So I am trying to deplete my food hoard, y’all! Yes, I have so many deals in the freezer and in my makeshift pantry (a large Rubbermaid container and a cardboard box along with a kitchen cart and an actual cabinet pantry in my kitchen), but I am overwhelmed and groceries are EXPENSIVE now so why not use my stockpile so we can spend less at the grocery store weekly and not worry about food going stale? I made a couple of pie plates worth of cheesy scalloped potatoes and a couple of smaller pans of hashbrown casserole and have those in the freezer. I also made a lentil shepherd’s pie. I’ll go over how I made these.
For the cheesy scalloped potatoes, I had 3 red potatoes and 2 golden potatoes that I needed to use up. So I sliced them in my food processor (you can easily hand slice, no processor needed!). I got some non-disposable tin pie pans at Dollar Tree this past Thanksgiving because disposable aluminum ones were outrageous! Since they’re only $1.25 a piece I didn’t worry about leaving them with someone and never getting them back. I think I got them all back or almost all of them but they come in handy with a small family (just 3 of us and one of us is only 7). Instead of making huge casserole dishes of scalloped potatoes, I can make reasonably sized ones so we don’t have to eat the same thing for a week. So I made a layer of potatoes and salted with garlic salt and black pepper and some minced onion. I repeated until my dish had potatoes to the top. I blended unflavored soymilk (I think 1.5 cups), 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I poured it in slowly to emulsify it to make like a vegan half and half), and some of this vegan cheese powder. I poured it over my 2 pie pans worth of scalloped potatoes and baked it at 380F for 45 minutes covered, and 45 minutes uncovered. Then I left it to cool, wrapped it in foil and popped them in the freezer. I snuck a few bites and it was DELICIOUS! Not kidding, I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out but no regrets!
And for the soymilk, I usually use Westsoy unsweetened but I ran out a few days ago and it’s not easy to find just anywhere. So what I did yesterday was cook a cup of soybeans in the Instant Pot and blended some of the cooked soybeans with water in my blender. It’s not as rich or creamy looking as soymilk that cooks the beans while it’s being made but I was able to strain it right away because I used cold water to blend. It was perfectly fine for my cooking I did yesterday. I froze the leftover cooked soybeans so I can make instant soymilk another day. Homemade non-fermented soymilk only lasts a couple of days in the fridge so making a whole batch in my soymilk maker isn’t always something I want to do.
Now another item I had that was a year past its best by date was some dehydrated hashbrowns. During the pandemic, I’d get a huge thing of them online from Sam’s because I was trying to avoid going into an actual store and food shortages were also real. But they smelled and looked fine so I rehydrated them with boiling water and discovered they tasted like hashbrowns too! I made some cream of soup type deal by taking 3 cups of my soymilk, some cornstarch (my guess is 1/3 to 1/2 cup is good), a heap of onion soup consomme mix (I found it deeply discounted somewhere. You can use any combo of veggie bouillon, mushroom seasoning, onion soup mix, etc.), powdered mushrooms (I had some dried ones that I didn’t like to eat that I blended into powder), and nooch and microwaved it, whisking it about every minute until it looked like canned cream of soup. I added a pinch of lactic acid to mimic sour cream, fresh minced onion, and a plop of Aldi-brand Country Crock. Lactic acid is kind of specialty and not required. You could also add a squeeze of lemon juice to add a sour element. I’m sure I added onion and garlic powders and black pepper too. I mixed that and about half a bag of Aldi-brand vegan cheddar, and put it into two dishes. I topped with some leftover stuffing mix I coated in canola oil. I also wrapped them in foil and froze them! I tasted the filling and I don’t see why it also won’t be delcious!
And since I found a bag of frozen mashed potatoes and I had about half a carton of Pacific tomato basil soup leftover, I made my version of shepherd’s pie. I cooked the lentils in some carton of veggie broth I found. Then I took my uncondensed soup and made it condensed by adding cornstarch to it along with my chopped carrots, mushrooms and some onion and microwaved it until it was thick. I added some dried rosemary and stirred in my cooked lentils and spread it in my dish. I didn’t have quite enough potatoes for the top but I had some dried potato flakes to add so I rehydrated that with water and added my generic Country Crock. I spread it on, wrapped it and froze it! I meant to add part of a leftover bag of frozen peas but I forgot. Woops! It’ll still be delicious.
So now I have two pans of scalloped potatoes, two pans of hashbrown casserole and a pan of shepherd’s pie that only need to be reheated in the oven!