Monday, August 9, 2010

Big News & Meatless Dinners

First, the big news: (drum roll, please) I got a job! I'm rejoining the workforce next Tuesday! I'm extremely excited about the great opportunity ahead of me, but also a bit nervous about starting at a new company (I worked for my old employer for six years), especially after months of unemployment. It will definitely be a big change, but I'm really looking forward to it! Don't worry though, I'm not going to abandon my blog! I may not post every day as I get settled into my new routine, but I'll still be here!

Okay, on to the food....

Woody is a meat man. I don't think I've ever seen him eat steak, but he definitely enjoys eating meat - eating it at both lunch and dinner most days. I, on the other hand, have been trying to cut down on the amount of meat in my diet. Partially due to all the evidence I've read and seen about the harsh realities in slaughter houses, how industrial animals are raised, and how eating less meat can have a positive effect on our environment and the fact that typical American diets contain much more meat than is needed for a healthy diet. Thus, two of the dinners I made last week were meatless. Woody was a bit nervous about this when I told him what was coming, but like I expected, he enjoyed both meals and found them quite filling!

Grilled Polenta with Tomatoes, White Beans and Kale
(adapted from a Cooking Light - Fresh Food Fast: Weeknight Meals recipe)

1 (17oz) tube of polenta , cut into 9 slices (I used plain but you could use a flavored version. I also cut uneven slices and ended up with 8 by mistake!)
cooking spray
2tsp olive oil
2 cups halved grape tomatoes (I only used 1 cup and it seemed to be enough for 2 servings with some left over)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbs white wine vinegar (I didn't have this)
1.5tsp chopped fresh rosemary (I used dried thyme)
1/4tsp ground black pepper
1/2cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (I used sprinkles of shredded Parmesan)
approx 4cups kale

1. Heat the grill pan over medium-high heat, sprayed with cooking spray. Place polenta slices on pan and heat until golden brown on each side.
2. Heat oil in a skillet and add tomatoes, garlic and kale. Cover and stir occasionally until kale is bright green and tomatoes are tender. Reduce heat slightly and add beans, a bit of pepper and thyme (or rosemary if that's what you're using).
3. Place polenta slices on plate (I used 4 slices each, recipe calls for 3 slices each serving). Then spoon mixture on top and around polenta slices. sprinkle a cheese and a bit more thyme (or rosemary).
Woody's dish had the larger slices and a bit more of the tomato mixture

Overall we were both very happy with this meal. We aren't used to the texture and taste of polenta, and 4 slices were too much for me (I gave most of my last slice to Woody). It was a filling meal and I think the kale was a great addition. Can't go wrong adding a bit of healthy greens to any meal!

Sweet Potato Quesadilla
3 whole wheat tortillas
1 med-large sweet potato
3/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbs onions, chopped
2 tbs avocado squash, chopped (or any type of squash)
fresh ground pepper to taste
shredded, light Mexican cheese mix

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cube sweet potato, place on cooking spray coated tin foil lined cookie sheet then wrap potato in the foil and place in oven. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, checking half way thru and stirring potato. You want the potato to be soft.
2. Heat whole wheat tortillas for a few seconds each on a paper towel in the microwave to soften them up so they are more pliable.
3. Combine black beans, onion, and avocado squash, add pepper to taste.
4. Once potatoes are ready, place a few cubes on one half of a tortilla and use the back of a spoon to spread the potatoes. You can take the skin out or leave it in. Because of the health benefits, I left about half of the skin pieces on the tortilla. Top with bean/onion mixture and then sprinkle enough cheese on top to seal the quesadilla when cooking.
5. Fold in half and place on grill pan or skillet coated with cooking spray cook on medium heat until browned and flip to other side.
6. Repeat 4 and 5 with other two tortillas.
7. Place finished quesadillas in the oven on a cookie sheet to keep warm until all are ready.

This turned out great! I made three because Woody eats two but one is enough for me. The amount of beans/onion/squash you use really depends on how big the tortillas are that you use and how much you want to put in. We topped with a bit of salsa and had corn on the cob on the side. It was definitely another meatless meal success!

workout stats -
3.5mile walkl/jog intervals
13mile bike
3x10 cable pull twists
3x10 hammer curls
3x10 bicep curls
3x10 lateral side arm raise


Silly Girl Running said...

Thanks for the meatless recipes! Gonna try the quesadillas out tonight! :)

Silly Girl Running said...

And congrats on the job! :)

abbi said...

Congratulations on the new job!

Molly said...

congrats on the new job! That's great!

Karen said...

Congratulations on the job - I am so happy for you! Thanks for the recipes... Oddly enough, I was just wondering yesterday if black beans and squash would make a good combination. Can't wait to try it!

Jon said...

Congrats on the job and thanks for the recipe!

Katie @ Health for the Whole Self said...

Congratulations on your job!!! So exciting!!!

Both of these recipes sound delicious to me! I love grilling polenta. :)

NY Wolve said...

That is too funny -- I made a recipe from Cooking Light this weekend too. I tried the Mahi Mahi with totmato butter sauce. It was good, but I would tweak it if I did again... (Starting with ... using Mahi Mahi. I couldn't find it here in NYC, so I substituted Halibut..which had no flavor whatsoever.)

J said...

Congrats on the job! That is terrific news!

Alisa said...

Yay job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oooh fun meatless meals...we've been eating less meat too.

Robyn @ Wannabe Writer Runner said...

yay!!! So excited about the job news. Your eats are getting more and more impressive. I love the tubed polenta, it's so much easier to work with than the cornmeal from scratch. I like to sautee a mixture of mushroom, zucchini and any kind of veggie in a tomato sauce and then stick on top of the polenta rounds and bake it off. YUM.

Maria @ Kale and Cupcakes said...

Hey Lisa! Thanks for finding my blog - yours looks awesome. Congrats on the new job, too. This kale recipe looks amazing - I am a huge fan of kale and think I need to hatch plans and make it, immediately!

Kristy said...

Both meals look great!! I have yet to try Kale, looks like it's time, looks delicious! Congrats on you job!

lindsay said...

Those quesadillas... YUM! Anything sweet potato I am bound to love :)

Big congrats on the new job!! I know you'll do great. Hope things settle quickly.