There’s a new sheriff in town…

…And its name is Meal Planner.  Well, it’s a repurposed pirate-themed reward chart, which I guess undermines its authority slightly, but we’ve stuck to it for 2 weeks now.   Yup, I’m back at work.  The 1950’s housewife is gone, the harried career woman is back.  No longer do I present my husband with his dinner with a twinkling eye and a slick of fresh lippie as soon as he arrives home. (If he says this didn’t happen he’s LYING)  So it’s all a bit more rushed for everyone.

Must think of something to do with the magnets.
Must think of something to do with the magnets.

I’ve long envied organised friends knowing what they’re having for the week, and have vowed several times to adopt better habits in that regard.  It’s not that I particularly want to know what I’ll be eating in advance, but it makes life with 2 working parents and 2 kids a lot more streamlined, and affects the grocery budget positively.  Two things have jumped out so far at me since we started –

  1. Last weekend, I noticed a satisfying lack of on-the-turn veg, and almost out of date products in our fridge. Winner! No pressure to  urgently concoct a soup with whatever is there.
  2. I don’t like eating the same meal two days in a row.

To this end, I found a great recipe that can be used for 2 different meals.   We had lovely spaghetti bolognese one night last week (cooked at 9pm the night before – another of the joys of being a working mother).  Then I froze the other half of the bolognese, and yesterday we had it oven cooked with sweet potato mash on top, finished off with grated cheddar under the grill.  I call it ‘Unemployed Shepherd’s Pie.’

So this is the recipe for Dee’s Meat Free Spaghetti Bolognese.  It’s part of a promotion for people to try and eat no meat on Mondays, which is a world wide movement now.  It’s meat free every day for me  (mention that a time or 10?), but I do feel strongly people should have at least 1 animal protein free day in their week.  At least 1, and hopefully working up to 7 a week. No unhealthy animal fats, it’s cheaper, great for the environment and it broadens your palette.  Dee’s Wholefoods are a brand of delicious and super healthy veggie burgers and meals.* She’s got some amazing recipes over there on the VegPod blog, more of which I need to be adding to my meal planner!

Meat-Free Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 2 carrots (small dice)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
  • 1 stick of celery (diced)
  • ¾ cup of green puy lentils (dried)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • Vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • Black pepper

Method

  1. Add 1tsp of oil to a pan and sauté the diced carrots, celery and onion for 2 mins.
  2. Add the garlic and lentils and stir.
  3. Add the tin of tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes) bay leaf, oregano and black pepper.
  4. Add vegetable stock until twice the amount of water is in the sauce pan as lentils.
  5. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for approx 30 mins.
  6. The lentils will absorb the water and swell up, keep an eye on the pot as you may need to add in additional water to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  7. The lentils are done when they are soft to bite through.
  8. Cook spaghetti according to instruction.
  9. If you are not on a vegan diet, you might like to serve this dish with soft goats cheese or regular grated cheese on top.

Note: If it is  your first time trying lentils it is recommended to drink more water than usual to help the fibre flush toxins out of your body!

I did as suggested, and made double the amount.  However I stuck with the 3/4 cup of puy lentils, and added in 1.5 cups of quorn mince, but I think it would work find with just doubling the lentils too.

Now!  It’s himself’s turn tomorrow.

Jill

*This is not a promotional post, all my opinions are my own and all my grub is purchased myself, unless the nice people at Dee’s fancy sending me some.