Meal Compromises to Please Everyone

October 10, 2022 0 Comments

I simply posted a ton of meals concepts final week (yow will discover that publish right here), however I do not assume that is redundant. After I began engaged on a questions and solutions publish about my latest weight reduction (I promise to get it executed quickly), there have been a number of responses I wrote that referred to meal prepping and planning and executing–I spotted it might in all probability be a publish of its personal.

After I grew to become vegan in January, I used to be form of clueless how I used to be going to have the ability to do it whereas nonetheless making meals for my (meat- and dairy-eating) household. I did not wish to power my way of life on them, so I attempted to seek out compromises that might make cooking dinner extra handy.

As time went on, I tweaked issues right here and there to make it less complicated and extra stream-lined. I really feel like we’ve a reasonably good system down now, so I believed I might share some concepts which have actually helped us.

First, a bit background on why I hate meal planning a lot:

Eli (meat-eating) – Extraordinarily choosy and needs to reside on virtually nothing however junk meals. Additionally eats at work regularly (he works at Qdoba). A variety of his shifts are last-minute, so it is laborious to depend on whether or not he’ll be right here for dinner.

Jerry (meat-eating till August, now completely plant-based) – Will eat something I make and even when he isn’t loopy about it, he by no means complains. He is trustworthy about his ideas on a brand new recipe, which is useful. He’ll eat greens, however provided that they’re there in entrance of him; he by no means requests them and I do know he would not love them. He takes leftovers to work for his lunch, so I attempt to plan meals based mostly on his schedule as effectively.

Noah (meat-eating, however very open to plant-based meals) – Prepared to strive something I make, however not often cooks for himself. He would not like cereal or sandwiches or different no-cook issues for breakfast and lunch, so he makes a variety of ramen. He likes junk meals, however is superb about consuming solely a bit at a time. The massive points? He would not like Mexican or Indian spices and he’s grossed out on the considered reheating leftovers. (There are a few Mexican-inspired issues he’ll eat, although)

My first time experimenting with making vegan cheese. My nachos with vegan nacho cheese versus Noah’s very, very unhappy nachos with cheddar. I feel vegan wins on this one, haha.

Me (vegan) – Prepared to strive something and all the things that does not include animal merchandise. Even when I attempted it earlier than, I will strive it time and again to see if I prefer it. There are meals I really like and meals which can be simply “eh”. I am undoubtedly not a salad eater, although! I am not anti-salad, and I am at all times prepared to strive it, however I actually do not prefer it.

My youngsters are 16 and 18, and Jerry is clearly an grownup, so I do not actually *have* to attempt to please the entire household. However I wish to! I wish to make meals that everyone will like. And sadly, I overthink everything–which simply causes me to get annoyed when making an attempt to plan dinner.

Listed below are some go-to meals which can be straightforward to please all kinds of tastes. These are issues I make regularly as a result of all 4 of us can tailor them how we wish. And they’re so versatile! 

Private Selfmade Pizzas

Entire wheat crust, tomato paste, vegan mozzarella, peppers, broccoli, olives

That is probably the most handy, easiest-to-please dinner ever! I make a batch of complete wheat pizza dough (my recipe is right here). It takes subsequent to zero instances. I divide it into 4 parts (we like skinny crust, however should you like thicker crust otherwise you’re making greater than 4, I might multiply the recipe). You possibly can even simply use pita bread should you do not wish to make crust.

I’ve some mini pizza pans, so I simply spray these with some non-stick spray and dirt with flour, then press the dough out to the sides of every one. I pre-bake the crusts at 450 F for about 6-8 minutes after which I can put them within the fridge for every of us to prep our personal pizzas after we wish to eat (if we’re not consuming collectively).

We every use no matter toppings we like (vegan or meat-eating): Italian-style tomato paste (I like this significantly better than pizza sauce), mozzarella or do-it-yourself vegan mozzarella, pepperoni, Bac’n Buds (the Kroger model is vegan, and I feel a number of different manufacturers are, too; Jerry loves them), no matter greens I’ve readily available, caramelized onions, roasted garlic, and so on.

Then we simply bake them till they’re done–at 450 F for about one other 10 minutes. That is tremendous straightforward to prep forward of time (maintaining a bunch of crusts within the fridge or freezer) and simple for “youngsters”–even if they’re grown–to make at any time when they need.

Burritos/Burrito Bowls

That is my go-to after I wish to please a crowd of individuals. It takes fairly a little bit of prep work, but it surely’s straightforward to perform a little at a time moderately than cooking all the things without delay. I put together all the elements/objects/toppings and put them into separate bowls, then everybody can merely make up a bowl with what they like.

My ordinary set-up (when serving a crowd; I reduce when it is simply my household):

-cilantro-lime rice (I simply cook dinner rice, then add salt, lime juice, and chopped cilantro to style after it is cooked)
-black beans (from a can, drained and rinsed)
-pinto beans (similar)
-corn (from a can, drained)
-chipotle hen (I make the marinade and freeze it, then take it out after I’m able to marinate the chicken–about 24 hours forward of time. You possibly can additionally make the chipotle hen and freeze it, as effectively.)
-taco-seasoned floor meat
-vegan taco “meat”
-shredded lettuce
-salsa or contemporary pico de gallo
-sour cream
-tortilla chips and/or tortillas if making burritos
-pickled jalapeño slices

For my vegan bowl, I really like the rice, black beans, pinto beans, corn, lettuce, pico de gallo, crushed tortilla chips, guacamole, and pickled jalapeño slices. Yum!

This can be a nice meal when cooking for a crowd of individuals, too. Who would not love a burrito bowl? Listed below are my recipes for the hen marinade and pico de gallo:

Chipotle Rooster Marinade

2 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. flavorless oil
2 Tbsp. adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Add all elements to a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and seal it. Then mash it round together with your fingers to mix (it saves having to make use of a bowl to combine it, haha). The marinade might be thick, like a paste. Pound out about 1.5-2 kilos of hen breasts very skinny, after which put them within the bag with the marinade. You may have to make use of your fingers to combine all of it collectively and ensure the hen is coated effectively. I marinate them for about 24 hours. To cook dinner, I prefer to grill them on the range high (they cook dinner shortly), then chop into strips or bite-sized items.

Pico de Gallo

1/2 cup pink onion, chopped
1 cup roma tomatoes, diced (the roma tomatoes are excellent for this as a result of it is easy to take away the seeds and the tomatoes maintain their form effectively)
1 bunch cilantro (simply the tops), chopped
1 jalapeño, minced
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to style

Simply combine collectively in a bowl! (I make this proper earlier than serving, as a result of if it sits too lengthy, it will get very watery.)

Here’s a doc with the burrito bowl recipes and concepts.

Stir-Fry, Common Tso’s Rooster/Tofu, Candy & Bitter Rooster/Tofu, and different Asian-inspired dishes

Asian meals is so versatile! Fortunately, everyone in my household likes the fundamental taste profile. I make a variety of dishes that include a protein (hen for meat, tofu for vegan), greens, and a sauce (primary stir-fry sauce, peanut sauce, orange sauce, candy and bitter sauce, Common Tso’s, and so on.). All the sauces might be made forward of time and saved within the fridge till cooking the stir-fry. I prefer to put the sauce elements in a mason jar with a lid, shake it up, and put it within the fridge for that night’s dinner. The sauces that I make are all vegan (not on purpose–they simply occur to be vegan).

When making stir-fry, I cook dinner the meat (often hen), in addition to the tofu, individually. Eli likes hen, Jerry and I like tofu, and Noah can go both approach. The sauces that I make are tremendous quick to throw collectively. I simply put the elements right into a mason jar with a lid, then shake it till I am able to pour it in. I prefer to make the sauce early within the day so I haven’t got to measure issues out whereas cooking, since stir-fry cooks so shortly.

I put some basmati rice within the rice cooker and whereas that is cooking, I warmth a bit oil on the range. I add no matter veggies we like (generally I simply use frozen medleys) and cook dinner till the specified texture. Then I pour within the sauce and cook dinner one other minute or so till the sauce thickens and coats the greens. I separate the stir-fry into two batches, then add the tofu to 1 and hen to the opposite.

When the rice (or another grain) is completed, we simply assist ourselves to rice, then high with the tofu or hen variations. 

Since I used to be the one one consuming vegan at first and I used to be form of clueless do it with my household nonetheless consuming meat, I made a bunch of sauces and poured them into these cupcake molds–then put them within the freezer.

After I made dinner for the household and I did not wish to adapt it to a vegan model for me, I might merely take certainly one of these out of the freezer and put it in a small pot on the range, add half a can of chickpeas and a few broccoli, and cook dinner till thickened. Then pour it throughout barley or rice or different grain. Really easy! It took a number of hours to do all the sauces, however I used to be ready to make use of them for a very long time out of the freezer. It is simply as handy as a frozen dinner.

Listed below are my go-to sauce recipes (chances are you’ll wish to double the recipe, relying on how saucy you need it):

Common Tso’s

1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. salt
1-1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. floor ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. crushed pink pepper flakes (use much less if you don’t need it to be as spicy)

Spicy Peanut Sauce

4 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. peanut butter
1-1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2-4 tsp. sriracha (much less should you do not prefer it spicy)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/8-1/4 tsp. crushed pink pepper (much less should you do not prefer it spicy)
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Sesame Sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. water
1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1-1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-1/2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. floor ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1-1/2 Tbsp. corn starch

Easy Stir-Fry Sauce

2 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. floor ginger
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sriracha
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Candy & Bitter Sauce

1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. floor ginger
1 can (about 15 oz.) pineapple tidbits, with juice
2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp chilly water

Here’s a printable doc with the sauce recipes!


Whereas making a completely plant-based chili to please everybody is unquestionably possible, I’ve made it a number of instances for feeding a gaggle of people who find themselves vegetarian/vegan in addition to meat-eating. I principally make a giant batch of vegan chili, after which separate it into separate pots. To the vegan chili, I often add a few further cans of beans or textured vegetable protein (like within the photograph under).

And for the meat-eaters chili, I can cook dinner up some floor meat so as to add to it. Toppings are at all times useful when making meals to please everyone, too–for the chili, I like to supply cheese, chopped onions, bitter cream, jalapeño slices). That approach, I am not cooking completely separate dishes however everyone is completely happy!

I’ve used plenty of totally different chili recipes, however a quite simple starter recipe (that’s straightforward to regulate and add issues) is right here on my weblog. This makes 4 servings, so you will wish to double it if making a bigger batch.

Vegan on the left, and meat on the fitting:

Spaghetti Sauce

I do the identical for spaghetti sauce as I do for the chili. I put together one sauce, then divide into two pots. To 1 pot, I add floor meat; and to the opposite, I’ll both go away it as a marinara or add TVP (textured vegetable protein). The TVP requires no prep–just a bit further liquid to rehydrate it. Since I am the one one in my household that likes mushrooms, I often pan fry some mushrooms on the aspect to high my sauce.

I haven’t got a selected recipe for spaghetti sauce. If I come throughout San Marzano tomatoes–the “actual” ones, which can be DOP certified–I will purchase 3-4 cans and save them for a superb marinara (simply onions, garlic, tomatoes, salt, and a bit sugar if wanted). In any other case, I exploit any canned crushed tomatoes + diced tomatoes, or perhaps a vegan jarred spaghetti sauce.

Nicely, these are a few of our favorites! I hate all issues having to do with cooking (besides tasting, in fact) so I at all times attempt to preserve prep work minimal or one thing I can do in phases (like prepping the sauce or chopping the greens within the morning, marinating in a single day, and so on.). I’ve additionally discovered that meals the place individuals can put collectively their very own (just like the burrito bowls and pizza) are excellent for when everyone has totally different tastes or has to eat at totally different instances.

It took a short time to get the grasp of being vegan in a meat-eating household, however as soon as Jerry began making an attempt all the vegan recipes I made, he determined to eat problem himself to eat completely plant-based for a month. On the finish of the month, he appreciated it a lot and stated it was a lot simpler than he ever thought, so he is continued the life-style as effectively! I am not going to push my youngsters (or anybody else) to make the change, however in fact I might adore it in the event that they even began consuming much less meat and extra veggies–they do not must go all in.

If in case you have concepts for consuming with dietary restrictions in a household who would not have these restrictions, please share!

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