Saturday, January 8, 2011

Veggie Blue Plate Special 2: Lentils, Polenta and Green Beans

Well, it's January 8 and I still haven't broken my New Year's resolution to go vegetarian this month (and at least 5 other months this year).  It seems like forever since I last cooked anything more than rice and some frozen stir-fry veggies - hence my neglect of this blog - but today we had no leftovers and, after a blustery 10-mile run, I knew that none of the 300-calorie Healthy Choice meals in the freezer would come close to hitting the spot.  So, I finally cooked again.  I thought about using some of the produce (which we've also been low on) that Steve picked up yesterday before deciding that just using what we had in the cupboard and freezer would be quicker and easier. 

The "veggie blue plate" that I whipped up for Steve and myself consisted of the following:

Lentils with Italian herbs:
3 cups water
1 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted
salt and Italian herbs to taste

Bring the water to a boil.  Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender (no need to stir), about 25-30 minutes.

Cheesy Polenta:
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup plain yellow corn meal
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil.  Lower to medium and whisk in the corn meal a little at a time, getting rid of any lumps that may appear.  (If it starts bubbling before you're done, turn off the heat.)  Once all the corn meal has been stirred in, the mixture should have a texture similar to mashed potatoes.  Stir in Parmesan and pepper.

Green Beans in Tomato Sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups frozen green beans, thawed
salt and crushed red pepper to taste
1 cup tomato sauce

Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan over medium heat.  Add the green beans, salt and crushed red pepper and stir well.  Lower heat to medium-low, stir in the tomato sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the tomato sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.

The nice thing about this combo was that I didn't have to rinse and chop any fresh produce, because I was already too hungry by the time I started to make time for prep work.  Also, because I was so hungry, I went back for seconds on the polenta.  I'm just glad that Steve was hungry enough to enjoy it as much as I did. 

If you llive in the Southeast and haven't done so already, get to the store today and stock up on whatever you may happen to need for the next few days.  Not because the wintry mix that they're predicting will keep you inside or without power, but just so everyone else who's in a panic about the impending bad weather doesn't beat you to the store and clear whatever it is you need off the shelves.  That can be annoying.

Enjoy your weekend and stay warm!

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