Trying to eat less meat

Very short: We like to eat meat..

When I say “we” I refer to our closest family, that is my wife Mette, our “children” (aka “The young ones”: Mie, Frederik and Pi) and me.

In this family we do very much like meat. Like:

  • cow/veal (ground beef, steaks, roasted, chili-con-carne, gullasch, barbecued, cottage pie, lasagna, sauce bolognese etc)
  • pork (pork chops, roasted, in a stew, bbq etc)
  • lamb (lamb chops, leg of lamb, shepherds pie, bbq etc)
  • deer (leg of deer)
  • chicken: All of above and base of lots of very tasty Asian cuisines
  • duck: Ducks breasts are probably one of our favorite meals, duck for Christmas is a must
  • fish… Well depending on what you beliefs are, fish is not meat in the meaty sense or it is. But we do like to eat fish. And shellfish. And BBQ’ed fish is really good…

A few years back when Pi was still living at home she suggested that we should try to do with less meat. Not for some vegetarian or vegan reason, not because of any other beliefs except: The “grown-ups say we should eat less meat, lets try it”.

So we did. Initially it was once a week with no meat. But in a family with 2 parents with different working schedules and 3 children with different schedules (school, after school, swimming instructors, horses, karate, music lessons, work, boy- and girlfriends) it was increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
Having a single day-of-week without meat proved problematic.

So over the years we have tried to introduce new recipes without- or with less meat. One such is the vegetarian lasagna which is particularly good. And so the fish lasagna. Chili-con-carne is good too actually.

This Saturday Pi and I made Greek meatloaf (lamb) with tzatziki and Greek salad and it was really delicious!

Greek Meatloaf
Greek Meatloaf

I am so lucky that I have to go to Crete almost every year because of JCrete. So being part of the crowd I like joining the restaurants with lots of fellow JAVA people and get served very nice local meals. Most are with cheese/feta, olives, olive oil, yogurt, honey, cucumber, very tasty tomatoes, lots of green “weed”, snails, vine leaves, onions, herbs, potatoes, bread etc. Most of these very delicious dishes are either without meat or with only only very little meat (like stuffed tomatoes/peppers, vine leaves etc).

And I love it! So eating great food without too much meat is actually not difficult, probably more of a cultural thing…

The other day Pi and I were chatting about favorite things to eat. And one favorite used to be “Beef Bearnaise” (I’m told I’m good at making a very good Bearnaise) with chips. But now it feels like it is too heavy, too much animal fat, just plain too much. We have both moved on and now much prefer dishes with just some meat and then lots of vegetables, herbs, olives etc. And fish…

This is a process and we are continually improving.

A few days ago I was the only one eating at home (2 out of 3 of “The young ones” has moved out, Mie was eating with her boyfriend and Mette was at work). It was a Friday which usually is a “party” day where we try to prepare something special. It just didn’t fell right to prepare something special only for me and what should it be? A few years back I would have prepared Beef Bearnaise with chips and perhaps an optional salad, but I was actually not in the mood for such heavy food.

I was split between two other of my favorites but both would be producing a dinner for 4+ and take a few hours, and with almost none of The young ones at home it would just rot in the fridge…

Fridge… I decided to instead go for an adventure of what was actually in the fridge. Stuff that was kind-of forgotten, and not yet alive (in the bad sense).

There was a half of a minced-meat beef, some slightly dodgy mushrooms, different vegetables in different stages of decay and some beans I’d cooked a week ago. Hmmm…

So I roasted coarse chopped mushrooms in onions, garlic and butter. Added pepper and after a while the minced-meat minced, chopped scallions, sun-dried tomatoes and tomato puré. When everything was well roasted I added some red wine to dissolve the remains at the bottom of the pan. Then a tin of tomatoes and let it simmer.

Just before serving with rice I added the beans (black-eyed peas) and some fresh herbs, adjusted the taste with soya, salt and pepper.

It was a very nice meal, very tasty and fulfilling and cheap! The cost of the ingredients were actually zero (they were heading for the bin). The actual cost was only the cost of the electricity used in the making of it.

Lovely! And the amount of meat is minimal 🙂

From the fridge meal
Meal from the fridge

About Jesper Udby

I'm a freelance computer Geek living in Denmark with my wife and 3 kids. I've done professional software development since 1994 and JAVA development since 1998.
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