Ugh. I hate winter. I hate winter so very much that I looked at the giant, teacup sized flakes marking DC’s second snowfall with disgust rather than amazement. It’s always been that way– even when I was a little girl, I “hibernated” during the winter, having to be pushed and scolded into leaving the house. I’m self-motivated now, but it’s frequently difficult for me to get out and go shopping for fresh foods and then stand around and chop up all those veggies.
This (yet to be named) meal is the perfect solution for winter slumps; you can make a million variations of it to fit whatever you have in the house, it’s relatively healthy (the picture shows the boy’s version, which gets double-cheese) , and you can get it on the table in less than half an hour, with barely any chopping. Bonus points, too, for how easy it is to make it in individual serving sizes, which cuts down on dishes and steps and makes it an entertaining-friendly vegetarian meal.
Main Dish (per person)
1/2 c cooked quinoa (could substitute brown rice, bulgar, etc.)
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved (could substitute chunky tomato sauce or tomatoes)
1-2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
3T fresh parsley if available
drizzle of olive oil
1 oz shredded or sliced mozzarella cheese (I’m sure others would be good, too)
salt, pepper to taste
Coat a small saute pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Toss in garlic and saute over medium-low heat until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes and 2T parsley and cook another minute or so, until tomatoes are warm and slightly squishy. Add salt and pepper (plus any other spices you’re in the mood for, it’s very versatile) to taste.
In a mini-loaf pan (or any other small oven-safe container), smooth cooked quinoa to form one even layer. Spread tomato mixture on top, then top with cheese. Sprinkle with remaining parsley for garnish.
Bake “loaf” at 375 for approximately 8 minutes, until cheese is thoroughly melted and preferable starting to brown a bit on the edges.
Serve with whatever veggies are at hand– to my mind, this pairs well with boiled pre-frozen veggies and a dash of butter; the squishier texture of pre-frozen just makes the meal more comforting.