Meatless Monday: Brussel Sprouts, Giveaway Winner and a New Cookbook

How is it Monday again?  Time is flying way too fast for me to keep up.  Today is a little different than the average Monday for two reasons. 

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1.  It is Spring Break.  I won't complain about the fact there is snow on the ground! I haven't planned much, although I have a feeling this week will speed by as fast as every other one.  I am hoping to take the kids to The Art Institute of Chicago on Wednesday.  The museum has a kid's wing and I'm confident my little ones will be interested in the magnitude and beauty of the building, if nothing else.

2.  Passover begins tonight.  I don't expect this Monday to be completely meatless (i.e. brisket, matzoh ball soup and gefilte fish) but I am still bringing a meatless dish. 

For our Seder, I am planning to cook  Brussel Sprouts easily prepared in the crockpot. I never thought I was a huge brussel sprout fan but recently ate the vegetable at two acclaimed restaurants The Girl and the Goat and Leopold and couldn't believe how delicious they were.

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My awesome Aunt Shelly sent me one of her favorite cookbooks inspired by my Meatless Monday posts.  It is called Christina Cooks: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Whole Foods but Were Afraid to Ask by Christina Pirello.  The book is an informative, thorough entry into vegetarian cooking.   The beginning chapters detail the health benefits of deleting meat from your diet. It also includes many recipes broken into food group categories.

What I found most eye opening is the author's dislike for dairy.  I've always thought, especially for kids, that dairy is necessary.  Pirello claims that dairy food is instrumental in causing compromised immune function, allergies, brittle bones, obesity, reproductive disorders and early onset of puberty. It is still obviously important for kids to get calcium found in green leafy veggies, nuts and soymilk. 

As always, I love to read what you cooked and ate for Meatless Monday.  Please share your recipes and suggestions with me and I will most likely prepare your dishes in coming weeks.

Thank you to everyone who entered to win the eco-friendly prize pack.  I loved reading all the ways you help the environment in your everyday life.  The winner is: DaisyJD! 

DaisyJD said she uses cloth bags at the store.  That is one of the easiest ways to help our earth.  It is so simple to keep a few bags in your car and the bags with shoulder straps actually take stress off your back when you lug groceries inside too.  Congratulations DaisyJD!

I hope everyone has a week filled with sunshine and family. 

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  • Hi Beth! This is one of my favorite meatless recipes. I just made it for lunch and thought of your request for recipes.

    It is really simple - especially if you 1) start pasta first 2) cut and cook everything first 3) have a big enough pan for the spinach/pasta finale (that got me the first few times). Also, using nice cheese helps with the melting process. (I only use about half the cheese in the recipe - if people want more they can add it themselves on the table, but whatever you like!)

    Ingredients
    1 pound fusilli pasta
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 garlic clove, minced
    1 (9-ounce) bag fresh spinach, roughly chopped
    8 ounces (1/2 pint) cherry tomatoes, halved
    1 cup (about 3 1/2-ounces) grated Asiago
    1/2 cup grated Parmesan
    1 teaspoon salt
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Directions
    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.

    Meanwhile, warm olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach and tomatoes and cook until the spinach wilts, about 2 more minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper, and the pasta cooking liquid and stir to combine.

    Transfer the pasta to a serving plate and serve.

  • Jill. That is quite an elaborate lunch for a Thursday afternoon. Can I come over?

    Thank you for the suggestion. Sounds delicious. I will make this for Meatless Monday in two weeks.

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