Meatless Meal Ideas

meatless-threelittlemommies.comAfter sharing my tips for saving money on groceries, I got lots of interest in one tip in particular: going meatless. Eating less meat has really saved us some dough. These are my family’s favorite meatless meals. Some of these meal ideas really don’t need an explanation, so I’ll link recipes to the ones that do. Serve these along side veggies and you won’t miss the meat! (These are not meant to be vegetarian meals as some contain chili with meat, or canned soups with meat. And you could easily add meat to any one of these recipes, if you’d like!)

Cheese Mannicotti

Navajo Tacos

Three Cheese Baked Ziti

Breakfast for Dinner- make sure you include eggs and fresh fruit.

Foil Dinners

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

Veggie Pot Pie

Quesadillas- make them with black beans for protein, serve them with salsa and guacamole.

Ravioli Bake

Veggie Spaghetti- use chopped veggies like carrots, zuchinni, squash, mushrooms, and peppers in place of the ground beef.

Potato Bar- baked potato topped with canned chili, cheese, broccoli, and sour cream.

Cheesy Potato and Vegetable Soup

I hope these recipes give you some ideas of how to cut back on meat. I’m always on the look-out for meals like these, so if you have a favorite, please share! Please subscribe to Three Little Mommies and get more things like this right in your inbox!  You can also find us on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram!

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Cheesy Potato and Vegetable Soup

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A few years ago (cough cough, ten), at the bridal shower given to me by my family, I was given a gift that I have used more than any other wedding gift. Every guest was asked to bring a recipe to help get me started on my own recipe box. Seriously, this was such a perfect gift! Well, over the years these recipe cards have gotten worn from use, but none as much as this one! This recipe is from my cousin’s wife, and I’ve modified it to fit my family’s taste. I add and substitute ingredients depending on what I have on hand (in this photo I’ve added broccoli). This soup is the definition of comfort food. It’s amazing in a bread bowl, too. Try it.

Ingredients:

7 1/2 cups water

5 carrots, peeled and chopped

5 celery stalks, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

4 or 5 large potatoes, peeled and diced

5 chicken bouillon cubes

1/2 cup butter, cubed

2 cups  extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated (please grate your own cheese. If you try to use bagged shredded cheese this whole soup will fail. Bad.)

1 cup flour

Fill a large soup pot with 7 1/2 cups of water. Add vegetables and bouillon cubes. Cook until tender. Add butter and cheese, stirring constantly until both are melted and soup is smooth. To thicken, in separate bowl, mix flour with enough water to make it smooth. Gradually add it to the soup and stir until soup is smooth.

**Makes A LOT!

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Cheese Manicotti

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This meal is great because it’s a change from your usual dish on pasta night. I’ve been making this meal since I was in high school. It’s always been my favorite, and now my kids love it, too.

Ingredients:

1 package manicotti noodles

1 24 oz jar marinara

1 15 oz tub part-skim ricotta cheese

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

In large pot, cook pasta according to package directions, drain. Place pasta on clean towel to cool until it’s easy to handle. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine cheeses, egg, and seasonings. Spray 13×9″ baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour 1/2 cup of marinara onto the bottom of the dish to keep the pasta from sticking. Using a butter knife, carefully fill each pasta tube with the cheese mixture, placing them into the baking dish as you go. Once all the pasta tubes are filled, pour the remaining marinara over the pasta, covering completely. Cover with foil and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes, or until bubbly.

Makes 14 individual pieces.

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Three Cheese Baked Ziti

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How can you go wrong with warm pasta covered in creamy marinara and three different kinds of cheese? You can’t. And it’s ridiculously easy. You can thank me later.

Ingredients:

1 lb box ziti (or any other short pasta), uncooked

1 24 oz jar marinara

4 oz cream cheese, cubed

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

¼ cup Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions, drain. Before returning pasta to the pot, add the marinara and cream cheese. Stir over medium heat until cream cheese melts. Stir in pasta and 1 ½ cup mozzarella. Spray 13×9” baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour pasta mixture into dish and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Cover with foil and cook at 350 for 25 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese has melted.

Serves 6

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Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

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I love no-fuss meals that come right out of my pantry and taste good. This one fits the bill. Rice? Good. Broccoli? Good. Cheese? Goooood! I like to save this one for super busy days because I can make it in the morning, and pop it in the oven 20 minutes before dinnertime. Ready, GO!

Ingredients:

4 cups minute rice, cooked

2 cans cream of chicken soup

1 lb frozen broccoli OR about 3 small fresh broccoli crowns, chopped into florets

2 cups cheddar cheese, grated, divided

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

½ tsp onion powder

In a large pot, boil broccoli for 2-3 minutes, drain. Meanwhile, stir soup into rice, and add 1 ½ cups cheese, salt, pepper, and onion powder. Gently stir in broccoli. Spray 13×9 baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour rice mixture into dish. Top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 25 minutes, or until heated through.

Obviously, chicken would fit nicely into this dish, but it’s just as good as a meatless meal, and cheaper, too! Enjoy!

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Vegetable Pot Pie

 

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Once upon a time, I found this amazing recipe for Chicken Pot Pie. I made it for dinner one night, and everyone devoured it, my husband especially. He requested it again the other night, and I was happy to make it. I got a few steps into the recipe and realized I didn’t have any chicken, so our Chicken Pot Pie became Vegetable Pot Pie, and it was just as good! Here are the changes I made to the original recipe…

Ingredients:

2 cups diced, peeled potatoes

1/2 of a l lb bag of frozen peas and carrots

1/2 cup butter, cubed

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

3/4 cup milk

1 pkg. refrigerated pie pastry

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put potatoes in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, cook 10 minutes. Drain.

In a large pot, heat butter over medium heat to melt it. Add onion and cook until tender. Stir in flour and seasonings until blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Stir in peas and carrots and potatoes. Remove from heat.

Spray 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Pour vegetable mixture into dish. Unroll a pastry sheets and cover dish, sealing at the edges (you will need to trim one of the sheets to make it fit). Cut slits in the top.

Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6-8

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Ravioli Bake

 

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This might be the most tasty meal I make that requires the least amount of effort. And it’s kind of a miracle meal because everyone in my house likes it. Jackpot! The frozen ravioli is the trick!

Ingredients:

2 lbs frozen ravioli

1 24 oz jar marinara

2 cups mozzarella, shredded

1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray at 13×9-inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Mix marinara with water and pour 1 cup onto bottom of dish. Layer half the frozen ravioli over the sauce, then sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over the top. Repeat with the remaining ravioli, remaining sauce, and top with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes, uncovering for the last 15 minutes.

Serves 6-8

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