Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quick week-night pasta

After spring break last week, I am back to cooking again this week. We went to see V's aunt and cousin in PA for the end of spring break and I was so relaxed. I did not cook for 4 days (although I planned to bake, did not do that either) and was not too inspired at the start of the week. But, dinner needed to be made! I always learn something new when we visit V's family and am inspired by something his aunt/cousin uses. His aunt had roasted some walnuts with maple syrup and some flax seeds and ground them together (coarsely). She adds this mix to her oatmeal every morning. I loved it and brought some back. Flax seeds are supposed to be really good for health. V, though, does not like nuts or seeds in any of his foods. I have tried adding roasted flax seeds (from Trader Joe's) in many meals and he complains about the pieces of seeds in his food. Her innovative idea got me thinking - I could gring flax seeds and add it into many dishes that he would not notice. Flax seeds are also a good substitute for eggs in recipes (mixed with water) and is a good binding agent. This chocolate chip recipe could use some powdered flax seeds in it too for increased heart health. And there will be more - keep your eyes open!!

Based on earlier recipes, like this spinach alfredo and tomato florentine soup, I made a quick week-night pasta dinner. Looking back at these recipes, I think what I made was *very* inspired by the Spinach Alfredo - I did not realize it till now!!

Also please notice the roasted asparagus - my personal sign that spring is here!! We stopped at Trader Joe's on our way home and stocked up on supplies, including the bunch of asparagus. Let's take a little detour and stay with asparagus for a few minutes - I love them!! Yes, they make our pee smelly, but they taste amazing. My favorite ways of eating them are roasting them in the oven for 20 minutes at 375 with some olive oil, salt and pepper or blanching them in a little water (with salt and pepper or red pepper flakes).

The recipe for the pasta is -

Boil about 6 oz of pasta (your choice - I used whole wheat penne and rotini mixed).

While the pasta is boiling, blanch the asparagus.

Separately, saute 3 cloves of minced garlic and 1 packet of frozen spinach in some oil.

Blend together 1/2 a package of silken tofu with 2 T of Toffutti cream cheese, 4 T of prepared Pesto, red pepper flakes (based on taste) and a pinch of nutmeg

Once the pasta is close to Al Dente (not complete soft), add the blended tofu and the cooked spinach and let it all cook together for 5-10 more minutes. I also added frozen meatballs at this time and cooked the mix till it thawed.

It was a GREAT weeknight supper. I served the pasta with almonds and the asparagus!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vegan tamale pie

After eating out for many days, I tend to return to eating healthy by reverting to Indian food - simple dal (lentils) with bread and a simply cooked vegetable. Then I make a very South Indian meal that has lots of spices, lentils, and vegetables, but no fat at all. It brings the digestion back under control :) and makes me feel better about my food choices!!
After two-three days of eating healthy Indian food, today I veganized this recipe for Tamale Pie that I saw in the 'Vegetarian Times'.

It was an easy recipe to change from vegetarian to vegan - all I had to do was to removed the cheese from the recipe. Everything else was already vegan. To make it my own recipe, I added black beans instead of pinto beans (from a chilli that I had made recently). I did not have tomato puree, so instead I used half a can of roasted tomatoes (again, half was used for a previous recipe!) and some tomato paste.

The pie tasted much better than it looks in this photo and is something I'll make again!!

Hope the sun is shining and it's getting warmer where you are. Happy Spring!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Vegan kickstart

How is the 21 day vegan kickstart going? Anyone doing it?
I get the emails, but I'm not really following it. I would like more recipes than it has. I want to try to quinoa pilaf sometime.
Anything else worth trying?
This is a short post - it was my birthday earlier this week and I have been eating out a LOT. Not much cooking going on and when I do it's old favorites like dal (lentils) with an eggplant dish, stir fries - something quick, not too rich and very healthy.
Next week is spring break and we'll be traveling a bit, so not sure about new recipes. Will try to be regular again soon.....

Monday, March 1, 2010

21 Day Vegan Kickstart

I was just playing around on Facebook and noticed an ad for PCRM's 21 Day Vegan Kickstart which begins March 1st. Check it out. Looks like they will send you recipes and advice via your email. Although my husband is a vegan, I am not. I was eating more vegan meals before I got pregnant and then I just couldn't stick to it. I have decided to try avoiding dairy and eggs for the next 3 weeks. I think the things I will have trouble with are: pizza, milk in my coffee, and ice cream. Other than that, no problem since I have lots of vegan products at my house. So far today I have had:
-coffee with Silk vanilla soymilk
-Luna bar
-sandwich with hummus, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes
-peanut butter pretzels from Trader Joe's
-corn chips

Tonight, we are having tacos or taco salad with Yves veggie meat, guacamole, Tofutti sour cream, salsa, etc. I have some Follow Your Heart Cheese but that has a lot of fat and I don't need any more post baby.

Wish me luck!