Greetings! I have an exciting new endeavor to tell you about this week!: I have decided to follow a vegetarian diet for one week, starting today (Sunday).
I’ve planned a vegetarian dinner menu for the next week, which I will be blogging about each day. I also intend to eat meatless lunches, which may or may not appear in the blog. On weekdays, when I work a full-time job, I don’t have a lot of time to plan anything very special for lunch. This week for lunch I will probably be eating lots of cottage cheese, hummus, and Amy’s meatless entrees and burritos. More often than not, my lunches are meatless anyway, so this will not be a big change for me. (Also, I don’t eat breakfast. Except coffee. So sue me.)
Since today was Sunday, I had a bit more time to devote to preparing lunch, so I will share it with you.
Vegetarian Lunch #1:
- Open-face Egg Salad Sandwich (incl. 1 egg, 1 T. Miracle Whip, + 1 tsp honey mustard) on light whole wheat bread
- Hummus + carrot + pretzel crisps
- Cottage cheese (1/3 cup) + fresh pineapple
- Diet 7up
Total: 485 calories. Wow, that’s a lot of food for so few calories!
Today I went grocery shopping for all my meatless goodies. Red bell peppers were on sale for an amazing price – $1 each!! It’s not uncommon to see them for $3.99/lb (or even $4.99/lb for organic), so I decided to stock up! I bought five, and chopped up four of them, and placed each one in a freezer bag, so I will have chopped fresh, pre-portioned red bell pepper ready to go in the freezer anytime I need it.
I used a bit of chopped red bell pepper in two of my dinner dishes tonight.
Vegetarian Dinner #1
Side: Light Broccoli and Parmesan Casserole
As a side dish, I made Broccoli and Cheese Casserole from Cooking Light. I had originally intended to simply steam the broccoli and serve it plain, but I decided that was too boring, so at the last minute I threw this simple recipe together (I made half of the original recipe). First, I prepared a béchamel sauce, and then stirred in shredded parmesan and sharp cheddar cheese.
A handful of chopped red bell pepper was added, and my steamed, crisp-tender broccoli was tossed in the cheese sauce. Before baking, I topped the dish with minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and plain breadcrumbs (or you can use melba toast crumbs, as the recipe suggests).
Broccoli Casserole Rating: 7.5/10.
Entrée: Peanut-Crusted Tofu Triangles
After pressing my sliced tofu between paper towels while being weighed down by a cutting board with a heavy pot on top, I set up a station for coating the triangles with egg whites and a mixture of chopped peanuts, dried ginger, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
This is a good recipe, in theory, but it really pays to chop or pulse the peanuts very finely (more so than I did!), which will help them stick to the tofu, and will also create a thinner space between the tofu and the surface of your skillet, allowing for a better sear to form on the outside of your tofu. I found I had to press down with firm pressure using a spatula to encourage my tofu triangles to form a nice brown sear (and it still did not crisp up as nicely as I’d hoped).
Peanut Crusted Tofu Triangles Rating: 6.5/10.
Side: Scallion, Red Bell Pepper, and Cilantro Rice
My other side dish was a simple rice dish suggested in the Tofu recipe. The recipe suggest using instant white rice cooked in rice milk. Instead, I used a bag of frozen brown rice, which I heated in the microwave, added a splash of half and half, and then added in chopped bell pepper, scallions, and a tad of cilantro, and seasoned with salt. Unfortch, I went a tad overboard with the cilantro (I like it in very small doses only), but this dish was still tasty. In fact, the rice was the only dish of which I had a second helping.
Rice Rating: 7.5/10
Dessert: A skinny cow ice cream sandwich.
As you may know, I used to track my daily calorie intake for several months (you can read about it HERE). Toward the end of last August, I stopped writing down everything, but still have been keeping a mental tally each day since then (yes, I still do this!). Writing down everything I ate for several months was a great habit for me to get into, because it really made me learn about proper portion sizes, and about how many calories are in foods I commonly eat. Though I still don’t write everything down, I have a very good idea of the number of calories that are in many of the foods I frequently consume. I never let myself get overly obsessive about it, and frequently allow myself indulgences, however, I’m trying to start writing down what I eat each day again. Since last May 2010, I’ve used www.livestrong.com as my primary source for tracking calories.
(Note: Only the calories above are accurate; I didn’t enter in fat, sodium, etc., for the foods I manually entered, based on recipes that I followed!).
See you tomorrow for Vegetarian Day #2! I’ve got a soup recipe on the menu. Does this surprise you!?
Currently listening to: The Hardest Button to Button – White Stripes.