Spaghetti “Bolognese”

I’ve been making an effort to cut back on our meat consumption but sometimes I really really want a meat-based dish. It was rainy today and looked cool (even though it was still around 85), but it got me in the mood for Spag Bol. One problem: no meat in the house. No meat? No problem…. maybe. So here’s my improvised vegetarian Spaghetti “Bolognese”.

1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 an onion chopped fine
2 cloves of garlic chopped fine
mushrooms (I probably used 1/4 of a pound? I’ve no idea) chopped fine
jar of sauce (I always have Barilla Marinara on hand)

Slice the tofu in half horizontally and place between paper towels to drain the excess moisture. I put my cast iron Dutch Oven on top to really squeeze out the water. Takes about 30 min or so.

Sprinkle tofu with salt and pepper. Put about a tsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and put in the tofu. Fry on both sides till it’s a nice tannish brown, about 3min/side. Remove from pan.

Heat about a Tbsp of butter in the pan and saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms till softened, about 5min or so. Chop up the tofu and then add it back in to absorb some of the flavor for another 5min or so. Add in the spaghetti sauce.

Let the sauce simmer while the pasta cooks. When the pasta’s done, just spoon the sauce on top.

Things I would do differently next time: Marinate the tofu for a few minutes in olive oil and garlic for a flavor boost, and chop it more finely than I did today.

Published in: on September 8, 2010 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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Risotto with Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese

I’m a sucker for a good risotto.  I love you, creamy, cheesy, savory goodness!  My favorite one is in the Jamie Oliver Italy cookbook, and it’s full of cheesy buttery fat; so bad for me, yet SO good!  I saw this one in an old Cooking Light and thought I’d give it a go, and while it’s not quite as good as my bad-for-you favorite, it’s definitely a close second.  And much better for me!

Risotto wiht Porcini Mushrooms and Mascarpone Cheese


  • 1 1/2  cups  boiling water
  • 1/2  cup  dried porcini mushrooms (about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1  (14-ounce) can less-sodium beef broth
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
  • 3/4  cup  chopped shallots
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2  cup  dry white wine
  • 1/4  cup  (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4  cup  (1 ounce) mascarpone cheese
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper


Combine boiling water and mushrooms; let stand 10 minutes or until soft. Drain through a colander over a bowl. Reserve 1 1/4 cups soaking liquid, and chop mushrooms.

Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan (do not boil). Keep broth mixture warm over low heat.

Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add rice, shallots, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until liquid evaporates (about 2 minutes).

Add 1 cup broth mixture to rice mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring occasionally. Add remaining broth mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring occasionally until each portion of broth mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 25 minutes total). Add mushrooms, cheeses, thyme, salt, and pepper; stir gently just until the cheese melts. Serve warm.

Nutritional Information

198 (28% from fat)
6.1g (sat 3.2g,mono 1g,poly 0.3g)
Published in: on April 1, 2009 at 2:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Baked Sweet Potatoes

I saw it in a magazine so I thought I’d give it a go.

Take a couple of medium – large’ish sweet potatoes, scrub them, pop them in a 375 oven for an hour.  Eat like you would a regular baked potato.  We put bacon, broccoli, cheese, and sour cream on ours.  Pretty tasty!

Published in: on February 3, 2009 at 1:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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Three Bean Chili

And while I’ve got the blog open, I may as well post another recipe I just tried tonight.  Once again, it’s from Cooking Light.  I’m loving all of the healthy recipes I’ve been making lately!

Grossman suggested doubling or even tripling this he loved it so much.  I’m thinking of making a triple batch and freezing part of it; I’ll report back on how that goes if/when I do it.  I also whipped up a quick batch of instant cornbread to go with this.  So good!

Three Bean Chili


  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil
  • 1  cup  prechopped onion
  • 1/2  cup  prechopped green bell pepper  (I don’t like green pepper so I skipped it)
  • 2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic  (I minced three cloves of garlic)
  • 3/4  cup  water
  • 2  tablespoons  tomato paste
  • 2  teaspoons  chili powder
  • 2  teaspoons  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  (14 1/2-ounce) can organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)  (I used low-sodium chicken broth)
  • 1  (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  tablespoon  yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro  (didn’t have it, didn’t add it)
  • 6  tablespoons  reduced-fat sour cream


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup water and next 9 ingredients (through diced tomatoes); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in cornmeal; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro. Serve with sour cream.

Nutritional Information

180 (25% from fat)
4.9g (sat 1.5g,mono 1.7g,poly 0.3g)
Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 2:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Blueberry Pancakes

For the past 8 weeks or so I’ve been making blueberry pancakes from scratch every Sunday morning.  Yes yes, I’m sure Bisquick is fine.  Whatever.  I want to be the “my mom makes pancakes from scratch!” mom.  My goal was to find “the” recipe, and I think I’ve finally succeeded.  And it only took going through 8 recipes!

Naturally, I doctored it a bit to make it taste the way I wanted.  My notes are in italics.

Everyday Pancakes from the NYTimes

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar, optional (definitely add)
2 eggs
1½ to 2 cups milk (I use one cup of milk and one cup of buttermilk)
2 tablespoons melted and cooled butter (optional), plus unmelted butter for cooking, or use neutral oil.  (butter is never optional.  LOVE butter)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup of blueberries

1. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. In a bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Beat eggs into 1½ cups milk, then stir in 2 tablespoons melted cooled butter, if using it, and vanilla. Gently stir this mixture into dry ingredients, mixing only enough to moisten flour; don’t worry about a few lumps. Stir in blueberries. If batter seems thick, add a little more milk.

2. Place a teaspoon or 2 of butter or oil on griddle or skillet. When butter foam subsides or oil shimmers, ladle batter onto griddle or skillet, making pancakes of any size you like. Adjust heat as necessary; usually, first batch will require higher heat than subsequent batches. Flip pancakes after bubbles rise to surface and bottoms brown, after 2 to 4 minutes.

3. Cook until second side is lightly browned. Serve, or hold on an ovenproof plate in a 200-degree oven for up to 15 minutes.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

A close runner up are the pancakes from the Williams Sonoma recipe website.  The thing is, there’s sifting involved.  Not that that’s a problem, per se.  But the whole sifiting thing is what turned me off of a lot of pancake recipes.  It’s just time consuming and annoying.  Yes these pancakes are light and fluffy and tasty, but to me, they’re not worth the extra sifting effort.

Published in: on September 9, 2008 at 12:46 pm  Comments (2)  
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Sweet Potato Pasta Thingy

Yup, that’s what we had for dinner tonight.  A sweet potato pasta thingy.  Here’s the thing, my stomach has been working against me lately.  As in, I haven’t really been able to stray from the bathroom for an extended period of time the past couple of days.  I’ve also been traveling and eating a larger amount of meat than usual the past weekend.  And as we all know (or most of you, anyway), I’m allergic to meat.  Good times.

ANYWAY.  I haven’t made it to the store since last week, and I didn’t want to eat anything with meat tonight.  This didn’t leave me with a lot of options, so I decided to just wing it.  I surfed for some ideas on how to use what I had on hand, and this is what I came up with.

Sweet Potato Pasta Thingy

2-3 sweet potatoes
olive oil
a box of pasta (I used penne)
3-4 cloves of garlic
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400.  Peel sweet potatoes and cut them to about 1″ pieces.  Put the pieces in a baking dish, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and stick it in the oven for about 45 minutes or until soft.

Boil water, add a few pinches of salt, and make the pasta.

While the pasta is boiling, chop, press, or mince garlic.  Heat a small saute pan over medium-lowish heat, and add some olive oil.  Add the garlic and saute till it’s golden brown but not burned.  Take off heat and add a few sprinkles of Italian seasoning.

Drain pasta, add olive oil/garlic concoction.  Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher.  Put the pasta in a bowl/on a plate/however you eat it, scoop some sweet potatoes on top, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Voila!  A tasty vegetarian dish that’s fairly good for you!

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 1:10 am  Comments (2)  
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