Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner…and then some

In the kitchen at Di's House

Meatless Monday -Trader Joe’s

imageI was super busy today, therefore I wanted a simple dinner.  Trader Joe’s cheese enchiladas doctored up with tomato and avocado.  The gelato container says it has 7 servings.  They’ve got to be kidding.

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The Struggle is Real

Tonight was a “cheat” dinner with frozen entrees, and air fried kale chips on the side.  Trader Joe’s frozen black bean and corn enchiladas and Aldi pre-washed kale.  While I was eating, I read the ingredients on the enchiladas and they have tofu in them!  I will have to try making my own and freezing them.


Many nights I don’t know what I’m going to have for dinner until I start pulling ingredients out of the refrigerator.  Last night we had linguini with asparagus, lemon, and panko & walnut topping.


It has been hard for me lately to get motivated about dinner because during the day I’m a caregiver and by the time dinner rolls around, I’ve either had it or about had it.  I made a big batch of curry peanut sauce from “Isa Does It,” though, and used that a lot to throw dinners together.  Here with udon noodles, air fried grated carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and rotisserie chicken.


Also with stir-fried veggies and air-fried tofu, over leftover brown rice.


More noodles with rotisserie chicken


One night I took a break from curry and had tamales with cottage cheese and steamed veggies.


/And croque monsieur sandwiches topped with bechamel and cheddar cheese.


Here’s what’s hard for me.  Hubby eats too fast and that makes him susceptible to choking.  By the time I watched him eat his dinner safely, I had only taken a few bites of my sandwich and most of it had become lukewarm.  This is what is so discouraging to me about dinner and has sapped my motivation.


To cheer myself up, I make desserts.  This was a chocolate peanut butter pie called Texas Flood Pie.  It has dark chocolate ganache on the bottom, peanut butter mousse for the filling, milk chocolate  mousse, and marshmallows, pecans and chocolate chips.  I sprinkled that on top instead of making it a layer under the ganache.  It is really rich and definitely cures the blues.





I Love Aldi

Wherever I end up living next, I’d like to be able to go grocery shopping without it taking half the afternoon.  It’s not like I live that far from town, just that if I’m going to make the trip, I like to get as much done as possible.  One good thing is that we have Aldi now.  Before, we were limited to basically two choices.  Walmart or Brookshires/Super One/Fresh (same parent company).

By the time I got home yesterday and dealt with unloading groceries and everything else that needed to be done, I just wanted to have cereal for dinner.  I ended up making grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, with ingredients mostly from Aldi.


There was a bread there I hadn’t seen before.  It is huge, one slice makes one sandwich.


I used just a little butter on the outside and cooked them in the foreman grill.  Unsalted butter was on sale for 99 cents a pound!


Served with air fried fries made with potatoes from Aldi.  A ten pound bag is just over $3.

I have been having a hard time lately being enthusiastic about cooking.  Today I prepped a bunch of veggies in hopes of being able to easily throw something together.  I have cauliflower grated for “rice” as well as grated carrots and broccoli stems.  Tomorrow I’m going to make curry and peanut sauces to have on hand.


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Vegetarian Valentine’s Day

I’ve been craving kale lately so cooked up a pot of copycat Panera Lentil Quinoa Kale soup.  This is a different recipe than what I’d used previously.  This one calls for pureeing the vegetables and sauteeing the mixture.  I love how it turned out.  It tastes like a vegetable soup but the puree makes the soup less watery.  To go with the holiday, I made “toad in the hole” with a heart instead of a circle.


For dessert I made a shortcut creme brulee using pudding mix, that I saw on”The Kitchen” this weekend.  It had whipping cream along with milk, to make it more decadent.  One of the hosts (Jeff Mauro) showed a trick to brulee the sugar, using a heated metal measuring cup pressed against the surface of the pudding, to melt the sugar.  Mine sizzled like on TV but didn’t get crackly.  I also had to rinse off the bottom of the measuring cup before doing the second pudding because I was afraid the sugar stuck on would burn when I heated up the cup again.  I think broiling is a better method.  I didn’t like the pudding either as a creme brulee substitute, since it had a pudding and not custard texture.


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Meatless Monday – Bruschetta Pasta

We have an abundance of home-grown tomatoes here.  Not wanting them to go to waste, I decided to have bruschetta for dinner.  My sister had made it when I visited and it always reminds me of her.  As I was preparing the tomatoes for balsamic bruschetta, I changed my mind and decided to mix them with pasta instead, since there was so much juice.


I boiled up some linguine, mixed it with the tomato mixture, and voila, dinner was ready.


I made cheese and pesto toast with  the ciabatta roll originally destined for bruschetta,


Earlier in the day, my afternoon pick-me-up snack was affogato, which literally means “drowned” in Italian.  It’s gelato (or ice cream), drowned with espresso.  Even though mine had caffeine, I managed to fall asleep for a short nap after drinking it.  It’s one of my favorite desserts that I forget about because it’s so simple.


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Meatless Monday & Misc.

Dinner was kale, hummus, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, avocado and onion, on toasted naan.  Kind of a rehash of last week’s kale, hummus & avocado wrap.  Actually I liked it better than the wrap, the way it is more like a sandwich.  We also had fresh edamame from the farmers market.  So much better than frozen!!!


Sunday we had roasted chickpea and cauliflower tacos.  It was the last cool day we’re going to have for awhile, and thus the last day to comfortably have the oven on.  Chickpeas and cauliflower are tossed with oil, chile, and cumin, then roasted in the oven.  I should have made the whole recipe instead of half because everything shrunk up quite a bit.


The roasted goodies are served as taco filling, with a cilantro lime “crema” (greek yogurt).  I like how the chickpeas make the filling more substantial than just veggies.


August 4th is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.  Cookie & Peeets coffee for me, sweet potato dog treat for Percy.


Lastly, over the weekend I tried the Thai grilled peanut butter sandwich that I’d seen on TV.  It has peanut butter, orange marmalade, curry powder, Thai basil, and Sriracha sauce.  It’s an interesting combination but when it’s all grilled and melted together, somehow it works.


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Happy 4th – BBQ Tofu Sandwiches

I wanted something celebratory for dinner so we had BBQ tofu sandwiches with cole slaw and corn.  I prepared the tofu by first freezing triangles, thawing them, coating them with BBQ sauce and baking on non-stick foil at 350 for about 15 minutes.


Today is my niece-dog and nephew-dog’s birthdays.  For that I made “3-2-1” cakes.  They’re made in the microwave, using 3 tbsp. cake mixture, 2 tbsp. water, and cooking for 1 minute.


The recipe calls for baking them in a mug but I used custard cups sprayed with Pam.  You can see in the photo that they are bubbly like angel food cake.  I decorated them with dog-friendly strawberries and blueberries.


I waited to eat them and learned that they are best eaten shortly after cooking, otherwise they get hard in the center.  The dogs enjoyed their treat too.


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Roasted Turnip and Swiss Chard Tacos

These were so good!  And it came from just wanting to use up some produce.  I diced some turnips, tossed with olive oil and a sprinkle of Penzey’s Southwest seasoning, and roasted them in a 400F oven for about 30 minutes, tossing them halfway through.  For the chard, I sauteed some onion, added the chard, water and chicken “better than bouillon” (technically this is not vegetarian, but could be if you used vegetable bouillon) and cooked it down for about 10 minutes.  Avocado, queso fresco, cilantro and Monterrey jack cheese were added for accompaniments.


For dessert, we’re having fresh strawberries.  I added some sugar and balsamic vinegar, and they have been macerating in the refrigerator for a little bit.  We have a few blackberries growing outside, added a few of those too.


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Meatless Monday – Migas and Sugar Cream Pie

Tonight was one of those nights that I had no idea what I was having for dinner until I opened the refrigerator.  Originally I was going to make rice bowls again but I just didn’t feel like that.  I ended up making migas, from Robb Walsh’s Tex-Mex Cookbook.  It was supposed to be “migas especiales con hongos” but mine was “migas especiales con un hongo” (mushroom).  I was able to finish off some leftover refried beans too.


For dessert, we’re having Amish Sugar Cream Pie..  My friend sent me the recipe hoping I would try it and let her know how it turns out.  For blind baking the crust, I tried nesting one pie tin inside of the other.  All these years, I never thought o do it!  When I was looking for baking times in “Joy of Cooking,” it was one of the methods.


You’re supposed to use the same size pie plates but then the edge would get crushed.  I used one that fit just inside.  The hardest part was taking the inside pan out.


There are no eggs in the filling, just half & half, sugar, cornstarch, brown sugar, butter, and vanilla.  Cinnamon is sprinkled on top just before baking.  I only used 6 tablespoons of butter instead of the 8 called for.  The pie is rich and sweet.  It seems so siimple but I was surprised at how good it is.


There are no eggs in the pie, just

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Meatless Monday – Rocky Road Brownies

We  had quesadillas like last week for dinner tonight.  But for dessert, we are having rocky road brownies!  I made half a batch of One Bowl Brownies, baked it in a 9×9″ pan (I think 8×8″ would work better, I just wanted more surface area), then sprinkled on 1/2 cup each of chopped walnuts and chocolate chips, and 1 cup of marshmallows.  The pan goes back into the oven for 3-5 minutes until the topping is melted.


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