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.  You really can’t go wrong with a recipe that involves roasted cauliflower—that’s a good rule of thumb. 

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While the cauliflower was cooking, I was struck with the idea to make a layered casserole-type dish.  So, for the second layer, I cooked some sauteed onion and kale in a hot skillet as the cauliflower continued to roast.

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When the cauliflower was done roasting, I pureed it in the food processor with a few splashes of vegetable broth until it reached a creamy, mashed potatoe-like consistency. 

You could easily put all of this in a single, large casserole dish, but I have these cute little individual polka dot casserole dishes, so I figured why not use those instead?

For each dish, I filled the bottom with a layer of cauliflower mash:

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Then topped that with some marinara sauce:

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Plus the kale and onion mixture:

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And then, for the grand finale, I topped each dish with a fresh egg and some salt, and put them back in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes—you could also pop them in the microwave if you wanted the egg to cook even more quickly.

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Well, this meal did a pretty good job of helping me kick the kitchen blahs! Sometimes, it takes a meal like this to remind me how much I really like to cook!

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What do you use for inspiration in the kitchen?  I find that perusing cookbooks is also a great way to beat “cooking block.” 

24 Comments leave one →
  1. January 13, 2011 2:28 am

    I am loving that egg on the top!

  2. January 13, 2011 2:29 am

    Girl I hear you on the food blahs. I feel like I’m in a rut too. I just start pulling out cookbooks again just to get ideas. Then I realize how many ingredients I really do have!

  3. January 13, 2011 2:33 am

    So pretty! Cookbooks help me too! also all the magazine articles on food and recipes that I rip out and stuff in binder… looking through that is so helpful! ❤

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

    the egg on top is super cute =)

  4. January 13, 2011 2:40 am

    I love that egg on top. So cool looking. I have a bookmarked folder on my computer called “recipes to try”. I usually go to that when I’m in need of inspiration.

  5. January 13, 2011 3:05 am

    i never make meals like this one..but today, i did! it involved roasted cauli too. eventually this week/weekend i will post all the pics! til then, your meal has me hungry!!

  6. January 13, 2011 3:17 am

    This meal inspires me! What a great idea. I need to start to cook like this-no recipe, just going with whatever I feel like…. Agreed about the roasted cauliflower-so delish!!

  7. greensandjeans permalink
    January 13, 2011 3:29 am

    I am in such a food rut right now. When I’m at home the last thing I want to do is go to the grocery store and make MEALS. Instead I end up eating a lot of soup and sandwiches.

  8. JenATX permalink
    January 13, 2011 3:38 am

    wahoo, cool meal idea! When I need inspiration I think of some of my favorite foods. I love this one curry dish at the hot bar at Whole Foods, so tonight I tried to re-create a spin on that in a kind of Mexican style (bc I only had tortillas instead of Naan & I also threw in some black beans for more protein). It really wasn’t that great lol but it beat a sandwich

  9. Ayla permalink
    January 13, 2011 3:47 am

    I’m not sure what I think about the egg on top but other than that it looks fabulous! I love cauliflower casseroles/bakes and in my opinion, people (myself included) don’t eat them enough. Cauliflower is actually way more versatile then people think. Do you have the Vegan Yum Yum cookbook? There is an AWESOME recipe for a cauliflower bake in it.

  10. January 13, 2011 4:37 am

    That is amazing! I wish I could just throw together dishes that delicious. You have a gift, my dear Anna 🙂

  11. January 13, 2011 5:18 am

    Oh, I love pulling out random ingredients to create something with, kind of like my own personal Iron Chef competition. 😛 And what a creation you came up with, that’s awesome!

  12. January 13, 2011 12:38 pm

    So pretty! That egg on top is very European 🙂 You are much more creative than me…I am a recipe girl! I am never inspired in the kitchen!

  13. January 13, 2011 1:13 pm

    the egg is perfection. and i love reading cookbooks, especially old-fashioned ones, for cooking inspiration 🙂

  14. January 13, 2011 2:03 pm

    watching a little Food Network always gives me inspiration – as does reading other people’s blogs. Your spur of the moment meal looks delish!

    • January 13, 2011 2:12 pm

      Yep, blogs and food network are high up there for me too!

  15. January 13, 2011 2:20 pm

    wow, that’s amazing! If that’s what you come up with when you’re feeling blah….well….I’m impressed, that’s all I gotta say!

  16. January 13, 2011 2:20 pm

    That looks AWESOME! I totally hear you – I think it’s a fact of winter sometimes to get the food blahs. I also chalk mine up to the fact that my boyfriend is an excellent cook and loves it, so I have become a really lazy food blogger 🙂

  17. goodeatsgirl permalink
    January 13, 2011 2:55 pm

    That is one of the most creative meals I’ve seen in a long time! It looks awesome! And those little casserole dishes are SO cute!

  18. January 13, 2011 3:04 pm

    wow thats so creative, and looks great too.

  19. January 13, 2011 3:10 pm

    If only I hadn’t used up most of my caulifower last night!

    Perhaps I should get some more…

  20. January 13, 2011 3:45 pm

    This is incredibly creative and it sounds delicious! Your meals are anything but creative and beautiful! I am definitely going to try this one out. Love the use of seasonal ingredients!

  21. January 14, 2011 3:04 am

    Ok, so this is a totally random creation but I am LOVING it! I think the egg on top is perfect thing to top it off with, yum!

    Sometimes I will grab my step stool, open up my fridge and just stare into my fridge until a light goes off in my head as to what to make. This works most of the time but if not I flip through food mags or blogs.

  22. actorsdiet permalink
    January 14, 2011 7:20 am

    this meal is SO ME!!!

  23. January 14, 2011 11:36 pm

    That just made me SO hungry!! I want to make this right now, but I have none of those things, except the egg. I need to re look at my cookbooks, I never take them out anymore.

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