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Thursday, September 04 2008
Eating a vegetarian meal doesn't mean you have to buy odd grains or eat beans that take hours to cook. When it comes to quick, easy meals ideal for busy weeknights, many vegetarian entrees are perfect since you don't have to thaw or cook meat. If you're an occasional vegetarian, you already know this.

But if you tend to stick to the meat-and-potatoes routine, give a vegetarian dinner a try. These three ideas can be just as satisfying as beef or chicken, and are quick to put together after a busy day. And if you decide you absolutely can't do without meat, any of these recipes could also be a great side-dish for a beef or chicken entree.

Black Bean Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ cup chopped onion

2 15-ounce cans black beans, drained

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 small can green chiles

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ cup sour cream (optional)

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute onions and garlic in oil over medium heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add beans, tomatoes, green chiles, and thyme and simmer till hot, about 15 minutes. If using sour cream, add at the end of the simmering time. Do not allow soup to come to a boil after adding the sour cream or it will curdle.

Tomato Zucchini Casserole

2 large zucchini, sliced in rounds

2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, sliced

1 cup onion, thinly sliced

½ cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350°. In a greased casserole dish with a lid, layer half of the zucchini, tomatoes, and onion. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle salt and pepper over, and top with Parmesan. Bake, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for about 15 minutes more to allow excess moisture to evaporate. Serve with crusty bread.

Potato Frittata

A frittata is an Italian version of quiche - and it's extra easy since there's no crust.

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium-sized baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 tablespoons flour

¾ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon basil or oregano

8 eggs, beaten to blend

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Melt butter and oil in a heavy 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Mix potatoes with flour. Add potatoes, paprika, garlic powder, basil or oregano to skillet, and cook, stirring often, until potatoes are just tender, about 10 minutes.

Combine eggs with Parmesan cheese in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over potatoes in skillet. Do not stir eggs - instead, pierce holes in egg mixture and lift edges with spatula, tipping pan to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath until an edge forms, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low, cover skillet, and continue cooking until eggs are set, 10 to 12 minutes. When eggs are set, invert frittata onto platter and serve.

For recipes and kitchen tips for the beginning home cook, visit Food for Beginners

Mary Thompson provides tips on setting up your kitchen, items to have on hand to make meal prep easy, and ideas for quick recipes you can make with a minimum of time and fuss.

Posted by: Send a Meal AT 09:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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