Two Mondays, Two Fridays, A Cheesy Week.

Monday

Here we go! So this week was a little abnormal just because we had a holiday thrown in the middle and we utilized the grill for much of the week. We started the week with a new recipe “Be” (or “B” of “BeFresher”- get it?) had his eye on because it had squash in it. You will see shortly that anything squash…especially soup, makes “B” go in to some sort of food orgasm. Anyway, this was a healthier version of the classic Mac and Cheese since it used a Butternut Squash Bachamel…yeah I had no clue what that meant either…but I figured we could try it. I think it just means some sort of fancy puree/sauce? I don’t really feel like looking it up. Let’s just call it yum and stick to that.

Here’s the recipe with our changes because we just can’t resist making changes even if we’ve never made the dish before:

Creamy, Light Macaroni and Cheese (OUR FAVORITE RECIPE OF THE WEEK)

Adapted from Cooking Light SEPTEMBER 2011

Yield: Serves 8 (serving size: 1 1/3 cups)

Hands-on:1 Hour

Total:1 Hour, 25 Minutes

3 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1[1-pound] squash)

1 1/4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium veggie broth (we use Better Than Boullion – it’s amazing and less wasteful)

1 1/2 cups fat-free milk

3-4 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

A large pinch of salt-free Cajun Spice (our personal addition)

About 2 tablespoons fat-free Greek yogurt (I think I added a little extra)

1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese (We used Fontina as we had some on-hand)

1 cup (4 ounces) grated pecorino Romano cheese

1/4 cup (1 ounce) finely grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided

1 pound uncooked cavatappi or whatever pasta you have on hand

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley

Ingredients

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine squash, broth, milk, and garlic in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Place the hot squash mixture in a blender. Add salt, pepper, Cajun spice and Greek yogurt. Remove the center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Place blended squash mixture in a bowl; stir in Gruyère (or Fontina), pecorino Romano, and 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir until combined.

4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain well. Add pasta to squash mixture, and stir until combined.

Spread mixture evenly into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

5. Combine panko and remaining 2 tablespoons Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Sprinkle evenly over the hot pasta mixture. Lightly coat topping with cooking spray.

6. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve immediately.
Tip: do dishes while waiting for each step to finish. (Clean as you go!)

This dish will be on our go to dishes, especially for company, mainly because of the number of dishes it required.

Tuesday and Wednesday

We went out for dinner Tuesday and on Wednesday we had burgers. “B” loves to grill pineapple and make his homemade guac to put on the burgers….yum! You NEED to try that combo.

Thursday

Normally we have salmon or some sort of fish once a week. We usually put a little olive oil on it and then salt and one of our two favorite salt-free seasonings (cajun or lamb seasoning –it has rosemary and other spices in it). This time we tried to grill it and we served it with left over mac and cheese (we placed the mac in a foil packet and grilled it) and a salad.

Friday

Another new recipe from Cooking Light. “B” says this must be served hot and don’t forget the green onions and seasame seeds (toasted). “F” thought this dish was just ok. It’s a good summer dish and allowed for great teamwork. One person made the sauce while the other cut up the eggplant and tofu. Oh teamwork in the kitchen is like a perfectly orchestrated symphony!

Grilled Eggplant and Tofu Steaks with Sticky Hoisin Glaze

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1/3 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 (1-pound) eggplants, cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray
1/4 cup sliced green onions
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Preparation

1. Place tofu on paper towels; cover with paper towels. Top with a heavy skillet; let stand 20 minutes. Cut tofu crosswise into 8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices.

2. Combine ketchup and next 6 ingredients in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook until reduced to 1 cup (12 minutes), stirring occasionally. Set aside 1/2 cup.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

4. Brush oil over tofu and eggplant; sprinkle with salt. Place eggplant on grill rack coated with cooking spray, and grill 2 minutes. Turn eggplant over, and brush with 2 tablespoons sauce; grill 2 minutes. Turn eggplant over; brush with 2 tablespoon sauce. Cook 2 minutes on each side.

5. Add tofu to grill; grill 3 minutes. Turn tofu over, and brush with 2 tablespoons sauce; grill 3 minutes. Turn tofu over and brush with 2 tablespoons sauce; grill for 1 minute on each side. Sprinkle with onions and seeds. Serve with eggplant and 1/2 cup reserved sauce.

Mark Bittman, Cooking Light
JULY 2012

Saturday

My brother and his gf as well as two of our local friends came over for brunch so we decided to make one of our classics and absolute favorite recipes! Veggie quiche with a potato crust!!

Spinach and Tomato Quiche with Potato Crust

2 medium Russet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced into very thin disks (less than 1/8 inch)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained of all liquid (or we saute fresh spinach with garlic —tastes much better!)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 small head of broccoli
 5 or 6 cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
1/2 cup cheese (any cheese you have on hand- cheddar is always great)
7 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Layer the sliced potatoes in an even layer in the bottom of a pie plate or quiche pan, overlapping the edges a bit. Brush with the olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and slightly crisp. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the red pepper, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli and cheese. Spread mixture in an even layer into the potato crust, then place the tomatoes cut side down on top of the vegetables.

In another large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and salt and pepper. Whisk until totally combined. Pour over the the vegetables. Top with additional black pepper, if desired. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted  in the center comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Two Mondays, Two Friday’s Grocery Shopping List

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Mac and Cheese!

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