Whether you're giving up meat for Lent, for a lifestyle change or simply a change of pace, there are several meal options available that everyone in the family can enjoy.
The season of Lent begins March 9 this year and in the Catholic religion that means abstaining from meat on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays through Lent.
Other religions who observe the Lenten season might also abstain from certain things, just not always meat.
And there are also those who choose not to include meat in their diets for health or other reasons.
The key to eliminating meat without forgoing protein is finding an adequate substitute.
"We really only need five-and-a-half to six ounces of protein a day," said Cindy Styer, Family Nutrition Program Assistant with the Ohio State University Extension Office in Washington County.
Baja Popcorn Fish Tacos
Time: 25 minutes
1 22-ounce package SeaPak Popcorn Fish, frozen
8-10 soft flour, heated according to package directions (can substitute crispy corn tortillas)
1 16-ounce bag of fresh slaw (or 1/2 head of shredded cabbage)
1 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, diced
2 tablespoon fresh cilantro chopped (optional)
Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon honey
Taco sauce (recipe below)
8 ounces sour cream
1 1-ounce packet ranch dressing mix
1 1.25-ounce packet taco seasoning
Preheat oven to 425?F.
Bake popcorn fish according to package instructions.
Mix sour cream, ranch dressing and taco seasoning. (You can use a little milk to thin the sauce if desired.) Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve
Place slaw (or shredded cabbage), mandarin oranges, black beans, avocado, cilantro in a large bowl.
Place lime juice and honey in a small bowl and stir together. Pour over slaw mixture and toss until well mixed and coated.
Assemble tacos. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of taco sauce onto a tortilla. Add slaw mixture and top with a hot popcorn fish. Serve immediately.
Simple Spring Frittata
1(16-ounce) package frozen Mrs. T's Pierogies
6 asparagus spears, each cut into 1-inch pieces
6 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
1/4teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese
Boil pierogies as package directs. Drain.
Heat asparagus in small saucepan in enough water to cover to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat to low; simmer 2 to 3 minutes or until asparagus are tender. Drain well and pat dry.
Beat eggs, milk, parsley, salt and pepper in medium-size bowl; stir in shredded cheese. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400?F.
Melt butter in 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add half of egg mixture; top with pierogies, asparagus and remaining egg mixture. Cook until frittata is just set around edges, about 5 minutes.
Place skillet in oven; cook until frittata is set, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.
"Any kind of dried beans are a good substitute and beans can be pureed and used as a thickener in just about anything, even brownies."
Styer also suggests peanut butter and, for those who are not going totally meatless, fish.
"The (USDA) guidelines now are encouraging two servings a week (8 to 12 ounces) of fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon and trout, which have the omega-3s," she said.
Just in time for the Lenten season, the OSU-Extension is offering classes to teach consumers how to incorporate more fish into their diets.
Beginning March 1, the program "Fish Tacos Anyone?" will be held at libraries throughout the county.
For more information, folks can visit washington.osu.edu.