Posts tagged dinner
I hadn’t planned on making anything festive for Cinco de Mayo, but when I got home from work, I had an extreme hankering for Mexican fare and mango margaritas. Have I mentioned how much I love Williams-Sonoma’s margarita mixes? They come in pineapple, lemon-lime, and mango. I’ve been making mine with added frozen fruit like strawberries, pineapple and peaches, and blending to creamy consistency. My taco idea turned out great, and since there is no added cheese or sour cream, these are a pretty healthy and satisfying meal.
Spinach and Sweet Potato Tacos:
- 1 sweet potato, baked (I poked holes in mine and threw it in the microwave for about seven or eight minutes)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 big handfuls of spinach
- 1 15 oz can fat free vegetarian refried beans, warmed
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 6 corn or flour tortillas, taco size
- Salsa (I used my favorite, Newman’s Own Pineapple Salsa)
Heat about 1/4 cup of water on medium in a large frying pan on stove top. Add chopped onion and sauté for about five minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add spinach, stir, and sauté another two minutes. Scoop sweet potato out of its skin, chop into 1-inch cubes, and add to spinach and onion. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, and stir again. Heat another pan on medium-low, and place one tortilla flat in the middle of the pan. Scoop a layer of refried beans down the center, then top with spinach-sweet-potato-onion mixture. Fold over one side of the tortilla to make a taco, and heat for 2 – 3 minutes on each side, flipping with a spatula. Transfer taco to a plate and top with salsa. This recipe yields six tacos.
For Christmas, I got an awesome Cuisinart food processor from my parents. It is so badass that it actually came with an instructional DVD, which contains some cooking segments from a Culinary Institute chef. One of these segments shows an easy recipe for Salmon and Pesto Potatoes. It looked so delicious and simple, I figured I’d switch out the fish for faux chicken. I found the same instructional video on Cuisinart’s website, and you can check out the bit about this meal starting at the 7:00 minute mark. Here are the simplified steps that I followed, and the recipe for vegan pesto I made:
- Rub the center of the tinfoil lightly with olive oil.
- Place a layer of potatoes (maybe 5 or 6 slices) in a bed in the center of the foil.
- Add a few dollops of pesto to the top of the potatoes.
- Add a few pieces of thawed soy chicken to the pile.
- Top chicken with a few more dollops of pesto.
- Close tinfoil at top and fold sides in.
- Bake at 400º for 18-20 minutes.
Creamy Vegan Pesto
Puree together the following ingredients:
- 3 oz. fresh basil
- 3 oz. fresh spinach
- 2 tbsp. Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 clove fresh garlic
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
For a special Christmas dinner, my boyfriend and I decided to check out Butternut Squash restaurant in downtown Chapel Hill. Located in the University Square shopping center, around back facing Granville Towers, Butternut Squash is a classy joint perfect for a date night or family meal.
At Butternut Squash, everything on the menu is vegetarian. They also have plenty of vegan options, which are clearly denoted on the menu; plus, our server was very knowledgeable about the vegan items. I’m used to doing preemptive googling and phone calls before going out to eat, so this whole dining experience was a breath of fresh air.
I ordered the Thai Style Seitan Skewers for dinner, and the Vegan Chocolate Cake for dessert. The seitan was deliciously moist and cooked with just a little crispness on the outside. Its accompanying sauce was a mild, creamy peanut sauce topped with black sesame seeds. I enjoyed the seitan so much that since this meal, I have been searching for seitan chunks in my usual grocery stores to no avail. I want to make this dish at home and amp up the spiciness with some sriracha sauce. Prepackaged seitan is available online at bulk food stores, and I’m pretty sure it’s at Whole Foods and Earth Fare, too. Those stores are just too long a drive for me. Has anyone seen it sold elsewhere in Raleigh?
My chocolate cake was great, but I was so enamored with the icing I didn’t eat much of the cake itself. The combination of the chocolate icing and the raspberry sauce was just incredible.
My only gripe with Butternut Squash is their lack of alcohol. They do let you bring our own, but I wasn’t aware of that before we got there, so we stuck with water. Next visit, I will come armed with red wine. Other than that, the meal was perfect. Butternut Squash gets two thumbs up!