Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Meatless Monday

Today was crazy, with Nutmeg sick and Epu working from home so I didn't have to take the baby along to the doctor and -- as we suspected -- the hospital for a chest Xray. By afternoon Nutmeg was fine, rambunctious even, and I was very glad to have the ingredients on hand for a quick and easy meatless dinner:

organic red chard with pasta in cream sauce

I originally got this recipe from the tag on a bunch of swiss chard, and always loved it, but I haven't made it in several years. Mostly because we do not get chard nearly as often since leaving California. Anyway, it's quick and easy. The only time-consuming part is washing and cutting up the chard, but the latter becomes quite quick if you use a pair of kitchen shears.

I also served fruit salad of pineapple, pear and oranges. I got two small organic pineapples at Woodmans' this week for 99 cents each! They tasted wonderful and seemed pretty fresh.

I changed the chard recipe a bit because I didn't have paremesan. Must remember to always buy parmesan! Mozerella may have beefed the dish up a bit, but I missed the tang parm would have added.

I noticed something while cooking: With the high dairy prices these days, it's not uncommon for non-fancy cheese to cost more than meat. When we eat our meatless meals, we tend to go heavy on the cheese so we leave the table satisfied. But this cheese was $2.85 a pound, whereas the meat in my fridge was $2.50 a pound.

So is cheese a cost saver? Well, it is ready to use with no cooking. Also since it is rich we tend to use less of it. I put in 8 oz. of cheese when I would have added at least 16 oz*. of meat to the average meal. And cheese keeps longer even after being opened.

* Note to self: I should really cut back on the amount and use meat more as a flavoring, by stretching a pound of meat into two dishes or a double batch of a casserole or whatnot.