Tag Archives: Meatless Mondays

Meatless Monday: Back in the Habit

Ok, I was on a strong MM kick- I didn’t post any recipes since it was pretty mundane stuff like spaghetti with eggs and tomato. Or it was total disasters that I had to suck down due to the enormous guilt I feel when I waste food- my tofu stir fry with peanut butter noodles would be an example of that.
But last week, I threw any sort of eating caution to the wind in celebration of the holidays. I met up with my best friend from high school for a reunion dinner last Monday and had the world’s best burger at Egan and Sons in Montclair. Of course, it probably isn’t the world’s best burger, but when you don’t have beef for about two months (I hadn’t had it since October probably), it will taste awfully good. Christmas Eve dinner was at my parents, and my family as most Filipino families, are notorious for having¬† Too Much Protein Syndrome so we had lechon (roast whole pork), salmon, another whole fish, chicken, ham, fried chicken, ribs, beef lasagna, etc etc. Christmas Dinner was my SO’s parents house, and I offered to make a ham, which though was the pre-cooked, glaze-included variety, was very good.

Along with all the sweets like Food for the Gods my cousin gave us (a box of 32 pieces, dear lord), candy, cookies, and the fact that Trader Joe’s (popped my TJ cherry last night) carried French macarons, I am looking forward (so are my newer awesome jeans I bought earlier this month) to detoxing a bit, slowly and getting back to eating lots of vegetables.

I mentioned going to Trader Joe’s, which was my first time ever. What a delightful little place! I couldn’t imagine doing all my shopping there, but I was able to get some fun appetizers for the NYE get together we are having. They also had some adorable little butternut squash, and in my fondness of All Things Autumnal and orange vegetables, I made this version of Butternut Squash Soup.

The only recipe I used to work with was a Barefoot Contessa one that called for a cup of half and half and canned pumpkin and all this other crazy nonsense. I needed something somewhat healthy, so I adapted Fat Free Vegan Kitchen’s Clouds in the Sunset which is butternut squash soup with roasted cauliflower. Trader Joe’s had run out of cauliflower, and I was too lazy to try to go to another market, so here is my Curried Butternut Squash Soup, inspired by Ms. SusanV

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, about 2 lbs

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large garlic cloved minced

1/2 tsp of ground ginger

1 heaping Tbsp of Curry Powder

1 Qt/4 Cups Vegetable Stock

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half, scoop out seeds, and lightly oil a baking sheet. Place the cut side of the squash (I sprayed my slightly with olive oil) down. Place in oven for about 30 minutes (give or take) until flesh is wrinkly and the skin can be poked and pierced with a fork easily.

2. In a larger saucepan, saute onions and garlic until aromatic and the onions are clear, about 3-4 minutes. I sauteed them in a little bit of Smart Balance, because I wanted a slight buttery taste. Olive oil should work fine too. Add ground ginger and curry powder and saute for another minute or so.

3. When the squash can b handled, scrape out the pulp ( I find it easier just to pull the skin off) and if you need to, mash up a bit in a bowl. Add squash to the saucepan and saute to combine all the spices and onions and garlic with it.

4. Add the vegetable stock (carefully!) and bring to a boil, let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. When ready, take an immersion blender/stick blender, and mash up (carefully, again!) all the squash and onions to the consistency you want. I like my a little lumpy, so I didn’t go too nuts.

I ate this with a nice multi-grain roll from Trader Joe’s- a good bread is a must as a companion.¬† You can also be indulgent and add a little mozzarella or Gruyere cheese on top. I froze the rest of my soup, since this is broth-based (as opposed to a cream based) it’ll freeze nicely.


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Meatless Monday: Hello, Spaghetti Squash

For this week’s MM, I finally decided to tackle the spaghetti squash that I bought several weeks ago. I was slightly intimidated because, as you may all know when you cook a spaghetti squash, the innards cook and become long strands of squash, hence its name. Now what other vegetable does that? Creepy.

So, I decided to go the boil-to-cook method, though my pal told me about roasting it. I really ought to start posting pictures with these recipes, but I’ll continue to be lazy until probably the next year.

Spaghetti-Spaghetti Squash

1 medium spaghetti squash

1 garlic clove, crushed

1/2-3/4 cup of your favorite marinara sauce (I do love Newman’s Own)

1/2 c of baby bella mushrooms

parmesan shavings (optional)

1. Split the spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds. Immerse in a large saucepan filled with water. Bring water to a boil and cook for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender. When ready, remove from water and ‘probe’ (as the little sticker on the squash said) until your ‘spaghetti’ strands are pulled. I put it in a tiny colander while proceeding with the rest of the meal.

2. In a medium saucepan, sautee in olive oil, your crushed garlic clove until aromatic. Toss your baby bellas in there and sautee until they appear tender. Add spaghetti squash and season with salt and pepper.

3. Pour tomato sauce and bring everything to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Top with parm.

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Meatless Monday: Curried Chickpeas and Couscous

My SO isn’t a fan of eating when meat is not the central protein. I’m working on that slowly. It’s hard because he’s not exactly meat and potatoes.

Not saying that this dish will be of any interest to him. When SO works Monday evenings, I take advantage of the empty nest and plan on vegetarian. Mondays at work usually consists of me playing plenty of catch-up, but I try to make time to look up something to make.

Today, not so much. My sinuses are indicating that I might have something else brewing below so I took the day to work at home. This didn’t excuse bossman to give me an impossible assignment, when all I really wanted to do was lay down. Eleven hours of work later (you don’t quite have the advantage of ducking out when you want to when you work at home), I want something quick and easy.

This is wholly inspired by Channa Masala, a dish that’s special to me because it was one of the first vegetarian dishes I learned to cook while in college, when I ate mostly vegetarian (not the world’s greatest but you know).

Curried Chickpeas and Couscous

1 can of chickpeas, drained

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 onion, chopped

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/2 tsp Cumin

1-2 Tbsp Curry powder

3/4 cup Couscous

1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan. Add onions and cook until tender. Add cumin and cayenne pepper and fry until fully incorporated.

2. Add chickpeas and season with salt and pepper. I didn’t add too much salt because I didn’t drain the chickpeas.Sprinkle curry powder on top, combine.

3. Add diced tomatoes and bring to boil. Let boil for about 2-3 minutes, then throw in couscous. Remove from heat and let stand until couscous is cooked, 5 minutes tops.

Eat with yogurt or a side of bread or on its own. My first batch I added 1 Tbsp of Curry Powder but found that I wanted more. The amount if subject to your own taste preference.

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