i snuck fake chicken into dinner (and burned my face with jalapeño juice)


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I had this great goal for Meatless Mondays, but let’s just all agree that I’m not very good at goals and leave it at that. On the positive side, I am still on my kick of eating less meat. So although I haven’t designated a specific day to vegetarianism, I am making some pretty tasty meat-free meals when I get around to cooking.

As a meat-eating individual, I’ve always had the hardest time with fake meats. I feel like either I will eat the real thing or just not eat it at all. But a couple of months ago I tried a new recipe that the boys loved, so I asked my veggie-pro sister how I might make it vegetarian friendly. She suggested using fake meat in favorite recipes as sort of a first step. Although reluctant to eat these fake meats, I figured I’d give it a go and see if the boys noticed.

Up until now every time I told them I’d made a vegetarian dish for dinner they responded with things like, “Why did you make this, we aren’t vegetarian.” or “There’s no meat in this at all?”

So here’s how it went…

First to the store to find what the internet said was the best fake chicken out there. Settled for the best (and only) fake chicken at my store. Having no idea how to convert pounds of real chicken to a bag of frozen something made to look like chicken strips, I bought one bag and hoped it would do.

Then I made the recipe according to instructions, replacing chicken with “chicken.” (Somewhere in here was the magical time where I cut up a jalapeño but didn’t realize I needed to wash my hands with water AND soap before rubbing my eyes. Let this mistake be a lesson to all of you!)

Third, I served it to the children as if no changes were made to their new favorite enchilada recipe. I listened as they told me it was delicious (although slightly lime-ier than last time), and Milo had two servings.

After we’d all eaten and just Tyler and I were together, I told him the meal was vegetarian-friendly. Although he was with me at the store the week before to buy the “chicken” he recalled none of it and was actually surprised when he found out.

Verdict: I could have used more chicken, as we only ended up with 7 enchiladas and extra sauce. Maybe I’d cut the strips up a little smaller to try to mimic shredded chicken more. But overall, I’m happy I found another vegetarian meal to add to the rotation and I’ll be making it again–at least two more times before I tell the boys what’s really in it.


P.S. How awesome is this ladle? I wouldn’t even care about using it as a ladle, I’d just want to sit it in all my pots and bowls for fun.


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