This isn’t a food blog. I’ve never shared recipes before today, but hey. . . change is good, right?
Recently we’ve made some dietary changes. I’ve completely changed the way I’ve been cooking. I’m sure I’ve shared before I’m a pretty darn good cook. I’m never going to be on Master Chef, and I’m ok with that. I can create a fabulous meal with minimal ingredients. I’ve had years of practice. Sometimes even the best household chef gets into a rut. This is when a change can be good. I have learned a few things from that show and enjoy watching it and sometimes get inspiration for recipes.
We’ve made the decision to go meatless for a time. Let me be clear here, we are not vegetarians, not vegans. This was a decision made for various reasons. I have to say that although I am enjoying the variety of new dishes, I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into some Thanksgiving turkey!
A few observations before I share the recipes.
- I feel better. My stomach has not been churning or upset over the past two weeks of our new eating plan.
- These meals are surprisingly filling! (Honestly, as a dedicated carnivore I was shocked.)
- Meatless meals cost (in general, there are the exceptions) less than with meat.
- I’ve lost a few pounds, felt fuller after meals, and feel more energetic. Coincidence or not – just being honest.
These are not necessarily low-calorie, but some are. My plan is to share with you 2 recipes a day this week, until Friday. Since it is November, I feel compelled to include NANOWRIMO into my repertoire. I hope the Friday posts help encourage those who are interested or participating in NANOWRIMO.
As kitchen manager, general dietitian, and master chef of the household, I spend a little time each week preparing a menu before shopping. I shop from the menu, so that I have what I need on hand and reduce the amount of trips to the store, which in turn cuts down on impulse purchases. Yes, we use that nasty word here – budget. I seldom buy convenience or prepackaged foods. I also prepare my meals from scratch. It doesn’t really take that much time and the food tastes so much better. Like Papa John says – better ingredients, better pizza. OR in my case better meals all around.
Cost savings, no preservatives, fresh wholesome foods, and a sense of satisfaction for providing for my family. Yes, I am creative in the kitchen as well.
Alright, let’s get down to it then. Meatless meals. My definition for meatless – it does not contain animal flesh, to include red meats, wild game, poultry, or aquatic (fish, mollusks, shrimp, lobster, etc) I do include dairy and eggs. (No animal gave its life in the production of these meals!)
Hearty Vegetable Soup
(7 on a scale of 10)
small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1/2 onion, chopped one clove of garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, chopped cayenne pepper
Black pepper 3 carrots chopped, ½ head of cabbage, shredded
Ginger 4 cups vegetable broth
2 TBSP tomato paste 2 cups water
½ cup pearled barley 1 cup lentils, dry
2 TBSP olive oil
Pour olive oil into skillet. Saute onion and celery. Once onions are translucent add garlic and other seasonings to taste. (approximately ½ tsp each, but I add a dash more cayenne) Add carrots.
Simmer while adding broth to dutch oven. Bring to low boil. Add lentils and barley. Add in the vegetables from the skillet. Cook for 20 minutes stirring occasionally. Add in tomato paste, and 2 cups of water as the lentils and barley will have soaked up some of liquid. Add in cabbage, and half of chopped parsley. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Top with parsley after serving.
This soup is 175 calories for 1 ½ cup serving. Surprisingly filling!
Three Cheese and Spinach Calzones.
(I’ll give this one an 8 on a scale of 10!)
1 package(10 ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 egg lightly beaten
I tube refrigerated pizza crust. ( I make my own from scratch, but store-bought is much easier and faster)
1 cup marinara sauce.
Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl combine first 8 ingredients.Unroll pizza crust into an 11 inch square. Cut into four squares. Spoon mixture over half of each square (diagonally because you’re making triangles)Fold the other half over, and pinch edges closed. I make a small slit on top so it vents. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve with warmed marinara.
1 calzone with 1/4 cup of marinara sauce is 540 calories. served with a salad, this is a very filling meal!
This was a big hit with the family and even got the approval of my meat and potatoes husband. Now that the weather is cooler, I don’t mind heating up the kitchen to experiment with new recipes. Tired of our usual fare, this dietary change has been a welcomed change. When the schedule gets crowded, I tend to revert to the old standards, where routine turns into a rut. I hate ruts.
Give these a try and let me know what you think! Would you like to see more recipes from my kitchen? Has anyone tried any of the recipes that are featured in the mini cookbook at the back of Red Wine & Roses? What??? You didn’t know there was a cookbook in the back?
A little bonus feature for my readers!
Write on my friends, write on . . . and eat well!