The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Readers share best recipes for Lenten cooking

Published: March 5, 2014   
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Readers shared dozens of their favorite meatless recipes to add variety to the Lenten season. Please note that these recipes are published as submitted and were not tested.

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Side Dishes
Main Dishes


Side Dishes

Cheddar Cheese Loaf

3 3/4 cups reduced-fat baking mix such as Bisquick
3/4 cup reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
1 egg
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoonful ground red pepper
Vegetable cooking spray

Combine baking mix and cheese. Add milk, egg and pepper, stirring two minutes or until blended. Spoon into 9-by-5 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. BAKE loaf at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Cool. *Makes excellent grilled cheese sandwiches in addition to a hot bowl of tomato soup.

Ellen Unger, Texarkana


Creamed Celery

4 cups finely chopped celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Cover celery with water in saucepan, add salt, sugar and vinegar, and cook until tender. Drain. Combine flour and milk and bring to a boil. Stir in mayonnaise. Add cooked celery and mix until blended. Serve hot.

Marilyn Briggs, Bentonville

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Teresa’s Spinach Casserole

Serves: 9

2 eggs beaten
1 1/2 cups Pepperidge Farm herb seasoned stuffing
20 oz. chopped frozen spinach
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
2/3 cup feta cheese
2/3 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cavender’s Greek seasoning
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash seasoning

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a 9-by-13 baking dish, spray dish, cover bottom of baking dish with seasoned stuffing. Melt cream cheese and butter five minutes in microwave. Combine cream cheese, eggs and butter; stir in feta cheese, mozzarella, parmesan cheese and milk. Fold in spinach and add garlic salt, black pepper, Cavender’s, cayenne and Mrs. Dash. Stir all ingredients and pour over stuffing mix. Cover and chill for three hours. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes.

Teresa McCain, Altus


Brown Rice and Lentil Casserole

Serves: 6-8
3 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup lentils
1/2 cup brown rice
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cup grated cheese (cheddar or blend is preferable)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients, except the cheese, in an 11-by-7 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle cheese over casserole, and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Serve warm.

Ellen Bernard, Mountain Home

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Main Dishes

Shrimp and Cheese

Serves: 4
1 tablespoon margarine
1 tablespoon flour
Dash of salt and pepper
1 cup milk
2 oz. Velveeta cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon onion, chopped
8 oz. frozen peeled shrimp, uncooked

Melt margarine over low heat in a 1 1/2 –quart sauce pan. Blend in flour, salt and pepper. Add milk and cook stirring until mixture thickens. Add cheese, Worcestershire sauce and onion and stir until cheese is melted. Add shrimp and cook 15 minutes.

Penny Cuttone, Fairfield Bay


Clam Linguine

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup vegetable broth or water
2 cans (6 1/2 oz.) minced clams, drained (reserve 1/3 cup liquid)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
8 oz. linguine
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

In medium saucepan, melt better, add onion and garlic and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Add broth or water and clams. Cover and reduce heat. Let simmer. Combine clam juice and cornstarch in a small jar, cover and shake. Add to clam sauce. Increase heat and stir until it thickens. Spoon over cooked pasta. Mix well and sprinkle with cheese.

Penny Cuttone, Fairfield Bay


Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

2 red peppers, cored and cut into one-inch strips
2 zucchinis, quartered lengthwise and cut into one-inch strips
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into one-inch strips
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into one-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or Herbs de Provence
1 pound penna pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a baking sheet, toss peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms and onion with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook for six minutes. Make sure pasta is undercooked. Drain pasta. In a large bowl, toss pasta, vegetables, sauce, cheese, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, gently mix until all the pasta is coated with sauce and ingredients are combined. Pour pasta into greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Top with 1/3 cup parmesan and butter. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Roger Cox, Russellville


Lentil Tacos

1/2 cup lentils, washed and sorted
1 small onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 3/4 cup water
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Refried beans and black olives (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook lentils until tender. Add chopped onions and garlic and cook until tender. Add water or 4 oz. tomato paste. Grate cheese and chop tomatoes and lettuce for tacos. Add beans and olives if desires.

Ellen Unger, Texarkana


Crawfish Bread

2 12 oz. packages frozen crawfish tails (or fresh is better)
1 onion
2 ribs celery
1 bell pepper
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon liquid crab boil
1 stick butter or 1/2 cup olive oil (butter is preferred)
Tony Chachere’s or other Creole seasoning
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon thyme
Sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
1 cup grated cheddar
1 large loaf French bread

Chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper about the size of your thumbnail. Sauté the vegetables in the butter or oil. Add the liquid crab boil and the crawfish tails and 1-2 teaspoons of the Creole seasoning. Heat through until the tails start to curl. Add the lemon juice and the thyme.

Slice the top off the French bread and set aside. Hollow out the bottom of the loaf, leaving about 1 inch of bread on each side. Line the bottom of the loaf with sliced mozzarella. Add the grated cheese and taste for seasoning. Add pepper -- black or red -- or more Creole seasoning to taste. Fill your loaf with the crawfish mixture -- overflowing is good. Top the mixture with sliced cheddar and then smash the top of the loaf down on the mixture. (It is OK if some of the mixture comes out the sides.) Wrap the whole loaf in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Let the loaf rest for a few minutes, unwrap and slice the loaf into serving size pieces. Recipe can doubled and one loaf can be frozen for later.

Malise O’Banion, Texarkana


Pasta Primavera 

Serves: 4
2 cups broccoli florets
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 cup milk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cooked spaghetti

In a large saucepan, combine the first seven ingredients. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Stir in spaghetti; heat through. Can be prepared with low-fat soup, skim milk and nonfat Parmesan cheese.

MaryAnn Stafford, Little Rock


Shrimp Potato Pie

Serves: 6
3/4 pound shrimp cooked, shelled and deveined
1 cup onion, sliced into thin rings
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1 can cream of celery soup
1 4 oz. can mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Dash of pepper
2 cups mashed potatoes
3/4 cup cheddar cheese, grated
Parsley flakes

Saute onions in butter until transparent. Combine shrimp, soup, mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce and pepper with onions. Pour into a well-greased 10-inch pie pan. Spoon a border of potatoes around the edge. Sprinkle potatoes with cheese, paprika and parsley. Bake in 450 degree oven about 20 minutes or until potatoes are lightly browned and shrimp mixture is bubbly.

Mickey Roberts, Fairfield Bay


Pizza in a Hurry

One package pizza crust product, prebaked (Boboli, Mama Mia)
Olive oil as desired
One package or jar of pizza sauce
One large bag shredded mozzarella cheese
Spring mix salad greens
1 can sliced mushrooms
Tri-colored peppers, 1/4 of each color, chopped
Fresh tomatoes, chopped
Seasonings: Italian seasoning, black pepper, thyme, garlic bread sprinkles
Grated parmesan cheese

Spread the prebaked crust with olive oil, pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Layer with the spring mix salad greens, mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes. Add another small layer of mozzarella cheese if desired. Sprinkle the seasonings and parmesan across the top as desired. Follow the baking directions on the crust package.

Sophie Fraser, North Little Rock


Fresh Vegetable Lasagna

2 tablespoon olive oil
3 small zucchini, sliced and quartered
3 large carrots, sliced in rounds or smaller
2 medium red sweet peppers, sliced
1/2 sweet onion chopped or four green onions sliced
Stir-fry vegetables in hot oil for about five minutes.

15 uncooked lasagna noodles
1 28 oz. can Italian style tomatoes or two small cans
1 28 oz. can tomato puree or two small cans
1 pound skimmed ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
If you need it, enough cold water to fill dish about 1/2 with liquid, check side

Coat baking dish with nonstick spray, arrange half of the noodles, vegetables, tomatoes, cheese, salt and pepper and then repeat. Add the necessary water, not to the top, this cooks over easier. Cover dish with foil covered with nonstick spray. Bake 350 degrees for 90 minutes covered. Bake in 10 1/2-by-15 pan. (You can use a 9-by-13 pan with one less can of tomato sauce.) Let stand about 30 minutes before cutting.

Gwen Auel, Hot Springs Village


Anne Bancroft’s Tamale Pie

Serves: 6
2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1 can (19 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoon melted butter
1 10 oz. package frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie plate or 9-inch square pan. In medium skillet, melt all 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Pour half into medium bowl to be used later. Saute onions and green pepper in skillet with two tablespoons of butter until tender. Remove from heat and stir in beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, oregano and cumin. Set aside.

In medium bowl with 2 tablespoons of melted butter, add egg and milk and beat well. Stir in cornmeal, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir in corn. Press mixture into prepared pie plate or pan. Bake 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and spoon bean mixture onto crust. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve with leafy green salad.

Marilyn Weih, Monticello


Lemon Pepper Catfish

Serves: 4
4 catfish filets
2 tablespoons butter
Lemon pepper seasoning

Rinse and pat dry fish. In a skillet melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle fish liberally with lemon pepper. Place in skillet and cook seven minutes on each side. Fish should be slightly brown. Cook only two pieces at a time.

Robert Barbarotto, Pine Bluff


Tuna Fish Patties

Serves: 6
2-6 oz. cans tuna in oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
2 cups all-purpose corn meal
18 saltine crackers, crushed
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg

Set aside 1/2 cup corn meal. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. In a bowl add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Mixture should be firm and somewhat dry. If mixture seems a bit wet and will not stay together, add, only one at a time, more crackers until you’ve reached the right consistency. Put your 1/2 cup corn meal that you set aside, on a dish. Make six balls from your mixture and flatten into a patty. Pat both sides in cornmeal and lay on wax paper. Place only three patties in skillet at a time and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Robert Barbarotto, Pine Bluff


Quick Red Beans & Rice

Serves: 6-8
3- 15 oz. cans dark red kidney beans, not drained
1- 14 oz. can diced tomato, not drained
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 cups instant rice
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 cups vegetable broth

In a four-quart pot, over medium, heat oil. Saute onion and garlic. Add broth and beans and let come to heat. Excluding rice, add all remaining ingredients. Let simmer 30 minutes. Cook rice according to package directions. Serve beans in a bowl over top of rice. If beans seem a little too dry, add more broth to desired consistency.

Robert Barbarotto, Pine Bluff


Tuna Bake

Serves 4
7 oz. chow mein noodles
1 6 1/2 - 7 oz. can tuna
1 cup cashew nuts or salted almonds
1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped onions
1 can creamed mushroom soup
1/4 cup water or milk

Reserve 1/2 cup chow mein noodles. Empty rest of noodles into 1 1/2 quart casserole and add remaining ingredients. Mix all ingredients and add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup noodles. Bake 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes.

Penny Cuttone, Fairfield Bay

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Cream of Cilantro Soup

Serves: 6
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 (32 oz.) fat-free vegetable broth, divided
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 (8 oz.) package fat-free cream cheese
1 (8 oz.) carton of light sour cream
1 garlic minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Garnishes: fresh cilantro sprigs, light sour cream

Remove leaves from cilantro and coarsely chop leaves. Process cilantro and 1 cup broth in blender or food processor until blended, scrape down sides. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat; whisk in flour. Gradually add remaining three cups broth, whisking constantly until mixture is smooth. Boil one minute. Stir in cilantro mixture, cream cheese and next five ingredients; simmer soup 15 minutes. Garnish if desired.

Ellen Unger, Texarkana


Pureed Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 piece (2”) fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 3/4 lbs. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup orange juice
Coarse salt and pepper
Sour cream, optional
spicy pumpkin seeds

Melt butter in large saucepan. Cook onion about two minutes until fragrant. Add ginger, garlic and squash. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 6-8 minutes. Stir in four cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender, 20 minutes. Puree soup in two batches in blender. Allow heat to escape to prevent splattering. Remove cap from hole in lid and cover with dish towel. Stir in orange juice and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Serve with dollop of sour cream on top. May sprinkle with cayenne. Top with the pumpkin seeds.

Emma Lou Hotho, Hot Springs


Black Bean-Hominy Chili

Serves: 6
1 quart vegetable broth
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 bell pepper diced
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
2 15.5 oz. cans black beans, drained
2 15 oz. cans hominy, drained
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in dutch oven or small soup kettle over medium high heat. Add onions and peppers. Saute until soft and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add chili powder, cumin and oregano. Saute until fragrant, a minute or so. Add beans and hominy and tomatoes and broth. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer partly covered until vegetables are tender and flavors blended, about 20 minutes. Stir in garlic, chocolate and cilantro and simmer a couple of minutes to blend flavors. Turn off heat and let stand a few minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Mickey Roberts, Fairfield Bay


Cheesy Potato Soup

1 package cubed O’Brien frozen hash browns
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 pint half & half
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup butter
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in crock pot. Add remaining ingredients (except cheese, salt and pepper). Cook in crockpot on high for 3-4 hours. Add 1 cup cheese, salt and pepper before serving. Use reserve cheese to sprinkle on top. Can serve in bread bowls or with a side of bread.

Beth Pesek, Texarkana


Homemade Potato Soup

4 large potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 white onion, peeled and chopped, or amount as desired
2 cans broth
1 small can Carnation milk
4 ounces Philadelphia cream cheese
2 slices white or yellow cheese
Seasonings: basil, chives, paprika, celery seed, thyme, black or white pepper, parsley flakes, amount as desired

Boil the potatoes and onions in water until tender, drain the water. Add the broth to the potatoes and onions. Bring to a slow boil. While stirring, slowly add the carnation milk. Add the seasonings as desired. Continue stirring, and add the cheeses. Slowly stir until all is blended. The potatoes and onions may be mashed if so desired. If more thickness is desired, mix a tablespoon or two of flour with a small amount of water. Add the flour water mixture to the soup and slowly stir until blended.

Sophie Fraser, North Little Rock


Macaroni Soup

1 box of Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Mac
10 cups of water
Broccoli and cauliflower or any other veggies, if desired

Take 10 cups of water and heat to a boil. Add cheese mix from package and add macaroni. Cook until macaroni is done. Meanwhile, cook broccoli and cauliflower or other veggies. Add to macaroni mix. Heat together and eat. Soup will thicken the next day so add milk or water or more broth to make it soupy again.

Judith Bossarte, Van Buren


Pumpkin Soup

1/4 stick butter
3 small cans pumpkin pie mix
1 jar red peppers (sweet) with juice
2 onions
4 small cans chicken broth

Saute onions in butter. Add all ingredients in pot. Heat through.

Judith Bossarte, Van Buren 

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