Monday, March 3, 2014

Meatless Fridays: Beyond Cheese Pizza and the Fish Fry

Ah, Lent. A time when a mom's fancy turns to "what the heck am I going to feed these kids on Friday?"

Growing up, Adam said his mom always served Kraft Mac and Cheese or cheese pizza on Friday. He
That's chopped cucumbers, tomatoes,
and shallots with olive oil, salt and pepper
suggested I do the same for the Herd and I gave him a look that clearly said, "No." I am not a Kraft mac and cheese fan, nor do I wish to spend every Friday during Lent eating the same foods. The local Knight of Columbus Fish Fry is yummy but it can get pricey and has the added challenge of taking the Herd out to dinner. (Translation: We never get to sit down and eat.)

With those in mind, I set out to find lots of good, meatless dinners that we would enjoy outside of Lent too! Thanks to my friends at NPN, I complied this list to make your Lenten menu planning easy!

1. Breakfast for dinner- leave out the bacon and enjoy toast, eggs, waffles, pancakes and more! Make homemade hash browns. Have an omelet bar. Add chocolate or fruit to the pancakes to perk them up.

2. Fruit or veggie pancakes- Think beyond basic white flour pancakes. Like pumpkin? Try yummy pumpkin pancakes. Fry up zuchinni pancakes- you know you have plenty left in the freezer from your summer garden!

3. Pesto Pasta- sop up the pesto with homemade bread (or any bread really... Fridays are meatless, not carb less!)

4. Alfredo pasta- add lots of veggies to the sauce to make it nice and filling!

5. We love this tomato basil soup. I use Fleur the immersion blender to blend the veggies before stirring in the white sauce. Add grilled cheese and oh. my. gosh, you'll want to eat this every day! (If you don't want to use chicken broth, use veggie or just plain water and up the herbs. So good!)

6. Baked mac and cheese- especially good if your Friday is particularly cold and snowy! There are loads of different recipes on Pinterest.  I looked but could not find a recipe similar to the one I make, which does NOT require you to bake the noodles before cooking. I need to write it out for the blog!

7. Stovetop mac and cheese- make your own cheese sauce and mix in the pasta. Add veggies if you like.

8. Skip the chicken, add another egg or two and make fried rice.

9. Risotto 

10. Quinoa Chili- This recipe has chicken in it but I've left out the chicken and it was still so yummy! We served it with cornbread.

11. A baked potato bar- Did you know you can bake potatoes in the slow cooker? You can! My husband says the texture is off but it is great way to make a healthy, inexpensive meal quickly. We serve them with leftover (meatless) chili, cheese and BBQ sauce.

12. Tuna salad- Lent would be incomplete without tuna. Forget Tuna Helper because, um, ew. Get some yummy bread, chips (if you haven't given up hunk food) and pickles and make a high class meal out of that can of dolphin safe tuna.

13. Cheese or veggie lasagna- Our secret family recipe involves... Stouffers. Make your own but really... Stouffers is good too.

14. Quinoa Black Bean Bowls. For most Catholics, it seems that cheese or fish are the main sources of protein during Lent. Why not quinoa? It's good, good for you, easy to prepare AND has tons of protien. It needs to ROCK those Friday night tables!

15. Quesadillas- Yes, there's cheese but what about sweet potato and black bean? No, it's not gross. I promise!

16. Get the veggies you love, the pasta you adore and mix up this baked penne with roasted vegetables. Meat? What meat?

17. Kale and ricotta stuffed shells

18. Pumpkin pasta with peas and ricotta salata

19. Stuffed Summer Squash

20. Maple Dijon Salmon- I am not a seafood fan but I might try this dish recipe! Yum!

21. Tuna Noodle Casserole- This isn't your grandmother's tuna casserole!

22. Meatless Lentil Tacos- Lentils make an excellent ground meat substitute! I've made lentil sloppy joes, lentil tacos and lentil chili. You simply adjust your seasonings to what you are making! Even my "I don't like lentils" eaters like this.

23. Cashew and chickpea quinoa with peanut ginger sauce- As I said before, use that quinoa! Make this the Lent of Quinoa!

24. Quinoa and sweet potato meatless meatballs- In addition to eating these with pasta I bet they would make excellent meatless meatball subs!

25. Black bean veggie burgers 

Bonus! Okay, you say, but what do I serve my kids for lunch? I know, I know. My boys love their turkey hot dogs and chicken nuggets... which is better than the whole "I will not eat anything for lunch and have a hunger induced meltdown" that went on for... too long.

So, lunch. Here's a couple quick and easy lunch ideas that you can pack for school or whip up easily at home:

1. Cold cereal and milk- Yep, even in school lunches. My kids take the cereal of their choice in a plastic container and buy milk. Add some fruit, maybe a veggie, and a treat and you have lunch.

2. Some spreadable something and jelly/honey- Use almond butter or peanut butter and you have the classic kids lunch.

3. Plain pasta- add cheese in another container and sauce in yet another, just to keep things from getting soggy in the lunch box.

4. A "dip" lunch- hummus with pita chips and veggies. Peanut butter with apples, carrots, pretzels and celery. Ranch dip with... anything.

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget the crockpot mac-n-cheese recipe you gave me about 10 years ago! I still use it! So easy even I can do it:)