Another Great Lenten Recipe – Simple Shrimp Scampi

Here is another of my favorite recipes that works well for Lent – Simple Shrimp Scampi. I originally found this in Cook’s Illustrated magazine years ago. It makes a very elegant dinner for guests, though I would not serve it on Ash Wednesday or Good Friday, since it is not a very penitential meal. I would suggest you follow the recipe exactly.

Simple Shrimp Scampi – Serves 4

1/4 Cup Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs large shrimp (21-25 count per pound) peeled, deveined and rinsed (I use quality frozen shrimp, defrosted)
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
2 Tbsp lemon juice
Cayenne Pepper (used very sparingly – I pretty much wave it over the shrimp)

Heat oil & garlic in 10″ skillet over medium heat until garlic begins to sizzle. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until fragrant and pale gold, about 2 minutes. Add shrimp, increase heat to medium and cook stirring occasionally until shrimp turns pink – about 7 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or they will become tough. Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon juice, salt to taste and cayenne pepper to taste. Serve immediately. The recipe recommended to just bring the skillet to the table, serve with rice or rice pilaf, and crusty bread that you can use to sop up the juices right from the pan. I like to serve it with a green salad that has fruit in it, asparagus or broccoli.

2016 Update: I still love this recipe but I usually now serve it with my go-to rice which is Brown Jasmine Rice. I use it for everything now, but use a different proportion than what is on the bag: 2 cups water to 1 cup rice, otherwise it seems crunchy to me, plus 1 T olive oil and some salt. Or, if I’m pressed for time, I serve it with angel hair pasta. The brown jasmine rice is just fantastic but a bit pricey. I just found that Trader Joe’s has their own for a good price but I haven’t tried it yet.

Zucchini Bread Recipe – Great For Lent

I thought I would share with you a recipe for Cheesy Zucchini Bread. My mother received this recipe from a friend over 30 years ago, and it is one of my favorites. It is more like a casserole than a bread. It is great for Lent, but I make it year round. The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it is extremely versatile. I have taken it to breakfast or brunch events served with fruit. I have served it as lunch for friends. Mostly, I serve it for dinner, usually with a side dish of rice pilaf, or pasta and sauce. I serve it with pasta so that the zucchini-phobic among us (aka Children) have something to eat.

Cheesy Zucchini Bread
3 Cups Zucchini with skin, sliced very thin
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 C grated cheese (Romano, Parmesan, or Cheddar) I just use the canned Parmesan
4 eggs, beaten (you can also use egg-beaters)
1 Cup Bisquick (I use the Heart-Smart Bisquick)
1/2 cup oil (like Canola)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp salt

Slice zucchini in food processor or use a mandolin. Chop onion and garlic. Blend all ingredients in a large bowl, add zucchini. Pour in greased 9×9 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy.

Lent, Lent and More Lent

I’ve got some more great Lenten resources for you.

What Do the Ashes Mean? by Fr. Saunders

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops Lenten Website

Listen to our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI’s Ash Wednesday Address to you. It is short, but lovely to listen to his kind and gentle voice. Thanks for providing the video.

Deepen your spiritual life by watching the brand new EWTN YouTube Channel. It was just released today so they have lots of videos to put up but be sure to check in frequently for the best of Catholic programming.

Ash Wednesday Fasting & Church Teaching by Jimmy Akin

Do some great reading for Lent:  Vivificat! has posted a huge list of free classic Catholic books you can save to your computer, or e-book reader, to read at your leisure.  They are mostly .pdf files.  What a fantastic resource.

And still more…..Why 40 Days of Lent?  by Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio

Here is this year’s (2010) Lent, Holy Week & Easter Calendar of Important Days:

Feb. 17:
Ash Wednesday (the beginning of Lent)

All Fridays in Lent (observe abstinence from meat and a good idea to participate in the Stations of the Cross at your parish)

March 28:
Palm Sunday (the final Sunday of Lent, and the beginning of Holy Week)

April 4:
Holy Thursday (the final day of Lent, remembering the Lord’s Last Supper)

April 2:
Good Friday (commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ)

April 3:
Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil Masses may begin anytime after 8pm on Sat. evening)

April 4:
Easter Sunday

May 16:
Ascension of the Lord (culmination of the Easter season)

May 23:
Pentecost Sunday (the descent of the Holy Spirit)

Fasting & Abstinence Info

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and it is a day (along with Good Friday) that we need to fast and when we do eat, eat no meat.  We all have questions occasionally about this, so here are some websites with info that might help you: 

Women For Faith & Family has a great page with all the details and also a wonderful page devoted to special info on Lent & Ash Wednesday

Colin Donovan, STL at EWTN also explains the guidelines at their Fasting & Abstinence page

If you do Facebook, you might be interested in this Facebook page,  Catholic Lent:  It’s More Than Just Giving Up Chocolate

St. John Chrysostom on True Fasting

Finally, here is why we abstain – Faith Facts – Life in the Fast Lane:  Why Catholics Abstain

What Are You Giving Up For Lent?

OK, are you going to wimp out and choose giving up chocolate for Lent – again? I’m not sure when giving up chocolate became the “in” thing to do for Lent but honestly, how superficial is that? Of course, maybe that is the point. People choose chocolate because, even though it is difficult to give up something we love so much, it is really easy. We don’t have to face doing something that might really be a sacrifice… something that might really help us to face our sins or get us closer to God.

For several years I have given up listening to the radio during Lent. I would check into the news in the morning and at noon, but then shut it off. This was really hard at first because I enjoy it. Over time though, I got over my discomfort and looked forward to the time of silence, and it encouraged me to talk to God, if only to break the silence. This has helped me a lot and has spilled over into the rest of the year. I’m not at all hesitant to bring on the silence and it helps me focus on whatever I’m doing.

Now that silence is easy, I need to move onto something else that will not only be a sacrifice but also help me to grow. Some choose something that is not actually a sacrifice but an addition to their life, like spiritual reading or praying the Liturgy of the Hours, but those are easy for me and I enjoy them. Others commit to daily Mass or weekly adoration. Daily Mass is not possible for me at this time in my life because of scheduling conflicts. Weekly adoration is more something I want to do all year round, and I have been lax for quite awhile. So while I will do that, it is not really a sacrifice.

This year, I have chosen to do something really hard and I’m not sure I’ll be able to pull it off, but it requires great generosity and patience on my part and I’m sure many graces from the Holy Spirit. I’m going to try to tolerate interruptions without a poor attitude. Part of this requires me to really pay attention to my kids. What you say? Pay attention to your kids? Suck up interruptions? Yep. Sounds easy to you? Good for you, but it is hard for me.

I hate to be interrupted. Just when I get on a roll with something, boom…”Mom, I’m hungry!” “Mom, come look at this!” “Mom, I need help in the bathroom.” “Mom, I need to you watch me – I’m going outside.” “Mom, What are we going to have for dinner?” Can’t you hear the heavy sigh?

Well….so can I. And I don’t like it. I don’t like my attitude – the heavy sigh, the occasional eye roll, the annoyed voice, “What do you need now?” “Go away, I’m trying to do something right now.” “NOW what?” What it shows to me is that I have a lack of generosity, a self-centeredness, an impatience that is deeply ingrained. So what is that Pride? I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

I’m sure you are like so many of my friends. “What do you need sweetie?” “Oh here, let me help you?” “Sure I’ll watch you outside.” “Let me get the popcorn, we’ll watch the movie together.” “OK honey, let’s go to the park and kick a ball around.” Yuck. The last place I want to be is the park or the ball field. I don’t want to watch another children’s TV show. I want them in the back yard so I don’t have to worry about cars or child abduction. But unfortunately, bikes only get ridden in the front yard. I’m sure you enjoy all those things, but to me they are an annoyance, something that I’m forced to do, and that keeps me from doing the stuff I want to do – inside – like cook dinner or OK, I’ll admit it – be on the computer. So, I’ve decided that I want to work on this during Lent, and that will be a real sacrifice – and a real learning opportunity.

So what do you want to give up for Lent? What do you think you need to work on to improve you and your relationship with God. If you need some sort of help with ideas, check out:

Great Ideas for Lent from the St. Michael Society: Need some ideas for Lent? We’ve got a few.

I found this to be very challenging and helpful:  Giving Up Something for Lent — What the Denial of Self Really Involves  It was written by Dr. Richard P. Bucher, a Lutheran minister in Kentucky.

Here are a couple of more articles about preparing for Lent and Mortification:
How Can I Better Prepare for Lent This Year?    
Lent and Mortification – What is Mortification Anyway? 

I’d really like to hear what you are planning on doing this Lent.

Gearing Up For Lent

Lent begins in a couple of days with Ash Wednesday.  How will you be trying to get closer to Christ this Lent?  Here are some resources to help get you started:

EWTN’s Lenten & Easter Meditations 2010

Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten Message for 2010

You need to go to confession. Here is a fantastic website from the Archdiocese of Boston about The Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka: Confession)   It has lots of resources and examinations of conscience. 

I have discovered a fantastic podcast called Into the Deep.  Three married lay men discuss how to get closer to Christ through prayer and learn about what the Catholic faith teaches.  They are so enthusiastic and it is great to listen to them.  Here is one set of podcasts to get you started: How Lent Makes You Holy: Part 1 and Part 2. brings us a Woman’s Stations of the Cross

One of the most fruitful things you can do during Lent is read some good, solid Catholic books.  Try one of these four Lenten Reading Plans to get you started.  This is very well done! 

Eric Sammons at his Divine Life blog has some great tips for bringing silence and peace in your life this Lent  Snow & The Beautiful Sound of Silence

You must go to this site, they have a great comprehensive Lenten post.  If you want to know something about Lent, it’s here: Aggie Catholics Annual Lenten Mega-Post

Finally, A little Lenten humor – There’s a little black spot on your head today 

May God bless you this Lent and my you grow closer to him every day.