Eat Smart

Why Go Meatless on Mondays?

Meatless Monday: Improving more than your health


by Elizabeth Holtan, Healthy Monday

Maybe you’ve heard of it: Meatless Monday, an international campaign adopted by colleges, corporations cities and celebrities like Mario Batali, Simon Cowell, Al Gore, Gwyneth Paltrow and Lance Armstrong.

Meatless Monday aims to reduce meat consumption by 15% by, well, going meatless on Mondays. Their website lists some of the great benefits of going meat-free once a week:

  • Improving your diet
  • Living longer
  • Limiting the risk of cancer and heart disease
  • Fighting diabetes
  • Curbing obesity
  • Reducing your carbon footprint
  • Minimizing water usage
  • Reducing fossil fuel dependence

What they don’t mention is the benefit to your wallet. If you’re eating at a restaurant, a chicken or beef entrée is probably several dollars more expensive than the same dish without meat.

When you have a limited budget, every dollar counts. You’d be surprised how much you much you could trim from your grocery bill just by reducing meat purchases, since they’re probably one of the most expensive things on your receipt.

You might not even notice you’re eating meatless. There’s no need to eat “rabbit food” when there delicious options such as bean tacos or burritos, macaroni and cheese, or a crunchy pizza loaded with fresh veggies.

For tonight’s dinner, why not try Meatless Monday’s “Lotsa Green Lasagna”?

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 1-1/4 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1-1/2 minced garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 oz frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 cup low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup low fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup low fat goat cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Boil lasagna noodles according to the directions on the box.
3. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan or skillet over high heat. Sauté carrots, onions, garlic and broccoli in olive oil for about 5 minutes, or until tender, and set aside.
4. Combine mozzarella, goat and cottage cheeses in a bowl. Mix and set aside.
5. In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat, then whisk in flour. When thoroughly mixed, add milk and whisk until well blended. Turn heat up to high, cover and heat until boiling.
6. Uncover and stir constantly over high heat for about 5 minutes, or until mixture is thick.
7. When mixture is thick, take off heat and season with pepper and add 1/8 cup of Parmesan. Stir until smooth and mix in the spinach. Set aside 1/2 cup to use for the top layer of the lasagna.
8. Spray a 9 x 9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture on the bottom. Next, then lay 2-3 lasagna noodles over the spinach mixture (you may need to cut noodles to fit the pan).
9. Pour half the cheese mixture followed by half of the remaining spinach mixture over the noodle layer.
10. Spread half the carrot-onion-broccoli mixture over that, then add another layer of noodles.
11. Pour rest of the cheese mixture followed by the rest of the remaining spinach mixture on top of the noodles.
12. Spread the rest of the carrot-onion-broccoli mixture over that, then top with a layer of noodles.
13. Spread the reserved 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture over the noodles and sprinkle with 1/8 cup parmesan cheese.
14. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Check out more easy meatless ideas like twice-baked buttermilk potatoes or paella at Meatless Monday’s recipe archive.

If you want to improve your health, the environment and your budget, try going meatless this Monday. For more information, visit www.meatlessmonday.com.

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