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All posts for the month July, 2009

Creamy Parmesan Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad

Creamy Parmesan Roasted Tomato Pasta Salad

Okay, so I know it’s a bit late for Meatless Monday, but a) better late than never and b) you can get started early for next week!!  So, next Meatless Monday, why don’t you make:

Creamy Roasted Tomato Tortellini Salad

The inspiration for this dish came from Whole Foods.  For about a month, they had this salad in their cold case.  Then, it was gone.

According to their “manager” they switch their menus every six months.  Queries as to when they might get the pasta salad back were met with apologetic shrugs.  Passionate entreaties to make a special batch were similarly warded off with kindly shakes of the head.  Threats to hold my breath until I passed out were met by threats to call security.

So, I resorted to doing the only thing I could.  I figured how to make it myself!

And none too soon.  I was trying to figure out what to bring to a friend’s potluck and having a certain reputation to uphold, I had to bring something good.  Knowing that I could keep the salad indoors on ice, I decided it was time to figure out how to make this dish.  The results were nothing short of spectacular.

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Looking for dinner for $11.50?  Well step right this way because today, we’re going to be feasting on:

Cucumber Couscous Salad

Shawna's Cucumbers

Shawna's Cucumbers

Veggies for the Cucumber Salad

Veggies for the Cucumber Salad

That’s right, my partner in the Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative, the totally outstanding Shawna Coronado, gave me cucumber and when life gives you cucumber, you make salad.  (Or pickles I guess.)  I know you sure as heck don’t make dinner for $11.50.  Until now! 

If this is your first Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiatve Post, welcome.  Let me give you the drill.  Shawna is the mad scientist in the garden and while she’s more than a decent cook, she lets me work my magic to turn her nude veggies (no chemcials!) into a dinner for four for $11.50 or less.  According to the rules of this challenge, I can use salt, pepper, cooking oil, and flour along with whatever Shawna has in garden.  It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!

Today’s salad is going to be super easy and super delicous.  All you really need is some couscous, a few veggies for chopping, and some pita and you are good to go.

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Still hungry for delicious nude & eco-cheap dinners for less than $11.50?  Good, because today we’re making

Egg Topped Zucchini Patties With Bacon!

Egg Topped Zucchini Patties

Egg Topped Zucchini Patties

So, wait, what is this 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative you may ask?  Well, the constantly amazing gardener extraordinare Shawna Coronado has been doing her thang in her garden and flooding my kitchen with delicious nude vegetables (in other words free from harsh chemicals) and I turn them into delicious dinners for a family of four costing less than $11.50.  Of course, when making these dinners, I get to raid her garden for whatever ingredients she has and I get cooking oil, flour, salt, and pepper, but it’s still a challenge.  And hopefully it’s one you all are enjoying!

So, wait, what then are zucchini patties?  Glad you asked!  Zucchini patties are patties made from shredded zucchini mixed with onions, sometimes carrots, spices, and breadcrumbs to make a delicious patty kind of like a crabcake.  Sans the crab, of course!  (Though I baked some for about an hour and they tasted like crabcakes.  Cool, huh?)

Want to make them?

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Fried Blossoms

Fried Blossoms

Edible Blossoms
Edible Blossoms

And we’re back with a second helping of the 2009 Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative.  In case you missed the first installment, the Nude & Eco-Cheap Cooking Initiative is all about using what comes out of our gardens to make delicious dinners for less than $11.50. 

I shouldn’t say my garden since it resembles a nice pile of dirt right now, but that’s where the always awesome Shawna Coronado comes in.  She has been gardening up a storm and has given me a nice bunch of daylilies to cook up (along with some delicious herbs).  So now my goal is to give you a great daylily meal that will feed a family of four and all I have is what comes from Shawna’s garden, cooking oil, salt, pepper, flour and $11.50.

No sweat because I’m turning her daylilies into

Daylily Fritters

Daylily fritters were actually Shawna’s idea.  Apparently her grandmother used to make these little delicacies for her when she was a child so I really hope that I can do them justice.  The fritters themselves should be fairly substantial with their breading, but to make this a meal, I’m going to use some of Shawna’s delicious lettuce to make a nice salad and pair it with rice to round out the meal.

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Finished Lasagna

So I was hanging out on Twitter today and saw one of my Tweeps, amoyal, mention that today was #MeatlessMonday.  I had never heard of this particular Twitter tag,  but I got pretty excited since it’s so close to what I want to do with Vegan Weekend.  Anyway, never one to let a good Twitter tag go, I figured I couldn’t not start doing #MeatlessMonday posts.

(For the record, I’ve already been reminded Mondays are hard enough, so giving up meat is just cruel.  I, however reminded my friend I wasn’t asking him to give up caffeine! ;))

So, the long and short of it is that you can be 100% sure that every post I write on Monday will be completely meatless.

Like today’s recipe for:

Lasagna Made With Italian Sausage Match Meat

Using delicious Match Meat flavored Italian Sausage, Mrs. WellDone, BWD, Jr., and I made our own lasagnas this evening.  Me, I like lots of sauce, garlic, and mushrooms.  Mrs. WellDone likes lots of cheee.  BWD, Jr. likes noodles and that’s about it.  So we all made our own.  And to get some protein and the flavor of meat, we used Match Meat Italian Sausage.

The Italian Sausage Match Meat was perfect.  It was spicy like Italian sausage should be and it crumbled like Italian sausage, so the texture was ideal, but at the same time, there was a ton less grease, making it healthier, too.  I know that to a lot of people going without meat may seem like a huge deal, but no one missed!

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