Saturday, June 19, 2010

Move Over Chef Boyardee

We finally ate our last meal from the Self Magazine article, Cook Once, Eat Healthy All Week. This was the one I was least excited about trying, Vegetable and Chickpea Ragout.

I had to look up "ragout" and find out what it even means. Turns out it means "a main dish stew" and it's pronounced "ra-goo" just like Ragu pasta sauce. So there, you learned something new. Unless you already knew that. I didn't.

This is a very healthy vegetarian meal (15 grams of fiber, 14 grams of protein, 380 calories), which I liked. I do eat meat, but not a lot. I'd love to say I eat none, but I'm not there yet.

We left the olives out, because I don't like olives. Also, our "fresh basil" was long ago not fresh anymore, so that didn't make it into our final plates. The only other change I made to the recipe is, it calls for "1/2 cup whole wheat penne pasta, cooked." This confused me greatly. Does it mean 1/2 DRY pasta, cooked? Or 1/2 cup of the already cooked? And either way, seriously?! 1/2 cup of pasta?? Who cooks a 1/2 cup of pasta?? And this is supposed to serve TWO?!

I cooked more like two cups of pasta. So, I'm sure the calorie count went up there, but it was whole wheat at least. I mean, I had a total of probably six cups of the veggie/chickpea mixture. Was I really supposed to stir in 1/2 cup of pasta??? Also, I should say, this ended up making us more like three or four servings, so I think we're good.

As for taste, it wasn't bad. It was just kind of bland. I actually added salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the final product, which helped a lot. R said he liked it, "except it has these weird crunchy dry beans in it?" I guess he's not a chickpea fan. But he ate two helpings, and he took the leftovers to work for lunch the next day.

Now that we've eaten all five of our meals, my final evaluation is that the one meal I would definitely cook again is the Sweet Potato Shepherd's pie. That one was majorly tasty, and we both agreed.

And I do like the idea of having basics on hand (and sometimes frozen) to make quick, healthy meals. We've used the leftover onion/garlic mixture three times in various dishes, and we used the leftover broccoli/red pepper mixture to make a quick and healthy stir-fry. So, I may look more into "cook ahead and freeze" type plans and try more recipes.

I'll keep you posted on anything good I find!


Regina said...

I've been doing some of this - cooking a whole chicken then making several frozen meals with the meat. Even better when you can cook the meat in a crockpot!

It does lower the temptation to hit the drive through when you have stuff on hand for fast access!

Karen said...

I'm not a fan of chick peas, really, but this dish has me intrigued. I have no desire to become a vegetarian, but I would like to make more vegetarian dishes.

And I really want to try that Sweet Potato Shepherd's Pie.