Sunday, November 6, 2011

Vegetarian Mexican Night - with a twist

Every other Sunday night has turned into "Mexican" night at my home. Sundays I have enough time to cook more than a dish or two and, in all honesty, I love Mexican food!

Today's dinner did NOT include beans, but I often add beans to "Mexican night."

We had excess butter nut squash so we added that into both our fake meat mixture and also our vegetables. The scoop on butternut squash (according to " food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium and Manganese."
For rice, I found some clearance special of Bhutanese heirloom rice. A medium grain rice, it is slightly sticky and is said to be high in fiber, antioxidants, phytonutrients and is actually wheat-free. To make the rice, I added two parts water to the rinsed rice along with a cup and a half of salsa. Boiled for 30 minutes, it was perfect!

I love mixing multiple vegetables in some guacamole mix and crushed garlic.

In here you see green and yellow bell peppers, fresh tomato, the aforementioned butter nut squash, yellow and green squash, onion, mushroom and a bit of oil at the bottom of the wok to prevent sticking.

In regard to yellow squash, which I love, but I think is under utilized, "This food is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Thiamin, Niacin, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese. It is one of the "three sisters" of Native American cooking, the other two being rice and beans.

This dish is quite easy to make - it really is about giving the onion and garlic a few minutes to mingle together in oil before adding the rest of the vegetables. I then add a bit of salsa and/or spice packet, stir gently and cover. After 15-20 minutes of waiting (and watching to ensure they don't stick), it really is an almost fix and forget!

I know some who are adamant against soy proteins, but for transitional or mixed vegetarian homes, it is a compromise that many choose to make. For me, I start with a tad oil, the "meat" and then add some salsa. I also added the butter nut squash and it changes the texture ever so slightly, but rolled up, burrito style, who can tell?
I've also added fresh tomato to bring in a bit more lycopene. My kids are great with texture.

Here's an example of what I serve my 18 month old. I give a bit of everything, and go from there. I don't want to overwhelm with too much of any one food. I know, for example, that my son loves noodles. However, there are no noodles tonight. I don't cook them special, and I don't cook separate for my 1 and 3 year old kids. They eat what we eat around 85 percent of the time. For lunch it is a lot of quick noodle-type meals (I cook some but mostly our child-care provider cooks). For this meal, my son loved his mushrooms and guacamole (really just avocado with a very small amount of seasoning from a packet. My daughter was more into the tortilla stuffed up with a bit of organic sour cream to "seal" the edges and a bit of everything rolled up. We didn't add cheese today to our food since we had plenty of other fillers and my daughter decided cheese was a lot of her lunch!

Note: If you use prepared tortillas, be especially diligent to watch trans fats. Most also are made of bleached flour, so that's another cautionary part of doing semi-home-made!)

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