I love food and this weekend I made some excellent dishes that I well, wanted to dish on. But now it feels all so cliché and such because they are all meatless and today is, after all, Meatless Monday. As much as I love you, Meatless Monday, you have stolen my thunder! Damn you! But if you are looking for some fast and easy meals on Meatless Monday, then you might just enjoy this.
Note: This post is completely self indulgent and is in no way intended to provide you with useful tips and tricks for preparing a meal. I pretty much just want to brag on some total deliciousness I had the opportunity to enjoy this weekend. I am not tossing out specific recipes here with loads of photos, though I do regret not taking more photos of my culinary masterpieces. I’ll save that for the food bloggers (I even provided their links). Plus, I think you are all pretty smart and these meals were ridiculously easy. If you feel so compelled to try them, I am pretty sure you can figure out how to sprinkle cheese on top of a dish or slice up a potato so it takes on french fry status all on your own. You should know, however, that most of these recipes are pretty healthy in the right quantities. Even the apple nachos if you smart about it and again, I know you are smart.
Here is what I enjoyed this weekend:
• Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
• Apple Nachos
• Polenta Bake with Balsamic Green Beans & Mushrooms
• Chips and Curry with Cheese
There was a lot of other food I enjoyed but these were exceptionally delicious and definitely worth sharing. What makes them worth sharing? They were quick and easy. And everyone wanted more. That’s always a good sign because when I experiment in the kitchen, there are times when no one wants more.
So onto the food.
Friday night was our little fire pit soirée. The vegetarian offering for the evening was a stuffed sweet potato. It was super quick, easy and delicious. So delicious in fact that the omnivores fireside kept picking off the veggie plates. Here is how it worked: To leave me more time for entertaining, the night before I whipped up a batch of my own take on Chocolate Covered Katie’s Bread-less Vegan Stuffing. This means that I cooked up my lentils from scratch and subbed out the canned tomatoes for whole pear tomatoes tossed in at the last minute. I bagged it up and tossed it in the fridge overnight. The whole process took less than 30 minutes and made the house smell like Thanksgiving. Yum. The night of the party, I started the sweet potatoes baking in the oven when the omnivores’ chicken went on the grill. Thirty minutes later, I warmed up the stuffing mix while I cut open the sweet potatoes. Spoon in stuffing and POOF: dinner is served. I should have taken a photo. I normally would have. But I was too busy socializing and stuff.
No dinner with friends is complete without some sort of dessert. It doesn’t matter how much weight we all are convinced we need to lose, we always eat dessert. I decided to give apple nachos a go. Before you wrinkle up your nose in absolute disgust over the thought of tortilla chips topped with cheese and apples, relax and take one look at this recipe from Manifest Vegan. The picture is enough to make you lick the computer screen. Rest assured, you and/or your guests will be licking your fingers after these. As is the norm, I made a few changes to accommodate the tastes of my guests and use stuff I already had on hand. I set out the following for my guests to make their own nachos (I know: Bonus points for having guests prepare their own dessert, right?): almonds, cashews, caramel sauce, warm almond butter, shredded coconut and chocolate chips. I thought there was going to be rioting in my kitchen when I ran out of apples when they went back for THIRDS. I will apparently be responsible for delivering plates of apple nachos to future gatherings.
On Saturday, I came up with a brilliant idea for using up the leftover stuffing that would also go well with these Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan from Kalyn’s Kitchen I really wanted to try. After my run, I cut up some polenta from Trader Joe’s and laid it out in a glass dish. I promptly topped with the stuffing then a layer of mozzarella cheese. I baked alongside the green beans for 20 minutes. Another fast, easy and delicious meal. And I get bonus points for creative use of leftovers.
Finally, while I was out laying down the miles yesterday, the only thing I could think of was chips and curry with cheese. I ate a fair amount of this while in Scotland this summer. When I say a fair amount, I mean every chance I could get. The idea of slathering french fries with Indian style curry and then topping it with cheddar cheese may seem obscene at first, but trust me…you will love it.
I didn’t want to run to the store and get bagged fries. In fact, I had really been wanting to try making fries from scratch. I had this big bag of potatoes waiting to be used so before I even changed out of my running gear, I quickly sliced up eight or so smallish russet potatoes into sticks. I lined a cookie sheet with foil (to appease the boy, who would be doing dishes) and sprayed with Pam. I then loosely arranged the potato sticks on the cookie sheet, misted with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled a bit of salt on them. I bake on the top shelf of the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes, misted and salted the fries then baked another 10 minutes. When I pulled them out, I started 3 cups of water boiling on the stove and added one cube of S&L medium hot curry, stirring until blended and thickened. Assembly: place fries on plate. Slather with curry. Top with cheese. Enjoy. I was ravenous and could have easily eaten six or seven servings but even the boy (who did not run) begged for more. Sure it took awhile to bake, but it was a super low maintenance meal (slicing the potatoes only took about 5 minutes). I should have taken a photo but I was REALLY hungry.
So there you have it. My favorite fast, easy and totally delicious meals from the weekend. I have to conclude with random thoughts on Pinterest. Pinterest is the source of all evil because it gives me ideas and hope and crap. There are only so many calories in a day, people. Those no bake cake batter truffles (I’ll share those next time I make them) are truly delicious but I could eat a dozen of them in one sitting. Damn you for your brilliant and delicious ideas. And damn you for giving me hope that I too might be able to make green velvet cupcakes for Saint Patrick’s Day. Because I am such a skilled baker, mine were the color of Shrek’s vomit and even more appealing were about as hard as a tree stump. Okay. That wasn’t Pinterest’s fault. I just can’t bake desserts. Pinterest is really the source of all good because I can quickly pin up any remotely interesting recipe that strikes my fancy for future use. For this, I love Pinterest.