Veggin’ out

Roasted potatoes, garlic knots and baked pasta

Last month my friend messaged me to ask for my help with something she wanted to do for another mutual friend of ours. Our friend just had a baby girl two months earlier and she didn’t have time to cook or even go out to get herself a good meal. Having my own 8-month-old daughter at the time, I knew the feeling well! I anticipated having no time to cook once my daughter was born, so I made a few things ahead of time and froze them so I could just pop them in the microwave when I had little time to do much more than take care of my new baby.

My friend said she wasn’t much of cook and asked if I could help her with coming up with and preparing a few meals for our new mommy friend, who happened to be a vegetarian. I said absolutely, of course, and started to brainstorm a few ideas. After finding out her likes, we picked a day, went to the Williamsport Grower’s Market and Wegmans and back to my place to get to work!

We spent the entire day cooking and wound up with six different things to give to our friend: Caprese calzones, garlic knots, roasted red potatoes, a pasta bake, stuffed pepper casserole and my regular go-to, roasted vegetables. There was so much food, I got to keep some of it myself. Here are a few of the recipes for what we made.

Garlic knots

(Adapted from

The biscuits used in this recipe are not vegan, but there are recipes online that you can find and try to use with this one.

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (or non-dairy butter)

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (or non-dairy cheese)

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (16-ounce) tube refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together butter, parmesan, garlic powder, oregano, parsley and salt; set aside.

Halve each of the 8 biscuits, making 16 pieces. Roll each piece into a 5-inch rope, about 1/2-inch thick and tie into a knot, tucking the ends.

Place knots on the baking sheet and brush each with half the butter mixture. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.

I topped with more parmesan cheese.

Pasta bake

(Adapted from

1 16-ounce box pasta of choice (we used penne)

1 16-ounce container ricotta cheese (or non-dairy substitute)

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided (or non-dairy cheese)

1 large egg (or flax egg)

3 cups spaghetti sauce

1/4 cup parmesan cheese (or non-dairy cheese)

If you are cooking this for a vegan, make sure there are no eggs in your pasta first. See older Veggin’ Out columns to see how to make a flax egg.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan.

Cook the pasta following the package instructions and drain.

In a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, seasoned salt, garlic powder and half of the mozzarella cheese. Add the egg and mix together well.

Stir in the drained pasta and transfer to the baking dish. Pour the sauce over everything.

Bake for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining cheeses and bake for 5 more minutes or until the mozzarella cheese has melted.

This went well with our garlic knots!

Roasted red potatoes

1 bag small red potatoes, halved

Olive oil

Garlic Powder

Onion Powder


Parmesan cheese (or non-dairy cheese)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place halved potatoes on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, garlic and onion powders and parsley. Bake for about 30 minutes or until tender when you poke potatoes with a fork.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Stellfox is the Lifestyle editor at the Sun-Gazette.

Her award-winning column is published on the fourth Sunday of each month in the Lifestyle section.

She can be reached at jstellfox@sun­