Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole

Picadillo tater tot casserole. Now that’s a mouthful. Say Peek-ah-dee-yo. Again. Got it?

My old picadillo recipe used ground beef. Because of the newer beef allergy, I now use ground turkey breast. I was a little worried when I made picadillo with turkey instead of beef. It worked perfectly! Truly, the taste is in the sofrito and olives. It tastes divine!

The day I menu planned this, I had a more traditional casserole in mind. But then I thought, why not? Why not give casseroles my latina flair?

So that’s how this little baby was born.

Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole:

First, click here for the recipe to make picadillo. Make picadillo. Put it in a 9×9 baking dish and top with an even layer of tater tots. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes.

Tips:
I try to keep ground meat portioned and precooked (by me) in my freezer at all times.
I also make a batch of sofrito and freeze it in ice cube trays.
Having both of these frozen and ready to go make this recipe and many others super easy to pull together at dinner time.

The picadillo in the 9x9 pan

The picadillo in the 9×9 pan

Top with an even layer of tater tots

Top with an even layer of tater tots

Serve with a veggie on the side

Serve with a veggie on the side

Our Story in a Nutshell

A few months ago, I was given the opportunity to describe myself and my little family to a dear group of new friends in about 5 minutes. I tried and it just didn’t seem deep enough (and I was sick at the time and I was losing my voice so I didn’t really feel like talking too much.)

So, now, a few months later, I’m trying to describe me and my little family in a nutshell, so to speak. How to squeeze 12+ years of marriage into a few minutes? How to squeeze our heartbreaking trials and glorious triumphs (all to God’s glory) in a few minutes?

Girl sees boy. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl become Mr. and Mrs. They move to a new state to start a new life without jobs. Mr. & Mrs. find good jobs and live life as they planned. Mr. and Mrs. are moved around due to Mr.’s job. Two years into “their plan”, Mr. and Mrs. try for a baby. Countless tears followed, invasive fertility tests, dreams slowly started to die and hope was crushed month after month. Time after time. Years of trying to conceive without success brought the Mrs. to her knees many times with many tears. Six years later, on the very last try before pursuing adoption, the Mrs. became PREGNANT.

The pregnancy was rocky in the beginning due to a sub chorionic hemorrhage at 11 weeks. The hemorrhage and the belief that they were miscarrying because of cramping and bleeding brought the Mr. and Mrs. again to their knees, with a sound coming from the Mrs. that she had never heard before. The sound of agony and mourning. Yet, God healed the hemorrhage and protected baby. The hemorrhage eventually healed. The Mr. and Mrs. praised God for the healing.

God used that time of healing to bring the Mrs. closer to Him through the sweetness of His Psalms. The Mrs. learned a deep trust in God. The Mrs. learned that many were her steps and plans, but that without God it meant nothing.

The Mr. and Mrs. learned that their precious miracle baby had life threatening food allergies to cow’s milk (anything dairy) and eggs. The Mrs. sobbed and mourned the life she had planned for baby. The Mrs. learned an entirely new way to cook. The Mr. and Mrs. eliminated baby’s allergens from their house. They learned to accept this diagnosis and learned how to provide a safe and normal childhood for baby. The family of three learned to thrive, leaning on The Lord daily. The Mr. and Mrs. learned that love and care for their daughter’s special needs would come from the body of Christ.

The Mr. and Mrs. 12+ years of marriage cannot be fit into just 5 minutes. The Mr. & Mrs. have many stories of God’s provision, protection, His faithfulness, His goodness and His sovereignty in their lives. This is just a fraction of their story.

The Mrs. learned that through the many trials she faced, she could either trust God in all of His sovereignty or rail against Him. The Mrs. learned to trust God in all things and so did her Mr.

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of The Lord that will stand.”
Proverbs 19:21

“The heart of man plans his way,
but The Lord establishes his steps.”
Proverbs 16:9

Thanksgiving Recipes: Dairy & Egg Free

Holidays are steeped in tradition. Food allergies change things. But what doesn’t have to change is still having a yummy, delicious, and safe spread for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Maybe it’s the first time cooking the holiday meal for everyone.

Maybe you’re the sweet family member or friend who is searching for safe recipes for a food allergic loved one. (Thanks for that, by the way. It means more than you know.)

Maybe the idea of a dairy and egg free holiday feast terrifies you.

Whatever the hesitation or reason, fear not. I’m going to share links to yummy recipes.

Last year we had a completely “safe” Thanksgiving and Christmas feast! None of the food tasted weird- just good.

Without further ado, here are some of the dishes I made last year. I’m also going to throw in a few recipes I haven’t yet tried, but will try for either Thanksgiving or Christmas.

A star in front of the name means I haven’t tried the recipe yet but I’m going to soon. No star means I made it, liked it and will make it again this holiday season.

Herb Roasted Turkey

Twice Baked Potatoes

*Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Mallow Melt

My Mama’s Southern Puerto Rican Green Beans
(Simmer green beans for approximately 30 minutes along with fatback (or bacon) and lemon juice to taste. Salt and pepper to taste.)

Nana’s Safe Stuffing
(I never knew this recipe is originally from Better Homes and Gardens. You can look it up if you have that cookbook. Use vegan butter and safe bread. We omit the celery and carrot and only use the onion. We used homemade bread the last time we made it. Delish! And Nana uses poultry seasoning, not the suggested sage.)

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

Pumpkin Bread
(This makes a delicious breakfast. We slather our pumpkin bread with Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread.)

Pumpkin Pie
(I made this one last year. Last year I omitted the cinnamon and subbed allspice.)

*Pumpkin Pie 2
(I’m trying this recipe this weekend before the big day. I always use the Refrigerated Pillsbury Roll Out Crusts. That’s not the official name but that’s what I call it.)

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie & Apple Pie

Cherry Pie & Apple Pie

Apple Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Can dip half of the cookie in melted chocolate. Melt some Enjoy Life chocolate chips along with some shortening or coconut oil in the microwave. Mix well. Dip cookie. Repeat. Let cool on parchment paper.)

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies

Vanilla Cupcakes
(These are great for making ahead and freezing. Mine are in the freezer baked already. I’m planning on frosting them with Pillsbury Maple Brown Sugar frosting and putting cute little pumpkin picks in the cupcakes to make them festive.)

If you like to bake in advance, the following freeze well:
Pumpkin Bread
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vanilla Cupcakes (unfrosted)

The apple and pumpkin pie can be made the day before Thanksgiving. The cherry pie tastes better (to me) the day it’s baked, so that pie I bake the day of.

I hope these recipes help you have a safe and delicious Thanksgiving.

30 Days of Dairy & Egg Free Dinners

Sautee chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender.  Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Sauté chopped carrots & zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add spaghetti sauce & serve over noodles.

Life has been happening lately.

I’ve been following my latest two menu plans, but haven’t had time to share them and link them up- until today!

So instead of a 15 or 16 day menu plan, I’ve combined them to make a 30 day menu plan!

My Thanksgiving post is still in the works, so I’ll have that up soon- I hope!

Randomness from last menu: I never tried the fish like I planned to last time. I chickened out. PLUS, I couldn’t find a tilapia that seemed to be safe. What brands do y’all use? Please and thank you!

This menu has chicken, turkey, pork and meatless meals. I’m starting to really enjoy our meatless meals. I’d love to eat more veggies and less meat. We shall see…

Here’s my latest only 30 day menu plan!!!

1. Taco Crescents & Steamed Broccoli

2. Sweet & Sour Chicken (sub flax eggs & liquid aminos), Rice & Steamed Broccoli

3. Honey Mustard Pork Chops & Baked Potatoes

4. Coconut Vegetable Curry Soup with Rice (I’ve linked to this several times & FINALLY made it. It is yummy! Even SG liked it!)

5. Mexican Stuffed Peppers (Sub ground turkey breast, use homemade taco seasoning, & make own tomato paste) & Cilantro Lime Rice

6. Crockpot BBQ Drumsticks, Baked Potatoes & Carrots

7. 0 Point Soup & Homemade Bread

8. Mojo Pork Tenderloin, Tater Tots & Zucchini

9. Arroz con Pollo & Puerto Rican Flavored Black Beans

10. Arroz con Pollo Leftovers

11. Chicken Tacos (Can make ahead & freeze. I did!)

12. Meatless Veggie Spaghetti

13. Chicken Curry (make homemade cream of chicken), Rice & Carrots

14. Mexican Pizza Bites (Sub ground turkey breast, use homemade taco seasoning, homemade refried beans & Daiya “cheese”)

15. Crockpot Lentil Soup

16. Chicken Salad Sandwiches & French Fries

17. Picadillo Tater Tot Casserole (I’ll share this new recipe soon!)

18. Maple Pumpkin White Bean Quesadilla

19. Crockpot Ranch Pork Chops, Baked Potatoes & Steamed Cauliflower (make of cream of chicken & use homemade ranch mix)

20. Turkey Nachos (season ground turkey like picadillo)

21. Garlic Chicken Drumsticks, French Fries & Broccoli

22. “Cheesy” Taco Crescents (use leftover chicken from day 21) & Leftover Broccoli

23. White Bean Lemon Potato Soup & Homemade Bread (use bread link from Day 7)

24. Leftover Soup or Arroz con Pollo Soup & Bread & Vegan Butter

25. Baked Ranch Pork Chops (make homemade ranch: see note at bottom of menu, coat chops in ranch, coat in safe panko bread crumbs), Baked Sweet Potatoes & Sautéed Zucchini

26. BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Tater Tots & Steamed Spinach

27. Thanksgiving!!!

28. Soymilk Ice Cream for Dinner!!!!

29. Coconut Vegetable Curry & Rice (see link for Day 4)

30. Lentil & Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Here are the links to the subs & homemade mixes:

Homemade Ranch Dry Mix

Homemade Ranch Dressing
(For Dressing, use the above Ranch Dry Mix link and use Just Mayo or other vegan mayo & sub non-dairy milk. I use SO Delicious Original Coconut Coffee Creamer. It’s very neutral in taste and the ranch flavor shines through.)

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Homemade Taco Mix

Also, you may be wondering why on Black Friday we are having safe ice cream for dinner. It is SG’s birthday and I told her she can have whatever she wants for dinner- even ice cream. So of course, that’s what she chose! I’m guessing the Huzz and I will gorge on Thanksgiving leftovers, anyway. You only turn 4 once- may as well live it up! 🙂

Homemade Apple Pie: Dairy, Egg, & Cinnamon Free

Apple pie without cinnamon or dairy???

That might be what you’re thinking right now. Keep reading! I promise the recipe is yummy.

I searched high and low for a recipe I could adapt and use for our diet. I’m so thankful for Grandma Ople, whoever she is, because this is her recipe.

I’ve adapted it slightly with vegan butter and the way I put the pie together.

If you can have cinnamon (I can’t), then feel free to add a sprinkle or two. I think it’s lovely without it.

I’ve made it several times over the past year, and every time it has been wonderful.

I hope you like it, too.

Apple Pie
(adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients:

For Crust:

For Apple Filling:

  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 3 Tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6-8 Granny Smith Apples (or at least 2/3 Granny Smith and 1/3 other apples)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Center and place pie crust in a pie pan.
  3. Peel, core, and cut apples in slices.
  4. Place apple slices on top of pie crust.
  5. Melt butter in a pan. Add flour and mix well.
  6. Add sugar, brown sugar, and water. Whisk and bring to a boil. Let simmer on medium low for 5 minutes. Stir/whisk often.
  7. Pour hot sugar mixture over the apples in the pie pan, reserving a little bit to brush on top of the crust.
  8. Center and gently place pie crust over the mound of apples.
  9. Roll the top pie crust under the bottom pie crust. You might have bumpy large lumps in some parts but that doesn’t bother me. 🙂
  10. Use a fork to crimp the rolled together edges or use your fingers to crimp the edges.
  11. Use a sharp knife to make a few slits in the pie crust.
  12. Brush the reserved sugar mixture on top of the pie (can do this as soon as the top crust is added so the sugar mixture doesn’t harden.)
  13. Place pie on a cookie sheet (in case of overflow) and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Reduce temp to 350 degrees and bake for 40-45 minutes.

There ya have it, friends. Our favorite apple pie recipe. We are looking forward to the upcoming holidays, as this pie will be served at both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

You can also add a scoop of SO Delicious Soymilk Creamy Vanilla Ice Cream on top of your warm, homemade apple pie.

Enjoy. 🙂

Apple Pie Filling

Apple Pie with Sugar Mixture on Top

Homemade Apple Pie

Easy 5 Ingredient Cherry Pie: Dairy & Egg Free

I’ve literally been wanting to write this post for a year now! I’m working on another post filled with links to dairy and egg free recipes for the holidays. That has finally motivated me to get this done!

Soon I will also share a dairy, egg & cinnamon free apple pie. It’s a great pie! So is this cherry pie. What can I say? We love homemade pies!

It is lovely that this recipe only uses 5 ingredients. I could make a homemade crust (and please feel free to make your own!) but I make so many other things from scratch, that I LOVE using this crust.

The recipe was adapted from the following two recipes. Click here and here to read the original recipes.

Cherry Pie

Ingredients:

For Filling:

  • 3 bags of frozen pitted cherries
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 c cornstarch

For Crust:

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place all filling ingredients in medium sized pan and bring to a boil, stirring gently. Once it boils, lower to a simmer until the filling thickens. Take off of the heat and let cool slightly.
  3. In a pie pan, center one of the pie crusts. It will hang over the edge of pan.
  4. Pour the cooled filling into the pie pan.
  5. Center the other pie crust and put it gently over the cherry pie filling.
  6. Roll the top pie crust under the bottom pie crust. You might have bumpy large lumps in some parts but that doesn’t bother me. 🙂
  7. Use a fork to crimp the rolled together edges or use your fingers to crimp the edges.
  8. Use a sharp knife to make a few slits in the pie crust.
  9. Sprinkle a little bit of white sugar on top. (optional)
  10. Place pie on a cookie sheet (in case of overflow) and bake for approximately 50 minutes.
  11. Let cool. Enjoy!

Cherry Pie Filling

 

Homemade Cherry Pie

Homemade Cherry Pie