Veggie Marinara Sauce (cheat)

I love Victoria marinara sauce (so does Chris). There are no scary ingredients (such as chemicals or sugar) in it, but there is olive oil and salt, the two ingredients that I try to avoid in the early stages of this nutritarian diet (I have just finished week 6 so now I can go back to olive oil as a treat! Yay!). This sauce is delicious, it’s the one food that I will not give up entirely.

I thought I would have some whole wheat pasta (I love DeCecco’s 100% whole wheat spaghetti) and wanted to sneak some veggies into the meal. The only hard part is limiting my portion to only 2 ounces of pasta… this is why adding more veggies is so important! Kids would definitely love this. It’s so yummy and you’d never know there was zucchini in it!

dececco

Next time I will definitely add spinach to it, I just didn’t have any on hand.

  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 2 yellow onions, diced small
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 small), shredded and drained
  • 2 containers cremini mushrooms (about 10 oz each), cleaned and sliced
  • 2 cups baby spinach (I didn’t add this but definitely will next time)
  • One 25 oz. jar Victoria marinara sauce

Directions:

  • Grate the zucchini using the small shred holes of a box grater. Let it drain in a mesh sieve. While you’re waiting for it to drain, prep other veggies.
  • In a large pan saute (in a little water) the garlic and onion until it starts to get soft. You could also add some red pepper flakes here if you like your sauce spicy.
  • Add the shredded zucchini and cook some of the water out.
  • Then add sliced mushrooms and cook down further, until you don’t see water in the bottom of the pan.
  • Add 1 jar of sauce and simmer on low for 10 minutes until it thickens.
  • Then add baby spinach, stir and simmer for another 5 minutes or until leaves are wilted.

Serve over whole wheat pasta with a big romaine salad on the side. Yum!

zuccmush

Zucchini, onions and mushrooms cooking down

sauce

Simmering away…

UPDATE 10/7/13: Tonight I heated up some of the remaining veggie sauce and sauteed 2 bunches of swiss chard with some shallots and then heated them together. This on top of a serving of whole wheat pasta (2 oz dry, 5.2 oz cooked) was sooo delicious! The chard made it  even better. Next time I’ll use three bunches of chard to make a full batch. The sauce really thickened up in the fridge, I guess the zucchini and mushrooms really soak up that liquid, but I liked it even more. I don’t like watery sauces.

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Sauce and paste before I mixed them together. Yum!

closeup

The red stems and green leaves also add great color to the dish. The zucchini kind of fades during cooking so you don’t see much green from that.

 

 

Chard Strata

The rainbow chard was ready for harvest today and we had 1/3 of a long loaf of day-old italian bread but not much else in the house. It’s tough coming up with dishes in which to hide chard from Chris. He’s not a big fan of it even though it is mild and tasty and healthier than spinach.

chard

Today’s harvest for the strata… I love rainbow chard’s colors!

chardplants

Ready to harvest… the vegtrug is filled to bursting! The arugula has gotten very peppery and has started to bolt, but it has pretty flowers!

What better way to appeal to Chris’ appetite than a bread pudding? Even better, something with cheese and a custardy texture? Strata to the rescue!

I found a number of chard strata recipes online (Martha Stewart, NY Times, Williams-Sonoma), but I settled on this one because it had fewer ingredients and better matched what I had in the house (the others called for sausage or mushrooms as well). Of course I still made a number of changes to the original. It came out great and would have been even better had Chris not been so famished… we ate it before it had time to get to room temp but it was still delicious (and heavy). I served it with a chickpea, tomato, and cucumber salad (nice and light).

slice

Yummy…

Here is my recipe:

  • 2 bunches chard, chopped, separate thicker stems from the rest
  • 1/3 long loaf italian bread or baguette, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 clove garlic, grated
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra to butter casserole dish
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded or diced (gruyere would probably be delicious, we only had cheddar in the house)
  • 1 cup milk (I used 1% because that’s what we had)
  • 6 large eggs
  • kosher salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F and butter a 9×9 casserole dish.
  2. In 1 tbsp butter and 1 tsp olive oil saute onions and chard stems until soft and translucent, season with salt and pepper
  3. Add garlic and bread and saute for a minute or two, season a little more
  4. Put bread mixture in casserole dish
  5. Add another tbsp butter to pan and saute chard leaves until wilted and soft
  6. Add 3/4 of cheese to casserole and add chard. Mix all together.
  7. Top with remaining cheese and egg/milk mixture
  8. Bake for 40 minutes until golden on top
  9. Allow to cool before serving (slightly warm is fine but allow time for it to set and flavors to blend, room temp better)

I’ll update this post tomorrow to let you know how it is leftover. Photos of the process below.

breadonions   chardcooking

eggs

readyforoven

baked

Swiss Chard Quiche

Lots and lots of veggies, not too much goo.  🙂

This was delicious. I had a very large bunch of rainbow chard so the veggies filled the quiche. Not much egg/cheese, so it was nice. Not too heavy. I served it with an arugula salad with lemon juice, evoo and pecorino. Yum.
It took a lot longer in the oven than I had expected… 70 minutes instead of 45, but it was worth it. The top will be browned and the center set when it’s ready.

Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 45-70 minutes
Serves 6

Ingredients:
2-3 tbsp olive oil (depending on amt of chard you have)
1 bunch swiss chard, chopped (this was a large bunch from the CSA)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
kosher salt (just a pinch, cheddar is salty)
black pepper (optional)
4 oz cheddar cheese (half of a block), shredded (about 1 cup)
9-inch pie crust, pre-baked

Directions: 
Bake pie crust according to package directions (I used a frozen one instead of making my own this time).
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In large skillet, heat olive oil and cook onions and chard until tender, 3-5 minutes (season with salt and pepper as desired while cooking).  Allow to cool slightly.
Whisk eggs and half-and-half in bowl, add cheddar, and mix with chard mixture.
Pour mixture into baked pie crust. Wrap foil around crust edges to prevent over-browning.
Bake 45-70 minutes until set. (Mine took 70 minutes, but our oven isn’t super-hot)