Lenten cooking is a challenge. I want to prepare meatless meals that are in accordance with the spirit of the season, but which are still meals that my kids will readily eat.
To do this, I make meals that are healthy and kid-friendly, but very simple.
1. Tuna Fish Salad and Muffins
This is a protein packed meal that my kids request on a regular basis.
To serve my family of eight, I fill a large serving bowl with greens, a cubed apple, and whatever veggies I have on hand.
Then, I add three cans of tuna, about four sliced hard boiled eggs, and salad dressing.
I serve the salad with homemade muffins. Sometimes, I make a double batch of muffins and freeze them.
Then, if I want to make this meal again later in the month, I can thaw the muffins and have dinner ready earlier.
2. Potato Chip Cod
I can’t believe how easy this dinner is, yet it is hearty and tasty.
I buy frozen cod, and then thaw it before dinner time. I then brush on just enough egg to coat the fish.
After that, I cover the surface of the fish with crushed potato chips before baking a little longer than package directions dictate. I like to serve this with roasted potatoes or French fries.
3. Gallo Pinto
This traditional Costa Rican meal tastes best with cold leftover rice. If I make chicken and rice the night before, I can make extra rice to use on Friday, which allows this dish to come together very quickly.
To make enough for my family, I heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Next, I add a minced onion and diced bell pepper.
Then, I add 2 -3 cups of the cold rice and 1-3 cloves of minced garlic.
After stirring that for a few minutes on high heat, I mix in two cans of beans, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and salt/pepper, and stir it until the beans become soft.
Once it’s cooked, I top the meal with chopped cilantro and parsley before serving.
4. Tuna Melts (with my own personal twist)
All of my kids like tuna melts and so does my husband, which means a win for everyone.
I like tuna melts because they are easy to make and to customize—I make them with provolone for the adults and cheddar for the kids.
Instead of using mayo, I make the melts with Greek yogurt for a healthy twist and a tasty twang.
5. Tofu Pho (Vietnamese Soup with Rice Noodles)
I know, I know, there are a lot of jokes surrounding tofu, but when it is prepared properly, tofu is quite delicious. My kids really enjoy it, especially when I use it to make pho. Many supermarkets carry vegetable pho base in the Asian food section, and using the pre-made base makes pho really easy.
Simply heat in a covered pot on the stove, and when warm, add in rice noodles and cook according to package directions. To prepare the tofu portion, I wrap three blocks of extra firm tofu in a cloth and leave it to “press” for a few hours in a bowl with a heavy plate on top.
This allows excess water to come out of the tofu, so it cooks more easily. About forty-five minutes before dinner time, I cube the tofu and pan fry it in a very hot skillet with some sesame oil.
Once the broth and noodles are done, I put everything into bowls and top with some cilantro and shredded carrots.
Meatless cooking does not have to require a lot of time, ingredients, and prep.
With these five simple meals in my recipe box, I have a variety of meals at the ready for Lenten Fridays.