meatless monday

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A letter from my mother and a recipe

I received a greeting card from my mother the other day which included a check. Not a necessary check (I told her she didn’t need to pay me back), but a little extra grocery money is always nice. Thanks, Mom! The bonus of the delivery was the printed recipe that was folded and stuck inside the envelope. There was a handwritten note in the corner that said, “I went to a luncheon yesterday – This was delicious.”

Bingo! Just when I was scratching my head wondering what I would post here, a mother-approved recipe landed in my lap!

This is a meatless lasagna, which is always a welcome alternative. It bakes up crispy on the edges, and it’s nice and cheesy throughout. My husband gave it both thumbs up!

A few thoughts about this dish:

  • The cheese and the Alfredo sauce make this dish pretty rich. No complaints, but I’ll serve a fruit salad tonight with leftovers, which will be the perfect, light accompaniment.
  • The recipe calls for jarred Alfredo sauce. I rarely go the pre-made route so I made my own, which was bowl-licking good.
  • Feta cheese gets sprinkled over the top of this lasagna, and it is salty. Taste as you build this and consider using a light touch with the salt when seasoning your other layers.
  • I like rosemary, but I decided to substitute a generous amount of fresh basil – perhaps ten leaves stacked, rolled and cut in a chiffonade. I loved it!
  • The recipe called for a scant ¼ cup sliced, fresh mushrooms. Huh? I upped that amount to a couple of cups.

Artichoke spinach lasagna – a recipe from my mother’s friend. Serves 12, however if you’ve got a room of real hungry people to feed, I think 8 servings might be more accurate.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ sliced fresh mushrooms (I increased this to almost 2 cups)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can vegetable or chicken broth (or homemade)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can water-packed artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, defrosted, thoroughly squeeze-dried, and fluffed
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed (I subbed fresh basil)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 (16 ounce) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 9 no-cook lasagna noodles
  • 12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (I ran short, so ended up grating a little more)
  • 1 cup crumbled tomato and basil feta cheese, or plain feta cheese
  • If using plain feta cheese, sprinkle finished dish with 1/8 teaspoon each garlic powder, dried oregano, parsley flakes, and basil

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until onions are golden and mushrooms have released their liquid, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook one minute longer. Stir in broth, artichokes, spinach, rosemary (or basil), nutmeg, and pepper. Bring just to boil and reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes. Stir in Alfredo sauce.

To assemble, spread 1 cup of sauce into prepared baking dish. Layer with 3 noodles and handful of shredded cheese. Repeat layers (3 layers total). Top with remaining sauce and cheese. Sprinkle with feta cheese (and herbs if needed).

Bake, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover, and bake 15 minutes more, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

So I’ve been trying to transition to vegetarianism and then vegan, and so far I’ve been doing pretty good with having a “meatless” day once a week (I have to start slow because that’s going to be the most sustainable way to do that for me) and I finally decided to try tofu.

It’s not bad, but I don’t particularly like it either? It’s a texture thing tbh. The only way I think I could use it as a meat substitute is where I’d use ground beef (tacos, spaghetti, etc) because that’s kind of a similar texture thing going on.

I used it in stir fry the other night and it wasn’t bad, and the first couple of bites I was like “ughhh??” But then near the end, I didn’t mind it as much? Maybe it’s just a texture I’m not used to as a “meat” or whatever? I’ll keep trying. (Tips on how to cook it to where it’s not weird would be appreciated!!)

Tonight I made this thing my stepdad usually makes (idk what to call it) that’s basically just ground beef, potatoes, onions, all cooked together, except I used tofu instead of ground beef, and that was really good!

I’ll be continuing to experiment!

Persimmon and Pomegranate Salad Recipe

Persimmon season just so happens to coincide with pomegranate season, and these two fall fruits couldn’t possibly be more perfectly matched. 

This recipe from She Cooks, She Gardens marries them together, using fresh feta cheese and arugula as well. The result is a fresh salad that’ll spruce up your table, wether it’s for the Thanksgiving holiday or for a simple meatless meal.

Here’s how it’s done.

Meatless Monday: Start Your Week With A Delightful Pomegranate Smoothie

If you had a little too much fun grillin’ and chillin’ (and perhaps cocktailin’ too) this weekend, we have a great way to reset for the week.

We are adoring this simple pomegranate, blueberry, and banana smoothie recipe to start the week.

Here’s how it’s whipped up:

http://thenutritiouskitchen.com/banana-blueberry-pomegranate-smoothie-cookbook-review/