Last week I was faced with a conundrum. I started dinner too late to use my crock pot, but I couldn't use the stove because we had a play date planned and I needed to do all of the prep work up front and leave something that Tim could just pop in the oven at a specified time.
I was planning on either making veggie chili or a spaghetti hot dish of some variety. Since we had just enjoyed our favorite taco pasta bake, my 9x13 pan was sitting right on the counter waiting to be put away and I grabbed it, greased it, and started creating.
First I cooked a bag of macaroni style noodles (gluten free for us, of course). Part way through the cooking process, I pulled out enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish. (The rest I finished cooking and tossed with some fresh raw veggies, parmesan cheese, and Italian dressing for a quick pasta salad that we enjoyed for lunch.)
In another pan I sauteed some chopped onion, garlic, and green pepper. Then I added in my version of a ground meat substitute, a combination of mashed and chopped lentils and beans. I added a little bit of water and a can of crushed tomatoes, seasoned with some chili powder and salt and let the whole thing cook for 10-15 minutes. When I decided it was ready (which was completely arbitrary based on the 5 million other things I was doing at the time), I poured it over the pasta.
I added about a half of a bag of frozen corn, a few ladles of extra water (because I knew it would cook down), and stirred it all together. After a few sprinkles of cheese on the top (think about 1/4-1/2 cup total), I covered it with foil and left it in the fridge with cooking instructions. (Ok, I forgot to leave the cooking instructions. I texted them to Tim later, but that's the same thing, right?)
After baking at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (uncovered) it looked about like this.
AND, it tasted so outstanding that the kids ate 3 bowls... each!
Since there were fewer than 4 servings of pasta in the entire dish I couldn't call it spaghetti, yet chili alone seemed inadequate, so I'm going with baked chili. I have no doubt we will be enjoying this creative mistake again!
Maybe next I will share my accidentally vegan, orange blueberry bread that did not turn out. You know, just to make sure you know that my creative cooking gets me in trouble sometimes to!