Friday, September 26, 2014

Meatless Fridays (Vol. 1)

Gina at Someday (Hopefully) They'll be Saints has started a new link-up to share tasty meatless meals, and I thought I'd jump in this first time around.

I've been eating meatless on Fridays for a while now....probably since 2005 or so, when I finally learned that Catholics are still supposed to be abstaining every Friday of the year (from meat by default, but in the US, you are permitted to substitute a different penance).

My husband is like many men, and wants to eat meat - and lots of it - at every dinner.  On nights we can't have "real meat," he's going to want to eat fish.  So for most Fridays during our marriage, I've made fish sticks and pierogies for dinner, at his request.  Fish sticks aren't bad, though we would love to have higher-quality fish sometimes.  But because of the price, it has to be reserved as a special treat for us.  After years of fish sticks, I'm starting to get sick of the same thing every week.

Now that we've gotten over the "hump" of adding another baby to the family, I've found myself with more time and desire to cook better (i.e. healthier, more "from scratch") meals.  I've been trying to slowly get Tom used to the idea of eating a couple meatless dinners a week - at least one of which doesn't include fish either. So I've been trying out some new recipes... 

I really love the cookbook, Twelve Months of Monastery Soups for meatless dinner ideas.  I still haven't tried many of the recipes (though my goal is to make one new soup each week over the next few months - we'll see how that goes!).  The few meatless soups we've tried, though, have all been shockingly delicious!  I mean, you look at a recipe and it's basically taking vegetables, water, salt and pepper and throwing it in a pot.  You boil it, simmer it, stir it.  You would think it would be so bland and flavorless, but each time, you're left with the most delicious pot of soup.  No meat, broth, or bouillon necessary!  It's amazing!  Then just add some good crusty bread, and it becomes a very comforting and tasty meal.

And now that I've made you eager to hear more about these amazing soups...I'm going to just change gears and give you a completely different recipe.  Maybe I'll share some soup recipes on future Fridays.  Today, though, I'll share the meal we'll be eating for dinner tonight.

Fettucine Alfredo
12 oz. uncooked fettuccine
3/4 c. butter
1 c. whipping cream (or heavy cream)
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional...and I don't think I've ever added it)

1. Cook fettuccine, drain water, keep noodles warm.
2. Meanwhile: melt butter in Dutch oven over low heat.  Stir in cream and pepper.  Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Stir frequently.
3. Stir in cheese.  Cook and stir until cheese is just melted.
4. Stir in noodles until coated. (add nutmeg now if desired).  Enjoy!

I'm planning to cook some broccoli to throw in, and probably do a spinach salad on the side.  Grilled chicken would also taste great in this on a meat-friendly day.


  1. Anything with heavy cream is going to be a winner! :)

  2. Pasta is my go-to Friday dinner when I haven't got it together well enough for pizza. I've never added nutmeg either to Alfredo.Nutmeg is for carbonara. Soups I make once a week or so, but I usually have so much chicken broth it would be silly not to make a broth-based soup. Although it does "count" as meatless if there isn't actually meat in it. We're having minestrone tonight because I have a gallon of broth I just don't want to add to the dozens of broth bags already in the freezer! I'll have to see if the library has that soup book. Now that fall is here soup is more appealing.

  3. I love alfredo... never heard of nutmeg in it! Maybe I'll try that sometime...

  4. I add the nutmeg. It's what Pioneer woman recommends. So. Please post about your favorite Monastic soups. My sister lent me that book but said her husband wasn't keen. Not filling enough. But she admitted that she only tried about 5 of the recipes. And I haven't tried any, but we're coming on soup season.

    We often just do simple spaghetti and salad. I add a tin of sardines or oysters for protein. Quiche is very filling and is my Ash Wednesday/Good Friday dish because I just don't feel like carbs are great after a day of fasting and eating mostly just bread. Meatless Mexican works well for us too.

  5. Oh yum, that sounds so good!! And I'm so excited you joined the "party" and shared a recipe!

  6. Mmmm I haven't made fettucine alfredo in ages and I've been thinking about this all day trying NOT to make it but yeah, it's happening even though I'm pretty sure it'll be our third pasta dinner this week. Whatever, I'm pregnant, I do what I want :P

  7. Makes me realize how fortunate I am to be able to get cheap fish! We can sometimes get whole wild sockeye salmon for $4/lb. Soooo delicious and all that wonderful omega-3. And I buy sole, cod, and basa fillets frozen and on sale for about that price too.

    I have that book too and I wanted to make soup tonight after reading your post but it's been a really tough day (both kids are sick and cranky and I'm probably sick too but I'm refusing to be sick). I just don't think I'm up for all the chopping to make a good vegetable soup. I'm going back to my original plan and doing baked potatoes topped with (canned) tuna, cheese and (frozen) veg. But! I will make extra baked potatoes and then tomorrow I'll use the ham bone to make a baked potato soup. Mmmm. It's rainy and totally soup weather here.

    I don't always add nutmeg to creamy stuff but it's a nice change. A little bit in creamy scrambled eggs for instance adds a bit of warmth.

  8. Christine, perfect timing on this recipe! It sounds great and I think I'll try it soon. My husband loves alfredo anything, and he's a really good sport about not eating meat at every meal (though it's not his preference!)
    Also - nominated you for the Liebster blogging "game" - ONLY join in if you've got the time and inclination! No pressure! -Theresa

  9. We have that `12 Months of Monestary Soups books as well. I LOVE it. I love soup, but the recipes are all so good . We've moved so many times that I I have very few cookbooks (as I usually get recipes online) but that book is one of the few cookbooks I have kept.