Mommy Cafe

Vegetarian home cooking, kid tested and approved

Tuna Pasta Salad

I’ll be honest, I completely forgot that today was the official $5 Challenge day!  Will and I had a picnic lunch with my parents this afternoon, 2 hours from home, so our meal options were severely limited to anything that could withstand the drive there and back.

I improved upon a pasta salad that I brought to a potluck a few weeks ago.  It went over well the first time, but I thought it was missing a little something.  This time around I nailed it!  I added tuna for an extra protein boost, but it can definitely be left out to turn this back to a vegetarian meal.  I used Anaheim peppers, because that is the one thing that has grown in abundance in my garden, but Will thought it was a little too spicy as a result.  I recommend sticking with red bell peppers if you’re feeding kids… or less adventurous adults.  However, even my 1-1/2 year-old buddy loved the noodles, which had picked up a little bit of the heat from the peppers.

Since we were biking after lunch, and because it’s too darn chilly to be filled by a simple pasta salad lunch, I wanted something to round out the meal.  I served some tasty baking soda biscuit-type muffins with local honey– which, incidentally, is great for keeping the ragweed blues at bay!  For the salad and the muffins, this meal probably cost around $6.  Will and I each had lunch size servings of the pasta (okay, I had two), plus the folks had a share as well.  There are easily four servings left.  I’m a little too sleepy to do the math, but I think the cost per serving works out to somewhere around dirt cheap!

$5 Challenge: mission accomplished!

Prep and cook time: 15 minutes     Estimated cost: $5.50

Tuna Pasta Salad

  • 1 box tri-colored rotini, cooked and drained
  • 1 red bell pepper (or something spicier if you’re brave!), diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 can tuna, drained
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into ribbons


  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1 T balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • Dash each of salt, pepper, and sugar, or more to taste

Toss the salad ingredients together.   To make the dressing, combine ingredients  in a small container with a lid and shake until well-mixed.  Add dressing to the salad and stir gently to combine.  This salad is best when chilled for an hour.

Serves 4 for a meal, 8 as a side




September 17, 2011 Posted by | Recipes | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Chili Corn Crepes

This recipe comes from the Beyond the Moon cookbook, and the crepes were so delicious that I’ve made them twice since I checked the book out from the library! The original recipe had a delicious black bean filling, but I thought the crepes alone were fantastic. Stuffed with cheddar and mozzarella cheese– amazing!

Crepes do take a little time to make, especially when you make the full recipe (10 crepes). However, I found that they freeze well and taste just as good when thawed. This is good, since even Will and I can’t eat 10 crepes on our own! So make an extra batch to freeze and take out one or two at a time to make a quick lunch or snack. They also take a little forethought, since the batter needs to sit for at least an hour. The batter is simple to make, so you can make it ahead the night before or even in the morning and let it sit in the fridge for the day.

Getting the batter to spread correctly is a little tricky the first crepe or two, but it doesn’t take long to get the hang of it. By my 4th crepe I was flipping like a pro!

Prep time: 5 minutes active, plus 1 hour  Cook time: 20 minutes   Approximate cost: Cheap, since you’ll already have most ingredients!

Chili Corn Crepes

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 T butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/2 cup wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T chili powder

Combine eggs, milk, butter, and 1/3 cup water in a blender or food processor (or mix by hand) and process until smooth.  Add the flours, cornmeal, salt, and chili powder, and process again.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

Heat heavy, 10-inch skillet over medium heat.  Pour in about 1/4 cup of batter, and quickly tilt the pan, swirling batter so it covers the bottom.  Cook the crepe until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes.  Flip it with a spatula, and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute more.  Repeat until all the crepes are cooked.  Stack the cooked crepes, and set them aside.

Put filling (cheddar/mozzarella cheese mix, feta and roasted red peppers, etc) on one-quarter of the crepe.  Fold crepe in half and half again to form a pie-shaped wedge.  Bake on a greased baking sheet at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes until the crepe is lightly golden.

Makes 10 crepes (5 servings)

October 14, 2010 Posted by | Recipes, Vegetarian | , , , | Leave a comment

Garlic & Herb Personal Pitza

I’m a huge fan of personal pizzas. Although Will and I generally like the same toppings, it’s nice to have an option if he wants broccoli and I want zucchini. It’s also a fast, easy fix for when time (or patience) is short. Yesterday was one of those days, but I only had enough red sauce for one pizza. That dilemma led to this delicious creation. I made it with zucchini, but decided it would be equally tasty with sliced, steamed broccoli, or even better with spinach and roasted red peppers.

For the record, although this was my personal pizza, I did give Will a taste for his approval. He said it was even more delicious than his pizza, and eyed it longingly as I ate the last bite. Next time I’ll skip the red sauce for both of us!

Garlic & Herb Personal Pitza

  • 1 pita
  • Olive oil
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow Garlic & Herb Cheese (or any other brand of spreadable cheese)
  • 1/4 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush lightly with olive oil, then place pita in the oven for 2 to 3 minutes (optional for a harder crust). Spread Garlic & Herb cheese over the pita, layer veggies, and top with mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until golden brown.

Serves 1

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Recipes, Vegetarian | , | Leave a comment