Monday, May 23, 2011

One Week Meal Plan -- Vegetarian

"I just don't know what to cook!"  "It takes so much planning."  "I never have the right stuff on hand."  "It takes so loooong..."

Cooking once looked like this...
Raise your hand if you have ever uttered (out loud or in your head) one of these phrases when you think about cooking.  Ok, now that every hand has gone up (Oh, I see you back there with your hand half raised, bobbing up and down as if letting this secret out would ruin you.  It's ok, raise it up, you are in the majority here), I would like to give you some good news.

I have a plan for you. 

Let me first say, this is dedicated to my friend Alex.  She commented on one of my posts that she HATES cooking (and yes, it was in all caps) because it is stressful.   And I know the feeling.  I, too, used to have that feeling.  Then, when I decided I wanted to be able to actually cook, the things I could make were limited to two or three meals.  Not exactly enough to make my food plan a plan, per se, more like a sketch of a plan.  So I decided that I would do what I wished someone would do for me: make an easy meal plan for one week.  I started thinking of all the things I could put in it... Chicken thighs grilled in BBQ sauce, fish with a fresh lemon butter sauce... and then I remembered something.  Alex is a vegetarian.  Oops.  I scratched the items off of my list (and starting to scratch my head as I pondered which veggie recipes I know that are both delicious and easy) and replaced them with meals that she could enjoy.  And, so, I bring you a one week meal plan that is vegetarian.

But now it can look like this!
(Maybe just a little less creepy...)
The things that I put on this list are ones that I myself have tried and tested.  As is my style, I follow the recipe down to the letter the first time, check the directions frequently the second time, and then just kind of throw out any challenging bits and make it work for me by the third run.  Each of these has come from something much more overwhelming, but it has been broken down to the way that fits into my lifestyle -- a busy one -- so that I can enjoy good food without sacrificing my life to do it.  Some things I have changed for you, the reader, such as the beans and rice, because frankly nobody cares to spend as much time on making beans as I do, unless you have a last name like da Silva or Medeiros.  Instead of adding the complication of all that, I tell you to open a can, throw it in the pot, and heat.  Easy, huh?  Basically, EASY is what I was going for -- along with DELICIOUS and BALANCED. 

So, here, have at it.  Try it.  And then, please, let me know how it goes!



(How nice of me, I even included a shopping list!  If you cook anything at all you should have at least some of these in your cupboards at home.  If not, remember, the first time you go shopping is the most expensive.  But I promise you, that bag of flour will really last quite a while...)

If he can do it, you can too!

  • You can use either vegetable or chicken bullion when it calls for it.  Some vegetarians I know don't care if there is chicken bullion in the food, while others are more sticklers to being all-meat-free.  Your choice; however I think chicken does taste a tad bit better. 
  • The recipes here are made for 3-4 people.  I wrote them as I make them, which allows for enough food to feed both Paulo and I, while providing left overs for lunch the next day for at least one of us.  I am assuming that you know how to cut recipes in half.  If you don't, call your fourth grade teacher and complain to her, not me.
  • The mac & cheese recipe is SO delicious, but if you have trouble digesting cheese, DO NOT EAT IT.  Let me just say, you have been fairly warned. 
  • I make all of the recipes without cheese most of the time, and they still taste good.  Maybe not as great as they could, but far far far from bland or bad.  Feel free to cut back on the cheese.  But feel free to enjoy it if you want to.  I would if I could!
  • Shop at a Mexican grocery store (or something similar) for the vegetables.  It will save you tons of dough.
And Alex, I hope you are feeling the love!  This one is for you, Friend.  Your first ever version of The List ;)  (BTW - except the mac & cheese, this is what Paulo and I are eating this week.  He is willing to be a veggie so that YOU can have a week of home cooked foods.  Now if that isn't love, I don't know what is!)

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