Lenten Menu Plan – Week 1

Lenten Menu Plan – Week 1 February 29, 2012

We are trying to do a (mostly) vegetarian Lent so that we reduce our grocery bill and can send some extra money to those in need this year. However, I am determined that it not be pasta every night of the week, since many of my quick, go to meals involve chicken or beef. I have created a menu plan for this week, and any keepers will make it on to next week’s plan as well.

We are super duper busy at the moment, so the goal was easy, healthy meals which the children could help to prepare.

Monday — tomato soup and grilled cheese
Tuesday — slow cooker vegetable and chick pea curry, jasmine rice and naan (this failed, it was gross, so I am not even sharing the link to the recipe, but I am going to seek out a better curry option)
Wed — Green Pepper, onion, black bean and cheddar quesadillas with homemade guac, greek yogurt and salsa
Thurs – tortellini with mushrooms and peas in cream sauce, salad
Fri — soup and stations at church
Sat — slow cooker ratatouille over rigatoni, salad, bread

If one of these appeals to you, maybe it will be your Friday option! I set myself up for success by making a really good list, dividing it by section of the store, and shopping for everything I needed on Monday, hence the super easy Monday dinner.

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  • maryalice

    From Nancy:

    Risotto and salad is great, too.

  • maryalice

    great idea — red pepper risotto is going on next week’s list, for sure! I am going to try to change up the pasta night each week so that it is not too repetitious.

  • maryalice

    From Juris Mater:

    This vegetarian commitment is inspiring, and the meals sound delicious.

    Our problem is, with each passing year, I seem to develop a greater need for lean animal protein in 2 out of 3 meals each day, as in I can barely make it through Fridays in Lent anymore at all in terms of blood-sugar levels. I have to choke down fish for dinner on Fridays in order not to become so faint that I’m falling over. Does anyone else have this issue? I know everyone’s metabolisms are different, but my system literally seems to shut off after a few hours without (white) meat. Dairy proteins and bean proteins just don’t cut it, though I wish they did.MaryAlice, do you always do that grocery routine–excellent list, set up by aisle, shopping only once a week? I try to stick that, and it makes all the difference, but it does sometimes blow my mind that it takes 2 or more hours on Sunday night to plan all meals for the week (including breakfast and lunch) and make an excellent list, collect coupons, etc.

  • maryalice

    I took about an hour to make the menu plan and list, but I hope to take less time next week as I will keep some of the meals on this week’s list.

    The reason I did a careful job of dividing the list is that the children have been helping me with the grocery shopping — so — I tore up the list and handed the “dairy” part to one child, and she gathered all of that, two children took their own cart to the produce aisle and got all of that. With their help, our two cart shopping trip takes about 20 minutes!

    Bean, dairy, nuts and lots and lots of vegetables do it for me — I was a strict vegetarian for 4 years. A little bit of good fat (avocado, olive or coconut oil) help a lot with satiety, too.

  • maryalice

    From Kat:

    JM, I have a very hard time with fasting in general – my husband can go a whole day (until dinner) without eating, but I can barely make it a few hours! I think that some of this has to do with chasing after young children all day, and also therefore being around food all day – nothing like preparing a meal for your children to make fasting a huge sacrifice! I will say that with the combination of either being pregnant or nursing, there have been very few Lenten seasons where I have been able to fast – instead, I modify my day to make the food that I do eat as unappealing as possible, but I never know exactly where the line is while nursing/pregnant during Lent.
    Abstaining from meat is only hard for me if I don’t have healthy fats – I make sure to have peanut butter sandwiches, tuna salad, nuts, something with avocado, etc.
    Maybe you should talk to a priest about your difficulty, JM – he might have some insight for you. There are allowances to abstinence for those with a medical reason, and it sounds like you have a very real difficulty!

  • maryalice

    From JMB:

    Do you by chance have low blood pressure and low blood sugar levels? I don’t know if this is related, I have 0- blood type, very low blood pressure (high while pregnant would be 110/65, normally 90/60). I tend to feel faint if fasting. What helps me is to up the fat: tuna with mayo, butter, triple creme cheese, shrimp with a sauce with added cream ie vodka sauce, scampi. Peas with butter, parm, cream and cavatelli.

  • maryalice

    It’s funny, because some people associate Lent with fish, but my kids associate it with bean quesadillas! I should probably try some fish here and there just for exposure.

  • maryalice

    From Becky:

    http://www.realsimple.com/food… I use this curry recipe every week. I would think that boiled potatoes could be a cheap and easy substitute for the chicken

  • maryalice

    From Red:

    These look amazing,


    and could be made without the ham. I struggle w/o meat too JM, and I have to make sure I am eating lots of fat on Fridays. Since I can be somewhat dairy intolerant, this is very difficult for me to do w/o fish, eggs, and beans. Because I am GF, I try not to cut anything else out of my diet, so a meatless lent wouldn’t work for our family. Like JMB mentioned, I have low BP and I am hypoglycemic, so days of fasting don’t mean I should skip meals, but eat very plain food, with lots of protein and fat. I start almost every day eating 3 eggs! On Fridays, I also have beans or tuna for lunch, and then fish for dinner. Eating this way I feel very similar to the days where I am eating meat. Good quality fish isn’t any cheaper than meat though, so going meatless doesn’t save us any money!

  • maryalice

    what a great website. this looks great, too:

    For quinoa, I think I could do what I always intend to do with rice, which is to cook a bunch and then put it in the freezer in portioned flat bags. That way, I can put the bag in some warm water and have the quinoa ready to add to a recipe in minutes.

    Now searching for a great minestrone soup recipe — we have to ramp up the nutrition value on our soup and grilled cheese day.

  • maryalice

    From JMB:

    You just gave me an idea to make a tuna nicoise salad for dinner Friday night!