Friday, January 13, 2012

Lunch Project: Week 5!

So Jamie and I both cooked this week which was really lovely. Nice having two home cooked meals for lunches. Also means I have EXTRA leftovers. Score!

I had an impulse buy last week. I was in the tofu section and saw a tube of polenta and was drawn to it. Like a moth to a flame. Why? No idea. Did I even know what polenta WAS? No. All I knew is that somehow, someway, some day I would eat it. I was reminded of its presence every time I opened the fridge. Annaaaa make meeeee!! So I started googling recipes for polenta. Most used it as a side dish... which I didn't really have in mind. A woman at work suggested I fry it up with some veggies... though frying wasn't really it either.

I stumbled upon this recipe and I thought it had promise. Veggies. Cheese. Tomato sauce. Can't go wrong. I do acknowledge that this is vaguely in the same vain as the lasagne last week but it was pretty delicious. The polenta was a nice base and all. I chopped some tomatoes and put it on top which was a nice touch. I also kept my polenta in rounds... cutting lengthwise didn't seem like the best option when it was already in this nice tube for me. This recipe is also very forgiving. I probably didn't do anything quite like it said and it still turned out fine. The only issue is my water didn't get steamed up in the amount of time so I ended up pouring a lot out of the bottom of the pan.

Though really. Steamed veggies, cheese and polenta. It's hard to go wrong. It baked up really well and was a lovely dinner and then lunch the next day.
The very same night I bought a bunch of apples debating whether I should consume them or make Smitten Kitchen's Apple Sharlotka. After I came home to a roommate in distressing boy situation -- the answer became obvious.

Yes, yes, I know. Smitten Kitchen doesn't always do the healthiest recipes. Especially not when it comes to dessert. BUT this recipe has NO oil and NO butter... which is really where the calories stack up. It really truly is mostly apples and super easy to make. And delicious. So if you're craving a healthier dessert and you're into apples this recipe was a winner.

Cheered my ladies up!

The leftovers were also good the next day but I'm not sure the Sharlotka would last longer than a few days... so have it with company in mind! Jamie and I had a nice semi-leftovers meal at lunch.

Then on Thursday, Jamie made us some quinoa burgers with melted cheddar cheese on top. This was the recipe. The only thing was that they came out a little dry. We talked about maybe adding another egg if we did it again. The cheese really balanced it out and we both ended up eating two whole burgers! Though I felt stuffed for hours after.

Also my supervisor at work introduced me to Chia seeds. I actually think they might really be Chia as in Chia Pet (seeds) but whatever. Apparently they're a super healthy complete protein. Some sort of combination of quinoa and flax except you don't boil it and you don't mash it. I think you can sprinkle it on top of whatever you'd like and it adds extra omega boosts as well as protein and other good stuff. Of course, they're kind of caloric. Not horribly so but here are Christine's thoughts on the little buggers: Chia seeds, have in 1 tablespoon, 6.5 grams of fat, 8 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein, maybe they would be a good afternoon snack with 2 tablespoons measured in a baggie. The fat content in 2 tablespoons is like the equivalent of t tablespoon of the low fat peanut butter, so I wouldn't be eating handfuls of this stuff, they are also high in omega and are a complete protein. So all in all, sounds like approval (in moderation). If you stick them in water they sort of gel up too into some sort of combo of rice pudding and tapioca pearls with a little crunch to them. My supervisor says they help you stay hydrated too (especially when put in water). And apparently if you add lime juice it's like a natural sort of Gatorade!

I'm still sort of figuring out what to do with them, but they're a pretty good little snack. Even if kind of goopy and odd. Let me know if you have any fun recipes that incorporate them! Also try them. They're pretty flavorless -- all texture. I'd get the feeling they'd take on whatever flavor you put them in and probably if you find the right water/chia ratio you can make a sort of pudding of it.

Here's to a good weekend!

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