Meatless Monday! Easy Summertime Meals that are Healthy and Light for Busy Families!

Summertime around here has meant a huge flurry of activity.

The hot and steamy weather hasn’t slowed us down much but appetites tend more toward light and flavorful rather than rich and filling.

And the schedules are all over the place! From sport activities to musical gigs, weekend getaways and family gatherings I find that preparing and serving nutritious meals is more challanging than ever.

Especially when I am not there to supervise everything!

Well, I’ve learned to “let go” and create easy, ready to prepare and assemble food for my family; even the picky ones.

I have been in the habit of keeping a big container of cooked brown rice in the fridge.

I also will sautee corn with cilantro and onions and keep that around.

In addition, I’ll chop green onion and fresh cilantro and keep that in the fridge, also.

There are always cans of organic vegetarian beans or refried beans in the panty.

I also make sure to keep stocked up on ripe avocados and limes.

By having these ingredients handy eating on the fly is healthy and quick.

Even the little ones can do it; even the chronically lazy!

We also like to garnish with fresh salsa and a tangy homemade yogurt or sour cream.

This meal and it’s many variations has become a summertime staple that everyone can enjoy and customize to their own preference.

Burrito style for those who are always running late and eating on the way or pizza stlye with a little Manchego cheese for weekend movie night.

So, don’t get frustrated get creative!

These budget friendly meals are flexible. Use what you have around and get fancy when the budget allows.

They are built in to be nutritious so you just can’t go wrong!

With only healthy options even the least culinary inclined among you can’t help but choose something delicious and nutritious while you enjoy a little fun in the sun!

  

Brown Rice with Tofu, Scallions, Ginger and Black Bean Sauce!

053brown rice with black bean sauce

After a long Saturday spent writing; cooped up in the house on a snowy afternoon I just needed something fresh, spicy and satisfying.

Brown rice with tofu and black bean sauce was the ticket.

Ginger and scallions added the fresh crunchy spicy thing.

014brown rice with black bean sauce

022brown rice with black bean sauce

027brown rice with black bean sauce

Make sure to sautee the ginger or add it while the rice is boiling.

Too raw and it can be intense!

025brown rice with black bean sauce

029brown rice with black bean sauce

031brown rice with black sauce

045brown rice with black sauce

048brown rice with black bean sauce

I added alot of crushed red pepper.

I love the heat!

052brown rice with black sauce

  

Meatless Monday! Rice Pilaf with Pine Nuts and Garbanzo Beans

014Meatless Monday! Rice Pilaf with Pine nuts and Garbonzo beans PD

Meatless Monday! has become an event around here.

Often, I’ll have guests and serve cocktails.

The children are always looking forward to what the day will bring.

Today, I gave careful consideration to Meatless Monday! and decided that trading meat for copious amounts of cheese, eggs and cream wasn’t truly in the spirit of what I was trying to achieve.

The carbon footprint of Meatless Monday! could be improved.

Today’s meal is vegan.

It is a healthy and complete one pot dish.

You can look at it as a kind of cleanse from a weekend of dining out and a fresh start to the week.

005Meatless Monday! Rice Pilaf PD

The kids rolled in on a rainy cold afternoon and asked if there was something hot to eat.

This rice pilaf got rave reviews from my girls.

007Meatless Monday! Rice Pilaf PD

Ingredients

1 cup brown basmati rice
2 cups water
1 large carrot
1/2 white onion
3 scallions
4-5 cloves garlic
1/4 cup cilantro
1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup corn
1 cup peas
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

010Meatless Monday! Rice Pilaf PD

Method

In a large saute pan add olive oil, garlic, onion, carrots, rice and pine nuts.

Allow to simmer for a few minutes.

Then add corn, peas and scallions.

Allow to simmer a few more minutes then add water and cilantro and allow too cook until the rice is tender.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Garnish with more cilantro

013Meatless Monday! Rice Pilaf PD

  

Meatless Monday! Refried Rice and Beans with Avocado, Corn and Tomato Salsa!

018 fresh salsa with avocado

This meal is more than just rice and beans.

For my daughters I will turn these into big fat burritos with cheese and serve the salsa on the side with chips.

I enjoyed the vegan version of just rice and beans with a dollop of the salsa on top.

What I like the most was the cold crunchy salsa on top of the creamy hot beans and rice.

The girls are going to love this tonight. It’s nutritious and festive.

Rice and Beans

I boiled 1 cup of brown jasmine rice in 2 cups of water

I used 2 cans of pinto beans and cooked them in a frying pan with 4 big cloves of garlic

That’s it for that part.

Salsa

This also works as a salad;

2 avocados

3 medium sized tomatoes

The juice of 2 limes

A nice handful of fresh cilantro

½ of a medium sized onion

½ a cup of yellow corn

I wished that I had some olives on hand but I didn’t. I thought that would really make this pop.

For the burritos I use whole wheat flour tortilla and shredded Monterey Jack, or Manchego cheese.

027 burrito PD meatless monday

I roll the beans, rice and cheese together and bake in the oven for a bit then garnish with the salsa.

Of course, salt to taste

Enjoy!
011 rice and beans

  

Mocktails and Meatless Monday!

005 Cocktail Mocktail PD

Mocktails allow me to induldge and celebrate without the guilt and, quite frankly, the exsessive calories.

This cocktail features organic pomegranate juice, some soda water and a squeeze of lime in a stemmed glass.

Half the calories and an antioxident pick me up!

012 Sofrito PD

I also tried my hand at Sofrito to go along with pinto beans and brown rice.

Sofrito

Ingredients

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
1 head of garlic
1 bunch cilanto
3 large tomatoes

I chopped everything and placed in the food processor.

I froze 2 cups in separate containers and worked with 2 cups: one for the rice and one for the beans.

I sauteed the softened beans in the sofrito and cooked the rice in it also.

Salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe need some work. And maybe some added oil to the rice and beans to give it a richer flavor.

I do like having this powerful flavor ingredient on hand and can see using it in soups and crock pot meals.

  

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