Reverse Meatless Monday is halfway over!

And I have a whole chicken in the freezer that I cannot wait to make next month. And steaks. Oh how delicious meat will be once this challenge ends. I have at least succeeded in making myself appreciate meat more.

I’m doing pretty well, I think. And it’s not as hard as you would imagine with all the fresh veggies from my own backyard and the farmer’s market pouring in. I’m actually really glad I did this because it is forcing me to use those more that I would normally, and in more creative ways.

Although I didn’t take pictures of what I ate for breakfast or lunch, it was meatless, too, I should note. For breakfast I had either oatmeal or cantelope (local, therefore safe from the recall) and a hardboiled egg. For lunch, I had a sald and vegetable soup I had frozen, or leftover beans and cornbread.

Here’s what I had for dinner last week:

Late friday afternoon, I got home from Chicago. I could not wait to see what was growing in my garden. I had a couple yellow squash ready to pick and some cucumbers. I threw some sauted squash, onions and tomatoes together with some smoked paprika and called it “Spanish squash skillet.” It was actually better leftover the next day after the flavors had time to permeate the veggies. I made some quick polenta on the side to eat with it. I wish I remembered exactly what I put in it. I’ll try it again since it was pretty good, and put the recipe on the blog. I promise!

Saturday:

Spaghetti squash and mint pesto

A good friend sent me several spaghetti squash from her garden. I have had mixed results making spaghetti squash in the past, but I do like it, so I gave it a whirl again. This time I put mint pesto and peas in it–and it was awesome! Topped with a little grated parm and some cucumbers from my garden on the side. Mmmmm!

Sunday evening I had family over and made a huge antipasti spread. I had planned on making caponata with crusty bread for dinner one evening, and I had some giardiniera that I canned last summer that needed finished off. So, I bought some cheese and some soppressata (to satisfy the meateaters that were coming to visit). I toasted some ciabatta slices and put some minced garlic in some extra virgin olive oil for dipping. Volia! Dinner was served! Everyone was satisfied and full.

Monday: Penne with Golden tomato sauce, which I’ve made before. It’s from the 101 Cookbooks blog, which I adore. And it is so easy. You can make the sauce while the pasta cooks. For real.

Penne with Golden Tomato Sauce
Good ol’ beans and cornbread
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday: Pinto beans and cornbread! This is where it got a little iffy. I’ve never made pinto beans without bacon before. Gasp! But I did this time, and I don’t know if it was that or not, but I swear, these were the best I’ve ever made. I diced up some carrot and onion very finely, threw some cumin, minced garlic, and a couple bay leaves, and cooked them in half vegetable broth, half water. I chopped up a jalepeno finely and put some cheddar cheese in the cornbread also.
Thursday night some coworkers and I had planned to go to happy hour at our favorite local bar. And it was what is affectionately known as “meat night” there. This place does lunch and does dinner on Thursday nights only. It’s actually pretty good. They have a giant charcoal grill and you can place and order for ribeye, chicken breast, or sides only. I was thinking of getting sides only, but a coworker asked me to split a ribeye with her. These ribeyes are too big for one person to eat, anyway, so I did. This ended up being the only meat I ate all week, and it was delicious! Charcoal grilled steak has a special place in my heart. The real star of the meal here is always the sides. They do outstanding potatoes au gratin and grilled vegetables. We had grilled asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes on the side, with a garden salad and garlic bread. And it was nine bucks!
Saturday:
Saturday I went to my mom’s house to pick blueberries from her blueberry bushes. I got almost a whole gallon, but there are still quite a few unripe, so I’ll go back in the next couple weeks and load up again so I can freeze them. I love them in oatmeal in the winter. I had planned to make stuffed zucchini earlier in the week, but ended up having leftover beans and cornbread, so I took it to her house to make for us. I also had bought stuff to make tomato and goat cheese crostini as a light meal one evening with a salad, so I threw them together. We did have a salad, and she had some leftover quinoa and rice pilaf. The tomato and goat cheese crostini were really good, but a hassle to make, so I probably won’t repeat that recipe. It was from my Beekman Heirloom Cookbook, which I really like so far, although some of the recipes are a bit time consuming. The stuffed zucchini recipe was from the Meatlover’s Meatless Cookbook I recently ordered and have tried a couple recipes from. This was a nice healthy meal.
Sunday:
I was planning to cook something, but I realize I somehow ended up with a lot of salad for lunches this week, so I just had one for dinner. Sunday afternoon, I also made soup for lunch this week. I made vegetable lentil soup, a Mark Bittman recipe from his Food Matters cookbook. I love this guy’s column in the New York Times. For only a few simple ingredients, the soup is surprisingly tasty! I hope it gets better as leftovers!
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