Friday, September 2, 2011

Temporary Vegetarian!

I am going vegetarian for the month of September. I did this once before, maybe last year? The year before that? I don't remember. I have noticed myself eating more meat lately and I'd like to break that down a bit, so I'm going to veg it up a bit this month and hope that makes me more conscious of what I'm putting in my mouth.

Of course, the last night of August I had to have an enormous cheesesteak just to scratch that itch before delving into a meatless month. Oh buffalo cheesesteak, how I love you. And hate you.

I posted a request for vegetarian recipes and wow! I have a ton of things to try out this month. I have cookbooks and websites and plenty of recipes from friends that say things like "not too cheese-y, but cheese-y enough." Fantastic! Thanks, everyone!

But to begin, I'm sticking to a couple of favorite things and I'd like to give you the recipes right here, right now. Both of these require time... but not time that you have to actually really do anything, so they are totally easy. AND DELICIOUS.

Corn and Beet Salad
I basically try to get everyone to make this salad all the time. It's so good! My dear Gigi found this in Martha Stewart Living last summer, I believe and it's become a staple in my house. I'm going to give you the quantities I used yesterday, but you can futz with it - add, subtract, whatever. You will need...

3 big beets! (or a bunch of small ones -so tasty)
2 ears of corn (or a bag of frozen) (or a can)
some olive oil (maybe 2 tsp)
a big ole handful of fresh basil

Boil your beets for like 45 minutes. Cook your corn. After the beets are done boiling, cool them down and wipe the skin off. Seriously: the skin just wipes off. It's the coolest thing. Chop them up into bite-sized pieces and put in a bowl. If you're using fresh corn, take it off the cob. Add corn to bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil and stir everything together. Rip up the basil (or chop it, whatever you like) and stir it all together.

You can eat it hot if you like. I prefer it cold after a few hours in the fridge so the corn turns pink. This will make about 4 servings. 3 WW points per serving. (If you go crazy over it and it turns into only 3 servings, it is 4 WW points.)

Butternut Squash Soup
This is ridiculously easy on the front end, kind of annoying at the end, but still easy and delicious. You will need...

1 butternut squash, whatever size will fit in your crock pot
2 potatoes
vegetable broth or stock (you can use chicken stock if you want)
1 onion
salt + pepper
EITHER curry powder OR cinnamon

Put your squash and the potatoes in your slow cooker. Add a little bit of water to the bottom, enough so you don't feel like you're going to burn down your kitchen. Set on HIGH for 6-8 hours. (I usually set this up at like 11 PM and wake up to delicious smells.) Dice up an onion and cook it until it gets soft. I like to char mine a little bit for depth of flavor, but that's also because I tend to like burnt onions. Diff'rent Strokes.

Now take the squash and potatoes out of the slow cooker and split them in half. They will be soft and HOT AS HELL. Scoop out the seeds and fibrous bits - we're not using these in the recipe.

Now here's the thing: we're going to scoop all of the flesh out of the squash and also put all of that good potato and onion in with it and blend it up. I don't have a food processor or immersion blender, so I have to do it in the blender-blender, which requires me to do half at a time. It's kind of annoying. I take the skins off my potatoes, but you can throw those in if you want.

In whatever you are using to mix this all together, combine the squash flesh, the potatoes, the cooked onions, and as much or as little broth/stock as you want. I prefer a thicker soup, so I add less stock. Then, once it has all blended together, add salt and pepper to taste and EITHER curry OR cinnamon to taste. I prefer curry and I dump a lot in. The cinnamon is lovely in this too, but I like savory things better than sweet things.

This will yield about 5 servings, depending on the size of your squash. Here are the points values with variables:
If you use Idaho potatoes and cook your onions in 1 tsp of olive oil: 3 WW points per serving.
If you use Idaho potatoes and cook your onions in just a hot pan, no oil: 2 WW points per serving.
If you use sweet potatoes, either with or without cooking the onions in oil: 2 WW points per serving.

Enjoy the weekend everyone. Come back next week for a very special VIDEO treat on WTS!

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