Saturday, April 25, 2009

More about the Carnivore behind the curtain

Now that you've seen a few of my recipes I thought it would be a good time to explain a little bit about the way I cook and why.

My cooking style is mostly influenced by my grandmother.  As I mentioned before I take her recipes and make them more healthy whenever I can.  My style has a heavy italian influence although I am half polish too.  

I have a cooking disorder which doesn't allow me to cook anything less than massive portions. If you are feeding a family of 4 or 5 you will probably be ok.  I cook these recipes for just me and my significant vegetarian, however.  Needless to say we have no need to cook lunches most of the time.  We do like an occasional grilled cheese with a slice of tomato or my personal favorite cream cheese and cucumber sandwich (which is calling my name right now) but I digress. I cook this way because my grandmother cooks this way.  My grandmother cooks this way because it's in the little Italian grandmother handbook.  She is like the grandmother on "Everybody Loves Raymond", from Long Island and everything.  I guess that kind of makes me a little Italian grandmother in training.  If so, that's fine with me because she is the best cook I know.  

In honor of my grandmother I am going to do her famous spaghetti and meatballs for my next recipe.  Trust me, you don't want to miss it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sausage and peppers with rice

This recipe is one of my favorites.  It should be noted that I say that about all my recipes.  To pick a favorite one would be like picking a favorite star in the sky or a favorite child.  It's just not possible.  This sausage and peppers recipe, like many of my recipes, is a healthier version of something my grandmother makes. I substitute regular sausage for chicken or turkey sausage and of course I use Tofurkey sausage for my significant vegetarian.  The veggie sausage can be found in the vegetarian refrigerator aisle, not the frozen vegetarian aisle.  I have trouble finding it sometimes in new supermarkets because it is not a popular item and the people who work there often don't know what I am talking about.   

The rice recipe I use is a mexican white rice recipe from I like to use basmati rice which is a long-grain rice instead of a medium-grain and the italian in me will always use olive oil over canola.  So I guess that makes this a Mexican-Indian-Italian recipe.

Mexican-Indian-Italian White Rice

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled, halved
3/4 cup finely chopped white onion
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
3 cups hot water
2 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
1 1/4 teaspoons fine sea salt

1. Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. 
2. Add garlic and sauté until deep brown, about 3 minutes
3. Discard garlic. Add onion to saucepan and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes
4. Add rice; stir 5 minutes. 
5. Add 3 cups hot water, parsley, and salt (mixture will sputter). 
6. Bring to boil, stirring. 
7. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. 
8. Stir rice, then re-cover and continue to simmer until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 5 minutes longer. 
9. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, 10 minutes
10. Discard parsley and fluff rice with fork.

Sausage and Peppers

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 red peppers
2 orange peppers
2 yellow pepper
2 medium onions
1 package of pre-sliced mushrooms
1 package of tofurkey or other fake sausage sliced into rounds
1 package of pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausage sliced into rounds

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan on medium heat. 
2. Add peppers, onions and mushrooms and saute until tender.
3. While the veggies are cooking heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium in a second frying pan.
4. Take half of the finished veggies and put them into the second frying pan.  
5. Add the tofurkey and real sausage to their respective pans.  
6. Serve when sausages are warmed through and slightly browned.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shepard's Pie

Shepard's Pie is one of our favorite recipes because it is cheap and easy to make.  If you are really crunched on time use instant mashed potatoes.  

This recipe is for people who want to make both a veggie and meat dish simultaneously .  If you are a vegetarian feel free to omit the meat instructions and vice versa. 
8 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons of butter
Milk, Salt, Pepper and Garlic Powder to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb Veggie Crumbles (My significant-vegetarian likes to use Morning Star Meal Starter grillers recipe crumbles)
2 cans corn
1 can peas
    -or any other favorite veggie
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Boil potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork.  
2. Drain the potatoes and add 2 tablespoons of butter.  Mix in small amounts of milk until it is fluffy and creamy.  Add salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Set aside for later.
3. Heat oil in two frying pans and the saute half on onion in each pan. When the onions are softened and translucent add 1 pound of meat into one frying pan and 1 pound of veggie crumbles in the other being careful to use separate spoons in each pan if your vegetarian is as picky as mine.
4. Cook the meat until it's brown.
5. Cook the veggie crumbles until warmed.  I like to add a tablespoon or two of water to make the meat         more moist, being careful to not make it soggy.
6. Have two 8 x 8 casserole dishes ready for when you are done mixing the veggies in with the meat and veggie crumbles.
7. Veggies time! I encourage you to get creative here.  I like to add 3/4 a can of corn and 1/2 a can of peas.  My significant vegetarian likes it with 1 can of corn and the leftovers from mine.  You can put whatever you like.  Try carrots or even green beans.  Whatever you like as long as you tell me if it came out good. When you decide what veggies you want to use mix them into their respective frying pans.
8. Put the meaty and veggie concoctions their respective casseroles.  Create a second layer on top of the first by spreading (not mixing) the mashed potatoes on top.
9. (optional) If you like cheese you can sprinkle 1/2 a cup on top of the potatoes.
10. Place both casseroles uncovered into the oven for 20 minutes. 
11. To lightly brown the top of the mashed potato switch the oven to broil on high for a couple minutes keeping a close eye on it because it will burn easily.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Let me introduce myself

So I married a vegetarian and I am a self professed carnivore.  I love meat, I love fish, I love it all.  My blood sugar drops to much when I don't get enough protein and I am allergic to soy, the "meat and potatoes" so to speak of a vegetarians diet.  It is in all the imitation meat and tofu like products out there.  Basically whatever she eats I can't and what ever I eat she think is completely disgusting.  We've been forced to get creative and make meals that have both real and fake meat without having to make two completely different dinners every night.  We don't always make dishes with meat in them but they will always have protein because me and vegetarians have that in common, we need to have enough protein to function.

In addition to the logistic nightmare of creating meals that can be eaten by vegetarians and carnivores alike we are on a strict budget so everything has to be cheap.  Oh, and don't forget healthy! 

This brings me to the reason I am writing this blog.  

-To share survival tips on coexisting with a vegetarian
-To create a source for healthy, tasty and cheap recipes
-To have a place to keep all my favorite recipes in one place.

The recipes I will post will be from my searches online, in magazines, my grandma and my own crazy concoctions.  I will have tips and tricks to making it come out just right.  Since I've tested them out already I can tell you where the recipe to needs to be better or if it's good the way it is.