Vegetarian Recipes for a Week Long Meal Plan

Vegetarian Recipes for a Week Long Meal PlanMany people believe that being a vegetarian means a limited menu. Those that are vegitarians know that this is not always the case, especially if you know where the good restaurants are and how to cook great vegetarian meals at home. Here is a weeks worth of dinner ideas for any vegetarian.

Monday: Quinoa Salad

End Monday on a good note with a nourishing quinoa salad! Follow this recipe:

  1. Cook 2 cups of red or confetti quinoa.
  2. Chill in the refrigerator until cool.
  3. Add one cup of cooked black beans
  4. Add one cup of cilantro
  5. Add ¼ cup of chiffonaded basil leaves (fresh)
  6. Add 1 large red onion (chopped)
  7. Add three large nectarines, sliced or chopped into bite-sized chunks
  8. Add olive oil and salt
  9. Use a balsamic dressing or a vinaigrette

Taco Tuesday: Taco Bake

Have taco Tuesday at home with this great vegetarian recipe!

  1. Peel and pit 4 large avocados. Use a fork to mash into chunks, you do not want them completely mashed.
  2. Add 6 ounces of fresh salsa. (Mild, medium, or hot, your preference)
  3. Add 1 onion, chopped,
  4. Add taco seasoning (Trader Joes has vegan seasoning)
  5. Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  6. Add ½ teaspoon coriander
  7. Use this filling to fill 12 crunchy taco shells
  8. Put in a baking pan and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 8 minutes.
  9. Serve with sour cream

Wednesday: Vegetable Stir Fry:

In a greased non-stick sauce-pan add the following ingredients over medium/high heat.

  1. Red pepper sliced
  2. 1 Green pepper sliced
  3. 1 Orange pepper sliced (optional)
  4. 1 yellow onion chopped
  5. 4 cups broccoli
  6. 4 cups white mushrooms
  7. 1 can water chesnuts (optional)
  8. Put the lid on the pan and let cook over medium heat for 8 minutes.
  9. Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces of rice. This can be Uncle Ben’s 90 second rice, or if you prefer to make it yourself, feel free.
  10. Add 2 cups of no-cook teriyaki sauce to your vegetables.
  11. Serve vegetables over rice.

Thursday: Spinach, tomato, grilled cheese (on a bagel)

  1. Grill an everything bagel
  2. Add 2 pieces of cheddar cheese, let melt
  3. Add desired amount of spinach
  4. Add 2 slices of tomato
  5. Serve open faced or eat as a sandwich.

Friday: Tomato, basil, and Mozzarella Pizza

On a premade crust or flatbread, use a brush to paint on extra virgin olive oil. Then add thinly sliced tomatoes and mozeralla cheese, in equal parts to pizza. Place in oven and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic dressing and enjoy!

Saturday: Buffalo Chick Pea Wraps

Cook 2 cups of chickpeas in ¼ cup of Franks hot sauce. Spread vegan mayo on large romain lettuce leafs. Add chick peas onto lettuce leafs. Drizzle apple cider vinegar over leafs. Add desired about of celery and onion to leaves. Sprinkle with salt and enjoy!

Sunday: Tomato & Artichoke Lentil Soup

Sunday is the day of rest, so don’t spend the day cooking in the kitchen. Simply add these ingredients to your crockpot, let it cook on low heat for 4-6 hours, and enjoy for dinner time!

  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 cup dried red lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cans fire roasted whole tomatoes
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts
  • ½ bunch Tuscan kale

Serve with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Turkey Tips

Thanksgiving Turkey

Turkey is the traditional entree of Thanksgiving meals. Plentiful in flavor and protein, families all over America sink their teeth into the delicious meat on the day that we express gratitude for all of the love and abundance in our lives. It’s a very sweet tradition that unites people with their loved ones over a steaming meal, the ultimate display of prosperity and generosity. But traditional isn’t the same as boring! With a little imagination, you can transform your regular ol’ turkey dinner into a festive culinary masterpiece that all who attend will be drooling about for years after the fact.

Turkey Basting

A basic recipe makes a basic meal. Why not change it up? When basting your turkey, get creative by experimenting with different liquids that will add its own unique flavor while enhancing the turkey’s taste. Trade in that boring vegetable oil or artery-clogging butter for something that will give your meal that extra kick it needs to stand out. Try basting your turkey with wine. There are recipes all over the internet that call for red wine or white wine to be used for basting. Sweet white wines seem to be most popular for choice turkey basting, but it’s all a matter of personal preference. When choosing wine, make sure that you choose one that you enjoy drinking, but avoid using fine wines whose taste alone you value. Quantity must also be taken into consideration when choosing a wine. But whatever you do, do not use cooking wine. Olive oil is another healthy and flavorful option, especially when coupled with a great mix of herbs and spices.

Spicing Up The Turkey

Spice your turkey up! As far as herbs and spices are concerned, nothing changes the flavor of turkey like the right seasoning. Some popular spices used for seasoning turkey include rosemary, garlic, black pepper,thyme, basil, cumin, bay leaves, and many more. You might want to try blending your favorite herbs and spices to create a mouth-watering seasoning of your own. For a taste of Thanksgiving paradise, go heavy on the herbs and spices when your turkey is basted with olive oil (in tasteful moderation, of course).

Switching Up The Stuffing

Stuffing is a great filler for the turkey’s insides and a classic Thanksgiving side dish in its own right. But is stuffing starting to feel too stuffy and boring for you? If so, then consider stuffing your turkey with something besides traditional stuffing? Mash harvest-time vegetables like squash, carrots, or pumpkin together with brown rice in order to make your own mix to stuff the turkey with. Once again, herbs come in handy when accenting the vegetables’ tastes. In order to prevent the growth of bacteria, make sure that you don’t pre-cook your stuffing of choice too early. Also, avoid overstuffing the turkey, especially since foods like rices and grains tend to expand inside of the turkey while it’s cooking in the oven.

Thanksgiving might be an old and traditional holiday, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t liven it up with a new recipe!

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Be a Prep Master

Fresh Vegetables Chopped In Preparation For Cooking

Anyone who has ever attempted cooking from scratch knows that it can be very time consuming. However, the cook who knows how to prep ahead can prepare home cooked meals very quickly. This is immensely helpful for those hectic days spent getting the kids to and from their various activities! Here are a few tips to help you save time in the kitchen by making use of ingredients frozen beforehand.

Sauces and Stews
Any dish that goes on top of rice, pasta or noodles will be convenient to freeze. Simply ladle out portions into tupperware dishes, cool in the refrigerator, then place in the freezer. Tomato sauce, chili, beef stroganoff and curries are all great dishes to freeze ahead of time. Then you just need to make fresh rice, pasta or noodles. Dishes such as these can keep for up to one year. Anything containing seafood should be consumed within six months.

Vegetables
Every mother would love to cook with more fresh veggies, but it takes a lot of time to prepare them. A major time saver is to freeze them so that they are readily available later. Start by peeling (when required) and dicing the veggies. Place them in a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds to one minute depending on what vegetable it is. The idea is not to cook the vegetables, but to shut down the enzymes that will cause them to deteriorate even in the freezer. After this brief blanching, place them in your favorite freezer-safe dishes, add just enough water to cover, and place in the freezer. (Remember to leave space for the water to expand.) This frozen block can be popped out, placed in a pot, and brought to a boil for an instant side dish at a later time. If you're sure you'll be using them for a soup or stew, you can cover them with broth instead of water. And if you're chopping them for use in a stir fry or other similar dish, you can simply freeze them without water.
Casseroles
Frozen casseroles provide home cooked quality at convenience food speed! Most casseroles are great candidates for freezing. Simply get out your dishes (or buy a few disposable aluminium baking dishes), prepare the casserole as usual, cover tightly with plastic wrap and foil, and put it in the freezer. When you want to cook the casserole, just remove the plastic wrap and place the dish in a hot oven. Cooking time will vary based on the size of the dish. Lasagna, baked spaghetti and shepherd's pies are some examples of casseroles that are a breeze to prepare ahead of time and pop in the oven later. They will keep for up to one year.

Incorporating these tips into your cooking routine will save a great deal of time. Cooking delicious, healthy meals for the family is much more enjoyable when you prep ahead. Make use of these time savers and you can effortlessly throw together home cooked meals all through the week.

 

Veggie “Pasta”

Abstract Carrot

Low-carb diets are becoming more popular as people increasingly recognize the negative health effects of overindulging in carbohydrate-rich foods. However, many people find it difficult to give up certain carb sources like bread, potatoes and especially noodles. Fortunately, someone somewhere got creative and discovered that many vegetables, when prepared in certain ways, can mimic and replace traditional pasta in many dishes. Here are some ideas for you to try.

Zucchini

Zucchini and summer squash are ideal for use as a veggie noodles. Their naturally firm yet flexible characteristics make them a convincing and healthy replacement. When sliced into thin circles, you will get larger "noodle" that can be used in place of shells, ravioli or penne. Consider slicing your squash into thin lengthwise strips to use instead of lasagna. When they're julienned into long strings, they're fantastic in soups, salads and lightly steamed dishes.

Carrots

Carrots are slightly more difficult to work with due to their hardness, but they produce a unique and interesting substitute. Julienned carrots are the most commonly used, but you may also shred them on a food grater or make long strips with a peeler. When they're lightly steamed or sauteed, they retain enough of their texture to make a convincing noodle alternative.

Spinach

Pasta can be made from spinach and other greens, but it's a time consuming process for the average person. If you don't want to make it yourself, you can find this unique and versatile product at most health food stores and many grocery stores. Spinach noodles are great for people who are short on time because they work well for make ahead meals. They can be used just like any other noodle, except they're much more convenient since they don't require as much preparation.

Onions

Even onions can provide a noodle-like charm to your meals. Simply take a whole peeled onion and cut it into thin horizontal slices. Take your stack of whole slices, cut them in half and use them in any dish that calls for noodles. Because onions are strongly flavored, it's recommended that you combine them with other veggie noodles. Keep a baggie of them in the fridge for easy use in meals you can make ahead of time.

Scallions

Scallions are practically designed to be used for veggie pasta dishes. Chop off the bulbous bases and set them aside for other parts of your recipe. Save the long, green portions and, depending on their size, slice them in half lengthwise. These are great in onion soups, vegetable soups and many Asian dishes.

 

I Just Got A Slow Cooker…Now What?

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A slow cooker can be the start of a new cooking experience that leads to a more simplified, less stressful lifestyle. It can also be the encouragement you need to get more organized in the kitchen. Using this convenient kitchen appliance on a frequent basis gives you an opportunity to reduce your grocery expenses while preparing new, healthy recipes for your family.

With your new kitchen helper, you can easily prepare large quantities of food with a minimal amount of skill or effort. Once-a-month cooking marathons are a wonderful way to simplify your life. Slow cookers are an ideal accessory that makes cooking in large quantities incredibly easy. If you are a new user, there are a few additional items you will need if you decide to cook large amounts of food at one time. You will need some freezer bags and storage containers. As a new user, you may want to do some research on freezer tips to be sure that you follow the best method for the type of food you are freezing.

If you want to prepare a month of meals at one time, you will have to do some planning. First of all, you'll need to block off one day, or possibly two half days, for cooking. You'll need a menu plan. It's helpful if you can go shopping the day prior to your scheduled cooking day. Go shopping with a list in hand that includes everything you will need to prepare the items on the menu you prepared.

On the day you are doing your once-a-month cooking, start with the recipes that will go in the cooker first, then move on to baked goods or stove top cooking. As a time saver, chop all of the vegetables you will need for the recipes at one time. You can then measure out what you need for each recipe without having to switch from mixing to chopping. You'll find this really will save you some time.

Many of the recipes for your favorite soups, stews and sauces can be doubled so that you can freeze them in meal size portions. Once these have been removed from the freezer and thawed in the refrigerator, you can reheat them in the slow cooker. That makes life even easier for you. Now, go search through your recipes, plan your shopping, and soon you'll be ready to prepare recipes in large quantities, freeze them in mealtime portions, and enjoy the time you save.