We decided to celebrate “World Vegetarian Day” yesterday with a hearty vegetarian entree. This macaroni is cheesy and crusty and saucy and flavorful and not terribly difficult or time-consuming. I grated the cheese and tore up the bread a little earlier in the day, to get it to come together even more quickly. I also microwaved the milk in a large, glass batter bowl (about 3 minutes,) which was a little quicker and more “hands off” than waiting for it to warm up in a saucepan. Recipe here. I added a couple of pinches of dried herbs (parsley, oregano and basil) to both the breadcrumbs and the cheese sauce and also a bit of dry mustard powder to the sauce.
Bacon and Butternut Pasta
This was really yummy, but we are a household (mostly) of veggie-loving folks. If you already love kale and butternut squash, you’ll love this pasta (the nutty Gruyère and luscious crème fraîche are a fantastic and classic combination). If you don’t, this recipe isn’t going to be the one to convert you (try this or this, instead). This recipe isn’t the simplest or the quickest (there is decent amount of peeling and chopping of kale, squash and onions and many of the components must be cooked individually first, before assembling the casserole,) but it was quite good. The red pepper flakes add a nice kick, too.
Flexitarian Note: I simultaneously prepared a veggie version of this for The Girl. I made a 1/4 batch (one pound of pasta, in total, for both versions) for her, cooking the onions in butter instead of the bacon grease. I cooked all of the pasta, kale, squash and sauce (substituting veggie broth, instead of chicken) together, then separated out 4/5ths of the mixture and just added the bacon and bacon-fat onions to that to create the carnivorous batch. I baked it in a smaller dish, but for the same amount of time.
If I haven’t scared you off, the recipe can be found here.
Seared Scallops and Herb Butter Sauce
These scallops (recipe here) were really easy and tasty. I don’t know why, though, the recipe says to use a separate saucepan to make the sauce. I would take advantage of all of the crusty caramelizing in the shallot pan and just make the sauce in there. I suppose since this sauce is kind of an ersatz beurre blanc, they were trying to keep it lightly-colored and delicate, but I would always fall on the side of incorporating more flavor (and washing less pots and pans!) The side dishes I made with this were easy (Farfalle with pesto and toasted pine nuts and sautéed zucchini), but they did make the plate look very white and green. I wish I had added some roasted red pepper strips or cherry tomato halves to the pasta or some yellow squash to the zucchini (or both) just for a little color variety.
Shrimp Florentine Pasta
This was SO fast and easy (recipe here.) Very tasty, too. Even Hubby, who has historically not been a big shellfish fan, loved it. Filling and healthy and VERY fast to make.
This was SO delicious. The chewy sweetness of the sun-dried tomatoes was the perfect complement to the earthy grassiness of the asparagus. Recipe here.
All-American Meat Loaf
Pretty darned tasty and the Dijon mustard adds a really nice zing. Recipe here.
Blue Cheese and Pecan Spread
Absolutely delicious spread (recipe here). I did substitute pecans for the walnuts, because they’re just so much better! The spread would be fantastic in the tea sandwiches, as specified, but was also wonderful on crackers. Would also be good on apples or celery sticks.
Asiago-Crusted Pork Chops
These (recipe here) were tasty and I even used the same preparation to make an asiago-crusted tofu portion for our family vegetarian. Very easy and delicious!
Lemon Red Snapper with Herbed Butter
This snapper (recipe here) was super easy and a hit with all of the seafood-eaters in the house.
Actually Delicious Turkey Burgers
These (recipe here) were quite good. Definitely not a replacement, exactly, for a beef burger, but good in their own right.