Nuts and Bolts: Main Dish Recipes

Dr. Spockoli’s Broccoli Casserole

Interstellar physician Dr. Spockoli recommends that humans eat green vegetables (and other-colored vegetables, too). This cheesy dish could easily be made with cooked butternut squash pieces in place of the broccoli.

1 8-oz. package wide egg noodles, cooked and drained
2 10-oz. packages frozen chopped broccoli, cooked--or use fresh broccoli (It’s even better. Save ¼ cup cooking water for later use)
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (pronounced Woos-ti-sher)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the cooked noodles and cooked. Mix in the grated cheddar cheese.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add flour and stir until thickened. Add milk. Stir constantly. Add salt, Worcestershire sauce, and reserved broccoli water.  (Did you accidentally toss the cooking water? Just use regular water.)

Simmer and stir until thick. Pour the sauce over the noodle-broccoli mixture.  Blend thoroughly.  Bake in a greased 9x13-inch casserole dish for 30 minutes.



Androids Dream of Almond Chicken (and Sometimes, Tofu)

It’s true. I have read the reports. Serve this dish with a mound of rice. Sliced oranges make a nice side dish.

Steamed rice
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts (certified organic chicken is best) OR 1 ½ pounds firm tofu
1/3 cup peanut oil
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup canned water chestnuts, sliced
1/4 cup water
1/4 lb. snow peas, stems removed
Soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 cup roasted almonds

Follow rice package directions to make 6 servings of rice. Set the rice aside.

Cut the chicken or tofu into small cubes. Heat oil in large skillet or wok.  Brown chicken or tofu rapidly. Add celery, water chestnuts, and water. Cover and cook for 7 minutes.

Add the snow peas to the other vegetables. Cover the pan again. Cook for 5 minutes.  Mix the cornstarch and water in separate bowl.  Add to the vegetables. Stir until sauce becomes thick. Sprinkle with almonds before servings.



Uni-Pot Spaghetti

Do you own only one pot? If so, this dish is for you. You can easily add ground beef, turkey, or vegetarian crumbles. If you decide to include one of these items, begin by heating oil in a pot. Then add the meat or meat substitute, brown it, and proceed with the recipe as written.

2 1/2 cups water
1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces spaghetti (somewhat less than half of a 1 lb. box)*
Parmesan cheese

Put water, tomato sauce, oregano, basil, salt, garlic powder, and pepper into a large frying pan with lid (with meat or meat substitute). Turn heat to high.  Cook uncovered, until the sauce bubbles.

Break the spaghetti in half and add it to the pan. Turn the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir the spaghetti every 10 minutes or so. Exercise caution when removing lid! Watch for burning-hot steam and for hot water that may drip from the lid onto your arm or bare foot (Shoes are recommended while cooking).

Serve with Parmesan cheese.

* There are 16oz. in one pound.



Curried Tofu Substance

This substance tastes a lot like egg salad, only without the eggs. Serve it as a salad on top of lettuce leaves, or spread it on bread for a sandwich. Yummy stuff!

4 tablespoons mayonnaise (use soy mayo if you want to keep the dish vegan)
2 tablespoons mango chutney
2 teaspoons curry powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (14-oz.) package firm tofu
2 stalks celery, diced
Optional: red grapes, scallions, walnuts, grated carrot, raisins, and sunflower seeds

Mix together the mayonnaise, chutney, curry powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Crumble the tofu and add it to the bowl. Stir in the celery, and any of the optional ingredients that appeal to you. Cover and chill for at least one hour so the flavors can develop. Used as a sandwich spread, it’s very good on toasted bread.



Tectonic Plates of Teriyaki Beef 
If Terrence always wants to change seats with Cecile, then you should make this meal because it shifts around naturally. That is a joke. (You will need a slow cooker for this recipe. That is not a joke.) Serve atop rice. Basmati rice is nice.

2 1/2 pounds flank steak, or “stir-fry beef”
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained - reserve 1/2 cup of the juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon dry ginger powder
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons water

Combine the beef, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, garlic, and pineapple juice in a slow-cooking device. Cook on low heat for 7 hours.

Mix the cornstarch with water. Turn the slow cooker’s setting to high.  Add the cornstarch mixture and the pineapple chunks. Cook for 10 minutes.  Serve over rice.


* Tectonic plates are massive slabs of solid rock on the outer surface of the Earth. During earthquakes, the plates move. Most of the world’s active volcanoes occur in places where two plates meet one another.


Wind-Up Sesame Noodles
Serve this dish with steamed broccoli to obtain maximum benefits. Wind the noodles around your fork prior to eating to achieve ultimate happiness.

1 package linguine or spaghetti noodles
½ cup sesame oil
7 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chili oil
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 garlic clove, chopped small

Mix the sauce ingredients together. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the salt. Cook the noodles according to the package directions. When the buzzer sounds, pour the noodles into a colander to drain (remember your pot holders!).

Rinse the noodles under cold water to stop them from cooking more and to remove excess starch. Shake the colander to and fro. Then toss the noodles with the sauce and serve.