It’s Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten Season for us Catholics. There is so much going on during this season, and one very important thing to remember is that we shouldn’t be eating meat on Fridays (or Ash Wednesday!) As Catholics we believe that Jesus gave his life for us, and it happened on a Friday (Good Friday to be specific). So in remembrance of his Passion, we give penance by sacrificing something. Historically speaking, meat was only eaten at celebrations, so it seemed appropriate at the time as a good form of penance. I have also heard it described that because Jesus gave his flesh, we don’t eat anything that has flesh, which is why fish is ok. Our family keeps things pretty traditional all year, and we abstain from meat on every Friday, but most Catholics just do it during Lent. This is why you see Churches hosting fish frys before Easter, and why even restaurants often have fish as the daily special on Fridays.
My go to Friday dinner is, of course, fish, but the kids gets sick of having this over and over all year long. Either batter/boxed from the frozen food section or just some vacuum packed salmon fillets. Usually served with rice and vegetables. But as the kid have gotten older and expanded their tastes, here are some other ideas for great meat free dinners, that we often enjoy:
- Fish Tacos (any light white fish, broken up in a fry pan, seasoned with salt and pepper, served with coleslaw and a mayo/lime/garlic sauce)
- Stirfry (so easy to adjust to your families’ likes, using fish, shrimp, or even just veggies. make it even easier by using a jarred Asian style sauce, or this easy sweet and sour recipe, and serve over noodle or rice)
- Veggie Pizza (either homemade, frozen, or ordered in, this is always an easy option that everyone will love)
- Mexican anything (we love tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, taquitos….the list goes on. Take your fav recipe and make it meat less by using black beans instead)
- Loaded sweet potatoes (again with the Mexican theme, these potatoes are delicious and an unexpected way to use a sweet potato!)
- Veggie chili (a take on a Racheal Ray recipe, this one is a family favourite for sure)
- Pasta (kids love pasta dishes, so this is great for the little ones that might be picker. Just about any pasta shape and sauce will do, try a favourite recipe, just without the meat, or this favourite one from my family)
These are just a few of our favourites for those meatless nights. I would love to hear some of your go to meatless meals, especially if you have picker eaters like my kids are sometimes.
Have a blessed Lenten season!