Thursday, February 2, 2012

Vegetarian Ideas and Advice

Black Bean Soup with Sweet Corn Bread

If this is over the top – too much info, I apologize... I am really not that obnoxious... lol

I don’t know if you have been a vegetarian for awhile or just starting out on this new venture.  Nor do I know what your take on eggs or cheese is, etc.  We are lacto/ovo so a lot of my suggestions are based on that kind of traditional vegetarian diet.  Most of the meal options listed are more of a Western palate.  I love Ethiopian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese Food.  My Keith will tolerate it out of politeness but truly is more of a meat and potato kind of guy... minus the meat part of course 

So with that, two cook books that I have really enjoyed using are “How to cook everything” and the “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” – they are setup the same but one is tailored to a Vegetarian diet.  Although, I like the Vegetarian book – I also like waffles and other meals that are meat centric that I could replace the meat with a meat replacement.  You can get them at borders or Barnes and Nobles.  What I like about them is that it gives recipes and ways to make the recipes better with different variations.  Additionally, it goes into the different types of grains, ways to cook it rather than just giving you 1 recipe using red lentils and now you have 2 additional cups that you don’t know what to do with.  I just discovered another cookbook, “The Happy Herbivore.”  I haven’t bought it yet but plan to.  It provides over 300 low-fat vegan recipes that the book proclaims “everyone will love.”  I have seen a few of the recipes on the website and they look good and a great way to substitute mash potatoes, etc.

Depending on your taste preferences and what you like to cook, this website may have some great recipe ideas for you.  There seems to be another one that had some really good options on there but I can’t find it right now. Especially, if you like to play with different food flavors and aren't afraid to try something non-traditional.

I also look up “mock recipes” online when I try something at a restaurant that I really like to figure out how to make it.  Like PFChang’s eggplant dish.
Through FB, there is a site that you can like that has a vegetarian recipe/tip/idea of the day.  I like that as well.!/vegrecipes
In the winter, i really enjoy soup. I make soup nearly  each week and freeze what we don't eat the first night and then take out bowls at a time to keep us from eating the same thing night after night. I use vegetarian broth /bullion for all of my soups.  Most stores carry canned broth.  Making your own is super easy and just takes about  an hour of time and some containers for freezing.  Most whole foods type stores carry vegetarian bouillon in different flavorings as well.  I like to keep extra bags of frozen mixed vegetables around for a quick soup.
Going dried grain is a great way to cut on the budget, reduce sodium and increase flavor. Use dried black beans and pinto beans instead of canned for Mexican dishes, etc.  Instead of buying large bags, bring your measuring cups and buy only what you need for a specific recipe from the bulk section at an organic/whole foods type store – sounds a little geeky but it is a lot easier than storing a 1/2 pound of dried grains that you won’t use again.

Most larger cities have a vegetarian society. If you are looking for other veg-heads that try veg friendly restaurants, it is a great way to get out.  Some websites have a veg friendly online link for area restaurants. The key to making nights out and day trips a success is planning ahead.
I like to use website because it helps gage what I am eating and if it is within guidelines for protein, balance of carbs, cholesterol, etc. I use it to track calories but more so for the health side of things
Fake Meat – We do use meat replacement products – not daily but probably 2x a week for family meals.  I like Quorn for soups, ck’n pot piet, “hamburger” crumbles, etc.  Morning Star brand is good for chicken nuggets and morning sausage/fake bacon.  boca is good for burgers and there “Chk” nuggets taste pretty good as well.  In that Happy Herbivore book is a bunch of meat replacement, make your own, recipes.  I recently found a new cookbook called “Veggie Burgers Every Which Way” and we have only tried one of the recipes but it turned out pretty good and there 100 plus grain/bean/tofu/vegetable patty versions.  I anticipate us moving away from store bought meat replacers as I become more comfortable with making our own. 

Lastly, here is a list of our common meals that we make - some of which are using meat substitutes (i.e. Quorn, Morning Star, Boca or homemade Seitan, store bought Seitan):
  • Black Bean Tacos
  • Tostados
  • Nachos
  • Fajitas
  • Enchiladas
  • Bean Burritos
  • Taco Salad
  • Fake Meat/Bean Hard shell Tacos
  • Breakfast Burritos
  • Stir Fry
  • Vegetarian Sushi (avocado, cukes, carrots) with Miso Soup
  • Malaysian Fried Rice
  • Falafel sandwich with salad
  • Lentil Soup
  • Grilled Cheese
  • Chicken Wraps
  • tomato Soup and grill cheese
  • Vegetable Soup
  • Minestrone
  • Black bean soup
  • Navy Bean with fake bacon
  • Chili with Bulgar
  • Potato Soup
  • Pumpkin Soup
  • Southwest Tortilla Soup
  • Chili
  • Onion Soup
  • Stuffed Pizza
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Quick cheese pizza on a pita – 200 calories of pure yumminess!
  • Calzone
  • Pasta Bake
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs
  • Lemon Garlic pasta with fake chicken
  • Lasagna (Vegetable Lasagna, gouda sauce lasagna, classic sauce and cheese)
  • 3 Cheese Stuffed shells
  • Cheese or Portabello ravioli
  • Italian Rustico - with peppers and fake sausage on egg noodles
  • Quiche
  • Meatball Subs
  • Stuffed Green Peppers with black beans, rice and corn
  • Cheeseburgers
  • Chicken Sandwiches
  • Big Macs
  • Portabello Sandwiches
  • Portabello Paninis
  • Portabello on focaccia
  • Portabello with red wine reduction and red potatoes
  • Super Salad
  • Ck’n Pot Pie with Quorn ck’n
  • Salisbury Steak (Boca Burger) with Mushroom Gravy and Potatoes
  • Chili Dogs
  • Stuffed Ports with potato mixture
  • Hot Turkey Sandwich dinner
  • Bake Potatoes with Broccoli and Cheese
  • Grilled quorn on salad with granny smith apples and red onion
  • Frittata – asparagus, southwestern, etc
  • Baja Fresh Burritos style
  • Caprese Sandwiches

Best to you as you continue on this journey and if I can provide any support or ideas, please let me know.  I am hoping to make my way through the above list with updated "how to cook" blog posts in my "How to Feed a Vegetarian for under 500 calories."  So tune in...    Thanks!

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