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Orthodox Christian Mamas

post #1 of 126
Thread Starter 
Seems we've lost the thread?

I have a question for those that have large families. What kinds of meals to you fix for fasting that don't break the budget? Fasting is supposed to be limiting, not splurging...and yet, it always seems to cost us more to do.
post #2 of 126
ugh. I had a huge post and lost it. ok, I will get you these recipes later but I have a plumber and real estate agent over right now.

Ratatuille and other casserole type stuff
beans and rice
rice and beans
noodles and veggies and probably beans
sloppy joes
lentils in soup or honey baked
soup. lots of soup.
mac and cheeze
ficken (fake chicken. pain in the but but tasty and not too expensive. it gets cheaper the more you make )
post #3 of 126
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
beans and rice
rice and beans
That sounds a lot like our house during a fast.

It used to cost us more to eat during lents, until I stopped trying to find substitutes for meat and dairy foods. Vegan meat imitations, soy products and such cost a fortune, but standard dishes like vegetable soups and stews are fairly cheap. Any place which is/was largely Orthodox will have plenty of traditional lenten recipes; try a Greek or Ethiopian cookbook for ideas. My kids also liked raw veggies with dip; whole wheat pita bread with hummous; dal; chana masala (curried chickpeas with rice); tabouli; and anything made with pasta. They are all pretty cheap to make.
post #4 of 126
Fat Free Vegan has tons of recipes.
post #5 of 126
Fat Free Vegan is great.

Also once you get your kitchen stocked with things like grains and spices and dried beans it will cost less. it is an investment at first. but all those little things you need tho have on hand will pay off in savings in the end.

Some things you may want to stock:

dried barley
ener G egg replacer (this cost a fortune but lasts forever. sub up to TWO eggs in most recipes.)
Nutritional Yeast flakes (not brewers yeast)
Braggs aminos
beans beans beans; dried and canned
jasmine rice
brown rice
corn meal
raw cashews (good for making cheez sauce)
pasta sauce (I recommend prego light. it is sugar free, cheap and stored in glass)
canned tomatoes
black strap molasses
and some good dark chocolate chips
cocoa for baking
a few things of extra firm tofu. you can freeze them so hit up a sale

sweet curry
greek seasoning
garlic and onion powder
pepper mill
beg bullion cubes (i like repunzel brand)

oil....depends on what you do with oil. We fast just from olive oil. my friend fasts from all oil but still uses margarine. I am not sure where coconut oil fits in either. consult your priest for his specifics for you.

Ok I promised some recipes...or maybe I forgot.

Ratatuille :

this is a great summer meal especially if you have a garden or know someone with a garden of have someone in your church whop brings their leg sized zucchini and dumps it on a table at coffee hour with a sign that says free. it is very very flexible.

chop means a large chunky chop.

chop up some egg plant, place in a colander in the sink and sprinkle with salt.
chop tomatoes (a 14 ounce can or about 3 pounds or whatever you have), put in a large heavy pot with garlic, basil, parsley, 1/3ish cup oil or water, simmer uncovered while doing everything else.
in a large heavy skillet, chop up some onion1 to 3 depending on how much you like onion. sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. transfer to a bowl. repeat with green pepper (I usually leave this our because I don't grow it and it is expensive), zucchini, summer squash, and whatever you have on hand or you think would taste good. pat the egg plant dry and sauté that as well. dump it all in the pot. cook for an hour on low or med for about an hour. or you could crock pot it. or you could skip the precooking and just dump it all in or you could layer it in a casserole pan.

you can serve it as is or over rice or pasta.

this cost me nothing to make last night as I had gotten all the veggies either from my garden or CSA (well I had to buy the oil...). in the middle of winter this may not be the most economical choice.

mac and cheez

one pound macaroni. cook it up. drain it.

2 medium yukon gold potatoes
one big carrot
1 yellow onion

boil in 2 1/2 cups of water
place in blender (water and all) with:
2/3 cup of veg oil (not sure what you would sub here.)
2/3 raw cashews (cheapest at the co op in bulk bins)
2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves
1/4 tsp dry mustard
2 T lemon juice
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne (I have made it with and without. I recommend about half)
blend until smooth

pour over noodles in casserole dish. optional: mix breadcrumbs and melted margarine and sprinkle over the top) bake at 350* until nice and hot.

Red beans and Quiona with corn bread

For corn bread I use the recipe on the quaker corn meal canister and sup eggs with enerG egg replacer. works great.

prepare 2 cups of dry quinoa. rinse it well several times (this is an important step) cook according to package instructions. set aside.

dice small yellow onion, green bell pepper, and 2 cloves of garlic. Sauté in a little oil or water or whatever.... add two cans of rinsed red kidney beans, 1/2 cup of bbq sauce, about a tsp of hot sauce, 1 T OF WORCESTERSHIRE sauce (this is not fasting but you can find vegan varieties. weather or not you care about condiments is up to you and your priest. I usually do not), and pepper.

done. this however just barely fed 5 people. You might want to double. and it was spicy. you may want to save the hot sauce as an individual condiment. you can use dried prepared beans as well. especially if you are making two batches. one can of beans is about a cup. This is way tasty.

fake chicken...or "ficken"

one batch. you will need two or three most likely. this feeds about 5 people but makes great left overs. better to have too much.

basic Seitan recipe.

1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/4 soy flour
1/2 cup water

mix together. roll out between wax paper. (or if you find a better way let me know.) cut into desired shapes (strips, nuggets, breast fillets. it will double in size during the cooking process.

in a big pot....2 1/2 cups of water
1/4 C nutritional yeast flakes
2 T aminos (or soy sauce)
1t onion powder
1/4t oregano
1/2 t thyme
2t sage

bring to a boil, add ficken strips, return to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for about an hour. stir every 10 minutes.

to fry:
drain ficken. dredge in flour fry in oil. you can also oven fry or eat as is. add to soups. let cool uyse in chicken salald.


fake chicken salad: sub semi mashed chick peas for chicken. cheap easy, tasty and filled with protein.

fake tuna salad: 8 ounce package of tempeh, 2 C veg stock. cook for 25 minutes. discard liquid and let tempeh cool. grate into a bowl. prepare as you wold normal tuna salad, add 1/2t of kelp powder. gives it a fishy taste.

TLT : tofu - set in a colander with something heavy on it and let all the liquid drain out over the course of the day. press it good. rotate it every so often. wrap it in a lint free towel. once it is good and dry, slice it thin. make a marinade with aminos/soy sauce, oil (or not) and water. line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment. So take your tin slices of tofu, dip them in marinade, transfer to cookie sheet. broil until crispy, don't be scared. just keep going until they are mostly crispy. layer on good bread with lettuce and tomatoes and mayo (vegan if you want). delish.

bean burritos. just take refried beans, taco sauce, onion and tomatoes and wrap.

curried beans. cook up a bunch of read beans, mash add powdered curry. spread on crusty bread.

pot pie: make a crust using whatever lard sub you want (I use a very expensive vegan shortening but since I only use a few Tablespoons here and there for such things its not too bad. also coconut oil is very good if you allow it.). fill with veggies and use corn starch and veggie broth to make a gravy. or just get a cheap pack of vegan gravy mix from your health food store. I don't know how good it would be on mashed potatoes but it should suffice in a pot pie.
post #6 of 126
Thread Starter 
Issues with soups and beans...

We used to eat so many beans that we have trouble getting the kids to eat them. All soups and beans that we make take chicken or beef broth. Someone on another board mentioned vegetable broth...what in heavens is it and where do I get it?! I've never seen it as vegetable and onion soups are made with beef broth.

Tofu: I've only been able to fix tofu once in a manner that people actually ate it. Also, concern about soy and the phyto-estrogen...not good. I only drink soy milk when my hormones are off kilter and it works, so it's not exactly something that I'm big on giving my husband and my growing children of either gender.

I'll look over some of the other ideas tonight...but because of the broth issue (the woman I know that buys veg broth pays A LOT for it) and soy issue, I've been very frustrated. I'm a convert to boot, so I wasn't raised to cook a certain way. And I NEED to do it inexpensively. Also, I do not have anything as fancy as a blender, grinder, or other such. Everything has to be done by hand.
post #7 of 126
Vegetable broth is easy to make, and there are many recipes out there like this one. You can also usually find it in stores with the chicken/beef broth (it's usually in boxes, not cans).

I'm not Orthodox (hoping to convert one day), and I've actually been thinking a lot lately about the fasting part of it. I was vegan or vegetarian for many years and got pretty run down from it, so I'm trying to think of the healthiest foods to eat during fasting so that I'm ready when the time comes to do it. Anyway, thanks for starting the thread.
post #8 of 126
Thread Starter 
Thank you for that recipe. I'll have to try it. We were just chrismated in December. Fr told us that we only have to fast from meat on Wed and Fri the first year, but the start of the Liturgical Year is coming up and our schooling starts then (both homeschool and private). I thought it would be nice to start figuring this out now.
post #9 of 126
perhaps your kids could make peace with beans? fasting calls for sacrifice. my kids don't like them either but they eat what I fix or nothing at all. they will eat some. You have to get protein from somewhere though and you can only eat so many nuts. Also talk to your priest. Mine exempts all kids from fasting. I make mine fast anyway. Because I am not making separate meals. So maybe you can add some cheese or even meat to make the beans more appealing. Or just make them a small portion of meat.

But if you won't eat beans or soy its going to be hard to do this on the cheap and hard to get enough protein so that you don't want to hurt anyone.

Also unless you are consuming a lot of soy I would not worry about. a serving here and there is not going to make much of a difference. I would say a small serving once every other day even would still be perfectly safe. People go crazy with fads and start inhaling massive amounts of things (like soy). But a small serving of tofu (even my kids will eat it on those sandwiches) or TVP shouldn't effect hormone levels. We never do soy milk or anything though. We use almond or coconut. You should be ok with Seitan. there may be some soy free recipes out there as well.

veggie broth can be made or bought the same way meat stocks can. You can also get bullion cubes to make a nice veggie broth. V8 makes a nice start for soups and stews.

In my last post I forgot to mention TVP. Again it is soy but if you are inclined towards a little soy it is a great ground beef sub./ just boil a little veg broth and add TVP until all the liquid is absorbed (there are probably proper amounts somewhere. I just wing it.) then proceed as you would with ground beef. We use it for tacos and sloppy joes. also in chili or spaghetti sauce you can just add it straight in .
post #10 of 126
Thread Starter 
Oh, I still make beans, just rarely anymore. If anyone has suggestions for making them in some other way than I'm used to, that would be what I'm looking for (water, broth, beans...pepper added if it's navy beans...that's what I'm used to doing and every time the bowls are left mostly full). I'm also one that does not fix separate meals. You eat what I fix, but I can't stand wasting food like that either. I'll try some of the ideas listed above as well.

TVP is what my friend buys from a health food store in another town. She pays a lot for it (don't remember how much, but it's a significant amount more than I pay for meat broth. They also only have three children where I have seven and a husband that has a physically demanding job). I buy my other broths at a couple of groceries that sell bulk food items (no brand names, just containers with printed labels) and I have not found veg broth. Maybe Walmart carries it?

Thank you for the reassurances on the tofu. I only know my experiences with soy milk. Since I had one successful moment with tofu, I'll keep experimenting with it.

Just realised something...is TVP a veg broth or like Tofu? My friend says she uses it for her broth (?) Sounds like you are using it in place of meat. I'm a bit confused now.
post #11 of 126
TVP is dried chunks of soy protein. It comes in different textures (large or small) and you have to cook it in some kind of liquid to reconstitute it. The consistency is very meaty like ground beef, which makes it a good substitute in chili or sloppy joes. It's usually quite cheap in the bulk section of health food stores.

Personally, I much prefer beans over soy products, and there are so many ways to cook them that are delicious! I usually don't use broth/stock to cook my beans - just soak overnight, discarding the soaking water; then cook in plain water and whatever spices I want to use, and add salt after they're done. Pintos or black beans are great with cumin, garlic, chili powder, onions, and pepper. Perfect for making tacos, burritos, or veggie enchiladas. Salsa is cheap and easy to make at home. Lentils are wonderful with curry powder, garlic, onions, and coconut milk. This goes great with roasted vegetables and jasmine or basmati rice.

I think looking into ethnic foods would be a good idea. A lot of dishes basically use meat as a condiment and can easily be left out of recipes. Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern are my favorites. And regarding protein, believe it or not but potatoes are an excellent source! They have all the essential amino acids in decent amounts.

I found that we spent a lot less on groceries as vegans than we do now, but we did not buy any of the expensive meat substitutes. Just a lot of potatoes, rice, beans, fruit and vegetables. The spices were expensive at first, but really worth every cent.
post #12 of 126
Thread Starter 
Thank you
post #13 of 126
I've got lots of good fasting recipes. In fact, many friends say they've gotten most of their fasting recipes from me!

Middle Eastern, hands down is my fave food, fasting or not! There's a local Antiochian parish with lots of folks from the Middle East. I loved the food at events so much that I learned to cook it myself. Some of the following recipes are ME and others aren't.

Lentils are cheap & easy. You can even make tacos, by cooking lentils in taco seasoning and then filling taco shells or flour tortillas with them, and adding whatever toppings.

These first three I came up with myself.

Pasta & frozen veggies

Cook as much pasta as you need for a main course for your family. You can use spaghetti noodles, but I like spirals or bow ties. Halfway through pasta cooking time add a bag or two of frozen veggies, depending on size of bag and how many you're feeding. I like this with green peas and pearl onions, but you could use frozen broccoli, mixed veggies, etc. Veggies will be done cooking when pasta is done. Drain together in a colander, add margarine, salt & pepper, voila!

Pantry pasta salad

This is good when you're low on fresh stuff. Cheap and quick.

Cook up a lot of pasta. Add frozen peas and frozen corn halfway through cooking time. Maybe small pieces of broccoli, too. Eyeball amounts. While pasta and veggies are cooking, open a large (28 oz) can of petite diced tomatoes (maybe two if you're cooking for a huge crowd), rinse & drain in colander. Set tomatoes aside in a bowl. When done cooking, drain pasta & veggies in colander, run cold water over until fairly cool. Drain. In a BIG bowl, mix pasta & veggies, tomatoes, maybe cheapo canned olives, and Italian salad dressing or your own homemade vinaigrette. Chill. Very tasty! Big hit at church coffee hour! No chopping!

Tradd's Quick Black Bean Soup

Increase as needed, but the base is: one can each of black beans, cream-style corn (the "cream" is cornstarch!), and diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced, as they are nicer to eat). Empty all cans into a saucepan, heat, and eat! You can add Mexican spices (cumin, cayenne, red pepper) or canned jalepenos or mild green chilies, depending on your preference for spice. You can put broken corn or tortilla chips in the bottom of the bowl before adding soup. Makes a lot and is even better the next day. Very good to take to church on a fasting day for a meal (especially after Presanctified in Great Lent).

Middle Eastern recipes:


Brown lentils and rice with carmelized onions

3 large onions, weighing about 1-1/2 pounds total, cut in half and sliced

½-cup extra virgin olive oil

1-1/4 cup large brown or green lentils (the regular lentils in the supermarket are fine)

1-1/4 cups long-grain rice

Salt and pepper

Fry the onions slowly in a large pan over very low heat in 3-4 tablespoons of the oil – covered to begin with, until they soften, stirring often, and then uncovered – until they turn a rich golden brown.

Rinse the lentils in cold water and drain. Cook in 4-1/2 cups water for 20 minutes. Add half of the fried onions and the rice to the lentils. Season with salt and papper and stir well. Put the lid on and cook over very low hear for about 20 minutes, or until the rice and lentils are tender, watching and adding more water if it becomes too dry.

At the same time, put the remaining onions in the pan back on the fire, and continue to fry them, stirring often, over medium to high heat, until they are a dark brown – almost carmelized.

Serve the lentils or rice cold or warm in a wide shallow dish with the onions sprinked on top and the remaining raw oil poured all over.

Note: I've tried the recipe as written, and it was a little bland for me, so I added cumin, which made a huge difference.

Also, this is to be made with WHITE rice, not brown!


(Serves from 8 to 10)

1 cup lentils, rinsed
7 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium size onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup lemon juice

Place lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, in a frying pan, heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until they turn golden brown. Stir in remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and sauté for another 5 minutes.

Stir the frying pan contents into the lentils and bring to boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until rice and lentils are well-cooked. Stir in lemon juice and serve hot.

Bulgar Pilaf with Chickpeas

Serves 8, I cut in half and have nice leftovers.

4-1/2 cups water or veggie stock (can use buillon cubes)
3 cups coarse ground bulgur (aka #3 bulgur), washed in cold water and drained - but I can't tell any difference when I omit this step
4 tablespoons butter or sunflower oil
A 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained
Salt and pepper

Bring the stock to a boil. Pour in the bulgur and cook, covered, on low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the grain is tender. Stir in the oil or butter, the chickpeas, and salt and pepper, and heat through.

Variation: Garnish with 1 large sliced onion fried in oil till carmelized and brown.

I add lots of cumin to this (without onions) and it's VERY tasty. Mind you, the number served is for a SIDE DISH.. I'm use this as a MAIN dish. A nice bowl of it, microwaved, makes a great work lunch, with fruit for dessert.

And <drum roll>

my FAVE fasting dish that EVERYONE loves, even eggplant haters (as I used to be!)

Imam Bayaldi (literally “the imam fainted” dead away the end of a fast day as this smelled so good!). For olive oil-allowed days only. The olive oil gives it its flavor. Note: the traditional dish is a stuffed eggplant. This is an easier variation.
Take an eggplant. Peel it and cut it lengthwise into slices. Lay those slices on paper towels, and cover with another paper towel to get some of the liquid out of them. Salting them helps, but if you have a few hours, don’t worry about salting them.
Cut up one onion and a clove or two of garlic into tiny pieces. Saute in a few tablespoons of olive oil until it’s soft. Add a can of tomatoes (preferably chopped to make your life easier). Let it simmer. You may need to add a little water periodically to compensate for evaporation.
Take those slices of eggplant and fry them in a little olive oil. Eggplants will suck up oil like a sponge, so don’t worry when it all seems to disappear and you don’t have any in the pan. If you’re using a nonstick pan, and you want to make this dish more low fat, then don’t add more unless you really think you need it. Otherwise, add as desired.
After you fry each piece of eggplant, drop it in your onion/tomato mixture that is simmering on the stove. After you do all of the eggplant, let it simmer for a while (maybe 30 minutes) until the eggplant falls apart.
You can serve this hot or cold according to preference. It’s very tasty served hot with lemon squeezed on it. I serve it with plain couscous on the side, but it would also be good with rice. The above quantity will serve about two adults. For three, use two onions and two cans of diced tomatoes, and one large eggplant. Otherwise, increase as needed.
Note: the success of this recipe is dependent on the use of a TON of olive oil! Extra virgin only, and buy the best you can afford. Fry the eggplant in lots but pour MORE on top of the eggplant slices while frying. Yum!
post #14 of 126
ok. you need to learn how to make beans. Hmmmm, I would recommend heading over to food and Nutrition, click on vegans and ask for tips. You will get so much more thanI can write here.

yeah. beans can be so much more so so much more.
post #15 of 126
Originally Posted by Purple Sage View Post
Vegetable broth is easy to make, and there are many recipes out there like this one. You can also usually find it in stores with the chicken/beef broth (it's usually in boxes, not cans).

I'm not Orthodox (hoping to convert one day), and I've actually been thinking a lot lately about the fasting part of it. I was vegan or vegetarian for many years and got pretty run down from it, so I'm trying to think of the healthiest foods to eat during fasting so that I'm ready when the time comes to do it. Anyway, thanks for starting the thread.
Since cost is an issue, you can even just use veggie bullion cubes. Yeah, often lots of sodium, but you don't need a lot to flavor water!

Purple Sage, when Orthodox fast, even though we do it for about half the year, we don't do it much more than seven weeks at a time. Great Lent is the longest fast. So, it's not like you're veggie/vegan for months on end and getting run down from it. Yes, you do get kind of tired by the end of Great Lent, but it's a different kind of tired! Great Lent is my favorite time of the Church Year!

A great fasting cookbook is When You Fast: Recipes for Lenten Seasons by Catherine Mandell (Fr. Thomas Hopko's daughter, btw). This is a great cookbook.


Any of the ethnic cookbooks will have lots of great recipes as well. My favorite Middle Eastern cookbook is The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden. She even mentions some recipes that come from the Orthodox (Eastern or Coptic) in the Middle East and are eaten during Great Lent.

Right now, we're in the midst of a fast in honor of the Virgin Mary, that only lasts two weeks. There are certain days during fasting periods, where the fast is relaxed a bit because of a big feast or saint's day, which means oil (olive oil) and wine are allowed, or even fish. Thursday is Transfiguration, which is a fish day! So, you're not stuck on beans and rice all the time! During the Nativity (Christmas Fast) - 40 days before Christmas, begins Nov. 15th), fish is allowed on weekends for most of the fast.

And if you're out and about, you can get veggie subs many places. Just have them leave off the cheese. I'm a single working chick, so I get veggie sandwiches from Subway and Jimmy John's a lot, especially right now when I'm working a lot of OT.

And don't forget PB&J and PB&B (peanut butter & banana)!.
post #16 of 126
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
ok. you need to learn how to make beans. Hmmmm, I would recommend heading over to food and Nutrition, click on vegans and ask for tips. You will get so much more thanI can write here.

yeah. beans can be so much more so so much more.
I believe that. I have to confess that I did not even start learning how to cook till after I got married and my first teachers were Betty Crocker and Shake-n-Bake. I've learned by trial, error, and borrowing recipes. And now I have to learn how to cook without essentials (dairy or meat or even oil at times...ack!).
post #17 of 126
Oh, almost forgot - fab for summer fasting days when you've got access to great tomatoes - homegrown or farmer's market.

On whatever bread you want, just put sliced tomato, basil, salt & pepper, & maybe olive oil. Yum! Yum! Yum!

I love me some tomato sandwiches! Cucumber and other veggie sandwiches are good, too, especially if you make your own bread.

The When You Fast cookbook has a great recipe for crunchy white bean sandwiches. Basically, take cannelini (white kidney beans) or other white beans, grape tomatoes, celery, green onions, red & green pepper, and marinate in a mixture of red wine vinegar, a bit of leftover canned bean liquid, & a wee bit of sugar. Stuff bean mixture into pita bread pockets.

Best of all - no cooking!
post #18 of 126
Originally Posted by Tradd View Post
Since cost is an issue, you can even just use veggie bullion cubes. Yeah, often lots of sodium, but you don't need a lot to flavor water!
This reminds me...DH is a chef, and the product he uses at the vegetarian restaurant where he works is Vegebase. Most health food stores carry it, or you can buy online.

Purple Sage, when Orthodox fast, even though we do it for about half the year, we don't do it much more than seven weeks at a time. Great Lent is the longest fast. So, it's not like you're veggie/vegan for months on end and getting run down from it. Yes, you do get kind of tired by the end of Great Lent, but it's a different kind of tired! Great Lent is my favorite time of the Church Year!
Thanks! I can have the tendency to go to extremes with diet, so I actually think that having periods of fasting throughout the year will be good for me and help me to not get too obsessive. Plus, I really love simple plant-based meals and love the significance they have in the Orthodox faith. I think it will be a wonderful practice!
post #19 of 126
Rather than TVP for chili, I've used bulger. It is cheaper and gives a nice texture.
post #20 of 126
and you should get a blender. they are not expensive. a $20 one should do the trick fr most of your veggie cooking needs. you can also get a mini food processor/chopper for about $10.
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