Wednesday May 31, 2023

Easy to Make Meals at Home

Yall, it’s been a whirlwind few weeks. I’ll write a different post about that. This post is starting back on something I love and depend on: easy to make meals at home. Here are some of the tasty things we’ve done recently.

Lentil Tacos

Alright, before my meat-eating friends freak the fuck out, keep in mind that the price of meat is insane. So, use this during Lent if you give up meat for a Meatless Monday experience…or just as a here and there. Use it to expand your Taco Tuesday hamburger or something. I’ve had friends and family use lentils here and there to just help save on food costs.

Pro tip: Buying lentils bulk at some place like WinCo is cheaper than buying them bagged. However, if you can only find them bagged, fine. Green lentils (plain lentils) are always cheaper than red or French lentils. I prefer red lentils, but it is literal personal preference. For lentil tacos, I just buy the regular lentils so that it looks like ground beef when it is cooked. But we are doing more than tacos in this! Honestly, I should have called this part something like lentil tacos multiple ways. Lentils are the whores of the vegetarian and vegan world because you can do pretty much anything with them.

I bought a lentil taco kit through Do You Bake? which is a company through which I am an affiliate. They no longer have the lentil taco kit because it was a special. Don’t worry because you can even do this from Dollar Tree stuff. And I’m going to tell you how!

  1. Get about a 8 ounces of dried lentils even if it is from Dollar Tree or Sprawlmart.
  2. Buy one or two packages of taco seasoning of your choice or make your own. Don’t know how to make your own? Check out Pinterest. It is FULL of taco seasoning ideas. You can also get taco truck seasoning mix to purchase here. If you buy the taco truck seasoning mix, buy other things to make it worth the shipping cost…and use the seasoning to taste.
  3. Soak your lentils for about 30 minutes.
  4. Bring your water to a boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour in your lentils (without the water you soaked them in, okay?) to the boiling water and add a pinch of salt (the salt does nothing but flavor the lentils…salt does NOT help boiling water or help the lentils cook – that’s a myth!)
  6. Cook them, stirring occasionally until they are tender. Do NOT season yet. Cooking takes about two hours. Sometimes it takes longer. It depends on how hot your stove gets. If you have an Instapot (I don’t), you could cook them in it. I don’t use canned lentils because I hate them. I guess you could use those.
  7. Once they are tender, drain them and put them back in the pot. Use a potato masher and mash them up some. They don’t ALL have to be mashed.
  8. Add taco seasoning to taste. I added quite a bit. So, depending on how flavorful you like it, add one or two packages.

So what did we do? We didn’t just do tacos! We made burritos and taquitos, too. Curious about how to make taquitos? It’s really easy. Get some corn tortillas. Warm them so they’re easy to fold. We warm them in a little oil. (If you do that, drain them on paper towels and let them cool!)

Then add a little of the lentil filling. Add cheese if you want (vegan or dairy cheese). Roll them up. Fry or bake them. Ta-da! TAQUITOS!

My husband used the leftovers to make lentil nachos! And yes, Uriel liked them, too!

Egg Roll (Soup) in a Bowl

Recently, Danny competed in a BJJ competition (and won). Prior to it, he had to cut a little bit of weight. He tends to go back to low carb during that time, including a cabbage soup that he likes for about three days before he gets sick of it.

Luckily, I noticed that Do You Bake? offered an Egg Roll in a Bowl kit. I thought well hey…that would probably make a great seasoning package for his soup. I bought it and he loved it. It only took about half of the package for a yuuuggeeee pot of it. So, we still have some left. We plan to make actual egg roll in a bowl.

You can hack this, of course, to make an easy to make meal without ordering anything.

  1. Get a meat (or not) of your choice. You could use tofu, beans, or just go with strictly veggies. Dollar Tree often has sausage, chicken, and even hamburger patties you could use if you like meat. If you’re a tofu fan like me, go to an international market! You can even buy it pre-fried! JOY!
  2. Buy a bag of coleslaw mix (without any sauce).
  3. Get an onion. Cut some up and add it.
  4. Make or buy a stir-fry sauce. We always have one at home. Check Dollar Tree. A simple stir-fry sauce is soy sauce, garlic, and a little ginger. Go light with the ginger…
  5. Put it all in the skillet and cook it together for about 30 minutes. We don’t really measure anything in our house…we just add it until it looks and smells good…and tastes good.

And if you want cabbage soup, it’s basically a head of cabbage chopped, my husband uses two of the GIANT cans of chopped tomatoes (with juice), the Great Value brand vegan protein broth (you could use chicken broth or veggie broth), an entire onion, a red pepper, and a yellow pepper. Then lots of seasonings (now the egg roll in a bowl kit).

Cauli Risotto

Okay, so this is a Jolly Green Giant bagged thing from the grocery store. My husband bought it for himself because it was low carb. Then he realized it has mushrooms. So it became mine. I added Deliciou bacon seasoning and Do You Bake? Garlic Lovers Seasoning.

It’s a great, quick lunch. Also, in a pinch…you can buy inexpensive frozen veggies at Dollar Tree…here’s the deal, though, if you live closer to Wal-Mart, check Wal-Mart because Wal-Mart may be cheaper by about .20 to .30 cents per bag if you are a bargain shopper or really do need to save the cash (and I get that because it does add up).

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

For this, I used plain ol’ oatmeal (no idea if it’s quick cook or old fashioned…I just buy a giant container for about $2 because I do lots of things with it). I bought some freeze-dried strawberries from Dollar Tree.

I’m often a lazy cook. I just follow the Quaker Oats recipe. I plan to do a batch with chocolate chips, too.

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