Tag Archives: Vegan

Snacker Day Saturday: 6/23

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These skewers are super capr-easy. And, they’ll use up produce from gardens I know that some of you are growing. Ripe cherry tomatoes literally burst with flavor while roasting in the oven, tofu sizzles, and fresh basil, well…freshens up the whole flavor. All of this gets dunked into a nice cool bath of seasoned balsamic vinegar.

I love any take on the traditional caprese salad. One of my favorite versions that I’ve had is at a little place called the Saxapahaw General Store in Saxapahaw, North Carolina. My parents came to visit me so I took them to the locally-supplied restaurant which is located in a converted gas station. Cool, right? My mom and I decided to do a sandwich swap and ordered a roasted vegetable sandwich and a Mozzarella Caprese sandwich. Although it’s been over a year, I can’t get the taste of the Mozzarella Caprese out of my mind. A freshly baked baguette, meaty slices of ripe tomatoes, delicate fresh leaves of basil, and thick chunks of mozzarella, all coated with a home-made balsamic vinaigrette. Yum.

The other day I was hunkered down in my basement fort, armed with my Hemingway text in one hand and a pen in the other. And I was trying to concentrate. I really was. But all that caught my attention was a view of this out the window:
Once I saw the clouds, I started worrying that the downpour that would surely ensue would blow all of my little cherry tomatoes away. I’ve been working hard on taking care of those little guys – I mean, I get a gym membership’s worth of strength training lugging two watering cans out to the plants each day. I set down Hemingway and ran upstairs to go collect all of my little tomatoes and I saved them all before the sky opened up.

Fast forward a few hours through a soldier falling in love with a nurse, me writing a blog post for the Chamber of Commerce, and working on applications for grad school. Lunch rolled around and my collection of tomatoes sat waiting for me in a little bowl on the counter. And then, inspiration hit: a summery lunch that would use all of my precious tomatoes and some of the basil leaves that have been winding wildly towards the screen window they sit by.

To make my cap-reasy salad skewers, all you need are some tiny cherry tomatoes (aren’t they the cutest?), a few cubes of tofu, some fresh basil, and some good balsamic vinegar for dipping. Pop ’em in the oven, pop ’em in your mouth. Bada-bing, bada-boom. These mini-skewers are as cute as the ingredients that top them. They’d be perfect as hors d’ oeuvres at a party, a fresh summer lunch, or as an appetizer at a barbeque. Or as a refreshing snack in the midst of a Snacker Day Saturday!

Moral of the story: I’m really, really glad I rescued my cherry tomatoes from the storm! Other moral of the story: waiting is challenging. I used all my cherry tomatoes on this lunch so I’m now going to sit outside by my tomato plants and beg and plead them to ripen faster so I can make more of these delicious skewers. Okay, don’t worry, I won’t really go talk to my plants, but I sure am excited for the next batch of them to ripen up!

Capr-easy Salad Skewers
Ingredients
*Note: I’m not including amounts in this recipe. I’ll let you know how to make the skewers, but feel free to make as many or as little as your heart desires (or however many your garden dictates)
Cherry tomatoes
Firm tofu
Garlic powder
Fresh basil leaves
Balsamic vinegar
Italian seasoning blend
How To
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Spray a cookie sheet lightly with cooking spray. Place washed cherry tomatoes onto the sheet.
3. Cut tofu into small blocks and dry them by pressing on them with a paper towel to extract excess moisture. Next, toss them in a little bit of garlic powder.

4. Put the seasoned tofu blocks onto the cookie sheet alongside the cherry tomatoes. Put the sheet in the oven. Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until the tomatoes have burst and the tofu is slightly firm on the outside.
5. Grab some toothpicks. Slide a tomato, a piece of tofu, and a fresh basil leaf onto each.
6. In a small bowl, mix balsamic vinegar with Italian seasoning. Add a drizzle of olive oil if you’d like.
7. Serve up a savory summertime snack that everyone will feel good about eating!

Now, for the reading portion of today’s snacker day: I suggest you read a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life  by Barbara Kingsolver. No, it’s not a ‘snack-sized’ read like most of the literature I try recommending on Saturdays, but this one is a great book to sit down and enjoy during summer. Barbara Kingsolver and her family grow their own food for a year and chronicle their experiences. If you’ve got a garden of your own, are looking to start one, or are simply interested in eating local, natural, real food, this is a book you’ll probably love. I really enjoyed it when I read it a couple years ago! It came to mind today while I was picking my food for lunch – it felt good that most of my meal came from the vine and landed on my plate mere minutes later. Hope you have a great Snacker Day Saturday!

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Healthy Whole-Wheat Nectarine Bread

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Quick! Run to the grocery store and buy a nectarine!  You’ll need it to make this.I’d love to share a slice of this with you from the loaf I just made but I’m afraid that’s not possible. Why? Because this bread is going, going…Gone.

I hope you’ve stopped reading this post for a second to run to the store to buy a nectarine. Or a whole bushel so you can make a loaf of this stuff every day. Trust me, you’ll want to. And you won’t feel a single morsel of guilt eating the whole loaf while you’re home alone for the day a few slices because this bread is super healthy. Whole-wheat  flour and sweet morsels of nectarine are united in this bread to create a bread that packs the heartiness of honest-to-goodness whole-wheat, and the delicate notes of fresh fruit. It’s the best of both worlds; filling yet delicate in the same bite.

I usually wouldn’t urge anyone to make a bread recipe. I mean seriously, bread?? I’m usually not the biggest fan of bread (unless it’s my grandma’s loaded, homemade, fresh-from-the-garden zucchini bread, or my other grandma’s decadent walnut-date bread – either of those I could easily eat in one sitting). But this bread that I made today is really, really good. I dunked a few slices into some vanilla yogurt and slathered some peanut butter on top of another chunk. This bread would be perfect as a wholesome breakfast when paired with some yogurt, a post-workout snack when matched with some protein-packed peanut butter and maybe a drizzle of honey, by itself as a snack, or warmed up for dessert and served with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. I guess you guys all know what my diet’s going to look like the next few days: this bread for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. But before I proceed to eat this for the rest of the week, I’ll have to make another loaf. Here’s the recipe so you can make one too!

Healthy Whole-Wheat Nectarine Bread
Ingredients
1 cup whole-wheat flour (I used Hodgson Mill’s Whole-Wheat Flour because they grind their wheat in a way that preserves all the good stuff)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 tablespoons milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 nectarine, chopped into small chunks
How To
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (from flour to sugar). Stir the ingredients so that they are mixed well.
3. Add the ‘wet ingredients’ (from apple sauce to vanilla extract). Mix batter well.
4. Last, add the chopped up nectarine and gently fold the pieces in.
5. Spray a bread pan with cooking spray and then pour the batter into the pan. Bake the bread in the 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Stick a thin knife or a toothpick into the center of the bread to check if it is done. Then, gather your friends and family around and serve up a slice of goodness.
If you’re not too busy whippin’ this bread up yet, I’d just like to say that I apologize for the lack of book-related material on here lately. I haven’t been in the mood to write about books on here for the past couple weeks because I’m in the middle of research for school. Research=writing tons and TONS about books. I’m currently reading A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway which is plenty of book-action for me write now. I hope you caught that last pun. While I am sorry for not providing any book-insight lately, I’m glad to present you with recipes like this one. Hope you love it!

Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries

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Or in our case, it’s a bowl of chocolate-covered cherries. In smoothie form. If the idea of plump cherries diving into a bowl of decadent chocolate isn’t enough to make you smile about life for a second, then you should probably just give up on this recipe now. But if you’re like me, and love the idea of a super secretly healthy treat appearing as a great big bowl of rich cherries and chocolate, then stick around.

This recipe is great used as a substitution for dessert, a really great sweet snack in the middle of the afternoon, or if you just want an excuse to eat chocolate covered cherries for breakfast. Whatever floats your boat! I enjoyed a huge bowl of this stuff after I came home really hungry from an event I went to. I topped my smoothie with a huge dollop of Greek Yogurt (what a shock, right?), and some sliced cherries. The blend of textures and flavors added great dimension to the smoothie. Finding the fresh cherries that began to sink into the melting mess of smoothie and yogurt was like scooping out the biggest cookie chunks in a pint of cookies ‘n cream ice cream. You know that feeling, right?

I highly recommend this as a decadent smoothie treat. It tastes heavier than some smoothies, but the ingredients are super healthy and light, meaning that this is definitely a guilt-free bowl of goodness. Feel free to sip the smoothie out of a glass like a normal person, but I’ll go right on ahead and eat this smoothie out of a bowl.

Here’s the recipe for this chocolate-covered cherry smoothie. I hope that life is as awesome as a bowl full of chocolate-covered cherries for you always!

Chocolate-covered Cherry Smoothie
Ingredients
(Makes 1 smoothie)
1 cup cherries, pitted and sliced in half
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Ice
Optional: 1 tablespoon (or more) sugar, or sugar substitute
How To
1. Combine everything in a blender. Blend it all up and pour into your favorite glass or bowl.
2. Have fun with toppings – add some fresh cherries to the top, a squirt of whipped cream, some yogurt, granola, or oats. Enjoy!!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying the drink recipes all week! To see a list of all the recipes with images, check out my new drinks page I created. Hope it helps you keep track of your favorites!

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothies

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Strawberries always remind me of Alaska. When we lived in Anchorage, we had a small garden where we grew strawberries, chives, rhubarb, and raspberries. The strawberries that we grew were always the cutest. Their yellow seeds weren’t any bigger than an aphid, green stems as small as newly sprouted leaves, and the actual berries were as tiny as thimbles. We’d water them and watch the plants slowly unfurl under the seemingly endless sunlight that only an Alaskan summer can bring.

While we waited for berries  to ripen we occupied ourselves by swimming in a kiddie pool in our front yard, collecting daddy long leg spiders, and playing in our top secret fort in the backyard. We hiked out as a family to the same lake each year to canoe, swim, and stay in a little cabin on an island where we’d roast hot dogs over the fire and complain about the smelly outhouse. We’d gather the cul-de-sac kids and play baseball on our pavement diamond, hitting plastic baseballs into anyone and everyone’s yard without care. We attempted to hatch a ladybug nest in our kitchen one year and a praying mantis the next, never succeeding. We learned to fish, about harvesting and giving back to the earth, and about the abundance of the Alaskan wilderness. We did a lot while the berries ripened.

Alaska will always hold a special place in my heart. It was there that I was born, learned to hike like a billy-goat, developed my tolerance for the cold, started a habit of swimming in any body of water available to me, craved fresh produce, started loving the mountains and lakes and the trees, and the patience to wait for something small and seemingly insubstantial to grow so sweet. There’s nothing sweeter than eating a button-sized strawberry you grew yourself.

Since we didn’t harvest too many strawberries (thanks to two little kids and a host of woodland creatures who loved to snack on them), we usually just ate our strawberries plain. A delicious summertime treat that gleans sweetness from these plump red berries is one I’m sure you all know and love: strawberry shortcake.

I thought I’d try to bring a little bit of strawberry shortcake action into the world of smoothies with this recipe that I came up with today. I love the flavor of the berries in this smoothie, along with the texture that the oats bring. Best of all, it’s bursting with the taste of strawberries that always brings me back to Alaska. My mom tried this smoothie with me and she commented that it tasted like a smoothie version of a strawberry crumble. This smoothie would be a perfect, well-rounded breakfast, or a refreshing dessert that is healthy and wholesome to boot. It’s fun to serve parfait style (as pictured) or to blend all the ingredients up for a great mixture of flavors and textures. It would be an easy party dessert or brunch addition to make beforehand and store in the freezer.

Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie
Serves 1-2 people
Ingredients
For the “strawberries”:
4 oz. non-fat vanilla yogurt (or use vanilla Wholesoy or a different brand if vegan)
1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
1 cup frozen, chopped strawberries
Optional: sugar, if desired. I made mine without and it was great!
For the “shortcake”:
1/4 cup oats
A little more than 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
Optional: Pinch of Cream of Tartar (I used it to make it taste a little more like shortcake, but if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it)
Sugar (again, add sugar to this mixture if you’d like. I enjoyed mine sans sugar.)
How To
1. The night before you want to make this (or eight hours before), mix oats and milk in a small tupperware or bowl. Store it in the fridge. If you’ve made overnight oats before, this is essentially the same thing. You want this mixture to be pretty thick so adjust oat and milk ratio as necessary.
2. Eight hours or a night after you make the oat mixture, get ready to make a great smoothie! In a blender, combine all components of the strawberry mixture. Add extra milk to this mixture if you need to in order to help it blend smoother.
3. At this point, choose whether you’d like to make parfaits, or just one big glass of strawberry shortcake goodness. If you’re making parfaits: spoon some of the oat mixture into the bottom of small glasses. Top with smoothie mixture. If you’d like to add a little extra flavor and nice presentation, top with a small dollop of vanilla yogurt and a strawberry slice. Sprinkle a few uncooked oats on top as well to add a little extra crunch.  If you’re making a smoothie: dump oats into blender and blend mixture until all is mixed well. Pour smoothie into a glass or two and dive into sweet summertime strawberry-filled bliss. If you’re making the smoothie, feel free to top it off with a little yogurt, some oats, and strawberry slices as well. Hope enjoy it enough to scoop every last morsel out of the parfait glass like I did – this photoshoot was hard to get through without sampling!

Summer Spaghetti Supper

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To me, summer is as much about soaking up time with family as it is about soaking up sunshine. Now that my brother and I are in college (on different sides of the country), it’s a big deal for us to sit down as a family to supper. Summertime is special because it acts as a window into years past, where eating dinner as a family was simply routine for us. My parents always sought to make healthy meals to share with the family, so I quickly learned habits from them; incorporating vegetables into every meal, serving a huge bowl of fruit for the family to share, and accommodating meals for the entire family to enjoy.

Since I’ve been home from school (and unabashedly professed my love of cooking to the world), I’ve put myself in charge of cooking family dinners several times a week. Cooking is an outlet for me. Often more importantly than that, it’s a way to show people close to me how much I care for them. I love cooking meals that satisfy everyone’s taste buds, nutritional needs, and are loaded with fresh, seasonal veggies which is why I came up with this versatile dinner that everyone felt good eating.

(Spaghetti squash on the left, spaghetti on the right)

Since my brother can eat nearly a box of spaghetti by himself and I can pound nearly a whole spaghetti squash in one sitting, I decided to play up both of our strengths and offer options to the family. I made a simple, light, broth-based sauce to top either of the bases with, and roasted a slew of summer-fresh vegetables to pile on top. Sadly, we weren’t able to dine as a family because of hectic schedules, but everyone was well-fed with a home cooked meal.

This meal is perfect for making on those days where you feel like you’re running all day and getting nowhere. It’s quick, versatile, easily microwaveable, and easy to adjust for anyone’s diet. Plus, it takes advantage of some delicious summer flavors that you won’t want to miss. Not to mention, it looks pretty too!!

Summery Spaghetti Supper
Ingredients
A base: 1 spaghetti squash, 1 box spaghetti, 1 box penne noodles
1.5 cups broth (vegetable or chicken broth)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons ground Italian seasoning
Cooking spray
15 cherry tomatoes
8 stalks asparagus
1/2 yellow onion
10 cloves garlic, whole and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
Optional toppings: parmesan cheese, extra Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, fresh parsley
How To
1. The roasted vegetables will take the longest, so start with those. In a lightly sprayed large casserole pan (or a cookie sheet), place whole cherry tomatoes and garlic cloves. Next, break asparagus at natural breaking point and then chop them into bite-sized pieces. Add to pan. Chop the onion up and add to pan as well. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over all of the vegetables.
2. Put the vegetables into the oven and cook them at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to stir a couple times while they are cooking.
3. While the veggies are roasting, prepare the base of your meal. Cook spaghetti squash in the microwave by puncturing it lightly with a fork or knife several times and then cooking for 10-15 minutes, checking it to ensure it doesn’t explode. Cook pasta according to package directions.
4. Prepare the ‘sauce’ by mixing broth with vinegar and seasoning in a large bowl. Mix well and let them sit so the flavors meld together as the dinner is cooking.
5. To assemble, simply pour strained pasta into the bowl with the sauce mixture and stir well. Then, use a slotted spoon to serve pasta on plates. Top with roasted vegetables. If eating spaghetti squash version, simply put spaghetti squash on a plate or in a bowl, then pour a small amount of sauce on top. Top with roasted vegetables. *Note: you will need FAR LESS sauce if you make only spaghetti squash, as the vegetable is liquidy and therefore does not soak the sauce up as well. However, pasta will soak up some of the flavor and sauce so use the directed amount.
6. Sit down with your family and a huge bowl of fresh strawberries and blueberries, and dig into a great summertime meal!

Snacker Day Saturday: 5/19

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It’s gonna be a great Saturday if you spend a couple minutes in the kitchen whipping these up. Yep, you heard me right – a couple minutes for a perfect sweet and salty snack that’ll blow your tastebuds right out of the kiddie pool and into a lounge chair in the sunshine where they belong. Bonus? They’re so cute that if you managed not to inhale them all straight after making them, they’d be perfect to bring to a summery barbeque, a memorial day picnic, or just as a little snack to pass around during a late-night summer movie with the family. Another bonus? You probably have all the ingredients in your pantry.

Summertime always reminds me of s’mores, which kind of inspired this snack. My brother and I used to sit out in the backyard on fallen logs and roast a bag of marshmallows each over our homemade firepit. I’d brave swarms of ticks and chiggers in the high grass just to find the perfect roasting sticks while my brother fanned the flames. Once the fire simmered to the point in which little coves of scorched logs trapped heat, and we were able to lightly brown our marshmallows by simply twisting our sticks a couple times, we’d break into our bags and start chowing down. And I wasn’t joking when I said we ate a bag of marshmallows each.

Now I know you might be thinking, what do s’more have to do with this snack? There aren’t any graham crackers. Or marshmallows. Or flickering flames lapping up a creamsicle sky. Truth is, I’ve never loved graham crackers. My favorite way to eat marshmallows over a fire is to stuff a marshmallow with a thin sliver of chocolate and then smear peanut butter all over the outside of it after it finishes roasting.

Since my house is currently being rebuilt (it was hit by a tornado), I don’t really have access to our usual firepit. I almost bought marshmallows at the store the other day but it felt wrong to eat them before puffing them up and adding a crispy outer layer to them in the flames. So I did what I do best: I switched up a recipe so it is almost unrecognizable. Case in point – traditional s’mores: graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow. My revamped summer snack-attack version: pretzels, peanut butter, banana, chocolate. This snack is s’more like in its’ layers, chocolate-laced character, and satisfying sweetness. Oh, and in crowd-pleasing abilities. Trust me, everyone will swarm to these snacks like flies to the sticky-sweet chocolate bars that always melt near the flames. I like to think though, that they’re a little better than s’mores, if only because of the fact that they are nutritionally superior. These nibbles are filled with potassium, protein, and antioxidants. So go ahead, get snackin’!

PB&Choco Banana Pretzel Bites
Ingredients
1 banana
7 pretzels (+1 for sprinkling)
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
.5 oz dark chocolate
How To
1. Set out 7 pretzels on a small plate.
2. Spread the peanut butter evenly on each pretzel.
3. Chop the banana into 7 sections (be sure to cut off the two ends of the banana and eat them or discard them – don’t use them on the pretzels). Top each PB covered pretzel with one slice of banana.
4. Place the dark chocolate on a microwave safe plate or bowl and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Check on the chocolate and stir a little bit. Then, put the chocolate back into the microwave for another 15 seconds and check on the chocolate. If necessary, microwave for 10-30 seconds more, ensuring that you don’t burn the chocolate.
5. Once the chocolate is melted, spoon a little bit on the top of each banana. Smooth it out and let the chocolate start to harden. While it’s hardening, crumble a pretzel into very small pieces and sprinkle the pretzel on top of each chocolate topping. Then, let the chocolate harden for a while, or just eat the pretzels as is. Either way, I guarantee you’ll want s’more!

So I know I usually recommend a short story or poem, but today I have a little something different to share as far as reading materials go. Yesterday I blogged about a sweet potato and apple casserole that Jane Brody included in her book Jane Brody’s Good Food Book. I’ve been reading the opening chapters of the book that details a nutritional outline of what humans need and how Brody believes these requirements are best met. She includes tons of information about foods that seem common but have been neglected because of the introduction of technology, food processing, and various diet-references to certain foods. For example, she talks about white potatoes (and how they are healthy!!), wheat and how it has been stripped of most nutritional properties, and more plant-based methods of attaining full and complete nutrition than what society relies on today. Since I’m so into the book, I figured I’d recommend it as a snacker day Saturday read. Best part about this book? You can read as little as a section per time, or as much as the whole book (which would take you a few days because it’s loooonngggg). Also great? The book has hundreds of healthy recipes at the end that follow the nutritional guidelines she suggests. Hope you have a great snacker day Saturday!

Roasted Zuchinni Mock-sagna

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There are some days I just crave lasagna. Ever have one of those days? It usually happens to me when the day is long and cold – like today! Despite the fact that it’s April, a day filled with chill-to-the-bone weather, grey skies, and a drizzle of rain popped up. I spent the day shuffling to class, rushing into the warm gym to work out, and then hustling home to get snuggled into sweat pants. All I wanted for dinner was a heaping slice of lasagna, piled high with veggies and filled with warm Italian flavors. Then I wanted to eat. And repeat.

However, I had no lasagna noodles on hand and not nearly enough ingredients to fill an entire casserole pan with veggies, so I resorted to my next best option: creating my own “mock-sagna” with an array of vegetables, spices, and tofu from my supply in an individual casserole dish. I’ve raved about this utensil before, this useful, one-dish-wonder individual casserole pan that creates perfectly portioned dinners. I’ve made a creamy pasta casserole and a coffee infused sweet potato casserole in it before and I love the way that it bakes the meal evenly throughout and doubles as a great bowl to eat out of.

Today was the perfect day to break out the casserole dish again, and I combined numerous roasted veggies to create a mock-sagna that satisfied my craving for a hearty lasagna while only using ingredients that I had on hand. I paired the vegetables with a “cheesy” roasted tofu that takes on the texture of ricotta and adds a saltiness to the dish. Best of all, this meal was quick to make and perfect for an oddball chilly day in the middle of spring. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Roasted zucchini Mock-sagna
Ingredients
1 zucchini
1 tomato
1/2 package frozen spinach
1/5 block of firm tofu
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Italian seasoning

How To
1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice zucchini longways, into very thin noodle-like pieces. Be careful doing this and try to make each piece even.
3. Slice tomato into thin slices.
4. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking oil and place the zucchini onto it. Sprinkle zucchini with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Pop them in the oven until they brown slightly around the edges.
5. At this point, add the tomatoes to the pan and sprinkle with same spice blend as zucchini. Cook for 5-10 more minutes. When finished, place to the side to cool.
6. Remove spinach from the freezer and microwave as per package directions. Take half of the spinach and drain it. Put it into a skillet and mix in mashed tofu. Heat in skillet with nutritional yeast until tofu is slightly browned/firm.
7. Grab your casserole dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray casserole dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the dish with zucchini slices. Next, layer half of the spinach and tofu mixture. Cover with all of the tomato slices.
8. Layer another layer of zucchini and then top the dish with the remaining tofu and spinach mixture. Sprinkle extra nutritional yeast on top, if desired.
9. Bake the mock-sagna until the top is slightly crisp and the dish is clearly heated. Then, sit down and enjoy your own personal piece of comfort!