Almond-Crusted Sole with Mushroom Pilaf for Two #SundaySupper

I have a confession to make, if it weren’t for my blog Valentines day would just come and go in our house without much thought. I have never been a Valentines person, I actually have never been out on a Valentines date, not even in the days before kids. I don’t even think I have ever received a Valentines card before, other then the ones you all fill out at school and send to your whole class. But when I became a blogger it was obvious that Valentines day was a much loved blogging holiday so ever since then I have been enjoying sharing some special recipes for people to be able to enjoy with their Valentine. Trust me with incredible meals like this hubby loves the new tradition. Although it isn’t celebrated on the day, because lets face it if you are in a blogger family you never get to enjoy these amazing holiday recipes on the day. Our families are taste testing our Christmas recipes in July.

Today Sunday Supper are going to bring you some special recipes for cooking just for two.

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Mushroom Stroganoff #SundaySupper

This week at Sunday Supper is taking a look back at some very retro recipes. Some of us have decided to share the dish as we remember it while the rest of us have decided to give the dish a little make-over. I had to really stop and think about this one, wondering what I would consider a retro recipe? The first one that came to mind was a tuna noodle casserole but I had already done that before. I really wanted it to be a dish that I could remember eating as a kid, but one that I hadn’t already made before. My mom didn’t have too many recipes that she made when I was growing up, tending to alternate between only a few ones she was comfortable making. And I thought at first that I had shared them all. But then it hit me, stroganoff!

I am not sure how I forgot about this one because it was such a classic dish that she made. While her recipe was a basic one it had the depth of a much more complicated dish. She always served it classically over egg noodles. Even though I do love my mom’s recipe I decided to go a different route. Since we are going meat-free this month and since we love mushrooms I thought why not make a mushroom stroganoff.

And let me just say not only was this a fantastic choice but this meal is so simple to put together that it is going to a staple simple week day. I am excited to share this make over of a retro dish and don’t forget to check out the list of fabulous recipes from the rest of the Sunday Supper team.

Mushroom Stroganoff

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion , finely chopped
1 Tbsp paprika
2 garlic cloves , crushed
300g (10oz) mushrooms , chopped
150ml (2/3 c.) low-sodium vegetable stock
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce , or vegetarian alternative
3 Tbsp half-fat soured cream
small bunch parsley , roughly chopped
250g (1 c.) cooked rice
recipe adapted from BBC GoodFood

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Asparagus and Cashew Rice Pilaf

This month has reminded me that my biggest battle with serving a meat-free meals is convincing my mind that it is going to fill me up. I have to admit that a few years ago if I was served something like what I am sharing today, Asparagus and Cashew Rice Pilaf, I would have felt the meal was not compete unless someone served a piece of meat to go with it. But there is no reason why a bowl of this pilaf isn’t plenty to fill you up. It has your carbs, vegetable as well as protein from the cashews. So why is it that most people wouldn’t see this as a meal?

Personally I believe some of the issue is though our education with the food pie charts. You know the ones? It shows a plate divided into sections to show you how much of your plate should contain the different kinds of foods. Now there is nothing wrong with the logic of those charts but what it unconsciously does it convinces us that every plate we serve should have a little meat over here, some veggies over on this side and then some carbs. All separate and all measured out correctly. But that isn’t the only way food needs to be served up. I have had plenty of meals in my life that were healthy and filling and didn’t contain any carbs and if you want to get technical I have even served some very healthy dishes that didn’t even contain any veggies as the only ‘veggie’ in the dish was tomatoes and that is technically a fruit.

So why is it that for some people a dish cannot be satisfying without meat, well that is a mental battle that meat eaters are just going to have to fight. Personally the way our family dealt with it was to just go ahead and make the changes. I started to cook up meals like this and challenged both my husband and I to just eat it and be satisfied with it. We would wait an hour. If hubby or I were still genuinely hungry I would make us a healthy snack but I was surprised at how few times I had to do that.

You fill up with your eyes first, if you look at a plate and convince yourself that it isn’t going to be enough to fill you up then it probably won’t. You see the challenge to reduce the amount of meat your family eats doesn’t just benefit your budget but it can help you develop healthier eating habits because it challenges you to focus more on what you are eating. Challenging you to get creative in order to eat a well rounded diet that includes protein without meat. Our family doesn’t want to give up meat completely but we love that we can enjoy healthy meals, filling meals without meat.

Asparagus and Cashew Rice Pilaf

2 Tbsp olive oil
50g (2 oz) uncooked spaghetti
1/4 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
250g (1 1/4 c.) uncooked basmati rice
500mL (2 1/4 c.) vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
500g (1 lb) fresh asparagus, trimmed and
cut into 2 inch pieces
75g (1/2 c.) cashew halves

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Making the change to brown rice

Making permanent healthy changes to our diet can be a difficult task but with a little bit of experimenting it doesn’t have to be a painful one. For the sake of our health my husband and I have tried really hard to make these changes and what we have discovered is that it doesn’t have to be something that you struggle with. There are some wonderful healthy foods out there that make for wonderful substitutes to things that you already love.

Making the final switch to brown rice was very frustrating for me. It never seemed to cook right and I didn’t think it always worked with my Asian or Indian dishes. I got myself to the point that I would have brown rice in the house but would use my white rice for certain dishes that I felt were not interchangeable with the new grain. Because I grew up in Asia, rice was just one of those integral ingredients of my life that I was just not wiling to sacrifice, so if it didn’t taste right I didn’t bother. Then about two months ago my life change, while restocking my pantry I discovered at the store Brown Jasmine Rice and Basmati Rice. And what a blessing that discovery has been. Because I think the change to healthy eating has to be enjoyable other wise you will never stick to it. Taste and texture are important in good food and one of the problems that I had with brown rice is would turn out chewy and watery. So I started doing more research into it and began to tweek the way I cooked it. After many attempts I finally came up with a method that has become fail proof for myself.

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