Although there is no meat allowed during the Nine Days, the mourning period leading up to Tisha B'av, that doesn’t mean that every night has to be noodles and cheese (although sometimes I think my kids would prefer that!). Here are some alternative suggestions:

Moroccan Vegetable Soup

Great for any night with a loaf of fresh bread. Particularly good after a fast.

1 large onion, chopped
2-tablespoons cumin
2-tablespoons canola oil
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes with juice (do not drain)
8 cups water mixed with 3 tablespoons pareve chicken soup mix
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained
2 red peppers, chopped
1 half head cabbage, chopped
1/4 pound green beans
4 zucchini, sliced
1-teaspoon pepper
1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti, broken in half

In a large pot, sauté the onion and cumin in oil until soft and aromatic. Add all other ingredients except spaghetti and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Add the pasta and cook until ready -- 8 to 10 minutes. Serves 14.

Summer Salmon Salad

Salad:

2-fillets fresh salmon
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
4 ears fresh corn
2 ripe avocados, diced
1/2 red onion, sliced
2-heads romaine lettuce, washed and checked

Dressing:

1- cup olive oil
2/3- cup cider vinegar
1-teaspoon sugar or honey
1-tablespoon oregano

Combine all dressing ingredients and shake to mix well.

For salad, preheat broiler. Cover salmon with barbecue sauce and broil until cooked through. Cool and break into pieces. Scrape kernels off ears of corn and roast in broiler – 3- 5 minutes. Cool. Combine all salad ingredients and dress to taste.

Easy Noodle Surprise

2 packages frozen vegetable or cheese ravioli
1 jar marinara sauce
8-ounces mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer ravioli in 9 x 13 baking dish and pour sauce over. Sprinkle cheese on top and bake until cheese is bubbly and getting crisp – about 1/2 hour.

Tacos

This has a lot of pieces but is very easy and relies on many convenience foods. To serve 10 people you will need:

1-box (12/package) taco shells. Heat them when ready according to package directions.
3-boxes Spanish rice. Cook according to package directions. If Spanish rice is unavailable where you live, just add sautéed onions and red peppers with some chili powder, garlic and paprika to cooked long grain rice.
Guacamole. This can also be purchased or homemade by mashing ripe avocados with some garlic powder, black pepper and mayonnaise. Tomatoes and/or cilantro can be added to taste.
Sour cream
Grated cheddar cheese.
Sliced black olives
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Vegetarian chili, the easy way:

Mix together drained cans of your favorite beans – white kidney, red kidney, black etc. with some cans of corn, a can of diced green chiles and some tomato puree. Add chili powder to taste (we like lots). Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

The fun part: Put tacos together. Everyone gets a taco, some rice and some chili and then can add the toppings of their choice. Easy and delicious.

And of course there’s always bagels and cream cheese...