We aren’t meatatarians

I had to look up the made-up word in my title to make sure I was spelling it correctly. That’s simply because we aren’t a family of meat-eaters. Growing up I remember most meals consisting of three staples: meat, starch, vegetable. Of course, there were meals that didn’t comprise of this trinity of foodstuffs, but in general, this is what I ate.

Fast forward to married life and meals on a budget. Wowza, meat is expensive! Our earliest days as a couple were lived out in Seattle and on Chris’ bank teller paycheck. We were as poor as two church mice and living on love, and so began the journey of mealtime creativity that left meat behind.

If you visited us today, you might be the only red meat to cross our threshold that didn’t come from the “manager’s special” section in the supermarket. We buy one whole chicken a week, use it for several meals and dine on meatless or slightly meated meals the rest of the week. We do love our Jimmy Dean sausage and JD shows up in many a meal, but besides Jimmy, our weekly chicken and perhaps some ham or bacon now and again, our fare is slender in the meat arena.

I never really planned to be a meatless (or less-meat) cook, this just sort of happened through a series of economic pressures and dining preferences. What I like about our less-meat home is that it’s forced me to be creative in the kitchen, to concoct culinary delights that are both tasty and nutritious from ingredients that differ from my childhood heritage. My greener side also loves that Chris and I are contributing a bit less to the antibiotic flooded meat market that is the US system. And our less-meat diet is probably healthier than the alternative…which is maybe why my dear husby has never added a pound in our 4 years of marriage!

So if you are a less-meat cook, send me your favorite recipes, ideas and cooking plans. Or if you would like to use a little less meat in your menu and have no idea where to start, I’m happy to share my scanty list of ideas to help you get off the ground. We aren’t meatatarians at the Peek home.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to We aren’t meatatarians

  1. Mom says:

    Hey I resemble that remark. Wow, you made it sound like your parents were rich, feeding seven people those kinds of meals each night. Well, the truth is your step-dad insisted on those types of meals, so that is what you had. I’ve been slowly but steadily moving the family away from “meaty” meals, at least breakfast and supper, can’t do anything about what they eat for lunch.

    Try this one out, which by the way, you had in your youth:
    Moist Cocoa Lentil Cake
    1 1/4 cups USA Red Chief lentil purée
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup oil (canola or vegetable)
    4 large eggs
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 cups sifted flour
    4 tablespoons cocoa
    1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Mixing Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 8″ or 9″ round cake pans.

    Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together for 2 minutes. Add the lentil purée and vanilla to the creamed mixture. Mix for 1 minute.

    Sift the dry ingredients, add to the batter and beat for 2 minutes on high speed.

    Pour into prepared cake pans and bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly. Remove from oven and turn out onto cooling racks. Cool completely. Carefully brush crumbs off each layer. Frost with your favorite icing.

    Purée Instructions

    Add 2 cups of water per cup of lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer. Simmer 10 to 20 minutes for decorticated (skinned) lentils and 35 to 40 minutes for whole lentils. Add more water if cooking time is extended due to high altitude, hard water or prolonged storage prior to cooking. Stir a few times. Cook lentils until they are very soft but just short of falling apart.

    When cooking is complete, remove from heat and let cool slightly but do not drain. In small batches, purée the lentils with a sieve, food mill, blender, food processor or potato masher. Purée should be the consistency of canned pumpkin. Add water to thin if necessary.

    Covered and refrigerated, purée should keep three to four days. It also freezes well.

    • acloserpeek says:

      Very wealthy indeed! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll give it a try the next time I need a sweet for something. I won’t tell anyone about the lentils until after they’ve eaten it :). Love you mama!

  2. Julie K says:

    I make a lot of meatless meals, as I was a vegetarian up until a year ago or so. If you like mushrooms, they aren’t that expensive and can replace meat in a lot of dishes and still add some heartiness to them. I do this with pasta sauce (both red and white) and fajitas (just saute up some onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms and you are good to go!). Also, frittatas (or add a crust and make a quiche) are easy to make vegetarian and good for dinners too! I usually add whatever I have on hand with the eggs and milk, like spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, potatoes, onions, cheese, artichokes, etc. I coupon, though, too (which I highly suggest) and watch for good sales when I can stock up on more expensive items, like ground turkey breast and shrimp.

    • acloserpeek says:

      Thanks for the mushroom tip! I’ve never used mushrooms as a replacement for meat. We do a LOT of frittatas too. Yummy, cheap, healthy, what’s not to like? I’ve got lots of friends that coupon…and just haven’t jumped on the bandwagon yet. Maybe I really should look at it again. Thanks Julie!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s