Looking for everday meals

jbsulliv

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Hi all! I am looking for a few meals that that I can throw on the grill or in a pan and make a couple of days worth, and it will feels like a simple healthy dinner.

My family tried a month of whole plant based veganism at the beginning of the pandemic. We used the The Happy Pear Happy Shape program The Happy Pear - Plant Based and Vegan Lifestyle Online Courses. I have never felt more energetic in my life. I felt like energy was bursting out of my fingertips. I didn't need to sleep as much. I just felt all around better. I have gotten a similar feeling when I really concentrate on eat whole foods diets, even when not plant based. Hoever, the energy wasn't quite on par with my vegan months. I want to start transitioning to eating less and less meat, and perhaps one day, completely to vegetarianism.

Here is my quandary. I am good with breakfast and lunch, but I am having trouble with simple dinners. When I was eating whole food diets for many years, I was single, had a low stress job, and a roommate who wanted to eat similarly. We typically had a rotation of one lean meat every night (chicken breast, tilapia, ground turkey, etc.) and paired it with two vegetables (steamed broccoli, boiled carrots, smashed potatoes, etc.) and a whole grain bread. It was very easy to do and keep up with, and my roommate and I split food duties. I am in a much different situation now. I work way too many hours, have kids to take care of, and my wife does not enjoy cooking enough to make it a priority. Also, my wife needs more of a variety of food than I do. So, I end up eating a lot of pizza, pre-packaged meals, carry out, etc. When we did the Happy Pear Program, we loved the food, but the cooking was impossible to keep up with. We were exhausted by the time the program ended. We actually ended up liking the foods that weren't "vegan alternatives" the best and not liking the ones which were meat substitute meals (i.e. blackbean burger).

I am looking for something that is the vegetarian version of a meat and two. I want it to be something that I can throw on the grill or in a pan and make a couple of days worth, and it will feels like a simple healthy dinner. It does not have to be vegan, vegetarian meals are acceptable for me. Thanks in advance!
 

Lou

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I think part of your problem is how you are thinking about meals. You might still be thinking of meals in the SAD/old fashioned/traditional ways. Where the plate is sectioned into 3 things: a meat; a starch; and a vegetable.
That does work for some vegan/vegetarin meals, but I think you might need to change your thinking. One vegan chef that addresses this actually calls it a paradym shift in thinking. Instead of triangles, think circles. meals with layers. Pasta is a very good example of this. Bottom layer is pasta. Top layer is sauce.
You probably already know this but I just learned this last year. You can cook a one pound box of pasta and a one quart jar of pasta sauce. Combine in a bowl. Leftovers can be frozen. Or you can go one step further and make a super healthy pasta sauce. I'll include a recipe at the bottom.
Ano†her layered idea is Cuban Black Beans over rice. I like just one cup of beans over one cup of rice. but its pretty easy to make portions bigger so smaller. you can make like 6 servings of black beans at once and freeze the leftovers. Same with the rice.
Another meal that can be made in bulk and is really good is Lentil Mushroom stew over mashed potatoes.
Oh, and any number of stews can be made in bulk and just heated up when you don't want to cook.
Finally I want to bring up stir Frys. this is typically made one serving at a time and it takes like ten minutes to make (as long as you already have some left over rice). It is sort of a skill but there are YouTube videos that can walk you through it.
And just to give you one idea that is more traditional. You can fry or bake up a few servings of tofu. that can be served as the meat replacement on a more traditional plate. Seitan and tempeh are also good for that.





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jbsulliv

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Awesome response! Thank you. I feel like all of these are fantastic ideas. You may be right on my changing my thinking about meals. It is just tough because I have always been a main and sides guy. My wife has always been more about casseroles, stews, sauced meals, pastas, etc. She find my style of eating very boring! I do think a variety of stir fries could be my go to! Do a pot of rice at the begining of the week. Do a stir fry Monday that I can eat for a couple of days. Then maybe doe a stuffed sweet potato I can eat for a couple of days. Then do a pasta for the next couple of days. This has inspired me to think of also doing some indian meals in a crock pot as well with premade sauces. Thanks for the great ideas!
 

Lou

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Do a stir fry Monday that I can eat for a couple of days.

I'm pretty sure that the best stir fry is a single serving and freshly made stir fry. but I'm open to suggestions.

I've tried a number of techniques and the one that seems to work best for me is 3 - 4 oz of tofu cut into 1" cubes. A cup of a green vegetable cut up. and I like to add 3 - 4 mushrooms sliced. I put the wok on the highest setting my stove has. add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp soy sauce. You can even make it with less of those things. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. I take if off the stove and add a tbsp of teriyaki sauce. Serve over a cup of rice.

I forgot to mention casseroles. so yeah its good that you thought of them.

I also forgot to mention rice bowls. There are so many kinds of those, you can just google it. But besides your Asian style rice bowls, there are Mexican style rice bowls and even Hawaiian style.

You can also fry/grill/ or bake a whole bunch of tofu all at once. then store it and you can add it to just about anything.

I'm also giving me 5 demerit points for forgetting salads. Especially it being summer. Salads are great.
 
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LoreD

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I'm pretty sure that the best stir fry is a single serving and freshly made stir fry. but I'm open to suggestions.

I've tried a number of techniques and the one that seems to work best for me is 3 - 4 oz of tofu cut into 1" cubes. A cup of a green vegetable cut up. and I like to add 3 - 4 mushrooms sliced. I put the wok on the highest setting my stove has. add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp soy sauce. You can even make it with less of those things. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes. I take if off the stove and add a tbsp of teriyaki sauce. Serve over a cup of rice.

I forgot to mention casseroles. so yeah its good that you thought of them.

I also forgot to mention rice bowls. There are so many kinds of those, you can just google it. But besides your Asian style rice bowls, there are Mexican style rice bowls and even Hawaiian style.

You can also fry/grill/ or bake a whole bunch of tofu all at once. then store it and you can add it to just about anything.

I'm also giving me 5 demerit points for forgetting salads. Especially it being summer. Salads are great.


Some of the companies are noticing the problem.

I buy the BirdsEye large bag of stir fry vegetables with sauce packs.

I cook a big batch of rice over the weekend and freeze in these square 1 cup sections of food prep containers. I take them out after they are frozen and put in plastic bags. I can fit two into each quart bag, and they lay flat in the freezer.

Tofu, stir fry, microwaved rice, and I'm ready to eat. I usually do it a couple times a week, when I am in a hurry.

I can make my own sauce if I'm not in a hurry.
 
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Lou

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Some of the companies are noticing the problem.

I buy the BirdsEye large bag of stir fry vegetables with sauce packs.

I cook a big batch of rice over the weekend and freeze in these square 1 cup sections of food prep containers. I take them out after they are frozen and put in plastic bags. I can fit two into each quart bag, and they lay flat in the freezer.

Tofu, stir fry, microwaved rice, and I'm ready to eat. I usually do it a couple times a week, when I am in a hurry.

I can make my own sauce if I'm not in a hurry.

I don't like the frozen stir fry vegetables they sell at the store. Not sure why. I use frozen veggies for other things.

Trader Joe's sells a fresh stir fry veggie mix. I usually just combine broccoli and mushrooms with tofu.

I make a big batch of rice and then separate it into 2-cup Tupperware. I always have one in the frig a some in the freezer. But you know maybe I could just measure out one cups servings and store them in zip locks. If they could store flat - that would be a space saver. Will try that out next time.
 
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