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 Post subject: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 6:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: Illinois
Not really a person finance topic, but I can somewhat tie it in: meat is generally the most expensive category of the food budget, so eating less meat will save money :D

Anyway, I've seen it mentioned several times in here that some of you don't eat much meat. DH, I specifically recall you mentioning you eat chicken or fish once or twice a week and that is it. I'm currently trying to reduce the amount of meat I eat, mostly for health reasons... a few months ago, I hit a weight that I didn't like and made me decide to change my eating habits. To this point, I've just greatly reduced the frequency of eat out, but I've also converted more of my meat entrees to chicken or fish.

My problem is, even cooking at home, I LOVE MEAT. I eat a lot of it. Mostly chicken and fish, but plenty of burgers, brats, and the like thrown in. I don't have enough ideas for tasty meatless meals to keep me from getting bored with it giving up on the idea.

I need some ideas. What types of meals do you make? Only one requirement: no mushrooms... I can't stand them.


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:09 am 
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bpgui wrote:
What types of meals do you make? Only one requirement: no mushrooms... I can't stand them.


I'd be happy to share recipes. And my wife finds that so hilarious...

I make a lot of stuff that I've found online or had in restaurants but modified. We are not vegetarians so there is no pretending or being really strict about anything. So, here are a few meatless suggestions but I don't want to hear from anyone about them not being strictly vegan!

1. Penne with fresh tomatoes, kalamata olives, pine nuts, basil, garlic, and feta cheese

2. Bowtie pasta with broccoli and walnuts, garlic, and parmesan

3. Shell pasta with cauliflower

4. Veggies baked in a potato slice shell with parmesan and egg mixed in

5. Curried veggies

6. Stir fried of all sorts. We find all sorts of unusual veggies at farmers' markets or ethnic markets to mix things up. This week was morning glory greens and wing beans. Other times we've tried unusual squash-like things, other greens, and many other things that often there is no English translation for.

7. Grilled veggies with garlic salt

That gets you through a week. For us we do sushi out about once a week and eat cooked fish and cooked chicken once or twice plus veggie burgers and so forth so that list could almost get us through a month. With work travel and business dinners it's pretty much complete.

There are plenty of recipe sites online you can look at, especially depending on your goals ( vegan, fat free, low carb, etc.) We just mostly try to eat healthy. For me that means not much meat but I eat a burger or ground beef burrito once or twice a year plus bacon every couple of months. My wife is a lot more rigid about not eating mammals but that doesn't really come into play at home. I should also note that my not eating steak is because I just never liked it not for any philosophical purpose.

If you tell me a few dishes you like I'm sure I can suggest or find recipes for some meatless versions. PM me if you wish


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:32 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 961
I started using herbs like cilantro, basil more.

I stopped eating rice and go with quinoa or bulgur wheat as my staple.

These foods fill you up.

You can cook them with meat or veggies.

Look into making them pilaf style.

Start buying root vegetables baked sweet potato with beans.

Stuffed green peppers with beans, corn tomato.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:44 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 98
@bpqui Try to look at your 'diet' as if it's money. Basically the same rules apply. Just see the excess fat as energy/exersice debt.

- Spend more than you eat
- Keep a log (for the first period) to figure out where and when you eat to much
- create a budget (mealplan)
- Increase excersice/income
- Decrease energy/exersice debt
- Stick to it.

Even the mental aspects are quite similar to financial debt. You have to resist the urge to get everything you like. You need to save up for big purchases/meals/Christmas or repay later with interest. (it's harder to get back on track, exercise will be harder if your overweight)

Theres even compound interest. If you increase your muscle tone your body will use more energy per hour, even when you're not working out. So, your body is working for you to remove your energy debt, without having to do anything.

And again, like with money you need to know what to invest in. There are several funds you can choose from and combine them as wanted. Protein, carbs and fats (ok, and lots of vitamins and stuff, but lets keep it easy). You need all three. Protein to keep your muscles intact (it's building blocks), carbs to feed your muscles (and the rest of your body) and fats as lubrication, making everything move. You need to find a balance in this.

While losing weight protein is very important. If you do not have enough building blocks to keep your muscles the result will be that you loose muscle tone, and that means your energy usage drops. It's like not paying of a loan in time and getting late fees added to the debt. You're just making it harder on yourself.
----
Eating less meat is a good idea, but meat has a high protein contents (especially chicken and tuna fish) that your body needs. If you're going to loose wait and eat less meat make sure you get a good replacement for the protein, for example with nuts.

good luck


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:45 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: Illinois
Thanks guys.

I do get plenty of protein. I eat a lot of tuna (most of the time I bring a lunch to work and it includes tuna 95% of the time. I also eat throw in a hard boiled egg with any salad I make. I suppose I should count that as meat, but I don't.

The wife and I have also been planning out meals a week in advance. We started that mostly because I noticed that we kept throwing unused/spoiled food out that we bought at the store because we thought we might use it.

DH, what kind of sauces/gravies do you use for your pastas, if any?


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:51 pm 

Joined: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:29 pm
Posts: 1627
Location: Seattle, WA
I don't avoid meat but I occasionally attempt to reduce it by using less or no meat in a dish that I might otherwise use meat in.

Stir fries and fried rices - use half as much meat as I might otherwise
BBQ Quesadillas - leave out the meat (i often put mushrooms in these when I'm making them veggie but onions and bell peppers could stand on their own)
Lasagna - leave out the meat or use only one lb of sausages for a whole lasagna
Burritos/tacos/enchiladas - leave out the meat and add extra beans
Curries - leave out the meat, occasionally substitute potatoes

Some specific vegetarian recipes I make from time to time:
"Make Ahead Vegetarian Moroccan Stew"
"Tomato Curry Lentil Stew"
"Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos"
"Loco Moco" but without the meat - just eggs, rice, and gravy
"Butter Chickpea Curry"

My understanding of vegetarian protein sources could be called limited, but as reflected in the above I'm pretty sure it includes:
beans (and lentils and chickpeas)
cheese
eggs


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2012 4:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: Illinois
stannius wrote:
I don't avoid meat but I occasionally attempt to reduce it by using less or no meat in a dish that I might otherwise use meat in.

That is my primary goal. Just eating less than I currently do.


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:38 pm 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2012 2:23 pm
Posts: 810
I rarely cook meat at home (I love a good hamburger in the summer), but rather look at it as a treat when we venture out for a dinner every once and a while.

I've also found cooking "ethnic" food to be a lot healthier. For example, we make a Vindaloo that can be made with chicken, but we often opt for tofu (or just extra cauliflower and garbanzo beans). We also make a tagine that is veggie. And a quesadilla with zucchini, cheese, beans, onion and jalapeno. Eggplant is another favorite which can be cooked many ways and topped with something like spinach, oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Our soups are also made with raw cashews ground down to a powder with water to make a "cream." This "cream" can then be used for things such as tomato soup or a jalapeno bisque. Or a quinoa with bell peppers and beets. Or quinoa stuffed bell peppers.

I actually prefer to look up vegan recipes, as a lot of veggie recipes just replace meat with tofu and i tire quickly of 18 different pasta variations.

My "naughty" treat at home is "french" steamed mussels with a good french bread for dipping.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:52 pm 
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Bichon Frise wrote:
I've also found cooking "ethnic" food to be a lot healthier.


I agree. I've been fortunate to travel a lot and one observation I'd make is that many ethnic foods that we eat bear little resemblance to what they began as.

Cheese in Mexico is barely curdled fresh white stuff not melted salty dyed yellow stuff. They make quesadillas but they as quite different.

And one thing many places have in common is that meat is more like a flavoring than a main ingredient. The places where this is true are often much healthier than areas in the same country where the diet has become more Americanized and people eat a lot more meat and salt rather than the traditional fresh ingredients. It's also well documented that a few cultures, Asians come to mind, are much healthier at home and lose almost all that advantage of moving to the US.


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:45 am 

Joined: Wed May 16, 2012 1:54 am
Posts: 17
Location: Anaheim, CA
Instead of meat you can have grilled fish or grilled chicken instead. It is a much healthier and equally tasty alternative to meat. Also if you cant resist burger, have it with chicken instead and use brown bread. Avoid your mayo and eat the same thing in a healthier way.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2012 3:51 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: Illinois
jamescruz wrote:
Instead of meat you can have grilled fish or grilled chicken instead.

When did chicken and fish cease being meats?


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 6:32 am 

Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 3:05 pm
Posts: 1356
A couple of good sources of recipes are Martha Rose Shulman (Recipes for Health -- the New York Times column and cookbook of the same name) and Mark Bittman's "Food Matters" cookbook. Shulman's recipes are delicious but can be occasionally time-consuming; Bittman's usually take 30 minutes or less and are also delicious. Bittman changed his diet a few years ago so he eats no meat before 6pm, and he has plenty of really tasty recipes that use little or no meat of any kind. He outlined his philosphy in the book "Food Matters" and has since come out with a "Food Matters Cookbook" that contains a lot more recipes.

I've been cooking from Bittman's and Shulman's books almost exclusively for the past 7 years and have yet to hit a recipe that wasn't excellent. I cook almost all our meals (we eat out once or twice a month), so by now I've tried hundreds of these recipes.

Another good source is The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, which was out of print for a few years but I think is available again. I've made almost every recipe in that book and they're all winners -- don't confuse this with Mollie Katzen's classic, The Moosewood Cookbook; it's not related. All but a couple of the recipes in The Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at home can be completed in 30 minutes or less, and they're mostly vegetarian with one small section of fish recipes.


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:25 pm 

Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 7:10 am
Posts: 5
You can make a big pot of pasta sauce, with veggies, then cook something for him separately, like mince or chicken, and take some of the sauce out, add it to his meat. Same with stews soups and so on. Or if he isn't against eating meat free a few times a week just add plenty of pulses to bulk out sauces and make a filling protein filled meal.


Last edited by alfredsky on Fri Jul 06, 2012 9:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 6:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:33 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: Illinois
alfredsky wrote:
You can make a big pot of pasta sauce, with veggies, then cook something for him separately, like mince or chicken, and take some of the sauce out add it to his meat. Same with stews soups and so on. Or if he isn't against eating meat free a few times a week just add plenty of pulses to bulk out sauces and make a filling protein filled meal.

I feel I need to respond to say that I am a he... when I cook it is for me and a she :)


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 Post subject: Re: Eating less meat - need some meal ideas
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:17 am 

Joined: Sat Jul 11, 2009 10:59 am
Posts: 255
Bichon Frise wrote:
Our soups are also made with raw cashews ground down to a powder with water to make a "cream." This "cream" can then be used for things such as tomato soup or a jalapeno bisque.


I think I'm going to need that recipe for jalapeno bisque. Pretty please.


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