I hope you are having a great day. It is COLD here in North Texas. Leave it to us to be warm all Winter and now that it is coming to an end, get cold. ha!
So it occurred to me after I posted about Lenten Meals - HERE, that for larger families Lenten Meals can be expensive. They can be a real budget killjoy! I mean, we can't afford shrimp, lobster, good cuts of fish all the time, and we only have one child. So I can just imagine the struggles larger families have during a time when meal plans have to change. Wait - you do MEAL PLAN don't you? If not - please check out Good Cheap Eats! For me, it is one of the Key blogs on the topic of Frugal, Organized living!
The good news is there are SO many bloggers who participate in Meatless Mondays or are Vegetarian/Vegan - trust me there are enough recipes that are budget friendly to get you through a thousand Lenten seasons. Google Meatless Meals. Not only will you find out how good it is for you to do without meat on a regular basis, you will fill your coffers to the hilt with great Lenten recipes. Chefs from Rachel Ray to the Pioneer Woman all have meatless recipes. You just had an Aha! Didn't you? ooohhh I bought myself a treat for Christmas- a Catholic Cookbook from 1965. I haven't really taken the time to look through it but will put it to good use next year. I love eBay!
How do I get started for the year - planning in advance! In January, I always participate in the Pantry Challenge on Good Cheap Eats! I found Jessica through her blog Life As Mom! I love how she writes and was immediately drawn to her. Good, Cheap Eats is just an extension of that. In the Pantry Challenge, you use what you have in your pantry/freezer and get creative to save money on groceries. After Christmas and Holiday eating, it just makes sense.
Then, I usually use February to build up my Freezer/Pantry. In my freezer there are frozen oranges for smoothies, frozen diced potatoes for hash browns, plenty of grated cheese, meats of all kinds, and many things to make life easy - pancakes, waffles, frozen hamburger or chicken patties, soup stock, etc..
The rules of Fasting/Abstinence during Lent can be found on EWTN. It is interesting to know here that according to Canon Law, we are not supposed to eat meat on ANY Friday throughout the year, but the American Bishops got special permission for American's to eat meat on Fridays. This bothers me and speaks to our selfishness and LENT is a perfect time to work that out. But that is a topic for another time. And I don't want to be judgmental because I know we are all our own important faith journeys! That said - here is the information: Lent Fasting & Abstinence.
I love love love this blogger Monroe. HERE is her Lent on a Budget kind of post. Here is what she says about budgeting foods for Lent: The tricky detail for families on a budget is that while the idea of a Lenten meatless meal is to “go without” and donate the savings to the poor, many of the available options actually are far more expensive than what is typical dinner fare. Price out tilapia, perch, walleye or lobster at any supermarket, and you’ll realize why family and school cooks too often create a dinner menu around cheap and somewhat tasteless “fish sticks.”"
We have one child, but she is dead right! Like I said above, good fish, shrimp, lobster, etc. cost way more than I am willing to spend. PLUS our child does NOT eat fish sticks. Who does he think he is? I don't know - but he can't stand them! Instead of adding FISH for meat, some meals, we just go meatless. The truth is, during Lent, it doesn't have to cost more. You can be creative! Plus, you know Lent is coming, so buy fish when on sale and freeze. Freeze in GOOD freezer bags for sure, so they will last. We have a Foodsaver. Love it! If you don't make soup, buy appropriate soups on sale. Clam Chowder or Potato Soup. YUM I think the KEY to saving money at Lent or any other time is Organization before you get there. Know what you are going to make and make sure you stockpile when on sale (I mean if it is not something that will go bad!).
In our family, our favorite meatless meals are:
- Beans and rice and we usually toss in a salad or spinach (something green).
- Veggie lasagna.
- Veggie or Cheese Pizza (home-made crust is super easy and inexpensive).
- Grilled cheese & Tomato Soup. I mean CLASSIC!
- Breakfast for dinner.
- Bean burrito or cheese enchiladas with guacamole on the side.
- A nice big salad with avocado/cheese/eggs/olives/tomato/cucumber and whatever else we can find.
Here are several Meatless Meal sites I love:
Good Cheap Eats
My Pinterest Healthy & Low Cal Board (lots of meatless meals)
Perhaps the most helpful list is below. Monroe posted a great list of budget-friendly meals. I'm putting it here but give her ALL the credit! If you compare the two lists, you will see I added and subtracted words below because I took her personal thought out and added a few things in.
- Eggs and their many variations (fried, scrambled, egg salad, veggie omelet, egg casserole, frittata).
- Potato pancakes.
- French toast.
- Macaroni and cheese.
- Black bean burgers.
- Bean burritos.
- Cheese quesadillas.
- Cheese enchiladas.
- Fish/Shrimp tacos.
- Cheese ravioli.
- Pierogi. Most of these dumplings are filled with potatoes or cheese.
- Alfredo sauce over pasta.
- Any non-meat soup.
- Cheese pizza or veggie-lovers pizza.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
- Stir-fry veggies over rice.
- Meatless spaghetti.
- Vegetable lasagna.
- Grilled cheese sandwich.
- Tuna salad sandwich.
- Tuna Casserole.
- Egg salad sandwich.
- Beans and rice.
- Cheesy rice casserole.
- Potato bar (leave the bacon bits off the menu).
- Cheese fondue bar.
- Cheesy bread with marinara sauce.
Corn bread, garlic bread, garden salad, fresh fruit or fruit salad are excellent side dishes with many of these entrees.
On our Worship Center, sits a CRS Rice Bowl. The flier that came with it contained a few GREAT recipes. Black Bean Balls (I would serve with salad) look fantastic. The Rice Bowl is actually a box to put change/cash in during Lent. The idea is to put in what you might spend on meat or other things you are giving up. It is located on the left of the picture below, under the bowl (empty bowl = fasting).
I hope this helped some of you.
But if you find you can't afford a meal during Lent, invite yourself over - we're all stocked up and ready to serve.
Love, Hugs & Blessings