There’s a recipe (and a point) in here somewhere

I have no idea how long I’ve been doing this vegetarian thing. A month or two? I think the fact that I can’t remember shows how well it’s going. It’s not something I really have to think about or that I’m counting down to, like weight loss. It’s so much easier than weight loss, too. There’s absolutely no effort other than avoiding the meat aisle at the grocery store (easy), checking ingredients in pre-packaged stuff (easy or if I’m feeling super lazy I pass it up), and not eating fast food. Ok, there is a lot of effort because I’m cooking with real vegetables now instead of just steaming something frozen for a side. Only, I don’t see it as effort. I’ve always wanted to try all these crazy vegetables but I never knew where to begin or how to begin. Now I’m sort of forced to figure it out.

Let me say this: There’s are so many different kinds of vegetables and they’re dirt cheap! For a family of four living on a please-don’t-let-the-baby-need-more-diapers-this-week budget, vegetarian is a very cost effective way to feed everyone. Especially when you consider we’re making very few separate meals for Jaden now since she hates beef, eats chicken and sometimes pork (if we tell her it was chicken), dislikes fish BUT she’ll eat most vegetables I make. Jonas? He still eats anything we give him. He had cheesy potato soup with me the other night while I coveted his sister’s “chik’n nuggets” and his dad ate a giant flame thrower burger thing from Dairy Queen.  (Matt has never claimed to be a vegetarian and reserves the right to eat meat whenever he damn well pleases especially when I’m recovering from dental work and not forcing him to eat meatless.)

SO! New vegetables I’ve cooked from raw (not frozen) since I’ve wanted to branch out:

  • Zucchini (although I’ve had zucchini plenty of times, I’ve never actually prepared it myself, with the cutting and sautéing.)
  • Yellow Pepper (I included yellow pepper because I have cooked it but I’ve refused to eat it willingly and by choice.)
  • Eggplant (whole new territory)

 Not the most impressive list, I know. Bear with me, though. You see, I’ve been looking up all sorts of recipes and those that, in the past, would’ve been passed by with a “the hell is a parsnip?” are now being read and considered with earnest (“Mmmm, Pumpkin Curry Soup with coconut milk? Interesting.”). Sure I don’t know how to prepare some of this stuff but I also didn’t know how to prepare chicken and I learned just fine. Even better: there’s no worry over making my family violently ill from under cooked vegetables.

Some other interesting things I’ve found whilst beginning my journey

  • Freezer Meal People have a really hard time not putting chicken in stuff
  • In general, Food People have a hard time not putting chicken (broth, stock or meat) in stuff
  • And what is “chicken seasoning” anyway? Is it chicken? Seasoning one would use to make things taste like chicken?
  • It’s hard to find Vegetable Stock at my local Super Market
  • Even things labeled plainly as “vegetarian”:

 boullion 

will make suggestions such as “Use in your favorite beef, pork or poultry dishes!” on the back of the package.

It’s not perfect and I’ve got a long way to go in building up my new recipe box with things other than pasta. But I’ve never had more fun looking for recipes. I scour allrecipes.com’s ingredient search; I reserve vegetarian cookbooks at the library; I’ve started a notebook of those recipes I want to try and if they’re a hit, I’m going to transfer them to a real live recipe card where it will reside in my cute little recipe box I picked up at Michael’s for a dollar.

Why do I not see this as yet another project I’m all gung-ho about now but will give up after a month? Because it doesn’t feel like a project. It feels natural and right. I don’t even think about wanting meat. Well, ok, I had one craving. A really bad craving. It was a few weeks ago and I almost gave in but then I thought about how many chickens have to be raised inhumanely just to be made into 99¢ chicken nuggets. Yes, that was my craving: 99¢ chicken nuggets from Wendy’s. Pretty easy craving to pass by, though, wouldn’t you say?

In other slightly related news: my wisdom tooth extraction seems to be healing great(yay!) Last night Matt and I made dinner and I got to eat it! It was awesome:

Bingmar Bastardized Ratatouille Skillet-Wok-Skillet Thing

1 eggplant, peeled and diced

1 large zucchini, diced

1 onion, chopped

1 tomato, diced

½ yellow pepper, diced

7 or so baby red potatoes, sliced

Olive or vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

Garlic powder

Thyme

Parmesan and Mild Cheddar (both shredded)

1)       Heat oil in wok over med-high heat, add eggplant. Remember you should’ve put minced garlic in the oil before adding the eggplant. Too late now, throw in a ½ teaspoon or so of garlic powder instead along with some salt, pepper, and thyme. Stirring occasionally, cook 10 minutes.

2)      While the eggplant is cooking, discuss adding potatoes with your husband, shrug and say, “if you’re going to, you’d better do it now but get a different skillet. I’ve got plans for this one.” Heat oil in large skillet (for the full Bingmar experience, grab a 10 inch skillet then transfer to the big-ass skillet after the onions have been added to the potatoes and the potatoes are mostly cooked because OMG they’re everywhere!), add potatoes and onions, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook until browned (not burnt!). Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes.

3)      Back in the wok, add zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, another 10 minutes. Add yellow pepper. Saute the whole mess for 5 minutes.

4)      At some point in there, make some Stove Top Cornbread stuffing (be sure to ignore the “chicken stock” you now see in the ingredients list that you missed when you checked before buying it (“oh well!”)) in the microwave according to the directions on the box.

5)      Once all the vegetables are cooked, transfer the wok items to the giant skillet and mix it all together with some parmesan.

6)      Serve thusly:

  1. spoon stuffing on dinner plate.
  2. Dish vegetable concoction on top of the stuffing
  3. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over it

It won’t look very pretty but it tastes great. There’s lots of room for seasoning adjustments or additions. If you wanted to (and had time because you weren’t stuck in traffic again) you could follow the actual recipe that I got this from. Be sure, if you do use that recipe, to check out the comments for some handy tips and do not make the stuffing as the recipe states but rather as the box says.

It was the first time any of us had ever had eggplant.

Results: Matt: “Good. Kinda sweet.” Marcoda: “Yeah, I really like it! I can see why people would fry it. I bet it’s super yummy that way!” Jaden: “I don’t want to eat any more eggplant!” Jonas: “snore” (He was in bed having already eaten at gramma’s and not feeling well.)

Before I rush of reheat the left-overs for lunch let me get to the

POINT OF THIS WHOLE RAMBLING POST: Being a Vegetarian is easy and I suggest everyone try to include at least one meatless meal in their weekly meal plan. It’s a great way to branch out and try new things.

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. Hi! I have a hard time finding veggie stock too. One way to solve the problem is to save all the peelings and scraps from chopping veggies in a ziplock bag in the freezer, and when you have a bit saved up, dump it all in a slow cooker or a pot over low heat with lots of water and salt and let it simmer for a few hours. There you have vegetable broth!

  2. Hi. I happened upon your blog and first I have to tell you, great job! I have been vegetarian for over 33 years now and it really is healthier for me. I raised my daughter vegetarian and she has a son, a third generation vegetarian, if you will. He is now almost 14 years old and has only been truly sick enough to go see a doctor maybe three times in his life. Oh, he gets the occationalycold like all kids, but nothing serious. Vegetarian children are more adventurous eaters, too. When he was about 7 he would ask me to cook him something he has never had before. What kid does that?

    Sorry to ramble on, I’m just excited for you and your new way of eating. I have taught vegetarian cooking classes and am currently working on publishing my first cook book. Please check out my blog for some tasty, easy recipes. Bon appetit!

  3. I have some recipes I want to send you- you have my email, right? Email me and I will reply with the recipes from my FAVORITE Vegan cookbook-maker.

  4. And since your link is to a place I volunteer- you’d better sign up for the pledge to be veg. week. Better yet, volunteer yourself! Veg week is the last week of September- there will be dine outs and pot lucks and restaurant discounts and drink outs and a chicken sanctuary tour and cooking classes and film showings. Also, I’m one of the coordinators for the CAA thanksgiving potluck which I expect you to be at (the weekend before thanksgiving). I’m so demanding!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: