In keeping with the desire of the average, traditional Catholic to keep the days of fast and abstinence; I will post a few of my favorite meatless meals. Many of these soups and casseroles are quite easily converted from “meat to meatless.”

Enjoy…and feel free to offer comments and suggestions for improvement. Also, if you have a favorite of your own, feel free to submit it and I will happily credit the source!

You’ve heard about it, I’m sure…time to give it a try! Here’s a video of the “No Knead Bread” recipe from the man himself, Jim Lahey of the Sullivan Street Bakery, New York. As a veteran bread baker, it has completely rocked my world…I’m hooked!

Here’s a link for the recipe.

A new Lenten family favorite:

Shrimp with Penne Pasta and Vegetables

1 eggplant – cubed
1 yellow squash cubed
1 zucchini – sliced or cubed
1 yellow pepper – chopped
1 red pepper – chopped
1 orange pepper – chopped
4 roma tomatoes – chopped
1 medium onion – diced
4 cloves garlic – minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp ground red pepper
6 – 8 T. olive oil
1 lb penne pasta – cooked and drained
1 lb peeled, deveined pre-cooked shrimp
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic until clear. Add vegetables. Saute until vegetables are cooked through. Add shrimp and seasonings. Cook until liquid reduces by half. Add to penne pasta. Serve with your favorite Italian bread and salad.

Servings: 8 – 10 large servings

Kimberly’s Loaded Potato Soup

1 stick of butter or margarine
3 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tsp. thyme
3/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
4 chicken bouillon cubes
7 cups water
10 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 qt. half and half or milk (I prefer the h&h)
1/2 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/2 cup cold water (for thickening)


crumbled bacon (leave out for days of abstinence)
chopped green onions
chopped chives
sour cream
shredded cheese

Or serve as the Soup of Suffering ;-D

In a large stock pot, melt butter and sauté carrots, onions, celery and garlic until translucent. Quickly add the water and bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes, thyme, parsley, and pepper. Cook until tender. Add half and half/milk (as much as you prefer…I use it all.) Using a potato masher, mash with 5 or 6 quick strokes. Bring soup to a boil and slowly begin adding cornstarch mixture until soup is desired consistency. Ladle into bowls, add your favorite toppings and serve with your finest loaf of home-made bread.

Bon Appetit!

Tuna Pasta Salad

1 – 16 oz. bag of tri-color pasta
2 stalks green onion
½ tsp. dill weed
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 – 6 oz. cans albacore tuna
1 cup frozen sweet peas
Cracked black pepper and salt to taste

Add ins:

grated carrot
cherry tomatoes
whatever suits you!

Boil pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse in cold water until cool. Place pasta in large salad bowl. Chop green onion. Add green onion, tuna and sweet peas to pasta. Combine mayonnaise and dill weed. Combine mayonnaise and pasta mixtures. Chill and serve.

*This is not an original recipe. This lovely Ratatouille was discovered on Simply Recipes…simply outstanding! Here it is:

Dad’s Ratatouille Recipe

Dad originally got this recipe from Dean & DeLuca, and over time it has become a family classic. Only he has the patience to make it. The recipe is little involved, but the results are fantastic. Luxuriously rich, smooth, and flavorful, this ratatouille is practically the best way I know of preparing vegetables that people can’t get enough to eat.

Preparation time: 1 hour and a half, minimum.

1 lb of yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb zucchini, chopped
1 lb yellow squash, chopped
Bell peppers, seeds removed, chopped into 1/2 inch square pieces:
–1 lb green bell peppers
–1/2 lb red bell peppers
–1/2 lb yellow bell peppers
1 lb eggplant, 1/2 inch cubes
1 lb fresh ripe tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to taste
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
3/4 cup vegetable stock (or thin tomato juice)
fresh ground pepper to taste

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2 Using a large oven-proof pan over medium high heat, saute onions in olive oil until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reduce heat to low.

3 While the onions and garlic are cooking over low heat, put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a another frying pan over high heat. As soon as oil starts to smoke, quickly add enough zucchini cubes all at once to cover the bottom of the pan. Keep on cooking over high heat, stirring, until zucchini is lightly browned on all sides. Remove zucchini cubes, and add them to pan with the onions.

4 Repeat process until all of the zucchini cubes have been cooked. Do the same with the yellow squash. Make sure to add a little olive oil between each new batch. Continue with the bell peppers, then the eggplant cubes, adding the browned vegetables to the onion pan as soon as they are cooked.

5 When all the vegetables (except the tomatoes) are browned and in the pan with the onions, increase the heat to high and stir, making sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add salt to taste, thyme, bay leaf, and rosemary, the vegetable stock, and stir well. Place in oven for one hour.

6 Boil water in a saucepan on stove. Remove stems from tomatoes, and crisscross the bottoms with a knife. Plunge into boiling water for a minute or two, until skin starts to fall away. Rinse in cold water and remove skin. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise, remove seeds, chop coarsely, set aside.

7 After the vegetables have been in the oven for an hour, remove from oven, drain vegetables in a colander set over a bowl. Clean browned bits (if any) off bottom of pan with a paper towel. Return any liquid to the pan and reduce to a thick glaze over medium high heat. Keep on adding juices to the pan as they run out of the vegetables into the bowl.

8 When all the juices have been reduced, return vegetables to the heavy pan. At this point the ratatouille should be moist and shiny, with very little liquid. Turn heat off. Add the chopped tomatoes and cover. If serving as a warm side dish, let the ratatouille stand for 10 minutes, just enough to “cook” the tomatoes. The ratatouille can be served at room temperature or refrigerated and reheated the next day.

9 When ready to serve, remove the bay leaf, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Dean & Deluca.

*This lovely recipe is an absolute original twist on a traditional Tuscan peasant soup. My family loves this one…though my husband has, with his wry sense of humor, dubbed it “Catch-all Soup.” Anything goes, with ribollita…whatever is hanging out in your vegetable crisper!


4 cans cannellini beans (you may soak your own if so desired, but this is quicker!)
¼ cup olive oil or 1 stick of butter or margarine (olive oil is preferred)
4 ribs of celery, including their tops – chopped
5 -6 lg. carrots – chopped
1 lg. onion – chopped
8 cloves of garlic – minced
2 heaping T. fresh basil, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. oregano, dried
3 T. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
3 roma tomatoes chopped (or petite diced tomatoes in the can)
¼ cup parmesan cheese
12 – 15 cups chicken stock (equivalent vegetable stock or chicken bouillon with water may be used – amount depends upon how “soupy” you want your soup)
1 cup roughly torn spinach (you may omit – a lovely addition in the spring when spinach is fresh)
*2 cups of chopped ham, sausage or roast pork (only on those “non-fast” days!)
2 cups bread crumbs, Italian or plain (you may substitute stale, crumbled Italian bread or seasoned stuffing mix)

In the bottom of a large stock pot, sauté celery, onions, carrots and garlic in oil or butter, until onion is translucent. Add stock. Bring to a boil. Add beans, basil, oregano, parsley, tomatoes and parmesan cheese. Simmer, covered, for at least an hour. Uncover and gently mash (using a potato masher) with five or six quick strokes. Add torn spinach and bread crumbs. Allow to simmer for at least another 30 minutes. Serve with your favorite crusty Italian bread and just a small drizzle of good olive oil. Enjoy!