Category: Meatless Friday


The vegetable lasagna turned out fine using the no-boil noodles. I had never used them for a freezer recipe so I wanted to make sure. The noodles were tender and baked perfectly. My daughter really enjoyed this dish and my meatless dish snubbing husband even agreed that it was good. It may have helped that the veggies were shredded and not in huge slices.

This flavor combination could turn out to be almost as frugal and nutritious as you can get. It’s a bonus knowing that the two star veggies are easy to grow in the garden, and I plan to grow them both this year. If you find Ricotta (or cottage cheese), sauce, and noodles on sale or with a coupon deal this could be a frugal meal even snazzy enough for company. You could also use a different pasta, switch up the veggies, and make it a casserole like Money Saving Mom did in her 4 Weeks To Fill Your Freezer series.

How can I make this recipe more economical next time is a great question to keep asking yourself. With that mindset I’m sure you’ll continue to see your food bill be reduced.

Don’t forget to plant extra tomatoes this year for home canning. Canning tomatoes is more simple than it seems, and I’ll take you through the process at the end of our growing season.

Remember that it takes a little while to change or start a new habit, so don’t get discouraged if you are only just beginning your journey towards frugality, eating more healthfully or both.

If you’ve never tried freezer cooking because something’s been holding you back, express your concerns here.

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Looking for meatless meal options? Here is a yummy, satisfying meal in a bowl that’s easy on the pocketbook.

Be sure to visit Life as Mom’s Ultimate Recipe Swap for more recipe ideas.

Creamy Potato Soup

3 Tbsp butter

1 onion, diced

4 large potatoes, chopped

3 Tbsp parsley chopped

3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped or grated

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp paprika

1 1/2 c boiling water (Sometimes I use veggie broth or bouillon and then omit the salt)

white sauce (below)

Saute onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients except white sauce and cook until vegetables are tender. Add white sauce and stir until blended and heated. I add the parsley at the end so it stays bright green. I also added some chives this time. Dill goes well with potatoes too. Makes 6 servings

White Sauce

4 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

4 cups milk

Melt butter. Stir in flour and seasonings. When smooth, add milk and stir constantly until thickened.

I don’t think it would hurt this soup if you saute the onion in olive oil. Seven Tbsp of butter seems a little much for me, but this is one of those old farm/depression era recipes when they had a plentiful supply of milk and butter. I use 1% milk and it turns out just fine.

Homemade Croutons

Cut your bread or rolls into chunks and “fry” in olive oil in a frying pan toasting the bread lightly. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice. I like garlic powder and an Italian herb blend. I used dill today. You may toast them more in the oven or quickly under the broiler if you like more crunch. You could also lightly and evenly spray your bread cubes with olive oil. I used tongs to flip the cubes around in the pan. Very easy, quick and delicious.

It’s Good Friday and the end of Meatless Friday for a while. To be honest, I’ve never made homemade pesto. Let’s just say it. Pine nuts are expensive. I happened to have some in the freezer, left over from the holidays. If we were having meat with this meal I suppose the cost would be comparable. Pine nuts have a lot more to offer though than meat and none of the bad stuff. Nuts are a little high in fat, but it’s good fat. The same goes for the olive oil.

Cook your spaghetti according to package directions.

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Add the basil and pine nuts to a food processor and pulse several times. Add the garlic and pulse. Slowly add the olive oil in a stream while the food processor is on. Stop and scrape down the sides. Add the cheese and pulse until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with your pasta. Makes approximately 1 cup.

This is also good as a sandwich spread.

A few weeks ago my mom and I were discussing meal ideas for the Lenten season. She remembered this recipe that her mom used to make on Fridays for her family of six. It makes two thin-crust sheet pizzas. You may also make one thick-crust pizza, which is what I plan to do.

My Grammie has a wonderful personality. She’s always pleasant, friendly, and loves to talk and joke with everyone. Her easy-going attitude is reflected in several of her children. Even as a child I noticed it seemed very easy for her to take things in stride. Not all of us have the personality to allow things to just wash over us and accept things come what may. I believe it’s part personality traits and part religious convictions. Whatever it is, it makes her one of the friendliest, easy-going people I know.

Homemade Pizza – Grammie style

Box of hot roll mix, using the pizza crust recipe (I used Pillsbury and it called for 1 1/4 c water & 2 Tbsp olive oil)

28 oz can plum tomatoes

4 c shredded sharp cheese, or less to taste

Italian seasoning blend, to taste

Garlic powder, to taste

Make your pizza crust with the hot roll mix. For one thick-crust pizza: Generously grease a 14 inch pizza pan or large cookie sheet and pat dough in pan using greased hands after mixing and kneading for 5 minutes. For two thin-crust pizzas: Use two 12-inch pizza pans or cookie sheets. After patting the dough in the pan(s), pricking the dough with a fork and letting it rise for 15 minutes, crush the tomatoes with your hands and distribute them evenly over the dough. Make sure to squeeze the excess juice out of the tomatoes. You can either puree or blend the tomatoes to have enough for two pizzas, or use another can for a chunkier effect. Sprinkle with seasonings and herbs. Sprinkle cheese evenly over tomatoes. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 to 25 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. For one thick crust pizza bake at lowest oven rack position. For two thin crust pizzas, switch pans on oven racks halfway through bake time. Makes 6 servings.

The cost of this meal was less than $1 per person, using canned tomatoes and cheese on sale combined with coupons.

You could dress this up any way you like with tons of other veggie toppings and/or serve with a salad.

White spaghetti also know as spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino, or spaghetti with garlic, oil and chili peppers, is one of the many fond food memories I have of my grandfather or Pop pop as I called him when I was a child. He went to walk with God when I was in middle school, and I miss him very much. He was a kind, gentle, patient man and an excellent gardener and cook. I never heard him raise his voice and never heard him gossip one word against another person. He was born in Italy and when he spoke you could tell. To this day, whenever I hear that “broken-English thick with Italian accent” spoken by anyone it always makes me tear up. There were several beautiful fruit trees in his yard and many vines of fragrant white grapes, as well as a bountiful garden.

The trick to this recipe is to cook your garlic slow in the olive oil so that the oil also becomes infused with the flavor of the garlic. I use a lot of garlic, a bulb to a pound of pasta. You can use as much or as little as you like. The olive oil that you use is up to you. It should be of good quality. Some prefer the more pronounced flavor of extra virgin and some prefer a milder flavor. I say use whichever you prefer.

Cook your pasta according to package directions. I prefer mine al dente. Do this while you are heating the olive oil in a pan that will be large enough to contain the oil and the cooked pasta, and slowly cook your garlic. You don’t want your garlic to burn as it will become bitter. I chop the garlic in rather large pieces and remove it for finer chopping later on and add it back in to help prevent this. You may start out with a fine chop from the beginning but you have to watch it very carefully. It is difficult to keep your oil at an even temperature with an electric stove. You may want to keep that in mind if you have one.

You want enough oil to evenly coat your pasta without it really dripping from it. I usually eyeball this and it does take some practice. Start with a half a cup of olive oil to a pound of pasta.  After your pasta is cooked and drained well carefully add it to your pot of olive oil and garlic. I stir it around and let it cook just a little so the flavor really penetrates the pasta. Keep this in mind when you are boiling your pasta so it does not become overdone and mushy during this stage. This recipe also calls for grated red pepper flakes. We add these at the table as everyone here does not enjoy the “heat” of the pepper flakes. We also pass the Parmesan cheese. A garnish of parsley is a nice finish and then all of the colors of Italy’s flag are represented by the green parsley, white pasta, and red pepper flakes. This meal goes well with a crusty loaf and a nice green salad with juicy ripe tomatoes and a good oil and vinegar dressing. This is a very cheap meal but I doubt you’ll hear any complaints.

We are enjoying this white spaghetti as a side dish today with broiled haddock and a salad.

What are some of your fond food memories that you associate with a loved one?

It’s been unusually warm around here lately and I think a little too warm for soup. When you are being frugal though, sometimes it is better to use up what needs to be used instead of thinking about what you would rather have. I have potatoes and celery to use before they are past their prime and some rolls leftover from the birthday party. I’m making an old-fashioned soup and homemade croutons. Even though I’m trying to cut down on the refined carbs, my frugality, again, is taking over. It’s been said before…everything in moderation.

Creamy Potato Soup

3 Tbsp butter (gasp)

1 onion, diced

4 large potatoes, chopped

3 Tbsp parsley chopped

3 stalks celery with leaves, chopped

2 large carrots, chopped or grated

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp paprika

1 1/2 boiling water (Sometimes I use veggie broth or bouillon and then omit the salt)

white sauce (below)

Saute onion in butter until tender. Add remaining ingredients except white sauce and cook until vegetables are tender. Add white sauce and stir until blended and heated. I add the parsley at the end so it stays bright green. I also added some chives this time. Dill goes well with potatoes too. Makes 6 servings

White Sauce

4 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

4 cups milk

Melt butter. Stir in flour and seasonings. When smooth, add milk and stir constantly until thickened.

I don’t think it would hurt this soup if you saute the onion in olive oil. Seven Tbsp of butter seems a little much for me, but this is one of those old farm/depression era recipes when they had a plentiful supply of milk and butter. I use 1% milk and it turns out just fine.

Homemade Croutons

Cut your bread or rolls into chunks and “fry” in olive oil in a frying pan toasting the bread lightly. Sprinkle with seasoning of your choice. I like garlic powder and an Italian herb blend. I used dill today. You may toast them more in the oven or quickly under the broiler if you like more crunch. You could also lightly and evenly spray your bread cubes with olive. I used tongs to flip the cubes around in the pan. Very easy, quick and delicious.

Something simple was in order this week as we have a lot going on. There’s something about a yummy fish sandwich. Ours is topped with lettuce, tomato, and a touch of tartar sauce. We used whole-wheat sandwich thins because it really cuts down on the carbs and calories. This was simple prep. Just lightly bread with seasoned flour and pan fry or bake until done. Fish gets rubbery if it’s overcooked. It’s done when opaque and flakes easily with a fork.

This was served with a tossed salad and it was tasty, filling, and quick.

Here we are in the second week of the Lenten season and I almost didn’t have a clue what to make this week because we happen to be entertaining. I feel it’s important to share traditions with friends, religious or otherwise. This is how we learn about each other. I decided on a traditional Italian favorite. There are a lot of ethnic dishes that are just downright healthful, and frugal, of course. With the addition of a green salad and some crusty bread, this is a very filling meal. Our guest will not miss the meat.

Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth (from a can or your own)

4 cups water

1-2 tbsp olive oil (enough to saute the veg)

1 large onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 cup carrots, sliced thin

1 tsp basil

4 tbsp parsley

pinch cayenne

2 cups whole plum tomatoes (squished with your hands)

1  6 oz can tomato paste

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry macaroni of your choice

salt and pepper to taste

grated parmesan cheese

Saute veggies in olive oil until they are soft. Stir in tomato products, garlic, herbs, cayenne, broth, water and beans. Simmer for 30 minutes or until all flavors are well combined. You can make ahead at this point and add the pasta and rewarm before serving. If not making ahead, bring to a boil and add pasta. Cook until pasta is tender using pasta directions as a guide. Serve with grated parmesan cheese. Serves 6.

Excluding meat from warm-blooded animals from our diets on Fridays during Lent is part of my Catholic upbringing. Even though I am Methodist now our family still practices this religious tradition. I think it is important to honor God and remember the sacrifice that was made for us.

Lent represents the 40 days Jesus was in the wilderness enduring the temptation of Satan. Lenten is an Anglo-Saxon word. It means spring. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the Saturday before Easter Sunday.

To help others understand you have to remember that this tradition dates back to the early church when meat was more of a luxury. In order to have a steady diet of meat you either had to be wealthy and buy it or have the land to raise it. The fast evened things up between the rich and the poor, reminding those that were wealthy what it’s like to be poor and to reach out as Christ would like them to. Anyone could fish and that is why fish is allowed.

In a nutshell, fasting during Lent is done because of tradition. It is a statement that we are in control of our desires and our focus is on God. We are wealthy compared to the rest of the world and should help those in need. It is one small sacrifice to show that we repent and turn to God.

If you perceive Lent in a different way or grew up with different teachings please feel free to share.

I hope you are able to glean some ideas from the meatless meal recipes I provide. If you don’t use them as a way to fast, they are still beneficial by being  healthful and most times frugal choices.

Meatless Friday

Earlier today I talked about simple pleasures and taking the time to enjoy those things in life. I mentioned having a meatless Friday due to the Lenten season. What I thought would be a simple recipe turned into something more, but only because it seemed as though the flour to liquid ratio was off a bit. I had this recipe for easy pizza crust tucked into my recipe tin. I’m not sure exactly from where it came. Usually recipes in that tin are from family or coworkers. Note to self: Always write the person’s name on the recipe so you can call with questions if it does not go as planned.

Pizza Crust

1 pkg dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tsp sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

2 cups flour (which I had to increase a bit to be able to even start to knead it)

Turn oven to 400 degrees F

Prepare pan. I used cookie sheet type pan.

Dissolve yeast in water and add olive oil, sugar, salt and 2 cups of flour. Mix well. As I mentioned above, I needed to add atleast another 1/2 cup flour. Knead on floured surface for about 5 minutes. Let dough rest while you clean up. Roll dough to fit pan. Place on greased pan and poke with fork. Bake 7 minutes. Top with your favorite topping…We used pizza sauce, cheese and mushrooms. Bake another 7 minutes.

My family members were all in agreement that this pizza crust was most comparable to a sheet pizza crust you would buy in the grocery store. It will do in a pinch with ingredients that most will have handy in their pantry. If you desire the more developed flavor of a pizzeria hand-tossed crust, use a different recipe. All were happy with the results though and gobbled it up. We discussed maybe using half whole wheat flour next time and other toppings that might be nice on a different day of the week such as ham, pineapple and banana peppers, bbq chicken with caramelized onions, or taco pizza.

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