Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who Else Wants An Easy Dinner?

Pasta with broccoli

Do you plan your meals ahead of time? This is something that's been on my mind lately because I feel like I've finally got a great system in place for grocery shopping and menu planning. It took a lot of experimenting, and I may have to change it when farmer's market season starts again, but for now it's working well for our household. I'll share my system in a future post if anyone is interested.

When I draw up the meal plan I always try to make sure that at least one meal is an easy one. Something that I've cooked a million times that always turns out well. Often it is a vegetable stir fry with the Magic Spicy Peanut Sauce from Everybody Likes Sandwiches. Or maybe some vegan shepherds pie. Or this dish, which pairs whole wheat pasta with tofu and broccoli and pine nuts for what is essentially a one-pot wonder that draws from all the important food groups. It's an almost effortless healthy dinner, and the leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

Broccoli Pinenut Pasta

4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 heads worth of broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
1/4 cup soup stock
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup cubed tofu pieces (ised 1/2 a one pound block of firm tofu)
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Toss tofu with one tablespoon of the soy sauce and set aside.

Heat olive oil over med-low heat. Add garlic and let cook for 3-5 minutes.

When garlic just starts to darken, add tofu and raise the heat to medium.

Saute tofu for a few minutes, stirring constantly.

Add broccoli and stir to distribute tofu, oil and garlic.

Add soup stock and remaining soy sauce then cover the pan.

Let broccoli steam this way until it is tender, between five and ten minutes. Stir occasionally.

In a large bowl, toss broccoli with cooked pasta (I used whole wheat bow ties) and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts.

Serves four.

garlic plants!

And look! The garlic that I planted last fall is growing! Look at those heroic little shoots poking through the mulch. I know people have been growing food for a million years, but it is still miraculous to me when I plant something and it actually grows like it's supposed to!

Some Notes:

-So, my admin assistant Diane brought home the lovely Anikin the Dachshund and she reported to me on Monday that he is settling in very nicely to his new home. He and Maggie (the original dachshund of the house) are pals and according to Diane they even share a little dog bed when it's time to go to sleep. That little guy really hit the jackpot when he was adopted by Diane and her husband. Imagine going from a cage at a puppy mill, to the SPCA, to a cosy farmhouse with soft beds, indulgent humans, and a friendly dog to cuddle up with.

-I got a question on the It Ain't Meat, Babe Facebook group page about soy yogurt. Personally, I've never found a brand I particularly like. Anyone out there have any suggestions?

-Interesting fact about Everybody Likes Sandwiches: Jeanette and I both used to do little, personal print zines in the late 90's and early 2000's. We used to trade zines and letters in the mail fairly frequently. I think it's nice that we both ended up as food bloggers.


This Time Last Year: Delicious and Pretty Quinoa Salad


T said...

That is easy! I've been making similar pasta dishes lately (like bok choy+ walnuts+ tofu).

I actually like Silk's soy yogurt, particularly the lime/lemon kind. The So Delicious Coconut yogurt is really rich, but nice (especially as a side for spicy things or curries). In Europe pretty much all the soy yogurt is gold- love Alpro soja yofu in huge containers. It tastes exactly like regular yogurt.

Ricki said...

YES! Please do share the menu planning method! I am hopeless at menu planning, and always end up standing in front of an open fridge 1/2 hour before dinnertime (very bad ecologically!). ;) This pasta dish also looks terrific--so quick yet I bet that combo of flavors is stellar. (And congrats on the garlic--whoo! I'm amazed at growing things, too).

Cassandra said...

looks delicious...I like how there is a lot of broccoli!

Twiner said...

The Whole Soy & Co yogurt, especially the vanilla, is the only kind of soy yogurt that tastes "real" to me.

Azzahar said...

I ate two brands that are good for me and taste very "real", but maybe they're not sellin in US: one is Valsoia and the other is Joya.

'col said...

Please share your meal planning tips. alex and I are ending up staring into the cupboards after we've put Jake to bed, trying to figure out how to make a very quiet meal out of whatever's already in there...sad.

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

T: Bok Choy, walnuts, tofu! YUM! And the coconut yogurt sounds good. I haven't seen it yet in Canada, though.

Ricki & 'Col: Meal planning post in the works! Probably to be posted on Monday.

Cassandra: That's a lower calorie tip I got from Veganomicon: to make lower cal dishes, double the veggies and half the carbs. It worked so well with this one!

Twiner and Azzahar: So interesting. Soy yogurt seems to be a regional dish! :)

Mandy said...

Please please please share your menu planning tips! I am a new mom (vegetarian and all), and it would be super, super helpful.

Your blog rocks. And those garlic shoots are adorable.

The Voracious Vegan said...

YUM! That looks like such a tasty meal, I am loving it! And you are so lucky to be growing your own garlic. I could do with a whole garlic farm the way I go through the stuff.

Anonymous said...

made this this weekend - delicious! Thanks for the recipe :)