A humorous, optimistic blog about Food, Family, Friends and Faith

Last week there was no meal plan at our house. The “usual” menu went out the window, because our daughter was traveling in Europe, my husband had an irregular work week that included lots of traveling, and I was on Spring Break from school. Rick and I bought a pizza, had some leftovers, sandwiches and cold cereal – that was enough for our culinary week.

This week everything is back to normal. It’s time to do some serious planning again.

My husband Rick likes meat. There’s nothing he likes more than a thick, juicy, grilled steak and a salad. Throw in some grilled zucchini and he’s a happy man, indeed. I feel guilty sometimes (not often, mind you) subjecting him to totally vegan meals, but he’ll be the first to agree that he feels better when he eats lighter. Since cholesterol is also an issue with him, it’s beneficial for him to eat vegan a few days a week.

Louise, on the other hand, is totally turned off by blood and flesh sitting on the table, so I cook as little meat as possible out of respect for her food choices.

Here is what is planned for the coming week, followed by two recipes. Louise didn’t have a great food experience in either Turkey or Greece, so I’m going heavy on the vegan food this coming week to restore her nutritional balance and get her digestive system back in good working order. I’m trying several new recipes, two of which I offer here. Fortunately, my family doesn’t mind being the subject of my culinary experiments. They are remarkably open to trying new flavors and textures, for which I am grateful.

DINNER MENU

  • Fried tofu with Thai peanut sauce
  • zucchini patties
  • breaded chicken cutlets
  • cheesy broccoli casserole
  • twice baked potatoes
  • TVP/beef tacos
  • zucchini/corn mixture
  • lemon/pepper baked tofu
  • Tuscan beans with fresh sage
  • chard and figs with pignoli
  • spinach quiche
  • spinach viche (vegan quiche – get it??)
  • mesclun salad with shaved red onions, sliced almonds and oranges with a lime vinaigrette

The first time I make a new recipe, I follow it to a ‘t’. Then, if I feel changes are needed, they are made. I confess – I tweak recipes a LOT. Ingredients get swapped for new ones, cooking times and methods change, new flavors get added. A lot of alterations happen before a recipe becomes “final” in my mind. Even then, I’m always open to revision. Should I encounter a new ingredient, it invariably works its way into a tried-and-true recipe.

Hopefully some of these new recipes will find their way into our regular rotation. I hope you try them. If you do, let me know how you would change them, or if you would change them at all.

Easy Lemon/Pepper Tofu

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 T tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pkg (14 oz.) firm or extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and sliced 1/2″ thick
  1. Mix all ingredients except the tofu in a container. Set aside.
  2. Place tofu in a single layer on a baking pan. Pour the marinade over the tofu, then lift the pieces of tofu to get the marinade on the bottom sides.
  3. Cover the baking pan and marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Turn the tofu at least once while marinating. Preheat the oven to 350F. Uncover the pan and bake for 30 minutes.

Rainbow Chard with Figs

  • 2 pounds rainbow chard, ends trimmed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried figs
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Coarsely chop chard and add it to a pot of boiling salted water. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes, Drain well and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add figs and pine nuts and cook until pine nuts are lightly toasted, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in reserved chard and season with salt and pepepr to taste. Cook until hot, stirring occasionally.

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