Saturday, March 2, 2013

Back in the groove...

Breakfast was two pumpkin muffins, lunch was the rare frozen entree (an Amy's brand -- a bean enchilada with rice and beans and some salsa that I added), and dinner was penne with a creamy sauce and spinach, artichoke hearts, and sundried tomatoes.

I used to live on frozen entrees, but I usually make a smoothie or have leftovers or whatever now. There were NO leftovers in the fridge -- NONE. That's a very rare occurrence around these parts. So I did the Amy's vegan thing. (Incidentally, if you need to pick up a frozen entree, the Amy's brand is all vegetarian. If you want a vegan entree they make it super easy to sort those out -- at the beginning of the list of ingredients it says "Vegan" if the entree contains no dairy. You don't have to read the list of ingredients to figure it out. I really appreciate that convenience.)

I usually link to the recipe, but I don't have the link to this one and I changed it quite a bit anyway. It was pretty simple -- I'll tell you what I did and what I'd suggest.

I water sauteed a chopped onion and two minced cloves of garlic. When the onions were soft I added a cup of chopped artichoke hearts (I used canned, packed-in-water artichoke hearts) and a cup of chopped sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil -- I buy these in bags in the Publix produce section and they are soft and delicious). Stir that around for a few minutes, adding some water if you need to to let the tomatoes soften a bit (although mine were very soft to begin with). I then added a recipe of cashew cream and whatever spinach hadn't gotten slimy in the open bag in the fridge -- maybe about a cup and a half. I also added a touch of balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, a little dried basil and a teaspoon of dried parsley. When the penne was done (one pound of whole wheat penne) I just scooped it out of the water and into the sauce and stirred it all up. I had to keep adding a little water to the sauce to keep it from getting too thick.

(To make the cashew cream I soaked a cup of unsalted cashews -- I buy them in bulk -- in a cup of boiling water for an hour. You don't have to do that if you have a Vitamix, but I did it anyway. Drain the cashews and put them into your blender along with a clove of garlic, a cup of vegetable broth, and half a cup of water. Blend it all until it's completely smooth.)

So that was it. Here's what I'll do differently next time...

I'll just follow this recipe for Mushroom and Spinach Stroganoff, and add a cup of sundried tomatoes and maybe artichoke hearts. I realize this is a completely different recipe, but there's so much in common that they're almost the same. The second recipe is lower in fat because it doesn't have the cashews, but it's still creamy and tasty. I'd just add a little more milk, vegetable broth, etc., to handle the extra vegetables.

Basically, I think all you need is one good creamy sauce (which this one is) and you can adapt it to tons of different uses. When I was eating dinner tonight, though, I kept thinking that mushrooms would be SO GOOD in this dish, which made me think of the mushroom stroganoff, which made me think I liked it a little better than this dish.

I think I'm going to have a chocolate muffin for dessert...

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