Meatless Fridays, Week 3

This week’s recipes were an exercise in frustration…and adaptation. For reasons unknown, my grocery store was out of key ingredients for the recipes I planned to make. And since we get all our groceries delivered, I didn’t discover this until it was too late. So, I improvised, pulling together three meals out of the groceries we did get and the items we already had on hand. Two of these recipes are tried and true favorites, and one was…a spur of the concoction, which I would totally make again.

And for those keeping a running tally, we have passed $6,000 in funds raised for the Sisters of Life. You all are just amazing!

Fast & Easy: Polenta with Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Garlic

Serves: 4; Prep Time: 5 Minutes; Cook Time: 25 Minutes

This was the week’s totally cobbled together meal. But it worked. And you should cobble it together, too. Polenta is a family favorite here, and this time, even Becket deigned to eat a bite. I’ve posted my polenta recipe here before, and this meal is one of the reasons why I always have instant polenta on hand. It’s so good, so fast, so filling, and you can throw just about anything on top of it to make a delicious meal.

This doesn’t really need a side dish, but bread or salad are always good options.


  1. Chicken Broth, 6 cups
  2. Heavy Cream, 1 cup plus 4 Tablespoons
  3. Instant Polenta, 1.5 cups
  4. Parmesan Cheese, 1 cup shredded plus extra for topping
  5. Butter, 4 Tablespoons
  6. Baby Portobello Mushrooms, 16 ounces, sliced
  7. Cherry Tomatoes, 2 pints
  8. Fresh Greens, 4 hand fulls (I used baby kale and baby spinach because that’s what I had; regular kale or spinach could also work, but if you go that route, make sure they are roughly chopped)
  9. Garlic, 4 cloves, chopped
  10. Basil Paste, 2 teaspoons
  11. Kosher Salt and Pepper
  12. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cooking Instructions

Creamy Polenta

  1. Bring chicken broth and cream to a boil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, stirring occasionally to prevent cream from scalding.
  2. Once the liquid is boiling, very, very, slowly pour in the polenta, stirring constantly, to prevent polenta from clumping.
  3. Once the polenta has thickened to the point that it starts pulling away from the side of the pot (about 5 minutes), remove from heat and stir in butter, Parmesan, and 1.5 teaspoons of salt.
  4. Taste and add a touch more salt if necessary (it almost always is for me.) Cover to keep warm.


  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large skillet; add sliced mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper; cook over medium-high heat until mushrooms begin to brown and soften (about 5 minutes);
  2. To the pan of mushrooms, add the cherry tomatoes (and a little more olive oil if the pan seems dry) plus a touch more salt and pepper; as the tomatoes cook, flatten them with the back of your spatula; continue cooking over medium-high heat until all tomatoes have broken apart (about 5 minutes);
  3. Add garlic and basil paste; stir, cook for another minute, then add baby greens; continue cooking for another minute or two, until greens are wilted; stir in 4 Tablespoons of cream; check for seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if desired;

Allergen Friendly: Roasted Vegetable Bowls

Gluten Free, Dairy Free (option), Nut Free, Vegan (option)

Serves: 4; Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 25 minutes

I like meat. I really, really do. But I like vegetables more. I am 150 percent fine with eating nothing but vegetables for days or weeks on end. Especially when the vegetables are roasted, tossed with quinoa, and sprinkled with a bit of fresh parmesan. Normally, I top these bowls with cubed avocado…but this week wasn’t a normal week. You, however, should totally do that, grocery store permitting. You also should feel free to play around with which vegetables you roast. Add more or switch them out depending on your preference or what you have on hand. Sweet potatoes, carrots, asparagus, and radishes would all be great additions or substitutions.

One quick tip: when roasting vegetables, you want to make sure you don’t crowd the pan. If you do, the sogginess factor increases ten-fold. So, make sure to use 2 large pans when making this dish.

Serve with good bread.


  • Quinoa, 1 cup
  • Chicken broth (or vegetable broth or water for vegan), 2 cups
  • Red Potatoes, 4 large, washed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Green beans, 4 cups, ends trimmed
  • Red Pepper, 2, seeded and sliced
  • Red onion, 2 medium, quartered
  • Garlic cloves, 4 crushed
  • Avocado, 2, peeled and cubed
  • Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan), 1 cup, grated (Leave out for vegan)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 4 Tbsp., plus more for drizzling
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper

Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees;
  2. Chop vegetables and spread out with the garlic cloves, on two large baking sheets, lined with parchment paper;
  3. Drizzle vegetables with oil, season with salt and pepper, toss to coat; roast for 25 minutes;
  4. While the vegetables cook, rinse the quinoa well, in a fine mesh strainer, then drain;
  5. In a medium pot, combine the quinoa and liquid; bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes); fluff with a fork and keep warm;
  6. When the vegetables and quinoa are done, divide the quinoa into bowls, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little more salt, plus the pecorino-romano; add vegetables and toss to combine.
  7. Top with avocado pieces and enjoy!

A Little Bit Fancy: Garlic Shrimp and Spanish Potatoes

Serves: 6, Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 25 minutes

I have no idea if this is actually a Spanish recipe or not. But two years ago, this was one of the recipe boxes we received from Blue Apron, and that’s what they called it. Since then, I’ve modified the recipe, so that I can get everything I need for it at Aldi. I’ve also done my best to replicate the spice profile (Blue Apron just sends you spice mixes, so it’s always a guess when trying to make it on your own). The modifications work well, and this is now a standard, “It’s Friday night and we’re having company” dish, (we eat meatless on Fridays all year). It comes together fast, but always seems extra fancy.

Couple notes: This is moderately spicy, and Toby will eat it, but your kids might need it cooled with some sour cream. Also, this tastes best topped with a handful of chopped chives, but chives were not to be had this week, so I added chopped parsley for a touch of green in the pictures. Parsley was fine. Chives are better.

I served this last night with freshly sliced cucumbers, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt.


  • Red Potatoes, 2 lbs., cut into bite sized pieces
  • Red Pepper, 2, cored and sliced
  • Orange or Yellow Pepper, 2, cored and sliced
  • Red Onion, 1 large, halved and sliced
  • Garlic, 4 cloves, minced
  • Shrimp, medium or large, peeled, 2 pounds
  • Smoky Spanish Paprika, 1 Tablespoon
  • Ground Cumin, 1 teaspoon
  • Ancho Chile Powder, 1 teaspoon
  • Harissa Spice Blend, 1 teaspoon
  • Cayenne Pepper, .25 teaspoon
  • Chives, 1 bunch, chopped
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 450 Fahrenheit
  2. In a small bowl, combine paprika, cumin, chile powder, harissa, and cayenne; mix well and set aside;
  3. On a paper-towel lined plate, dry shrimp, then season with salt and pepper; set aside
  4. Chop your vegetables;
  5. In a large bowl, combine potatoes with 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, half of the spice mixture, and desired amount of salt and pepper; toss to coat, then spread out on a parchment lined baking sheet; roast for 20-22 minutes (tossing midway through) or until potatoes are soft and golden;
  6. While the potatoes cook, heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large skillet; add onions and a pinch of salt; cook until they begin to soften and brown (5 minutes); add peppers and half of the remaining spice mixture, and continue cooking, until they are soft and beginning to brown (8 minutes); taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper if desired and transfer to a large bowl; cover to keep warm;
  7. In the same pan, heat another 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil; add shrimp and cook for two to three minutes without stirring; add garlic and remaining seasoning; cook another one to two minutes until shrimp are pink and cooked through; remove from heat;
  8. In a large bowl, combine shrimp, peppers, and potatoes; toss well; then plate
  9. Serve topped with chopped chives (or parsley or cilantro).

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One thought on “Meatless Fridays, Week 3

  1. Danielle says:


    I’ve enjoyed these posts so much. It may not show up in your tip jar, but you’ve inspired me to make a monthly recurring donation to the Sisters!

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