• Guest Blogger

Meatless Mondays (and, well, whenever I feel like it?)

by Annabelle from North Carolina

I get it - sometimes life gets busy, the kids get picky or I get lazy, and we end up eating the same meals over and over again.


Maybe you could call it innovative, trying to expose my kids to a variety of food, or just easy-to-make-dinners with little planning ahead; going occasionally "meatless" is so helpful! In our family, we usually have one day each week without meat involved in our dinner (meatless Monday has a nice ring to it, but let's be honest, it happens whenever it happens).


Even before COVID, I usually stocked my refrigerator and pantry with a few meatless (high protein) staples to help make it an easy option for a meal. Some of these include beans (usually canned; usually black beans, navy beans, cannellini beans or pinto beans), cheese, and eggs.


When my husband and I were newly wed and our budget was tight, swapping out meat now and then made a big difference! We're half a decade in and haven't looked back. One of the best parts of keeping up with our meatless any-day-of-the-week is that my kids are happy to help prepare and eat what we make! We've tried a few recipes like falafel, pastas, vegetable soup, corn chowder and quesadillas. It can feel intimidating at first, but I've found that asking friends or even a quick search online can give lots of ideas for meatless meal options.

Two of our favorite rotated meals are:


White Bean Quesadillas


1 can navy beans (drained and rinsed; or any kind of bean)

1/4 cup sour cream or cottage cheese

1/2 to 1 cup shredded cheese (any kind, we stick to cheddar usually)

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, onion powder or your favorite aromatic spices

Salt and pepper to taste

Tortillas


Optional:

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Veggies*


Mix all ingredients in a bowl, scoop out portions into tortillas, and fold in half to cook (in a stovetop pan or pancake griddle). Flip over once the cheese is melted and the tortilla is crisp to your liking.


*We'll often throw in a handful of frozen corn or thawed chopped spinach to add flavor and color.


Black Bean Burgers


1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

2/3 cup bread crumbs (I like using the one with Italian seasoning)


Optional:

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

Toppings: tomatoes, sliced cheese, guacamole, lettuce, caramelized onions - get crazy!


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash black beans with a food processor or by hand with a fork (my kids LOVE this part) to a slightly lumpy consistency. Combine with the egg and spices, then gradually add in the bread crumbs. The mixture should be slightly crumbly and sticky; adjust as needed. Shape mixture into patties (as big/small as you prefer – these do not shrink when cooked). Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Flip over, return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Patties will be slightly crisp and browned when done. Serve with traditional burger toppings.


 

This blog was written by one of our guest bloggers, Annabelle.

About Annabelle. . .


I’m a wife and a mama to two girls and the sweetest dog, Duke. I have a degree in public health and a love for learning all things nutrition. My husband jokes that I don't have any one hobby because I'm constantly trying new ways to teach my family and stay busy! A few recent favorites are running, calligraphy and mentoring a youth group.


I have big dreams of making big changes in the world. However, if anything, I know that big change happens with small choices each day. By teaching and helping my girls, I hope my little corner of the world is a little better than before.




More posts by Annabelle:

 

Want more inspiration for meatless meals? wichealth.org has a free online lesson called Meatless Meals For Busy Families. Find it on wichealth.org in the Choosing Healthy Foods category!