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Monday, July 11, 2011

What's for Dinner this Week - A Week of Menus

Today was beautiful and sunny and I spent the morning with my little Miss No-No taking pics of things around our house - and of her!!

Someone still had their 4th of July flag out, but it was different than the other ones I have seen.

Miss No-No liked our neighbors' flowers....and since I can't keep ANY flowers alive.... I just took the pic for Miss No-No.

This is our "community" aloe plant - it's great for cuts, burns, scrapes, and even itchy skin.... Looks like someone may need to start watering this guy a little bit more!
And.... the lovely Miss No-No!

What are you eating this week?
We are once again inundated with beets...and zucchini!! It's that time of year again!
Since we have had enough of beets for awhile (see my pics from last week), I decided to freeze the beets and we can have beet soup and microwave beets when the weather gets a little bit cooler. I will have a post later this week about freezing beets.

In the meantime, here's what we are eating this week:

Sage "Spiced" White Beans
Sauteed Greens with Garlic
Brown rice

Oven-Baked Tofu
"Fried" Zucchini
Toasted Israeli Couscous

Cuke and Red Potato Salad
Falafel and Pitas
Sauteed Zucchini with Oregano

Left over Bonanza

Garden Burgers
Zucchini "Slaw"

Dinner out

Italian Pasta
Green Salads
Garlic Bread

1. White beans: You can use either canned or pre-cooked (from dried) beans. I use whatever I have on hand! Put the beans with liquid or a little bit of vegetable broth in a small/medium saucepan with one crushed garlic clove, some black pepper, and some dried sage (to taste, but I usually use about 1/8 tsp).
To make the sauteed greens: trim and wash the greens (I am using swiss chard so I will have to remove the center rib, cut the greens into bite sized pieces, and wash). Heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet, add 1 - 2 cloves of minced garlic; let cook for 30 seconds; add in greens. Cover and cook over medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of water when needed (so greens don't overcook and stick to the pan). Remove the lid and cook off as much residual water as possible (or as much as you have time to cook off!). The greens should be tender and wilted down a lot. Press out any extra water against the side of the pan before serving.
2. Oven baked Tofu: my recipe was inspired by the recipe in Veganomicon, the cookbook. I slice one cake of tofu, put it in a cast iron pan, make a basting liquid from about 1/4 c. vegetable broth (or water), a 1/2 - 1 tsp. Braggs Liquid Aminos, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, the juice of 1/2 a lemon. I pour some of this over the tofu slices and then broil (on low) until the liquid is gone. I usually add the rest over the tofu and continue to cook. If I need more liquid, I will either make some more really quick or just use water. It's best to let this cook for at least 35 - 45 minutes, but sometimes, I just don't have that kind of time... I will cook it for as long as I can and then serve (which still tastes good, but the flavor doesn't soak into the inside of the tofu as well).
The "fried" zukes only seem to be fried - - I actually cook them in a skillet! Thinly slice the zukes long-wise and briefly marinate in Braggs Liquid Aminos (you could probably also use some soy sauce and water). Add a little bit of olive oil to a skillet, let heat up, and then add in the zuke slices. Cook, turning occasionally, for approximately 10 minutes until they are browned in places on both sides... This is really about your preference - sometimes I start them first and just let them go until dinner is ready and other times, I just flash-fry them (when they are sliced very thin) and go with that. You could cook them for 10 minutes and then take one out and try it and then keep cooking if you need to.
3. My falafel secret is this: Box Mix. I know, I know, it's not extremely healthy, and I COULD make them from scratch, but since I don't have the time to do that (and have actually never done it before), I just make them from a box mix and bake them instead of frying. It works great and I can make everything else while those are cooking.
4. Cuke and red potato salad: Thinly slice cooked red potatoes and raw cukes. Add either a homemade or store bought potato salad mix (sometimes, I use Italian dressing mix packets mixed with vegan mayo), add a little bit of dill, some black pepper, and a tiny bit of salt. Occasionally, if I have them, I will also add thinly sliced red onions or celery, but they aren't absolutely necessary. Let sit in the fridge at least until dinner is ready (or for a few hours) to let the flavors blend together a bit.
5. Zuke Slaw: Shred (using a shredder or mandolin) a couple of zukes and some carrots. Blend together with a slaw dressing. I love to use this recipe (scroll down about 1/2 way), but feel free to use whichever suits you best.

I am trying to link up to all these Monday Linky Parties!!

What's bountiful in your pantry / fridge right now? What veggies are you using the most of?

Thanks for all your comments last week! Creating a menu is easy once you've been doing it for awhile. I generally can look into my cupboards and come up with something - - and if you look at the menus, you's not gourmet, or anything. And it doesn't have to be! YOU know what YOUR family likes and doesn't like, so you can work around that and create stuff on the fly. I have come up with some interesting things just deciding to throw together what's in the fridge. Although, I can admit, it's much faster to have a plan that you have already worked out the day before (or earlier in the week). Some great resources for menu planning are: 1. Mrs. No-No Knows (hahahhaha, just kidding!!). Really, some places to start are just about any women's magazine or their websites (BHG, Real Simple, Rachael Ray, All You, Vegetarian Times). I have gotten some good recipes in those places and a lot of them with come with calorie counts and listed RDA numbers.

Happy Eating!
More later! :)