🥬 Vegetarian Original Joe’s Special 3/29/20

Original Joe’s is a restaurant founded in 1937 in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco by a Croatian immigrant. This Bay Area institution, still open today, serves mostly Italian-American fare with the idea of delivering the diner good, affordable food. One of the items on their menu is Joe’s Special, a scramble of eggs, spinach, ground beef, and onions. I skipped the ground beef and added some red bell pepper to the mix. Original Joe’s charges $19.95 for his special but you can make it at home for much less with or without meat.

Scrambled eggs with spinach, onions, and red bell pepper

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🥬 Vegetable stir-fry. 3/28/20

We decided to get back on our diet track with a vegetable stir-fry. I have been making this type of stir-fry for lunch recently so I merely had to cut up more vegetables to make it an entree for both of us to eat for dinner. John manned our large frying pan while I cut up the vegetables in order of cooking time. John likes the mise en place to be completely done before cooking but I find my method gets dinner on the table much more quickly. Our stir-fry consisted of onions, mushrooms, garlic, carrots, celery, broccoli, red bell pepper, zucchini, snow peas, and spinach. It was seasoned with soy sauce and red pepper flakes. We served it on rice with a drizzle of sriracha.

Vegetable stir-fry with rice

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😩 How I binge 3/27/20

I post what John and I eat almost every day. I try to make up a weekly menu that is full of easy-to-make, healthy dinners.  On the days when I do not post it is usually because something like last night’s binge happened. I have been dieting for over 6 months and have lost 34 lbs. But I never expected to be quarantined. Our quarantine in Northern California is two weeks old already.  I want to eat junk.

No doubt you will think that my binge is hardly worth mentioning. Where’s the ice cream, cake, Doritos, etc. But for someone who has been so careful for so long, it makes me feel ashamed and mad at myself. Mea culpa.

Also I washed this dinner down with a half bottle of white wine.

First course –

Half bag of popcorn

Second course –

3 1/2 pretzel rods

Main entree –

1 1/2 bowls of Cheerios one of which had raisins on it

Dessert –

Honey crisp apple which I cut up and salted (because that’s the way I roll)


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🐓 Comfort chicken dinner. 3/26/20

Since this dinner item appears almost weekly I won’t say much about it other than it comforts me – sous vide chicken breast and mashed rutabagas from the Instant Pot with chicken gravy that I make from a McCormack’s packet plus broccoli cooked in a little light butter.

Chicken breast and rutabagas with chicken gravy plus broccoli

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🥬 Goodness in a bowl, chickpea stew. 3/25/20

Vegetarian or vegan, this chickpea stew is the epitome of goodness in a bowl. Healthy and filling but also quick, easy, and economical, it is the perfect shelter-in-place kind of meal. My original recipe came from Melissa Clark of the NYTimes but I have adapted it to suit John and me. This meal is one that I make on my own since it is all veg so John gets a night off.

Chickpea stew with ditalini and spinach

Chickpea stew with ditalini and spinach

2 tsp. olive oil
1 medium carrot, cut in discs
1 large stalk of celery, chopped
1 small zucchini cut in discs
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Dash of red pepper flakes
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 (15-oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 oz. ditalini or other small soup pasta
5 oz. baby spinach leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese and good olive oil for garnishing (optional)

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion and a dash of salt. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another 2 minutes. Pour in broth plus the 2 additional cups water and bring to a boil.

Once the mixture is boiling, add the chickpeas, tomatoes and ditalini. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Simmer about 12 minutes until ditalini is tender. Uncover and stir in spinach and simmer until spinach is soft, about 2 minutes.

Taste and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with (optional Parmesan cheese and a drizzle of good olive oil.

For us this serves 2 with a bowl leftover for lunch the next day.

Posted in American, Easy, Legumes, Pasta, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

🥬 Not salad for lunch. 3/25/20

I am not a big fan of salad. It is a pain in the neck to construct and then you have to make salad dressing to have it be palatable. I much prefer my salad in its heated version – vegetable stir fry. Yes, I still have to cut up vegetables plus I have to cook it but the end product of warm vegetables over some leftover rice is so much more filling to me. A spray of olive oil for the pan and seasoning with soy sauce and sriracha adds flavor not fat. My stir-fry for lunch today consists of onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, cabbage, snow peas, and spinach. So healthy!

Vegetable stir-fry over rice

To make cooking quicker start cooking in your sprayed pan when you have the onions, mushrooms, and carrots cut. While they are cooking cut up and add the celery, cabbage, snow peas, and spinach in that order. Add some soy sauce and a bit of water to make some steam. When the spinach is wilted everything will be perfectly cooked. If you like it spicy drizzle sriracha on top at the end.

Posted in Easy, Kitchen tips, leftovers, Recipes, rice, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | Tagged , | Leave a comment

🥩 Ribeye steak with mashed rutabagas and spinach. 3/23/20

Today is our daughter’s birthday and we were supposed to be celebrating it in Bari, Italy. Instead she is upstairs having a digital Happy Hour with her friends. I am sorry for her and us but what can you do? John and I decided to celebrate her birth with a steak, mashed rutabagas, sort of creamed spinach, and a glass of red wine. Might as well make lemonade out of lemons!

John sous vide the steak first and then put it on the grill to sear it. I made the rutabagas in the Instant Pot. I cut it up in cubes and cooked it under high pressure for 12 minutes with a instant steam release. Rutabagas are so good and mash up like potatoes but with a better flavor and a fraction of the calories.They are full of potassium and vitamin C. The third component on our dish was supposed to be creamed spinach. I substituted 0% fat Greek yogurt and it broke immediately. It’s not a pretty sight but it still tasted okay.

Ribeye steak with rutabagas and creamed (not) spinach

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