Some weeks just seem to be cursed. For me, last week was that week. I happen to be a lover of Mondays. I know my love for the first day of the week is not that common, but I usually have fun, relaxing weekends and wake up feeling rested and excited for the possibilities the week will bring.
But when you find out on a Monday before 9 am that not just one, but two of the long-term projects you’ve been working on are ending unexpectedly, well, that’s not the kind of possibility I am looking for. Add to that a virus-infected blog (sorry!), another project disappointment, a few promised calls that never came, a bad running week, and a few other things that I can’t really mention, and the week is like being behind a punching bag that keeps being hit.
Cooking is almost always a comfort in times like this, and I felt some positive energy as I thought about mixing in the season’s favorite ingredient, pumpkin, with a few other ingredients to make a vegan “cheese” sauce for pasta.
While in the checkout line at the store, I noticed that my can of pumpkin was severely dented. With just a minute to spare until it was my turn to check out, I sprinted back to the pumpkin aisle to grab another can.
When I got home I realized it was pre-made pumpkin pie filling instead of plain old pumpkin. With the week I was having, this was last straw kind of stuff. We were eating this pumpkin for dinner if the meal had to consist of pumpkin pie.
Luckily, we have a kitchen full of spices, and I was able to counteract the pumpkin pie flavor, making a creamy, delicious sauce that was full of flavor and nutrition.
19 ounce can of cannellini beans, drained
30 ounce can of pumpkin (or pumpkin pie mix)
3/4 cup of nutritional yeast, plus as much as you like for topping finished product
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons curry powder
shake of red pepper flakes
Since I knew I would be blending the sauce for a long time, I roughly chopped the onion and garlic, just so that it could cook and soften all the way through.
Once the onion and garlic were smelling great and softening in some olive oil, I layered in the other ingredients for the sauce: white beans, nutritional yeast, chili powder, curry powder, and pumpkin, plus a dash of habanero sauce.
I let the mixture get nice and hot, stirring everything together as it simmered, and then transferred into my trusty Ninja blender. I love this thing!
I blended for about five minutes until the sauce was nice and creamy and used it as a topping for whole wheat elbow macaroni, adding extra nutritional yeast to make it a little more “cheesy”.
While the week might have been a bad one, and I completely flubbed on the pumpkin purchase, a little bit of creativity and a lot of spice was able to turn dinner around, avoiding a GrubHub order. We’ve certainly been doing enough of those lately!
There’s nothing like a good dinner and a positive attitude to try to turn things around!
Have you had any kitchen “oops” moments that you were able to fix into something fabulous?