how do you create meals??? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 11-03-2013, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm going to preface this by saying that I am not a veg, but I think its healthier and try to eat vegan 70% of the time, if that makes sense...  but I have a meat eaters menu planning skills and a love of eggs and cheese...     Anyway...  dh is a die hard meat eater (would live off McD's if i would let him, etc) so I need to figure out how to menu plan.

 

For example, I have a share from a csa and there are some great veggies to roast -- turnips, beets, potatoes and cauliflower.  To me, those are all great sides... how do I turn them into a meal?  (if that is all I serve, I will have a mutiny). 

 

I have this mentality that its either pasta, burritos/tacos/mexican something with a veggie or rice side, OR its a protein with 2-3 sides (like the above).  BUT, without meat, what protein would you choose (and i know that most people would have a hard time being protein deficit, i just can't figure out another term for it)  Oh... and I just can't see building roasted veggies into a salad (my other full plate of veggies meal)...

 

HELP!! 

thanks!!!

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#2 of 11 Old 11-03-2013, 08:58 PM
 
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I personally think that it's easier to let adults who have different ways of eating prepare their own foods.  My husband eats a lot of meat and no vegetables, so he just buys his meat and cooks it for himself, but I realize that type of set up won't work for everyone.  And, then, of course, kids; I mean I often cook and serve a number of things because if I just make one thing and my younger daughter doesn't like it, she basically won't eat, and then will later try and have some cereal or cheese and crackers.  So I definitely can commiserate because I am a bad meal planner, and I have at least one child who only eats one part of a meal that I make.

You can mix cauliflower and white potatoes together to make mashed potatoes, and I have a vegan cookbook that serves this with a chickpea piccata over top. If I were doing root veggies, I'd serve it with a green salad or some greens to balance things out, and some raw fruit too.You could do oven roasted root veggies or a root veggie stew, something like red flannel hash in two versions, one where you add some bacon or leftover chopped cooked meat, and one where you don't.  It can also be made with eggs in place of meat.  

 

I'm not sure we actually need a big slab of protein, but I admit I often want that.  I feel like I turn to wheat overly much, things made with bread when I should be eating more salads and just plates of greens.  Usually the vegan cookbooks have a lot of good suggestions for how to combine things into meals.  It just depends on how difficult some of the things are to cook. You can use high protein grains & legumes as a main course with other vegetable dishes as the sides.  Percentage wise in relation to the calories, greens often have the highest protein content of vegetarian foods, but I suppose we'd have to eat a lot to feel like we got the satisfaction of eating a chicken breast, I suppose. 

 

Garnishing with meat instead of serving it as an entree might help create a feeling of a complete meal.  I think it's very easy to get into that feeling that a meal is a piece of meat with a starch and a vegetable.  I think this is what makes my own meal planning hard, but whenever I read through my cookbooks, they have good ideas of how to mix and match things usually serving different kinds of vegetable dishes that complement each other.

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#3 of 11 Old 11-04-2013, 12:03 AM
 
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My DH is a vegetarian and I eat meat. We eat plenty of vegetarian meals but the meals where I do cook meat I try to make sure we're not eating two completely different meals.

For the roast veggies you mentioned, if I was doing roast meat for me then I might do a stuffed mushroom for DH.

Or if I had leftover roast chicken I might do some roasted chickpeas and turn it into a cous cous salad. Or, just toss it all together with spinach, fetta and a citrusy dressing.

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#4 of 11 Old 11-04-2013, 04:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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katelove  -  stuffed mushroom --- I don't know why but when you said that, you just gave me some great ideas :)  (stuffed artichoke bottoms, stuffed those big mushrooms that i cant think of the name, those round squash things...  )  Those totally feel like something to be accompanied by sides :)  THANK YOU!!  Maybe I just need to figure out entree worthy vegetarian things that are not pasta that I can pair with obvious sides like roasted veggies :) And hope they dont take FOREVER to prepare :)

 

viola -- I like to cook, my dh does not (and I don't want our kids to see dh's example of "cooking" either to be honest, as horrible as THAT sounds)  So that totally wouldn't work for me :)  (The plus side of that is the dh cleans :)  Double woohoo :)  Do you have a particular favorite cookbook that shows you how to make meals?  I have a few, but they all just have recipes... none do actual menus except for one that has a few special occasion tons of work ones... 

 

But I'm now realizing that the answer may be more obvious than I thought...  :)  I'm having a DUH, why didnt I think of that moment :)

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#5 of 11 Old 11-04-2013, 07:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazytownmama View Post
I have this mentality that its either pasta, burritos/tacos/mexican something with a veggie or rice side, OR its a protein with 2-3 sides (like the above).  BUT, without meat, what protein would you choose (and i know that most people would have a hard time being protein deficit, i just can't figure out another term for it)  Oh... and I just can't see building roasted veggies into a salad (my other full plate of veggies meal)...

 

HELP!! 

thanks!!!

I don't think there's anything wrong with that, actually. We are a family of three omnivores (two of whom are former vegetarians) and one vegetarian (who occasionally eats fish). We make a lot of vegetarian/vegan/meat-optional meals. I try to think in terms of a category for each day and then fill that with things we like.

 

For example:

Mon - Mexican something > Black bean rice bowls with toppings

Tues - Salad dinner > Big salads with choice of chicken or chickpeas on top - good way to use up CSA!

Wed - Stirfry > Rice, 2-3 vegetables and some tofu with stirfry sauce - CSA vegetables make great stirfry

Thu - Curry > Potato-chickpea curry or Thai red curry with vegetables - again, CSA!

Fri - Pasta > Baked pasta with cheese and a salad

 

I look up a lot of recipes on the Internet and when something becomes popular in my house, add it to a card. I don't always do this, but when I get stuck, I can pull out my stack of cards and figure out meals for the week based on that. Sometimes I have forgotten great stuff over time! Also, if I feel we're a bit veggie deficient in a meal, I sometimes just cut up a plate of raw vegetables I have on hand - and serve with something like grilled cheese, fried egg on rice, pasta, etc.

 

Hope that helps!

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#6 of 11 Old 11-04-2013, 07:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazytownmama View Post
BUT, without meat, what protein would you choose (and i know that most people would have a hard time being protein deficit, i just can't figure out another term for it) 

Didn't answer this directly, but you can see from my example above - beans, chickpeas, tofu, cheese.


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#7 of 11 Old 11-11-2013, 04:28 PM
 
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My husband and I used to go around and around about meal planning. I tried to get him involved, but it failed miserably as he is a meat eater and I got tired of BBQ 4 nights per week!. Now, we eat a great deal of Mexican food without meat (beans provide a great source of protein). Plus, we can spice it up different ways to prevent food boredom. 


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#8 of 11 Old 11-11-2013, 09:20 PM
 
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@Ragana - I really like the nightly category thing!!

 

We are newly Vegetarian (about 3 weeks now I think) and I'm needing to revamp my meal strategies a bit! I like this thread!


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#9 of 11 Old 02-14-2014, 07:03 PM
 
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We're in a similar situation- I'm veg and DH and DS eat meat. I try to make a mixture of one dish meals that are vegetarian (stir fry with tofu, curry, pad Thai, burritos with fake meat, pasta) and then have a few meat substitutes on hand for nights when I do a meat based meal for DH. For example, if he has a burger, I'll have a black bean/veggie pattie or a grilled portabella "burger." Other ideas for meat stand-ins- omelletes or deviled eggs, baked tofu, chickpea burgers, baked potato or sweet potato, acorn squash, or just fill up your plate with "sides". I think as long as you get enough protein throughout the day, you probably don't need to replace meat with another protein. Another option is any of the vegetarian meat replacements- they make everything from fake chicken strips to meat balls to hot dogs . I try to use them sparingly, but they can be nice to have on hand for a quick addition to your meal. Soups and sandwiches are also easy to customize- I add pre-cooked meat into veg soup for DS and DH and put hummus on my sandwiches and turkey on theirs. Hope that helps!

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#10 of 11 Old 03-04-2014, 03:18 AM
 
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Interesting thread. I've recently been exploring Turkish cuisine which has plenty of veg meals that offer different tastes and flavours.

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#11 of 11 Old 03-04-2014, 01:28 PM
 
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Here's what we ate for dinner every night in February, which gives some idea of how it all comes together:

http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/2014/03/04/four-weeks-of-mostly-meatless-dinners-february/

 

We do a lot of one-dish meals, bean dishes, occasional tofu or eggs.

 

Try this homemade vegan burger that really has taste and texture very similar to ground beef:

http://mysisterspantry.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/a-better-veggie-burger/

 

This blog has a lot of helpful suggestions for placating omnivores alongside vegan meals:

http://stuffedveggies.blogspot.com/p/the-care-feeding-of-omnivores.html


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