The Lenten season is upon us and meatless Friday’s are in the future. The key to these meatless meals is to create some fantastic food without damaging your budget or your family’s palate. Meatless Friday’s no longer mean bland food; you can create a great Friday night dinner with plenty of taste and raves from the family.
The first thing that comes to mind on meatless Friday’s is fish. Fish sticks and tuna noodle casserole for approximately six weeks could drive your family to convert to another religion and while your kids will enjoy the fish sticks, your husband or wife may not. Consider other cuts of fish from the seafood counter when you’re in the grocery store next. Tilapia is a wonderful choice as it is not too fishy tasting and one of the less expensive fishes. Using a little lemon pepper and frying it in a little oil, brings out the taste of the tilapia and is a favorite with children. Your other option could be shrimp. These are fun for the kids and adults, especially stir fried with your favorite vegetables and tossed with whole grain rice.
While fish usually takes center stage during Lent, do not overlook your vegetable options. As mentioned above, stir fried vegetables are a fun way to get the kids in the kitchen as they help you toss the ingredients in the wok or a simple frying pan. Olive oil, while healthier, can take the crispness and flavor right out of the peppers and onions choose a vegetable oil instead.
Ah, the incredible, edible egg is another protein packed choice during Lent. Anyone can make a quiche filled with all of the ingredients including spinach, cheese, onions and mushrooms. The internet is crawling with great quiche recipes. If you have a favorite cookbook, dive in and you will find more than one recipe that is a nice alternative to those meatless Fridays.
Cheese is a versatile tool to help you through the Lenten season. Many families will share grilled cheese and soup on a Friday night; however, some have taken it to the next level. While American or cheddar cheese is usually the first choice, get flexible in your cheese choices and create a Mexican grilled cheese using the Tex-Mex shredded cheese from taco Tuesday. Serve this with some homemade tomato soup and enjoy the warmth of the spices and the soup. This is especially good if your weather is cold and dreary. Heck, make it Mexican night by serving chips and salsa as well. Ole!
Meatless Friday is as synonymous with Lent as chocolate is with Valentine’s Day. However, these do not have to be bland, boring meals revolving around fish sticks and grilled cheese. By experimenting with ingredients and that are not hard on the palate or the budget, you can create Lenten meals that have the family singing your praises as well.