Monday, January 11, 2010

Vegetarian Meal Ideas

Ok so... some of them aren't 100% vegetarian, but they're low-meat, which means cheap.

- Any variation of the breakfast for dinner thing. French toast is great 'cause it uses up old bread. Whole wheat waffles or pancakes are more filling than their white flour counterparts.

- Homemade Pizza! Oh soooooo good. Here's a easy dough recipe.

-Soup. I usually make this with homemade chicken stock, so it's not really vegetarian. But you make the stock using leftovers, so it's pretty much free. (freeze any meat skin and bones, onion skins, carrot and potato peels etc. then throw them in a pot with some water and spices, let 'em simmer for a while and ta-da! Beats the can off Swanson's any day.) Our favorite is lentil and potato. We also love black-eyed pea and green split pea (with a ham bone...)

-Grilled cheese (with or without the soup mentioned above.)

-Bean Chili. Not as good as with meat in my opinion... but passable and once again, cheap. Maybe I just need to experiment with it more.

-Beans and rice.

-Quesadillas. Just with cheese or a little bit of shredded meat.

-Anything with beans really. Buy some dried beans. You'll love the way they look an a shelf in your kitchen and you can add them to any meal to make it healthier, heartier and longer lasting.

-Fried rice. You can do strictly vegetables or add an egg and a few bites of chicken or ham.

-Quiche. This is one I haven't done yet, but the "frugal zealot" recommends it, and I'm gonna do it eventually...

-Another good low-meat meal I make is chicken with white sauce over noodles or rice. I make this when we're on our second or third day of the roasted whole chicken. I (or Jon... usually Jon 'cause I don't like doing it) pick over the last of the carcass, and use whatever's left. Most of the substance from the meal comes from the sauce, vegetables, and noodles. Or you can have it with biscuits and it turns into potpie! P.S. Learn to make a basic white sauce. You can do so much with it. No need to buy Campbell's Cream of Anything.

-Hummus! Not really a meal but I just have to mention it. Make it, don't buy it. Its such much better that its really a different experience than store bought. And of course, much, much cheaper.

That's all I can think of for now. Hope this inspires at least one person to buy some dried beans and learn to cook 'em! We American bean snobs miss out on a lot.

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