🐀 Year of the Rat Weekly Menu. Jan. 23-Feb. 1, 2020

Happy New Year to all those celebrating! I was born in the year of the rat. My perfect match is someone born in the year of the Ox which John is! I have to watch out for health issues this year and be careful not to fall while walking. Given my history that is good advice!

On to the menu! I have ten entries. I started from the day I got back from San Antonio (Jan. 23) through next Saturday (Feb.1). We will eat them in some random order depending on what we feel like eating. There are 5 vegetarian meals, 2 each of chicken and seafood, and 1 meat. Hopefully you will get some ideas for dinners you can make at home.

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🥬 Veg fried rice/mujadara crossover. 1/24/20

Tonight’s dinner was supposed to be vegetarian fried rice with tofu. But the grocery store we went to was out of extra-firm tofu! So I had to figure out a different protein. I considered beans but decided on quick cooking lentils. John said it was like mujadara with a bunch of vegetables, and Chinese seasoning.

I wish the lentils had been a little firmer. I should have stopped at 20 minutes. Otherwise we loved the flavors of the rice lentil mixture with practically every vegetable we had in the house – onion, green onion, fennel, carrot, celery, three kinds of peppers, and mushrooms. There was also an omelette that John sliced up. For seasonings we added ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. This no-recipe recipe turned out pretty good. Next time I think I will use chickpeas!

For a vegan version, omit egg. WW blue points = 5 (oil, rice, sesame seeds)

Lentil/rice/vegetable collision

 

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🐓 Chicken dinner. 1/23/20

I am back from my long weekend in San Antonio. While there I ate fish and shrimp tacos, salad with shrimp, shrimp with rice, and two dishes of fish filet with vegetables and rice. It is very hard to eat in a healthy manner when dining out so I usually order vegetables, shellfish or fish.

Fish tacos

Thai island shrimp

So my first dinner at home needed to be something other than seafood!

Tonight’s dinner was just simple chicken and vegetables—a pan roasted chicken breast that we split between the two of us, some broccoli and snowpeas, and rutabagas that I cooked in the Instant Pot and mashed up. Sometimes “nothing fancy” really hits the spot.

WW blue points = 2 (oil, light butter)

Chicken breast with mashed rutabagas and a broccoli-snowpea combination

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🥬 Chana dal (Instant Pot). 1/17/20

I forgot to post this meal before I left for my long weekend trip. I will be back on Wednesday with new posts.

Chana dal is a stew of dried split chickpeas, tomatoes, stock, and flavorings. I made this for the first and only time back in June and it is so tasty and easy that I wonder why it has taken so long to have it again.

First soak the chickpeas for half an hour. I soaked mine for about an hour with no deleterious result. Then sauté the cumin seeds followed by chopped onion, ginger, and garlic. Add the spices, coriander, red chili, turmeric, and salt and then 3/4 cup tomatoes ( I used drained canned, diced tomatoes). Next comes stock and water. Close the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pot reduce naturally.

Serve over rice with a salad and your dinner is complete. The exact recipe can be found here.

Chana dal and salad

 

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🍤 Vietnamese sweet and sour soup. 1/16/20

John did most of the prep on our third soup of the week while I was out having lunch with our daughter. Then he cooked the soup later! So my contribution was cutting the shrimp into thirds, draining the tomatoes, and being the taste tester along the way. We decided to include some julienned carrots this time and I think they pushed the sweetness over the top for me. (This means it was perfect for John and the rest of the world who are not as sweet adverse as I am.) For the original recipe see my post from December.

Vietnamese sweet and sour soup with shrimp

I am off for an extended weekend with my best friend. We can compare diets! She is eliminating gluten and sugar and I am going the WW route.  We have both lost over 20 lbs.  When it comes to weight loss you have to do what works best for you!

 

 

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🥬 Vegetable fried rice. 1/15/20

We were supposed to go out to dinner tonight but the timing did not work out and we arrived home tired and hungry after being caught in rush hour traffic. This would be one of those times when we used to get some take-out or better still have the pizza delivery guy arrive at our house with a hot pizza! But no, we decided to stay on track and rummaged through our refrigerator. We found the makings for vegetarian fried rice.

Onions, garlic, ginger, broccoli, carrots, celery, and snowpeas were sautéed in some neutral oil. John made a plan omelet and sliced that up to put in along with some sesame seeds and the rice. The dish was seasoned with soy sauce and sesame oil. This dinner was so good and took about one half hour to make. I wish we had had some tofu on hand because that would have been a really tasty addition.

For a vegan rendition, delete the egg.

WW blue points = 5 (vegetable oil, sesame oil, rice)

Vegetable fried rice

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🐖 OMG! Soup again! Pasta fagioli. 1/14/20

Tonight’s soup is pasta fagioli. I must admit that the whole make soups so that John has leftovers to eat while I am away is not going too well. We are supposed to be eating no more than half the soup but we like it so much that we have ended up leaving him only a lunch sized portion!

Pasta fagioli is basically what the name says, pasta and beans. We added carrots and celery and whizzed up some of the beans to give it a heartier consistency. You start with pancetta which is a star in this soup, render the fat from it and cook the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery in it. Then add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Deglaze the pan with red wine. Then add the stock and the beans plus the smushed beans. Cook for ten minutes and then add the ditalini. Cook for another 10 minutes. Done.

Serve with finishing oil and grated Parmesan cheese.

You can find the recipe by Giada deLaurentiis at the Food Network Cooking site.

Pasta fagioli

 

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