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Dining In — Recipe of the Week: Food for the season of reflection

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Lent is a season of reflection and restraint, and a time to choose nourishing food while observing the tradition of not eating meat on Fridays.

Fish is the traditional choice for meatless meals, but Lent also can be an opportunity to experiment with vegetarian dishes. Those can be bean and/or vegetable tacos, enchiladas or fajitas as well as mac and cheese, cheese or spinach quesadillas, or eggs served with breakfast or dinner, minus the bacon.

Hearty vegetable soups with a loaf of crusty bread and a grating of cheese on top, pasta dishes with sauce or beans, vegetable pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches and vegetable and bean curry all will help you feel satisfied.

If choosing fish, it doesn’t have to be the fish sticks of childhood; fish tacos are a favorite, along with pasta with tuna, fish and chips, shrimp scampi, and codfish stew.

Start experimenting now and before you know it, Easter will have arrived.

This recipe from womansday.com is a vegetarian version of always popular fried rice.

Vegetarian Fried Rice

4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, caps sliced (save stems for other use)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

6 ounces kale, leaves thinly sliced (save stems for other use)

2 cloves garlic, pressed

4 cups cooked long-grain rice

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 teaspoon sriracha

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add mushrooms and cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate.

2. Add sesame oil to the same skillet, then add kale and cook, tossing, 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add rice and cook, tossing occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.

3. Push rice to sides of the pan, pour eggs into open space, and cook, stirring often, until eggs are almost set, then fold in rice and cook 1 minute more. Toss with soy sauce, sriracha, and mushrooms.

Tasteofhome.com shares this recipe for a hearty bean soup with plenty of nutrient-dense greens.

White Bean Soup with Escarole

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

3 cans (14 ½ ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 can (14 ½ ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo pasta

1 bunch escarole or spinach, coarsely chopped (about 8 cups)

1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir until tender. Add broth, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and pepper flakes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes.

2. Stir in orzo and escarole. Return to a boil; cook 12 to 14 minutes or until orzo is tender. Add beans; heat through, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle servings with cheese.


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