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Photo: N/A, License: N/A, Created: 2005:08:13 18:40:03

The Lenten season is quickly approaching, so meat-free meals are in order. Here are some of my favorites. Also, Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday this year… You will love these meatless meals for either occasion. Enjoy.


1 (12-1/2-oz.) can tuna in water, drained and finely flaked

3/4 cup soft bread crumbs

1/3 cup minced green onions

1/3 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

1 egg

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

For sauce:

1-1/2 cups finely chopped fresh tomatoes

1-1/2 cups tomato sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 tablespoon dill weed

Combine all ingredients for tuna cakes, except butter. Mix until moistened. Shape mixture into eight (4-inch) patties. Melt butter in skillet; sauté patties until golden on each side.

Gently heat all sauce ingredients; remove from heat. Pour sauce over each tuna cake. Yield: 4 servings.


(Requested by one of our readers.)

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1/4 cup onion, chopped

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon each: salt, paprika, chili powder and basil

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes,


1 lb. (4 cups) uncooked shrimp

In a large skillet, sauté green pepper and onion in butter until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients; mix well. Heat to boiling. Simmer slowly, covered, 15 to 18 minutes or until shrimp are firm and pink, stirring occasionally. Yield: 4 servings.


1 pound orange roughy or any fish fillet

2 cups Ritz cracker crumbs

1 cup melted butter

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Add lemon juice to melted butter. Dip fish in butter, then coat with Ritz cracker crumbs. Place fish on lightly buttered cookie sheet. Sprinkle each fillet with 1 teaspoon melted butter. Put water on cookie sheet for steam. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to35 minutes at 375º. Serve warm.


3 cups water

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups short-grain rice

1/2 stick butter or margarine

1 cup fresh mushrooms

12 white boiling onions, peeled and halved

1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14-1/2-ounce) can vegetable broth

3/4 cup freshly shredded Romano or Parmesan cheese

Combine water and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to boiling. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in rice. Let stand, covered, 30 minutes. Rinse rice with cold water; drain well. Set aside. In a large skillet, melt butter or margarine. Cook one-third of the mushrooms in the hot butter until tender. Remove from skillet with a slotted spoon; set aside. Cook remaining mushrooms, boiling onions, Vidalia onion and garlic in remaining hot butter in skillet until mushrooms and onions are tender. Add rice. Cook and stir over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes more until rice is golden. Carefully stir vegetable broth into rice mixture. Bring to boiling. Transfer rice and vegetable broth mixture to a 2-quart casserole. Bake at 325º for 25 to 30 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Stir in two-third cup of Romano or Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle remaining cheese and reserved mushrooms on top. Return to oven. Bake, uncovered, for 5 minutes until cheese melts and turns slightly golden. Yield: 6 to 8 side-dish servings.


1 cup fat-free ricotta cheese

1-1/4 cups sugar, divided

3 egg whites, divided

1/3 cup flaked coconut

1 teaspoon coconut extract

1-1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350º. Coat 18 muffin cups with nonstick spray or use paper cupcake liners. Beat ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 egg white in a medium bowl until smooth. Stir in coconut and coconut extract. In another medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and remaining 1 cup sugar. In a large bowl, whisk buttermilk, applesauce , vanilla and remaining 2 egg whites. Mix in the flour mixture until well blended. Divide half of the batter evenly among muffin cups. Spoon 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture into center of each. Top with remaining batter. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pans on wire rack Remove cupcakes from pans and cool on rack.


4 medium potatoes, grated

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1-1/2 to 2 cups flour

1 head cabbage, chopped

1 onion, chopped

Salt and black pepper, to taste


Prepare cabbage first. In a large skillet, melt butter; add chopped onion and cook until tender. Add cabbage, salt and pepper, and cook over low heat until softened and golden brown, stirring often. Keep warm.

In a mixing bowl, grate potatoes; add eggs. Put enough flour in, a little at a time, mixing well, to form a soft dough. Have a pot of boiling water ready. Tilt mixing bowl near boiling water and spoon off dough (size about 1/2 teaspoon) into water. Boil until dough pieces rise to the top, about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse gently with warm water; drain well. Mix with cabbage mixture.


1 (15 to16-oz.) can salmon

1 egg

1/3 cup minced onion

1/2 cup flour

1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder

vegetable oil (for frying)

Drain salmon; set aside 2 tablespoons of the juice. In large bowl, mix salmon, egg and onion until sticky. Stir in flour. Add baking powder to reserved salmon juice; stir into salmon mixture. Shape into patties and fry in hot vegetable oil about 5 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with tartar sauce or the following Cucumber Sauce.

For cucumber sauce:

1 unpeeled cucumber, shredded and drained

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon grated onion

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Dash of black pepper

1 teaspoon dried parsley

Combine all ingredients, except drained cucumber. Then add mixture to the drained cucumber; mix well Cover and chill.


1 stick butter or margarine, room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 (12-ounce) package semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped nuts (pecans)

additional sugar

Mix butter or margarine in large mixing bowl of electric mixer. Add sugars; beat well at medium speed; add egg and vanilla; blend well. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to creamed mixture; mix well. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350º for 12 to 15 minutes; cool on wire rack. Yield: 60 cookies.

Any comments, questions or favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send your email to, and please write “Helen’s Kitchen Request, ATTN: Lori” in the subject line to make sure that I receive your email. Thank you.