Category Archives: Meatless Monday

Not Just Meatless Monday Quesadillas

These are so good, you are going to want to make them regardless of whether it is Meatless Monday or not. They are very quick to put together, nutritious, and filling. Here’s how:

  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • 1 can vegetarian refried beans (or see Bean Filling below)
  • 2 cups corn (frozen, canned, or fresh)
  • 2 small avocados
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt to taste.
  • 1 1/3 cups shredded cheese (American, Mexican)
  • 1 cup tomato salsa
  • butter for greasing skillet

Heat a skillet or cast iron griddle to medium. Meanwhile, warm the tortillas in the microwave for a few seconds to make them more pliable. Heat the corn and the refried beans (or bean filling) for a minute or two in the microwave. Peel and seed the avocados in a small to medium sized bowl. Add in the lemon juice, garlic, and salt to taste. Mash with a fork until it is kind of a chunky guacamole. Assemble the quesadillas. Lay the tortillas on the counter in a row. Spread a generous spoonful or two of the bean mixture on each tortilla. I like to cover about half the tortilla. Next, spread about 1/4 of the guacamole. Then, sprinkle 1/4 of the corn, and 1/3 cup of cheese on each tortilla. Lastly sprinkle the top with the salsa. Carefully fold in half. Quickly grease the griddle or skillet. Lay the quesadillas on the griddle and watch carefully so they don’t burn. Turn over and move to a serving plate. Repeat until all are cooked. Enjoy!

Farro and Veggies for Meatless Monday

I’m a pretty big supporter of Meatless Monday. Recently I was reading an article by Joel Fuhrman, MD. He seemed to advocate of diet of very nutrientious food in moderate portions as a means of weight control.  I like to look at calories similarly to the way I look at space. There are places in my house that are very convenient and easy to reach. Those are the high-rent spaces and so I store items there that are worth taking up “high-rent” space. Similarly, since I’m trying to drop some pounds, really all the calories I consume should be “high-rent” calories: nutrient dense, healthy, and none of the empty calories. I was thinking about this at lunchtime and decided to cook farro along with some stir fried veggies for lunch. So, I did and it was delicious. Here’s how I made it:

For Farro Pilav:

  • 1 c. farro, rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2/3 c. chopped onion

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and saute onions in the oil for a minute or 2. Stir in the rinsed farro and saute another couple of minutes. Then stir in the water and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Simmer on low heat,covered for about 25 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.

For Stir-Fry

  • 1T. avocado oil
  • 3-4 green onions, trimmed and cut into 3-4 inch lengths
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced diagonally
  • 1 1/2 cup cauliflower flowerets
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 T. hoisin sauce
  • soy sauce to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 T. dry sherry or wine or water

In wok or skillet, heat avocado oil. When hot, stir in the onions, cauliflower flowerets, carrot and garlic slices. Cook, stirring occasionally about five minutes. Add the sauces and seasoning along with the sherry, wine, or water. Cover and cook covered about two minutes. Enjoy.

It is very tasty and quick. If you have adopted the vegetable saving method I discussed in an earlier post, it takes very little time to prepare. This would be easy to prepare ahead and take to work for an easy lunch. It is perfect for Meatless Monday. If I’d had mushrooms, I would have used them for a bit more protein.

Fast and Delicious Tomato Soup

 I have been making quite a bit of lentil soup lately. People I know have been sick or hospitalized and one of the things I can do is bring them soup. It can be frozen so it doesn’t force them to eat right away. Soup is easy to make and nutritious. But I have made three of four batches of lentil soup lately. I was craving soup for lunch yesterday. I normally would just make a double batch of whatever the soup was that I was taking to a friend, but this time I wanted something different!

I try to limit the times I go to a grocery store in a given week, so I was determined to make do with whatever I had on hand. So I made a creamy tomato soup. It was so delicious and here’s how I did it.

  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 generous tablespoon chicken soup base
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup cream (could substitute water)
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed hot pepper
  • 1 generous spoonful of dried basil (if you have the fresh, add to taste)
  • salt as needed
  • 1-2 T. oil
  • 1 smallish onion, diced
  • 3 T. orzo

Heat the oil in a stockpot. Throw in the onion and saute lightly for about five minutes. Add in the tomatoes, the soup base, the water, the orzo and the spices. Stir well and let simmer 10 minutes or so. Turn off or leave on very, very low heat. Add a few spoonfuls of the soup mixture to the cream, and stir well. Then add to the soup. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. Make sure it is heated through and serve. Delish!!!!!

Simple Salmon Chowder: Comfort Food at its Best

This is incredibly good. I’m a big fan of Mark Bittman’s Salmon Roasted in Butter recipe as it is delicious and very easy to do. It is a perfect company dish. But I really do not like wasting the leftover salmon. Mark Bittman’s Salmon Burgers are good too, made with leftover salmon. But this chowder is truly comfort food.

I couldn’t find the exact recipe I wanted but put it together as I went along. Here’s the basic outline:

  • 2 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 T. oil, if needed
  • 2 cups leftover roasted salmon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 4 cups low fat milk
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • flour or cornstarch and water to thicken mix (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill and/or parsley

Saute the bacon in the soup pot. When bacon is about done, if needed, add the vegetable oil and toss in the onions and potatoes. When nicely browned, add in the corn, stir and add in the milk, broth, and half and half. Then stir in the salmon. Heat gently over medium to low heat for about 30 minutes. Stir in the herbs. Taste the seasoning. If you want the chowder a little thicker, stir a tablespoon or so of cornstarch and/or flour together with a little bit of water and stir into the soup. This makes about 4 lunch or supper servings.

Italian style Haddock on Meatless Monday

I usually try to go completely vegetarian on Meatless Monday but since some friends were coming over and celebrating a birthday,  I decided that fish was a reasonable compromise since it is not really meat. A strict vegetarian might disagree.

Our friends had recently returned from a trip to Italy so I decided to incorporate some Italian flavors to our meal. I looked at a number of recipes, and am borrowing ideas from some, adding some of my own, and incorporating shortcuts.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 haddock fillets ( one could use any firm, white-fleshed fish)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
  • seasoned salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, pressed
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. dry white white
  • 1/2 c. minced parsley

Start the sauce first by putting all ingredients except the parsley into a small saucepan. Using a hand blender, kind of half puree the mixture. You should have some pieces of tomato. It should not be completely smooth but with a bit of texture. Simmer on low heat for at least an hour. Stir in the parsley at the end. Set aside.

To prepare the fish, melt the stick of butter and dump it on the baking sheet you will use for cooking the fish. On a sheet of waxed paper, mix the bread crumbs, the parmesan, the salt and pepper.

Dip each piece of fish in melted butter (which is on the baking sheet) and then into the seasoned bread crumbs. Place on the baking sheet. If there are any crumbs left after all the pieces have been coated, sprinkle on top of the fish.

At this point, you can refrigerate the fish on the baking pan. About 25-30 minutes before you plan to serve the fish, take it out of the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 450 F. When the oven is up to temperature and everything else is ready, bake the fish in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Use a timer and remove immediately. To serve, take a generous ladleful of the tomato sauce and spread over a plate. Place one cooked fillet on top of the sauce. Repeat for the remaining servings. Enjoy!

This is delicious!!!

 

 

Kisir-A Light, healthy lunch

Kisir is essentially tabbouli with extra pizazz. I like to make a batch and then we eat it for lunch or supper during the hot summer days. It keeps in the fridge for a few days and the flavors meld together beautifully. Here is how to make it:

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. fine grain bulgur
  • 2 3/4 c. (or more) very hot water
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1 T. pepper paste (available at Middle Eastern markets)
  • 1 bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 ripe tomato, finely chopped
  • 1-2 fresh hot peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 T. dried mint or 1/2 bunch fresh mint, chopped
  • 1-2 T. Pomegranate molasses (available at Middle Eastern markets)
  • lemon juice to taste- at least 4 T.
  • 1/4 c. fruity olive oil
  • 1 T. sumac, optional
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 t. cayenne pepper or 1 T. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • optional: toasted walnuts, 1 chopped onion sauteed in olive oil, chopped cucumber

Place the bulgur in a bowl with room enough for the hot water. Add the minimal amount of water first, along with the tomato paste and pepper paste (if using). Stir well and let rest for 20-30 minutes or until the water is completely absorbed. If the water is gone in 10 minutes, add more hot water. After 20-30 minutes all the water should be absorbed. If you add too much water, you will need to drain it off or add a spoonful or more bulgur.

While bulgur is soaking, chop the parsley, fresh mint, tomato, peppers, and green onions and place in serving bowl. MIx together the lemon juice, olive oil, salt, cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes, allspice, cumin and sumac. Pour over the mix. Stir in the soaked bulgur and mix well. Can serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours. Serve by itself or with romaine lettuce leaves to make kisir-romaine wraps.

8-10 servings

Adapted from Turkish Family Favorites by Helen Akinc.

Comfort Food: Tomato Basil Soup

I came up with this a few days ago when I really, really did not feel like cooking. I wanted to eat meatless and light so we did not want to go out. Since I make sourdough bread quite a bit, we usually have a loaf on hand. Glancing over some recipes, I took ideas from several but put it together on my own. I was going to add in some cream or sour cream or evaporated milk, but I didn’t have any on hand. Since all I had was almond/coconut milk I wasn’t feeling that adventurous although it might be fine. Turns out, no extra creaminess was needed. This is really outstanding. This is really fast if you are fortunate enough to have roasted cherry tomatoes in your freezer. If not, no worries, it is still very quick.

  • 1 pint pkg of frozen cherry tomatoes, roasted in olive oil (alternatives listed below*)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped or 1 T. italian spice
  • 1/2 tsp powdered garlic or 1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 healthy tablespoon of chicken broth concentrate
  • 1 carton of strained tomatoes (I think they are about 14 ounces)
  • small amount of oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup orzo pasta

* You can make your own pint pkg of frozen roasted tomatoes by roasting about TWO pints of cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, on a cookie sheet with a rim and drizzled with olive oil…freeze in a freezer bag OR I think you could sub a can of diced tomatoes….

Heat the oil in a soup pan while you chop the onion. Toss it in, and add the fresh garlic now if you are using. Throw in the defrosted tomatoes, stir a bit. Add the water, chicken concentrate, basil or italian spice and seasonings. Let it all come to a boil. Add the orzo, let it boil a minute and then turn down the heat and cover with the lid slightly ajar, and let it simmer about 45 minutes. This is unbelievably good.