Vacation Meal Planning

 

Vermont in the summertime is glorious. The way that the evening summer light reflects off the mountains is downright magical. I certainly didn’t appreciate it when I was growing up there, but now that my husband and I have lived in the Boston area for almost 10 years, our trips to VT in the summer always feel too short. We were desperate for a vacation this year, but 3 years of my super-part-time income and student loans didn’t exactly set us up for a life of luxury. We decided that a week in VT fit the bill for a peaceful, relaxing, inexpensive getaway. And you know what? It was one of the best vacations that we’ve ever had.

As a couple of foodie, health-conscious vegetarians, meal planning is a consideration from the start of the vacation-planning process. Here are our priorities:

  1. Budget: This is the least negotiable, so it’s the most significant in driving our decisions.
  2. Health: A week of overconsumption is unlikely to cause irreversible damage, but vacation is a good opportunity to practice a moderation mindset instead of treating it as a free-for-all. This makes it easier to have a balanced approach to food when returning to regular life. Not only that, but my body usually doesn’t feel great if I overdo it on foods that aren’t part of my usual diet.
  3.  Enjoyment: Good food is one of the things that we both love about vacation. This can mean seeking out an exceptional restaurant, buying local produce, or tracking down speciality treats.

It’s tough to find vegetarian options at restaurants that make it worth the money. As a result, we usually try to find lodging that allows us to prepare at least some of our own meals. This can shift depending on where we go, but we research our options in advance so that we know how we want to prioritize our money and calories to make the best use of what the location has to offer.

The Setup

We were fortunate to have free lodging with a view of Lake Champlain, thanks to my in-laws. As far as RVs go, this one was pretty nice. We had a full stove, refrigerator,  microwave, charcoal grill, and most importantly, a coffee maker. The kitchen was stocked with all of the pots, pans, and utensils that we could need. My mother-in-law even got us set up with some staples, like eggs, bread, and milk. The plan was to stay there for 4 nights before moving on to another part of the state for the rest of the week.

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The Plan

The original plan was to have eat out for 2 dinners, and to make the rest of our meals at the RV. We had approximately 8,000 tomatoes to use up, as well as Swiss chard, zucchini, and cucumbers from the CSA, so we brought them with us in a cooler (everyone brings produce on vacation, right?). We made a loose meal plan, and then made a grocery run before heading to the islands. We stopped at farm stands along the way for produce that I knew would be in season.

Meal Ideas

Caprese salad

Omelets

Veggie burgers with beans and veggies

Tofu and veggie kebabs with quinoa

PB&J sandwiches

Snacks and Treats

Local blueberries

Bananas

Apples

Oranges

Cucumbers, carrots, and hummus

Chips and salsa

Popcorn

Brie and crackers

S’mores

Wine from a local winery

We revised the plan as we went along, adding or subtracting meals out, and enjoying local treats as we discovered them, like the maple creamees at Allenholm Farm, and the chocolate chip cookies at the organic market in the middle of our 70-mile bike ride. Yum! Here are some of the meals that we ended up with:

Was this a “perfect” nutrition plan? No, of course not, but it was better than what it could have been. We enjoyed plenty of treats that we don’t typically have at home, but by having a plan and cooking for ourselves, we weren’t subject to the excessive amounts of fat and sodium found in many restaurant meals, and we were more likely to consume reasonable portions. We were also able to make sure that we got at least some protein at every meal, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables. I recognize that not everyone is into cooking while on vacation, but planning can be as simple as keeping some fruit and yogurt in the refrigerator to ensure a strong start to the day, or researching restaurants in advance to make sure that healthy options are available.

And lastly, you should take a vacation in Vermont. It’s beautiful.

 

Moroccan Spiced Vegetables and Lemon Tofu

Things are busy around here. Hubs has been job hunting for the past couple of months, which has involved lots of meet-ups and networking events.  I’ve had regular evening clients at the gym, along with work to do for my dietetics program. To ensure that we have reasonably nutritious dinners, it has become even more important to plan our meals, stock up on groceries, and make dinners that will last more than one night. Combinations of protein, vegetables, and whole grains tend to fit the bill, providing a variety of nutrients, and acting as a palette for herbs and spices. I’m going to explain the thought process in case anyone out there is trying to figure out how to develop a recipe.

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When planning a meal, I usually start with a general idea, and then decide on the specifics as I go along. In this case, I decided on tofu, wild rice, and roasted vegetables. I then decided on cauliflower and carrots, based on textures, flavors, and nutrients. Carrots and cumin are often paired together, which evolved into the decision to use Moroccan spices with the vegetables. I turned to Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty for ideas, and I ended up adapting the flavors used in his “Spicy Moroccan Carrot Salad.” I was dry-frying the tofu while the vegetables were roasting, and I decided that some acidity was needed to balance out the sweet, spicy flavors of the vegetables, so I went with fresh lemon juice on the tofu. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was going to work, but it totally did. Sure, I could have done more with the tofu, but I was trying to keep it simple for a weeknight. I tried to find a decent photo of the meal, but I couldn’t. I’m a terrible photographer. You will just have to take my word for it that it is delicious.

Moroccan Spiced Vegetables and Lemon Tofu

14 oz. firm or extra-firm tofu (I use Nasoya Lite Firm Tofu)

1 lemon

1 head of cauliflower

3 large carrots

1 onion

3 garlic cloves

Red bell pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

Pinch of ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground coriander

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare wild rice, or grain of your choice, according to the package directions. While the rice is cooking, drain the water from the tofu, wrap the tofu in a clean kitchen towel or paper towels, and place a bowl or other weight on top to gently squeeze out excess water. While the tofu is pressing, begin preparing the vegetables. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl. Chop the vegetables (excluding cilantro) into bite-sized pieces and place into a shallow baking pan. Drizzle the olive oil over the vegetables, mix to combine, add the spices, and mix again. Cook for approximately 30 minutes, stirring the vegetables halfway through. 10 minutes before the vegetables are done, heat a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. It is VERY important to use a nonstick pan for this cooking method since you are not using any oil. Remove the towels from the tofu,  slice the tofu into small triangles or rectangles, and place into the frying pan in a single layer. Cook on one side for about 5 minutes, gently pressing down on each piece with a spatula. Once the tofu is golden brown on the bottom, flip over, and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Lower the heat to “low,” and squeeze lemon juice over the tofu, stirring to coat. Serve with wild rice and vegetables, and garnish vegetables with fresh cilantro.

Meal Planning: Yes You Can!

Vegetable gyoza

We were having dinner with friends a few months ago, including another 30-something-year-old couple. At some point in the conversation, I said something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, when I plan our dinners for the week…” They looked at me like I had three heads. The looks of confusion on their faces led me to believe that maybe not everyone does this? Is that true? Well, in the event that others out there are just as befuddled as our friends were, I thought that I would share our meal planning process.

But why? Well, chances are that you will save money, be healthier, and still be able to eat delicious food if you put in a little time and effort. Your health and your bank account are worth it. Really. For me, it started in 2004, when we were broke. I had just graduated college, and I moved in with my boyfriend (now husband) into a ridiculously low-ceilinged attic apartment in Burlington, VT. It’s good that we aren’t very tall. Anyway, our post-college jobs were less-than-awesome, and we were on a very tight budget, especially with student loan payments starting a few months later. We simply couldn’t afford to buy groceries that were going to go unused and end up rotting in the fridge. So, once a week (usually on Sunday), we put together a meal plan with budget as the main priority, made a grocery list, and went grocery shopping. The priorities have evolved over the years. When I did Weight Watchers, I started planning WW-friendly meals. When I started lifting weights, I planned meals around macronutrient goals. When I was in class 3 nights a week, I tried to plan quick and easy meals.

The process:

1. Decide what your priorities are. This will give you a framework for planning. Budget? Dietary requirements? Time? Schedule?

2. Choose a starting point for recipe-finding.

Ideas:

  • Skim sale flyers to choose foods that will be on sale.
  • Try a new ingredient. Curious about pomegranate? Never had quinoa? Go for it!
  • Choose a cuisine ethnicity. Maybe you have a favorite Thai dish that you would like to replicate, or maybe you’re really in the mood for comforting flavors of Italian food.
  • Pick a protein. As vegetarians, our main proteins are eggs, tofu, legumes, tempeh, and seitan. If you are an omnivore, you obviously have many more choices. I don’t like to repeat proteins in a given week.  It’s mostly because I get bored easily, but it’s also to maintain a balanced diet. For example, we might have one meal with tofu, one meal with eggs, and a meal with legumes.
  • If you’re part of a CSA, prioritize your fresh produce and base your meals around it.

You may have noticed that there are only  three meals planned for a whole week. This is because we typically choose dishes with enough servings to last two nights so that we don’t have to cook every night. We do a quick check-in about our schedules for the week to determine how many nights we will be cooking, since at least one of us usually has something going on that takes us away from home for dinner.

3. Choose your meals. Some people don’t like following recipes and prefer to wing it. I find winging it to be a bit stressful at the end of a long day, so I typically go with recipes. I discovered that cookinglight.com and vegetariantimes.com both list the nutritional information for their recipes, so they were great resources when I was trying to hit specific nutritional goals. I have a collection of cookbooks full of tried-and-true recipes that I always go back to. When I have a certain ingredient in mind, or an idea for a dish, I love going to Foodgawker.com to search through the food blogger photo gallery.

4. Ok, so now you’ve figured out how many nights you need meals for, how often you will be cooking, how many meals you need, and what those meals will be. Now it’s time to make your grocery list. I use the ShopShop app on my IPhone, but any list will do. When I’m REALLY on top of things, I sort my list based on the layout of the store. This happens approximately once a year.

5. Go grocery shopping. Your store should probably be in line with your priorities if possible. We go to the budget-friendly store nearby, but we meet our healthy-living goals by being part of a CSA, and occasionally supplementing with items from Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

6. Start cooking! If you’re going to make meals for multiple nights, make sure that you have adequate storage containers, and room in the fridge for your leftovers.

And one final tip: It gets easier. I promise. It may feel overwhelming at first if you aren’t used to it, but over time, you will find resources and methods that work for you and your lifestyle.

Smoked Mozzarella, Tomato, and Caramelized Onion Frittata

Smoked Mozzarella, Tomato, and Onion Frittata

My favorite way to plan a meal is to start with an ingredient that excites me, and then build around it. I was browsing the cheese section at the grocery store last week when I came across some Maplebrook Farm Handmade Smoked Mozzarella. Despite living in MA now, I tend to be pretty loyal to VT food producers, and on top of that, I’m a sucker for smoked cheeses, but they don’t usually fit into my budget. Well, imagine my excitement when I saw that this VT product was labeled “Manger’s Special,” and was only about $2.50. I was a goner.

I settled on a frittata primarily for nutrition reasons, and secondarily for deliciousness reasons. I try to make protein a priority in every meal, and the thought of smoked cheese and tofu just wasn’t working for me. I thought that the sweetness of caramelized onions and the acidity of fresh tomatoes would work well with the smoky, saltiness of the cheese. I hate when food doesn’t have enough color, so at the last minute, I added some baby spinach. Oh, and the nice thing about smoked cheese is that it packs a big flavor punch, so you can still get the flavor without using a lot of it. I was figuring it out as I went, so I probably used more cheese than I really needed to. Ok, ok, here’s the recipe.

Smoked Mozzarella, Tomato, Caramelized Onion Frittata

6 eggs

1/3 cup liquid egg whites (or equivalent from whole eggs)

2 tbsp milk (any will work)

1 onion

3 tomatoes: 2 tomatoes sliced in rounds, 1 diced

Handful of baby spinach

1 cup shredded smoked mozzarella cheese

Salt & Pepper

Herbs (I used a dash of basil and oregano)

Frittata Prep

Slice the onion lengthwise into thin slices. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and darker in color. If they start to burn, lower the heat and continue cooking. I think mine took about 25 minutes. It’s helpful to Google how to caramelize onions if you’re not familiar with the process. Once the onions are done, add the diced tomato and baby spinach to the pan until spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, milk, herbs, salt and pepper, and about 3/4 cup of shredded cheese. Add the onion/tomato/spinach mixture to the eggs. Oil (or spray) an oven-safe frying pan, and heat over medium heat until the pan is hot. I like to use a 10-inch pan for frittatas. Once the pan is hot, add in the egg/vegetable mixture. Layer the tomato slices on top. I did this purely because I thought it would look pretty. It did until I covered the slices with cheese. Oh well.

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Cook until it has set, and only the top appears uncooked. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese on top, and place under the broiler until the top has set, and the cheese is bubbly. I should add that sometimes tomatoes cause there to be little pockets of uncooked egg, which is what happened in this instance. Once it was done under the broiler, I put the frittata in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes, and that solved the problem. I’m sure that there are better frittata techniques out there. I was just too far into it to change what I was doing.

I’m not going to lie. This recipe took awhile, between slicing and dicing everything, caramelizing the onions, layering ingredients, and waiting for everything to cook, but the combination of flavors made it so worth it. Enjoy!

You guys, I’m just yolking.

Hahaha. The title of this post makes me laugh. So dorky, I know, but I just finished my microbiology final exam, and I am in rare form. Microbiology is a really interesting subject, but my professor made it a terrible class. I’m pretty excited that it’s over. I decided to celebrate with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a dinner of healthy leftovers. My dinner was so delicious that I decided to share the recipe with you. Full disclaimer: My husband actually made it, but I modified it, so it still counts. Really.

Garlicky Black-Eyed Peas & Greens with Eggs, Feta, and Sriracha

Adapted from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

Adapted from Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

Garlicky Black-Eyed Peas and Greens: Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites

2 cups dried black eyed peas
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 bunch (or 3/4 lb) of collard greens or greens of your choice (kale, Swiss chard, mustard greens, etc.)
1 T olive oil
2 to 4 T minced garlic (I used 3-4)
1 t dried thyme
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Optional

cooked rice
chopped scallions or red onions
lemon wedges or hot pepper vinegar

Rinse the black-eyed peas. Place them in a soup pot with garlic cloves and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 45 minutes, until tender, adding water occasionally as needed. When the peas are tender, if most of the water has not been absorbed, lightly drain them. Cover and set aside.

Rinse the greens and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and saute the minced garlic and thyme for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the damp green and continue to stir until they are wilted but still bright green. Stir the greens into the beans and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The instructions above are basically copied from the original recipe. I decided that it was a little boring, which is where the yolk part of this post comes in. I eat a lot of eggs. Until a couple of years ago, I was anti-yolk. It grossed me out. Well, now I can’t seem to get enough. There are so many dishes that are 1000x better with eggs on top! Like the sweet potato and kale hash that we made a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t take a picture, so I can’t remember exactly what was in it (but it was good). I also try to not eat a ton of rice unless the deliciousness of a dish is dependent on rice. So anyway, I decided to top my peas and greens with a couple of eggs-over-medium for some richness, a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese for some saltiness, and a drizzle of Sriracha for heat and acidity. The final result was healthy and delicious. Healthylicious.

Try it!

Black Bean Chilaquiles

I have come to some conclusions recently.

Conclusion #1: I need to post on here once in awhile. I had dinner with some food bloggers, some of whom post something every day! I should be able to handle posting at least every couple of weeks….right?

Conclusion #2: I am crazy. My husband says so, and I can’t disagree. The recipe below calls for crushed baked tortilla chips, so what did I do? I made my own tortillas, baked them, and then crushed them. What could have been a 45 minute dinner took me twice as long. Hopefully you are saner than I am. If not, see here for tortilla making instructions.

This recipe for Black Bean Chilaquiles from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites is one of my favorite dinner recipes. You could easily alter the recipe to use different vegetables, add in meat in place of (or in addition to) the beans, or use a different kind of cheese.

Black Bean Chilaquiles
from Moosewood Restaurant Low-fat Favorites

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1.5 c black beans (15 oz. can drained and rinsed)
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 1.5 c diced tomatoes (I used canned)
  • 2 c crushed baked tortilla chips
  • 8 oz. fat-free cheddar cheese, shredded (I used Cabot 50% Light Cheddar)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 c chopped fresh spinach or Swiss chard
  • 2 c salsa
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for about 8 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add in black beans, corn, tomatoes, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add in chopped greens and cook for 1-3 minutes. Immediately drain and set aside.

Lightly spray an 8×8 dish with cooking spray or oil. Layer 1 cup of crushed tortilla chips in the bottom of the dish. Spoon the black bean mixture over the chips and top with about 2/3 of the cheese. Spread the chopped greens evenly over the cheese. Spread 1 cup of salsa over the greens, then top with the remaining 1 cup of chips, 1 cup of salsa, and remaining cheese.

Cook for 35-40 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

The slice doesn’t really hold together on the plate, but it still tastes good!

Fun with our 6/10/10 CSA pickup- Swiss Chard and Chioggia Beets

The first night, the kohlrabi was a side dish for Baked Cheese Polenta with Swiss Chard from www.cookinglight.com. We had leftovers of the polenta dish, so the second night, I made a salad with the Chioggia beets and pea tendrils. Our CSA gave us pea tendrils last week, but we weren’t that impressed. They were tough and kind of difficult to work with. I saw smaller ones at the Copley farmers market and decided to give them another try. I thought that the delicate flavor of the pea tendrils would compliment the sweetness of the beets nicely.

Roasted Beet Salad (for 2 people)

  • 3-4 roasted Chioggia (or any) beets
  • 3 cups of pea tendrils
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots
  • 1/3 cup orange muskat vinegar (or combine regular vinegar with orange juice)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Cut stems of beets so that only about 1 inch is still attached. Wrap beets (including skins) in foil and roast for about 45 minutes. Once you can easily pierce them with a fork, remove them from the oven and let them sit until cool enough to handle. I got impatient and threw mine in the freezer for a few minutes. Once cooled, you should be able to easily slip the skins off. I chose to slice mine, but wedges would work just as well.

Wash pea tendrils, coarsley chop and arrange beets on top. Add baby carrots and crumbled goat cheese. Mix together the olive oil and vinegar with some salt and pepper. I am in love with the Orange Muskat vinegar from Trader Joe’s, but I would think that mixing some orange juice with white vinegar would work too. Once mixed, drizzle over salad.

Baked Cheese Polenta with Swiss Chard (from www.cookinglight.com).

Preheat oven to 400.

Chard:

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard*
  • Cooking spray
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp water

Polenta:

  • 1 3/4 c water
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 14.5 oz can vegetable broth (or equivalent w/veggie bouillon)
  • 1 c yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 c (2 oz.) crumbled goat cheese
  • 3 tbsp grated fresh parmesan
  • 1/4 c reduced fat sour cream

*Note: If you make this recipe with the beet salad, you could replace one bunch of chard with the beet greens, if they are still in good shape.

Wash the chard and remove stems and ribs. Discard the stems and coarsley chop the ribs, along with the leaves. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the ribs and water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the leaves, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until wilted.

In a large saucepan, combine water, salt, and broth. Whisking constantly, gradually add cornmeal. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook for about 8 minutes. Whisk in cheeses until thoroughly combined.

To assemble, spray a 2-qt. baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the polenta into the dish. Top with chard mixture. Spoon sour cream on top of chard. Spread remaining half of polenta on top of sour cream layer. Baked for about 20 min. and let it stand for 5 min. before serving. Recipes makes 6 servings, but we cut it into 4.

Fun with our 6/10/10 CSA pickup- Kohlrabi

I’m still really excited about our CSA. Can you tell? This week’s share (from L to R) included broccoli, bibb lettuce, cilantro, kohlrabi, Chioggia beets, and Swiss chard. Along the top are Romaine lettuce, red leaf lettuce, and Asian turnips.

Kohlrabi? What the heck is that? Kohlrabi is part of the cabbage family, but the globe of it looks more like a crazy turnip variety. People use the leaves of the plant, but hubs and I weren’t crazy about the flavor. The globe has a fairly mild, sweet flavor with a tiny bit of kick to it. When sliced, it looked a little like a granny smith apple. Honestly, I was skeptical. A lot of people eat it raw, but I didn’t see the appeal, so I decided to roast it with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roasted, this stuff was like crack. I couldn’t get enough! I don’t even know how to describe its wonderfulness, but I highly recommend trying it.

Fun with our first CSA share!

I’ve been terrible about updating this. I’ve just been too lazy to really figure out how to use it. That’s why most people have seen me plastering Facebook with pictures of various things, but I should probably learn to contain it all here so that everyone doesn’t have to be subjected to my nonsense. I’ve actually been making a lot of things lately, so I have some things to post.

One of the things that I’m really excited about is our CSA. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, we paid a flat fee when we signed up a few months ago. Starting last week, every week, we pick up a share of produce directly from a farmer. The share consists of whatever he’s able to harvest that week. Hubby and I LOVE our veggies, so we’ve both been pretty excited. Last week’s share contained 1 head of bibb lettuce, 1 head of red leaf lettuce, 1 bunch of mizuna, 1 bunch of pea tendrils, 1 bunch of spinach, 1 bunch of chicory, 1 bunch of Red Russian kale, and 1 head of bok choy. It was overwhelming to first figure out how to fit everything into the refrigerator, and then figure out how to use it all.

Stir-fry with pea tendrils, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and noodles

Aside from a couple of great salads, our first meal using CSA veggies was a stir-fry made with tofu, shiitake mushrooms, pea tendrils, and fresh Asian noodles. Honestly, it didn’t quite hit the mark. The pea tendrils were tougher than we expected. I don’t know if we needed to trim them differently or cook them differently or what, but it didn’t quite work. Also, the flavors that I added in of sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger, kind of overpowered the delicate flavors of the pea tendrils. The next night, we added some bok choi to it, and we enjoyed it more.

Pizza x 2

The mizuna was a bit of a challenge as I had never heard of it before. It is a delicate Asian green that is often compared to arugula due to its slightly peppery quality. After a string of Asian-inspired dishes, I was ready for a change, so I decided to try the mizuna on pizza, knowing that there are plenty of pizzas out there that use arugula. The first night, I bought pizza dough from the Shaws supermarket right down the street. This pizza had: garlic, caramelized onions, mizuna, grape tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. It was generally pretty good, but a little on the dry side.

The next night, I decided to try it again with some changes. I decided to make my own dough, using a recipe that I found on the Pete Bakes blog, originally from Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, which, by the way, I think I may need to purchase. I love bread! Honestly, I don’t know if it came out the way that it was supposed to. The dough was extremely delicate and the resulting crust was a little too crunchy, but generally not bad. I decided to replace the tomatoes with black mission figs, add some fontina cheese and drizzle it all with a balsamic reduction.

Mushroom and artichoke frittata

Frittatas are one of my favorite things to make when I have veggies on hand. It’s a good way to get in some protein without having a heavy meal and it is so easy to adapt, depending on what veggies and cheese you have on hand. It is especially great in the spring and summer when great local produce is available. I like to have a slice of frittata with a nice salad and some crusty bread. My favorite crusty bread in the Boston area is Iggy’s Francese. It’s delicious and fairly healthy! I always have a carton of Egg Beaters in the fridge, so if there isn’t enough liquid for the amount of veggies, I just add in some Egg Beaters and a couple tablespoons of milk.

Mushroom and artichoke heart frittata (4 servings)

1 tsp olive oil
2 eggs
2 egg whites
15 oz. can artichoke hearts, quartered
1 red pepper, roasted and diced
1 cup sliced mushrooms (I like crimini, but white mushrooms would work)
4 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 clove garlic, minced

In an oven-proof saute pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium heat. Saute mushrooms until they just start to brown. Add garlic and continue to cook until mushrooms have softened. Add red pepper and artichoke hearts and cook for 1 minute. Remove veggies from pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, beat together eggs and egg whites. Spray the saute pan with cooking spray. Add veggies back into pan and pour the egg mixture over them. Continue to cook over medium heat until about 3/4 of the way up the pan has cooked through. Sprinkle the feta cheese evenly over the top of the frittata. Place in over under broiler and broil until the top is no longer wet and the cheese begins to brown.

Remove from oven. Cut into 4 servings and serve with salad and bread.