Although my kids HATE the fact that we do not have a microwave, I am relentless on the issue. We have a small kitchen, and a microwave is just not a necessity to me. I’m the one who cooks, so it’s my choice. Plus, I like to live by the motto: “If it’s convenient, it’s probably not good for you.” Microwaves are all about convenience. End of story.
However, there are some great microwavable meals that are soooo convenient that I have had to find a way around not having one, especially since I’m working from home a lot these days and do not have the money to go out for lunch.
Evol is one of my favorite brands of vegetarian and healthy meals. Their philosophy is simple: Our Mission is to inspire people to care about where food comes from and how it is produced, by making REAL FOOD that tastes delicious. So, when I saw their Goat Cheese and Portabello Raviolis in a single frozen meal, I was like, gimme! gimme! gimme!
So, to overcome the no microwave issue, I put a little olive oil in a pan and dumped the frozen raviolis in there, let the ingredients warm, and viola! A warm, delicious (and somewhat nutritious) vegetarian meal in minutes at home for only $3.50 from Target.
Two weeks ago, after watching the movie Okja, I finally decided to call it quits on the meats. I’d already been going in that direction for a while for health and other reasons, but that film pushed me over the edge. If you are thinking that you need a change, watch the movie. No more encouragement is needed.
Here’s my plan:
Don’t tell the kids and see how long it will take them to realize we haven’t had meat.
Be cheap about it.
Write about it here and share the recipes that work.
Week 1 Recipes:
DAY 1: Enchilada Stuffed Grilled Mushrooms found here. These were fantastic, but I used smaller mushrooms (being cheap), so I had to compromise quickly to feed my hungry teenagers. Luckily, I had a can of refried beans and had recently wanted Mexican pizza (like Taco Bell’s). So, I slapped some beans on some tortillas, layered them with cheese and jalapenos and the leftovers from the mushrooms. THEY WERE A HIT. *The kids didn’t notice the lack of meat.
DAY 2: Zucchini Lasagna (my own recipe). This is one that I’ve been making for a while, but I usually add sausage and pepperonis. I made it the same just without the meat: my favorite Italian marinara, vegetables, and cheese with sliced green zucchini taking the place of noodles. It’s actually better because it only takes about 30 minutes in the oven if you saute the veggies first.
DAY 3: Curry Cabbage & Cauliflower Stir Fry found here. Of course, I had to omit the coconut oil because my wife is allergic. However, everyone loved it, and the kids still hadn’t realized no meat was involved.
DAY 4: Cheated. Went out. Long day. Still no meat though.
If you haven’t already tried out Sammy Barker’s in North Pensacola, you should! I was kind of taken aback by the description of “American Street Food,” but their sign boasting craft beer caught my attention. The atmosphere is fun and relaxed—perfect for meeting friends after work or having a quick bite with kids.
The franchise has a cool back story—the theme is circus, and “barkers” are those guys who did the marketing for the show—the ones who would attract customers by yelling announcements at the crowd. This theme ties into the entire experience. The “street food” is not your typical hot dog. In fact, none of the food is typical. I’ve had the tacos, which are a unique combination of pork and toppings ranging from jalapenos to slaw. I’ve also had the burgers—perfectly seasoned and cooked with flavorful combinations from sautéed onions with bleu cheese to jalapenos and chipotle sauce. My favorite is the dog—the one with bacon jam. It is like no other hot dog I’ve had, and I’ve had my fair share of dogs—one of my favorite spots is Dat Dawg in NOLA. I like to pair this with a nice batch of homemade fries with ranch sauce. This meal may not follow my diet, but it is worth the cheat! Another great addition is the selection of beer and wine. They do not hold back on their offerings, and on this side of town, pickings are sometimes slim. Altogether, the circus that is Sammy Barker’s is a great experience that you can have any lunch or dinner of the week.