Fridays, Lent and Dinner-time Anarchy

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, and while I made it to Mass, the rest of my family was far too sick to go. On the bright side for them, they were so sick they didn’t even have to worry about that whole “day of fasting and abstinence” thing. While I got out of cooking a meatless meal yesterday, I’ll still have plenty of opportunities for family-meal anarchy this Lent.

Lenten Fridays are always a challenge for me, because I have two heathens who are not really fans of seafood (unless it’s the oh-so-not-healthy fish sticks), and a husband who acts like he is suffering the tortures of the dammed if his meal isn’t a protein-fest. Every once in a while, I throw my hands up and force them to eat grilled shrimp or salmon croquettes, but I usually try to keep the peace by making dishes that will not result in theatrical dinner-time protests, or suspicious food-autopsies in search of green onions.

French toast and cheese tortellini Alfredo are most often my Lenten Friday go-to’s, but I’ve also tried to find recipes that actually contain some semblance of nutritional value…or at least more nutritional value than French Toast. I found this recipe in Southern Living, and not only is it pretty tasty, but it also sneaks a sizeable spinach portion into my husband and kids. Even better, the spinach is well-hidden, so with careful presentation, the boogers have ingested some before they wise up to it.


Spinach-Ravioli Lasagna

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Ingredients

  • 1  (6-oz.) package fresh baby spinach, thoroughly washed
  • 1/3  cup  pesto sauce
  • 1  (15-oz.) jar Alfredo sauce
  • 1/4  cup  vegetable broth (or white wine, if you’re a lush like me)
  • 1  (25-oz.) package frozen cheese-filled ravioli (do not thaw)
  • 1  cup  (4 oz.) shredded Italian six-cheese blend

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Chop spinach, and toss with pesto in a medium bowl.

2. Combine Alfredo sauce and vegetable broth. Spoon one-third of Alfredo sauce mixture (about 1/2 cup) into a lightly greased 2.2-qt. or 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Top with half of spinach mixture. Arrange half of ravioli in a single layer over spinach mixture. Repeat layers once. Top with remaining Alfredo sauce.

3. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with paprika and fresh basil, if desired.

I serve it with garlic bread and some other vegetable on the side if I am feeling particularly ambitious.

So, if you need a meatless option that has a chance of satisfying picky eaters, give this recipe a try.

Or, you could always stick with the French toast.

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