Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Charquican

On my recent trip to Chile, I was on the lookout for traditional dishes that I could bring back home to share with my family and with yours.  One dish that really stood out as something that my family would love to eat was a simple peasant dish called charquican.  Charquican is, traditionally, a Chilean beef stew.  It was originally made with beef jerky, or charqui.  As I understand it, most people just use stew beef.  Typically, people will mash up potatoes and winter squashes and add whatever veggies they have hanging around.  It really seems to be a “clean out the fridge” kind of dish.  That’s right up our alley!

Charquican-1

The version that I had during my trip was a little more dressed up.  With a red pearl onion pickled in a red wine sauce, drizzled in a butter sauce, and topped with a nice piece of salmon, the restaurant version of charquican was really something special.  However, the homeyness of the base really shone through for me.  Since it was served as a side dish, there was no beef.  This struck me as a great opportunity for a Meatless Monday!  As such, one of my first recipe attempts after coming back from Chile was to make this meatless version of charquican.  I hope you enjoy!

Charquican-2

Vegetarian Charquican

In order to make this side dish into a filling, and satisfying, main meal, I added mushrooms and topped the whole thing with a poached egg.  The meatiness of the mushrooms and the velvety egg yolk combine to really bring this whole thing together.  I’m a big eater and one serving was all I needed to leave the table happy.

Ingredients

5 large red potatoes, cut into half-inch cubes
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 sprigs thyme
1 tsp. paprika
1-12 oz bag frozen mixed veggies
1-15 oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup white wine
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp. merken (optional)
8 eggs

Directions

1.  Place the potatoes into a medium-pot, cover with water, salt well, and bring to a boil.  Boil until potatoes are tender.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook until beginning to brown, about 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic, thyme, and paprika.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.

3.  Add mixed veggies and potatoes.  Stir to combine.  Season with salt, pepper, and merken, if using.  Allow to cook until the mixed veggies are warmed through.  Add pumpkin and wine.  Stir until thoroughly combined.  The mixture should have a creamy texture holding the potatoes and vegetables together.  If the mixture is too tight, add another splash of wine or water until you reach the desired consistency.  Cover and put over a low heat to stay warm.

4.  Fill a wide saucepan with water and allow to come to a simmer.  Crack eggs into individual bowls and pour into the water.  Turn off the heat and cover.  Let stand for about 4 minutes.  Remove to a paper towel to drain.

5.  Scoop the charquican onto a plate.  Top with one of the poached eggs.  Serve and enjoy!

Do you think that you could tell the difference between my dish and the one served at the restaurant?  What would you change to have this fit your family?  Would you like to see more of these dishes from Chile?  Leave us a comment and let us know!

Lazy Meatless Monday Dinner

Today was a long day at our house. Maybe it was the switch to Daylight Savings Time? Maybe is Brian STILL being sick with bronchitis? Maybe it is me just being worn out. It was Meatless Monday day though. Thankfully we had planned for a lazy meatless Monday dinner. Part of the planning was that we needed ONE thing from the store for this dinner … the hummus. I made up two plates and let the kids eat in the living room … I was just too tired after work to do more than that today.

They ate up the plate of veggies. The kids ate more off their plate of veggies than we did. They did opt for the ranch dressing instead of the hummus but I am OK with that. They sat there and ate veggies for dinner. Just veggies … even little man!! This is a HUGE deal for him because just a few months ago, the only veggie he would eat was carrots and he would eat like two of them. We are excited that he is starting to eat more with us and expanding what he will eat with us. We are on the plan of just continuously offering the healthy food choices to him and he is picking them up.

In the middle of getting dinner together … OK, I only had to cut up the peppers, celery, and cucumber but I do get extra points for using the sharp knife and not cutting my fingers off … I realized that before I started dating Brian I had no idea what hummus was. It is now one of my favorite dips and I love to try different varities since they offer up such different flavors. I think I will have to write a post soon about the new foods that Brian has introduced me that I have come to love.

Would this dinner be a hit at your house? Do you enjoy hummus as much as I do? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Meatless Monday: Pam’s Corn Pie

Yup, a Meatless Monday post by me. Watch out! I am excited to share a recipe that a co-worker gave me recently. I have no idea what the name of it is really so I named it after her. I do know that she told me the recipe off the top of her head. I also know she makes her own pie crust and well I don’t have the time for that so this version of the recipe uses ready-made pie crusts.

I will also admit that I forgot the sugar in the recipe. Well if I said I almost forgot the sugar that would be more accurate. I had to peal back the top crust and stir the sugar into the corn mix. At this point, I was certain I had ruined the dish. It came out fabuolous though.

I love how versatile this dish is. We had it as a side dish one night but Pam said she eats it as a main dish so I think we will have it again as a Meatless Monday main dish! This would be a great holiday dish or family pot-luck dinner dish.

Pam’s Corn Pie

Ingredients

2 cups corn (I used fresh corn but you could use thawed/drained frozen corn too)

1/2 c milk (I used skim milk)

2 tbsp butter chopped into small cubes

1/4 c sugar

salt and pepper

2 ready made pie crusts

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Put one unbaked pie crust in the pie dish and crimp the edges.

3. Mix together the corn, milk, butter cubes, sugar, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl.

4. Pour the corn mixture into the pie dish and cover with the second pie crust. Crimp the edges of the two crusts together. Cut vent holes into the top crust.

5. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.

6. Turn the oven down to 325 degrees and continue baking for another 35 minutes.

Serve warm!

Have you ever had Corn Pie? Leave us a comment and let us know. Maybe I have been living under rock never hearing about this but maybe I have shared something new with you!

Does your family participate in Meatless Monday?  What are you having for dinner tonight?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Come join Love the Pie with TidyMom  sponsored by Whirlpool and enter to win a new Whirlpool Range

Meatless Monday: Veggie Fajita Nachos

Why does it seem like we go to Mexican style foods so much during our Meatless Mondays?  I’ll tell you why…because the options are just so incredibly yummy and we know that the kids will be happy eating it!  Today we are making Veggie Fajita Nachos.  The recipe is pretty basic.  Just think about having some yummy, smoky peppers and onions served over crunchy chips and drizzled with creamy white cheese dip.  Even the most adherent meat-eater would have problems saying no to that!

The great thing about this recipe is that you can really use this as a base to go a little crazy.  Add some refried beans.  Maybe some mushrooms.  Even some summer squash might make the cut if you have it handy.  Don’t forget that bell peppers are not the only ones that you can use.  If you need to kick it up a notch, feel free to throw on some of the hot stuff!

Veggie Fajita Nachos

Remember, better product in equals better product out.  You could just slice up some raw bell peppers, but you could also roast them first or grab a jar of roasted red peppers.  You could use an ordinary can of diced tomatoes, but what about some roasted tomatoes or a can of Ro-tel chiles and tomatoes.  Every little flavor punch you add means a better eating experience when it’s all finished up.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3 bell peppers, sliced (any colors work well here)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, drained
tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded Mexican style cheese (cheddar, jack, etc.)
1 cup white cheese dip, warmed
Optional:  Salsa, sour cream, guacamole

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions, peppers, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin.  Saute over medium to medium-high heat until vegetables are just starting to brown, 5-10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Arrange chips in one layer on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  Cover with veggies and sprinkle shredded cheese over top.  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes until cheese is fully melted.  Drizzle warm cheese dip over top.  Serve with optional toppings, if desired.

Enjoy!

 

Does your family participate in Meatless Monday?  What are you having for dinner tonight?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Margherita Tortellini Alfredo

This week’s Meatless Monday post is a bit of a cheat.  That’s ok because everyone needs a nice easy to put together meal from time to time.  This recipe takes advantage of our local Sam’s Club.  In the prepared foods section, they have these great packages of Artisan Fresh 3-Cheese Tri-Color Tortellini.  We took those, some butter, onions, cherry tomatoes, cream, and parmesan cheese (all of which can be bought at Sam’s Club) and made a beautiful dish.  We topped it off with a little fresh basil to just add that last little bit of flavor.  If you get a chance, check out our handy tip about fresh basil.

Overall, the dish took about 20 minutes from start to finish.  The sauce was creamy and soaked right into the fresh pasta.  The nice piece of crusty bread to soak up the leftover sauce just made my day.  The tomatoes added a bright acidity that was very welcome.  We paired the whole thing with a simple garden salad for a quick, healthy dinner that will fill up little bellies and big ones alike.

Since I love recipes that have legs, I have to say that the leftovers were just as good warmed up.  If you need to up the ante a little, you could certainly try adding some cooked mushrooms or other veggies into the mix.  If you aren’t going meatless or are having leftovers on a non-meatless day, try adding some slices of Italian sausage or some baked chicken.  This dish can definitely hold up to it.  Enjoy!

Margherita Tortellini Alfredo

Ingredients

One package of Artisan Fresh 3-Cheese Tri-Color Tortellini (they come with two packages)
4 tbsp butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 cup heavy whipping cream (if you just have milk, that’s fine, but the sauce will be a little thinner)
1/2 to 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup basil, thinly sliced

Directions

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.  Follow package directions to cook pasta.  Reserve some of the pasta water for later use.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.  Add onions and saute until translucent.  Add garlic, tomatoes, and salt and pepper, stirring often, trying to pop the tomatoes.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Add cream, stirring to combine everything.  Add cheese and additional salt and pepper if desired.  Reduce heat.

Pour cooked pasta into the cream sauce, folding to coat.  If sauce is too thick, add 1/4 cup of pasta water at a time until sauce is to desired consistency.  Remove from the heat and add sliced basil. Serve with a garden salad and a good hunk of crusty bread.  Enjoy!

 

Does your family participate in Meatless Monday?  What are you having for dinner tonight?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Quinoa Pilaf

This week, we are offering a meatless side dish.  In fact, this side would really be considered vegan.  You could serve it on it’s own for a nice lunch or with a side salad for a lovely little dinner.  The quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a little nutty and meaty, the almost are crunchy and salty, and the onions are just the right amount of sweet.  Add the freshness of the parsley and you have a great side dish.  You can also change up the herbs and seasonings, add some different veggies, or add some cooked beans to make a filling main dish.  Don’t you just love recipes that let you play around with your food?

 

Quinoa Pilaf

This recipe is taken from Camilla V. Saulsbury’s 500 Best Quinoa Recipes: 100% Gluten-Free Super-Easy Superfood.  This great dish can serve as a side or could easily be used as a great and easy lunch.

Ingredients

1 cup white, red or black quinoa, rinsed
2 cups ready-to-use reduced sodium vegetable broth
1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup packed fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1/3 cup lightly salted roasted almonds, chopped
Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Directions

In a medium saucepan, combine quinoa and broth.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until softened.  Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add quinoa and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley and almonds.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Does your family participate in Meatless Monday?  What are you having for dinner tonight?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

 

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Tomato Biscuit

Summer a great time to try going meatless every once in a while.  This week’s Meatless Monday is ridiculously easy and takes advantage of great, fresh, seasonal produce.  Biting into a fresh tomato is like taking a bite right out of the summertime.  We baked up some frozen biscuits, slathered on a little mayo, and added a nice thick slice of tomato and some cheddar cheese.  Serve these for breakfast, lunch, or dinner or even as a quick snack.

Does your family participate in Meatless Monday?  What are you having for dinner tonight?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

 

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Corn Pancakes with Sauteed Veggies

We’ve been kind of slacking this summer with our Meatless Monday entries.  We’ve been trying a few new things around here to see how they work.  We’ve also been taking the time to pay attention to the web and to magazines that we subscribe to so that we can get a little bit of inspiration and have some great ideas for all of you out there.  I’ve also started to realize that I don’t really work in terms of recipes.  I always try to force a recipe out of myself, but I tend to work in handfuls, pinches, and abouts, rather than in cups, teaspoons, and exact measurements.  I’m hoping that, as I start writing down my methods, those of you who are a little more reserved in the kitchen can see just how much fun and how extemporaneous cooking can be.  Really, if you get good ingredients that go well together, you can pretty much just cook it until it tastes right.  If it doesn’t work….well, pizza fixes pretty much anything!

This week’s meal starts with Fresh Corn Cakes from Cooking Light.  I saw these as I read through the magazine and knew that we would be trying them at some point.  As it happens, we already had almost everything we needed to make this recipe.  We did not have green onions, so we just omitted them.  The corn was left over from earlier in the week and had been roasted on the grill, so that was already flavored pretty well.  We also had some flavored butter handy (just melted butter with garlic and onion powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning), so we used that on the pay, instead of the oil.  We were also in a bit of a hurry and hate to clean extra dishes, so we just dumped all of the ingredients into the food processor and gave it a spin.  Ours didn’t rise up quite as nice, but I’ll bet they were just as tasty!

For the veggies, I just took stuff that we had handy.  A little oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add in some a chopped onion, a big box of chopped mushrooms (maybe 4 cups), salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until you just start to get some brown on it.  Top it with 4 or 5 big handfuls of baby spinach.  This will seem like WAY too much, but trust me, it’ll cook down.  Don’t touch it for about 3 minutes.  The steam from the onions and mushrooms will do the work here.  Start mixing in the spinach gently.  Tongs are a great way to go here.  Once everything looks just about done, toss in 4 or 5 chopped tomatoes.  I chopped these in pretty good sized chunks, but then, I thought about adding them at the last minute.  It was a great add!  Add a bit more salt and pepper to help the tomatoes break down and to flavor the dish.  Give it maybe 5 minutes or so and you should be all set.  Spoon some on top of the corn cakes and enjoy!

My Thoughts:  The whole dish was reminiscent of a Shrimp and Grits dish, without the Shrimp.  The corn cakes really did taste a lot like really yummy grits but with a texture that did not make the dish all mushy.  Surprisingly, for as much spinach as I used, the spinach flavor really did not stand out.  As a good Southern boy, I know that I am supposed to love cooked greens, but I have just never really developed a taste for them.  I know I should eat them, so I try to incorporate them where I can.  In this case, the flavors of the tomatoes, mushrooms, and corn really mellowed out the bitterness of the greens.  I was very happy with that!  This is a dish that I would definitely do again!

 

Does your family participate in Meatless Monday?  What are you having for dinner tonight?  Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request?  Leave us a comment and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

 

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Hashbrowns and Eggs

Next week, we are off on vacation.  That means that this week is all about using up the stuff that we have so that we don’t have to throw it out.  In this nation’s current economic situation, I think many of us are trying to find ways to use what we have.  When you can’t make any more, it becomes imperative to use and spend less.  Potatoes, onions, eggs, and bread can be gotten pretty cheap, particularly if you frequent those big box stores.  That’s just about all we used in this week’s recipe.  But don’t stop here.  Feel free to incorporate any leftover veggies into your hash.  Carrots, celery, zucchini, or even leftover greens would be a fabulous addition to our humble offering.

For Meatless Monday this week, we are keeping it super simple.  I just cut up about 10 baby red potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes (roughly) and boiled them in salted water, until slightly tender, but still a little tough, about 10 minutes.  Next, I diced up a medium yellow onion and minced two cloves of garlic.  I sauteed them over medium-high heat in some olive oil until translucent and added the drained potatoes.  I let that go for another 10 minutes or so, stirring occasionally and adding plenty of salt and black pepper.  I served with an egg cooked over medium and a toasted roll.  The yolk from the egg drenched over the hash just works on so many levels.

 

How are you using your leftovers to stretch your dollar on Meatless Monday? Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request? Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

 

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.

Meatless Monday: Pizza di Spaghetti

I’m not a big fan of leftovers.  Eating the same thing two times inside of a week is just not something that excites me.  That having been said, I can’t in good conscience just throw out perfectly good food.  It wastes money and teaches my kids a terrible lesson.  So I like to use leftovers to make other, different meals.  Taking this approach to make meatless leftover dishes can be quite easy.

Today’s recipe was inspired by something I saw years ago on The Food Network.  This seemed like such an easy way to use leftover spaghetti.  The linked recipe shows all of the homemade sauce components and just looks lovely, but my focus was on the first part.  Just take a couple of eggs, 1/4 Cup of milk, some salt and pepper, and plenty of Parmesan cheese.  Mix it all together and add two cups of leftover spaghetti and sauce (we just used a jar of sauce for our spaghetti the night before).  Pour it all into a pan with a little olive oil over medium heat.  Cook for about 10 minutes until it browns up and pulls away from the side of the pan.  Put a plate over the top and flip (careful, please!!) and slide back into the pan to cook the other side for another 5 minutes or so.  Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese and garnish with some parsley.  Slice into wedges and serve with a side salad.  Enjoy!!

What are you doing for Meatless Monday? Have a Meatless Monday experience, recipe, or request? Leave us a comment and let us know what you’re up to!

 

Meatless Monday, a national nonprofit public health initiative, is all about incorporating more vegetables and less meat into our diet. It’s about moderation, just one day a week, cutting down on meats high in saturated fat and increasing protein-rich plant-based foods — good for personal health and good for the planet.