Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday Night Dinner

One of my go to source for recipes is Everyday Food - both the cookbooks, and the magazine. This recipe is my interpretation of the Brown Rice Bowl with Shrimp, Snow Peas, and Avocado from the Everyday Food: Great Food Fast.

Since we are vegan the only thing I had to change was the shrimp. I like to make this using VegeUSA Peking Spare Ribs. They are stupidly expensive at $5.99 a box (which only has 2 portions), but they are my one expensive buy at the grocery. Everything else is exactly the same as the recipe calls for, with my addition of baby bok choy.

This is a super easy meal to make, and I really love the mixture of the bright, fresh flavor of the snow peas mixed with the creaminess of the avocado.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tuesday Night Dinner

Tuesday's dinner was what I would consider boring. I was right at the end of one grocery run, and about to head into another. I hate throwing away unused/spoiled produce, and half used tofu. I had some spare things laying around that I knew wouldn't last much longer - and thus: Stir Fry.

I will say it is very colorful, and I used a really delicous sauce for it. This has snap peas, zucchini, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, red pepper, cabbage, tofu "puffs", and Morningstar Farms Meal Starter Chick'n Strips. It is all on top of sushi rice (you save a TON of money on this if you buy it in the bulk section of Whole Foods), with a sauce that I stole from Vegan Yum Yum. She calls it "Sweet Chili Lime" sauce, but in our household it is known as "Fancy Sauce". It makes every stir fry, or tofu dish extra delicious.

Here is the Fancy Sauce recipe:
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 3/4 Tbs fresh lime juice (I normally just use the juice from 1 lime)
  • Zest from 1/2 of the lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (I like to use a microplane)
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 4-5 mint leaves, chiffinaded
Another good money saver is buying and planting your own herbs. I just bought myself basil, mint, and lavender plants. I have them in pots outdoors, and I love being about to go out, pick a few leaves, and come in and cook with them. Have you ever notice how much basil you have to throw out after you buy it? I never even come close to using all of it. Plus, it's cheaper to buy an organic basil starter than it is to buy a bunch of basil that you will end up throwing away. I wish I had bought potted herbs sooner - I would have saved so much money!

A Week of Meals

When I got towards the end of my pregnancy I started to really worry about how I would get everything done at home with a new baby. I knew that a lot of things would fall by the wayside, or get put off until I had reinforcements (primarily weekends when Dave is around to help out). The thing I worried the most about was how I was going to cook. Not only do I really love cooking, but we just bought a house and need to watch every penny we spend. Nothing wastes money like eating out every night. Cooking is not only a passion, but it became a necessity.

I have managed to cook dinner almost every night since Elliott was born. The only times I haven't are when we were taken out to dinner (thank you, parents), or when I was just burned out. I thought I would document a week or so worth of dinner cooking. I have sort of changed my cooking a little - quickness has become a necessity. I use as much fresh produce as possible (way cheaper than processed foods), and I try to make 3 servings. I always try to make sure we have enough left over for Dave to take to work the next day.

The week I documented is kind of funny because we had rice with almost every meal (we really like rice in my family), which isn't really the norm. At least we had a variety of rices!

So, here is Monday:
Zucchini Stuffed with Tomatoes and Gardein Chick'n Breast
with Reduced Tomatoes and Brown Rice

To make the "chicken" I used the Gardein Chick'n Scallopini. I put it in a pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. I let them thaw a little, and then add in about half a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved, and 2 tomatoes, cored and cut in quarters. As the tomatoes cook they will release a lot of liquid, reduce and will thicken. I deglaze the pan with a splash of white wine. Season with salt and pepper - voila, delicious faux chicken breast with tomato sauce.

For the zucchini dish I used a recipe from the July/August issue of Everyday Food (#84). I just substituted shredded Follow Your Heart Mozzarella for the cheese, and it worked great!

So there you have it - meal numero uno.