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In this weekly series we have been discussing the benefits of a vegetarian diet including: better health, animal rights, food safety, public health, frugal living , global food crisis and the immense contribution of meat/livestock production to climate change/resource depletion.
Macca's Meatless Monday/Meatless Advocates is a solution oriented activist group, with solutions for some of the most pressing issues of our time including: climate change, global food/water insecurity and public health.  Here we don't just talk about the severity of the crisis.  Armed with knowledge about how our actions can contribute we become part of the solution.

I was inspired to create this series by former Beatle and vegetarian advocate Paul McCartney who partnered with the Meatless Monday campaign to promote less consumption of meat.  We not only discuss the advantages of a less meat diet we also do some cooking, share recipes and listen to great Beatle/McCartney music!

Many thanks to soothsayer99 for filling in and giving me a break last week, and thanks to you guys for all your support.  Hey, we have a lot of lurkers here (bb smiles and waves to lurkers) stop in and say hi sometime or at least give a rec!

The benefits of a vegetarian diet touch all aspects of our lives in profound ways.  Most notably through healthier, longer lives and through being a part of the solution to ending the greatest challenge of our lifetimes; Climate Change.  It even affects the quality of our lives by being the most affordable option for feeding ourselves and our families.

The recipes I'm sharing today are pretty close to the way I have eaten most of my life. They are simple, healthy recipes which just happen to be the most economical and sustainable way to feed a family though trying financial times.  Being economically challenged does not mean that an individual or family does not deserve to have healthy and delicious meals.

Today I will calculate the costs of each recipe using the prices I find at my neighborhood market.  I've always been a frugal shopper,  it's just in my DNA, and I usually buy generic market brands so the pricing will reflect that.   What it will not reflect is that I often buy my staples on 2 for 1 offers and stock up so that my costs are even less than what I will list.   So let's get started with some of my all time favorite foods.    

     Chipotle Bean Burrito
Is there anyone who doesn't like burritos?  A full meal wrapped in a tortilla. Serves eight about $1.10 for each burrito if you add some lettuce and chopped tomatoes comes to about $1.50 per person.

¾ cup rice (brown or white)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeño chile, chopped (ribs and seeds removed, for less heat)
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 box frozen corn kernels (about 10 ounces)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
8 burrito-size (10-inch) flour tortillas
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 ounces)
Salsa and sour cream (optional)

optional garnishes:   chopped lettuce, tomatoes, avocado or cilantro

    Cook rice according to package instructions; set aside.
    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onions, garlic, jalapeño, and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
    Add beans and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10 to 12 minutes. Add corn; cook to heat through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in scallions.
    Heat tortillas according to package instructions; fill with rice, bean mixture, and cheese.
     To assemble: Mound 1/4 cup rice, 3/4 cup bean mixture, and 1/4 cup cheese on one side of tortilla. Fold, and hold in sides. Starting from filled end, holding sides in as you work, tightly roll into a bundle. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and prepare remaining burritos.
    Serve immediately, with salsa and sour cream, if using, or wrap individually in plastic and freeze up to 3 months, really handy for quick meals.

Note: Before wrapping individually, freeze burritos on a baking sheet so they don’t come apart in the process; then put back in freezer.

Reheating From Frozen:
    Microwave and oven: Remove frozen burritos from plastic wrap. Place on a microwave-safe plate; microwave on high for 3 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet; bake at 450° until crispy, about 10 minutes. This is our favorite quick method.
    Oven only: Remove frozen burritos from plastic wrap; rewrap individually in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet; bake at 450°, 40 minutes; remove foil, and bake to crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. (To reheat defrosted burritos, remove any wrapping, and bake for 10 minutes.)
    Microwave only: Remove frozen burritos from plastic wrap. Place on a microwave-safe plate, covered with a microwave-safe bowl, and defrost at high power for 3 to 4 minutes; uncover, and microwave on high, 3 to 4 minutes longer.
       Spaghetti Vegetariani
super yummy, serves 6.  Cost about $1.05 cents per serving using whole wheat pasta.  If you add a small tossed salad meal comes to about $1.55 per person

    2 cups lentils
    30 oz tomatoes, canned or fresh
    1 1/2 cups tomato paste (12 oz. can)
    2 1/2 cups water
    2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
    5 teaspoons dry oregano
    1/2 teaspoons black pepper
    1/8 teaspoons dried basil
    1/8 teaspoons red pepper and/or cayenne
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 lb whole wheat spaghetti

Clean lentils and put in sauce pan, covering them with water about 1/2 inch above the lentils. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer.

Cover the pot and cook for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until lentils are soft, while the rest of the sauce is cooking.

While lentils are cooking, combine tomatoes, tomato paste and water in a large sauce pan. Add salt. Start cooking on medium heat.

Add salt, oregano, black pepper, basil, red pepper, garlic and oil when it starts to bubble. Stir to combine spices and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for at least one hour, stirring occasionally to keep ingredients mixed.

About 30 minutes before the sauce and lentils are complete, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When boiling, add spaghetti and cook to package directions. Set aside.

When lentils are thoroughly cooked, add them to the tomato base to complete the sauce. Spoon sauce over the whole wheat spaghetti and enjoy.
      Tortilla capuchina
Spanish potato omelet, serves about 6.  About $.75 cents per serving.  If serving with a small salad add about $.50.  so $ 1.25 per person

    6-7 medium potatoes, peeled or unpeeled if using red (about 3 lbs.)
    1 whole yellow onion
    5-6 large eggs
    1/4  cup of olive oil for pan frying, add more if needed
    Salt to taste

optional: add about 1 cup  peas or  cooked sliced asparagus if you like

Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 1/8" thick. If you slice them a bit thick, don’t worry – it will simply take a bit longer for them to cook.

Peel and slice the onion into 1/4" pieces. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture.

In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface.  You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn.

Leave in pan until the potatoes are cooked, you may cover the pan for faster cooking. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture evenly.

When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.

Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6-8 pieces like a pie.
        orange cauliflower mac n cheese
A healthier mac which includes veggies!   This is so good!   Serves four about $1.50 per serving add a small tossed salad for $.50 so $2.00 per meal.  Adapted from Mark Bittman

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces
8 ounces whole-wheat elbow macaroni
1/2 cup grated cheese (such as sharp cheddar) or may use Gruyere, or Emmental, or a combination
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole-grain bread crumbs

Heat oven to 400° F. Boil a pot of salted water.

In a saucepan, warm stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for five minutes; turn off heat.

Cook cauliflower in boiling water for 25 minutes. Put cauliflower in a food processor or mash with a potato masher.

Cook pasta in boiling water for five minutes. Drain and rinse to cool; put pasta in a greased, nine-inch square baking dish.

Process cauliflower with stock (discard bay leaves), cheese, oil, mustard, nutmeg, salt, and pepper, working in batches.

Pour sauce over pasta, toss, and spread evenly in dish. Top with Parmesan and bread crumbs. Bake 20 minutes.
        huevos rancheros
I love huevos rancheros and there are so many ways to make them.  They are good for breakfast, lunch or dinner and with this easy recipe you can make as many as you want one at a time.  I priced for 6.  $1.10 each with salsa and avocado.  Probably need 2 for each adult, one for  each child.

First you heat a 6-inch corn tortilla in an oiled pan.

When it is golden brown underneath, flip it over. (Don’t worry, you’ll brown it a bit more in a moment.)

Sprikle some shredded cheddar over the browned side and let it melt a bit. About half an ounce per tortilla.

Break a single egg over the melting cheese.

Don’t worry if it rolls over the edges, that’s what it does. Season it with salt and pepper.

When the white is about halfway set (i.e., the edges and some of the egg on the tortilla), flip the whole thing over.  Messy part, don't worry whatever happens it will still taste good.

Cook it for a few minutes on the other side, flip it back onto a plate and you’re done. Add whatever you like traditional with salsa but may add black beans, chopped tomato and avocado or sour cream.  Enjoy!
         Lazy Day Peanut Noodle Salad
Kids love this made with peanut butter! Serves 6  $1.05 per serving

    1 8 ounce whole wheat shaghetti
    1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed then cut into 1/2-inch segements

    3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1/4 cup (brown) rice vinegar
    2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
    drizzle of toasted sesame oil
    big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
    1/4-1/2 cup hot water

    1 small bunch of spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced
    1/2 cup peanuts
    12 ounces extra-firm (organic) tofu, cut into small cubes (feel free to heat the tofu in a skillet if you like, but cold is good too)

Big a large pot of water to a boil. Boil the spaghetti per package instructions.In the last minute or so of cooking toss in the asparagus. Drain noodles and asparagus, run under cold water for about a minute to stop cooking, and set aside.

Make the peanut dressing by combining the peanut butter, rice vinegar, garlic, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and a big pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Thin with hot water - the amount you'll need depends on the original consistency of your peanut butter. I like it the consistency of a thin (non-Greek) yogurt. Taste and season with a bit more salt if needed.

Gently toss the noodles, asparagus, spring onions, peanuts, and tofu with a big splash of the dressing. I reserve a bit of each ingredient to sprinkle on top of the serving platter to make it look nice. Add more dressing a bit at a time, until the salad is dressed to your liking, reserving any extra for another use. Taste, sprinkle with more salt if needed, and enjoy!

"Lady Madonna"   The Beatles "wonder how you manage to make ends meet"

"Rain"   The Beatles

What have you all been cooking?   Please share your recipes and fave Beatle/McCartney/Lennon music here!

Originally posted to Meatless Advocates Meetup on Mon Jul 11, 2011 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, lundi channel, and LatinoKos.

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