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EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club: Week 2

Each of us brings our own challenges to trying something new. My husband is a full time bike commuter and he comes home HUNGRY. He was raised in an Asian family where meat is a part of every meal (sometimes dinners have several meats), and that there should be a proper ratio of meat to rice at every meal. We joke about this, but I'm telling ya that he won't eat an extra bite of meat if there isn't a forkful or rice or vice versa. Kinda cracks me up. The kids have very naturally followed in his footsteps. So while I'm extremely excited to be trying out new recipes in the EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club, I also fear that my husband will be hiding slabs of ham under the table and trying to slip some into the vegetarian dinners I make. That's why my first recipe is one my husband brought home and first tried out on us. We call it Bean Bowl. It is inspired from a dish he had from one of Portland's downtown food-carts.

Spicy-bean-bowl
Bean Bowl

Brown rice (about three cups serves four people)

Black beans (about a cup and a half, or a standard can of beans)

Shredded cheese (mild cheddar or colby jack)

Lemon Goddess Tahini sauce (such as Drew's) or Thai peanut sauce

Mexican salsa (such as Emerald Valley)

Sour cream or plain yogurt

Fresh chopped cilantro

This dish fits my new definition of fast food, because once the rice and beans are cooked, it's only about assembly. Yes, even old dogs can learn new tricks. That old dog is me; I have finally bridged the gap and learned to soak and cook beans in advance of needing them!

For the black beans, I soak overnight. Then simmer for about 2 hours. I try to cook the beans ahead of time and freeze the rest in small portions (about the size of a can of beans).

Unlike Heather, I use a rice cooker for brown rice. We prefer a brown Basmati, and I throw one cup of rice and two cups of water into the rice cooker and give it about 40 minutes. We used to make white rice almost exclusively, and granted, it cooks much faster but has a heck of a lot less fiber and protein. One of my kids always gives me grief and asks if it's brown or white, and I've taken to fudging the truth a little and calling it 'tan rice.'

Here's what makes this fast food. Pick a bowl and fill the bottom with some brown rice. Cover with a nice layer of black beans. Cover that with a drizzle of lemon goddess tahini sauce (my husband's fave), or a Thai peanut sauce (my preference). After that, cover with a nice layer of salsa. Next comes a bit of shredded cheese, followed by a tiny dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. Then finish it off with a light sprinkling of chopped fresh cilantro. When I first heard about Bean Bowl, it sounded like too many diverse ingredients. But I really love how the spicy and creamy textures marry, and Bean Bowl is a hit in our house.

For my anti-spice girls, I keep it simple. Start with the layer of rice and beans. Add shredded cheese and a tiny dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. Then the teensiest sprinkling of fresh chopped cilantro (if your kids have issues with green things like mine do). That's it. Kid-version bean bowl. My older daughter loves this meal and will gladly eat it for school lunch if I pack it into an insulated stainless steel container.

Kid-bean-bowl

That's it! I like how fast this comes together, how filling and comfort-foody it is. And that you can tailor it for picky kids (of which I have two). Now let's move onto the recipes from our partner bloggers in the EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club:

I'll also should warn you. Don't look at these recipes on an empty stomach. I looked at most of them on a full stomach, and even that was dangerous!

First off Nancy at Nano's Kitchen brings us Sweet Potato Lentil Stew, which looks amazing and features a crock pot (gotta love those this time of year). Sweet potato is one of those miracle foods, and I'm always looking for ways to get more of them in our family's diet. 

Industrious Emily whipped up Lentil Shepard's Pie. Having spent a very chilly summer in London a long time ago, I have a soft spot for shepard's pie, and this vegetarian take on a classic dish looks delicious.

Greens-garlic-pizza Jen from Life on Bean Road shares a Garlic and Greens Pizza that is half plain cheese for the kids. What's fantastic is that the green part looked so good, that even the little ones were tempted to sample it. Anyone who manages to get kids to eat kale is a rockstar in my book. (photo credit: Life on Bean Road).

Mary Beth at Salt and Chocolate takes one of her old standbys -- veggie burritos -- and squeezes in a variety of home-grown bounty from the garden. Our garden is also still cranking out the zukes and tomatoes, so this will be one for us to try.

Beth at The Cummings Clan tries something totally new for her: gnocci. She said it took more time than she expected, but the good news is that gnocci freeze well, so you can make up a lot and save some for an easier meal later.

Marleen at Walking on a High Wire also has a Lentil Soup, one that she prepared ahead and then froze. Always nice to have freeze-able meals. I should warn you that this recipe has bacon. But I think somewhere in our EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club fine print, we noted that bacon is an exception to the meatless rule (ha, ha). She also adds that the soup can probably get by without the bacon.

Sweet-potato-chili Melanie, from Recipe Journal, shares a recipe for Sweet Potato Chili that looks so dang tasty I just want to crawl through the internet and sample it. (photo credit: Recipe Journal).

Heather at Production Not Reproduction is featuring Vegan Risotto this week. I'm looking forward to trying this as I too have milk digestion issues. She said it gets high marks for easy and fast, but wasn't as filling as they hoped (this would be the fair warning to my hub to have that slab of ham ready under the table).

Last this week, we have Andrea from Minimonos with Tofu Pad Thai. Her creative build-a-meals distract her carnivores from realizing they have been tricked into yet another veggie meal, and are also a great way for picky kids to take control of what ends up on their plates.


Once again, our guest bloggers have brought us a wealth of variety and goodness in the recipes presented this week. Thank you!! If you have questions for the individual bloggers, please post them on their sites, but we'd also love to hear your feedback. Thus concludes our veggie journey for week two of the EnviroMom Meatless Supper Club. Join us again next week, same time, same channel, and for now feel free to veg out, everyone!

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