Four MORE Weeks of Pesco-Vegetarian Dinners (winter)

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A pesco-vegetarian is someone who eats no meat except fish.  That’s my family’s policy when we’re at home.  Four weeks of our dinner menus made a popular post, so I’m posting another four weeks.  I hope these are helpful to other people who want to eat less meat but aren’t sure what to eat instead!

We made these meals in January and February.  This winter, we bought a winter farm share in addition to the summer one, so every two weeks we have been getting a crate of produce that was either stored through the winter or grown in a greenhouse.  We also got a mushroom share, which gives us a small paper bag of mushrooms from an affiliated farm, delivered along with our veggie crate.

Week One:

  • Sunday: Honey Baked Lentils and baked butternut squash from the farm.  This is one of our classic, favorite cold-weather meals!
  • Monday: Baked tofu and sliced apples from the farm, wrapped in whole-grain tortillas.  We are still refining the sauce recipe and baking technique for the baked tofu served at The Purple Tulip.  This attempt was too wet and had too much chili powder, but it was edible.
  • Tuesday: Apricot Lentil Soup with carrots from the farm, monterey jack cheese, and rosemary-flavored Triscuits.
  • Wednesday: Leftovers!
  • Thursday: We parents were happy to eat more of the delicious leftovers, but we knew seven-year-old Nicholas would complain about the lack of variety, so he got to have macaroni-and-cheese from a box.  (The older I get, the less I can remember why I ever liked that stuff!)  Daniel sliced up some more apples for a side dish.
  • Friday: My meal plan says, “Creamed Kale, baked/roasted potatoes, soysages,” but I recall that Daniel did not make the Creamed Kale because he wasn’t feeling well or something and hadn’t bought milk, and I came home from work happily anticipating that Creamed Kale from this delicious recipe would end my extreme hunger and grouchy mood, and when I discovered that there would be no Creamed Kale and that the potatoes were barely started and that there was no milk for the next day’s breakfast, I was Not Nice At All. :-(  I think I ate cereal while I was waiting for the potatoes and then sauteed a little kale to eat with them and my soysage–by which I mean soy sausage patty.  We don’t eat fake meats very often, but we do like those sausages once in a while.
  • Saturday: I made a new batch of spaghetti sauce, incorporating a small turnip as well as kale from the farm, and we ate some of it over whole-wheat spaghetti.

Week Two:

  • Sunday: Stuffed Shells made with the new spaghetti sauce!
  • Monday: Daniel and Nicholas wanted to try making their own fruit bars (similar to Newtons or Nutri-Grain bars) after school, so Daniel asked me to plan a dinner that would be simple to prepare.  The bars, made with dried apricots, turned out crumbly but delicious!  For dinner we had frozen fish sticks, sauerkraut from the farm (they make some of their cabbages into sauerkraut to share with their subscribers) for the guys, and frozen broccoli for me since I don’t like sauerkraut.
  • Tuesday: I asked Daniel to try a recipe for Roasted Garbanzo Beans with Garam Masala while I was at a meeting.  I figured if those didn’t turn out well, they could just eat leftover Stuffed Shells!  They loved the garbanzos, but I (there were some left over for me to try) thought the consistency was weird–I’d expected them to be crisp; they were chewy–and the flavor needed elaboration.
  • Wednesday: Leftover Stuffed Shells!
  • Thursday: Daniel sauteed mushrooms, kale, and garlic–all from the farm–and served them over couscous (similar to this not-quite-recipe) for himself and me.  We knew Nicholas wouldn’t eat much of that, so he got some plain pinto beans and sliced cucumber.  He likes to balance beans on cucumber slices. :-)
  • Friday: Whole-wheat rotini with spaghetti sauce, and frozen cauliflower sauteed in olive oil with garlic.  My friend and her almost-one-year-old daughter came over for dinner; the baby loved the cauliflower so much her mom hardly got a taste!!
  • Saturday: I went on a big cooking binge, while being entertained by my personal DJ!  I made Tart & Tangy Baked Beans from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen, four loaves of Raisin Bran Bread, and coleslaw.  The coleslaw recipe came out tasting not quite right, so I added 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. soy sauce, 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard, and 1 tsp. sesame oil.  Perfection!!  Some of the coleslaw was for our family, but most was for the dinner our church serves at a homeless shelter once a month.  The person in charge of serving told me the homeless men liked the coleslaw, and the two grad students from China who recently started coming to our church and were helping to serve the meal really, really loved it!  I’ll have to try this tweaked recipe again, on a different cabbage, before I can really call it a success, though.

Week Three:

  • Sunday: Nicholas cooked some homemade veggie burgers from our freezer (thawed first, to help them get hot all the way through without burning on the outside) while I finished roasting some potatoes from the farm with rosemary, parsley, and oregano (all from the farm) and olive oil.  We also had oranges with this meal.
  • Monday: We went out to dinner at our neighborhood Mexican restaurant.  Later in the evening, I mixed up a batch of Honey Baked Lentils and put them in the refrigerator to soak–it shortens the baking time by about 10 minutes.
  • Tuesday: Daniel baked the lentils in the afternoon, and we took them to a potluck dinner at church.
  • Wednesday: My instructions to Daniel say, “Salmon (deboned, in fridge), rice (make extra), butternut squash and/or farm veggies.”  He was going to pick up our farm share that afternoon, so I didn’t know what would be in it.  I can’t recall what vegetable(s) we ate with this meal, but I think he must not have baked the squash then because I see the instruction to bake it on our menu 8 days later!  (Winter squash lasts quite a while, if you don’t let it get damp or too warm.)  I had deboned a can of salmon the night before because Daniel doesn’t like doing that.  He fancied up 2/3 of the salmon for the adults and left the rest plain for Nicholas–who, perversely, decided he wanted the fancy kind this time!
  • Thursday: Becca’s Broccoli Casserole, using the leftover rice.  This was harder for Daniel to make than I’d intended because the frozen broccoli we had at that point was in very large pieces; he had to cook it a bit to be able to cut it into reasonably-sized pieces!  I’m glad he did, because if they’d gone into the oven frozen and sticking up out of the sauce, they probably would have ended up with an unpleasant texture.  Anyway, this casserole–which we hadn’t made for several years, due to inexplicable oversight–was even tastier than we remembered!  Even Nicholas kind of liked it, and he’s no big fan of broccoli.
  • Friday: An appetizer of cucumber slices just because they needed to be used up, then Fried Rice with cabbage and carrot.  The cabbage was left over from making the coleslaw (the head of cabbage produced all the shreds I needed for the recipe, plus about a cup and a half) and had been sitting in a glass jar in the fridge; cooked, it was still good to eat six days after shredding.  It was so finely shredded that it blended right into the rice, and I think Nicholas didn’t even realize he was eating cabbage.  He’s better with vegetables than many kids, but he does complain about them pretty often!
  • Saturday: The guys had gnocchi from one of the 4 shelf-stable packs they bought at Costco after trying a free sample of it a few months ago.  I don’t like gnocchi (too gummy) so I cooked some spaghetti for myself.  I also sauteed some mushrooms and heated up some more of my spaghetti sauce, for topping the gnocchi or spaghetti.  It was a nice quick meal to put together after a long day at the natural history museum with Nicholas and some friends.

Week Four:

  • Sunday: Another round of delicious sauteed kale and mushrooms over couscous!  I also baked a homemade frozen pizza for Nicholas.  (He and Daniel made the pizzas several weeks earlier, using my mom’s dough recipe and grating a bunch of assorted cheeses left over from church coffee hour.  They ate one fresh and just wrapped the rest in foil and stuck them in the freezer.  I think they’re not as good baked-from-frozen as they were when they were fresh, but still, the crust is better and probably healthier than most frozen pizzas!  They cost a lot less, too.)
  • Monday: Beans & Rice.
  • Tuesday: We went out for pizza.
  • Wednesday: Daniel put some olive oil in a pan, some frozen filets of flounder on top of it, and some mushrooms and herbs from the farm on top of that, and baked it for 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, he cooked rice and another round of that delicious cauliflower with garlic oil.  Plenty of fat in this meal–good for a cold night!
  • Thursday: The menu just says, “baked squash.”  I remember having trouble thinking of something other than Honey Baked Lentils to eat with it; I don’t remember what we decided!  But I know that it’s because Daniel baked all at once all the squashes that had been piling up from the farm, that we decided to try Butternut Squash Burritos the following Monday!
  • Friday: Japanese Udon Noodle Soup.  My mom taught me to make this when she was visiting last summer.  It’s really easy: At an Asian grocery store, buy udon noodles and a little jar of bonito broth mix.  (Bonito is a kind of fish.  The broth mix is like bouillon.)  Mix bonito,a couple spoonfuls at a time, into a pot of water until it tastes like a nice fishy Japanese soup, not too strong but not too watery.  Boil some vegetables and tofu in it.  (We used carrots and a daikon radish from the farm, supplemented with the last of the frozen broccoli and about half a pound of tofu.)  Meanwhile, boil the noodles in water in a separate pot.  Drain noodles and put them into bowls.  Ladle the soup on top of them.  Eat with chopsticks and loud slurping noises!
  • Saturday: I cooked frozen pierogies with onions and carrots from the farm.  Upon finding some of the daikon in the crisper (I had thought Daniel used it all in the soup), I decided to try frying it along with the pierogies–and it blended right in!  I had no idea daikon cooked with onions in butter and olive oil would taste so different and yummy!

If you’re visiting from one of the linkups, you might like to check out my recent article about our recipe binder.  If you have not looked at the linkups whose buttons appear at the top of this page–each of which collects many writers’ articles about food, meal planning, and recipes–click each of those buttons to open the linkup in a new tab.  Happy cooking!

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About 'Becca
author of The Earthling's Handbook, about the environment, parenting, cooking, and more!

4 Responses to Four MORE Weeks of Pesco-Vegetarian Dinners (winter)

  1. This sounds like a delicious menu plan. You’ve highlighted some wonderful recipes too. I like how you incorporated the turnip and kale in your spaghetti sauce!

  2. Pingback: Three Weeks of Vegetarian Dinners « The Earthling's Handbook

  3. Pingback: Meal Planning When I’m Not the Cook « The Earthling's Handbook

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Articles Earthlings Read in 2012 « The Earthling's Handbook

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