Tasty Lenten Alternatives

Donna Alexander Published:

SPINACH-STUFFED FISH FILLETS

1 Tbsp. corn oil

1 lg. clove garlic, minced

1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Swiss cheese

1/3 cup Old London or Devonsheer Plain Bread Crumbs

4 fish fillets (about 1 lb.)

Toasted bread crumbs for garnish

METHOD: In a skillet heat corn oil over medium heat. Add garlic. Cook, stirring 30 seconds. Add spinach, nutmeg and pepper. Cook, stirring 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese and 1/3 cup bread crumbs. Spread about 1/3 cup mixture evenly on each fillet. Roll up. Arrange seam-side down in greased, shallow baking dish. Cover and bake in 400-degree oven 15 minutes or until fish is firm but moist. Garnish with toasted bread crumbs as desired. Makes 4 servings.

EASY SHRIMP BAKE

6 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted

1/2 cup Old London or Devonsheer Plain Bread Crumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tbsp. chopped green onions

2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp. dry sherry

1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined

METHOD: In medium bowl, combine margarine, bread crumbs, garlic, green onions, Parmesan and sherry. Add shrimp, tossing to coat. Arrange in single layer in greased, shallow baking dish. Bake in 400-degree oven 15 minutes or until shrimp are tender. Makes 4 servings.

CHEESY CRAB ENCHILADAS

2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix

3 Tbsp. plus 1/4 cup milk, divided

1 sm. red onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1 lb. fresh, frozen or canned crabmeat, flaked and cartilage removed

2 cans (2 1/4 oz. each) sliced ripe olives, drained

1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies

1/2 tsp. pepper

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

8 flour tortillas (8 inches)

1/2 cup shredded Colby cheese

Chopped green onions and tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sliced ripe olives, optional

METHOD: In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, dressing mix and 3 tablespoons milk until smooth. Set aside 3/4 cup for topping. In a skillet, saut onion and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in crab, olives, chilies, pepper and salt. Fold crab mixture and 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack into remaining cream cheese mixture. Spoon about 2/3 cup down the center of each tortilla. Roll up and place seam side down in a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Combine the remaining milk and reserved cream cheese mixture until blended; pour over tortillas. Sprinkle with Colby and remaining Monterey Jack. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Serve with green onions, tomatoes, lettuce and olives if desired. Makes 8 enchiladas.

TUNA-STUFFED JUMBO SHELLS

10 jumbo pasta shells

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 can (12 oz.) tuna, drained and flaked

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced green onions

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 cup shredded carrot

2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley

Creamy celery dressing:

1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 tsp. celery seed

1 tsp. onion powder

Lettuce leaves and red onion rings, optional

METHOD: Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and sugar. Stir in the tuna, celery, onions, green pepper, carrot and parsley. Spoon into pasta shells; cover and refrigerate. For the dressing, combine sour cream, sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, celery seed and onion powder. Arrange lettuce, onion rings and stuffed shells on a serving platter; drizzle with dressing. Makes 5 servings.

TANGY SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS

28 lg. shrimp (about 1 1/2 lbs.), peeled and deveined

28 sea scallops (about 1/2 lb.)

1/2 cup butter or margarine

7 Tbsp. lemon juice

5 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 to 2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

METHOD: Place shrimp and scallops in a large resealable plastic bag. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and paprika. Microwave at 50 percent power for 1 1/2 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir to blend; set aside 1/3 cup for basting. Pour remaining marinade over shrimp and scallops. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1 hour, turning occasionally. Drain and discard marinade. Alternately thread shrimp and scallops on metal or wooden skewers. Grill, uncovered, over medium-hot heat for 6 minutes, turning once. Brush with reserved marinade. Grill 8 to 10 minutes longer or until shrimp turn pink and scallops are opaque. Makes 4 servings.

HERBED SALMON STEAKS

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2/3 cup crushed saltines (about 20 crackers)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

4 salmon steaks (6 to 8 oz. each)

METHOD: Place butter in a shallow dish. In another dish, combine the cracker crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, basil, oregano and garlic powder. Dip salmon into butter, then coat both sides with crumb mixture. Place in a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Makes 4 servings.

POACHED PERCH WITH BROCCOLI

1 lb. fresh broccoli, cut into spears

3/4 cup water

1 sm. onion, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

2 lbs. perch fillets

Garlic Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 tsp. ground mustard

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

METHOD: Place broccoli in a steamer basket. Place in a saucepan over 1 inch of water; bring to a boil. Cover and steam until crisp-tender; set aside and keep warm. In a large skillet, combine the water, onion, bay leaf, salt and tarragon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add perch fillets in batches. Cover and cook until fish is firm and flakes easily with a fork. Remove fish and onions with a slotted spoon; keep warm. Discard bay leaf. In a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. Stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons cooking liquid until sauce reaches desired consistency. Arrange broccoli on a serving platter; top with fish, onions and garlic sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

SEAFOOD TORTILLA LASAGNA

1 jar (20 oz.) picante sauce

1 1/2 lbs. uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp. olive or vegetable oil

1/3 cup butter or margarine

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 can (14 1/2 oz.) chicken broth or vegetable broth

1/2 cup whipping cream

15 corn tortillas (6 inches), warmed

1 pkg. (16 oz.) imitation crabmeat, flaked

3 cups (12 oz.) shredded Colby/Monterey Jack cheese

METHOD: Place the picante sauce in a blender or food processor; cover and process until smooth. Set aside. In a skillet, cook shrimp, garlic and cayenne in oil until shrimp turn pink, about 3 minutes; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, melt the butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat. Stir in cream and picante sauce; heat through. Spread 1/2 cup of sauce in a greased 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish. Layer with six tortillas, half of the shrimp, crab and white sauce and 1 1/4 cups cheese. Repeat layers. Tear or cut remaining tortillas; arrange over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Makes 12 servings.

SESAME SOLE

2 tsp. spicy brown or horseradish mustard

2 tsp. tomato paste

1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

1/4 tsp. salt

4 sole or orange roughy fillets (6 oz. each)

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

METHOD: In a bowl, combine the mustard, tomato paste, tarragon and salt; spread on both sides of the fillets. Place buttermilk in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, combine sesame seeds and flour. Dip fillets in buttermilk, then coat with sesame seed mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat, fry fillets for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Makes 4 servings.

FISHERMANS CRISPY COATING

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup crisp rice cereal, crushed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 1/2 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning

1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

1/8 tsp. onion salt

1/8 tsp. garlic salt

4 walleye or other whitefish fillets (1 3/4 to 2 lbs.)

Oil for frying

METHOD: In a shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the cereal, flour, cornmeal and seasonings. Dip the fish fillets into egg mixture, then coat with the cereal mixture. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat. Fry the fillets for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Makes 4 servings.

BAKED FISH

1/2 lb. panfish fillets (perch, trout or whitefish)

4 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 tsp. dill weed

METHOD: Place fish in a 10-inch pie plate that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and dill. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Makes 2 servings. One serving (prepared with perch) equals 119 calories, 131mg sodium, 104mg cholesterol, 0 carbohydrate, 23g protein, 2g fat.

HONEY-FRIED WALLEYE

1 egg

1 tsp. honey

1 cup coarsely crushed saltines (about 22 crackers)

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

4 to 6 walleye fillets (about 1 1/2 lbs.) skin removed

Vegetable oil

Additional honey

Lemon or lime slices, optional

METHOD: In a shallow bowl, beat egg and honey. In another bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, flour, salt and pepper. Dip fillets into egg mixture, then coat with crumb mixture. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil; fry the fillets over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Drizzle with honey; garnish with lemon or lime if desired.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

QUICK SALMON CHOWDER

1 can (14.75 oz.) or 2 cans (7.5 oz. each) traditional pack Alaska salmon or 2 cans or pouches (6 to 7.1 oz. each) skinless boneless salmon

1 Tbsp. butter or margarine

1 sm. onion, chopped

1 Tbsp. flour

3 cups skim milk

2 cups (8 oz.) frozen hash brown potatoes with peppers and onions (OBrien style)

1 can (8 oz.) corn, drained, or 1 cup frozen corn kernels

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. lemon-pepper or pepper blend seasoning

1/4 cup bacon bits, divided

2 Tbsp. sherry, if desired

METHOD: Drain salmon, reserving any liquid; discard skin and bones (if any.) Break salmon into chunks; set aside. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add milk and salmon liquid, bring to boil. Stir in potatoes, corn, seasonings and 2 tablespoons bacon bits. Return to simmer and cook 5 minutes. Stir in salmon and sherry, if desired; heat through. Ladle soup into bowls; sprinkle with remaining bacon bits. Spicy Variation: Add Mexican, Cajun or Southwest seasoning to taste.

Makes 6 cups, 4 servings. 393.4 calories, 11.3g total fat, 39 percent of calories from fat, 73.8mg cholesterol, 34.4g protein, 38.7g carbohydrate, 3.5g fiber, 1314.5mg sodium, 505mg calcium.

Credits: Old London Foods, Best of Taste of Home, The First 10 Years, Taste of Homes 2003 Quick Cooking Annual Recipes, Taste of Home 2003 Annual Recipes, Best of Country Potluck Recipes, Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

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