Lent? When Was Christmas Over?

There is a rumor going around that Lent is just about upon us! Time to think about the ‘give-ups’ and the extra prayers that are needed in this spiritually declining world. One of our annual ‘give-ups’ is taking meat out of the diet on both Wednesdays and Fridays. On the surface, it seems it might be a little too easy but after six weeks of coming up with meatless meals for both days of the week plus insuring my husband has meatless meals and snacks for his work lunch, the challenge makes itself known.

One of our favorite go-to meals has been a quick pasta meal with a salad. It is meatless and somewhat less in volume than a usual evening meal and seems to provide all the nutritional perks and sacrifice to keep us strong for Lent!

Lenten Pasta

1 pounds of spaghetti (or any shape you might prefer)
3 eggs
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan and/or Romano
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
Salt & black pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter

Cook the spaghetti until almost done, drain, and stir in the butter, garlic, salt, and pepper until the butter is melted.

Lightly beat the eggs and stir into the pasta. If the pasta has cooled down too much, turn on a low heat to warm. Immediately after adding the eggs, mix in the cheese and stir to combine. If you like a creamier outcome, you can add a bit of milk to taste.

Great quick meal on a day when dinner time approaches before you are ready for it!

It is a very versatile dish in that you can add some chili flakes, drained tuna, use cheddar instead of the Italian cheeses, add some finely-diced parsley, some fresh mushrooms braised in a bit of butter or olive oil . . . Basically, look in the cupboard, see what you have, and you can come up with an original entree.

Budget Meal in a Hurry.

Quick Budget Meal

1 pound spaghetti
10 peeled cloves of garlic
1/2 stick butter
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 to 1 cup chicken broth – depends on how saucy you want it!
Freshly ground pepper
Fresh basil (optional), shredded in strips
Salt to taste
1 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan Cheese

Smash the garlic with the flat of a knife blade and finely chop. Smashing the garlic helps release the flavor. Very gently saute the garlic in the butter until the garlic is soft but not browned.

Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti until it is just barely done. It will cook a bit more in the final preparation and you don’t want mushy pasta. Drain, and put spaghetti back in the pot. Add the garlic,/butter, broth, and mix thoroughly. With the stove set on a low flame, add the eggs and quickly stir them in so they cook and spread out evenly. Add the cheese, pepper, and basil and mix. Add salt and serve immediately.

This is a nice meal for a meatless Friday and goes well with a big salad and some sour dough bread, lightly toasted.

Interesting thing about Fridays and no meat. Everyone (I hope!) strictly observes them during Lent but seem to think that it does’t apply the rest of the year. Unfortunately, many pastors have not been clear on this. Meatless Fridays have not exactly been changed but we are offered the option of choosing another form of penance for Friday. Too many Catholics I have talked to seem to view meatless Fridays as a thing of the past. The ‘rule’ is that unless you come up with a definite alternative, you should still refrain from meat. We have found it more of a penance and less of a strain on our brains to observe all Fridays as a meatless day.