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Even dedicated carnivores can like Meatless Mondays

This quick-and-easy meatless linguine goes great with a green salad and garlic bread.
This quick-and-easy meatless linguine goes great with a green salad and garlic bread.

Simple, delicious meals easy to enjoy

Sometimes it’s an uphill battle to expand my family’s idea of what healthy eating looks like. My husband and four sons are adamant in their contention that there are but two food groups: meat and potatoes. Three if you include baked goods. Four if you include ice cream.

Several years ago I got some recipes from a local Weight Watchers group and instituted Meatless Mondays. Some groaning ensued, but I found two staple recipes that my family enjoys any day of the week.

However, I’m not sure my youngest son, Sam, 14, grasps the concept. When I asked him what his favorite meatless meal is he replied, “Pepperoni Pizza Pasta.”

“Pepperoni is meat,” I explained.

He scratched his head and offered another choice, “Chicken and Rice!”

It seems I still have some work cut out for me, but since many folks give up meat during the Lenten season, I thought now would be the perfect time to share the two recipes that have received an unqualified thumbs up from the Hval clan: Linguine & Fresh Tomatoes and My Best Potato Soup.

The linguine recipe paired with a green salad and garlic bread makes a simple and delicious meal. It can also be served as a side dish. I swap out the butter for olive oil. The olive oil seems to pair better with the fresh tomatoes.

I love potato soup, but hate the time it takes to chop up potatoes. This recipe calls for frozen hash browns and is hearty enough to satisfy teenage boys.

Last week as we sat down to bowls of potato soup and a loaf of crusty French bread, I said I’d like to serve meatless meals more than just once a week.

My husband put his spoon down and looked into my eyes. “I tolerate meatless meals because I love you,” he said. “But I also really love meat.”

Then he refilled his bowl – for the third time.

Linguine & Fresh Tomatoes

8 ounces linguine, cooked

3 medium tomatoes, chopped

6 green onions, sliced

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/4 cup fresh minced basil, or 4 teaspoons dried

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons butter

While pasta cooks, combine other ingredients, except butter, in a large mixing bowl. Drain pasta, toss with butter, then toss with other ingredients until completely coated.

Note: In addition to using olive oil instead of butter, I always double the pasta and the green onions and add a large can of sliced black olives.

My Best Potato Soup

16 ounces frozen hash brown potatoes

4 cans low-sodium broth

1 envelope gravy mix

2 onions

1 clove garlic, minced

Spray nonstick pan with cooking spray and sauté onion and garlic. Add hash browns and cook until tender. Transfer to large stockpot. Add three cans of broth and bring to a boil. Make gravy according to package instructions, but use the fourth can of broth instead of water. Add this to soup and bring to a boil. Let simmer about 15 minutes.

Note: I use 32 ounces of O’Brien hash browns, which come with onion and green and red peppers, so I don’t need to chop and sauté onions. The larger amount of hash browns makes the soup heartier and the peppers add color and flavor.