Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ash Wednesday Meal

Tonight I look forward to eating a full meal.  Yes, I did fast; I am not old enough yet to be "excused."  Went to Mass this morning, but immediately gave it to stress and irritation by getting angry with my teenage daughter.  The problem was resolved after our walk home and lots of deep breaths.  Then came the apologies and prayers for forgiveness.  (sigh)

Well, tonight we are having Macaroni and Cheese and Romaine Salad--Lenten meal 2

1/2 pound elbow macaroni
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon powdered mustard
3 cups milk
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 large egg
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it's free of lumps. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika. Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.

Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour into a 2-quart casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese.

Melt the butter in a saute pan and toss the bread crumbs to coat. Top the macaroni with the bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

Romaine Salad

Prepackaged Romaine Salad (Romaine, carrots, cabbage)
Cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
Chopped dill weed, parsley, and chives 
 Toss all ingredients

1/3 c. Balsamic vinegar
2/3 c. Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. Brown sugar optional
salt and pepper to taste


Ash Wednesday

Somebody on facebook said it well, "Catholics wear ashes to mark themselves as sinners, not holy or special. It's a scarlet letter, not a gold medal."

"For dust you are and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Rules for Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Lenten Fast, Again

This is a repeat of my post from last February, just before Ash Wednesday.  I thought it could use repeating since most people seem to forget from year to year.

Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence.  All Catholics who have reached age 18 and are not yet 60 are required to fast on these days.  All Catholics who are age 14 and older must abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all the Fridays of Lent.
Fast and Abstinence Requirements for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
--Eat only one regular size meal.
--Eat two smaller meals (or less) that do not equal your main meal.
--Do not eat or snack between meals.
--Do not eat any meat, soup made with meat, gravy, or broth, or any other dish prepared with meat.
However, if you cannot, for health reasons, fast think of another sacrifice you can make on those days.  My son is a type 1 diabetic, he is now 19 but he can not fast.  I suggested that he "abstain" from his iPod and computer for the day.  That is a sacrifice for him.

Let's not forget the most important things to remember during Lent: Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving.
Added 2014:  Why do Catholics fast (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday) and abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent? [For a full answer go to this article at]  Here are a few snippets:

"Lent bears particular relationship to the 40 days Christ spent fasting in the desert before entering into his public ministry (Mt 4:1-11)."
"Fasting is a biblical discipline that can be defended from both the Old and the New Testament."
"Abstinence from certain foods is also a biblical discipline."
"By having the sign of the cross made with ashes on their foreheads, Catholics mourn Christ's suffering on the cross and their own sins, which made that suffering necessary."

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Approaching Lent

Wow, I can't believe it has been so long since I have posted on my blog.  Life gets so complicated and time passes too quickly.  However, we had a wonderful Friday meatless meal that I wanted to share for Lent.

Lenten Dinner 1 (for Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, or any Friday meal):

Soup and Salad Menu--Serve with Sour Dough or a good crusty bread and butter

Lobster (or shrimp) Bisque (8 servings)

6 Tbls butter
6 Tbls all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika
4 1/2 cups milk
1 1/4 cups chicken stock (may use vegetable stock but I have not tried it)
1/4 cup white wine
3 Tbls minced onion
3 Tbls shredded carrot
3 cups cooked lobster meat, shredded (I used frozen cooked shrimp because Lobster is almost impossible to find in the middle of Oklahoma)
1 Tbls Cognac (I used sherry because I had no cognac, it was delicious)
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a large pan over med-high heat, melt butter and then stir in flour, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Slowly whisk in the milk, chicken stock, and white wine, stirring until smooth and slightly thickened.
Add onions, carrots, and lobster meat (or shrimp); simmer 10 minutes.  Stir in cognac (or sherry) and cream, heat through, and serve hot.
(original recipe can be found here)

Avocado and Romaine Salad (makes 4 servings)

1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Tbls fresh chives, chopped
1 1/3 cup avocado, chopped
3 cups chopped Romaine hearts
2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh dill weed, chopped
Balsamic vinegar dressing (below)

Toss all ingredients and drizzle with dressing.
(Original recipe here.)

Balsamic Vinegar Dressing

1/4 c. Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 c. Extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
garlic powder to taste

Whisk ingredients together.  Let flavors meld in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Whisk again before serving.
(Inspired by Emeril Lagasse's Simple Balsamic Vinegrette)