This is the first Meatless Monday post about what meals you can do that are yummy and that don't incorporate meat. But, if you're a practicing Catholic, you can also use this as a meatless meal for those Lenten Fridays. Before I say anything else, I want to let you know that this has nothing to do with my love of cooking. And that is because that does not exist. I do NOT like cooking at all, so I'll just let you know right now that this is not about to be a fancy food-blogger type of post. Or even a regular food-blogger type of post. This is going to be the kind of post where you say, that is ridiculously easy and I can totally do that (and, "I canNOT believe that this lady is even posting about this because this is not even real cooking"). I'm all about the easiest way to eat relatively healthy (or at least the easiest way to feed my kids healthy, while I hide in the kitchen and eat chips).
Okay, so, before we get into it, why am I even doing this? Because it encompasses a few things that I find important. One, eating (my favorite pastime), Two, vegetarianism, and Three, the environment. First, eating is important so we don't die of starvation. The end. Second, the vegetarianism and the environment kind of go together. For the most part, I'm vegetarian. I may or may not sometimes sneak some kind of meat or fish in on a rare occasion, but I'm usually pretty good with it. One of the biggest destroyers of the environment right now is commercial farming. And the meat industry is a huge culprit. Not only is it an environmental disaster, but the way that animals are being raised for food nowadays is beyond disgusting and shameful, so I just can't support that. That's all I'm going to say about that because this is not a discussion about the evils of modern farming (but if you do want to know about that, start googling "factory farming" or watch a documentary about and then be prepared to cry and throw up). Anyway, so if you've never heard of Meatless Mondays, it's a big movement to get people to eat less meat. So there's one day out of the week that you consciously decide to not include meat in your meals. It's healthy for you and for the planet.
Let's get into it. For this first meal, I picked pasta with vegan meatballs and steamed vegetables. Why? Because it is ridiculously easy and I'm a busy mom, so ridiculously easy is one of my two requirements (mostly healthy is my other one).
Now, here's what I used:
Organic Zita pasta - Whole Foods brand (you can use any brand you want) - It's easy for the kids because there's no twirling of pasta. It's just nice and big and chunky so they can easily poke it.
Severino Homemade sauce in the Homemade Classic Red flavor (again - you can use any brand you want) - This is our new go-to pasta sauce because Nick LOVES it. He says it tastes just like his aunts' pasta sauce, which is really saying something because their pasta sauce is the best I've ever had in my life.
And, here's the best part: Gardein Classic Meatless Meatballs - Hands down best non-meat meatball ever. Even Nick really likes it. And he doesn't like fake meat. I usually don't like a lot of fake meat brands because they taste...fake. But these (non)meatballs are sooooooo good. Almost exactly like the real thing. The ingredients are vegan, which means you're not getting all the fat from regular meatballs, so it's a total win.
Organic frozen vegetables - any brand you want - they're all ready all cut up for you... so nice when I don't have to wash and cut up vegetables.
1. Boil water, put in the pasta. Boil til the pasta are nice and soft, but not too squishy. You're probably thinking "duh - why is she telling me how to make pasta?" Well, it's just in case you've been living under a rock your whole life.
2. Put the frozen "meatballs" in a pan with some olive oil and warm them up on lowish medium. Since they're not actual meat, you aren't cooking them. But they are frozen balls, so you need to thaw them and then get them hot. You could just get them warm and they taste good, but they taste best when really hot.
3. Put the pasta sauce in a small pan to heat it up and then let it sit there warm on the stove.
4. Steam those veggies for just a minute so they're not soggy. Then take them off.
5. Once the pasta is done, pour the sauce on top, then leave on stove to keep it hot. Check the meatballs. Once they're done, SERVE IT ALL UP!
And, FOR DESSERT.....I found this the other day, and IT. IS. SO. GOOOOOOOD:
Ben & Jerry's P.B. & Cookies Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert (vegan ice cream)
Grab some spoons and enjoy!
Now you have the easiest meat-free meal ever (actually, this meal is even more than just meatless - it is vegan!), but you still get the feel of having some meat because of the meatless meatballs. Yum!