Does anyone have any good, really cheap, meatless meals. I am in desperate need. Thanks to all.
By JJ from TX
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Eating meatless is probably the cheapest way to eat, so you're already halfway there! We're not vegetarians but I make veggie meals 2-3 times a week to save money.
For low cost buy staples like dried beans, lentils, rice and pasta. Lots of protein and fiber for pennies. Frozen vegetables work in many recipes and are often cheaper than fresh. Invest in some cookbooks or check out recipes online if you need some ideas. Here's a couple of quick dishes:
Golden Vegetable Rice
2/3 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup chopped vegetables-carrots, peas, mushrooms, peppers, etc
1 clove minced garlic, or dried garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Dash salt and pepper
Vegetable stock (optional)
1 teaspoon margarine or olive oil
In a saucepan saute rice and garlic in butter or oil over medium heat until lightly golden. Add 1 1/2 cups water, or one cup water and 1/2 cup vegetable stock.
Bring to a boil and add chopped vegetables and seasonings. Frozen vegetables are fine if the pieces aren't too large. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10-12 minutes, then fluff with a fork and serve.
Lentil and Tomato Soup
1/4 cup dried lentils, washed
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
2 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic, or garlic granules
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable stock or boullion
In a large saucepan saute carrots, onions and garlic in oil over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add undrained tomatoes, 1 cup stock or 1 cube boullion, and 2 canfuls of water. Add other ingredients and bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 45 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are tender. If soup is too thick add more water.
I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years & I generally don't use any special recipes. But for someone who is just quitting the meat habit the basic rule of thumb is "ethnic" foods.
Mexican Foods: Are, by far the easiest to change to vegetarian. Just substitute no-fat beans in place of meat in most any recipe
Chinese, Thai and Asian: with fried rice, you need no meat or you can substitute Deep-fried tofu or dense regular tofu in place of meat in most Asian recipes.
India Foods: Most Indian Hindu's are vegetarian, so you can use almost any Indian cookbook to make many spicy Indian dishes. Make a simple curry then pour over rice & on-sale veggies.
Japanese Foods: Noodles with veggie-broth & fresh sliced veggies. Just heat the broth then add the big fat noodles & whatever veggies (fresh or frozen) a bit of soy sauce & serve with bread.
Italian Foods: Spaghetti, Lasagna, Ravioli, Manicotti can all be made using cheese in place of meat. And don't forget Eggplant Parmesan. Eggplant makes a wonderful meat substitute because of it's texture. A trick to make Spaghetti sauce look like it has meat in it, simply grate up half of a carrot & add it to the sauce & simmer! The carrot will give the sauce a meat texture.
* If you get a craving for meat, buy a wheat gluten based boxed mix at any health food store & make this. You can make most anything from gluten including barbecued "ribs" & "meat"-loaf.... Sometimes this gluten mix is called "Seitan".
Lentil meat Loaf: make lentil burgers the same exact way you'd make any meat-loaf except use cooked (fairly thick) lentils in place of hamburger. Do this by using cooked lentils, & onions, garlic powder & spices & some cracker crumbs & an egg to hold the mixture together (& maybe ketchup, Worcestershire, A-1 &/or soy sauce) then place the "meat" loaf in a greased loaf pan & bake as you would any meat-loaf for about 45 min to 1 hour in a 350 deg. oven.
Lentil Burgers: or you can take the same mixture & cool it in the fridge for an hour or so then fry (using Pam) in a big skillet. When the burgers are done on both sides & the pan is still hot, splash on some soy-sause to caramelize then add a slice of cheese to each lentil-burger then cover with a ceramic plate or a big pan lid & remove from burner & wait several minutes until the cheese has melted. I like cheddar cheese, but any kind will do. Putt these on a bun or eat on a plate with a fork. My kinds all loved these lentil burgers!
Minestroni Soup: I make the best (& easiest) homemade vegetarian soup by using a big can of generic V-8 soup as the base, then adding garlic powder, onion powder & Italian seasoning (from $1 store), then add 2 packages of frozen "stir-fry" veggies (each pack should be different kinds of veggies) & the same amount of water as the V-8 can or more. Add 1 or 2 can's of beans (I like kidney beans). To make this go further, add some noodles (like alphabet) but they swell, so go sparingly. Instead of salt, I use soy sauce. Add pepper if you like. Serve this big pot of hardy soup with day-old crusty bread or toast & a dollop of plan yogurt on top or you can add a bit of grated cheese over the top of this soup.
* If you shop at a farmers market or hit a good sale on veggies, use fresh veggies instead of the frozen stir-friy veggies, but I like using the frozen veggies because they are already cleaned & cut up, so I can whip this soup together in minutes!
Potato Soup: (hearty & inexpensive!) Make regular potato soup using big chunks of potatoes & uses boxed potatoes to thicken. You can add "bacon" bits for extra "ham" flavoring.
Eggs: Don't forget eggs, they are one of the best sources of protein around. Sometimes I make scrambled eggs using only one yoke to 4 or 5 eggs, for a wonderful high-protein, low-fat meal. For a extra Protein add eggs to your Fried Rice & other meals, simply pour this scrambled-egg mixture (with salt & popper added) into a large skillet & cook. When done, remove the cooked eggs & roll them up & slice into tiny slivers & add to your fried rice &/or soup.
The Least Expensive Foods: Lentils are cheap & high in protein & folic acid. Noodles & rice are also cheap. Buy your fresh veggies on sale or buy the store-brand frozen stir-fry veggies. When I was layed-off & very poor, I lived on Brown Rice with re-hydrated dried beans (any type). I added onions, garlic powder, salt & pepper for flavor & this was a healthy, filling & tasty meal!
* Go to Saturday Farmer's Markets at the end of the day & tell the farmers you have very little money & ask for their "throw-away" bruised foods. Sometimes you can get these fruits & veggies at a great discount or for free. Do not ask in front of other customers or they will want the same "deal".
* My grandmother raised a large family during the depression ere & her secret was to always serve a big basket of bread along with every meal. This way her family could at least get full on the bread. For breakfast, she would often make old-fashioned oatmeal with ground cinnamon added & sometimes she would cut up an apple into tiny pieces or add a handful of raisins for a tasty treat. You'd be surprised at how inexpensive regular oat's are. No need to buy the tiny little flavored packages that cost a fortune! Just serve these hot oats with honey or sugar & milk on the side.
* Awesome Vegan Cookbook: Here's the BEST vegan cook book out there! It's written by a bunch of old hippies that live on "The Farm" in Tennessee. It is a community farm with all vegan's living there. They make so many healthy & low cost foods. Splurge & buy this unusual cookbook, you can buy a used copy for only $3.50.
Feel free to write me here on ThriftyFun with questions or for other Vegetarian Recipes & ideas. Tell me your exact needs, likes & dislikes. I always have many ideas.
* As long as your family takes a good multi-vitamin & drinks lots of nonfat milk & yogurt, they will get enough vitamins, protein & calcium.
Cabbage fry up-feeds 2 as entree
1/2 head cabbage cut in narrow ribbons
2 onions cut in half then in half rings
2 potatoes cut julienne
2-5 (to taste) cloves of chopped garlic
enough vegetable or olive oil to cover the bottom of your skillet
2 pats (about 2 teaspoons) butter
Melt butter in oil in skillet or electric frypan
on low heat.
Add potatoes and cook until they begin to soften and brown lightly, add onions and cook until translucent. add cabbage and cook until cabbage is cooked. Stir regularly. This takes about 20 minutes in my electric frypan to cook.
If you wish, you can add cubes of firm tofu or cut up veggie burgers with the onion and potatoes.
1 cup rice, boil with cinnamon stick, clove, and cardamom and salt. When it's cooked drain and keep aside.
1/2 frozen veggies or fresh like carrots cubed, sliced green beans, peas, or corn
1 onion sliced, 2 green chilies[optional]
2 Tbsp oil.
Fry onion and chilies till light brown, add your veggies and salt to your taste, cook for few seconds when liquid has evaporated add the rice and place on stove to heat through. Sprinkle some herbs, serve with salads or fried or grilled potatoes, soya, paneer, or tofu.
2 potatoes. Peel, slice, and boil till tender and drain. Punnet (small basket) of mushrooms, clean and slice. Boil some pasta with salt and a little oil. Salt, pepper and mixed herbs, white sauce, and cheese for sprinkling. Layer the potato, mushroom, pasta, salt,,herbs, pepper, white sauce, and cheese and bake and serve with salad.
2 large potatoes, wash, dry, and wrap with foil and bake. When it's done slit and add filling. Sweet corn, soya sausage chopped, heat in the microwave and mix with mayonnaise and serve with salad. These fillings are simple and go well with potato. Boiled eggs and mayonnaise. Sour cream and chives. Cheese filling.
Put oatmeal patties in the Thriftyfun search window to get a good meat substitute recipe.
Check out www.cheaphealthygood.com They have many, many vegetarian and vegan recipes and make it a point to not empty the purse in the process.
Ooops. Gave you the wrong URL. It is http://cheaphea … od.blogspot.com/
Easy veg dishes like courgettes, patty pan and gem squash wash dry and place on a tray and drizzle olive oil,sprinkle some fresh or dry herbs,few cloves of garlic and salt and cover with foil and bake.Serve with rice or bread.
Shred cabbage and steam,add olive oil and herbal salt and enjoy.
Boil chick peas,add salt and drizzle olive oil and serve with couscous and garnish with herbs.
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