Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 101:Leftovers and such

S. was out to a birthday dinner for a friend. L. had my leftover rollatini from Uncle Sal's. I had a Morningstar Farms Veggie burger with a slice of cheddar cheese and some romaine lettuce on a lovely herb filled roll I brought home from Uncle Sal's.

Day 100: Dinner out

Whew, a long and tiring day. I started the morning off opening the pharmacy at the hospital at 7:30 am, unexpectedly, filling in for a sick colleague. I left there at 9:45 and headed off to play my Tomato song and My Father's Garden at a Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service on the topic of ethical eating. At eleven, I headed over to a rehearsal for a forty-five minute program of Hebrew and Yiddish songs I am doing with two friends on March 7, then home for a quick lunch and on to a second rehearsal for the coffee house on March 5th. By the time I got home from there, I was pretty wiped out. We headed off to Enzo's - but Enzo's was closed for their grandpa's 77th birthday, so we continued on to Uncle Sal's where I had eggplant rollatini and L. had pasta with salmon and asparagus.

Day 97: Dinner at Work

L. came in to have dinner with me, as usual. We had a catered luncheon in the department and there were leftovers for dinner! Pasta with zucchini, broccoli, & red peppers, eggplant Parmesan, and a lovely salad with fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers and pignoli, from Mama's in Hackettstown.

Day 90: "Grillers" with Onions & Cheddar Cheese

Morningstar Farms Grillers. I like mine cooked in a heavy skillet on top of the stove. S. likes hers in the microwave because it is faster. I like sauteed onions on top and a slice of cheddar cheese. I am not crazy about hamburger buns, I prefer a very large slice of Calandra's Whole Wheat Panella bread cut in half and lightly toasted.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Day 99:Pasta with Swiss Chard, Onions & Cannellini Beans

Started with this recipe:
My take:
Sauteed the onions and swiss chard ribs
Put up a pot of water for the pasta
Threw a slice of day old good country bread in the food processor to make crumbs, then cooked them in a skillet with a little butter (about 2 tsps).

Added the chard to the onion mixture, let it cook down, then added a can of small white beans and let that cook a bit to meld the flavors. Boiled up some rotini pasta

Threw the pasta and some cooking water into the pot with the vegetables and heated together.
Served with freshly grated Parmesan and the above mentioned breadcrumbs.

Day 98: Eggs with onions, peppers, zucchinni & cheese

This is the way my Fridays have been going lately, home from work sometime between 5 and 6 pm, then a scramble to get something on the table for dinner so we can get to synagogue by 7:30. I don't like the rushed feeling and I'm hoping to make a change in my schedule so we can have a more relaxed start to Shabbat. This week I made a quick dish of a diced onion, one zucchini cubed, 1/2 a red pepper cut into small strips, sauteed in a little olive oil, topped with 5 eggs beaten with a little soy milk. When the eggs were set, I sprinkled some cheddar cheese on top and let that melt. We had that with Morningstar Farms breakfast sausage patties and Rye bread toast. Not fancy, but quick, tasty and filling.

Day 96: Tofu Triangles with scallions, sesame seeds & Peanut Sauce

See Day 41
1. cut the tofu into 1/4 inch slices and then into triangles. Brown in 1-2 tablespoons olive oil plus a dash of toasted sesame oil. When nicely browned on each side, pour in half the peanut sauce (see below) and simmer until reduced and bubbly.

2. Cup up 1 onion, several carrots, several stalks of celery and 1/2 a medium cabbage and stir fry in a tiny bit of oil over fairly high heat - onions & carrots first, then add celery, then cabbage, until cooked to your taste - somewhere between crisp and semi crisp - don't let the veggies turn into mush. turn off the heat when they are done - until the tofu is ready - then reheat on high with stirring.
3. Make the peanut sauce in a food processor, for each package of tofu, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tblsp tamari, 1/4 cup peanut butter (I used chunky), 2 scallions, 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons  brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or less - to taste), 2 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup water, Pinch salt.

4. Plate the tofu and top with the sauce from the pan, 2 sliced scallions, and some sesame seeds. Serve with the stir-fried vegetables and some rice (we used brown rice). Serve the extra sauce on the side

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 95: Mini "Corn Dogs" & Spinach Salad

Did a music class with the Hebrew School kids at TH from 5:45 until 6:15 PM and due for rehearsal with my new band mates at  7:15, so a speedy dinner was required. Morningstar Farms makes mini "corn dogs" - vegetarian hot dogs wrapped in a cornbread cover - well they are probably discontinued, since MF has stopped making their hot dogs, but we had a box. Heated them up and made a salad of fresh baby spinach, pecans, sliced Granny Smith apple, dried cranberries & feta cheese with balsamic vinaigrette.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 91: Vegetarian Chili

The usual recipe with slight modifications.
1 onion, 1 zucchini, chopped green pepper from the freezer equivalent to about 1 small pepper
canned corn this time (no salt) + liquid from can. 1 can dark red kidney beans, 1 can regular kidney beans, 1 can pintos.
1 can Muir Glen organic diced tomatoes and a few rings of hot pepper from the "hot peppers in vinegar" jar - chopped.
chili pepper, cumin, corriander S & P.
I let it cook a good hour -or more.
I cooked the brown rice in the microwave - first time - followed the directions on the box - came out fine - took a lot less time. I think I will do that again. Is there a microwave cooker for rice I wonder?

Day 92:Cavatelli & Broccoli

Fast. Easy. Favorite. See Day 15  and Say 28. I realized there is no picture posted - so next time we have this, I will post a picture - I'm sure it won't be long..

Day 93: Greek Vegetable Wraps

Worked 9 hours, second day of an incredibly busy weekend at the hospital, too tired to cook really, but hungry, so...
1 onion - sliced
1 medium zucchini - half moons
1/2 red bell pepper - thin, 1/2 inch slices
3-4 cups baby spinach
dried basil & oregano
6 Calamata olives- quartered
Low Fat Feta Cheese
6 Lo-carb Tortillas - fajita size
EVOO - 2 tsp or so

Start the onion in the oil in a heavy pan while slicing the zucchini, then add that and cook together until starting to brown and soften, add the pepper and cook 5 min or so, add the spinach and cook until wilted and darkening, still in 1/2 tsp each of the herbs (or to taste) and  little salt and pepper.  Heat the tortillas in the microwave for a minute or so to soften them. Split the veggie mix between the tortillas, place the veggies in the center of each tortilla. Top with 1/4 c or so of feta. fold the two sides into the middle, secure with a tooth pick. Place all six on a microwave safe platter, cover with damp towel (paper or clean cloth) and nuke until warm throughout and cheese is starting to melt.

We had these with leftover vegetarian chili and rice mixed together.

Day 94: Valentines Day - Heart Shaped Pizza from Enzos


Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 89: Stuffed Potatoes

An old favorite. Tonight's batch was a slight variation on the usual because I had no dill and I have switched to a vegan mayonnaise. Here's what I did tonight (made a big batch so there will be leftovers for lunch. My rule is always make a big batch of whatever you are making, leftovers are always good).

5 baking potatoes - I cooked them in the microwave because it is faster - but if you have the time, you can bake them in the oven. Then cut each one in half and scoop out the potato into a big bowl. Save the skins and try to keep them intact - leave a little potato on them if you need to.
Add to the potatoes in the bowl: 1/4 c mayonnaise + 1 cup or so of non-fat cottage cheese (you can use regular)
and mash this up with a potato masher.
Then add: 2-3 tsp mustard (I used 2 tsp spicy honey and 1 tsp Dijon), 1 tablespoon dill or parsley (I used parsley tonight), about 1 cup of grated cheddar cheese (I used low fat) - mix it all up and put it back into the potato skins. Sprinkle each half with a little paprika.
Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes or so - or heat in the microwave at 70% power for 5-10 minutes
Tonight, I baked them on my pizza stone and they came out very nice - a little crispy on top.

Day 88: Super Duper Super Bowl Pizza

We are generally not among the 20 million Americans who attend a Super Bowl Party, but I made us a pretty nice pizza to eat while watching the game - well L. watched the game, I was actually doing other things, football holds little interest for me.
Super Duper Pizza
1 Bobli thin crust (or crust of your choice)
1/4 cup or so of pesto (I used the last bit of frozen basil pesto from the summer)
 A hand full of baby spinach leaves
1 small zucchini
1/4 red onion
1/2 red bell pepper
6 Calamata olives - quartered
10 sun dried tomato halves - slivered
low fat feta cheese - about a cup crumbled

I cut the zucchini in half, then sliced each half lengthwise into 1/4 inch strips
I cut the red pepper into 3 strips & the onion into 2 inch pieces
I sprayed the George Foreman Grill with olive oil spray and grilled the vegetables in two batches, then chopped them into bite sized pieces and mixed them with the olives and tomatoes.
I spread the pesto over the crust, spread the spinach on top of that, topped the spinach with the roasted vegetable/olive/tomato mix and sprinkled the cheese over the top.
8 minutes at 450 F
We had this with a salad of romaine, sliced pears, toasted walnuts, and more feta.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 87: Lentil Soup

There is nothing better for Saturday supper than a bowl of lentil soup and a good piece of bread. I've said it before and I will say it again, lentils are one of the most perfect foods that God has made.

Lentil soup is the easiest soup to make. No broth is required, and no sauteeing or otherwise pre-cooking the vegetables. Home made Lentil Soup has it all over anything that comes in a can as well. Have you ever taken note of how much salt there is in canned lentil soup? Making it yourself will also save you a bundle. I am going to do an actual cost calculation - I will gather prices next time I visit the grocery store and report to you here - but I bet I can make a big pot of soup that serve about 8 people (with big dinner-sized bowls) for about the price of a can of premium soup that will serve two people at most.

Basic Lentil Soup - from the MooseWood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
Rinse 1 bag of dried brown lentils, put them in a pot with 7-8 cups of water and 2 tsp salt, bring them to a boil, then turn down to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes or so.
Meanwhile - chop: 1 onion, 2 Carrots, 2 stalks of celery and 8 cloves of garlic
When the lentil have cooked for 20 minutes, add all the vegetables plus:1 tsp dried basil and 1/2 tsp each dried thyme leaves and dried oregano - mix it up, then simmer for another 20  minutes.
Add 1 can chopped tomatoes, or chopped stewed tomatoes and cook for 10 more minutes.
Serve with a splash of red wine vinegar (or some freshly grated parmesan) or both.
1. Leave out the carrots and celery and instead add 4-6 cups chopped fresh spinach with the tomatoes
2. Add any small cooked pasta (tubetine, small bowties, even elbows) to either version

Day 86: Dinner at Enzo''s in Budd Lake

There are so many reasons why I love this place: its less than five minutes from our house, Ernie, the owner, is friendly and welcoming, his kids have all worked (or are working) there in some capacity and he can be proud of all of them - they do a fine job - they are friendly and helpful - you always get service with a smile, there is always something on the menu that a vegetarian can eat, but the number one reason I love Enzo's is that there is always something new, interesting and delicious on the menu. This is more than I feel we have any right to expect from our local pizzeria, but it is never-the-less true and even though we do not eat meat, we can usually find something new to try. L. has had some outstanding fish dishes from the daily special menu. There is often a special salad or pasta, and fall and winter bring an array of lovely homemade soups. The pumpkin soup that appears on the menu in the fall is something I look forward to all year. These daily specials range from hearty peasant fare to dishes with a gourmet presentation and level of execution that you would expect to pay twice as much for at an upscale place. There is no pretension here, just good food.

Last night I had a wonderful soup with cannelloni beans, lots of celery, roasted red pepper and black olives, with 2 slices of crusty ciabatta bread tucked into the soup at the sides of the bowl. I've never had a soup with exactly these ingredients before. The flavors were wonderful together, as were the textures, it made a lovely meal. L. had his soup with a vegetable Stromboli, I had a small house salad that included romaine and iceberg lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, green & black olives, red onion, and roasted red peppers. Just perfect.

Day 85: Caprese Pannini

Dinner at work. The cafeteria makes a pretty nice Caprese Pannini - Ciabatta bread, fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and a basil pesto. It doesn't come close to what I would make myself in the summer with a good Jersey tomato and some basil from my herb garden on the deck - but it wasn't too bad.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 84: Pasta Special

Another quick dinner.
1. Put a big pot of water up to boil
2. chop one onion and mince 1-2 cloves of garlic and start them cooking in 1-2 tsp olive oil
3. slice 1 red bell pepper in thin slices and cut the slices in thirds, then add to the onions
4. while this is cooking, boil some fettuccine according to the directions on the package
5. slice up some sun dried tomatoes and quarter 2/3 can of artichoke hearts
6. drain and rinse a can of Cannelloni beans
7. Grate 1/2- 3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
8. Add 4 cups rinsed baby spinach to the onions and garlic + a little pasta water and cook till it wilts

9. Add the SD tomatoes, artichokes and beans, salt & pepper and cook until heated through
10. Heat a little pasta sauce
11. Put some fettuccine on a plate, top with a little sauce, lots of the veggie mix and some grated cheese.

Day 83: Husband's Birthday Dinner

I made him his favorites, a piece of salmon, Brussels sprouts (pan roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper) Quick Roasted Red potatoes  (small ones, cut in half, 5  minutes in the microwave, then tossed with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and under the broiler for 10 minutes until nicely browned) and a salad of Romaine, sliced pear, shaved smoked Gouda cheese and toasted walnuts. I do not eat fish, so I had leftover stuffed peppers and salad.

Day 80: Veggie Hot Dogs

Fastest, high protein, low fat, filling, and pretty tasty dinner possible. Veggie dogs & beans heated in the microwave and a salad of Romaine& carrots.

Day 81: My Nephew's Birthday Party

I should not have eaten all that food! My sister had a lovely assortment of cheeses, crackers, and pretzels and some perfectly spicy mustard to go with them - for a starter. Then we were treated to an assortment of flat bread pizzas from their new "favorite" place: a margarita with fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil, and one with Brie, thinly sliced pears and sage, and pulled pork and bacon for the carnivores. I would normally say that pears - and Brie - have no place on a pizza - but this one was quite tasty. Also quite pretty - I should have taken a picture. Of course, there was also a Shrek themed birthday cake - and that was yummy too.

Day 82 : Quick Stuffed Peppers

As I was driving home I was, as usual, running through the contents of the fridge and pantry in my mind to see what I had on hand to make into a quick dinner. I thought of one of the last things left in the freezer from the summer CSA share, a bag of frozen green pepper halves. I cut them in half, blanched them for 3 minutes, and froze them back in August. so when I got home, here is what I did.
1. Followed the package directions on the ten minute brown rice and made 4 servings.
2. While that was cooking, I took 6 small half peppers out of the freezer, put them in a covered dish and into the microwave on auto defrost - when they came out, I blotted them with a paper towel - they were a little watery because they had been frozen - but they retained their lovely green color.
3. I chopped an onion, diced 2 cloves of garlic, and began to sautee them in about a tsp of olive oil
4. Pulled the leftover chopped canned tomatoes from the Minestrone soup out of the fridge and opened, drained and rinsed a can of black beans
5. grated about a cup or so of low fat cheddar cheese
When the onions were soft and brown, I mixed everything together in the pan with the onions & garlic; rice, tomatoes, beans, cheese, then scooped it into the pepper shells in the covered dish and put it back in the microwave, covered, for 10 minutes on 70% power -
Made a quick salad of Spinach, sliced apple, dried cranberries, and feta cheese -voila - dinner.

Day 79: Out to Dinner

Went to a new place, Sweet Jane's Cafe in Johnsonburg, NJ to hear Kate & Paul because we like their music and like to support our friends who make music here in northwest New Jersey. The music was excellent, as usual. The cafe was interesting, nice atmosphere, but the food sounded better on the menu that it turned out to be in execution. I had a "veggie burger" that was mostly mushy rice served on a charred bun. The "burger" was a little too big and a little too spicy and did not hold together at all. It was served with sweet potato fries all of which were either burnt or undercooked. L.had a flat bread pizza with hummus, spinach, feta and black olives and reported that the flat bread was also burnt on the bottom. He did have a nice salad with fruits and nuts though.

Day 78: Home Made Minestrone

L. came in to join me at work, as usual. I made a lovely minestrone soup yesterday for lunch with kidney beans, carrots, celery, onion, the last of the summer corn and green beans from the freezer, fresh spinach, and some canned tomatoes and tubetini pasta. The leftovers were very nice with a grilled cheese sandwich for a work night supper.