It was one of those cooking days. I try to cook over the weekend to make mealtimes easier during the week. Ok, to keep me from saying what’s for dinner when I get picked up from work and then trying to coax dinner out even though there is no money or ramen for dinner because I am too hungry to think.
This goes particularly well this time of year because we eat a lot of salads and the like. Yesterday morning, I made a brown rice salad that we have been enjoying. (very inexpensive, very quick, very satisfying) while I made the hash brown casserole we had for breakfast. I also had plans to use some zucchini last night for dinner, but we ended up having some of the brown rice salad instead.
So, today I went to the kitchen. I pulled out the makings for an artichoke tofu salad-also getting good play around here. (basically: one jar artichoke salad, a cube of firm tofu, a half teaspoon dry mustard, some mushrooms, a bit of garlic, 1/4 cup vinegar, a can of olives, salt, pepper, 1/4 cup dry parsley or equiv amount fresh, and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.) I grabbed the zucchini. I grabbed potatoes. I grabbed onion. I grabbed cucumbers. I got out the ricotta and the garlic. Now I had no counter space, but on I went!
Artichoke salad-check. Cucumber and Onion salad-check. (last minute decision when I saw the cukes)
Zucchini, Potato, ricotta Casserole…check! Not so fast. I don’t have a recipe. I search quickly. Nothing using all three ingredients. Ok, I can modify a zucchini custard recipe. Maybe. We will see. I am sauteeing away the onions and the garlic. I throw the rest of the package of mushrooms in. Sure. That will go. I peel and slice the potatoes into the sauteeing mushrooms, onion and garlic. I throw in some dill. I set to slicing the zucchini. Oops. Those zucchini that were fine two days ago…not so fine today. REALLY not fine. Umm no zucchini…for the zucchini based dinner planned. Hmm…well we have the potatoes. They are already cooking. I have a couple of bell peppers left, one yellow, one green. We are good to go. It turned out well and was well received despite the doubtful looks and first bites. I will be making it again. We often have a bit of this and that and I think we could throw it in successfully.
Anyhow here is what I ended up with:
Potato Ricotta Custard (Could use a zippier name)
Tarrant’s Potato Specialty
1/4 cup onion (I used the snipped bottom ends of spring onions that had seen better days)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (you know, that quick kind in the jar)
4 red potatoes, thinly sliced
3/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. dill weed
2 chopped bell peppers
Saute all that together in enough olive oil that it doesn’t stick. Stir frequently. You don’t want the potatoes to stick and stuff.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (yes, probably better with fresh shredded fancy stuff, but I used the kind in the green jar…store brand even…and it was just fine)
1 tsp or so salt
3/4 tsp pepper
Place vegetables in the bottom of a large casserole dish. Pour ricotta mixture over top. Bake 45 minutes at 450 F. or until custard is set. Sprinkle with a bit of fresh ground pepper.