I have slowly been adding more meat and dairy into our diets. I am not a big meat eater- never have been. I just don't care for it, so I tend to not cook a lot of it. My kids don't do well with dairy from cows either, and Brad has his whole allergy issues. Plus, I have done too much reading about what happens to our food before it hits our tables, especially in the animal products realm, that it has been a slow adjustment for me to bring these into the home. So needless to say, our menus have been strictly limited. However, I have started to transition from the extremist view of complete abstinence from certain foods to one of an informed consumer. I have found some great local farms that sell organic, free-range, grass-fed meats that I feel good about supporting. I also buy my kids goat products which tend to be healthier not only because they are easier to digest, but because they don't contain the hormones, antibiotics, etc. that a lot of dairy products from cows contain. So, we still eat mostly a plant-based diet, but have our animal products in moderation throughout the week. The meat or dairy tend to be the side dish of most meals we make...we follow Dr. T. Colin Campbell's rule from his great nutritional study, "The China Study," which says that 90% of our diet should come from plants, 10% from animals. Anyway, the kids are doing great with the changes, and we've made some very yummy recipes lately! It feels liberating. :)
Here is my grandma's recipe for pasta gravy. You can make this without the meat or with some kind of meat substitute, but we made it with the organic ground beef from New Frontiers health food store.
3 lbs ground beef
2-4 chopped garlic cloves
1 large red onion
2 large cans of tomato puree
1 large can of Italian seasoned chopped tomatoes
2 small cans of tomato sauce
Seasonings to taste: LOTS of garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasonings, oregano, and parsley
Saute onions and garlic in olive oil in a small pan.
Cook meat or meat substitute, if using, and drain.
Combine the onions and garlic with the meat and all the rest of the ingredients.
Cook over low heat for several hours or put in a slow cooker for the day.
Pour over noodles, grilled or fried eggplant, use in lasagna, etc.
We poured it over fried eggplant and served it with garlic bread and salad- so good!
This recipe made enough for 2 meals (for the whole family), and we had three jars on top of that left over! We store our pasta sauce in mason jars in the freezer for up to 6 months.