Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Budget Vegetarian

Since becoming a vegetarian, I have been looking high and low for easy meals to become my new staples. It's hard to find filling meals that taste good, don't take too long to prepare, are cheap and HEALTHY. I'm pretty hard to please :) This salad has quickly become one of my favorites. I am dying to try it with whole wheat tortellini but it's a little hard to find in the boondocks.

Tortellini Salad
from Vegetarian Times' Low Fat and Fast cookbook (I spent $3 on this cookbook and it is one of the best cookbook investments I have ever made!!)
Serves 4

  • 1 pkg frozen tortellini (16 oz)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced thin (or 2 cucumbers, sliced and quartered)
  • 1 cup fat free Italian salad dressing
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, if desired

Cook tortellini according to package directions.

Prepare vegetables. We tried it first with the carrots but thought they were too crunchy for the softness of the tortellini. We use cucumber instead and it works perfectly.

Combine tortellini, vegetables and dressing in a large bowl.

Top with Parmesan and serve.

See? EASY. This meal is so refreshing. After cooking the tortellini, I let it go down to room temperature so it's a nice salad that isn't hot. Since the pasta is so small, it doesn't take very long.

Vegetarian Dirty Rice with Beans
adapted from Vegetarian Times' Low Fat and Fast cookbook
Serves 4
  • 1 pkg veggie sausage, chopped (recipe says links but I used patties; Morningstar Farms makes the best!)
  • 1 cup frozen peppers and onions mix
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced
  • 2 bags Uncle Ben's Whole Grain Medley Ready Rice, Vegetable Harvest (original recipe uses more vegetables and brown rice but this is much faster!)
  • 1.5 cups Lima beans, equivalent to one 14.5 oz can, rinsed and drained (I used dried; soaked and cooked the night before)
  • 1-2 tsp creole seasoning

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add chopped up veggie sausage, celery and peppers and onions. Cook until sausage is warmed through and celery is soft but not mushy.

While cooking, cook Ready Rice in microwave for 90 seconds.

Add Lima beans, rice and desired amount of seasoning. Cook until Lima beans have warmed.

This one takes 15 minutes tops. It's fabulous. And it tastes pretty good too ;)

Veggie Fajitas
from my brain
Serves 2
  • 4 fajita size flour tortillas
  • 3 bell peppers, colors of your choosing, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 Tb. canola oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 avocado, just ripe
  • Salsa, sour cream, etc.
Now, I am not going to pretend to have created this recipe. Because it's just fajitas. Buut I have made this recipe several times because it's one of my favorite things ever. So I got the technique down pretty well.

In a small bowl, combine peppers, onions, oil and seasonings. 

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the peppers and onions. Now, here's the hard part, WALK AWAY

I used to be terrible at messing with things while they cook. TERRIBLE. Like a helicopter mommy. But then, one day about a year ago, I was recording Atonement from Starz onto a DVD and got enthralled while watching it on the couch and forgot about the pork chops on the stove. It had only been 5-6 minutes so they weren't burnt and I ran over to flip them. And I saw the most beautiful pork chop when I flipped that baby. They were fabulously juicy and flavorful. Sooo. My point is, sometimes it's better just to leave the food alone! :)

Slice the avocado while it's cooking and then return 5-6 minutes later to the skillet to see this...

Isn't it beautiful?? :)

Serve on warmed tortillas with salsa and sour cream. 

I realized there hasn't been much baking lately. Which makes me sad. Unfortunately, healthy eating isn't conducive to much baking. I've tried to lie to myself over the years and say that balance is possible! but really..it's not. You just don't get to bake as much unless they are people to share it with :) Buuut I did get to bake for the bridal shower Something fabulous and worth tweaking. I will share that and my craftiness with you very soon! :)


Marisha said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I'm finally trying to not order out so much and make food at home. It's so hard for me, but you make it look so easy! And I don't like meat, even though the hubby does, he doesn't mind when I make meals without it as long as it tastes good. Your recipes look amazing, keep posting! (:

Divine Mrs D said...

Mmmm...all this looks really good! My husband and I both eat meat, but we realize that we definitely need more veggies in our diet. Thank you for the recipes!

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