Vegetarian Tuesdays

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I don’t eat meat on Tuesdays, and while it’s usually not a problem to come up with dinner ideas sometimes I really feel stuck.

This Tuesday, I had gorgeous portobello mushroom caps from the store. I decided to fill them with diced onions, tomatoes, and a bread crumb mixture, and to too them with a slice of Pepper Jack cheese for a stuffed mushroom entree.

Paired with a side of pesto penne, it made a hearty meal.

MTT actually said he liked these stuffed mushrooms better than the small, appetizer style ones I had made the other day. Which is funny because I liked the smaller ones better…but these big ones were waaaaay easier to make, and healthier. So, win-win!

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I want pizza…no pasta…no both…

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When I was a kid, I had a nanny who knew how to make homemade pizza. I thought it was the coolest thing, because if it weren’t for her, the only pizza we’d ever have was PizzaHut. Now, there’s nothing wrong with PizzaHut, especially because they offer a lot of food for not a lot of money and that’s important when you’re a new immigrant family…but let’s just say the home made pizza was a-mazing.

In fact, it was so good that we reserved it like a treat, on select Fridays. One Friday, my brother, who was an adorable child, said to my nanny as she went for a second slice…”auntie, I think you’re getting fat…”. He said this with the goal of snagging that slice of pizza, but oh my…what a way to do it….

Fast forward to my adult life…pizza isn’t just from PizzaHut. I’ve learned that pizza ca. Be gourmet, that there are pizza snobs in the world, and my colleagues and friends all compare their favorite places to get pizza.

So when I first start cooking on a daily basis, of course I decide to try my hand at pizza. MTT quickly remarks that pizza needs to go into the steady rotation…

So, the night before MTT’s big test, I knew I had to work late but I also wanted to have a fun, hearty dinner for him.

Of course, I think pizza.

I am inspired by the fancy options at the local pizzerias…and I think of the penne and vodka sauce I have in hand.

Presto! Penne-a-la-vodka Pizza.

Needless to say, it’s a hit.

Hope carbo-loading is as good for tests as it is for marathons… 😉

Not my mama’s Mac and Cheese

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My family spent last Thanksgiving at the home of one of my mom’s friends. My mother pondered for days what side dish to bring. She finally settled on Mac and Cheese…done right. Not out of a Kraft box. The problem with this is that my family had never made Mac and Cheese any other way.

As a kid, I always loved the blue Kraft boxes of macaroni and cheese…and I loved mixing milk with neon orange powder to make “cheese”. My particular fascination was how the cheese could be as lumpy or as smooth as I wanted it to be–depending on how much I stirred, of course.

Anyway, my mom decided to boil macaroni and mix it with a variety of gourmet cheeses and then bake the mixture. The result was tasty, but I have to admit a bit dry. I prefer Mac and Cheese to be a creamy, gooey mixture of richness.

So, a week later, I decided to experiment for MTT. I did a little research on the Internet, and ultimately just decided to mix a tip from this recipe with a hint from that recipe and just see what happens.

The result: a combination of pasta, cheeses, creaminess, and chicken. Yes, that’s right, I added chicken to Mac and Cheese…partly because MTT loves chicken and partly because I figured if I added chicken it would be more of an entree than a side.

MTT proclaimed that it was the best thing he’s ever eaten.

While I think that must be an exaggeration, I take pride in my Mac and Cheese and love that it’s easy to make and is sure to please. Especially great is that I can spend 20 minutes assembling it and then refrigerate it to be baked at any time. Even MTT can bake it himself if I’m not around. And trust me, that’s an asset because he’s not that great in the kitchen 🙂