Meal Plan: July 20-25

Alright, so the plan from here on out (or for now, at least, until we have time to start experimenting again), is to post our weekly meal plan with links to the recipes we are using! I apologize for the lack of pictures this week…I had every intention of taking daily pictures, but a crying baby, my hunger, and my lack of patience kept interfering!

Sunday: Zucchini with Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
We added grilled chicken to make it our main dish, otherwise it would be great as a side dish!

Monday: Quinoa Black Bean Tacos
These tacos were incredible! I baked shells using Mission Artisan Whole Wheat tortillas (our favorite), and topped them with avocado and vegan sour cream.
With the leftovers I made baked flautas one day (place avocado and filling on a tortilla, roll is tightly, place on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake until crispy), and had enough leftover after that to make quesadillas another day! (And there is still more in the fridge!)
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Tuesday: Vegan Crispy Potato Pizza
This was so much fun to make! From the homemade baked potato chips to the beer pizza crust, it was all delicious, and surprisingly we didn’t even miss the cheese! I added thin sliced onions under the chips for a little extra flavor, and next time would add more and maybe a little spinach!
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Wednesday: Spinach Barley Salad
I followed the recipe but used pearl barley instead of wild rice which I think was a great choice because it really absorbed the delicious dressing!
We went to the LA Galaxy vs. Manchester United soccer game and this was the perfect healthy tailgate food because I was able to make it ahead of time and stick it in the cooler!
Tip: the salad minus the spinach was even better leftover the next day!
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Thursday: Grilled Thai Chicken with Coconut Jasmine Rice
This chicken marinade was so good! Next time I would reserve some of the marinade and reduce it to make a sauce to drizzle over the chicken when I served it, because it was that good! It would also be a great marinade for veggies like zucchini!

Friday: BBQ Crock Pot Ribs, Grilled Corn on the Cob, and High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes
These ribs are always requested for special occasions, and are AMAZINGLY easy and delicious! (No picture because it was way too good to wait and eat…we are working on our patience!)

All the meals this week cost about $60 and made enough for both of us to have leftovers for lunch the next day! The biggest tip was waiting for the ribs to go on sale and then I had a Just For U coupon on top of that (from Vons)

Lemon Risotto with Summer Vegetables

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This was a very delicious recipe I found.  Unlike the others, this one wasn’t modified much.  You can find the original recipe here.  Here’s the recipe, along with our adjustments (this one takes about an hour, and it’s pretty much all active cooking time).  Enjoy!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 8 ounces asparagus (about 10 stalks), trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces sugar snap peas (about a healthy handful), trimmed and cut in half
  • 5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil (to be used at different times)
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 small bell pepper, diced or sliced, any color (we used green)
  • 4 3/4 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (if you live in SoCal, check out Wiens for some great wines- we used their White Crowded for this)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Salt-free seasoning

Directions:

  1. Fill a large sauce pan about 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Put asparagus and peas in water and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cool water.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.  Add zucchini, squash and bell pepper and saute for about 7 minutes, or until browned and tender.  Season vegetables with no-salt seasoning while cooking.
  3. Add vegetable broth to a medium sauce pan and warm over medium heat (but don’t bring it to a boil).  Keep it warm.
  4. Heat remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add shallots, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until they get tender. Stir in rice, and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Stir in 1 cup broth; cook 5 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/4 cup broth for the end. Add remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (20-25 minutes total).  About halfway through cooking rice, add the 2 cloves of minced garlic.  Stir in asparagus, peas, zucchini, squash and bell pepper ; cook 1 minute more or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 cup of broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, butter, chives and grated cheese.
  5. Eat.  Enjoy.

Tofu Taco “Meat”

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We love taco salad… Tonight we decided to try it without meat! We haven’t been huge tofu fans but are starting to branch out (thanks to a few great miso soups at sushi restaurants lately). The tofu recipe we came up with would be great in taco salad (like we did), tacos, quesadillas, or just by itself! Here’s what you need:

5-8 oz firm tofu (we used about 1/3 the package of a 14 oz pack from Trader Joe’s) very finely diced
1/2 small yellow onion finely chopped
1/4 bell pepper diced (pick your favorite color)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon garlic pepper hot sauce (optional- see Wild Rice Burger recipe for a link to the sauce we love)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (very optional- only use if you want your mouth to be on fire)

Combine all ingredients in a medium frying pan on medium heat. Sauté until onions are translucent and everything has been simmering for a couple minutes. Then you’re done!

If you want to make taco salad, toss this mixture with lettuce (or the spinach/kale mixture we like from Vons), add cheddar cheese, corn, black beans (or edame like we used since we didn’t have black beans), a little ranch and a little salsa, crumble some tortilla chips on top and you’re good to go!

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Bon appetite!
Matt

After we made this taco salad we had some leftover “meat” mix, so we decided to make quesadillas a couple nights later! Our FAVORITE tortillas are these blue cork flax seed artisan tortillas by Mission!

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Wild Rice Burgers and Zucchini Chips

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These burgers are incredible! Just as good as any meat burger I’ve had. They’re pretty easy to make too, and the zucchini chips are a perfect complement!

Wild Rice Burgers
Makes 4 patties
1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced celery
2 garlic gloves, minced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup freshly shredded hard white cheese (Asiago, white cheddar, etc…)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of black pepper
2 teaspoons Garlic hot sauce
2 tablespoons flax seed plus 6 tablespoons water (substitute for 2 eggs)

Cook wild rice according to instructions and let cool (you can make this a day ahead of time if you want).

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté onions, celery and garlic until onion is translucent.

In a large bowl, combine sautéed onion mixture, wild rice, bread crumbs, shredded cheese, dry seasonings, and garlic hot pepper sauce (this one is our go to). Let mixture cool and then add flax seed mixture, stirring until everything is combined (To make flax seed mixture, combine 2 tablespoons flax seed meal and 6 tablespoons water, stir until combined. This works as a great, healthier substitute eggs!  If you want to use eggs, mix in 2 eggs instead of the flax seed meal).

Once cooled, divide into 4 patties and cook in a skillet in remaining olive oil until crispy and browned ( about 3-4 minutes per side).

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Serve with your favorite toppings! We used avocado, white Irish cheese, spinach and a lemon pepper mayo (mix mayo with hot pepper sauce, garlic and lemon juice). Enjoy!

This recipe is based on this one, with modifications of course.

Zucchini Chips

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These zucchini chips are super easy. Combine 1/4 cup bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan in one bowl and have 2 tablespoons nonfat milk in another small bowl. Cut zucchini into 1/4 inch slices, dip in milk and then coat with bread crumb mixture. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until crisp on a wire rack.
These taste great dipped in the hot pepper garlic mayo from the burgers!

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Hands down, our favorite vegetarian meal so far has been these black bean veggie burgers. (Recipe modified from allrecipes.com) They are super easy to make and can be modified or topped with a variety of ingredients!

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Start by lightly mashing one can of drained, rinsed black beans (I don’t mash too much so there is still a good texture). Using a cheese grater or the grater attachment in a food processor, grate 1/2 onion, 1/2 zucchini, and 1/2 bell pepper. Add the veggies to the beans and add 2 cloves of minced garlic. Mix together and add 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 tablespoon chili powder, and 1 teaspoon chili sauce (I used garlic pepper plant sauce). Mix and then add 1 egg and 1/2 cup of bread crumbs or panko. Then add about 1/2 cup of feta cheese (optional).

Mix well, form into 4 patties, and sauté in a little oil until golden brown! We love to eat them with avocado, fresh spinach, and a little lemon garlic aoli with fresh chopped basil!

ENJOY!

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Zucchini Parmesan

One of Matt’s favorite meals is my homemade Chicken Parmesan. Since we are cooking mostly vegetarian now, I decided to try it with zucchini instead of chicken, and let me tell you…it was AMAZING!

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Start by cutting the zucchini in quarters, and then taking the thin slice off the back so they sit flat on both sides.

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Make an egg wash with egg and milk in one bowl, and prepare bread crumbs or panko with garlic powder and Italian seasoning in another bowl. Dip the zucchini in the egg, and then panko to coat.

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Heat oil in a pan and sauté until golden brown.

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Place slices of mozzarella on each piece of zucchini, and then pour hot tomato sauce over the top.

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Serve and ENJOY!

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