Keep your resolutions with meatless meals

Eliminating meat one day a week is an easy way for people to improve their health and drop their weight

    The new year has just begun, and for many people that means it’s time to watch their calories.
    Whether they’re doing it as part of a New Year’s resolution, to improve their health or just to drop a few of those holiday — or quarantine — pounds, cutting calories and increasing exercise is a worthy exercise for many people.
    While there are as many diets as there are people, one easy way to trim calories is to observe a day without meat every week — and it will generally help bring down your grocery bills.
    Popular options include fish, especially Friday fish fries; pasta meals, such as meatless spaghetti, perhaps substituting mushrooms for the beef; or breakfast for dinner, including quiche, French toast, pancakes and waffles.
    Favorites for children include mac and cheese and grilled-cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Dress up the sandwich by substituting another type of cheese for the traditional cheddar or American, or add a few slices of tomato to the sandwich before grilling.
    Make a meatless pizza, topping it with roasted vegetables, or a white pizza topped with pesto, cheese, tomatoes slices and other vegetables.
    Get creative with beans. Beans are high in fiber and low in fat, and a good source of protein. Use beans in vegetarian chilis and soups or in dishes such as tacos. You could also serve a traditional New England supper of baked beans and brown bread.
    You can often use a meaty mushroom or tofu instead of beef in a dish. Or you can try the many meat substitutes on the market today.
    Following are a few meatless meal ideas from damndelicious.net.

 

damndelicious.net

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook about one minute, stirring frequently, until fragrant.
    Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes, until quinoa is cooked through. Stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
    Serve immediately.
    Makes four servings.

 

 

Spinach Tomato Tortellini Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
4 cups chicken broth
1 14.5-ounce can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1 9-ounce package refrigerated three-cheese tortellini
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 cups baby spinach, chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan

    Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook two to three minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent.
    Whisk in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tortellini, basil, oregano, bay leaf and one cup water. Season with salt and pepper.
    Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer five to six minutes, until tortellini is cooked through. Stir in spinach until it begins to wilt.
    Serve immediately garnished with Parmesan.
    Makes four servings.

 

Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo

12 ounces linguine
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

    In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain well.
    Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion, and cook two to three minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent. Stir in milk, heavy cream, goat cheese and Parmesan for one to two minutes, until cheeses has melted.
    Add red peppers and puree with an immersion blender. Stir in pasta and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
    Serve immediately, garnished with Parmesan if desired.
    Makes four servings.

 

One Pot Zucchini Mushroom Pasta

1 pound spaghetti
1 pound cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced and quartered
2/3 cup peas
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 sprigs thyme
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup heavy cream

    In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat, combine spaghetti, mushrooms, zucchini, peas, garlic, thyme and 4-1/2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer eight to 10 minutes, uncovered, until pasta is cooked through and liquid has reduced. Stir in Parmesan and heavy cream.
    Serve immediately.
    Makes six servings.

 

Cheesy Enchilada Rice Skillet

1 cup uncooked rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 cup canned corn kernels, drained
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup mild enchilada sauce
1/2 cup mild green enchilada sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

    Place 1-1/2 cups water and rice in a large saucepan  and cook rice according to package instructions. Set aside.
    Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion and bell pepper and cook two to three minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent.
    Stir in rice, corn, black beans, enchilada sauces, chili powder, cumin and oregano for two to three minutes, until well combined and heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
    Remove from heat and top with cheese. Cover about two minutes, until cheese has melted.
    Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro.
    Makes four servings.

 

 

Slow Cooker Potato and Corn Chowder

24 ounces red potato, diced
1 16-ounce package frozen corn
3 tablespoons flour
6 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup heavy cream

    Place potatoes and corn into a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in flour and gently toss to combine. Stir in chicken stock, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for  seven to eight hours or high heat for three to four hours. Stir in butter and heavy cream. Serve immediately.
    Makes eight servings.

 

Easy Burrito Bowls

1 cup uncooked rice
1 cup salsa
3 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
1 15.25-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
For chipotle cream sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chipotle paste
1 clove garlic, pressed
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt

    To make chipotle cream sauce, whisk together sour cream, chipotle paste, garlic, lime juice and salt. Set aside.
    In a large saucepan, place rice and 1-1/2 cups water. Cook rice according to package instructions. Let cool and stir in salsa. Set aside.
    Divide rice mixture into serving bowls, then top with lettuce, corn, black beans, tomatoes, avocado and cilantro.
    Serve immediately, drizzled with chipotle cream sauce.
    Makes six servings.

 

Quinoa Chili

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 4.5-ounce can diced green chiles
1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1-1/2 cups corn kernels
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Juice of 1 lime, optional
1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and diced

    In a large saucepan cook quinoa with two cups water according to package instructions. Set aside.
    Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook two to three minutes, stirring frequently until onions are translucent.
    Stir in quinoa, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chiles, chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and one to two cups water, making sure to cover most of the ingredients. Season with salt and pepper.
    Reduce heat to low, then simmer, covered, about 30 minutes, until thickened. Stir in beans, corn, cilantro and lime juice, if using, and cook two minutes, until heated through.
    Serve immediately with avocado, if desired.
    Makes six servings.

 

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