Virtual ConSuite - Discord #consuite

Hi ConFam!

My name is D and for the past several years I have been volunteering in the Consuite kitchen at Windy. I got involved when, several years ago, I found they were providing gluten free foods! For me, this was a big deal because I have Celiac disease. It meant I could ease up on the amount of food I would haul to/from the con for the weekend. They were also providing vegan options which I found exciting even though I am not vegan myself. I volunteered because I felt it was the least I could do, after all they were going out of their way to provide sustenance for people with celiac disease and other dietary restrictions! I found it very rewarding.

Helping prepare food for you, my ConFam, has been challenging, hilarious, stressful and mindblowingly awesome! I am proud of my fellow kitchen monkees and the whole consuite staff. Also very proud of all the meals we have provided over the last few years...except that vegan pasta bake last year, sorry! Seriously, we (I am) are soooo sorry!!!

Anyway, while I cannot help cook for you this year, I hope you will join me at breezycon for some cooking shenanigans! Below you will find the recipes I will be making. They are all vegetarian, one is vegan. The first is "Ethel's" cheezy salsa dip, second is a baked mac ‘n cheese recipe we did last year. It was very popular and easy to make. This recipe comes from Karol, of kitchen and Tarot card fame. I have been giving her credit but she's corrected me several times and it's actually her boyfriend JB's family recipe, thanks JB!!! I will be making it gluten free and showing you how to play with the recipe. The last is a vegan sloppy joe made with TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) but we will talk about other options.

I hope you'll join me, see you at Breezycon!


"Ethel's" Cheezy Salsa Dip
  • 1 15-oz. jar of medium salsa
  • 1 8-oz. package of cream cheese or nuefachatel
  • 1 to 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (you can substitute colby or jack if you prefer)

Bring all ingredients to room temperature. The cream cheese should be easy to squish with a fork. Place cream cheese in a largish bowl and smoosh it some with a fork. Add a little bit of the salsa and mix together till smoothish and faintly pink, then add more salsa and continue stirring. Once the salsa and cream cheese are completely mixed, add one cup of shredded cheese, mix and taste. If you are happy with it, save the other cup of cheese for eggs or something mac ‘n cheese! If not then go ahead and add more cheese.

"JB's Family Baked Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni (gluten free works too)
  • 2 lb sharp cheddar cheese sliced thick
  • 1 large can evaporated milk
  1. Boil elbows
  2. Layer cooked elbows to cover bottom of baking dish/pan
  3. Placed sliced cheese over elbows to cover completely
  4. Pour evaporated milk over cheese
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 and, as always, end with cheese
  6. Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to an hour until the cheese is browned to your liking
Since we are playing with this recipe, I encourage you to see what other kinds of cheese you would like to use in place of some of or in addition to the cheddar. For example, you could sprinkle some blue cheese for a bite, slices of brie would be decadent, maybe a bit of feta for zing? What about add ins??? Vegan or regular hot dogs or mini weenies would be fun as would bacos or pork bacon. Broccoli??? All deerishous, yum! Lots can be done so poke around your fridge and see what you've got!

Vegan Sloppy Joes made with TVP
  • TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) you can substitute meatless crumbles or any "meat" you like but TVP is cheap and easy
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 lg clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil; canola, corn, soy or olive
  • 1 14.5-oz. to 15-oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8-oz. can of tomato sauce
  • Vegetable broth
  • Spice mix (recipe to follow)
Spice Mix:
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp chipotle powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp sugar or sweetener of your choice
  • Stir spices

Pour oil into a pot and turn on to a medium high heat. If you're worried about the size of your pot go with a larger size, better to have more room than to have to switch to a larger pot later. When the oil is looking loose and shiny but not smoking add the onions and stir. They should sizzle when they hit the pan but not crackle. If they crackle, turn down your heat a bit and stir like the dickens to prevent onions sticking to the pot. When the onions are starting to smell good and are slick looking add in the celery and carrots, stir. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. After about ten minutes the mixture should be a little more tender, now add the bell pepper and garlic, continue to stir occasionally for another 10 minutes. Watch the garlic as it burns easily at this point. You want the mixture to be getting softer and brown but not burned. If the pot gets too dry you can add some broth, ½ a cup to a cup. Be careful because this might create hot steam so stand back and wear a mitt. While that is cooking, in a bowl rehydrate 1 cup (dry) of the TVP according to directions using the vegetable broth (I heat the broth in a pan first and add some of the spice mix to the broth, about 1 tablespoon). Back to the mixture on the stove, add the can of crushed tomatoes and tomato sauce. Get all that good stuff by adding water and swishing it around the can and pour that into the vegetable mixture. Again be careful of potential steam. Lower heat to a simmer. Add the rest of the spice mix and stir. If the mixture is getting tight add some vegetable broth, ½ a cup or so. Check the TVP, it should be soft. If it's still a little bit crunchy that's ok, it will absorb liquid from the tomatoes. Add TVP to pot and stir, lower heat and let simmer stirring occasionally till it thickens to sloppy joe consistency. If it's too tight you can add some of the vegetable broth. Turn off the heat as you get to the consistency you prefer.