Monday, November 5, 2012

Meatless Wonder: Weekly Menu 11/5

Weekly Menu Meatless Dinners

In our family, I think a few of us could survive on meat and chocolate, with cereal thrown in for the occasional textural change. But just as we try to add more fish in our diet, we also try to prepare a meat-free meal at least once a week. With these recipes, you'll still get plenty of protein from cheeses or beans, as well as from fortified pasta if that's what you like. Plus, the leftovers from these dishes are great - the pasta dishes tend to taste even better the next day. Another tasty meatless option from an earlier Weekly Menu is the Gnocchi with Corn and Arugula in Cream Sauce.

 On a closing note, has pumpkin worn out its welcome yet? I cannot get enough, as evidenced by the Pumpkin Bread and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, and now this - Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins. This week's Extra Credit recipe is a 5-ingredient, semi-homemade deal that results in a yummy, cream cheese-filled spicy pumpkin muffin. I found this recipe a few years ago and love it for its convenience, especially as we head into a b-u-s-y holiday season. 


Spaghetti with Artichoke Hearts and Tomatoes

Spaghetti with a sauce of artichokes, cream, tomatoes and topped with fresh basil
 This is a pantry-staple go-to dinner that I often serve to my family, and once served it to a bunch of friends the night before a half marathon so could carb up on something interesting.

Sides: This is a one-dish meal, so no sides are necessary, though I like to add garlic bread.

  • Use high quality, pre-grated Parmesan cheese
  • Buy pre-chopped fresh onion
Make Ahead Notes
  • Chop herbs - have a kid cut them with clean scissors if you can
  • Grate cheese
  • Dice onion
  • Drain and chop artichoke hearts
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
  • 1 can Artichoke Hearts (14.5 Oz. Quartered Or Whole) Drained
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes With Juice (14.5 Oz.)
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Chicken Broth (use more as needed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound Thin Spaghetti
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Grated
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Chives (or Other Herbs) Chopped
  • Cook spaghetti till al dente. Drain and set aside.
  • Melt olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add artichoke hearts and tomatoes. Stir and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream, chicken broth and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste (do not undersalt!) Cook over low heat until heated through, then turn off heat.
  • Place drained pasta in a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 cup Parmesan. Pour sauce over the top. Add chives. Toss lightly to combine and coat; add a tiny bit of reserved pasta water if sauce seems too thick.

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman

Vegetarian Burritos

Burritos filled with beans, rice, cheese and tomatoes
 No joke - you can have this prepped in maybe 15 minutes in the morning before going to work or getting kids off to school, put it in the fridge and then pop it in the oven when you get home.

Sides: Tortilla chips, salsa and guacamole

  • Buy pre-shredded cheese
  • Get layered Mexican dip at your grocery store and serve with the burritos instead of separate toppings
  • Use pre-cooked, bagged rice, such as Uncle Ben’s or Trader Joe's
Make Ahead Notes:
  • Cook rice earlier in the day, if not buying pre-cooked rice
  • You can make the whole thing early in the day, cover it and throw it in the fridge to bake later. If you do that, wait to put the salsa and cheese on until right before baking. Sometimes I’ll prep this while the kids eat breakfast because the effort level is that low. If you have the pre-cooked rice, you can make these up in about 15-20 minutes, tops.
  • 10 flour tortillas
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5 oz.) can of Mexican style diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 envelope of taco seasoning
  • 8 oz. shredded Cheddar cheese, plus extra for sprinkling on top of burritos
  • 2 cups of cooked rice, white or brown (if using pre-cooked, bagged rice, follow package directions to warm)
  • 1 cup of salsa (I prefer the fresh kind found in tubs in refrigerated section at grocery store)
  • Chopped green onions (optional)
  • Toppings to go on burritos: sour cream, chopped green onions, guacamole, salsa, hot sauce
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Lightly coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, stir together all beans, tomatoes with juice and taco seasoning. The refried beans will be chunky, so gently break them up as you mix. When mixture is heated through and well-combined, about 3-5 minutes, remove from heat.
  • Set up an assembly line with the tortillas, the rice in a bowl, the cheese in a bowl, the tomato-bean mixture in the pan and the baking dish on the end.
  • One by one, fill tortillas with about 3 tbsp. each of rice, tomato mixture and cheese. Try to save some cheese to sprinkle on top of burritos when baking. Roll up each tortilla gently and place seam-side down in pan. The amounts of rice, tomatoes/beans and cheese that go into each burrito don’t matter much – you really can’t go wrong. You may find that you fill only 6 burritos because you like them fuller, or 8-10 if you go a little lighter on the filling. Pour salsa over burritos and sprinkle extra cheese on top.
  • Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes, or until heated through. Remove foil and cook 5 more minutes or so until the cheese on top is slightly browned and melty.

Baked Stuffed Pasta Shells

Pasta Shells Stuffed with Ricotta and Mozzarella and Baked
This takes a little more assembly time than the usual weekday meal, but if you double the recipe, you can freeze extra portions for a future meal, so the extra effort will be worth it.

Make Ahead Notes 
  • Chop herbs - have a kid cut them with clean scissors if you can
  • Combine cheese filling and refrigerate for later
  • Cook pasta shells - be sure to rinse well with cold water and drain 
  • If possible, assemble the shells completely and just bake when you are ready to eat
  • 12 ounces jumbo pasta shells
  • 1 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (Reserve 1/4 cup)
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 lbs ricotta cheese
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 8 ounces spaghetti sauce (jarred or homemade)
  • fresh basil, chopped, for garnish 
  • In an 8 quart pot, bring water to a boil and cook shells for 8 minutes or until al dente.
  • Drain and cool immediately with cold water.
  • Drain and place open side down on paper towels.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the rest of ingredients except the spaghetti sauce.
  • Reserve the 1/4 cup of Mozzarella.
  • Place a thin layer of spaghetti sauce into the bottom of a 12 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Spoon the cheese mixture into each pasta shell and place open side up, in a single layer, in prepared pan.
  • Pour the rest of sauce over the stuffed shells.
  • Loosely cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • During last 5 minutes of baking, remove foil and sprinkle remaining Mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Bake 5 more minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped basil.
  • TO FREEZE: Assemble stuffed shells, but do not use tomato sauce and do not bake them. Place stuffed shells on a baking sheet to freeze individually. When frozen, store together in a Ziploc bag. 
Recipe from

Extra Credit: Cream Cheese Pumpkin Muffins

Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater! This is a semi-homemade tasty cheat using a boxed cake mix to make pumpkin spice muffins with a cream cheese center. These just may save you during the holidays when you feel obligated to show up with a baked good.

Make Ahead Notes
  • Take cream cheese out to soften at room temperature
  • 8-ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 package spice cake mix
  • 15-ounces canned pumpkin
Sprinkle Turbinado sugar on top before baking or powdered sugar after baking (I recommend doing this optional step - it really improves the look of the muffins)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin tin, including top, with cooking spray.
  • Beat filling ingredients together until combined.
  • Beat muffin ingredients together until combined. (To be clear, you are only using the mix and the pumpkin. Nothing else — ignore the box instructions.) Batter will be thick.
  • Drop about 1 tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom.
  • Drop in a level tablespoon of filling.
  • Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups full. Yes full.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
  • If you like a warm, gooey center, serve the muffins warm. Otherwise, let them cool longer and the filling will firm up for you.
Makes 12 muffins

Recipe found on BabyCenter

1 comment:

  1. Your go-to vegan loves this post! Looking forward to vegan-izing these. Thanks for the inspiration.