Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Meatless Mondays and Crock Pots!!

{by ecoki}

I always knew that organic, grassfed and free range were the way to go for healthy meat.  Reading various articles from and as well as watching documentaries like Food Matters and Food Inc have made our household strict about what meats we buy.  It's true, organic, grassfed and free range meats can be pricey.  For that reason we had to reestablish how much meat was necessary for each meal. Learning that it was healthier to consume less meat helped us spread out the meat we bought for each week as well as add in beans, and free range organic egg dishes.

I discovered that if I butterfly and pound out a chicken breast thin then it will feed our family of three at one meal.  This simple process makes the one chicken breast look much larger. My husband finds that he is satisfied with part of the chicken breast when I prepare it this way.  Plus it cooks evenly and quickly.

{I LOVE this crock pot! After the dish is finished cooking it turns to the warmer setting so it stays warm until you are ready to eat!}

A slow cooker/crock pot is another simple way to afford organic meat.  A slow cooker has an amazing way of making inexpensive cuts of meat tender and flavorful. The tough fibers of a flank steak will cook down into a tender piece of meat when placed in a slow cooker in the morning.  It will be ready for dinner when you get home.  Newer slow cookers are also energy efficient.

Inexpensive Cuts of Meats

Chuck steaks
Flank steak
Stew meat
She must be thinking about her "Meatless Monday" menu. lol
"Meatless Mondays" are pretty well know but sadly I never thought to incorporate them.  I know, what is wrong with me?!?!  One of my Twitter friends, @Midnight_Maniac {Midnight Maniac Blog} reintroduced me to "Meatless Mondays" and I am forever grateful! I am so happy my husband is so open to improving our health and will have more meatless meals than just on Mondays.  "Meatless Mondays" began during WWI to aid in the war efforts.  It was also brought back during WWII as well. Unlike during both World Wars, today "Meatless Mondays" are all about preventing diseases and saving the environment. explains a lot about the importance of eating more vegetarian meals. Making vegetarian meals will encourage you to eat more whole grains and vegetables. Like Oprah mentioned on her Vegan show this week, you will become more regular if you know what I mean.  Regularity is very good for your colon health and for detoxing your body. 

{For my first "Meatless Monday" I made this robust and creamy dish from Everyday Food. I will make this often! I did not add almonds though.}
Goat Cheese and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

Serves 4
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 12 ounces rigatoni, penne, or other short tubular pasta {I used gluten free rice pasta}
  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), thinly sliced {I only had oil packed and it worked fine}
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled, plus more for topping (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes less than package instructions. Add sun-dried tomatoes, and cook 3 minutes. Remove 2 cups pasta water; reserve. Drain and return pasta mixture to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add almonds and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; reserve. Return skillet to medium heat; add oil, garlic, and red-pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  3. To pasta mixture in pot, add garlic mixture, reserved pasta water, cheese, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper; stir to combine. Let stand until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Divide pasta among four shallow dishes; sprinkle with almonds and, if desired, additional cheese.
I hope this encourages you to think about the meats you buy and to eat more vegetarian meals!


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