Sunday, October 23, 2011

Meekly Weal Plan and my opinions all over the place

This week is an experiment in vegetarian eating, except for 1 day. And I am hoping Ethan doesn't read this blog post until the week is over. He isn't anti-vegetarian, he is just pro-meat. And I cut him some slack because as a caterer, every meal must be complete in the way the rest of the world thinks. Protein, veg and starch. Bless his heart, he has a hard time when that isn't the case at home. My children do just fine when I don't cook meat. They don't mention it missing. I would say on average, we eat 3 meatless meals a week. But this time, I am going for 6. And I don't think it will be a problem, especially because my grocery bill will be cut by a lot because I won't be putting much meat in the cart.

One might ask why I don't like us eating too much meat. Here are my reasons: (BTW, this part might get long. Skip ahead if you wish.)

1. Meat costs a lot. And good quality meat costs even more. The sad fact is that the more expensive chicken has such better flavor. I like better flavor, less often if that is the way it has to be. And think about ground beef. What if you don't have ground beef for a week or two and then have a big flank steak marinated and grilled? Worth the wait? Yes!

2. The food system us American's have created is incredibly screwed up. The way food is produced and distributed is unhealthy. The way American's think a meal isn't a meal without meat is unhealthy. One of the most important things for me to implement in my children is eating habits that will keep them healthy all through their lives. And I think one of the ways to do that is by having them see that a meal doesn't need meat all the time. I want them to be familiar with vegetables and whole grains. I have three friends that are brothers and sisters and they share morbid obesity, early stages of diabetes and high blood pressure and all at a young age. I know the way they grew up and none of them were ever taught how to eat and what food is for. I would rather my children not have to experience a huge lifestyle change to avoid these terrible conditions.

While I find healthy food choices important for my children, I also think diversity is terribly important too. I don't want them to scoff at a quality medium rare ribeye or crispy fried chicken. I want to keep their minds open to the food available to us, but also be very aware that we are what we eat. And with that in mind, am I a prime ribeye once a month or a giant hormone-grown chicken breast everyday?

Monday: Sweet Pea's Meatless Monday Challenge Baked Penne and braised kale

Tuesday: STEAK AND CAKE! Prime rib by Ethan, roasted garlic mashed potatoes and green beans by me and cake by Kalli. (One would think I am obsessed with Kalli because she seems to be the only friend I mention on this blog. Either that or I have no friends. Maybe both.)

Wednesday: Baked artichokes with lemon garlic mayo and bulgur pilaf with almonds and red peppers

Thursday: Tortilla and black bean pie and Mexican rice.

Friday:  Potato leek soup and rolls from Lehi Country Bakery (the best) and pumpkin pie (for good reason. It's the 28th of October. More on that later.) 

Saturday: Lemon and thyme pasta and steamed broccoli. And BTW, whole wheat pasta is an abomination. Just thought I would let you know. 

Sunday: Ethan is in charge. Probably meat and potatoes.

Monday: Slow-cooker tortilla soup. Using this recipe for the first time, omitting the chicken. And probably cornbread or something to go along with it. 

Does your family have any certain vegetarian dishes they love? Anything incorporating whole grains? I would love to know what they are. Please share.

BTW, the recipes underlined are cookbook recipes. And they are great. Just so you know.


  1. You're wrong. Whole wheat pasta is awesome. And here's what I say: you need to apply your kickass cooking skills to a whole wheat pasta recipe. See if your skills are good enough to make a single dish that whole wheat pasta palatable.

    And yes ma'am on the less meat thing. (Duh.) It's just better. Even my husband wants to do less meat. You just kind of have to ask "Why?" Why do people feel like they need it. They can't come up with good answers when you ask. They just say that they like it. Which is fine. But why do they think they need it? They don't. We don't. And you know that I can fight and win any objections to that on the basis of health. People who say we need flesh for protein aren't very smart.

  2. Here's how I solve the pasta problem. I ratio half ww with regular pasta. Works for everything but lasagna and baked Mac and cheese. Ww Mac and cheese is just wrong. Paul hates ww pasta but never complains when I do this, which is always. I don't think he even notices.

    Yes to the vegetarian challenge. With soup season this gets a little easier. Dang I love soup. I'll email you Connie's cornbread recipe. You'll never use another.

    Obsessed? Let's just say it's reciprocated.

  3. So excited to hear how the week ends up going, especially for Ethan. My guess is with your rock-star cooking, he won't miss the meat a bit!

    BTW, will be waiting on pins and needles for the baked artichokes and bulgur pilaf recipe(s). Yum.

    Thanks too for the link to my new MM challenge. :)

  4. I've been trying for 1-2 meat meals a week for a good couple of years now for all the reasons you listed. I know we are healthier, and we honestly don't miss it. Some of my favorites in the regular rotation are your red potato and broccoli soup (making that tonight, actually), chili, black bean and brown rice bowls (we have avocado, mango, cheese, cilantro, sour cream, tomatoes, etc. to top them with), Pioneer Woman's Risotto Primavera (awesome), tacos with refried beans, a baked potato bar with a lot of fresh veg and beans to put on top, stir fry with rice or lo mein, and homemade pizza.

  5. I am a long time reader, never commented. You expressed many feelings/thoughts I've had. I hope many others will add their ideas, too.

    This is the best minestrone you will ever make or eat. I promise. Not sure if it tastes like olive garden or not, but it is awesome.

    We like this with butternut squash. Onions can be reduced by half or more for children who'd rather not eat them.