Tag Archives: vegetarian

Operation Grab and Go Freeze Meals

When it comes to breakfast and lunch recently, I’ve been going out to eat far too often. And if we’re being really honest here, that’s really just a nice way of saying I have been supremely lazy.  The worst part is that the meals I’m buying (especially breakfast) aren’t even very good!  It’s 100% laziness/ convenience.

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In order to (hopefully) remedy this problem, I’ve decided I am going to spend a day (this Sunday) stocking my freezer with quick and easy options. I’ve never really done any sort of batch cooking or frozen meal prep before, so I’m pretty much flying blind here.  Rather than jumping into the deep end to sink or swim, I’m attempting to create a plan of attack.  I will be sure to report back next week on my success (or lack thereof!)

SO…My goal: make the six recipes below on Sunday afternoon.  I have no idea if this is a realistic goal or not, but I’m going to give it the ole college try.

Breakfast Recipes
Heat and Eat Quiche Breakfast Sandwiches also from Cassie
Green Monster and Smoothie Quick Packs inspired by Samantha at The Peanuts Gang (I also want to make her French Vanilla Banana Muffins at some point, but I’m not sure if those will make it to the freezer!)
Steel Cut Oats

Lunch Recipes
Freezer Black Bean Burritos from Cassie at Back to Her Roots
Freezer Black Bean Burgers from Mom on a Mission
White Chicken Chili (I believe one of my Weight Watchers cookbooks at home has a recipe.)

The Plan:

As it stands right now, I’ve got a grocery list, and I’m planning to shop sometime tomorrow.  This way, I can make the black beans for the burgers and burritos in the crock pot overnight on Saturday, and the steel-cut oats can cook in the crock pot during the day Sunday while I cook the rest of the stuff.  Hopefully once I’ve got all my ingredients and work space in front of me, I can come up with an efficient way to make everything quickly.

Other Thoughts:

I considered making waffles to reheat in the toaster and pancakes for the microwave, but those aren’t quite as “grab-n-go” as the sandwiches.  I also thought about of casseroles and pasta dishes as they generally freeze very well, but getting dinner on the table in the evening isn’t usually much of an issue for me. I really love cooking, and most of the time it’s a de-stresser for me so when I’ve had a really rough day is often when I look forward to cooking really complicated meals. (I’m sick; I know.)

Breakfast is a big issue for Nik since he doesn’t give himself time to make and eat breakfast before leaving. He needs options he can heat up and eat on his way out the door. I struggle more with lunch especially when I don’t have leftover to take. So pre-portion breakfast options that Nik can warm up in the microwave on his way out the door and lunch options I can reheat in the microwave at work were my priority, and unfortunately casseroles and pasta dishes don’t work super great for either of those meals.

If this works out well, I can definitely see it becoming something I do regularly.

Balsamic Glazed Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Goat Cheese Pizza

It’s Friday; let’s talk pizza.  In my opinion, Friday and pizza go together like peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese and tomato soup on a cold winter day.  They’re just meant to be.

Pizza is a staple food in Chicago and in my house on Friday nights, but would you believe I “didn’t like” pizza until sometime in high school?  As a child I refused to eat pizza except when I was eating dinner over a my friend Kristin’s house.  For whatever reason, my warped little kid-brain had decided the pizza her family ordered was superior to any pizza my parents could ever possibly make or order.  Even when I did finally start liking pizza, I stuck to  plain cheese: no meats, no veggies, nothing.  If it wasn’t crust, sauce and cheese, I wasn’t eating it.  Luckily I have expanded my pizza eating horizons over the last decade.

So my ideal pizza?  It’s a thin and crispy crust with just a thin smearing of sauce and a hefty pile of cheese.  (Completely traitorous to Chicago heritage, I know.)  I still don’t care for traditional pizza meats, but I love a good pizza loaded with spinach, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and even broccoli.  My favorite kinds of pizza, though, are the “weird” ones: BBQ chicken, Hawaiian, and various gourmet sounding pizzas.

Today’s recipe falls into that last category: Gourmet Pizza.  This recipe is actually inspired by and adapted from a few different places.  The pizza was inspired by old issue of Vegetarian Times, and the crust is adapted from Panem’s manual and How Sweet Eats Garlic Bread Pizza Crust

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Balsamic Glazed  Caramelized Onion, Mushroom and Goat Cheese Pizza
View/ Print Recipe
Make 2 thin crust, lightly topped 14” pizzas (or 1 large thick crust, heavily topped pizza)

The pizza dough was made using my bread machine.  If you don’t have a bread machine you can try the dough recipe by hand, but I can’t promise it will turn out as well.  If you’re making the dough by hand, I would recommend Jenna’s pizza dough recipe.  You could also buy pre-made pizza dough.

Dough

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons quick rise yeast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Toppings

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 1 very large sweet yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
  • 4 ounces goat cheese, softened slightly
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Make the dough
  • Add the ingredients to the bread machine in the order listed above (or in the order recommended by the manufacturer) leaving out the melted butter and garlic powder.  Run dough cycle.
  • Once the dough is done, preheat the oven to 425.  Spray two pizza pans with nonstick spray and add a dusting of cornmeal.
  • Divide dough into two equal portions rolling out each portion to fit your pizza pans.
  • Combine melted butter and garlic powder.  Use a pastry brush to brush each crust with the garlic butter.
  • Par-bake each crust for 5 minutes.

Toppings

  • With about 30 minutes left in the dough cycle, begin caramelizing the onions.
  • Heat butter and oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions,cooking until soft, translucent and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes.
  • Once onions have started to brown, add mushrooms.  Cook onions and mushrooms for an additional 10 – 15 minutes until mushrooms have softened, browned and released their juices.
  • Add balsamic vinegar, water, and sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved, and allow to come to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat slightly and simmer until sauce reduces and thickens, about 10 minutes.

Assemble the pizzas

  • Once crusts have been par-baked, spread each crust with 2 ounces of goat cheese.  (I used the angled spatula that I used for frosting cakes which worked wonderfully spreading the cheese, but any old knife should do.)  Top the goat cheese with half of the onion mixture, and sprinkle with ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake each pizza for 10 minutes.

Slice and Enjoy!

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