Dinner by the seat of your pants

For as much as we all try to plan– whether that be our lives, our day, or simply our next meal- sometimes you just need to take a step back, take a breath, and let things happen. As the epitome of a Type-A personality, sometimes that’s easier said than done….no matter how many times it’s said 😉

Last week we had D’s sister visiting us in town and D was preparing to leave for an out of town wedding this weekend, and by no fault of either of us, planning dinner for the week just didn’t happen. D and his sister had a few great meals at veggie-friendly restaurants and we grabbed a quick dinner out before heading to see a movie one night, but otherwise we played the ever-unsettling “make do with what’s in the refrigerator right now” game….it was not only stress-free, but delicious and helped avoid any food going to waste!

This salad was a perfect summer dinner!

Look at all of that blueberry goodness!

Summer Spinach Salad with Blueberry Dressing

Blueberries
Balsamic
olive oil
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Spinach leaves
ripe peaches
goat cheese
toasted walnuts
thinly sliced tempeh, broiled (check out our earlier post for the technique)

Blend the first 5 ingredients in a blender or immersion blender until creamy and smooth. Adjust seasoning as desired– you don’t want the balsamic to overpower the blueberries, but do want it to cut the sweetness.

Toss a few handfuls of spinach per person with sliced peaches, pieces of your favorite goat cheese, toasted walnuts (or pinenuts would be good), and thinly sliced tempeh. Drizzle the dressing over to your desired coating—I drenched it because I couldn’t get enough of the dressing! Blueberries tend to get gelatinous when blended, so if that happens before you’re ready to serve, don’t panic.

Seriously–everything great about summer is in this salad. The spinach is a little peppery (but would be more so if you used arugula), the peaches are juicy and sweet, the nuts are crunchy and have a deep flavor from the toasting, and the goat cheese adds a creaminess and tart aspect. The dressing has tang, sweetness, and great texture from the blueberry seeds–just a fantastic combination, if we do say so ourselves! My favorite part was that it was all pulled out of the fridge not 20 minutes before we sat down to eat!

Later in the week we found ourselves with some pattypan squash (thanks to D’s impulsive grocery shopping), mushrooms, and leftover brown rice. One of last summer’s favorite dishes were squash ‘boats’ with zucchini (our garden this year fell victim to bugs, so I’ve ripped out my plants and re-planted–we will soon have more zucchini than we know what to do with!) so we  did a twist on that using pattypan.

So simple looking, but such fun flavors in that little squash

So simple looking, but such fun flavors in that little squash

Stuffed PattyPan Squash

1 pattypan squash per person
onion
mushroom
grated tempeh
vegetarian worcestershire (regular has anchovies in it)
dried thyme
balsamic dressing
cooked brown rice

Saute the onions, chopped mushrooms, and tempeh in a saucepan with some olive oil, worcestershire, thyme, and balsamic dressing until soft– you don’t want the mixture soggy, just flavored by the sauces and herbs. When cooked down, add brown rice to the pan so that you have about a 50:50 ratio of vegetables to rice. Turn off the heat and let it warm throughout.

Wash the pattypans and cut just about 1/4-1/2 of an inch off the top and bottom. You want the bottom cut off so that the squash sits flat, and want just a little bit of the top cut off so that you can scrape the inside. Take a spoon and hollow out the squash- you want to leave the walls and bottom about 1/4-1/2 inch thick so the filling doesn’t spill out; try to avoid putting holes in the squash 😉 If desired, you could chop up the squash innards and add them to the rice mixture for some extra veggies.

Fill the now-empty squash with the rice and vegetable mixture. We pushed a few pieces of goat cheese into the filling for a fun surprise inside- make sure it’s covered with rice so it doesn’t burn in the oven. Cook at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the squash is soft and easily cut. Dig in with a sharp knife and a fork–enjoy!

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One thought on “Dinner by the seat of your pants

  1. Pingback: The Summer of Kale | VegetarianForTwo

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