Three Weeks of Vegetarian Dinners for Late Spring
June 12, 2012 4 Comments
I’ve previously posted four September/October weeks and four January/February weeks of my family’s pesco-vegetarian menu, including a few seafood meals among the vegetarian ones. In these three weeks in May and June, we did not include any seafood in the meals we made at home, so this meal plan is vegetarian. However, we ate in restaurants a little more often than usual during these three weeks, and I’ll admit that we did eat seafood in some of them and even a little chicken. To make up for the missing dinners, I’ve included our lunch menus for the weekend days. Weekday lunches are mostly leftovers and frozen meals for the adults and mostly PBJ sandwiches for the seven-year-old who still prefers them to any other lunchbox main course! Why only three weeks this time? Well, I write our menu on an 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheet of scrap paper, and this time only three weeks fit on a sheet instead of four!
- Lunch: Sauteed red pepper mixed into marinara sauce from a jar, served over spaghetti.
- Dinner: Masoor Dal, rice, yogurt, and cucumber.
- Monday: Zucchini Tofu with cashews and rice. Of course zucchini isn’t in season yet here in Pennsylvania, but our local supermarket was having a sale on zucchini from Mexico.
- Tuesday: Bean Burritos.
- Wednesday: Out to dinner at Yuva India, a new restaurant. The food was very good but very expensive, even after the savings from the Groupon that had motivated us to try it, so we won’t be eating there frequently–seeing as we live four blocks away from Coriander.
- Thursday: Left-over Honey Baked Lentils and baked sweet potatoes.
- Friday: Frozen pizza topped with sauteed zucchini and black olives. Side dish of canned plums.
- Lunch: Zucchini and garbanzo beans sauteed in olive oil with plenty of garlic and some oregano, served over couscous with nutritional yeast flakes and diced tomato for those of us who like our foods mixed together for a complex flavor experience. Plain garbanzos, couscous with lots of butter, and tomato slices served in separate dishes for the seven-year-old purist.
- Dinner: Sweet Potato Burritos. The sweet potatoes came from the second of two ten-pound crates I bought, one at a time, from Costco. The first one had sat on the kitchen floor next to the stove for nearly a month while we gradually used the sweet potatoes, and they stayed fresh and undamaged despite the herd of large mice running around at the speed of light wreaking havoc in our home!! Eeek!! EEEEKK!!–sorry, it’s been a very stressful several months here as we research our upcoming article “Things Not To Do: Rodent Infestation Management Edition”–but for some reason, the second crate did appeal to them, and the morning after I bought it I found bits of gnawed sweet-potato peel scattered in front of the stove and, upon inspecting the contents of the crate, found two tubers with toothmarks. Those were set aside for baiting the traps while I moved the crate to our bedside table because of course the mice would not dare come into a room where people are. I believe that was the night we were repeatedly awakened by two mice chewing away the carpet outside our bedroom door in a futile attempt to get in and arguing about their strategy in loud squeaks! Anyway, although the mice never did manage to get up onto our bedside table to eat the sweet potatoes, by the first Friday of this menu I had realized that there are good reasons people don’t normally store sweet potatoes on the table under the sunniest window in the house; many of them were developing black squishy spots. I spent Friday evening cutting off all the bad parts, thoroughly scrubbing the remainder, running them through the food processor in slicer mode, setting aside some for this meal, and making the rest into handy recipe-sized bags of frozen vegetables. Can you make Sweet Potato Burritos starting with sliced raw unpeeled sweet potatoes? Yes, you can. Cook them thoroughly with the onions. The texture is different from mashed sweet potatoes, but the flavor is similar.
- Lunch: I had planned to cook something, but the weather was so hot and humid that I decided to make a cold lunch instead! We had instant hummus with organic red peppers and carrots I had just bought at the co-op.
- Dinner: I had planned to make one variety of veggie burgers this night and another the next night. However, the contractor who had come over on Friday to make arrangements to replace our kitchen flooring had surprised us all by presenting our son Nicholas with some cash and directing him to buy cupcakes and candy for himself and to take his parents to the movies at a $1 theater near the contractor’s home, which we hadn’t known existed! So we went to a late matinee of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island and afterward wound up deciding to eat at a nearby Long John Silver’s. (I’d like to mention, in acknowledgement of my child’s generally healthy eating habits, that it took him all week to eat five of the six cupcakes after sharing one with Daddy, and that he still has some candy left after more than two weeks and often has forgotten to ask for candy all day.)
- Monday was Memorial Day, so I made two meals at home.
- Lunch: I had planned to make Red & Green Pockets but again was deterred by the heat. I spent a shorter time over the stove cooking ramen noodles, a good salty, watery food to help us manage without air conditioning. We had tomato in them or on the side, according to individual preference.
- Dinner: Nicholas and I made veggie burgers (further fine-tuning a cookbook recipe; I’ll post our version soon) and he cooked them and toasted the buns. We topped them with sliced tomato.
- Tuesday: Daniel and Nicholas finally made the tapioca pudding they had been meaning to get around to making for a long time. Since this dessert would be fairly time-consuming to make, they asked me to plan a quick and easy dinner. I thawed the last of the Mexibean Mealpax made by Daniel several months ago. He made up the name for this homemade convenience food: beans cooked with onions and seasonings that can be served in burritos, over rice, or just for dipping up with corn chips like we did this time. He had used two #10 cans of beans and some bulk-purchased onions to make a huge batch, which after it cooled we divided into gallon-size plastic bags for freezing.
- Wednesday: We got the first crate of this summer’s CSA farm share! I made a Spicy Peanut Dressing to top a big salad of assorted greens from the farm, plus one of the carrots we already had. We also ate some of the multi-grain bread our farm had purchased from a neighbor to compensate for the relatively small amount of vegetables this early in the season. Nicholas tried the peanut dressing but decided he didn’t like it, so we let him cook a leftover veggie burger to get some protein into his dinner.
- Thursday: Assorted leftovers and salad. Nicholas didn’t want any of the leftovers, so we heated up a portion of frozen lasagna for him.
- Friday: Spinach and mushroom omelet using spinach from the farm and mushrooms from our mushroom share (delivered along with our veggies every two weeks, via a partnership between the two farms), salad, and bread.
- Saturday: We spent the whole day in Ohio visiting Daniel’s grandfather.
- Lunch: We got home from Ohio in mid-afternoon, having had brunch at the Green Marble Coffee Shoppe, which makes the best baked oatmeal! Those of us who had gotten hungry by the time we got home just had a snack.
- Dinner: Sauteed mushrooms, pasta, and marinara sauce.
- Monday: Daniel made a double batch of Masoor Dal and rice so that we could have some for dinner and take some to the potluck the next day.
- Tuesday: Potluck dinner at church. I got home with enough time to spare before the potluck that I made a salad out of the remaining greens (which had surprisingly few yucky leaves, six days after harvest) in hopes of getting rid of our salad surplus before the next veggie crate arrived! This was just successful enough that the leftover salad filled a glass jar for me to take in my lunch the next day. Our church friends liked the Masoor Dal, too.
- Wednesday: Frozen pizza and salad. We got Nicholas to eat more salad by serving it while the pizza was still in the oven.
- Thursday: Out to dinner at the New Dumpling House Chinese restaurant with Daniel’s mother, who stopped by overnight during a road trip.
- Friday: My menu plan directed Daniel to make “sauteed kale, sweet potato, mushrooms, garbanzos, garlic” using a bag of 2 cups sliced sweet potatoes I had thawed, but he got a stomachache and didn’t feel like eating some of those things, so he did just kale, mushrooms, and garlic. We ate this over couscous, and I put nutritional yeast on mine. The kale was from this week’s farm share, and the mushrooms were the remainder of last week’s mushroom share. We had several mushroom varieties, and they all were so delicious that I ended up agreeing that it was a good decision to leave out the other ingredients that would have distracted from their flavors. Nicholas, never a big fan of mushrooms, ended up eating left-over Chinese food.
- Lunch: Can you make Sweet Potato Burritos with 2 cups thawed sliced sweet potatoes and 2 cups still-frozen sliced sweet potatoes? Well, kind of. I had planned this meal to use the thawed sweet potatoes not used the night before, without realizing they wouldn’t be enough for three main-dish burritos. (You need about 1 cup of filling per burrito, using 10″ or 12″ tortillas.) I did realize this when I got them out of the refrigerator to start making lunch, so I got a second bag out of the freezer. If ever I do this again, I will thaw the frozen ones before I start cooking the onions so that all the sweet potatoes can get thoroughly cooked without burning the onions. Some of them were still a little crunchy, but the burritos were acceptable to all three of us. We also had cranberry bread, which Nicholas and I had baked in the morning (while the house was still relatively cool) to use up cranberries that had been in our freezer since November. I remembered to put in the sugar this time!
- Dinner: We went to a cook-out celebrating Nicholas’s friend’s birthday. We brought veggie burgers because Nicholas was worried that they would have only meat burgers, but they did have veggie burgers, as well as plenty of fresh vegetables and hummus.