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Easy Meal Ideas for the Fuhrman Eat to Live Program

Coming up with menus can be pretty daunting when you're just starting this plan--even for a long-time vegan. So many of my meals before revolved around pasta and other starches that I had to re-think a lot of my family's favorite dishes.

I'm finding that bags of frozen vegetables in different combinations are a lifesaver. I buy stir-fry mixes, Italian vegetables, California mix, and other combinations and use them to make soups, Indian dishes, and Chinese stir-fries.

For soups, I chop up an onion and throw it into a pot of water and start it cooking. Then I add frozen vegetables, chopped tomatoes (canned with Italian seasoning is good), and seasonings (garlic, basil, oregano, etc.) If you have a little vegetarian broth powder you can add it too. Then add a can or two of beans, kidney and/or white beans, drained. Bring to a boil and cook for about 20 minutes, and you have a hearty soup. If you want to add your serving of potatoes or brown rice to this you can.

Stir-fries are fairly easy. First I begin cooking the veggies (usually 2 1-pound bags of them for my family of 3). I put them in a large, non-stick pot with a little water (about 1/4 cups), cover them and cook over high heat, taking the cover off and stirring every couple of minutes. When they are about done, I add a sauce. I take about 1/4 cup of soy sauce, 1-2 cloves of garlic, some chopped ginger, a tablespoon of hoisin sauce or Chinese barbecue sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil (optional), and add it to the veggies. Then I mix a tablespoon of corn starch with a 1/2 cup of water, add it to the pot, and stir until it boils and thickens. (If you want a heartier stir-fry, you can bake some tofu and add it when you add the sauce. Just cut tofu into 1/2-inch slices, brush them with soy sauce, put on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 350 for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Cut them into cubes when they're done.) Serve over rice or alone.

I also like creating a home salad bar. I buy pre-shredded carrots, broccoli slaw, and baby spinach and baby greens in bags. All I do is throw them into a bowl and chop up some tomatoes, cucumber, and mushrooms. It used to take me forever to make a salad--now it just takes a couple of minutes. I've also discovered I love "taco salad". I just warm some chili beans or seasoned black beans and put them right on the salad along with some salsa.

Some quick meals I do:

Baked potato bar:  I bake potatoes, warm some chickpeas, make some "cheesy sauce"*, steam some broccoli, sauté some mushrooms, and chop some green onions. Then we all fix our baked potatoes to suit us.

Vegetarian baked beans: I heat a can of veg. baked beans, fix a big salad or batch of steamed veggies, and fix instant mashed potatoes for my family (I skip these).

Burritos: Fat-free refried beans, salsa, chopped tomatoes and lettuce, etc., wrapped in a fat-free tortilla or a large lettuce leaf or over a salad.

Spaghetti (sort of): Buy low-fat vegetarian spaghetti sauce (Classico makes some great ones). Make a pot of spaghetti for the family. For me, shred some zucchini or yellow squash. Serve the heated sauce over the raw zucchini, like spaghetti. (My mother tasted it and declared you can't tell the difference.)

*recipe for cheesy sauce at