So we're nearly into February and I'm not doing too bad a job of keeping my New Year's Resolution of being more organised : ) I bring this up because I've been reading the Flylady book (readers from across the pond may know who I'm talking about), and have been trying a couple of the things from it, one of these being menu planning. I've always been all for menu planning, I've just never been organised enough to see it through... so hopefully I can keep it up this year! Roughly following Flylady's guide I decided on a category for each day of the week (Monday - Beef, Tuesday - Pasta etc etc.) and you don't have to do it this way but I tend to find it helps narrow down the choices or I'd be there all week trying to decide what to eat! Then pick a meal that falls under that category and so for a week I have an evening meal planned for every day. It helps me use up what I have in my cupboards already, helps use up the things I know are going to be going off soon and means that I only buy the things that I actually NEED. As a single mum of two that generally spends most of her day doing a headless chicken impression, it's quite helpful to know what I'm going to be making that evening so that I'm not throwing together something completely random at the last minute.
So feeling rather pleased with myself that I've got this menu planning thing in place I went one better and am trying to introduce Meat Free Mondays in our household. It basically is what it says, on a Monday you cook something vegetarian. It does sound quite daunting at first, I'm not gonna lie, I'd never willingly become a vegetarian! But I'd like to think that in some small way I'm 'doing my bit' and no, one meal isn't going to change the world but if we all did it then wouldn't it make a difference : ) And hands up those of us that could do with eating a few more veggies!! When you think about it there are so many everyday staples, that with an omission or two can become vegetarian; pastas, risottos, salads...
Tonight's post is of our first Meat Free Monday meal. It evolved from a back-of-the-packet recipe so I didn't have too high hopes but it was surprisingly delicious (hence the poor quality photo, I hadn't planned on blogging this recipe but it was sooo good!). I didn't miss not having meat and the kids didn't complain too much either! You can find the original recipe here, or see below for my take on it. Please don't worry that my recipe isn't too precise, this dish is so simple that you really can't go wrong so feel free to tweak it to your own tastes. I used about 4 tomatoes and 1 ball of mozzarella but depending on how big you roll out your pastry you may need a few more tomatoes and another ball of mozzarella, or you may indeed find that you have some left over. If you really can't go without the meat, I think some slices of salami or chorizo tucked in between would be just delicious.
Tomato, Mozzarella & Pesto Tart
1 500g block of puff pastry (or to save time, a ready rolled sheet)
4 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp pesto
4-6 large tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 125g ball of mozzarella cheese, sliced
A pinch of dried oregano
Salt and black pepper
Balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
Preheat your oven to 220c/ Fan 200c. Roll out your pastry into a rectangle (or square or circle!) and transfer onto a baking sheet with a rim, so you don't ruin your nice clean oven when tomato juice leaks everywhere (I learnt the hard way!). Mix the tomato paste and the pesto together and spread over your pastry base, leaving a border round the edges to allow the pastry to rise. Simply arrange your tomato and mozzarella slices over the base, I did a row of tomatoes and then a row of mozzarella slightly overlapping the previous layer and repeated this until I used all my ingredients up. Once you've done this, sprinkle over a little dried oregano and a pinch of salt, a good grinding of black pepper and drizzle with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and the cheese is bubbling. Serve with dressed salad leaves and garlic bread.