Monday, February 4, 2013

Meatless Mondays! Veggie Chili...

Meatless Monday: Veggie Chili (or as Darren calls it Goulash)…
As we try to get healthy this year, we are attempting to adopt “Meatless Monday”.  Meatless Monday, if you’ve not heard, is making a meatless dinner on Monday night.  Why would anyone who isn’t Vegan or Vegetarian do this?  Well, several reasons…
First, as many of my faithful Mater friends know, we’ve been watching and reading a lot about the benefits of a plant based diet.  The endorsers of this way of eating say it lowers blood pressure, chances of cancer, diabetes, etc – lots of good benefits.  Second, going meatless at least one night a week can really save you money.  On your next trip to the grocery – look at your receipt when you get in the car (before you are driving of course) and check out what the priceiest items are.  I bet at least some of them are your meat items – not your fresh fruits and veggies.  Example – I joined a CSA this week (stands for Consumer Supported Agriculture – more on this in another post).  The total cost for the CSA was $125.  I will get a half bushel, about a brown grocery bag full, of seasonal fresh organic local fruits and veggies every other week for 8 weeks.  I can use them immediately or fresh freeze them for the winter or later use.  So lets do the math.  Let’s do the math - $125 for the CSA over/8 weeks = $15.62 a week for all my veggies.  That breaks down to less than $2 per DAY for fresh/organic fruits and veggies.
Now, Darren, much like most dudes, LOVES his meat.  I am a chicken gal myself but let’s focus on red meat…  Darren especially loves ribeye steaks.  The cheapest ribeye I’ve found recently was a 4 pack at Costco for about $36 ($36 /4 = $9ea).  So we are at $9 (wholesale store mind you – and not organic, not grassfed, just plain old ribeye) for ONE person at ONE meal – even at the cheapest way of doing it – meat is more than three times more expensive than plant based foods.  And much to contrary belief, you can obtain fantastic amounts of good quality protein from plan based foods…  Again info for another post. 
 Let’s do some more math… if you normally ate a modest steak dinner on Mondays and switched to a meatless dish just once a week – you would save at least $20 a week x 52 wks = $1040 a year – and that’s just based on a two person household!  That’s an extra house payment or a good start to a fun vacation fund! 
So you see – there are some GREAT benefits to Meatless Monday.  Remember – Meatless Monday doesn’t mean you have to go TOTALLY vegetarian or Vegan.  Broths and bullions are great inexpensive flavorings if you do not totally want to go plant based or are trying to transition but not cold turkey.
I have gotten Darren to try some veggies he normally wouldn’t eat and he LOVES them!  We are both evolving.  He trying things he thought he didn’t like and finding out he’s been missing out.  I have been learning to cook with healthier better quality ingredients AND supporting local farming at the same time.  It’s a total win-win.
So a recipe to get you started!
Veggie Chili (Darren calls it Goulash because he doesn’t want to lie to himself he says)
·        1 large Portobello mushroom caps – stem removed & brown accordion like things scraped out.  Then dice or chop finely so that it kinda will look like ground beef.
·        1 zucchini – diced
·        1 can red kidney beans – rinsed and drained
·        1 can black beans rinsed and drained
·        1 can corn drained
·        1 can diced chilies
·        1 can diced tomatoes
·        1 cups fresh salsa (or 1 jar of prepackages)
·        1 recipe for Chili Spice Mix
·        1 cup of beef or vegetable broth (add a second cup if you like soupier chili)
Place everything into the slow cooker and simmer on low for 6-8hrs.
Top with cheese, sour cream, fresh avocado and other chili fixin’s.  Also a great topping for veggie nachos as a follow up leftovers meal.
1.      I usually will do a batch on the weekend and then freeze it in quart sized containers for quick Meatless Monday or other day meals.  
2.      Also, remember always buy the best quality items you can afford.   I know everyone can’t do all organic / non GMO but I would suggest if you can please do.  Also, read your ingredients – the same thing (like canned beans) may have different ingredients from brand to brand.  Remember – the less ingredients the better for your health.  If it says “Black beans” on the front you really should not see anything more than beans, water, salt and maybe one other thing on the ingredient label. 
Happy Monday my little maters!

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