Taking a Dump for Dinner

The mere concept is ripe for ridicule. Built upon a shaky foundation of canned goods and prepared foods, dump-and-bake meals are the semi-homemade answer to the daily dilemma of someone who doesn’t want to, doesn’t like to, or doesn’t know how to cook. All you need is a can opener and a cooking device; I do understand the appeal. Quick, easy, pantry-friendly, and so much more SEO gold, convenience seems to win the war over good taste in this instance.

Of course, don’t get me started on the name. “Dumping” is simply never a positive verb. Evoking images of landfills, garbage, dropping or throwing away, I can’t get past the term. Mentally condensed, I read it out as “Trash Casserole” nine times out of ten, without thinking about it. Of course, don’t get me started on the connotations of “taking a dump.”

Snark aside, there’s a time and a place for everything. It’s a shame the idea is maligned by basic nomenclature, but you can’t blame a child for a name given at birth. Considering the dire state of my refrigerator, it’s time I get my head of out the gutter- Or toilet, as it may be.

Relying more on unprocessed dry goods than traditional alchemic creations of modern prepared foods, my take on classic stroganoff is an effortless one-pan approach to nearly instant gratification. Soy curls, some of the greatest unsung heroes of meatless proteins, take the place of more bovine inclusions. Re-hydrating right in the cooking liquid, alongside dry pasta, there’s no fussy soaking, draining, sauteing, or separate special treatment necessary.

You don’t even need to break out the knives if you plan your pantry well. Purchase pre-sliced mushrooms, jars of minced garlic ready to go, and even frozen diced onion to keep in the true spirit of dumping doctrine. Heck, go ahead and use canned>mushrooms if need be. There’s no shame in making the most of what you’ve got, and this luscious cream sauce is so rich, it can easily conceal a multitude of sins.

Soaking in all the umami seasonings built into the broth, tender noodles provide actual substance, rather than filler for this rendition. Use whole grain options for a bit of extra fiber, or gluten-free if you’re intolerant. Remain flexible, keep an open mind, and start preheating your oven.

Comfort food shouldn’t just provide solace on the plate. If I may be so bold, I’d like to propose that it should be soothing to create, too.

I get it: Dump dinners sound like culinary defeat, the last attempt at sustenance devised by a starving cook at the end of their rope. It doesn’t have to be that way. Emboldened by fresher fare, let’s all take back the notion and take a dump for dinner, together!

Yield: Makes 6 - 8 Servings

Dump-and-Bake Soy Curl Stroganoff

Dump-and-Bake Soy Curl Stroganoff

Plop everything into a pot, stir, and dinner is practically done! This meatless take on stroganoff is an upgrade on the classic comfort food. Tender noodles and soy curls soak in all the umami seasonings built into the broth, cooking to perfection all in one bountiful, brilliant dish.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (4-Cup/1 Liter) Carton Mushroom or Vegetable Stock
  • 1 (8-Ounce Container) Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic or 1 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Cup Diced Onion (Fresh or Frozen)
  • 1 (8 Ounce) Container Sliced Cremini or Button Mushrooms, or 2 (4-Ounce) Cans Sliced Mushrooms, Thoroughly Drained
  • 1 (12-Ounce) Box Rotini or Rotelli Pasta (Uncooked)
  • 4 Ounces (1/2 Bag) Soy Curls (Uncooked)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Parsley, Minced (Optional)

Instructions

    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
    2. In a 13-ounce dutch oven or covered baking dish, whisk together 1 cup of the stock with the cream cheese, beating until smooth. It's easier to work with cream cheese that's a bit softer, so try to let it come to room temperature if possible. Pour in the remainder of the stock and stir thoroughly to incorporate.
    3. Add the soy sauce, nutritional yeast, garlic, thyme, and pepper. Mix to combine.
    4. Once the seasonings are well distributed, introduce the onion, mushrooms, pasta, and soy curls. Use a wide spatula to mix everything together. Pour the water on top and arrange the ingredients into a more or less even layer; everything should be mostly submerged in liquid.
    5. Cover the dutch oven with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, undisturbed.
    6. Remove the lid and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake for another 25 - 30 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges.
    7. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired, for a touch of color.

Notes

Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week when stored in an airtight container.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 280mgCarbohydrates: 19gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 4g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimates.

5 thoughts on “Taking a Dump for Dinner

  1. I love love love this recipe, even trying to get my husband, aka the tofu-hater, to eat it. So far he doesn’t hate it.

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