Help! Need child-friendly, vegetarian but meat eater friendly, low cholesterol... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-21-2006, 06:12 AM - Thread Starter
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I am putting together a gift for my BIL and his wife for Christmas. They have three kids, and are super busy so cooking is difficult for them. I thought I would put together a little family meals kit: have ds use fabric paint and handprints or sponges to decorate some placemats for each of them. Give them a "draw the family discussion topic out of a hat" kit. Include some nice candles for their table. Any other ideas?

Then, I'd like us to prepare some homecooked meals for their freezer, or give them "certificates" for one fresh meal a month for three months (which we will deliver hot!). Or something like that. Not quite sure yet.

dw has pointed out two major obstacles to accomplishing this, though:

1. Time...we are running out of time and need to hurry up and get this together.

2. For various reasons, we do not prepare meats in our home. This is a big meat eating family. You know-- no meat=where's the food kind of thinking? And of course, tofu is just a gross out (which, honestly, I have never eaten meat in my life, and I am not a tofu eater in general, so this makes sense to me LOL).

Plus, BIL is trying to watch his cholesterol, so some of my hearty, no-meat, child-friendly recipes are out (lasagna, hearty mac and cheese, etc.). And the kids are super picky eaters. I asked BIL casually what their favorite meals are, and he listed: steak tips (out because I won't prepare meat), mac and cheese (out for cholesterol reasons), and spaghetti and meatballs (spaghetti is easy enough for them to prepare themselves, and the meatballs obviously I won't prepare). So now what? Ideas??

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#2 of 6 Old 12-21-2006, 12:23 PM
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Black Bean Burgers **oh man, will have to make this for lunch, it is so yummy**

I carmalize onions, grated carrots, and garlic, cool and add to soaked or canned black beans, that have been drained and roughly mushed with potato masher. Add minced mushrooms, seasons of choice and an egg and some flour for binding. Mix well and cook in hot skillet with some oil of choice and dollop a patty into the pan, brown each side until nice and crispy or desired texture and done through. I make a huge batch of these to keep in the freezer or frige for those moments I don't feel like cooking. I use these as main "meat" dish with a side of rice and veggies.

We're a meat eating family and these are always a hit.

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#3 of 6 Old 12-21-2006, 12:44 PM
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If you don't object to buying meat but just don't want to prepare it, there are chicken sausages you can buy which are organic and fully cooked. So you could make spaghetti and then they could add the sausage you've bought. It's actually how I've compromised when I have a mixed audience for dinner.

There are also a lot of Asian noodle dishes which ground pork or turkey could be added. The compromise could be they cook the ground meat at home and you bring the rest of the meal and they just need to stir it in. Same with stir fries. The brand of chicken sausage I'm thinking of has a teriyaki version which is great in stir fries.

Or you could put together soup and I could give you an easy poached chicken recipe to give to them for add-in as well.

The chicken takes a little longer but is easy to prepare and the sausage or ground meat takes 5 min. So while they wouldn't have a fully cooked meal everyone could be satisfied with minimal effort on their part.
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#4 of 6 Old 12-21-2006, 03:44 PM
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What about a taco kit? Put in some whole wheat tortillas, some salsa, guacamole, fresh onions, peppers and tomatoes, a small block of cheese and a homemade seasoning pouch that they can add to their own ground beef. It makes a pretty basket.
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#5 of 6 Old 12-21-2006, 06:49 PM
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Spaghetti can be fancy Some of my inlaws are getting Italian Dinner in a Box. That includes a really fancy Vodka pasta sauce (which better be good because I've never spent so much on sauce!), a package of organic spaghetti noodles, a package of dried cheese ravioli, a jar of pesto sauce (so it's technically two dinners), a jar of organic black olives and a small panettone for desert. I was going to put in a wedge of hard parmesan for them to grate but decided against that.
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#6 of 6 Old 12-21-2006, 07:23 PM
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Nava Atlas has a recipe for Man and Cheese that would probably be a little bit more along the lines of what you are looking for. When we were Veg my family and our guests liked it quite a bit. The base is actually silke tofu, but no one ever really noticed here when we used to serve it.

Other recipe ideas from her:
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