February 10, 2009

feeling cool

my best blogging friend (that sounds funny . . . and a little lame), rookie cookie, featured me on her blog today! I feel infinitely cool because she is so cool and so is her blog - talk about flattering!

anywho, this post (and the e-mail she sent chastising me for never blogging) inspired me to post my weekly menu. we've been trying out a 6 day vegetarian and sugar-free lifestyle for the last couple of weeks. it's been going well since there are some seriously delicious veg recipes out there! thank you eating well magazine! it's also delightfully chilly here in arizona so I'm taking advantage of some healthy takes on comfort food.

monday: sick day vegetable soup (cause my poor honey has a cold) - borrowed from the above mentioned awesomeness of rookie cookieOlive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced
½ red bell pepper, diced
3 small zucchini, chopped
3 Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
4 cups chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. oregano
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf
8 oz. pasta of your choice

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, shallots, garlic, celery, carrots, bell pepper, zucchini and potatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables are soft.

Add chicken stock and tomatoes (undrained). Stir until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, oregano, red pepper flakes and bay leaf. Cover and simmer on medium/low for 45 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and add pasta and cook uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. Toss out the bay leaf and serve with freshly grated parmesan on top.

tuesday: vegetarian reuben sandwiches with russian dressing
Russian dressing
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons chopped capers
1 teaspoon chopped pickle or relish

3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
5 cups baby spinach
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 slices rye bread
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, such as Jarlsberg Lite or Alpine Lace (2 ounces)
1/2 cup sauerkraut

Prepare Russian dressing: Whisk mayonnaise and ketchup in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in capers and pickle (or relish).

To prepare sandwiches: Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until the onion is softened, 4 minutes. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until it has wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Coat the pan with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and return to medium heat. Add the bread; divide cheese equally among the slices. Divide sauerkraut between 2 slices and divide the spinach mixture between the other 2 slices; cook until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer sandwich halves to a cutting board. Divide the dressing between the spinach halves. Carefully place the sauerkraut halves on top. Cut sandwiches in half and serve.

wednesday: spinach macaroni & cheese3 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 16-ounce or 10-ounce package frozen spinach, thawed
1 3/4 cups low-fat milk, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni or penne

Put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (2-quart) baking dish with cooking spray.

Mix breadcrumbs, oil and paprika in a small bowl. Place spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out excess moisture. Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until steaming. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Cheddar until melted. Stir in cottage cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Cook pasta for 4 minutes, or until not quite tender. (It will continue to cook during baking.) Drain and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread half the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Spoon the spinach on top. Top with the remaining pasta; sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.

thursday: lemon asparagus pasta with boston salad4 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook pasta for 6 minutes. Add asparagus and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Drain and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, whisk milk, mustard, flour, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Whisk in the milk mixture. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in tarragon, lemon zest and juice. Stir the sauce into the cooked pasta and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick, creamy and coats the pasta. Stir 1/4 cup Parmesan into the pasta until combined. Serve the pasta topped with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

friday: zucchini potato latkes with tzatziki sauce and roasted tomatoes

1 pound zucchini, shredded
2 cups shredded cooked potato (see Note)
2 medium shallots, minced, divided
1 egg, beaten
2 cups fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs (see Tip)
1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and shredded
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 450° F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Toss zucchini, potato, 3 tablespoons shallot and egg in a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs, feta, 1 tablespoon dill, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to combine. Form the mixture into 12 patties.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 patties, cover and cook until crispy and browned on one side, 2 to 5 minutes. Carefully transfer the latkes to the prepared pan, browned-side down. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and patties. Transfer the latkes to the oven and bake until firm and heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare tzatziki: Combine yogurt, cucumber, vinegar, the remaining minced shallot, 1 tablespoon dill and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Serve the latkes with the tzatziki on the side.

saturday: valentine's dinner at j. alexanders - I heart gift cards (after promptly picking david up at the airport upon returning from a 4 day trip to reno)
sunday: dinner with my family (the obligatory roast, mashed potatoes, salad, peas and rolls)


  1. these look delicious!!!!! i am dying over your zuccinni cakes!!

  2. Yay! I've missed your blogging!!! Thanks for the recipes, we are trying to do the no sugar but no dairy instead of meat. Let me know how it goes!!

  3. They look so yummy. If you're trying vegetarian comfort food, I recommend a mulligatawny (with plenty of potatoes and cashews.) Lately it's the one soup that's making this sick girl a little cozier.

  4. Lizzy, you make everything look scrumptious. Thanks for all the great recipes, too!

  5. No my dear, you are cool and so is your blog. Glad my chastisement got through to you:)

  6. YUM! I think I'm going to try some of those - and I know I'm a total hypocrite - but I miss your regular updates!!!

  7. Wow! Those all look fabulous! Now I am really hungry! Maybe I will try one of those recipes tonight! Thanks! You are so creative!

  8. so glad whitney gave you a chastisement, because i was getting close to doing so.... xo

    p.s. my verification word is lanbugit!!!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing these. They look delicious! And I, too, have missed your posts.
    So good to see you back!

  10. Liz,

    Hope this doesn't feel like I am stocking you, but I found your blog through Casey's blog. I love all of your dinner dishes you have posted! They are so beautiful and healthy! I have been needing some new ideas. I made some quinoa tabbouli last week and it was fabulous. I will have to try the spinach mac and cheese. Hope you are doing well.


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