Musing with Max

Musing with Max

June 27, 2012

Meatless Tuesday

Frank and I have for the most part been pretty healthy eaters. By that I mean well balanced because we pretty much eat everything. I cook dinner almost every day so I know exactly what is going into our meals, have cut back on the starch a bit which is tough for a couple of cubans since we eat rice with everything but I think we've been able to adapt well. For instance, instead of having steak with potatoes each time we have it we'll accompany it with either a Caesar salad or a wedge salad with blue cheese and olive oil or a vegetable side dish. And we'll keep it interesting by having meat, chicken, pasta and fish dishes throughout the week. We do eat bread almost daily but not an entire loaf and limit desserts to the weekend; well that's a lie since I got the ice cream maker and something that will have to change because Frank can eat whole pint and gain one ounce, if that, but I'm short and female...a whole other story. So in my continued attempts to eat healthier I decided a while ago that one day a week would be a vegetarian day and I decided it would be Monday...Meatless Monday, which I think I pilfered from a blog...sorry. Not to worry though, my plagiarism didn't pan out too well, I think we had two meatless Mondays. It requires too much planning and besides maybe we're not in the mood that day so as long as we have "meatless" it could be any day, hence yesterday---Meatless Tuesday, so I made Frank and egg salad (better know as Famous Amy's egg salad) sandwich for lunch since he works in the hinterlands of Brooklyn and I have to make his lunch everyday or else he has to eat McDonald's or Dunkin Donuts, and as you can see Max is riveted by this.

Anyway, step two is finding great vegetarian dishes and in scouring the web I've found quite a few that are quite tantalizing; but not in the Summer since most of them are stewy root vegetable concoctions which always involve sweet potatoes. Then I scoured my cookbooks and found this from an old Time-Life cookbook series

and Max started to get increasingly bored, vegetables, pasta, yawn.

but I was very happy!

Ditalini Gratin with Jalapeno Pepper-adapted from Time-Life

Serves 6 as a side dish or Frank as a main dish

8  oz. ditalini (or other small tubular pasta-I used elbows)

11/2 lb. ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 14 oz. canned whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 cup low-fat milk (I used whole organic)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deribbed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, finely diced (I didn't have any, used goat cheese)

Put tomatoes, onion and milk in a large, heavy bottomed skillet, and bring the mixture to a boil.

Add the ditalini, jalapeno pepper, garlic, cumin, salt and a liberal grinding of pepper. Stir to mix thoroughly, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer the mixture for two minutes, stirring from time to time to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom. Preheat the broiler.

Pour into the skillet just enough water to cover the ditalini. Cook the pasta, removing the lid frequently to stir the mixture and keep it covered with liquid, until the pasta is just tender and a creamy sauce has formed

about seven minutes. OK, I used a saucepan instead of a skillet so it took a little longer, works either way.

Transfer the contents of the skillet to a gratin dish. Sprinkle the cheese over the top

and broil the pasta until the cheese is melted-two to three minutes


Now to find a good hiding place for the ice cream maker.

Did you say ice cream?


  1. Sounds delicious. Have to hide from the pasta what with the no cigs weight gain and then the sprained ankle and NO CARDIO month and a half.

    I am an egg,a 5'2" egg.

    When I find my waist I'll make this.

    xo jane

  2. Oohh Amelia that is just what I feel like for dinner, right tuna just isn't going to hit the spot...tomorrow!