Mushroom Fajitas and Pico de Gallo are festive and meatless (April 11, 2011)

By Erin Nowak
After a long week at work and shuffling kids back and forth from school and after-school activities, why not relax by involving the whole family in making dinner? Instead of going out for Lenten Friday fare – pizza – and sitting around the television, why not allow meal preparation to be the catalyst for bringing the family together in this last of our series of meatless meals for Lent?

Most members of the family can get involved making this meal of Portabella Mushroom Fajitas, Erin’s Famous Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Black Bean Pepper Salad and Spanish Rice. There is plenty of chopping to do.

Besides being colorful and low in fat, the meal is delicious. Save the recipes and repeat the dinner for a friendly Cinco de Mayo fiesta no one will forget.

Portabella Mushroom Fajitas
– 4 garlic cloves, mashed to a paste
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
– 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
– 1 tsp ground coriander
– 2-1/2 tbs olive oil
– black pepper to taste
– 2 lbs portabella mushrooms cut
– lengthwise
– 1 red bell pepper sliced
– 1 orange bell pepper sliced
– 1 yellow bell pepper sliced (or substitute whatever peppers are available)
– 1 medium white onion chopped
– 1 package of tortillas (may use fat-free)

Prepare the marinade for the mushrooms by mashing chopped garlic with 1 tsp salt; add the remainder of ingredients. Pour the mixture over the mushrooms and marinate for at least 20 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.

When peppers and onions are all sliced and chopped, saut‚ them in a large lightly oiled pan. When the onions and peppers begin to get soft, add the mushrooms and marinade and stir until they are all well blended. Warm tortillas in microwave by placing them on a plate with a wet paper towel over them and heat on high for 20 seconds.

Serve with pico de gallo, guacamole, salsa and sour cream (may substitute with low-fat sour cream).

Erin’s Famous Pico de Gallo
– 1-1/2 lbs plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
– 3/4 cup chopped onion
– 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
– 3-1/2 tbs fresh lime juice
– 3 tbs minced seeded jalapenos (for hotter salsa, keep the seeds)
– 3 garlic cloves minced

Mix ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill.

– 3 ripe avocados
– 2 fresh Serrano peppers minced (use rubber gloves when chopping)
– 3 tbs red onion finely chopped
– coarse salt to taste

Halve and pit avocados. Scoop avocado flesh into a bowl and discard peel. Mash together with chilies. Should be chunky. Season with salt and serve immediately.

Black Bean Pepper Salad
– 1 each, green, yellow, orange, red bell pepper chopped
– 1 small red onion chopped
– 1 garlic clove minced
– coarse ground black pepper
– 1, 16 oz can of black beans
– 1 tbs olive oil
– 4 tbs balsamic vinegar

Combine peppers, onion and garlic. Thoroughly rinse beans and add to mixture. Drizzle oil and vinegar over mixture. Stir, allowing the colors of the peppers to blend. Crack black pepper over top to taste. For best flavor, marinate overnight.

Spanish Rice
– 1/2 cup pico de gallo
– 1 cup long grain rice
– 2 cups chicken broth

Bring chicken broth to a boil and add rice. Cover and let rice simmer 20 minutes, or follow package instructions. Just before serving rice, stir in pico de gallo. For best results use fresh ingredients. Salsa, marinade, Spanish rice and guacamole may be purchased.

Let us pray
God of all goodness, through the breaking of bread together you strengthen the bonds that unite us in love. Bless us and these your gifts. Grant that as we sit down together at table in joy and sincerity, we may always grow closer in the bonds of love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.


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