Bending the spine

I have a lot of cookbooks. Not enough. But a lot. I have cooked something out of 80% of them. But that still leaves a fair few that have been looked at, drooled over and then placed back on the shelf. Part of this whole meal planning thing was to help me get those books off the shelf, and put a crease or two in their spines. This week’s selection was “Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant“. It’s a vegetarian cookbook (from the vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant) which has a number of whole meal suggestions organised in cuisines. For example there is a Mexican menu, a Caribbean menu etc. It’s a no photo book, so you need to go by title and ingredients lists to get your belly rumbling. The benefit is, that it doesn’t age the same way food photos do. So you can’t tell how long the book has been sitting on my shelf for, phew!

My pick for our dinner was a Mexican Kettle Stew. A simple one dish wonder full of veggies and I added an extra 400g tin of 4 bean mix to plump it up a bit. Oh, and some capsicum.

Possum liked it and even ate some of the legumes. Legoman loved it and would eat it again. I loved how easy and tasty it was. Our vegetarian dinner guests gobbled it up too. As my Dad says… “it looks like everyone’s kicked a goal!”.

Kettle Stew with Rice

Affordability : Excellent. Loads of cheap veg and tinned staples.

Time Factor : MODERATE. Prep is super quick and easy but the potatoes do take a bit of time to cook thoroughly.

Complexity : LOW. I love a one dish meal like this. And very few steps.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. Anything with sour cream AND cheese must be delicious.

Mess : MINIMAL. One pot for the stew and one for the rice.

Tummy Filling Factor : EXCELLENT. Everyone was very full afterwards, though I did go back for seconds.

Possum Friendly? YES. Especially good once bub has developed a pincer grasp as all the beans, chickpeas and corn provide plenty of practice!

Would I make it again? Yes, and will do before the cold months are over.

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Meat Free Week #3: Would you say your tortilla is half full, or half empty?

I would say my tortilla is over full! Always always, when I try to fold my tortilla, it is bursting everywhere! I should remind myself, start small, you can always add more… Growing up, my parents had a cookbook (one of many, I wonder where I got the addiction from?) called “The Well Filled Tortilla“. It might be time to do a bit of study.

Legoman is working late tonight, which means MUSHROOMS! Possum and I are both big fans of mushrooms, and sadly, my husband is allergic. We once travelled to France for a holiday and the one phrase he was super confident to say each time we ate out was “Je suis allergic de champignons”. Anyway. When he isn’t home or I’m eating out with friends, I search out mushrooms. I forage you could say through menus and blackboards to find some fungi goodness.

Why did the carrot invite the mushroom to the party?

Because he was a fun-gi. 🙂

Sorry, had to be said.

Unless you haven’t already guessed, our meal tonight was mushroom fajitas. Some of Possum’s favourite things piled onto a yummy tortilla. Once served, she taught me that she prefers mushrooms just as mushrooms and not as spiced meat replacement. She loved the capsicum though.

This was a very easy, fast, low mess, cheap, baby led weaning friendly meal. It just didn’t have the same wow factor as last night’s dinner. The winner was making a quesadilla for my 7pm dinner (I ate fajitas with Possum at 5pm) out of some of the leftover curry from last night (was only chickpeas left after Possum ate all the good vegetables at lunch) with some cream cheese and grated tasty cheese. That left me satisfied! And a nice way to use up leftover tortillas and leftover curry (must remember for future reference).

Marinating Mushroom Mix

Marinating Mushroom Mix

Mushroom Fajitas

Affordability : EXCELLENT. The most expensive item would’ve been the tortillas, but buy them when they’re half price at the supermarket and you’re sorted!

Time Factor : EXCELLENT.Quick chopping/slicing, marinating if time permits and then a quick flash in the pan to cook. An excellent meal if you’re tight on time one evening a week (say you have work or after school commitments).

Complexity : LOW. Super easy. And a nice meal to do the “make your own” at the table with avocado, yoghurt/sour cream and any other fixings you fancy.

Deliciousness : MODERATE. It was good, just not that good. I think next time I would try roasting the mushrooms while the capsicum and onion got the char grill effect. Mushrooms work better with slower cooking. They just seemed to burn a bit on the outside without having the time to get that lovely meatiness about them.

Mess : LOW. A bowl for marinating, a hot pan and a chopping board. How messy they are to eat are up to you and your tortilla skills!

Tummy Filling Factor : MODERATE. I had two well filled tortillas (no reference to the book intended) and was full immediately after but got hungry pretty quickly again. The quesadilla certainly helped fill the hole.

Possum Friendly? YES. Lovely baby led weaning shapes (long sticks) making it easy for bub to hold onto. A variety of flavours and textures; yoghurt, avocado, onion, capsicum and mushroom. Very healthy. A great way to introduce spices and herbs (if you include fresh coriander in the meal). I personally choose to give Possum no tortilla with her meal, but that is just personal preference.

Would I make it again? Maybe.

***BONUS QUESTION! Did you miss the meat? Tonight I did. I really prefer chicken fajitas. They seem to fill me up more and I prefer the flavour. Legoman didn’t miss out tonight.

Mushroom Fajitas

Mushroom Fajitas

Seeing as we had Mexican tonight, I can’t resist the urge to add a Three Amigos clip for you all… Goodnight!