In today’s world most people are still struggling to pay bills and put food on the table. It doesn’t really matter what your job is or how much you make there is a strong possibility you have to balance your finances each week to ensure you are ‘bringing home the bacon’. Do you need to literally bring home the bacon? Meat has become an expensive meal with less quality. How do we have tasty meals without it?
The key thing to remember is you have to bring an open mind to the table. Don’t judge the food solely by the fact that you see no meat. Now, let me clarify before I lose you. I am not taking you in the direction of anything tofu related since I do not eat tofu. I’m going in the direction of rice, potatoes, noodles and veggies. Although you’ll hear the cooking shows all say ‘we taste first with our eyes’ or something witty like that, it doesn’t mean a meal without meat has to look bad or taste bad.
Protein is a key player here are well. Typically we were raised to get our protein from meat but you can get it from other sources as well. You can get protein from eggs, dairy, nuts and beans. Things such as mushrooms will give you some protein so you have to remember eating well rounded gets you everything you need.
Back to our meat dilemma and what kinds of meals you can get from meatless meals. This week we wanted something cooling so I went with my raw corn salad. Start with raw corn on the cob and with a knife remove the kernels into a bowl. Chop up a small red onion, yellow pepper and tomato and mix it all together with the corn kernels. Chop up an avocado and mash it in while mixing it with the rest. This is a basic raw corn salad that can hit the spot on a hot day and be a good accompanist to other foods. For supper though you probably want a little more. Pick up some long grain wild rice. I pick this one because although yes it is just rice it is colorful and more visually appealing. By all means you can use any rice. I soak my rice in a bowl of water for about an hour, the water is just over the top of the rice. I cut up an onion and place it in my cast iron skillet and stir them around and let me them get clear and then I added my soaking mixture of rice. I added a few shakes of thyme, turmeric and cayenne pepper to it but you can use which ever herbs and seasonings your family likes. On high heat I let the water boil down while occasionally stirring so it doesn’t stick. This doesn’t take too long and when it is done boiling out you should have soft tasty rice. To make my meal I placed some rice in the bottom of a bowl and then scooped a spoonful or two of the raw corn salad on top. If you still need more for your meal at this time make some toast. Me, I don’t have a toaster so bread in the oven is my go to. Add some butter to the bread and place it in the oven and then get creative with it. You can press some garlic and spread it on the top and melt it in with the butter or once you remove it if you want something a little sweeter just spread a little honey on top. If you are feeling really creative make yourself some flavored oils and spread on top. You can keep the flavored oils on hand so you have them when you need them. Now you have a meal that is tasty, filling, simple, healthy and best of all pocket book friendly. You can alter this how you like; got mushrooms cut them up and add them, have other peppers use them.
If you have an eater that wants a huge hunk of meat on their plate this is your opportunity to change their habits. For now make the meat of your choice and cut it up and add it to the dish. The trick is to add half the amount you would normally give one person. They will still get their meat but it will be half the amount you would normally do. The next times you make the dish slowly add less meat. Be flexible too because you may not ever get to being meatless but you may at least cut that food bill down. I have been lucky that my husband could take meat or leave it. That hasn’t always been the case though so be patient and have fun with it! Happy Cooking!