We finally got around to purchasing a much-desired small kitchen appliance today – something that I’ve whined on and off about wanting (needing, really) for quite some time – which is going to make my Meatless Monday experiment (and our other cooking too, for that matter) considerably easier.
We bought a food processor!
It’s not super fancy or top of the line or made by a big-name brand (as an aside, I was rather stunned by the amount one could spend on a food processor, should one so desire!) – in fact, it was actually the least expensive model in the store – but I do believe it’s going to suit our relatively modest purposes just fine. And, as the icing on the cake, it was even on sale! That, plus being able to pay for part of it with the remainder of a gift card I’ve been carrying around for awhile, made it a particularly low-impact purchase, budget-wise.
While searching for inspiration for today’s Meatless Monday dinner, I decided to check out the Meatless Monday site itself, and was drawn to the recipe for Roasted Red Pepper and Red Bean “Meatballs”. The main reason I ended up choosing to make this dish was, of course, because it sounded yummy – but the discovery that all of the ingredients included in the recipe were items we already had in the house definitely factored into my decision as well. I believe this may have been the first time I’ve not had to do any special shopping for Meatless Monday, which was a rather nice change!
For this recipe I used Pilaros Roasted Red Peppers. I love this product – our local Costco sells the large bottles, and we always make sure we have some in our pantry. (I was going to provide a link to the Pilaros site, but it has two features that annoy me: music that plays automatically, and only a Flash version of the site available – which is useless for anyone on an iPhone or iPad. Their roasted red peppers are definitely better than their web site!) Because the peppers are packed in liquid I made sure to drain the one I used and blotted it with a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture before I chopped it.
The only thing I changed in terms of the ingredients was the amount of kidney beans. The recipe called for a 15 ounce can; however, the one I had in the cupboard was 19 ounces, so I chose to use them all instead of holding back a small amount. (In retrospect, I’m not sure that was the best decision, as the end result was a little drier than it probably should have been.)
The recipe was a lot of fun to assemble, due in no small part to my new food processor, which minced the onions and garlic in a matter of three quick pulses, and the kidney beans in even less. That would have taken me ages to do by hand, and there’s no way I would have had the patience to get the onions so finely chopped, so I think this purchase was a HUGE winner! Forming the meatballs was very satisfying, too – even though it was a tad messy, I always feel a little more connected to the food when I can work with my hands. (Is that strange?)
While the “meatballs” were in the oven, I prepared (i.e., drained, rinsed, and dry-fried) two packages of Tofu Shirataki Macaroni, which I served with a simple sauce of olive oil, garlic, and basil, topped with some melted Monterey Jack cheese and a sprinkle of parmesan.
I really enjoyed this dinner, both the making and the eating of it. And I would definitely make it again, as the “meatballs” were very flavourful and filling. Of course, as always, there are things I’d change next time. The whole meal would have been a lot better if I’d served it with a marinara sauce, as the “meatballs” were a little dry and would have benefited from the moisture of a tomato-based sauce. And a simple tossed side salad would have rounded out the meal ever so nicely. (Why do I ALWAYS forget about the salad?!)
But still, I think this may have been one of my most successful and satisfying Meatless Monday meals to date.
I think I am getting better at this cooking thing!
Are you participating in Meatless Monday?
What did you make for dinner tonight?