Originally Posted by xashley717x
I only eat many frozen foods because I'm 15 years old, parents work all day until 6:30 p.m., and I don't get home until usually the same time or later. I know thats no excuse, but I'm more of a baker than a cook :) and I've been a vegetarian for 1 1/2 years so I am starting to spend less time in the freezer and managing to make more fresh foods when I have time! (:
Well, that's a whole nother thing! Sounds like you're already too hard on yourself as it is!
Here are some ideas, quick and easy.
Pasta e ceci:
you could spend all day soaking and then cooking chickpeas (or depending on where you live, garbanzos) but you don't have all day, nor should a fifteen year old be spending all day inside cooking beans! and you can get them canned.
Put a fairly big pot of water to boil with a small handful of salt.
Get another pot, one that will hold around 6 cups or more, with a fairly heavy bottom. Take a couple of cloves of garlic, an onion, a stick of celery and a carrot - crush the garlic, chop the rest. Put some olive oil in a pot (enough to cover the bottom of the pot and if you tip it it will make a very small puddle). Add the chopped/crushed vegetables and turn on to very low heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let them "sweat" very slowly till they get soft, but they shouldn't brown (a little nut-colored is ok, but better tasting in this case if they stay light)
Drain the chick peas in a strainer, run water over them, and dump in the pot. Add enough water just to cover the beans. Meanwhile put a big pot of water to boil on the side.
Let the soup boil for a little - ten minutes or more, depending on the time you have as you wait for the other pot to boil.
When the other pot boils, add some short pasta (ditalini, elbows, whatever you can find easily) and cook till almost done (when you bite into it you will see a very thin white line of uncooked dough, that's when to drain it)
Take an immersion blender if you have one and blend HALF or a little over half of the chickpeas and liquid so it's creamy. Put it all back into the pot and add the drained pasta. Continue cooking till the pasta is completely cooked. This is very tasty and has more protein than a steak.
If you don;t have an immersion blender, you need to cool the mixture first a little before blending in a regular blender but if you;re in a hurry, melt a couple of ice cubes in it. The reason you have to cool it is that it can be very dangerous to blend hot liquid, it will squirt all over and you DON'T want to be burned by chickpea puree - it is very hot and sticks to you more than water, and keeps burning!
If you don't have any blender at all, you can crush the chickpeas in the pot with a potato masher.
Take 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, crush them. Put them in a heavy-bottomed pot with some olive oil and slowly cook them till they're soft. Add dried lentils and water - they enlarge in the water so keep an eye on them and add more water if it gets absorbed. Add salt and pepper. Let the lentils cook till they're soft (there shouldn;t be any crunch at all.
You can add a bag of fresh washed spinach or a package of chopped spinach.
Let the spinach cook. Taste it and add salt if necessary.
Take some good rough bread like italian bread, even better if it;s stale. Toast it and then rub a piece of garlic on it, drizzle with olive oil and pour the soup over it.
You can also cook some rice and eat the soup with rice instead.
If you make either of these soups, you can eat for a couple of days with them.
If you're so young and eating vegetarian you need to be sure you're eating enough protein.
It's important to know this simple rule. Milk products and eggs have animal protein, so that's good. But you can get lots of protein with vegetables. Vegetable protein is not complete - that is, our bodies can't get what they need from simple vegetables or legumes (beans) on their own. But if you mix different vegetable proteins together in the same meal, you will get complete protein. So you want to be sure you have any two of the following in the same meal (or in the same dish, as above)
legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas (garbanzos), peas, peanuts)
grains (wheat (also pastas, breads), rice, barley, corn, oats) (whole grain will give you more protein)
Seeds (sesame, (including tahini sauce) , sunflower, pumpkin, etc)
nuts (walnuts, almonds, filberts or hazelnuts, pecans, etc)
Also remember that even a small amount of milk or cheese or egg, mixed with any of the above will also complete the protein of any of those.
Peanut butter sandwich (preferably on whole wheat) makes complete protein
Oatmeal cooked in milk will give you complete protein
Hummus (do you know it? I think it's pretty popular now and not hard to make but you can buy it ready made) is complete protein since it;s made of chickpeas and sesame seeds. Make it a base for a sandwich (add sliced cucumber and tomato, for instance, on whole wheat bread) and you have an extremely healthy source of lots of protein.
Cottage cheese with sunflower seeds is really filling and a good main course if you;re in a hurry
If you want a simple cookbook with lots of information about nutrition i recommend laurel's kitchen. The stuff is not fancy, usually easy to prepare and very healthy.
Make sure you eat LOTS OF VARIETY of vegetables for the many vitamins they have.
Research traditional "poor foods" - peasant dishes, etc, because they will all be based on non-meat protein sources. Pasta e fagioli, minestrone, polenta with cheese, the two recipes i wrote above, are some italian examples. Mexican food is full of bean/rice/corn dishes. Indian food is strongly vegetarian.