Meatless Meals Can Be Magical

IN THE KITCHEN

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The day after Ash Wednesday, as the 40 days of Lent began, I had a request for recipes for dishes that don't use meat. With vegetarian dishes becoming more mainstream all the time, it is not hard to find resources that eliminate meat from the main entree. A couple that I have are an old promotion, "Betty Crocker's Step-by-Step Recipes" and one of the American Diabetes Association's cookbooks, "Month of Meals: Vegetarian Pleasures."

The Betty Crocker recipes here make pasta a primary ingredient for the meatless dishes of Harvest Spaghetti, Meatless Lasagna, Tomato-Cheese Macaroni and Broccoli-Cheese Pie.

Harvest Spaghetti

1, 28-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained

1, 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1, 4-ounce can mushroom stems and pieces

3 medium zucchini, about a pound, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1 cup chopped celery (about 2 medium stalks)

3 tablespoons instant minced onion

2 teaspoons dried marjoram leaves

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

7 to 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti

Heat all ingredients except cheese and spaghetti to boiling, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1/4 cup of the cheese and stir. Cook spaghetti as directed, drain and pour sauce over while pasta is still hot. Top with remaining cheese. Makes four servings.

Meatless Lasagna

Lasagna sauce (recipe to follow)

2, 12-ounce cartons creamed, small curd cottage cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

2 teaspoons salt

1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves

8 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles

3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Lasagna sauce

2, 15-ounce cans tomato sauce

1, 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained

3, 4-ounce cans mushroom stems and pieces, undrained

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Heat all ingredients to boiling, stirring occasionally; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered 45 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup sauce. Mix cottage cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the parsley, salt and oregano; reserve. Cook noodles as directed, drain. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Layer in thirds, starting with noodles, sauce, mozzarella and cottage cheese mixture in ungreased lasagna pan. Repeat until all ingredients used, then top with reserved sauce and remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 45 minutes, uncovered, then let stand for 15 minutes. Makes 12 servings.

Tomato-Cheese Macaroni

2 cups uncooked macaroni

1 medium green pepper, chopped

1/2 cup green onions (about 4, with tops), sliced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1, 16-ounce can whole tomatoes, undrained

1, 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook macaroni per package directions and drain. Pour hot pasta into ungreased, 2-quart casserole. Set aside 3 tablespoons of chopped green pepper. Cook remaining green pepper and onions in oil in a saucepan until onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce and pepper. Break up tomatoes with fork. Heat until tomatoes are hot and pour mixture over macaroni. Set aside 1/2 cup of cheese and stir remainder into macaroni mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, uncovered. Top with remaining cheese and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Garnish with reserved green pepper. Makes six servings.

Broccoli-Cheese Pie

6 cups water

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup uncooked macaroni rings

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon snipped chives

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1, 10-ounce package frozen, chopped broccoli

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

1 egg white

1 cup creamed cottage cheese

1 tablespoon snipped chives

1 teaspoon salt

Paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat water and a teaspoon of salt to boiling and add macaroni rings, boil until pasta is tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Beat egg yolk and stir into macaroni with first batch of chives. Make "crust" with mixture by pressing to bottom and sides of 9-inch pie plate with back of spoon. Bake 10 minutes, remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Increase oven to 425 degrees. Prepare broccoli per package directions and drain. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over pasta "crust" and arrange cooked broccoli on cheese. Beat eggs, egg white, cottage cheese, remaining chives and salt. Pour over broccoli mix and sprinkle with paprika. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 300 degrees and bake for 30 minutes or until knife inserted an inch from edge of pie comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before serving to set. Makes six servings. Looking for something lighter for lunch, the ADA has a couple of interesting salad recipes: Beet Salad and Oklahoma Bean Salad.

Beet Salad

2 cups cooked or canned sliced beets, drained

1/4 cup sliced onions

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup olive oil

Combine vegetables in a bowl. Whisk together vinegar, mustard and oil and pour over vegetables. Refrigerate and serve. Makes six servings of one cup each.

Oklahoma Bean Salad

1, 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained

2, 15-ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup chopped tomato

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 jalapeƱo pepper, chopped

3/4 cup fat-free Italian dressing

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Mix all ingredients and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving. Makes five cups.

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