Meatless Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday...

With John's desire to eat Daniel meals the majority of January, I had to really stretch myself to prepare meatless meals.  I had a few meals I could draw on but nothing to cover 21 meals a week.  It took a lot of creative thinking and attempting some new recipes.   We are and have always been meat eaters.   I don't expect that to change but I will say that the most surprising thing to John has been how satisfying meatless meals can be, even to the point that he's asked me to serve a few each week after we're done with this time of fasting.  I thought perhaps some of you might be interested in what I made and how I made it. 

And just for those of you who are interested, I have, for the most part, been able to eat the same things John did without adding meat.  Only one meal was not the right balance of carbs and non-meat proteins and I paid for it with a spike and hard drop.  The meals that gave me little trouble were almost always the bean based meals. Not one of those meals caused me any problems at all. It is proof, if you are not a hard diabetic, that even those who deal with diabetes can eat a meatless meal plan. 

Dried beans were the mainstay of our proteins, most of them canned.  I made a three bean chili that was very good and served it over rice.  We had that twice during that week then I mixed leftover rice and chili together and made enchiladas.  Mine had cheese.  John's did not. I also made stuffed baked potatoes using that chili, before adding the rice, atop the potatoes.   I used my usual chili recipe and just substituted extra beans for the usual ground meat I'd use.  Not really a recipe to share since I think chili is as individual as those who make it.    Chili is versatile as a protein.  Had John not also sworn off dairy and breads, I'd have used it in more ways than I did. 

The surprise meal for us, was lentil tacos.  I have heard from Rhonda and Dawn that they both enjoy this but I had never tried it.  I did have lentils on hand so I decided to give it a fair trial.  It was also a wonderful way to use up an item I felt had been on my pantry shelf far too long.  I was pleased that the dried lentils took only 20 minutes to cook.  I will definitely get more of them since I now know they are a convenience food!  I make my own taco seasoning from scratch.  I use oregano and cumin and a bit of finely minced onion and garlic.  I mix this with tomato paste and then add water.  At this point I added my lentils.  Next time I'll double up on the taco seasoning mix because there were far more lentils than I'd thought from my two cups of dried.     

I served this as tacos on the first day and then used as a burrito filling with salsa another day.  John ate lentils over rice in a sort of taco bowl one night.  My third round (I'm telling you these little flat legumes made about 6 cups of filling!) is still in the works. 

I also made a big pot of vegetable barley soup and added in some chili beans for flavor and additional protein to boost that in the Barley.  This served us several meals and was especially welcomed during the deep cold that came upon us the first weekend.  I confess, this soup began to pall a bit after the fourth or fifth serving over the week.  And mind you this was not a stock pot sized pot of soup, but just a small Dutch oven  It was thick and hearty.

Another meal I will make was one we tried in Publix one Sunday afternoon that was part of the cooking demonstration.  Kale and Farro Stew.  This was a surprise to John and I both.  Our only criticism was that it needed a little salt, which I will add when I make it at home.  This dish too is easily made.  I didn't find Kale at Aldi but Spinach was on sale.  I thought it would make a reasonable substitute if I cooked it a little less long.  My favorite Aldi branch does have Farro (and Barley and Bulgur as well). You can find the recipe here.

These were the most successful meals and the one I am sure will also be successful. 

I also made a big pan of fried rice over the weekend.  For that meal, I made myself a chicken breast to go along with it.  There were not enough other protein making components to combine with the rice, but I must say that the food was very tasty and if you are not diabetic you might well skip the chicken.

All of our food was good, but I found there was little need to make many of the planned meals because there were so many leftovers even when making moderate amounts.  I chose to eat the majority of my meat meals on the days when John was working which suited us both.

Please do recall Sarah's previous comment that as we age we require MORE protein not less, but do look at meatless ways to achieve this.  I've found online that various foods can be combined for a 'complete' protein that does not require meat.  Just put 'food combinations to form proteins' in a search bar.   You'll have pages of results and you can learn quite a lot.


Kathy said...

Thanks for the meatless ideas! I'm glad that you didn't have too much trouble with sugar levels except for one meal. I'll have to try lentils again. My family wasn't impressed when I tried them years ago, but maybe our tastes have changed now. I have never heard of farro. Once cooked, is it soft or crunchy?We like barley in vegetable soups, but I haven't tried bulgur either. Thanks for the ideas.

Lana said...

I have wanted to try the lentil tacos so now you have given me the push I needed. :)

Lana said...

Another dish I want to try is black bean burgers.

Melonie K. said...

The lentil tacos sound so good! I'm thinking I will make them up as taco rice, which we used to enjoy in Okinawa. It will help with eating from the pantry as I have a jar of lentils to use up still.

Terri Cheney said...

Yes, Lana, I must remember black bean burgers...I haven't made burgers from beans in a long time.

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