Good Things in Small Packages: Mushroom Quinoa

I’m always on the lookout for healthy ingredients that don’t require refrigeration, or at least have a long shelf life, especially for weeknight dinners. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a $5 bag of dried Maitake mushrooms at the non-frugal Ferry Building and a bag of ready-to-cook red quinoa at a nearby market. Bingo!

First, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to instructions, and prep your ingredients of choice. I sautéed minced garlic with chopped green onions and carrots in olive oil, before stirring the mushrooms in. I added spinach directly to the pot of quinoa, and microwaved frozen peas, before pouring in the sauté mixture. For seasoning, I used a generous sprinkling of salt and a couple shakes of fish sauce.

Basically, use your imagination and enjoy guilt-free!

Veggie Lasagna

Tis the season for homemade lasagna. I made my very first batch on one of those “clean out the fridge” nights before vacation. Using a recipe for “Roasted Vegetable Lasagna” from Everyday Food, I modified the types of cheese and vegetables, using ricotta, mozzarella, diced tomatoes, spinach, peas and no-bake lasagna noodles.

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Tonight I made David-style lasagna (i.e. heavy on the dairy products) from an Epicurious recipe adapted with homemade bechamel sauce, spinach, mozzarella, and three kinds of cheese (parmesan, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage – hey I was desperate). Because I used a larger pan, the layers weren’t as thick. I’d recommend sticking to a 9×13 or 9×9 pan for a thicker bite. Still delicious though!

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Turns out there are endless variations of vegetarian lasagna. You can swap out the veggies, cheese and red/white sauce to your liking. It’s not hard, it just takes time.