Lent is hard. Cooking simply for the season sounds great, but it can also be a challenge. Maybe that is part of the sacrifice…giving up our indulgences even in our typical dinners, to offer it up and learn again how richly blessed we are to have so much choice in our meals.
In the last few years, I have tried to prepare meals from other countries. Using recipes shared by Catholic Relief Services, I can prepare an authentic (or close-to-authentic) meal like the world’s poor eat. It is eye-opening. My kids are learning just how many options they have in our fridge and pantry compared to others, and I am learning how to build a meal with simple ingredients. It’s actually helping me to make better use of our pantry items, also, as I try to use what we have before rushing off to the grocery store.
Here are some of my favorite simple meals to prepare, which are also enjoyed by my whole family.
Rice and beans: A meal doesn’t come much simpler than this! I take a few cans of black and/or pinto beans, spice them with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder, and heat. I prepare plain rice, and serve. Sometimes I saute onions and garlic to mix into the rice. Since my children are always hungry, I also often fry eggs to serve on top of the rice and beans.
Empanadas: I made these for the first time a few weeks ago, following the recipe on this year’s menu from CRS. They are so.good. The queso melts into gooey deliciousness when the empanadas are fried. I can’t wait to have this meal again. Serve with rice and beans.
Mac and cheese: Who doesn’t love mac and cheese? Serve with green beans, or broccoli, or carrots, or a salad.
Black bean tacos: These are a favorite around here. The kids usually eat several!
Tomato soup and grilled cheese: We love the Pioneer Woman recipe for tomato soup, paired with grilled cheese. We also like broccoli cheese soup and potato soup as meatless options!
What are your go-to meatless meals?