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Category: eat less meat

  1. Friday, September 10, 2010

    Just a little note…

    Hey friends. I had a blog post planned for today. And, uh, yeah…I think it slept in or something. (Wish I got to do that!) ANYWAY…since that post dropped the ball (certainly isn’t my fault, right?), I do have two random little things I keep forgetting to tell you. So here we go.

    1. Don’t be scared to post a weekly menu. I’ve heard this many times from people…they don’t post their menu because they are scared/nervous/whatever. Know what I have to say to that? Phooey! No need to be scared. Or nervous. Or anything remotely related to that. And I honestly love ALL kinds of menus. From the fancy-dancy-uber-prepared to the we-are-eating-at-taco-bell-a-few-nights-this-week, they’re all wonderful and inspiring in their own ways! So…you have two days to psych yourself up for this week’s menu post. Go get pysching.

    2. I’m still doing my Eat Less Meat challenge. I haven’t mentioned it much. But this new way of eating has become a part of our lives quite seamlessly, actually. I even recently switched to buying organic meat, which has really helped me scale back on the amount of meat I buy. And, since I’m buying less, even though the organic costs more, I’m still spending way less money on meat each week. I’m also much more thoughtful about how I use the meat I do buy and we appreciate the meat we do eat more than we used to. Bottom line…it’s been easier than I thought, and we’re happy. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here to read about my 2010 New Year’s Resolution.)

    Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! And, please make some of the dip I shared with you yesterday. It seriously rocks…AND it’s healthy. AND meatless. Bam! Bam! Bam! Awesome all around, wouldn’t you say?

  2. Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Hummus Guacamole Dip

    I am sharing a GEM with you today. My mom got this recipe for Hummus Guacamole Dip from her good friend Jenny, of Jenny’s Green Salad fame. When my mom first described it to me, I must admit I was skeptical. Hummus WITH avocados? Hmmmm….but then I had it for the first time on the Cape this summer. Oh…my…goodness. It is delicioso. The flavors blend together so nicely. And the best part? It’s super duper healthy while also tasting like a very decadent dip.

    I can have this stuff for lunch with some corn chips and be all set. Well, maybe not all set…since it tends to appear for afternoon snack time, and then again at dinner! I also served this at a pool party recently and EVERYONE was asking about the dip…when it was time to go home, the giant bowl was empty. See, I know what I’m talking about.

    Hummus Guacamole Dip
    A healthy decadent dip!
    Recipe type: Appetizer
    • Two 12oz pkgs of Guacamole (Jane’s Mom’s Note: of course I NEVER use packaged Guac (she smashes up a bunch of avocados))
    • 1 Pint of Hummus w/roasted garlic (or any flavor you want)
    • 1 15.5oz can black beans (slightly drained)
    • Chunky mild/medium salsa (about a cup)
    1. Mix by hand and chill. Serve with whatever corn chips you like!
    Several notes from Jane: Above is the original, official recipe. I’ve actually never used it because I just got it from my mom. I HAVE eaten it and it WAS fabulous. I’ve made the dip blind twice and generally just threw the ingredients together with proportions that looked about right. I believe I did the following, or something close to this. This also makes a lot less if you don’t need dip for an entire army.

    3 avocados, smashed up
    8 oz hummus
    1 can black beans (drained)
    8 oz chunky or fresh salsa
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Mix by hand and chill. Serve with corn chips!


  3. Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    My New Fave Go-To Meal: Stuffed Shells

    I’m always on the lookout for easy go-to meals. While I tend to rely on my go-to recipes a little too heavily, eventually making myself totally sick of them, I’m still grateful to have these gems in my arsenal!

    My latest favorite go-to meal is simple stuffed shells. No meat involved, super easy to make, and mighty delicious. It’s a little more effort than throwing together spaghetti, but not much. You just need to think ahead a bit – make sure you have the cheeses on hand, and give yourself time for baking. But, seriously, they’re easy to make. And my girls gobble them up.

    Please feel free to share your own stuffed shells recipe!  Here is how I’ve been making mine lately. Yum.

    great go-to stuffed shells recipe from @janemaynard

    Simple Stuffed Shells
    Simple, delicious and reliable go-to recipe for stuffed shells.
    Recipe type: Italian
    • Half box of pasta shells (about 20)
    • 1 container ricotta cheese (I think they’re 16 oz – whatever is at your standard grocery store)
    • A few cloves of garlic, mashed through garlic press
    • About 1 tsp. salt
    • A few shakes of black pepper
    • A few tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • About half a jar of tomato-based pasta sauce
    • Handful shredded fresh parmesan cheese
    • A few handfuls shredded mozzarella cheese
    1. Boil shells as per package directions. Drain and make sure they don’t stick to each other.
    2. Mix together the ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper, basil, and egg.
    3. Stuff your shells, maybe about a tablespoon per shell. Use up all the filling for about 20-24 shells.
    4. Place shells in a 9×13 baking dish, drizzle with pasta sauce (I think I used about half of a jar or so), then sprinkle the top with mozzarella cheese.
    5. Bake in 350 degree oven until hot and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes or so.

  4. Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    The Trick to Margherita Pizza

    My favorite margherita pizza is from Bertucci’s, an Italian restaurant chain in the Northeast that also happens to have the best dinner rolls around. Mmmm…I need a roll. But I digress…for the last 11 years or so I’ve been trying to replicate their margherita pizza. I’ve come to terms with the fact I never will, but I did discover a little trick recently that got me closer!

    Whenever I made margherita pizza (which is essentially just tomatoes and/or tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil), the basil never tasted like it does at Bertucci’s. I tried putting the fresh basil on top of the cheese, under the cheese, chopped, not chopped…but that flavor I love just wasn’t coming through.

    Of course we went to dinner at Bertucci’s this last trip out East. When they brought my beautiful margherita out, the realization hit me like a pizza pie to the face! They add the basil AFTER the pizza comes out of the oven. That is why it always tasted so differently!

    So there you have it folks. Throw your basil on AFTER you’ve cooked your pizza. It makes all the difference in terms of flavor. Mmmmmm….

  5. Friday, June 11, 2010

    Grilled Crostini with Goat Cheese and ‘wichcraft Tomato Relish

    grilled crostini web

    Grilled Crostini with Goat Cheese and 'wichcraft Tomato Relish
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Appetizer
    • 1 baguette, sliced int ¼-inch-thick rounds
    • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 jar (8.8 oz) ”˜wichcraft Tomato Relish
    • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
    1. Lightly brush both sides of the baguette slices with olive oil. Preheat a Calphalon Unison Grill pan with Sear Nonstick over medium heat. Working in batches, place the baguette slices in the pan and cook until light golden brown and toasted on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. (If you don’t have a grill pan, you can bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, until nice and crispy.)
    2. Transfer to a serving platter. Spread about 3 teaspoons of goat cheese on each crostini and top with ”˜wichcraft Tomato Relish. Sprinkle with basil and serve. Makes about 24 crostini.


  6. Grilled Radicchio with Orange & Balsamic

    I’m so bummed. I totally forgot to photograph this recipe! And it was beautiful! Oh well. You can kind of see it in that bowl next to the small bouquet of pink roses.

    food at party zoom web

    Grilled Radicchio with Orange & Balsamic
    • 6 heads of radicchio, quartered through the core (I think I used only 3 heads)
    • 3 tablespoon olive oil
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • Grated zest and juice of 3 oranges
    1. Drizzle the radicchio with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
    2. Preheat Calphalon Unison Grill pan with Sear Nonstick over medium-high heat. (I actually did use the grill pan for this recipe”¦but you could use a regular griddle, too.)
    3. Place the radicchio in the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.
    4. Transfer to a serving platter. Sprinkle the radicchio with salt and pepper. Whisk together olive oil, balsamic, orange zest and juice together and drizzle over radicchio.
    Once the radicchio were grilled, I salt and peppered them as directed, but then I cut out the hard piece of core near at the bottom and then sliced the radicchio. I then put the radicchio into a bowl and drizzled with the oil dressing.


  7. Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce

    Today I made a quick homemade tomato sauce. Thought I’d share my “recipe” with you. This isn’t necessarily cheaper or faster than jarred tomato sauce from the store, but it is very yummy and fresh tasting. I especially love using this sauce with homemade pizza. Tonight I’m going to add a bit of cream to the sauce and serve it over tortellini.

    homemade tomato sauce web

    The beauty of this sauce recipe is that you can change it up however you like. If you have canned tomatoes, use them. If you have a bunch of fresh tomatoes, use those instead! If you like onion, use more of it. If you like Italian spice seasoning, throw some of that in, too! There are no rules…just play around with the recipe and make it your own!

    Here is what I did today. Other days it might be a little different, but I always follow this basic plan.

    Simple Homemade Tomato Sauce
    Simple and delicious!
    Recipe type: Sauce
    Cuisine: Italian
    • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil (or canola oil if you’re out of olive)
    • 1 shallot OR ~1/2 onion, chopped
    • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced or use your garlic press
    • 2 14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes (I like the petite diced a lot, but you could use regular diced. also, if you have lots and lots of fresh tomatoes, dice those up and use them instead! I would guess you need 4-6 cups)
    • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1 – 2 tablespoon sugar
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
    • 7-10 large leaves of fresh basil, chopped (probably 1-2 Tbsp or so”¦if you like basil, add more!)
    • If you don’t have fresh basil, feel free to use dried spices – but I would add them in before the simmering step instead of after. Oregano, Parsley and Basil are all great dried spices to add.
    1. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots/onions. Cook until soft, a few minutes. Add garlic and saute for about a minute. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to the point where the sauce still simmers. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. (While it’s simmering, you can smash the sauce up a bit with a ricer or pastry blender, to break up some of the tomatoes”¦although I do like my sauce chunky, so I just do this a little bit. Again, just figure out how you like it best and go with it!) Add fresh basil and mangia!

    garlic press web

    A note on garlic: I love my garlic press. I’ve heard from a few chef-types that they don’t like garlic presses because it damages the oils or something. I don’t notice a difference and the press is just so quick, so I pretend I’ve never heard anything negative about the technique. 😉 Also, I don’t put the garlic in with the onions at the beginning of cooking because it can overcook the garlic…I’ve ended up with deep fried garlic before, not exactly the flavor I’m going for in sauce.

  8. Tuesday, May 4, 2010

    Tuscan Bread Soup

    Wanted to share a quick recipe with you today. It’s another one from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavors Fast. While the pasta dish I shared with you last week was definitely yummier than this one, I still really like this soup.

    tuscan bread soup web

    One quick note. You’re supposed to add 1-inch chunks of bread into the soup and simmer for 20 minutes or so. The theory is that the bread absorbs the broth and thickens the soup. We all agreed that the bread was too slimy. And I liked the broth soup before the bread supposedly thickened it. I think the best approach would be to make homemade croutons and top them on the soup when serving. If you really want to stay true to the soup, just make sure your bread pieces aren’t too big.

    Tuscan Bread Soup
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Soup
    • 6 ounces country bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
    • 2 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 large onion, cut into ¼-inch pieces (I used only ½ of an onion)
    • 3 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼-inch thick pieces
    • 2 celery stalks, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
    • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (I used 2-3 tablespoon)
    • ½ head napa cabbage, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced crosswise (6 cups)
    • 2 cans (14.5 oz each) chicken broth (I used vegetable broth to make it completely meatless. I also used about 1 additional cup than called for.)
    • 2 cups water (I think I did an extra cup or so)
    • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat leaf parsley leaves
    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread bread pieces in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until dry, tossing half-way through, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven. (Jane note: Next time I make this I will toss the bread with some olive oil, salt & pepper, then toast as directed.)
    2. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add onion, carrots, celry and garlic; season with salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes. Stir in tomato paste; cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    3. Add cabbage, chicken broth, the water and toasted bread. (Jane note: Next time I will add about ⅓ of the bread pieces at this point in the recipe and reserve the rest as a topping for the soup when served.) Simmer over medium heat until soup is thickened, 15-20 minutes. Season with salt & pepper, and stir in parsley.


  9. Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    Pasta with Arugula and White Beans

    pasta with arugula and white beans 2 web

    Sunday I made the Farfalle with Arugula and White Beans recipe from Everyday Food: Fresh Flavors Fast. I was very pleased with the outcome of this recipe. It was fresh. It was fast. It was mighty tasty. Not eating meat never tasted so good! We even had a major carnivore over for dinner that night and he loved it as well. I will definitely be adding this recipe to our regular rotation!

    Here’s the recipe, with my various notes. Enjoy!

    Pasta with Arugula and White Beans
    Recipe type: Main Dish, Pasta
    • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 12 ounces farfalle (Jane note: I used Campanelle pasta from Barilla and REALLY liked the shape of this pasta”¦this is going to replace farfalle for me from here on out)
    • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
    • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or mashed through the garlic press Jane-style)
    • 1 pound baby arugula (I had more like half a pound; I also think spinach would be nice in this recipe; and maybe even a mix of the two!)
    • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
    • ¼ cup walnut pieces, toasted, for garnish (BLECH. I left these out.)
    • Jane addition – freshly grated parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top!
    1. Bring a pot of water to a boil; add a generous amount of salt. Cook pasta until al dente according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta.
    2. Add 1 Tbsp. butter and the garlic to the pot; cook over medium heat, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in arugula; toss just until wilted.
    3. Add beans, pasta and remaining 3 Tbsp butter; season to taste with salt and pepper (make sure you taste – I almost oversalted). Heat, tossing, until butter is melted and beans and pasta are warmed through, about 1 minute. Add enough reserved pasta water to create a thin sauce to coat pasta (I think I added about ½ of the cup I had reserved). Mangia!

    pasta with arugula and white beans web

  10. Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Simple Side Dishes: Roasted Cauliflower

    Today I just have a healthy and easy recipe for you. It’s so easy, in fact, I hesitate to even call it a ‘recipe.’ This roasted cauliflower is to die for. Trust me. I’ve been popping these florettes like candy for the last two days. Yum!

    roasted cauliflower web

    Simple Side Dishes: Roasted Cauliflower
    Cuisine: Side Dish
    • Cauliflower, broken up into small-medium sized pieces
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Handful of fresh, grated parmesan cheese
    1. Place cauliflower on a baking sheet or in a 9X13 baking pan. Drizzle olive oil over cauliflower, then salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower to lightly cover all pieces with oil and seasoning.
    2. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 25-30 minutes. Stir once or twice during cooking. Check for doneness with a sharp knife, to the point where you can pierce the cauliflower fairly easily but not to the point of mushiness. Remove from oven and toss with grated parmesan cheese.
    3. Sit, eat and enjoy the simplicity and buttery goodness that is cauliflower!

    roasted cauliflower2 web