Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Meatless Monday – Smoky BBQ Bowl

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for a smoky barbecue bowl, ever since I saw it on VegNews’ Facebook feed.  I like tofu but was getting tired of Asian recipes.

This recipe calls for marinating tofu cubes in homemade barbecue sauce.  I took the lazy way out and used Kraft Hot (my favorite), plus some Tabasco Sweet & Spicy.  I also pressed the tofu to get rid of some of the excess moisture.


The tofu gets baked until it gets crispy and chewy.  The main recipe calls for black eyed peas, I substituted broccoli, since I had some that needed to be eaten.  I also used white rice instead of brown.  (I had brown rice but it had gone rancid.  I decided not to buy anymore until I use up what rice I already have.)


First I took bites of each component on its own.  I wasn’t impressed.  But then, I put together a “perfect bite,” a little bit of everything.  What a big difference!  Truly one of those “sum is greater than the parts” moments.  I love rice bowls and this one is now my favorite.  Easy to put together too, and better for you than a store-bought frozen dinner.

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Ricotta Archichoke Pizza

We  had pizza tonight, with the leftover ricotta spread from the grilled artichoke subs.  I also used up bits & pieces of things that were in the refrigerator.  The ricotta got extra pesto and roasted garlic.  Last time I opened a jar of roasted red peppers, they got moldy before I finished them, so I put some on the pizza while they’re still fresh, as well as some sliced garlic green olives.  The pizza was better than the sub sandwiches.


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Spring Vegetable Burgers

I recently heard that one of the local burger joints is now offering a veggie burger.  I started looking through veggie burger recipes, and thought I’d give Mark Bittman’s Spring Vegetable Burgers (from “How To Cook Everything Vegetarian”) a try.  It’s more of a veggie patty, than a burger.  It has sauteed asparagus, peas, I added onion and garlic, mixed in with mashed potatoes, then it’s shaped into patties and pan fried.  Here’s what they looklike when they first go into the pan.


I was kind of surprised at how well they held together, without anything to bind the ingredients (like egg).


The recipe suggests serving it like a regular burger, on a bun.  That’s too much carb even for me, and I can’t imagine eating a “mashed potato sandwich.”  I made more kale chips (I’m obsessed with them now!) and served an egg on the side.  They weren’t bad, but I don’t think I’d make them again, unless I was trying to use up leftover mashed potatoes.  I kind of felt like, I’d rather have mashed potatoes and asparagus separately, than mixed together, for all the chopping and cooking involved.

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Meatless Monday – Grilled Artichoke Subs

I’ve kept busy in the kitchen.  Last night, we had baked falafel (which I’ve made before), and panko breaded asparagus.  I thought the asparagus looked pretty but it was too bready for my taste.  It might be one of those recipes good for getting kids to eat their veggies.  My husband liked it, though, he inhaled his.


For breakfast, I tried an overnight refrigerator oatmeal.  Fill a jar with oatmeal, milk, yogurt, sweetener, applesauce, and chia seeds (I didn’t add them), shake it up, pop it in the fridge, and breakfast will be ready in the morning.  It minded me of muesli.  I think it would be good for a take-to-work breakfast that can be kept in the refrigerator.  It doesn’t look that great in the photo, it’s better than it looks.


For lunch, we finished off the tempeh from last week, with a Palm Springs Wrap (aka tempeh salad wrap) from the Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook.  The recipe calls for jasmine rice (I used quinoa), tempeh salad, grated carrots, tomatoes, sprouts and a balsamic dressing.  You can tell I made the flat bread because it’s, shall we say, rustic-looking.  I think I’d like it better without the tempeh, just veggies.  There’s a Native Foods restaurant coming to Dallas.  I’m sure their wraps are better than mine, since they have fresh tempeh and seitan.  I’ve eaten at the Palm Springs and enjoyed it.


For dinner, we had grilled artichoke subs, from the Food Network’s “Sandwich King” show.  The sandwich has a ricotta/garlic/basil/lemon spread, with grilled jarred artichoke hearts, and lettuce.  I added roasted red pepper for color.  I like all of the ingredients on their own, but didn’t much care for the sandwich.  I kept thinking it would taste better on a pizza, vs. on a bun.  I’ll use the leftover ricotta spread on a pizza or in a calzone.  This was one of the few recipes that I printed out, and put out in the office paper recyle…not a keeper.  I only ate half my sandwich.


Oh, more asparagus too, this time just oven-roasted (350 F for 10-15 minutes).


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I saw a post on Facebook from Alton Brown, about how to clean the blade of the food processor without cutting up your fingers.  I do this for my blender, I don’t know why I never thought to do it with the food processor.  Just “process” some soapy water inside.


Then for lunch, we had homemade McMuffins, with locally grown asparagus and eggs from a local farm.  The asparagus came with the tips soaking in water.  I’ve heard of this tip but never done it.  It looks like the farmer repurposed soda bottles.  I love this!  The asparagus is a few days old and is still fresh.


I love eggs and asparagus, it’s kind of a Hollandaise “cheat.”


I mixed up some falafel for later, since I had cilantro and I wanted to use it before it started to turn.  I put it in a bowl and covered it with my new silicon bowl/container covers.  They stretch to fit whatever container you have, even if it’s square or odd-shaped.  They fit snugger than plastic wrap, and can be used in the microwave or oven.



Chocolate Granola and Kale Chips

The food co-op I’m in had their drop (pick up) yesterday.  I ordered kale because I’d heard so much about kale chips and wanted to try them.  Most of the recipes I’ve seen were pretty similar:  remove the stem, cut or tear into pieces, lightly coat with oil and salt/seasonings, then bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  I went for more like 20 minutes, but I think the most important thing is to keep an eye on them towards the end so they don’t get charred.


They are so addictive!  They remind me of ajitsuke nori.  Percy liked the chips too!  They would make a great low-calorie snack for dogs.


One of the other recipes I’ve wanted to try is Chocolate Granola.  Recently I made a peanut butter chocolate granola that involved melting chocolate chips on the hot granola.  Instead, this one has cocoa, with chips mixed in after it has cooled.  Among the online comments was the suggestion to bake it for 40 minutes at 250 F, instead of 50 minutes at 275 F.


I get the impression it’s more of a trail mix sort of snack, as opposed to a breakfast cereal.  There’s coconut oil in it, which is a strong flavor.  This is my new favorite granola.  I had some candy given to me, to use for baking, so I added that too – chocolate covered raisins and dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.

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Crockpot Steel Cut Oats

One of the members of the food co-op I’m in, mentioned cooking steel cut oats in a crockpot.  She shared this recipe with me.  Of course I had to try it.  My crockpot runs on the hot side, so I went with the double boiler method, nesting a bowl inside the crockpot, with a waterbath.


Eight horus later, it looked like this.


I previously had cooked steel cut oats in the microwave, on the “grits” setting.  It takes about 7 minutes.  I don’t know if it is the milk in the crockpot recipe, but this version is so much creamier.  I refrigerated the rest for breakfast for the next few days.



Meatless Monday – Asian Coleslaw and Soba Salad with Tempeh

We are up to our ears in cabbage.  My sister-in-law has about 6 of them growing in her vegetable garden, in addition to one recently harvested.  The last one weighed 7 pounds, and I’ve been working on half of one for quite some time.  She picked another one this morning.  Here is Percy chomping away at the outer leaves.


My aunt that passed away recently was famous for her saimin salad.  I was thinking about her today, which was the inspiration for dinner.  I didn’t have saimin, but I had soba noodles.  I found a recipe for Asian coleslaw, and used the dressing from it, adjusted for 4 servings.

Here are all the ingredients ready to be put together.


For the tempeh, I just followed the prep recipe on the box, broiling it after marinating it in a soy sauce mixture.  Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, which is high in protein.  The jar has the dressing in it, easy to shake before adding to the salad.  Here’s the salad mixed together.


I sliced up some Fuji apple to go along with it, on the side.


Percy got some apple too.  No seeds, though, since I’ve heard they are bad for dogs.


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Lentil & Rice Bean Burritos

Awhile back, I made spicy lentil enchiladas.  I made the same filling and put it into burritos for dinner tonight.  I also made a knock-off Chipotle cilantro lime rice, since I bought a bunch of cilantro.  The rice was easy, I just made put a cup of basmati rice into the rice cooker, added water to the appropriate line, then flipped it on.  Once it was done, I added oil, lime juice and chopped cilantro.


I know some people absolutely hate cilantro, I’m just the opposite.  I made a half batch of “lighter” cilantro pesto from Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” cookbook.  It’s just cilantro, oil, salt, garlic, and lime juice, all whirred together.  No nuts or cheese.


Everything went into whole wheat tortillas, along with avocado and lettuce, and some pickled jalapenos.


The lentil filling recipe makes a lot, so I made up burritos from the rest of the package of tortillas, wrapped them in foil, to put in the freezer.  I regularly buy El Monterrey frozen burritos, and thought maybe homemade would be better for us.  At least there are fewer chemical-sounding ingredients.


I still had a little filling leftover even.  Not sure if Meatless Monday tomorrow will be leftovers or if I will make something new.

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National Grilled Cheese Day

I’ve been reading a book called “My Year of Meats” by Ruth Ozeki.  It’s fictional book about a documentary show in Japan called “My American Wife,” sponsored by a beef export company.  (The story unfolds with information about effects antibiotics and hormones on humans.)  Anyway, one story featured lamb chops,   I was going to have lamb/beef burgers that I found at the store today, until I heard that it is National Grilled Cheese Day.  Instead we had salad, with grilled cheese sandwiches.  Homemade bread, sharp cheddar cheese, and Kerrygold Dubliner cheese.  I usually butter the bread then sprinkle parmesan on the outside, which gets toasty like frico.  I could never go vegan because I love cheese.  I could give up meat, but not dairy.


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