A beginning of Lenten recipes




This past week/weekend was a great one. On the 21st, I left for Devine for my usual monthly bunco club, did some of my visiting on that afternoon, of course, enjoying my great-granddaughter in the process and then on Wednesday, did some shopping with my daughter, had lunch with my son and bunco that evening. My brother and his wife were going to be here in Yoakum for a few days and we had a business appointment, so early Thursday morning found me back on the road headed home, and I arrived in time for the meeting. Friday, my sister-in-law and I spent some time together going to a couple of antique shops and having lunch, and that evening, two of my grandchildren and their spouses came for the weekend and that began a couple of days of fun and games! The weather stayed nice, so we got to go fishing on Saturday and basically, fishing was what we did. The catching consisted of several sardine-sized catfish and that was it. All in all, it was a pretty great weekend for me, and I truly enjoyed every moment, these four are fun to be around, helpful and I appreciate them spending time with me!
Depending on when you get your paper, Ash Wednesday, is March 1, so, it is either today or tomorrow! It’s the end of the Mardi Gras season and the beginning of the Lenten Season. Many of us will be looking for meals, which are meatless. For meat/potato/gravy people, this is a real sacrifice, but for others, who really enjoy any type of fish dishes, it isn’t. When my generation was growing up as Catholics, every Friday of the year was a meatless day, and during Lent, Wednesdays were as well. Now, Ash Wednesday, all the Fridays of lent and Good Friday are all meatless days.
Our Mothers had to be creative, especially when daddy didn’t really care for meatless dishes. We had lots of deviled eggs, pimento cheese, and tuna salad, also sardines occasionally (don’t laugh, sardines are good). Mother would mash them up, add pickles, a small amount of onion, and boiled eggs, and then use a dressing of mayonnaise or salad dressing with some mustard added. One of my favorite meatless meals then and now is cheese toast and a can of tomato soup.
Remember the ‘church’ casseroles during the 50’s? Tuna fish, noodles, cream of something soup and crushed potato chips on top! Sometimes though, these casseroles were pretty tasty. Over a period of time, I have learned to use solid pack tuna for some things. It is more expensive, being over double in price, but if you are only feeding two or three, the quality is really worth the expense. And, guess what, the downsizing demon of can/package contents has struck again. Where tuna used to be in 6-oz or 7-oz cans, it is now in 5-oz cans! Salmon loaf or patties are good options for meatless meals, as are tuna salad, oyster stew, shrimp dishes, macaroni and cheese, scalloped potatoes and even enchiladas. In fact, Zatarain’s, the company who makes all sorts of mixes for such things as jambalaya, dirty rice, etc., also produces a mixes for “tuna cakes” and “salmon cakes”. You simply drain your tuna or salmon and stir in the contents of the package, allow to sit for a short time, and then shape into patties to either fry or bake, truly simple. I’m not sure if they are available in your area, but I’ve been able to get them at my local HEB grocery store. (Our store is in the process of remodeling and I am not sure if they will be available this year or not!).
You can also have chalupa s made with the refried beans, lettuce and tomatoes. Some restaurants have them on the menu as “compuestaa”, and at other restaurants, you have to ask for chalupas with lettuce and tomatoes as well as the refried beans. Two of these usually make a meal!
Tuna Noodle Casserole
2 to 3 cups cooked noodles
1 can cream of mushroom soup (or cream of celery if you like)
2 cans, (6-oz each), water packed tuna, or 1 large can
2 teaspoons margarine
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped pimientos
½ cup milk
½ cup shredded cheese
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Lightly grease or spray an ovenproof 2-qt. casserole dish. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well and set aside. Drain tuna and set aside. Cook onion in margarine until tender. Pour all ingredients into prepared casserole dish. Stir to mix. Bake at 325ºF until completely heated through and bubbly. Top with shredded cheese, if desired, and bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.
This enchilada sauce recipe is an old one. It was in a Gebhart leaflet-type cookbook published in the mid to late 40’s. Mother gave me the book and it had a check mark beside it, so I knew she must have used it and liked it. I made it for years, while my children were growing up and we all like it. The can of green chilies was not part of the original recipe it was something I tried and liked so have included it in the recipe.
Cheese Enchiladas
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 or 2 finely minced cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 to 2 tablespoons Gebhart chili powder
1 can (16-oz) tomato sauce or tomatoes*
½ cup water
1 small can diced green chiles (optional)
1 lb. shredded Colby/Jack or Monterrey/Jack cheese
1 medium onion, chopped
10 to 12 corn tortillas
Cook onion, green pepper and garlic in butter until soft. Add flour, salt and chili powder; stir until smooth. Add tomato sauce or tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up or put them in blender container and chop them a little, green chiles, (if used) and water. Cook until thick and smooth.
To make enchiladas:
Dip tortillas into sauce to soften, or soften by heating ¼ cup oil in heavy skillet and dipping them briefly into the hot oil. They also can be heated in the microwave, but heating them in the sauce or oil seems to keep them from being too dry.
Spray a rectangular pan with non-stick spray and spread a small amount of sauce in the pan, just to coat the bottom of the pan. Spoon a small amount of the sauce onto a tortilla, add some cheese and onion and roll up. Place each enchilada into the prepared pan, seam side down, as you finish rolling it. Repeat until all tortillas are used. Top with remaining sauce and some additional cheese. Bake at 350ºF about 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.
Scalloped Potatoes
4 to 5 medium russet potatoes
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
3 to 4 tablespoons butter or margarine
White sauce
1½ cups shredded cheese (divided usage)
Salt and pepper
Scrub potatoes and slice into thin slices. Make alternate layers in a 2 to 3 quart casserole of potatoes, onions, and cheese, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt and pepper. Pour white sauce over all, top with cheese, cover and bake at 350ºF until potatoes are tender, about 1 to 1½ hours.
White Sauce
1 to 1½ cups milk
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup shredded cheese
In saucepan, blend flour and margarine until bubbly, slowly add the milk and whisk constantly until the sauce boils. Stir in salt and cook an additional 5 to 7 minutes over low heat.
The following recipe was in a ladies magazine three or four years ago. I earmarked it to try, then couldn’t find the Ponzu sauce, so put off making it. Finally, I had all the ingredients together and made it for my sister and I. We both really enjoyed it, and I’ve made it several times since according to the recipe. Another time, the sugar snap peas weren’t available to for me to make it and I bought fresh green beans, trimmed them, cut them diagonally into pieces about 1-inch long and par-boiled them for a few minutes, rinsed them in cold water, and then, I proceeded with the recipe. The results were great and my guests liked this version also.
Sugar Snap Pea and Shrimp Stir Fry
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
½ cup canned, sliced water chestnuts
12 to 16-oz large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
2 tablespoons Ponzu sauce (Japanese soy sauce), (HEB handles this).
3 cups cooked long-grain white rice
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds; add the sugar snap peas and water chestnuts; season with salt and pepper if desired and cook stirring until the peas are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over medium/high heat and add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook without stirring until pink on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the shrimp, add the Ponzu sauce and cook until the shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetables; cook until heated through, about 2 more minutes. Serve with cooked rice.

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