LENTEN FARE Meatless dishes are inexpensive to make


LENT, ARGUABLY THE most serious time in the Christian calendar, begins next week with Ash Wednesday. The 40 days are marked with prayer and sacrifice, most notably the giving up of meat on Fridays.

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs or equivalent egg substitute

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

Grease pie plate, 10x1 1/2 -inches. Mix cottage cheese, Parmesan, onions, nutmeg and spinach; spoon into pie plate. Beat baking mix, milk, eggs and salt with hand beater or wire whisk one minute or until smooth. Pour evenly over spinach mixture.

Elevate pie plate on inverted dinner plate in microwave oven. Microwave uncovered on medium-high 20 to 22 minutes, rotating pie plate one-quarter turn every six minutes, until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Sprinkle with Swiss cheese and bell pepper. Cover with waxed paper and let stand five minutes. Makes six servings.

-- "Betty Crocker's Microwave Cookbook"

Vegetarian Chili

1 cup diagonally sliced carrots

1 cup sliced celery

1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup each chopped sweet red and green peppers

1/2 cup sliced green beans

1/2 cup sliced yellow beans (if not available use another 1/2 cup green beans)

1/2 cup finely chopped leeks

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 can 28-ounces undrained tomatoes

1 can 19-ounces kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In ten-cup bowl, combine carrots, celery, onions, red and green peppers, green and yellow beans, leeks and garlic. Stir in spices.

Drain tomatoes, reserving juice; chop tomatoes and set aside. Add juice to vegetable mixture; cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave at high for ten to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp, stirring several times.

Add tomatoes and kidney beans; microwave at high, covered for two minutes or until heated through. Spoon into four serving dishes; sprinkle with Parmesan. Microwave at high for 30 seconds or until cheese begins to melt. Makes four to six servings.

"The Random House Microwave Cookbook" by Margaret Fraser; Telemedia Publishing Inc. -- 1988, $19.95

Macaroni and Cheese

1 8-ounce package elbow macaroni, cooked

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 small onion, minced

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups milk

8 ounces (2 cups) Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup dried whole-wheat or seasoned bread crumbs

Extra cheese, optional

Parsley for garnish

In a souffle dish or casserole, place butter. Heat covered with paper towel on high, 100 percent power, for 45 seconds or until melted. add onion; stir to coat. Cook on high two minutes or until softened.

Into onion mixture, with whisk or spoon, stir flour, salt, mustard, and pepper until smooth and blended. Cook on high one minute, stirring once.

In mixture, gradually stir milk. Cook on high three to four minutes, until mixture thickens and is smooth, stirring twice. Remove dish from oven and add cheese. Stir sauce until cheese melts.

Into cheese sauce, stir drained macaroni. Cook on high five to seven minutes, rotating dish twice during cooking. Let stand on heat-safe surface five minutes.

Onto casserole, sprinkle bread crumbs and if you like extra shredded cheese. Cook on high 30 seconds. Serves four.

"The Good Housekeeping Microwave Cookbook" edited by Joyce A. Kenneally; Hearst Books -- 1990

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