stressed out mom needs your creative ideas on feeding a family! - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-21-2004, 11:02 AM
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Hi everyone,

I'm seeking recipes, meal plan ideas, and suggestions for things I can feed my family (that they will actually eat!) that are inexpensive and easy.

With my husband's daughter living with us, our grocery bills have increased and I'd like to try to get it back down to a reasonable level. Plus, it seems like we spend 2 hours a night on meal prep, eating, and clean up.

Developing a meal plan gets to be so hard when my son (age 2) and my stepdaughter (age 14) will not eat the same things in a meal. Plus, my husband and I need to lose weight, but we want the kids to grow!

And we're all getting tired of soup.

Thanks for your help!
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#2 Old 01-21-2004, 11:14 AM
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My favorite for a fast meal is stir-fry. You can put a bunch of different things in it and kids can be picky with it. I will marinate tofu blocks in teriyaki or soy sauce and throw those in with it. And I love baby corn in stir frys too, and kids seem to like them.

You can get canned veggies for stir fry in the oriental section which most grocery stores have, and they are super cheap.
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#3 Old 01-21-2004, 11:16 AM
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I wish my kids would eat stir fry!
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#4 Old 01-21-2004, 11:18 AM
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And i forgot to mention that i'm looking for healthy vegan ideas.



Not that your idea wasn't healthy or vegan Anndroid, just realized I forgot to add that in my first post.
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#5 Old 01-21-2004, 01:56 PM
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here is a super easy cheap meal that i like a lot: baked potato (microwave) with veg butter and seasoned salt and put a serving of pintos on top of that and get a frozen bag of mixed veggies and put a serving of that on top of the beans. butter and seasoned salt in moderation isnt too bad, do ya think?
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#6 Old 01-21-2004, 02:00 PM
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oh one more thing i thought of is vegan pizza. being vegan im sure youve always got something in the house to use for toppings and most people always have sauce on hand. you can make a batch of dough balls and freeze them and when you are ready just defrost, shape, and even have your stepdaughter help.
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#7 Old 01-21-2004, 02:08 PM
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One of my favorites for the whole family (vegans and omnis alike) is pasta w/tomato sauce topped w/crumbled falafel patties which you can make and fry up from a mix). You can add in a side-veggie (my faves are corn or green beans), add mushrooms to the sauce, make some garlic bread or add a tossed salad depending on how hungry everyone is or how rushed you are.
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#8 Old 01-21-2004, 04:33 PM
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SallyK, my kids like most of the recipes found in The New Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.



Some easily veganized meals (not from that cookbook):

1. Spaghetti w/marinara sauce, salad & fresh bread. (Sauce can cook in a crockpot while you are at work, bread in a bread machine, so all you have to do is make a salad after work.)



2. Buritos or tacos (cook beans in crockpot) and when you get home just chop up veggies and add salsa etc. Serve with Fantastic brand Spanish rice. Fantastic taco filling is also a nice addition.



3. Make and freeze pizza dough. Put it in the fridge when you leave for work and when you get home roll it out, bake it a little, then put on chopped veggies & sauce and you have dinner in about 30 minutes.



4. Tofu Sandwiches. Slice a pound of tofu into 8 pieces. Dip each in Tamari and fry in 1 T oil for about 5 minutes on each side - til' brown. Serve on a good bread with lettuce, tomato, avocado & mayo etc. Really good with Yves Canadian bacon added, too.



5. Gluten Pot Roast w/ carrots, onions & potatoes. (Cooking with Gluten & Seitan) I always add 1 t Marmite, 1 T Earth Balance & 1 T nutritional yeast to the gravy and it makes it quite good. (You could start this when you first got home, then have a couple of hours free, then eat a late dinner...say 7 or 8? or make it the day before and then just heat it up. It is equally good the next day, maybe better.)



6. Tofu omelet, http://www.vegan-food.net/index.cgi?eggs sausage & a toasted whole grain bagel, OJ. Add any veggies to the omelet that your kids will eat. Mine little ones love tomatoes in it.
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#9 Old 01-21-2004, 04:48 PM
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You can try making bean loafs or something, try checking out The Complete Vegan Cookbook, they have some good basic things in them

and check out vegweb.com, they have lots of recipes. im not sure on your take on the meat replacements, but there are veg hot dogs, sandwich "meat", "hamburgers" and so one.

im a teen and i loove when i have tacos or mexican food, and i love oatmeal, its not a real dinner food, but its fun to have once in a while and there are unlimited ways of making it.

if you dont want your kids to have hot dog replacers, get a veg hot dog but, spread it with pb(and jelly if ya like) and put a banana in it! yum!
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#10 Old 01-21-2004, 05:02 PM
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For desserts, I like to chop up different types of fruit, put them on a big, dinner-size plate, and enjoy!



For dinner ideas, how about pasta with steamed vegetables, such as the zero points ones (squash, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, green beans, cauliflower)? All you have to count is the 4 points for the serving of pasta. I like this without butter or oil, but if the family prefers that, you can add it in. You could even add beans in it if you wanted!



I like tortilla shells with grilled onions, zucchini, tomato, black beans. You could serve that with rice or something.



I find that making whatever pops in your mind or whatever sounds good works for me, but I don't have to be as organized because I live alone.



How about soybean burgers (homemade) on a vegan bun? That way the kids could dress their burgers how they want them, and then you could even make oven-baked potato wedges. (Kids seem to love burger and fry combos, don't they?!) Anyway, if it's vegan and doesn't have a lot of added oils, it will be low in calories. I guess buns aren't always low-cal, either, but if you have a 150-calorie bun, 170-calorie soy/vegetarian burger, and then maybe one potato, that wouldn't be too bad, about 420 calories.
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#11 Old 01-21-2004, 05:28 PM
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Your suggestions are all so wonderful but I can't get my kids to eat half that stuff!

For veggies my 14 year old only likes mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots (not cooked), broccoli, corn, canned green beans (bleecchh!) and occasionally a salad.

2 yr old only likes cooked carrots and broccoli. He changes his mind on other veggies like cucumbers, corn and salad all the time - as most toddlers seem to do.

However, they both like edamame, avocado, and potatoes.

We all like Mexican dishes except my 2 yr old.

Neither child will eat pasta & tomato sauce right now. They used to like it.

The 14 yr old wants nothing to do with tofu or meat analogs in any way, shape or form. I've snuck a few in on her though. The 2 yr old loves tofu but not meat analogs much.



Tonight I'm trying a new dish. We're having Mexican casserole (from Conveniently Vegan cookbook) and if my 2 yr old won't eat it, then I'll figure out something else for him.

I do like the pizza idea and we've done that in the past but homemade crusts don't seem to turn out well for me. I've bought premade crusts in the past but Whole Foods and my local co-op stopped carrying the one we liked. I thought about doing whole grain pita bread for the crust. Would the pita bread get too crispy in the oven though? I've made little pizzas with whole grain bagels too - those turn out good.



Keep the ideas coming. Even if I don't use your ideas, they are certainly getting the creative juices flowing....

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#12 Old 01-21-2004, 06:11 PM
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since both kids like brocolli try baking some up with lemonjuice or garlic or something liek that.. does the girl like vegan cheese? if so put some of that on top and it will be great



ive made pizza by toasting a piece of bread, that topping it and broilign it until its browned or "cheese" is melted
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#13 Old 01-21-2004, 06:28 PM
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To save prep time I try and spend one day a week cooking for the freezer. I make stews, soups, breads for the freezer. I also pre-cook beans etc. and freeze them in smaller quantities. At the same time I try and pre-prep veggies etc. and keep them in tupperware in the fridge. Just saves me time and mess during the week when I don't have much time.



I feel for you on the challenge of finding things kids will eat. It's trial and error on this end too
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#14 Old 01-21-2004, 07:10 PM
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I'm just thinking of stuff my mom used to feed us:



For afternoon snacks, frogs on a log. PB and raisins on celery sticks. (And I still eat these!)



Dinner, that can turn into lunch - for mom, it was meatloaf. Which you could eat in sandwiches w/ ketchup the next day, and again for dinner if you still had leftover. A nut or bean loaf would do the trick.



Taco feasts - get out all the cheap fixins (beans, salsa, lettuce, onion, shells/tortillas, whatever, guac.. fake cheese, tvp if you're experimental..) And let everyone fix it how THEY like it, without you doing too much prep work.
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#15 Old 01-21-2004, 07:13 PM
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It seems all your kids like broccoli. I often make what I call "Buttery broccoli pasta" for myself. Basically, it's noodles, melted margarine and spices/garlic/whatever, and some steamed, soggy broccoli. It's dorm room fare for me... But I bet it would be a hit with kids, since it's all buttery
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#16 Old 01-21-2004, 07:16 PM
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Oh yea, mom was also a fan of the soup and sandwich combo. If you finish all your vegetable soup, you can have a peanut butter sandwich. (Can you tell we liked PB in my house?)
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#17 Old 01-21-2004, 11:01 PM
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Wow, they are picky!

Have you tried tempeh? Mark and I love it in this recipe, it has lettuce, carrots, pb, soy sauce, cucumbers, onions. It is a wrap and even my Omni friends eye it when I bring it to work.

http://www.vegsource.com/talk/recipe...ges/77284.html

How about grilled portobello mushrooms sandwiches? Throw them

on the George and let everyone dress the burgers.

http://www.vegsource.com/talk/recipe...ges/68924.html

Here is a great marinade from Todd Wilbur

1/2 cup vegan mayo (use the reduced fat kind or make your own)

5 tsp. basalmic vinegar

1 tbsp. water

1/2 tsp cracked black pepper

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. EACH onion powder and lemon juice

dash each salt and pepper

Place 4 portobello caps in a resealable bag and pour marinade over them.

Let marinade about one to two hours and grill.
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#18 Old 01-21-2004, 11:57 PM
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Don't know if this'll be helpful, but my meals are often simply a plateful of various "snacks" that require little or no cooking -- my grandmother and I especially enjoy eating this way when I visit her. Items might be:



avocado

apple slices

toasted bagel w/ margerine, or bread and olive oil

nuts

diced tomato

raisins

melon slices

broccoli & cauliflower pieces (maybe with vegan ranch dip)

piece of chocolate

ETA: can't believe I forgot olives!



Well, you get the idea, there are so many possibilities ....







If you're not hooked on the idea of a hot cooked meal every day, snack-style eating might be a good way to accomodate everyone. Not much preparation beyond chopping things up and toasting, and each person can load their plate with the things that they like the most. Plus the kids can go heavier on the carbs and the fats. It's funny, it feels sort of luxurious to be eating a plate of hors d'oeuvres-sized favorites, but it actually can be an extremely healthy (and easy) meal.
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#19 Old 01-22-2004, 12:22 AM
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We do this, the snack style, eating too and I love it.



I visited my Dad and Stepmom a couple days ago and they served plates of salad, tomato, mushrooms, celery & carrot sticks, pineapple, crusty bread and a fruit platter with melon, strawberries, kiwi and grapes. (of course they had a plate of cold meats because they aren't veggie but I appreciate the thought my stepmom puts into meals when I am there)
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#20 Old 01-22-2004, 12:59 AM
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chreese toasties with tomatoes inside



potatoe waffles/fritters



cooked mushrooms in vegan cream then added to rice for a straganoff type thingy



broc fritters brocolie broken into pieces dipped in vegan batter and fried



fingernail sandwhiches= sandwhiches of your choice cut into finger size pieces with a flacked almond on the top so it looks like a finger nail
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#21 Old 01-22-2004, 09:00 AM
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Here is what Mark like to eat every morning, quick and made from tofu, I think the 14 year old will like it http://www.vegsource.com/talk/recipe...ges/77204.html

Tofu Omelet, we get the low-fat Mori-Nu tofu. Hey, you can have it for you if you like. low fat and calorie and yummy!
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#22 Old 01-22-2004, 09:31 AM
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Here's my favorite for when my husband and I just rushed in from work, and he and I and my stepson are all starving. They don't qualify as gourmet food, but they're easy, cheap, and it makes a lot.



1 can fat free refried beans (fat free ones are vegan, I believe)

1 can diced tomatoes w/jalapenos

2 cups cooked rice (brown, white, spanish style, whatever)

1 cup shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese (or vegan cheese that melts, or none, if you like)

Tortillas



Get out your big skillet and dump in the refried beans and canned tomatoes (juice and all). Stir that up and let it "cook down" for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add cooked rice and stir until it's all hot. Add cheese and stir. Season to taste (salt, pepper, chili powder, whatever). Spoon into tortillas and eat with vegan sour cream, salsa, or nothing.



I love these because they're fast, cheap, and very tasty. And they can be made hotter or milder, or you can add chopped green peppers or chopped broccoli (steam in the microwave first to soften up). If you have more time, you can make the refried beans from scratch.



I like to make up a double batch and my husband and I make a bunch of them, assembly-line style, then freeze them for our lunches during the week.
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#23 Old 01-22-2004, 09:40 AM
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My kids aren't really picky, but when I'm trying to get them to try something new, or something they *think* they don't like, (even though they've never eaten it before lol), I've found that letting them help me prepare it and help me cook, they're more willing to at least try it and usually end up loving the dreaded food.
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#24 Old 01-22-2004, 09:51 AM
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hey if your 14 year old knows how to cook, my mum use to let me cook a meal for the family once a week as a sort of privillage (i really like cooking) i cooked whatever i wanted everyone ate it and i was more likely to eat stuff i wouldn't normally have eaten soley because i was cooking
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#25 Old 01-22-2004, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by herbivore View Post

My kids aren't really picky, but when I'm trying to get them to try something new, or something they *think* they don't like, (even though they've never eaten it before lol), I've found that letting them help me prepare it and help me cook, they're more willing to at least try it and usually end up loving the dreaded food.



I agree completely. When my stepson was younger and a little more picky, I would have him help me mix, chop, assemble; whatever was age-appropriate help. I'd let him bring it to the table, too - he'd be SO PROUD to serve dinner for his Dad and I. I was blessed in that he was not a really picky eater, but there were things that I wanted him to try that he only would when he was involved in the cooking process. Plus, we worked on his math skills (an area where he needed help) at the same time (doubling or halving recipes, using alternative measurements, etc.).
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#26 Old 01-22-2004, 11:47 AM
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This is what I do in regards to pickiness - I prepare one meal. If someone doesn't want to eat it, they can fix themselves a sandwich.



Most of my children will eat just about anything - as long as it isn't too spicy. Husband loves spicy...so, I often serve the spicy part on the side. However, my 16 year old son is pretty picky. He ends up making a sandwich about 2 nights a week.



I don't think he minds. Of course he'd rather I serve cheese pizza just about every night of the week...



When I was a child, I ate what was put in front of me. Period. I think we have a nice compromise here. Maybe you need to work out a compromise?



I don't mean with your toddler, of course...but, with anyone over the age of 8.



When my kids were toddlers they ate a lot of pb&js & fruit for dinner...this made them happy.
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#27 Old 01-22-2004, 11:54 AM
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Also, there is a really good and easy pizza crust recipe in Vegan Planet. It has lots of other great recipes, too!
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#28 Old 01-22-2004, 12:34 PM
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make up a big batch of pasta salad, the stuff lasts like a week if there's no mayo in it. boil whole wheat pasta, drain and rinse in cold water. chop up carrots, celery, mushrooms, white and green onion, and whatever other raw veggies you want to try. add some fresh ground pepper and mrs. dash if you have it, or other favourite seasoning (i use oregano and basil), and either oil & vinegar or balsamic vinegrette, or even italian dressing. or any dressing really, next time i want to try sundried tomato.



it fares well in the fridge, after a few days the mushrooms turn the pasta funny colour but it's not gone bad trust me. store it in a tupperware container so when you go to dish some out you can flip it upside down and shake to get the dressing back to the top. good side dish anyway



you can also make a bean salad, i have one recipe from www.fatfree.com

fiesta corn salad

1 pound package frozen corn

15 1/2 ounces kidney beans drained and rinsed

1/2 cup salsa (use mild)

3 tablespoons chopped green onions

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (you could use dried or skip it and use oregano)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin (i'd skip this, it gives it a spicy kick the kids may not like)



just toss it all in a bowl. makes 8 (1/2 cup) servings



both of these would go good as sides with a bean loaf. a friend of mine made a lentil loaf once that was really good. you could probably find a similar recipe easily enough. not sure if Kreeli's site has it or not www.veganmania.com but you could also check www.catteacorner.com/recipes





also as a side for myself if i'm in a hurry, rather than cook veggies i'll often just slice up some cucumber and tomatoes with salt and pepper and a handful of baby carrots.



at the moment all my other ideas are fried stuff and that's not really gonna help in the weight loss but i might post more later if i think of anything else.

I'm singin' here to get rid of fear
Hope it disappears right here with the rain
But I know life is pain, not like a fairytale
Meaningless to pray, so just goin' on my way
~Miyavi "Torture"
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#29 Old 01-22-2004, 03:48 PM
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Go ahead and post the fried stuff. I don't mind! I really do want to stick with warm meals. It's very cold here (about 0 F) and hot foods are very appealing compared to cold ones.
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#30 Old 01-22-2004, 06:24 PM
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I don't have kids, so don't know if this will help or not but one of our "quick foods" is nachos. We both love 'em! Tortilla chips, refried beans*, seasoned rice, quac, tomatoes, olives, onions, lettuce/greens mix.. anything you want to pile on is okay. The best part is that everyone can pick and choose what they want and it's a thing that can be eaten with the hands which is a hit with every kid I know. We also do tostadas which makes a different use of the the same ingredients.



*About refried beans. I've found that one can't go by the lables when picking refrieds (iow, don't always assume that vegetarian is the best pick because of the "v" word on the front). In some brands, the vegetarian has more gunk in it than the low-fat ones and some brands have simply beans, water and salt while others will have lard. Each brand is different so it pays to read the lables.



*Dee steps off of her refried bean soapbox*
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