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STRANGER70127 Posts: 374
9/25/12 1:26 P

Liven your meals up with a mocktail! Find a book at the library on non - alcoholic drinks and it's put a smile on your face!

TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/25/12 1:12 P

OMG love it! Especially this time of year, I'm going to make that soup. Yum!

SARAMIDB SparkPoints: (2,839)
Fitness Minutes: (921)
Posts: 1
9/25/12 1:00 P

Here are two recipes that are vegetarian, use black beans, and are fairly cheap to make.

Mexican Tortellini Soup

1 sm red onion diced
1 sweet red pepper
Olive Oil
1-32oz Vegetable Broth
1 can Black beans drained and rinsed
1 can of Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chilies
Cumin (to taste)
Chili powder (to taste)
Chopped fresh Cilantro (to taste)
1 pkg of frozen cheese tortellini

Dice onion and pepper, sauté in olive oil in saucepan.
Once onions and peppers are softened, add vegetable broth, cilantro, cumin, and chili powder, and tomatoes with green chilies.

Add water as needed to keep soup at consistency wanted.

Stir in drained and rinsed black beans. Once soup in hot (not boiling) add frozen tortellini until hot inside.

Optional: Garnish with sour cream and additional chopped cilantro.


Black Bean Tortillas

Filling:

1 sm red onion diced
1 can of diced tomatoes w/ green chilies (Ro-Tel)
1 Lime juiced
1 can Mexicorn
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
1-1/2 Tbs cumin
1-1/2 Tbs Chili powder
3 Tbs chopped fresh Cilantro

Extras:

1 Pkg of low carb Tortillas
Sour Cream
Salsa
Shredded cheese
Fresh avocado slices
Chopped cilantro

Mix all filling ingredients together in bowl and refrigerate for an hour.

Put mixture in tortillas with cheese, sour cream, salsa, etc….
Or use as a filling for a morning omelette.




TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/21/12 9:08 A

I like lentils but can't seem to find a recipe that gives them much flavor. I'll have to try yours! I have an awesome brown Russian mustard that has a horseradish kick to it that would probably be awesome for this recipe!

KAPELAKIN Posts: 1,971
9/20/12 10:02 P

Oh, if you like beans, maybe you like lentils? I sort of made up this really easy recipe the other day and my husband liked it so much he called me at work the next day to get the recipe to give to his coworkers. Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse - more protein and fiber than most beans, and they cook faster, too!

About 1 cup dry puy lentils, cooked, or 1 can, drained
salt and chile flake or pepper to taste
thinly sliced fresh basil (chiffonade)
1 T dijon mustard
1 T honey

Mix together over low heat, adding a bit of water or stock if moisture is needed to mix the ingredients.

Another one I like is about a can of red lentils simmered with a small can of coconut milk and some stock or water, plus sauteed onion and garlic. Chile paste if you like, and veggies can be added too.

SOCAL_LEE SparkPoints: (33,275)
Fitness Minutes: (71,365)
Posts: 246
9/20/12 2:25 P

1) We freeze coconut milk without any problems.

2) Your local library is a great resource for cookbooks; have you tried looking there?

TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/20/12 1:10 P

I make black bean burgers and LOVE Them! They are easy. The hardest part is getting a good ratio of ingredients so they don't fall apart. They even kind of look like real burgers if you blend them leaving some chunks. :D The mouthfeel is much better than ground beef IMO too!
I'll have to check out the crumbles...

KAPELAKIN Posts: 1,971
9/20/12 1:07 P

The Morningstar Farms "meal starters" crumbles are good. I've made things like stuffed eggplant and blackbean enchiladas with them and my husband thought it was ground beef until I told him it was faux. Their black bean veggies burgers are good too, but loaded with sodium. I'm going to try to make my own veggie burgers when the package I have is gone.

TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/20/12 11:21 A

Oooo I love a huge baked potato for dinner! :D a little flavored cream cheese and maybe some broccoli! I feel like I'm learning to eat again. The poblanos sound amazing!

TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/20/12 11:20 A

I wonder if I can buy the small cans online... That would be great. I used to make a few things with coconut milk a few years ago, but stopped because there was never a recipe that used the whole can.. and the rest went to waste.

I love allrecipes.com! :D I'm going to check out those books...

Might try the tofu again... I generally don't like the texture of it though. What, in your opinion, are the best "alternate meats"? I guess that's what you'd call them anyway... I never had them before, other than homemade "meat"loaf or "burgers"...

1GROVES2 Posts: 10,162
9/20/12 11:08 A

Poblano peppers stuffed with black beans, rice,onions & tomatoes is yummy! I grilled mine and topped with shredded cheese.Baked potatoes topped with cheese and/or sour cream.Stir-fry veggies are good, use enough ginger and soy sauce and a good mix of veggies and you get lots of flavor!
I use coconut milk in place of dairy, I love it on cereal!

KAPELAKIN Posts: 1,971
9/20/12 10:35 A

I haven't tried to freeze coconut milk, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Our local co-op sells Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk in cans that are the size of tomato paste, so they're perfect for a lot of recipes with no leftovers.

A couple great cookbooks you might like are Madhur Jaffrey's World of the East Vegetarian, Eat Drink and Weigh Less by Mollie Katzen, and The Passionate Vegetarian by Crescent Dragonwagon. I got my Indian recipes from the Madhur Jaffrey book.

Tofu - people have different preferences, but the main thing is to drain it really well. I buy the extra firm, take it out of the water and put it between two small plates, and put a weight (like a large tomato can) on top to press the water out. It will then have more pore space to soak up any marinade. Some people also like to freeze their tofu, because when it thaws, it will release even more water, and the freezing changes the texture. I don't care for it this way, but many people love the chewier texture of tofu that has been frozen. Also, try different brands; they do have different tastes and textures. I like one that is vacuum packed instead of water packed from the co-op, but of course it's more expensive than the water packed stuff.

A good way to get used to eating tofu is grilling it or baking it. The Post Punk Kitchen website has a great recipe for orange-ginger baked tofu that is really easy.

For recipe scaling, you might try the allrecipes.com website. It will recalculate any recipe on the site based on the number of servings you want to make.



TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/20/12 9:09 A

You have some great ideas! I have never had or made Indian and am excited to make your suggestions! :D I am used to making the occasional stirfry which like you said is easy to make portion controls... and I LOVE making my own stir fry sauce on a whim!
I'm not a huge tofu fan, so would be interested in any advice as you to how to segway into actually liking the stuff.

It's funny you mention that you haven't lost much weight eating flexitarian because neither have it. I think that, for me anyway, I am scrambling to replace that protein with some other form that I end up eating something higher calorie than it would have taken to get the same amount of protein from, say, a chicken breast.

Last night I dusted off my "Cook Yourself Thin" book and drooled over a few dishes. My favorite is a stuffed shells recipe, but it serves 10! I think I'm going to try to scale that kind of stuff down.

Leftover beans actually do well in my house. I have found quite a few ways to transform them into new things. I am excited to try to do beans "Indian-style". Beans are pretty much my favorite food (black and pinto mostly), but they are new to my diet. I have only been making them on a regular basis for a year or two, so I asked around from friends and coworkers if they knew of any bean dishes that were flavorful but weren't basically a Mexican dish. There's only so many dishes you can eat with chili powder and cumin before you need a break!

Where did you get your Indian recipes? I would be curious to make some Indian and Thai. Random, but while on the topic of "exotic foods", do you know if I can freeze leftover coconut milk? I have seen a few recipes I want to make, but they often only have, say, 1/2 of it in it, and I have no idea what to do with the rest before it expires.

KAPELAKIN Posts: 1,971
9/19/12 11:42 P

We were doing the flexitarian thing for a while, and I loved making Indian, Chinese and Thai meals. I've found that I lose weight more easily on a higher-protein diet, but hope to go back to more vegetarian meals when I'm at goal weight.

The Indian and Thai dishes might require what you consider to be "weird or exotic" spices, but in the long run, they will season a LOT Of dishes and don't cost much money. Much of the cuisine of Asia is low meat, so it's not hard to find meals that work with your eating plan. Instead of buying dozens of spices right off the bat, I'd suggest buying a few spice mixes, like garam masala and yellow curry powder. Garlic, chiles and knobs of ginger cost pennies at most grocery stores.

One of my favorite Indian meals is daal, palak paneer, and brown rice. The brown rice is self-explanatory. Daal is simply beans cooked in a spicy sauce. The one I make the most is sauteed onions with yellow split peas and garam masala, plus some onion, salt and cayenne to taste. The palak paneer is a spinach puree with a non-melting cheese (I use panela from the Mexican section instead of trying to find paneer cheese) spiced with ginger, chiles and garlic. Another Indian dish I like requires black mustard seeds and black cumin, which are toasted, and then sauteed with eggplant chunks, and then the whole thing is stewed with tomatoes. Kidney beans cooked with yellow curry powder are also delicious.

For Thai/Chinese, any sort of stirfry with veggies and tofu over rice can be really tasty and easy. If you don't like leftovers, simply only cook what you can eat during a meal. To begin with, you can purchase a ready-made stirfry sauce, but in the long run, it is cheaper and healthier to learn to make your own. The main ingredients are soy sauce, chile paste, a vinegar, garlic, ginger and maybe fish sauce and sugar.

You can also take the stirfry idea and use more common spices and make it more of a Mexican or Italian flavor by using oregano, chile flakes, or cumin.

Another recipe I like is stuffed eggplant. Microwave an eggplant for 6 minutes, then slit it open and scoop out the flesh, mix it with veggies and some Morningstar crumbles, stuff it back in the eggplant, top with a little cheese and cook in the oven. Works with peppers instead of eggplant too, if you prefer.

TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/19/12 4:45 P

Thanks! I have a complex with freezing cooked dinners and eating it again... I know it's crazy... hahaha, but I'll try eggplant parm. I forgot how much I loved eggplant parm. The bf won't be thrilled, but he can cook if he wants to pick dinner! :) Your suggestion reminds me of an awesome zucchini pasta recipe I had way back.... I'll have to dig it out. Thanks again! :)

KATHIES518 Posts: 471
9/19/12 4:35 P

It is really easy to do an eggplant parm (there is a great recipe for low-fat on here - just google) and I adjust the amount based on who will be home - I also tend to do a lot of veggie soups, split pea, lentil, in the crockpot and take it for lunch other days. If you don't like that, you could freeze and pull out later for a quick dinner. Good luck!

TIEDYED69PEACE SparkPoints: (6,717)
Fitness Minutes: (2,694)
Posts: 165
9/19/12 1:58 P

My boyfriend and I want to lose some weight but need some recipe ideas. Most recipes don't fit our lifestyle because either it makes a huge amount of food, uses meats, is bland or uses a lot of strange and expensive ingredients.
We a flexitarians, and really haven't bought meat in nearly a year I'd say, except maybe for a special occasion or two. I, in particular, try to limit meat eating to the weekends, that way I can get AT LEAST 5-6 days in a row of vegetarian diet.
Also, it is just the two of us, so while I love cooking in the crock pot, those dishes (and many others) cannot be scaled down enough for the two of us to eat.
We don't want to eat gross bland food, and just because we eat vegetarian doesn't mean we should just have a bunch of unrelated fruits and vegetables for dinner (like, for example, SparkPeople suggested dinner for us as some kind of bean dish with a side of a banana... weird. Banana is a snack for us, unless served in a smoothie. Raw and untouched, I'd never serve a banana like that for dinner. Maybe it's just me.
Anyway, I'd love to not use a whole lot of expensive weird spices that I'll use only on just one dish, but if it were a spice I didn't have and was versatile, I'd buy it. We do shop on a limited budget though.

Any ideas on cheap, easy, vegetarian dishes for two? We already eat a lot of pasta, quesadillas, rice and beans and egg dishes. We're def not generally leftover people, unless the leftovers can be transformed info something else. emoticon Sorry to be a pain in the butt! hehe

Edited by: TIEDYED69PEACE at: 9/19/2012 (13:59)
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