We found Engine 2 when shopping on Greenling and decided to try it. After a week of eating what the recipe kit told us to eat for dinner, and a few lunches, we have mixed feelings on the plant-based meal plan. We love vegetarian diets, of course, and most of the meals are pretty healthful with a wide enough range to keep it interesting, but we found ourselves adding salt or cheese when we reheated leftovers for lunch. Leftovers are one of the great things about going through Greenling (see last week’s post) for this meal plan because the meals will feed more than intended. Although we ordered five meals for two people, we got three to four servings out of each meal during the first week.

Day 1: Nachos

Engine 2 Nachos on three plates

Plenty of food for three people, this recipe is amazing. We made the mistake of setting our broiler to low when cooking the chips, so they were not as crispy as they could have been. Then the moisture from the beans and tomatoes made the chips a little soggy, but the nachos still tasted incredible. A beautiful salsa, fresh tomatoes and avocado are perfect with organic black beans. Anything that can survive our clumsy handling and still taste great has our vote.
*added bonus: Making tortilla chips (correctly) in the oven saves a little money over buying them packaged.

Day 2: Portobello Mushrooms and Mashed Potatoes with Seasonal Vegetables

Engine 2 Marinate Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes and Seasonal Vegetables

Incredible. This is by far the favorite meal of the week. We put the marinade into the mushroom container and shook it around and poured it all onto the baking sheet. Our lack of culinary training (and apparent common sense) led to some smokey mushrooms coming out of the oven. Note for next time, don’t pour marinade all over a baking sheet. It will burn before the mushrooms cook. But, even after trying to burn the mushrooms (and the veggies, for that matter) this was amazing. It presents well and the mushrooms are tender enough to cut with a fork. The rosemary and garlic in the potatoes bring a gourmet touch to comfort food. This dish reheats well, too!

Day 3: Cauliflower Soup

Engine 2 Cauliflower Soup

Soup is surprisingly easy to make when someone else does all the prep work. This one is good, but doesn’t stand out as a favorite from the plan. We added salt to one of the three reheats (yes three, this recipe makes a large pot of soup) and that helped. Large chunks of cauliflower and potatoes give this more of a stew feel, so we thought biscuits might be in order. While they are great for sopping up the liquid, plan to eat much less than you think you need because the soup is filling and the bread will swell.

Day 4: Pasta Primavera

Engine 2 Pasta Primavera

Whatever else happens, don’t use the entire crushed pepper packet. Yowza! That’s one hot dish. But, while it did burn, we couldn’t stop eating it. Fresh kale and peppers bring texture to a pre-made organic sauce and noodles. We melted cheese over the leftovers and that helped cool it down a bit, but if you have a pallet for spice, you’ll like this meal.

Day 5: Shepherd’s Pie

Engine 2 Shepherd's Pie

Rosemary potatoes (left over from the second day) and lentils drive this dish. Good on the first day, shepherd’s pie shines in leftovers. Maybe it’s the flavors mixing or just mashing everything under a plastic lid, but something happens overnight that makes this better on the second and third day. Like the others we had from week three, this recipe makes well more than the promised two servings.

We stumbled into Engine 2 by accident, but the convenience and nutritional quality of what we found make it worth continuing. Our sample is limited, and at some point, we’ll probably buy the book and see what this diet is all about. For now, the good meals are great and the worst meals are only as bad as “meh,” so we’ll add Engine 2 to our dinner rotation. We alter the recipes with salt, oil or cheese to fit our tastes, which is probably counterproductive to any weight loss goal, but we like the meals.

Until next we meet, enjoy great food and keep a happy heart.

Come back next Sunday for another ride through cattle country.