Meatless Fridays: Week 4

Our date for heading West has been moved up by ten days (no change in the scheduled c-section yet, but both the mother’s doctor and attorney have recommended we come out early as the likelihood of a change is high), and so everything here is now officially crazy. I barely eeked out the time to cook and photograph these recipes (and pretty much ruined one of them in my distraction), so if the pictures look less than lovely, that’s why!

I’m going to try my hardest to honor my promise and get one more set of recipes up next week before we roll out of town in the big Sprinter van we’re renting, but if I don’t, you have my excuse! Racing to wrap up my work, pack up a household, prepare for a new baby, and leave home for a month has me at my limit!

But this week, there are recipes. And, as always, all tips in the tip jar before the end of Lent, go to the Sisters of Life.

Fast & Easy: Spicy Mushroom and Onion Quesadillas

Serves 4; Prep Time: 5 Minutes; Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

This is fast. This is easy. I swear it is. Unless you attempt to cook it while talking to your babysitter and holding your baby who only wants you and ranting about how your doctor has cancelled an important test you need for the FOURTH time. Then, you might burn the quesadillas. Don’t do that, though, and you’ll be fine.

This is another “Blue Apron adapted” recipe. It’s super delicious as is, but if your kids are normal kids and not into spicy, just whip up regular old cheese quesadillas for them, and save the spicy toppings for yourself.

I served these with sliced zucchini sauteed in olive oil, with salt and crushed red pepper.


  • Yellow onions, 2 medium, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
  • White mushrooms, 16 ounces, sliced (save prep time and buy the pre-sliced kind)
  • Monterey Jack Cheese, 8 ounces, shredded
  • Tortillas, 4 large or 8 small (flour or corn, depending on your preference)
  • Ancho Chile Paste, 2 teaspoons
  • Guacamole, 2 cups
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper


  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil in a large skillet, add the onion and mushroom; season with salt and pepper; cook over medium high heat for 5-7 minutes, until onions are golden and mushrooms are brown;
  2. Add Ancho Chile Paste and 2 tablespoons of water to mushrooms and onions, stir and cook until the sauce thickens;
  3. Assemble quesadillas, layering cheese and mushroom and onion mixture;
  4. Heat more olive oil in the same skillet (wiped clean); cook quesadillas 3-4 minutes per side over medium heat, until cheese is melted and tortillas are golden;
  5. Serve topped with guacamole.

Allergy Friendly: Crispy Salmon and Roasted Vegetables

Serves: 4; Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 30 minutes

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Nut Free

This recipe is so basic that I feel a little silly sharing it. We eat this all the time, though, (like every other week) and I always have it on the menu when one of our most food sensitive friends comes to stay with us a couple times a year. Normally, the roasted veggies include green beans, but when I went to make this last night, I couldn’t find the ones I had on hand anywhere. Literally no idea what could have happened to them. Maybe I threw them out in a fit of distraction? Anyhow, whatever veggies you do have on hand will do. This is a great recipe for cleaning out your vegetable drawer.

Often, I serve this with a cream and herb sauce on the side (literally just a cup of cream heated, with some fresh chopped rosemary or sage, plus salt, thrown in). For the sake of the “allergen friendly” title, I didn’t do that last night. But, if you can, you should.


  • Fresh Salmon, four pieces
  • Baby Potatoes, 1.5 lbs, quartered
  • Brussels Sprouts, .5 lb, bottoms removed then halved
  • Red Pepper, 1, cored and sliced
  • Green Beans, .5 lb, ends trimmed
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 Fahrenheit and prep vegetables;
  2. In a large bowl, toss potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper; spread out in an even layer on a parchment lined baking sheet; bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes (but set timer for 10 minutes);
  3. In another large bowl, toss the peppers and beans, with olive oil, salt, and pepper; spread out on a second parchment lined baking sheet; after the potatoes and sprouts have cooked for 10 minutes, add to the oven; cook for 20 minutes more (checking halfway through to toss vegetables and swap the sheets’ place in the oven, if one set of veggies is cooking too fast);
  4. While the veggies cook, pat salmon dry with paper towels; season both sides with salt and pepper;
  5. In a large frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil; Cook salmon, skin side down, for 5-7 minutes (depending on thickness); flip salmon and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes more;
  6. Serve salmon on top of veggies, with a spritz of lemon or a simple cream and herb sauce.

A Little Bit Fancy: Pan Fried Gnocchi with Kale, Walnuts, and Goat Cheese

Serves: 4; Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 20 minutes

A couple years ago, I had something like this dish, only with pasta. You could make it with pasta if you want to, but I will never understand why anyone would do that, when crispy pan fried gnocchi exists. If you have only ever had the boiled kind of gnocchi and struggle with the texture, reserve judgement on gnocchi itself until you try it crisped up in butter and oil. It is sooooooo easy to do and elevates the fancy level of your dinner right quick.(Also, if goat cheese isn’t your thing, just leave it off. The extra punch it adds is amazing, but the dish is still great without it.)

I served this with roasted Brussels Sprouts, and the combination was perfect.


  • Gnocchi, fresh or frozen, 1.5 pounds (makes zero difference except the frozen takes a bit longer to crisp up)
  • Red or Yellow Onion, 1, halved, and sliced
  • Kale, 1 large bunch, stems removed and roughly chopped
  • Garlic, 4 cloves, minced
  • Mascarpone Cheese, 4 ounces
  • Walnuts, 1 cup, roughly chopped
  • Goat Cheese, 2 ounces
  • Butter, 4 Tablespoons, divided in half
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper


  1. In a large frying pan, melt 2 Tbsp. butter; when just slightly browned, add walnuts and a sprinkle of salt; toss and continue stirring over medium-high heat, until walnuts have darkened and are just about to start burning (but haven’t yet!); remove from pan, place in a bowl and cover to keep warm;
  2. In the same frying pan, heat 2 Tbsp. oil; add onions; season with salt and pepper; cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat; add garlic, and continue to cook for another minute or until garlic begins to release its fragrance;
  3. To the onions, add the chopped kale; season with a little bit of salt and pepper; stir and cook for 3-5 minutes or until kale starts to wilt; add 4 Tablespoons of water and continue cooking until the water has evaporated (another 2-3 minutes); remove from heat; stir in Mascarpone Cheese; remove from pan, place in a bowl, and cover to keep warm;
  4. In your largest frying pan, combine 2 Tablespoons of butter and 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil; heat until butter is melted; to the pan, in a single layer, add gnocchi (if your pan is too small, you may need to do this in batches); cook over medium high heat, tossing gnocchi occasionally, until they have turned a light golden brown and are slightly crispy to the bite;
  5. In a serving bowl, combine gnocchi, kale mixture, and fried walnuts; taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if needed; plate and top with a few goat cheese crumbles.

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