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 Pasta – Two Ways!

These recipes will work for a gluten-free diet or a regular one. Just make sure that if you are going the gluten-free route, you use a good gluten-free pasta because it makes a difference. My pasta of choice has been Tinkyada. These are both good budget or last-minute meals. While the pasta water is heading for the boiling stage, you can put together a green salad and have dinner ready in less than an hour.

Buttered Poppy Seed Noodles
16 ounces spaghetti
1/2 stick butter (margarine won’t work as well here.)
1 – 1 1/2  tablespoons poppy seeds
Salt & pepper to taste.

Prepare your pasta to taste. Drain thoroughly and place back into warm pot. Melt the butter and add the poppy seeds. Simmer very slightly for a moment or two to blend flavors. Pour over the pasta, toss gently and serve.

Walnut-Garlic Pasta

16 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves fresh garlic, diced
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Salt & pepper to taste.

While your pasta is cooking, melt the butter with the olive oil. Throw in the garlic and cook gently until softened. Toss with the chopped walnuts, cooking two or three minutes longer. Be careful not to burn the butter/oil mixture. Pour over now cooked and drained spaghetti, mix together and serve. A crisp, green salad goes well with this. And there is always your fresh bread to consider!