Spinach, Mushrooms and Onion

OOPS

The past week has been one of those terrible horrible no-good weeks that hit the checking account hard. I won’t list all of the things that stopped working but one thing hurt the most.

The side by side refrigerator/freezer died. I think this appliance was over 30 years old. it functioned as our second unit, a place to keep drinks cold and to stock up on frozen foods to prepare for the future food shortages and higher costs. Buying mass quantities of frozen vegetables as a hedging strategy against higher prices works well until your freezer dies.

I managed to STUFF a large number of frozen bags into our primary freezer. But I have to cook and eat a large number of these frozen bags of goodness to make room. So I started with a bag of spinach.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onions sliced thin
  • 8 oz white button mushrooms sliced thick
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • 12 oz frozen cut leaf spinach
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium high heat.
  2. Add mushrooms and saute for five minutes. When browned…
  3. Add onions. Reduce heat to medium. Saute for five minutes. When browned…
  4. Add garlic. Saute for one minute.
  5. Add frozen spinach (no need to defrost). Saute for 15-20 minutes. You want the spinach to be drier but not too dry.
  6. Add butter, salt and pepper to taste.
  7. You are done. Now decide what you’re going to do with this stuff.

What to do?

  • Quesadillas
  • Omelette
  • side dish
  • mix with ricotta and Parmesan cheeses for stuffed shells
  • or lasagna
  • melt some cheddar for a quick sandwich/tortilla filling
  • toss with pasta for a quick meal
  • open a can of white beans, drain/rinse and mix with broth for a quick soup

Welcome to my world.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Honey-Lime Cabbage Slaw

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away I used to make Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – Bon Appétit. Tonight was a good night to have black bean tacos so I pulled up my original post from nearly eight years ago Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Cabbage Slaw – (NOT) Bon Appétit

No surprises this time.  I make these tacos differently now. Time for another revision.

The Beans

  • 1 15-ounce can organic low sodium black beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (maybe more)
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 medium size lime juiced
  • 1 large clove garlic minced
  • pinch oregano, dash celery salt (trust me on this one)

The Slaw

  • 1 14 ounce bag cabbage slaw mix
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • onion and garlic powders, a dash apiece
  • salt and pepper
  • juice of 1.5 limes
  • 2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 T honey

Taco Things

  • 4 white or yellow corn tortilla shells, crispy
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (cheddar is OK too)
  • Your favorite hot sauce or salsa
  1.  Drain and rinse the black beans, set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, saute the onion on medium flame until soft and slightly browned. Add oregano, cumin, and garlic. Saute until the spices are fragrant, about a minute or two.
  3. Add the well drained black beans.  Add juice of half a lime. Heat until warmed through.  Mash the beans with a spoon but leave some beans whole and chunky. Season with celery salt. Set aside.

The Slaw

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil and juice of 1.5 limes.  Mix in honey. Add olive oil to create a smooth dressing. Season to taste with onion/garlic powders, salt and pepper.  
  2. Add the cabbage slaw mix.  Mix well, adjust for seasoning, and set aside.

This recipe will make enough for 4-6 tacos.  If you need more servings, double the bean recipe and buy more taco shells. You will not need to double the cabbage slaw portion.  You’ll have plenty.

Construct your tacos.  

TIPS –

We recently discovered La Tiara authentic Mexican taco shells from Gladstone Missouri.  Yeah, I was thinking the same thing as you until I tried these shells.   Use bagged sliced slaw for pure convenience.  Fresh cabbage? Only if you have the time and eschew convenience. Fresh avocado would be nice. Beer is also a perfect side dish for these tacos.

Veganistas – use vegan cheese.

Grilled Zucchini

“How did you make this?”

The last time I wrote about zucchini was back in 2019 when the same question was asked (probably by the same friend) which motivated me to write down how I make Zucchini, Corn & Red Pepper.

This super simple recipe is the perfect side vegetable when you have your grill fired up and ready for your perfectly seasoned chicken using the world famous Iki Marinade. Three squash will be enough for six side servings.

  • three large zucchini
  • salt and black pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch dried basil
  • grated Parmesan/Romano cheese blend
  1. Heat up your grill.
  2. Scrub and rinse the zucchini. Dry thoroughly.
  3. Cut the ends off then slice each squash lengthwise and each half in half. You want four nice sized chunks each about 3-4 inches long.
  4. Arrange the squash in a baking dish and coat liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Flip the pieces so that they are cut side up.
  5. Lightly sprinkle with salt, onion and garlic powders.
  6. When your grill is nice and hot place the squash pieces onto the grill skin side down. Angle them if you want to make grill marks.
  7. Close the lid and grill for 1-2 minutes. Reposition the squash (for those grill marks) close the lid and grill for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. Flip the squash to cut side down. Repeat #7.
  9. The squash should be firm and cooked through after 8-9 minutes. Remove and place back into the baking dish cut side up.
  10. Lightly sprinkle black pepper, dried basil, and grated cheese.
  11. The zucchini can be served at room temperature or kept in a warmed oven prior to serving. If you use the oven to keep the zucchini warm remember they will continue to cook and might get mushy.
Photo by Ellie Burgin on Pexels.com

Tips and Otherwise Random Thoughts

You’ll note that the black pepper, basil, and cheese are added after grilling. I do this so that these ingredients don’t get burned/grilled off in the cooking process. For the Veganistas out there, leave off the cheese. I happen have a preference for Spanish extra virgin olive oil. The private label brand I buy sneakily substituted EVO from Portugal instead of Spain. Now I like Portuguese olive oil too. I specifically used a baking dish to hold the squash before grilling because I did put the veggies in the oven to keep warm.

The next time I grill zucchini I plan on grilling twice the number of squash. I’ll use the leftover squash in a pasta dish.

Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

There was a head of green cabbage in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So I made a simple saute of cabbage, onions, carrots and garlic then put the entire veggie mix back into the fridge for another day. I spend quite a bit of time being creative with food items in the pantry/freezer/fridge in preparation for massive food shortages in the near future. My WFH coworker likes soup for lunch and I’ve frozen single servings of different soups so we could have different soups together for lunch.

This soup starts with leftover sauteed cabbage. You can always make this soup by starting with a veggie saute if you don’t have leftover cabbage. I always have vegetable broth in the pantry and there were cooked chickpeas in the freezer.

My inspiration came from https://www.thefullhelping.com/spicy-cabbage-chickpea-soup/#recipe but the two recipes are not really the same. The quantities here make about two servings. I didn’t want to make a lot in case I didn’t like it (I liked it).

Accidentally Vegan Chickpea and Cabbage Soup

  • 2 cups leftover green cabbage and vegetables
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups organic vegetable broth
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one can, drained and rinsed)
  1. Everyone into a small pot
  2. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer.
  3. Simmer for about 30 minutes
  4. Makes about two servings

Tips

Salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the quantities of spice to taste also. I tossed in some extra garlic powder because I like garlic. Red pepper flakes or hot sauce if you’re into spicy. Subbing pasta or rice for the chickpeas would work nicely (if you can’t or won’t eat beans). This soup freezes well.

16 Vegetarian Enchilada Recipes – Vegetarian Times

The linkhttps://www.vegetariantimes.com/vegan-vegetarian-recipes/best-vegetarian-enchiladas-recipes/

This post is another in my sporadic electronic sticky note series. I’ll post links to webpages with recipes I want to try making some day. I typically make Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole when in the mood for veggie enchiladas. It’s the only vegetarian enchilada recipe I make.

My world famous Eddie’s Carrot Sheet Cake remains the only dessert I make.

I’m sensing a pattern here.

How to Eat More Plants

Start here – https://d-belardo-md.medium.com/top-tips-for-transitioning-to-a-plant-based-diet-or-how-to-just-eat-more-plants-57285947bb68

Originally from New York, Dr. Belardo relocated to Philadelphia after college to start her medical career.  She earned her medical degree (MD) from Drexel University College of Medicine, then completed her 3 year Internal Medicine Residency at Temple University Hospital where she became board certified in Internal Medicine in 2017.  Dr. Belardo completed her 3 year Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease at Lankenau Heart Institute in 2020.  She is dedicated to being a cardiologist that in addition to traditional medicine, focuses on lifestyle modification, and evidence based nutrition, in order to prevent heart disease. Dr. Belardo is a Preventive Cardiologist in Newport Beach California.

https://www.daniellebelardomd.com/about

If you come here often you’ll notice I am not about reinventing the wheel. When I find useful information I pass it along with full credit to their authors. The tips listed by Dr. Belardo are not new news but may be very useful for your individual health improvement goals.

At Xmas I was at my favorite DIL’s house in Owasso OK (don’t tell Chelsea). While making a cup of coffee I noticed the packaging on a loaf of private label bread that boldly pronounced

A Plant Based Food

A study by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy revealed 7% of Americans surveyed believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

I guess we have to tell people bread comes from plants.

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Parmesan

Have you ever roasted frozen vegetables? Me neither.  But a quick referral to Dr. Google offers up recipes and instructions for this time and money saving technique. Maybe this method actually works (because everything you read on the internet is TRUTH). So a few weeks ago during a Pandemic Pantry shopping trip I picked up a few one pound bags of frozen cauliflower ( a buck a bag). I also bought a small jar of minced garlic which I promised my younger self I would never use because fresh is better until I used some at my son’s house. Hmmm…..

Here’s the original Roasted Cauliflower with Parmesan post from several years ago. Here’s what’s in the oven right now:

Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Parmesan

One package frozen cauliflower (32 ounces)
Extra virgin olive oil
Minced garlic
Dried thyme
Parmesan Cheese
Salt and black pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place the florets into a baking/roasting pan with sides.
  3. Spread the pieces into the pan. Make sure they don’t touch each other.
  4. Drizzle the cauliflower with olive oil. Toss with a spoon. You want a nice thin coating of oil on each piece.
  5. Lightly salt and pepper, dust with Parmesan and sprinkle with a hint of thyme.
  6. Add two tablespoons of minced garlic. Toss lightly again
  7. Place in the oven and roast for approximately 35-40 minutes. Shake the pan or stir/toss every 10 minutes or so to ensure most of the surfaces of each floret get browned (this is why you want a pan with sides).
  8. When nicely browned add a handful of shredded Parmesan cheese over the cauliflower. Roast for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
  9. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving bowl and add more Parmesan.
  10. Eat.

TIPS – The amount of garlic is personal preference and dependent upon how garlicky you like your food and the number of guests at the table. Same for the cheese but you can never have too much cheese or garlic. This dish is not vegan but if you must, leave out the cheese. Don’t forget the shake and/or stir part because when you use minced garlic it can and will burn.

Lessons learned – minced garlic DOES burn but despite appearances did not taste burned at all. Also, one pound of frozen cauliflower is not a lot of cauliflower.

Unfortunately this dish is also Not Tiny Taste Tester Approved.  She was not present for my roasted frozen vegetable experiment.

“Is a Collie Flower a dog?”

5 Fruits and Veggies a Day May Be Optimal for the Greatest Mortality Benefit

Five servings of fruits and vegetables a day — in particular, three vegetables and two fruits — provide the greatest mortality benefit, according to an observational study and meta-analysis in Circulation.

Researchers analyzed results from the Nurses’ Health Study and Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Over 100,000 people regularly completed food-frequency questionnaires and were followed for up to 30 years. During that time, nearly a third of participants died.

After multivariable adjustment, the greatest mortality benefit was seen for five servings of produce a day, compared with two servings (hazard ratio, 0.88). Eating more than five servings a day was not associated with greater risk reductions.

5 Fruits & Veggies a Day May Be Optimal in Terms of Survival — https://www.jwatch.org/fw117568/2021/03/01/5-fruits-veggies-day-may-be-optimal-terms-survival

There is a link to download the original study on the NEJM Journal Watch page. The discussion section of the study is worth reading if you’re interested in the details.

Fruit & Vegetable Intake Among U.S. Teens Abysmally Low

Just 7% of U.S. teens get the recommended daily intake of fruit — and only 2% get the recommended intake of vegetables — according to an analysis of data from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.

Fruit & Veggie Intake Among U.S. Teens Abysmally Low — https://www.jwatch.org/fw117440/2021/01/21/fruit-veggie-intake-among-us-teens-abysmally-low

Link to the MMWR article: Lange SJ, Moore LV, Harris DM, et al. Percentage of Adolescents Meeting Federal Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, United States, 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2021;70:69–74. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7003a1

Surprised? I’m not surprised at all.