Category Archives: For Love of Veggies

Menu Plan – Week of March 19

It’s getting warm here in the South.  We are anticipating temperatures in the upper 70’s all week.  That means a return to lighter, simpler fare at out house.  One of my goals this Spring and Summer is to find ways to make meal preparation more simple in the evenings.  Being back at work full time for almost years, you’d think I would have a system down.  Yet, 5:15 is often upon us and I am scrambling.  I hope to try some new recipes and techniques and will be glad to share what I learn (and what flops!).

Dinner:

  • Cheddar Polenta Croquettes with field greens and broiled asparagus
    • I will make the polenta one night after dinner and allow it to cool.  That way, all I have to do when ready to eat is pan fry it and broil the asparagus.
  • Butternut Squash Tacos, Refried Beans
    • I plan to make the big batch of beans, portion and freeze.  Also, I’ll peel and cut the squash the night before.
  • Spaghetti Pie with homemade sauce, green salad
  • Tomato Basil Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches

Not Dinner:

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Potato, Corn, and Carrot Chowder

7-8 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

4 large carrots, cut into 1/2 inch rings or chunks

1 large, or 2 small shallots, sliced thin 

1 T butter

3 C milk, broth, or a mixture of both

1 c milk, mixed with 1/3 C flour to form a slurry

4-5 C corn (we like the flash frozen sliver queen sweet corn)

2 C extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper to taste – for us, this is usually 3-4 T salt and about 2 T pepper

Extra milk, as needed, to thin the chowder


1.  Place the cubed potatoes and carrots in a large Dutch oven, cover with water, bring to a boil and simmer 8-10 minutes until potatoes are tender

2.  While potatoes and carrots are cooking, sauté the shallot in the butter in a small pan

3.  Once potatoes are cooked, drain.  Reserve about 1 C cooked potatoes, return the balance to the Dutch oven. Lightly mash the set aside potatoes and put them in the pot as well.

4.  Add the 3 C liquid, and a hearty amount of salt and pepper, return to a simmer and cook 2-3 minutes.

5.  Add the flour and milk mixture and allow to thicken. Add more milk at this point if needed.

6.  Add the corn and the cheese, stir occasionally until cheese is melted.

7.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Can be topped with cooked bacon and slides green onions, if desired. We usually do not add those things and it’s great for us.

Enjoy!

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January Menu Plan

Breakfast:

Chai Latte

Pumpkin Gingerbread Smoothies (a daily indulgence!)

Gingerbread Waffles

Orange Sticky Cake (going for mom of the year award!)

Bacon Cheddar Biscuits (recipe to follow)

Dinners:

Butternut Squash, Kale, and (Soy) Sausage Minestrone

Enchiladas with Avocado Cream sauce (adaptation from this recipe)

Quiche with mixed green salad

Spaghetti Pie with mixed green salad

Mushroom Lasagna with mixed green salad

Chicken Pot Pie with mixed green salad

Tomato Basil Soup with grilled cheese sandwiches

Curried Lentil Soup with Chickpea Puree

Pan fried chicken, Cheddar Scallion Polenta Croquettes, and mixed green salad

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

Black bean tostadas

Black Bean Burgers served with homemade coleslaw

Pinto Beans and Rice served with cornbread and maybe coleslaw

Turkey Meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce served with egg noodles and green beans

Beer Cheese Soup (sans sausage)

Toscano Soup (essentially this soup with soy sausage added) with Italian Cheese Bread

Tortellini, Peppers, and Spinach

Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto

Homemade pizza and salad (a Friday night staple, so this knocks out 4 meals)

Breakfast for Dinner (at least 3 times a month)

What’s cooking in your home this month?  Are you trying to eat healthier in the New Year?  We sure are and we’d love to share our journey with you!

 

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Tortellini, Spinach, and Peppers

I was reading through the Autumn issue of All You Magazine and came across a recipe for tortellini, spinach, and tomatoes.  I made  few tweaks based upon what I had on hand and we were thrilled with the results!  I added more red pepper flake for spice and used bell peppers rather than tomatoes.

  • 1 lb (2 C) cheese tortellini (fresh, dried, or frozen), cooked according to package directions
  • 2 bell peppers, cut into large chunks (I used one red and one yellow)
  • 1 C chopped mushrooms (I used portobello caps, but any mushrooms would be fine)
  • 4 C loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 1 C water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken base
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or 2 teaspoons jarred chopped garlic
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese, for garnish
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large, flat bottom saute pan and then add garlic, saute 2-3 minutes
  2. Add the peppers and saute 5 minutes.  Don’t be afraid if they get a bit charred – that makes them even more tasty.  Burned = bad; charred = flavor.
  3. Add the mushrooms and spices (red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper), cook 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, toss to coat with oil and spices.
  5. Put a lid on the pan for about 4 minutes to wilt spinach.
  6. Uncover, add water and chicken base, stir to combine.
  7. Put cooked pasta into pan with sauce, toss to combine.
  8. Serve with a generous sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

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October Menu Plan

October is probably my favorite month of the year.  The weather here in the South is finally turining toward Autumn, little man’s birthday is this month, college football is in full swing, and it just feels right to braise, roast, and slow cook.  We are continuing on with more vegetarian meals and have started to feel a lot better.  We all have more energy and are sleeping far better.  DH will get a cholesterol recheck in a few months, so that will be the true measure.  The month ahead will be a busy one as soccer continues and we all adjust to little man starting kindergarten.  I am looking for frugal, comforting meals and I think I have found some.  Many are new, some are variations of fall favorites.  I will try to be more consistent about posting the recipes and reviews. 

Here’s a fun photo of little man that marked the start of our fall season – apple picking with great friends!

Climbing high for his apples!

Dinners: (* denotes a slow cooker meal)

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White Bean and Kale Soup

I had the wonderful opportunity yesterday to visit a friend and her new twin boys.  Ohhh … sweet little babies!  Her boys are two weeks old and weigh in at 5 and 6 lb, respectively.  Our own sweet son weighed almost 10 pounds at birth, so I have little experience with smaller babies.  So sweet and snuggly.  This visit called for something hearty, freezer-friendly, tasty … and vegetarian.  She was thrilled with the results.  My DH took the small portion for lunch and also gave it a thumbs up.  This will be a regular menu item as the Autumn and Winter draw closer.

White Bean and Kale Soup

1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced fine
2 t pre-minced garlic
2 C chopped carrots
1 lb dried Northen white beans, soaked overnight
1 bunch kale, torn into pieces with ribs removed
6 C water
copious amounts of salt, pepper, Italian seasoning blend
about 1/2 t crushed red pepper
2T Maggi seasoning (a very intense soy-style sauce) regular soy could be subbed, maybe Worcestershire

1. Saute onions, garlic, and carrots in olive oil about 5minutes until onion is translucent and just beginning to brown
2. Add kale and toss with cooked veggies
3. Add water, beans, and seasonings
4. Cook in a slow cooker 6-8 hours on low
5. Taste and adjust seasonings. It really does need quite a bit of salt – the beans just soak it up.

Best served with crusty bread, a drizzle of olive oil, fresh grated Parmesan cheese and a great glass of wine

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Rainy Day Quiche

It has been overcast and drizzly all day here.  Although it’s still far too warm and humid to really feel like Autumn, it has been a good day to be inside cooking, recipe hunting, and doing chores.  About 11:00, after looking at about 2 dozen quiche recipes, I realized my tummy was rumbling and needed some food input.  I combined what was in the fridge with the methods I had been reading and came up with a pretty tasty lunch!  One of these days, I’ll start taking photos of my food, but today was not that day.  By the time I thought of a photo, the plate was nearly empty.

Quiche:

1 9-inch refrigerated pie crust

5 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

5-6 baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/4-1/2 green pepper, seeded and finely chopped

1/4 yellow, or sweet, onion finely chopped

2T olive oil

1t Kosher salt

2t black pepper, divided

2t Italian seasoning mix, divided

3/4-1 cup shredded cheese or your choosing, we used Mexican 4 cheese blend

1.  Pre-bake the pie crust according to package directions in a glass or metal pie plate.  Mine called for 8-10 minutes at 450.

2. Adjust oven to 375, if needed

3. While crust is pre-baking, saute mushrooms, onion, and green pepper in olive oil until onion is translucent.  Season with salt and half of the pepper and Italian seasoning.

4. While the crust cools for a moment, mix the eggs, yogurt, milk, 1t pepper, and 1 t Italian seasoning with a whisk.  You want the eggs to be slightly beaten and for the yogurt to break down into small pieces.

5.  Pour the egg mixture over the veggies in the pie shell

6. Sprinkle with shredded cheese

7. Bake at 375 for ~ 35-40 minutes until set in the center.  You may have the put a piece of foil over top to prevent burning during the last few minutes.

We served the with mixed greens dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The salad was very good with the rich quiche.  Hubby and I agree that this needs more veggies though, so feel free to increase any or all amounts.  A definite keeper!

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