Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30 - Steak? Mushrooms?

My son and hubby went snow camping this weekend and left me and mom at home (alone). I discovered some Portabello Mushrooms in the fridge that hubby brought home. Lucious mushroom caps stuffed with herbs and spices, cheese, and red bell pepper.

Which was very exciting.

And I was about to be put to my first real meat test. Steak. Its my favorite meat. Ever. And my mom, who is NOT a vegetarian, decided that she was going to cook herself a steak for dinner. With a baked potato. Which she did, and it smelled really good.


I cooked up those mushrooms and a baked potato. And I didn't even miss the steak. That mushroom was sooooo good and really hit any meat craving that might have been activated by the smell (although, my mouth didn't even water and I had no desire for the steak--go figure!). Really, the mushroom was that good. And there were two, so one is now in Tupperware in the fridge for someone's lunch.

And tomorrow I'm going to Whole Foods. Kinda excited!

Day 30 - Weigh In



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 27 - I'm Too Tired to Really Cook Enchiladas

This isn't what we had for dinner last night (well, one of us did). We had leftovers. We had lots of Mac N Cheese N Cauliflower leftover as well as lots of that Awesome Mushroom Pasta. I did make this earlier in the week, but it is almost so easy that you don't really need a recipe.

But I will give you one anyway.

And before you tell me how unhealthy frozen burritos are, I already know. But that doesn't mean I don't still have them in my freezer. I do--it fills in when I haven't had enough energy to make my own (which I do like to do, and I will share my recipe for that the next time I make them, I promise).

Too Tired to Really Cook Enchiladas
  • 1 pkg of 8-10 bean burritos
  • 1 (10 oz) can enchilada sauce (red or green--I prefer green, but I actually made this one with the red)
  • 1 (8 oz) pkg shredded cheese of your choice (I used a four-cheese Mexican blend)
  • 1 large can refried beans
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread refried beans in the bottom of a 9x13-inch pan. 
  2. Place frozen burritos over beans. Cover with enchilada sauce.
  3. Sprinkle cheese over enchilada sauce.
  4. Cook in oven 45-60 minutes (or until burritos are heated through). Voilà!
Sorry ! No picture. That's how tired I really was...

Day 28 - Weigh In


And I am happy about it. Because this seems to be my high now. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27 - Mostly Green Curry Veggies with Tofu (and chicken on the side if you are a meat eater)

Tofu on the left, chicken on the right

What you may gather from that very long title is that not everyone in my household is a vegetarian. I was reminded by my mom the other day that she didn't choose to become a vegetarian, and she lives here too. And to be honest, I do try to keep lunch meat and such in the house for her, but I don't really want to make a separate meal for her every time I cook. And I learned that from her--growing up it was always "eat what's on your plate or don't eat at all, but I'm not cooking anything else."

But I did cook chicken after I cooked the tofu. It wasn't hard, especially since I was already cutting up chicken for the dogs (yeah, I feed my dogs real food--none of that preformed kibble for my sweeties). This recipe is mostly Rachael Ray, but I've added some important (to me) tips and changes...Oh, and the rice is from my friend Rachel. Her version of coconut rice is THE BOMB, and you should try it. Trust me...

Mostly Green Curry Veggies with Tofu over Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice (first)
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to tast
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large, ovenproof saute pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until just transparent (about 5 minutes).
  2. Add the rice and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute. Add veggie stock and coconut milk, bring to a simmer, and add salt and pepper.
  3. Cover the pan tightly. Place in oven and bake for about 18 minutes. The liquid should be absorbed and the rice cooked thoroughly but not mushy.
Mostly Green Curry Veggies with Tofu
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk
  • 1 (14 oz) container firm tofu, cut into 1-inch pieces and patted dry
  • 1 green bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped (break out that Pampered Chef food chopper!)
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets. Don't forget to add the stem.
  • zest and juice of 1 lime*
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 (16 oz) bag frozen peas
  1. While the coconut rice is cooking, preheat a large, non-stick skillet over high heat with 2 tbsp of the vegetable oil. Add the tofu and brown thoroughly. Remove to a plate. 
  2. Add the remaining tbsp of oil to the pan. Add the peppers, onions, garlic, ginger, and broccoli to the pan. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-6 minutes, or until broccoli starts to turn bright green.
  3. Add coconut milk to the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Return tofu to pan and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
  4. Add lime juice, lime zest, cilantro, parsley, and peas. Stir to combine and simmer until peas are heated through. Remove from heat and add green onions. 
  5. Serve over yummy Coconut Rice. Die from sheer veggie pleasure.

My tofu stuck to my non-stick pan, but it was still surprisingly tasty.

    *Using a citrus press will give you lots of lovely lime juice. This is a tool that is totally worth the moola$$ you spend on it. A microplane makes quick work of zesting said lime.

    This is the exact citrus press I have. You can purchase it from
    Pampered Chef. If you click on the picture it will take you to
    Pampered Chef's online catalog.

    Day 27 - Weigh In


    I like the smaller numbers, but even when they go up, I see a trend. I am still losing weight, and that is exciting! I know that 186 is in my future, because I hit it yesterday. They aren't kidding when they say weight fluctuates. I pretty much measure myself at the same time every day, and sometimes a little later to see what the difference is.

    (Contrary to popular belief, I've found that I weigh less around 2 hours after I get up, rather than right when I get up. Go figure).

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Day 26 - Awesome Mushroom Pasta

    Have I mentioned yet how much I love mushrooms? I could eat them every day. I love them as much as I love steak, which is good since I've given up eating meat. Ü

    Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats--A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners (A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook)
    This week I'm cooking my way through a bunch of Rachael Ray recipes. A lot of them are easy to adapt to vegetarian cooking, and this recipe is no exception. This is based on Rachael's Creamed Mushroom Sauté with Artichoke Hearts, Spinach, and Penne from 365: No Repeats.

    Of course, I put my own spin on things, but the basic recipe is so easy and soooooo good!

    Whitney's Pesto Mushroom, Artichoke Heart, Spinach Pasta
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, pressed
    • 2 shallots, finely chopped
    • 1 1/2 lbs assorted mushrooms, thinly sliced (we used white button mushrooms and cremini mushrooms)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 3 tbsp flour
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (soy would probably be fine, too)
    • 1 (15 oz) can artichoke hearts, well-drained
    • 1 (10 oz) box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
    • 1 tbsp prepared pesto
    1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
    2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. Add garlic and shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and yummy.
    3. Sprinkle flour, salt, and pepper over mushrooms and stir. Stir in vegetable broth and cook for a minute or two (until thickened). Stir in almond milk and simmer for five minutes.
    4. Stir in artichoke hearts, spinach, and pesto. Heat through (1-3 minutes). Mix into well drained penne pasta.

    The finished pasta is soooooooo good!

    Day 26 - Weigh In



    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Day 25 - Mac n Cheese n Cauliflower

    This recipe came about as kind of an amalgamation of what I had and what sounded good and this recipe from Rachael Ray. The taste was pretty good, but I think the sauce got to hot on mine when I was making it, because it started to separate.

    Mac N Cheese N Cauliflower
    • 1 lb penne pasta
    • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp butter
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 3 tbsp flour
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • 1 lb Gouda cheese, grated
    1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Add cauliflower florets during the last 3 minutes of cooking.
    2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and the butter. Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and pepper and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the milk and vegetable stock and cook until sauce starts to thicken.
    3. Stir in Gouda cheese, until melted and creamy. Add drained pasta and cauliflower. Yum!
    Apparently I didn't take pictures of this dinner. Sorry about that!

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Day 24 - Update

    I was feeling lazy again. I decided I would roast a bunch of veggies for dinner and leave it at that. I cut up my eggplants, two zucchini, some broccoli, beets and added some whole mushrooms. I sprinkled it all with olive oil and italian seasoning.

    Eggplant is not very good cooked this way.

    The beets were excellent, though. As was the broccoli. Next time I do this I'm going to use broccoli, cauliflower, onions, potatoes, and carrots. And if I can get my hands on some fresh beets, I will add those as well. The eggplant is just going to have to get used in a casserole, or eggplant parmesan. And mushrooms are way better sauteed.

    That's just how it is.

    Day 24 - Weigh In


    I preferred being lower. :)

    Friday, January 22, 2010

    Day 22 - Breakfast for Dinner

    It has been raining here. A lot. In the last four days, we've gotten more rain that we got in all of 2009. And the weather service thought that we might get flooded. From the river, that is...but unless it keeps raining, that is looking less likely. Which is good for the people who live along the river.

    However...I live along the foothills. And I got flooded from all the water coming off of those hills. Sigh...

    With the cold, rainy weather...I was looking for comfort food, but I also didn't want to cook. In retrospect, this would have been a great day for a crockpot soup, but that didn't happen. So we had breakfast instead.

    I made potatoes, veggie sausage patties, and eggs. And let me tell you, I haven't eaten eggs since last year...but I got kind of grossed out by them yesterday. So I only ate a bite or two and gave the rest to the dogs. The potatoes were really good, though.

    I have two eggplant that I need to cook, and I'm kind of thinking ratatouille. I guess we'll see tomorrow!


    Day 22 - Weigh In


    I want to keep losing...

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Day 20 - Garbanzo Bean Soup

    This is totally my go to soup when we need comfort food. The original recipe calls for chicken broth, but I substituted vegetable broth this time and there was no discernible difference in taste. Wahoo!

    Garbanzo Bean Soup
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
    • 1 (15 oz) can italian seasoned diced tomatoes
    • 2 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained
    • 8 oz small shaped pasta (macaroni, shells, etc)
    • 3 (16 oz) cans vegetable stock + 1 can water
    1. In a large pan over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil until golden. Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, and water.
    2. Bring to boiling. Add pasta, cook til al dente (about 8 minutes).
    3. Add garbanzo beans. Heat through (about 3 minutes). Serve.
    Yummy! This is so easy and so yummy!

    Day 20 - Weigh In


    I liked it better before...

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Day 19 - Eggplant Parmesan

    The grocery store had some lovely eggplants on sale, and I picked up a couple. Especially because I love eggplant. I mixed a couple of eggplant parmesan recipes together to come up with this one, which was quite tasty, and utilized the cheese that I had (which was a little bit of a lot of different cheeses).

    Eggplant Parmesan
    • 2 large eggplants
    • salt
    • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup Italian style 6 cheese mix
    • 1/4 cup Mexican mix cheese
    • 1 (16 oz) jar spaghetti sauce
    1. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Trim the eggplant and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices. Salt the slices generously and stand upright in a colander to drain for 30 minutes.
    2. Preheat oven to 500°. Rinse eggplant slices under cold water and pat dry.
    3. Lightly brush each side of eggplant with olive oil and place on prepared baking sheets. Bake in oven until the eggplant is golden, 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temp to 350°.
    4. In the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch pan, spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce. Layer 1/2 of the eggplant slices in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese and the Italian cheese.
    5. Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce over eggplant layers. Layer remaining eggplant slices over spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese over eggplant slices. Spread remaining spaghetti sauce over eggplant. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese mix. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

    Sunday, January 17, 2010

    Day 17 - Update

    I haven't posted any recipes lately. Perhaps you've noticed? That's pretty much because I haven't cooked much. I did make a spinach-y mac-n-cheese type thing, but it was only kinda good. :)

    And then I cooked the enchiladas I had in the freezer--the black bean enchiladas that I already gave you the recipe for. And we went to Jason's Deli after spending ALL day Saturday at the Springs Preserve for the Boy Scout Adventure Base. Which was fun. But lacking in vegetarian options.

    And today we are having cheese enchiladas, because that is what I picked up at the store. With refried black beans and spanish rice.

    I'll be cooking again soon, though. And I will share recipes with you. And so far, I've managed to not eat meat, although it was really hard yesterday at the Springs Preserve. Grilled meat for sale all around. And then there was Wolfgang Puck's Cafe at the Preserve, which has vegetarian options but is so out of my price range.

    Day 17 - Weigh In


    Ok. It does fluctuate. :)

    Saturday, January 16, 2010

    Weigh In - Day 16


    Your weight fluctuates, right?

    Thursday, January 14, 2010

    Day 14 - Weigh In



    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    Day 13 - Oatmeal for Breakfast

    Yesterday was one of those days where life just throws a curveball, and you either have to catch it, or not...but generally it's a deal with it day.  I had to drop everything to deal with the issue, and all my plans for the day just went out the window.

    That said, we had spaghetti for dinner. With that "very expensive but I bought it because my son was selling it" sauce mix. So, pretty basic--spaghetti with Puttanesca sauce.

    But, I still wanted to share some food pics with you. Of my breakfast. Many years ago, after my son was born, I hit upon a great breakfast that helped my lose the baby weight. Oatmeal. I know, so basic, right? But still...I love oatmeal. I've been buying it in bulk from the grocery (a 50lb bag). Partly because I feed my dogs oatmeal, but also because my family loves oatmeal, too. So what I do is make my bowl of oatmeal (1/3 cup oats & 2/3 cup water in a shallow bowl. Cook in microwave on 50% power for 5 minutes), add sweetener of choice (mine is brown sugar, about 1 tbsp), sprinkle with dried fruits and nuts.

    This adds much needed fiber and fruit to my diet. And it tastes good. It is also awesome using brown rice in place of the oatmeal.

    Try it. You might like it!

    Day 13 - Weigh In


    That's a little slower...

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Day 12 - Five Layer Vegetable Stew

    This isn't really a stew, but it is too soupy to be a casserole. It has a really good flavor, though, so I suspect with some tweaking, it can be perfect!

    Five Layer Vegetable Stew
    • 2 cans white beans
    • 4 oz pesto
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 6 small russet potatoes, thinly sliced
    • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 red bell peppers, sliced
    • 2 large zucchini, sliced
    • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
    • salt and pepper 
    1. In a food processor or blender, process the beans, pesto, and 3 tbsp olive oil until well blended and creamy.
    2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potato slices and cook until golden brown on both sides. Set aside. Add the onion slices to the same pan, and cook until browned on both sides.
    3. Spray the inside of a large crockpot insert with non-stick cooking spray. Lay 1/2 the potato slices in the bottom. Spoon a small amount of bean mixture on top of potatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with onion and red pepper slices, bean mixture, salt and pepper. Layer zucchini slices, bean mixture, and salt and pepper, tomatoes. Repeat the layers. If there is any bean mixture left, pour it on top of the final layer of tomatoes. Cover and cook on low 6 hours.

    Day 12 - Weigh In


    This might be a little fast...

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Day 11 - Green and White Pasta


    It's kind of feeling like spring here. Sorry, rest of the country - I know you are dealing with major below normal temperatures, but, hey...I live in the desert, so it's only fair that my temps (which are always way off from the rest of the country) are spring like. Upper 60's springlike. Very nice.

    Which means that I want peas. The penultimate of spring veggies. Of course, peas aren't available yet. Except in the freezer section. Which is where I bought mine.

    But anyway...

    I adapted this recipe from somewhere...Sadly, this is how many of my recipes come about. I have a recipe, generally handwritten, and then I change it. I can't just make a recipe as written. Except if I'm baking, and even that's debatable.

    So, this is my version of a Green and White Pasta recipe I got somewhere...
    • 1 (12 oz) pkg of angel hair pasta (preferable multi-grain, if you can find it)
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, sliced
    • 12-ish oz of mushrooms, sliced
    • 4 oz prepared pesto (or you can make your own)
    • 1 (16 oz) package frozen baby peas 
    • 1 (10 oz) pkg of baby spinach
    1. Prepare angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain. Stir pesto into pasta.
    2. In a large saucepan, saute onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until juices are released and mushrooms are softened.
    3. Add  baby peas and cook until heated through. Add spinach and cover pan. Cook until spinach is wilted, 3-5 minutes.
    4. Spoon over pasta and serve.
    Easy, easy, easy! And tasty, too. Feel free to add salt and pepper to taste. You can also grate parmesan cheese over the top if you feel the need, but it really isn't necessary...

    This makes a lot. Like 8+ servings. But it is totally worth it...

    Day 11 - Weigh In


    It's going down!

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Day 10 - Veggie Burgers Stroganoff

    Let me preface this by saying that out of the two MorningStar products I've tried, I've been less than impressed. I've actually had Garden Burgers, and they aren't too bad, but my local grocery doesn't sell them. I had to punt with MorningStar. I bought the prime grillers which were ok, if you weren't expecting any meaty taste at all.

    Unfortunately, I was.

    That said, this wasn't bad. I would prefer a mushroom stroganoff, and I am betting that sometime during the year I will create something to that effect. In the meantime, here is the recipe I adapted:

    Veggie Burgers Stroganoff
    • 1 (10 oz or so) package of egg noodles
    • 1 (9-12 oz) package of vegetable burger patties
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
    • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 2 tbsp flour
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp ketchup
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp dill
    • 1/2 cup sour cream

    1. Cook egg noodles as directed on package. Drain.
    2. In a large skillet, cook burgers as directed on package. Remove from skillet. Cut in half, then cut into strips.
    3. In same skillet, melt butter. Add mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat until mushrooms and onions are crisp-tender. Remove from heat.Stir in burger pieces.
    4. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of the milk, flour, lemon juice, ketchup, salt, and dill. Stir in remaining milk. Stir this into the mushroom mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. 
    5. Reduce heat to low. Stir in sour cream and cook until heated through. Be careful not to boil.
    6. Serve over hot cooked noodles.

    Day 10 - Weigh In


    I am liking this!

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    Day 9 - Lazy Day

    Well, we had a houseful of teenage boys again. And while I purchased groceries for dinner, I was pretty sure that I didn't have enough to feed all of them. So hubby stopped by the pizza place and got 4 $5 pizzas to appease them.

    I ate cheese pizza.

    There. I did. No meat, but no veggies either. And I ate it for breakfast this morning. Around 10. And I didn't even weigh myself. Because I figure that even though vegetarian eating (for me) is a way to lose weight, it is also a lifestyle change, and I didn't eat meat. Which is enough, for now.

    And I am cooking tonight. Veggie Burgers Stroganoff.

    And speaking of meat replacements, I did buy some Morningstar Italian Sausage. I was disappointed. Which isn't to say I won't keep trying, because I will. But with a different brand. A trip to Whole Foods is in order, I's just that it is some 60 miles away. But it will happen.


    Friday, January 8, 2010

    Day 8 - Minestrone Casserole

    I didn't actually cook this last night. We ate leftovers and I went to Book Club. But I did make this last January for my Dinner Club swap. Sadly, we are no longer swapping dinners...but that is probably ok since I have sworn off meat this year.

    I wonder if I can get anyone to swap vegetarian frozen meals with me?

    This is a really good recipe. And one I've been thinking I need to make again. I love having meals in the freezer for those nights when I forget to take my vitamins am tired and not in the mood.

    Minestrone Casserole

    • 2 cups uncooked mini lasagna noodles (4 oz) -I used something called Wacky Mac from the local grocery
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
    • 1 cup sliced carrots
    • 2 medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
    • 1 medium bell pepper, chopped
    • 1 medium zucchini or summer squash, quartered lengthwise and slice-1 used a small one of each
    • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped (I pressed)
    • 2 cans (15 oz each) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
    • 1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese, divided
    • 1 teaspoon salt (oops! forgot this)
    • 1/4 tsp pepper (forgot this too)
    • 1/4 cup refrigerated basil pesto

    1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package using minimum cooking time.
    2. Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery, and bell pepper; cover and cook 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until carrots are just tender. Uncover; stir in squash and garlic. Cook and stir 1 minute more.
    3. Place pasta in uncreased 3-qt casserole. Stir in carrot mixture, beans, tomatoes, 1/4 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper, and pesto. Cover casserole. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until hot in center.Top each serving with remaining cheese.

    How I freezerized it: Place 2 cups uncooked pasta in a quart sized ziploc bag. Place 1/4 parmesan cheese in a snack sized ziploc bag. Cook vegetables as directed. Remove from heat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, beans, salt, pepper, and pesto. Place in a gallon sized freezer ziploc bag. Place all 3 bags in another gallon sized ziploc bag. Freeze.

    This recipe is from one of those little Pillsbury cookbooks you can pick up each month at the grocery store. Not sure which one, but I am pretty sure that's where I got it.

    Day 8 - Weigh In



    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Day 7 - Zucchini Parmesan

    I'm up to my eyeballs in zucchini. Well, not really, but all the same, I do have a lot. And I thought I would get rid of it all with this great Zucchini Parmesan recipe I can up with (inspiration from here), but,'s not to be.

    But I did use two of them up. Which is nice. Of course, I still have leftovers of both the Zucchini Parmesan and the zucchini. But that's ok, because I have book club tonight and very little time to be creative. So it's leftovers for dinner.

    Zucchini Parmesan
    • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced longwise
    • 12 oz spaghetti
    • 1 cup Italian-seasoned Bread Crumbs
    • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or egg replacer)
    • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese
    • 3/4 cup six cheese Italian Cheese mix
    • 16 oz jar marinara sauce (**or you can punt, like I did)
    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions.
    2. Place 1/4 marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Place cooked and drained spaghetti in baking pan. Top with an additional 1/4 of the sauce.
    3. Place almond milk in a shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Mix Parmesan cheese with bread crumbs.
    4. Dip zucchini slices in almond milk and then dredge both sides in Parmesan bread crumb mixture. Place on top of spaghetti in baking pan. You will probably have to overlap the zucchini pieces. Continue until you run out of room (or you use all the slices *Ü*).
    5. Spread remaining marinara sauce over zucchini. Sprinkle Italian cheeses over the top. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until zucchini is cooked through.
    *Based on eggplant parmesan experience, I believe this will freeze well. I did not make enough to freeze here because I didn't have enough ingredients to make two.

    Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the final product. But trust me
    when I looked

    **In a pinch Punt Marinara: Here's what I did: I had no sauce in the pantry (I used the last of it on the gnocchi), but I did have a 15 oz can of Italian diced tomatoes, a 6 oz can of tomato paste, and a pkg of Laurie's Kitchen Puttanesca Sauce Mix that I bought from my Boy Scout son during one of his fundraisers. The directions on the sauce call for mixing the sauce mix with a 28 oz can of tomatoes. Instead I mixed together the sauce mix, the tomatoes, the can of tomato paste and two tomato paste cans of water. I am pretty sure the "very expensive but I bought it because my son was selling it" sauce mix is really just a good italian seasoning mix with some kind of thickener (like cornstarch), so if you don't have the sauce mix (and if you don't, call me and I'll send my son over to sell you some) you should be able to use italian seasoning and cornstarch.

    Day 7 - Weigh In


    Ah ha....

    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    Day 6 - Zucchini Corn Enchiladas

    For whatever reason, in the middle of winter, zucchini is abundant (and cheap) at the Mexican market close to my husband's work. And since we love zucchini, he has been bringing it home for me to cook. We've already had stuffed zucchini, zucchini parmesan is on the horizon, and last night I created a zucchini enchilada dish.

    Which is muy sabrosa.

    Zucchini Corn Enchiladas
    • 2 medium to largish zucchini
    • 1 small onion
    • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
    • 1/2 of a 16 oz bag frozen corn
    • 1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
    • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
    • 1 (10 oz) green chile enchilada sauce
    • 1/4 cup mexican cheese mixture (optional)
    1. Preheat oven to 350°. Shred both zucchini.
    2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, corn, and shredded zucchini. Cook until zucchini has released water and water has mostly evaporated. Stir in diced green chiles.
    3. Place tortillas on a microwave safe plate and cover with a paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute to soften.
    4. Place a scant 1/4 cup of filling in each tortilla, rolling up. Place seam side down in 13x9 casserole pan. Sprinkle any remaining filling over the top of the rolled tortillas.
    5. Pour enchilada sauce over the top of tortillas, making sure that the sauce covers all the enchiladas. If using cheese, sprinkle over the top of the enchiladas.
    6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until enchiladas are heated through.
    The cheese is really an unnecessary addition to these enchiladas. I don't even really like cheese, but my family does. This plays lip service to that want from them...but it really is an unnecessary addition. :)

    And while I haven't frozen this particular recipe (I only made one), I am pretty sure that this would freeze just fine. I would have made two, but I wanted to have zucchini left for the zucchini parmesan that I am making tonight...

    Day 6 - Weigh In


    There you go...

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Day 5 - Pizza!

    I keep forgetting to take my vitamins. Which is stupid, because I have no energy when I don't take them (my body tends to be extremely anemic--resulting in occasional blood transfusions, which really sucks). So, in the afternoon I have almost no energy, which makes it really hard to cook dinner.

    And that means I have to punt. Which is what I did last night. We went to the store and picked up a large cheese pizza. Which my son can eat at any given time. Our deli is kinda sparse on the cheese, which on the one hand annoys me, since I pay the same price for a cheese pizza as I would for a supreme with the works--$12.49, but on the other hand is kind of ok since I don't really love cheese.

    Steven wanted just cheese, so half of the pizza I left plain. The other half, though, I dressed up with olives, fresh mushrooms (did I tell you how cheap mushrooms were? $2.59/lb plus they were HUGE), and sun-dried tomatoes (oh, my favorite). I stuck it in the oven (425°) for 15 minutes, and voila...perfect pizza.
    Yes, that is a pumpkin pie in the corner. It is Steven's
    favorite and about the only sugary dessert I will let
    him have now that he has braces on.

    Day 5 - Weigh In

    Interesting...of course I took this after breakfast, but still...


    Monday, January 4, 2010

    Day 4 - Stuffed Mushrooms

    On Sunday we went shopping and came home with some great stuff--fresh blueberries (which have been awesome in my cereal with almond milk) and grapes.

    And I still have mushrooms in the fridge because I haven't gotten to them. I sauteed my spinach in hopes that it would end up in my (non-existent) pierogies, but it just got put in the fridge when I gave up on them.

    So, I had some beautiful large mushroom caps and sauteed spinach. And a hankering for something meaty...

    Stuffed Mushroom Caps with Sauteed Spinach
    • 15 large mushroom caps
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 bag of baby spinach (mine came from the farm, so I am guess that it was 12-14 oz), sauteed
    • 2 small onions (shallot size), chopped
    • 5 cloves of garlic, pressed
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese (optional)
    • 1/8 cup bread crumbs
    1. Preheat oven to 425°. Remove stems from mushroom caps. Place caps gill side down on foil line baking sheet. Roast in oven until juices start to release from mushroom caps, about 20 minutes.
    2. While mushrooms are roasting, chop mushroom stems and cook over medium heat in olive oil til juices release. Add chopped onions and garlic. When onions are translucent, add sauteed spinach and heat. Remove from heat and add bread crumbs, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese (if using).
    3. Remove mushroom caps from oven and turn over. If you have an excess of moisture from mushrooms, you can add it to your stuffing mixture. Using a tablespoon, distribute stuffing mixture evenly between mushroom caps.
    4. Bake in oven an additional 10 minutes. Yum!

    Day 4 - Weigh In



    Sunday, January 3, 2010

    Day 3 - Homemade Gnocchi

    So after I put that pierogi dough away (or threw it away--which is what really happened), I remembered that I still had mashed potatoes in the refrigerator. My goal was to make pierogies for dinner and then have extra for the freezer. And that will happen. Today. Or tomorrow. Or this week. If it kills me. But with the darned dough that always turns out but is such a pain to work with. ;)

    But I needed a quick, easy dinner because DH and I lingered around like lazy people in bed all day watching tv (dh) and reading (me). This is partly because my living room had been taken over by teenage boys, and while I love them, they are kind of loud and rowdy, and I was in a quiet type of mood.

    But I digress.

    Food. Teenage boys get hungry fast. And while my son is on board with the whole vegetarian for a year thing--he often eats that way anyway--I wasn't sure how the others would fare. So I needed something quick and filling. And I had those mashed potatoes in the fridge. So some quick thinking came up with the gnocchi.

    And as I pulled out my favorite recipe for gnocchi, I realized that the gnocchi recipe is almost exactly the same recipe as my pierogi dough recipe. Which explains A LOT. That dough is great for little potato pillows...but it doesn't roll out well--it is just too sticky.

    So here is the basic gnocchi recipe. Which is really, really easy. You should try it.

    Homemade Gnocchi
    8 servings

    • 3 cups cold mashed potatoes
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3 cups flour (you can use a little more if it is too sticky, but it probably won't mashed potatoes are always almost solid when they are cold and a 1:1 ratio of potatoes to flour works well for me)
    1. In a large pot, bring a potful (Ü) of water to a boil. In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, eggs, and salt. Mix well. Add flour and mix until dough begins to form into a ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured countertop. Knead lightly until smooth.
    2. Divide dough in half, and divide each half into 6 equal portions (I find this easier to do in 2 batches). Roll each portion into a 1/2-inch thick rope. Line each rope up next to each other (leave about 1/2 an inch in between each rope).
    3. Using a pizza cutter, cut each log into 3/4-inch pieces, forming little pillow shaped dumplings.
    4. Carefully drop gnocchi into boiling water. Once gnocci rise to the surface, cook 2 minutes. Drain and serve with your favorite marinara sauce.
    Pampered Chef has some extra sauce ideas that I will share, well, because they are quite yummy. We used pasta sauce that I canned last summer for last night's gnocchi, though. And those boys pretty much ate it all. And the one who doesn't like tomatoes gobbled his up with butter, salt, and pepper. Success!

    Homemade Gnocchi Cooking Away on the Stove

    Gnocchi with Walnut Pesto
    • 1/2 recipe homemade gnocchi
    • 1/4 cup walnuts
    • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 garlic clove, pressed
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
    • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
    1. Place walnuts in a microwave safe dish. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring after each 30-second interval. Cool completely. Chop walnuts and basil together. Combine basil mixture, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
    2. Add pesto to cooked gnocchi; mix gently. Spoon onto serving plates. Sprinkle parmesan cheese over gnocchi.
    Gnocchi with Sage Brown Butter
    • 1/2 recipe homemade gnocchi
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp butter
    • 3 tbsp snipped fresh sage leaves
    • 1/4 cup grated fresh Romano cheese
    • Black pepper
    • Additional sage leaves
    1. Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sage and cook 1 minute or until butter just begins to brown. Add cooked gnocchi. Cook without stirring 4-5 minutes or until gnocchi are golden brown on one side.
    2. Remove from skillet; spoon onto plates. Top with grated cheese, black pepper and garnish with additional sage.

    Gnocchi with Homemade Pasta Sauce

    Day 3 - Weigh In

    Ummm...yeah. At least I haven't gained any weight. :)


    Saturday, January 2, 2010

    Day 2 - French Onion Soup

    Well, on the 1st I got a bit frustrated. I was planning on making cottage cheese and spinach pierogies, and mushroom pierogies, but the dough recipe I was using was tooooooo sticky. I ended up putting it away because I was getting so frustrated, and we had leftover soup instead. This is a pretty basic recipe--onion soup in the crockpot.

    This is adapted from Robin Robertson's "Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker".

    I love onion soup, but I hate to stand there and cook the onions. It takes an hour! Who has time for that (well, me...but that's another story)?

    Robin slices hers into the slow cooker and pours olive oil on them. I made a couple of minor changes to her recipe, and this is what I came up with:

    • 6 large yellow onions (sweet onions are best, such as Walla Walla or Vidalia, if you can get your hands on them)
    • 1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 4 (15 1/2 oz) cans vegetable stock
    • 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (or use this recipe, this recipe, or this recipe)
    • 6 slices french bread
    • 6 slices provolone cheese

    1. Slice ends off of onions and remove papery skin. Slice in half from root end to top, so that when you slice, the rings will already be cut in half. Slice each onion and place in slow cooker.
    2. Pour olive oil over onions (use however much seems appropriate to you--I used the lesser amount and the onions were fine). Place lid on slow cooker.
    3. Cook on high heat for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and well caramelized.
    4. At this point, I removed half of the onions and placed them in a marked freezer bag. That is so the next time I want soup, all I have to do is add the stock.
    5. Add vegetable stock and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and cook on high an additional 30 minutes to an hour.
    6. To serve, ladle the soup into ovenproof ramekins. Place a slice of french bread and provolone cheese on top of the soup and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Alternatively, place bread slices and cheese on a baking sheet and put them under the broiler. When cheese is melted, remove from oven and place in a bowl of onion soup.
    We got about 6 servings from this.

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    Day 1 - Weigh In's kind of painful for me, but that is the main point of going vegetarian for me, isn't it...


    Hopefully it will only get better from here.

    Day 1 - Black Bean Enchiladas

    Of course it is the New Year, and things are fresh and exciting! Hopefully things will stay that way throughout the year. :)

    I haven't decided what I am making for dinner yet, but I am sure it will have spinach and mushrooms as I have both of those items in the fridge. The spinach was grown locally at our local high school farm. This is near and dear to my heart, and something I am happy to support.

    So as I plug in my ingredients to Google, I will leave you with a favorite vegetarian recipe of mine--Black Bean Enchiladas. I made two meals of this earlier this week and stuck one in the freezer. Yum!

    Black Bean Enchiladas

    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 tsp ground cumin
    1 cup frozen sweet corn
    3/4 cup chunky salsa
    1 can (15 oz) black beans
    2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
    1 (10-oz) can enchilada sauce (I prefer green, but red is fine, too!)

    Spray 11 x 7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cumin; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in corn, salsa, beans, and 1 cup of the cheese. Remove from heat.

    On microwaveable plate, stack tortillas and cover with paper towel. Microwave on high 1 minute to soften. Place 1/4 cup bean mixture along center of each tortilla. Roll up tightly and place seam side down in baking dish; spoon remaining bean mixture on top. Pour enchilada sauce over enchiladas, spreading to coat all tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese.

    To cook and serve now--Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly around edges. Garnish with toppings of your choice (olives, avocado, tomato).

    To freeze and serve later--Freeze now. Do not thaw and then cook. Cover with foil and freeze. Bake from frozen in preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly around edges, 10-15 minutes.


    So, this is the closest I could find to a picture of black
    bean enchiladas. But it isn't mine. And these aren't even
    corn tortillas. But it looks good, and that's what counts,
    right? ;)