Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Later is better than never!

I know it has been a while, I wanted to share something (small and a little superficial) but still something still fun and worth sharing.

This week, despite the fact that I have only been off for 2.5 weeks, I have been planning on going back to work. Last year I felt like I always had to sacrifice something during the week, whether it be the gym, chores, cooking, or sleep. It might sound silly, but a lot of what consumes my time in the kitchen is preparing meat! Defrosting it, cooking it thoroughly, cleaning up the mess afterward. On top of the health reasons that had already caused me to lower my meat-eating, plus the costs of meat, environmental reasons for avoiding meat, yada yada, I have decided to stop cooking meat and truthfully, try to stop eating it as well. To be honest, I do not like meat that much (chicken is so boring unless it is doused in olive oil) unless it is a nice, juicy filet mignon. Why waste my calories on something I do not really enjoy? I was only cooking it for us because I thought my husband wouldn't want a plant-based meal.

So, this past week I have cooked strictly vegetarian meals, and my husband has rated all of them. Here they are (BTW, there are only 4 meals because for 2 of them I had Amy's and for one my husband and I went out to eat).

Daniel rated these on a scale of 1-10, with 9.9 being Mark's Restaurant worthy, and a 1 being inedible (he says a 10 is simply unattainable). Anything that is a 6 or above is something he would want to eat again :-)

Day 1: Feta, Walnut, and Spinach Pasta salad- rated a 7
1. Boil whole wheat rigatoni pasta to al dente (I did the whole box to have lunch left
2. Drain it and chill in the fridge for about 10 min
3. Mix it with toasted walnuts (1/2 cup) several hand fulls of spinach (used defrosted
frozen spinach because it is already wilted), 1/2 of a chopped red onion, and about a cup of feta cheese and some salt/ pepper.

Day 2: Bean soup (courtesy of my mama, tweaked by me)
1. In a crockpot, mix a lb of dried black beans, 2 chopped carrots, 3 chopped stalks of celery, a chopped white onion, 7 cloves minced garlic, 1 chopped green pepper, 2 4 oz cans of green chiles, 5 cups of water, 3 cups of vegetable stalk, a Tablespoon of cumin and a Tablespoon of Thyme. Cook on high for 8 hours. Once it is ready to serve, top with some cilantro and avocado.

*Daniel did not rate this, but loved it so much that he came home from work to eat it for lunch- and he ALWAYS goes out!

Day 3: Pasta with goat cheese, fresh spinach, and roasted red peppers- "solid 7.5"
1. Cook whole wheat pasta shells in salted water until al dente
2. Once cooked, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water
3. Mix cooked pasta with about 1/2 cup of goat cheese, 4 roasted peppers, and 4 handfuls
of fresh spinach
4. Top it off with the 1/2 cup of reserved water. This melts the cheese and creates a
creamy, yummy sauce. It also wilts the spinach.

Day 4: Egg, spinach, and feta "quiche" (turned more into a pizza)- rated a 7.8
1. Set oven to 350 degrees
2. In a bowl, mix 10 oz of defrosted frozen spinach (make sure you squeeze the excess
water out), 3 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 cup of feta (I also mixed in some goat cheese).
3. In a seperate bowl, whisk 3 eggs with 1.5 cups of skim milk, plus a pinch of nutmeg,
salt, and pepper.
4. In a pie pan (about 9-12 in), place 4 halves of whole wheat Orzo sandwich thins
5. Spoon the spinach mixture on top of the thins, and then pour the egg mixture on top.
6. Cook for about 30-40 min
* This was not very eggy. If you want it to be less pizza-like and more quiche-like, add
some more eggs/ milk. For every egg added, also add 1/2 cup of milk*

All of these recipes took barely any time to prepare. Daniel and I are both pretty health-conscious, so we liked that we didn't hate ourselves after eating these meals. Anyways, enjoy! I think I will be posting the recipes I cook this week, as well!

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