Happy Paczki Day!!! Yes everyone today is Paczki Day also known as Fat Tuesday, the day before the beginning of Lent and the tradition of eating those yummy deep-fried, sugar-coated Polish pastries known as paczki! In Poland the traditional reason for making paczki was to use up all of the butter, lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house before the Lent fasting began. Today almost everyone will be Polish, whether it’s for the day or just for a coffee break, it’s hard to pass up the chance to grab one of these delicious little treats. I am Polish, 100%, I will be running out for our Paczki in a little bit!
Lent for Catholics is a time for sacrifice, 40 days, roughly 6 weeks and 4 days. For us this means no meat on Ash Wednesday which is tomorrow and no meat on Friday’s for the duration of lent which will end on Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013. During this time we’re also supposed to give something up for the duration of lent . Some Catholics do still honor this tradition, usually giving up things like chocolate or smoking, soda or junk food and so on. Many, many years ago I had a conversation about sacrifice with a dear family friend, Father Fred. We talked about sacrifice and he agreed that sacrifice doesn’t have to be giving up, it can also be giving back, volunteering at a homeless shelter, perhaps crochet or knit blankets for the needy, donate food to a food bank, attend mass during the week or even attend “Stations of The Cross on Friday. It can be reconciling with someone, or right a wrong. Although Father Fred passed away, I often think of my interactions and conversations with him, I miss knowing he is out there in a Parish somewhere.
Of course we’ll follow the meat-less traditions, keeping in mind that meat-less doesn’t have to mean eating only fish. Tomorrow I have cheese tortellini in a marinara sauce planned with fresh Italian bread from Randazzo. Hey, I have to use this week’s freebie coupon right? I have four coupons left. For those of you who are Catholic, be a little creative especially if you’re not a fan of seafood. Walt and I both love fish, any kind of fish, the pasta dishes are a nice change of pace.
Today I will leave you with an easy au gratin potato recipe made with O’Brien Potatoes, the peppers and onions give these potatoes a great flavor. This dish is something a that I threw together loosely based on my cheesy potato recipe but just a little different. It’s quick, easy and delicious, I served them with the kielbasa and kraut dinner that I served last week. This would also make a great side for meatless Friday’s during lent.
AU GRATIN POTATOES
What You’ll Need:
1 bag Ore-Ida Potatoes O’Brien
1 Can Cream of Celery Soup
1 8 oz Cream Cheese cut into cubes
1 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- Coat 2 quart baking dish with cooking spray
- In a sauce pan heat soup with the cream cheese until the cream cheese is melted
- Mix the potatoes with the soup/cream cheese mixture
- Add the cheese mix – mix well
- Bake for 45 minutes until hot and bubbly
Note: I always mix my potatoes in a big bowl then transfer to the baking dish but you can mix them right in the baking dish you are going to bake in.