34. Starting in August, make a new meal at least once a week (1/4)
This is something I added about mid-summer. I decided that I would make a new meal at least every seven days in August. This is a big deal for me, as I mentioned in my last post. Why? Put simply, I don’t cook. I do the occasional baking (see here) but making a meal is not my foray. I feel rushed, messy, and just out of whack. But, of course I don’t want to always feel this way about cooking. So I decided I should start making meals by myself rather than relying on restaurants and other people.
I’ve been a pescatarian since April of this year. For those who don’t know what that is, it’s sort of like vegetarianism except we will eat fish. It’s been a pretty easy couple of months but it is hard to have dinner with my family sometimes. So I decided a few times this month I’ll provide them with a vegetarian meal.
I have a few vegetarian cook books and I went with a recipe that I knew my sort of picky dad would approve of for my first meal. The recipe is from my Weight Watchers book, Go Veg!. The recipe is called “Italian stuffed peppers with marinara sauce” and is worth 8 Weight Watchers Points.
Today while running errands, I stopped at Big E’s to pick up the ingredients. My friend, Nate (who you’ve seen in at least one of my posts) who was working there at the time, helped me out a little bit. Being a small locally owned store, Big E’s didn’t have all of the ingredients the recipe called for, but I improvised:
Ingredients and my notes:
- 4 green or red bell peppers (I got two of each color)
- 10 ounces reduced-fat firm tofu, cubed
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (I did 3 cups)
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup golden raisins, chopped (I didn’t chop mine)
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil (Big E’s didn’t have fresh basil so I got some from the herb section [rather than the produce section])
- 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts (Big E’s didn’t have pine nuts so I used sunflower seeds)
- 2 cups prepared fat-free mariana sauce
After I got home from work, I got cooking. I started kind of backwards. Here was my way of doing this recipe:
- First I preheated the oven to 350 degrees F.
- I then cooked the brown rice over the stove.
3. As the rice cooked, I chopped up the tofu into small cubes and also diced the red onion
4. I put the tofu, red onion, basil, raisins, cheese, sunflower seeds, and rice into a big bowl.
5. Then I boiled the peppers so they were tender and crisp.
6. I cut the tops off of the peppers and took out all of the seeds.
7. Then I filled the inside of the peppers with the mixture.
8. I then put the stuffed peppers in a casserole dish (recipe says, “medium deep casserole or 1 1/2-quart souffle dish”)
9. I dumped quite a bit of mariana sauce around the peppers.
10. Put them in the oven and set the clock for 45 minutes.
11. After 15 minutes, I dumped some more mariana sauce on top of the peppers.
12. After another 20 minutes or so, I added more mariana sauce around and on top of the peppers.
13. I made some more sauce over the stove in case we wanted some while eating.
I have to admit, they were pretty good. I was glad I was able to give my dad his first tofu experience (to which he described as “tasteless”) but my parents really liked the peppers and the fact that they didn’t have to cook for the night.
My cooking experience was much less stressful as it usually is. I think this is because I was cleaning as I went rather than saving it all for later and getting overwhelmed. I also liked that no one helped me with it; again, it was less overwhelming.
Keep checking out the blog for my other (at least) 3 recipes as the month goes on!
- vegan stuffed Italian peppers (katecareshomemade.wordpress.com)
- Meatless Monday (thefitlifewithamber.wordpress.com)
- Vegetarian Diets: Delicious Stir Fry Recipes (vegetarian.answers.com)
- Great Vegetarian Recipe Ideas for Your Leftover Rice (vegetarian.answers.com)
- Garden Style Stuffed Bell Peppers (southernfood.answers.com)
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers (kelseymossberg.wordpress.com)
- Stuffed Sweet Yellow Peppers to Tickle Your Taste Buds (weightloss.answers.com)
- Step by Step Vegetarian The Perfect Guide to Meat-Free Meals (texaskitchen.wordpress.com)
- Pescatarianism Plus (messersisters.wordpress.com)
- Organic Raw Stuffed Sweet Peppers (sweetheatchefs.com)