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5 Busy Cooks Appetizers for Lent

Fast, Fun, and Meat-Free

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Meatless Fridays, during Lent or throughout the year, can present a challenge for the busy cook. All of these appetizer recipes are meat-free and very easy to prepare. Use them to add a little elegance to your meatless meals on Ash Wednesday, the Fridays of Lent, and the Fridays throughout the year. All of the recipes come from Linda Larsen, the About.com Guide for Busy Cooks.

You can find more meatless recipes in Lenten Recipes.

Jalapeno Poppers

Stuffed jalapenos peppers
Jon Sullivan/Public Domain
While these little firecrackers are easy to make, they're not for the faint of heart. If you like a little heat, however, you can make up a double batch of these in advance and freeze the extras. Don't fry the ones you plan to freeze, however.

Spinach Quesadillas

Quesadillas--two tortillas toasted with cheese and other fillings in between--are fast, fun, popular, and filling. Children especially love them. This quick yet elegant recipe is a good way to sneak some spinach into their diet.

Potato Skins

One way to reduce the preparation time for your meal and your food budget is to use things you might otherwise throw away. Potato skins are a perfect example, and nothing could be simpler, quicker, or cheaper than this recipe.

Roasted Garlic

If you like garlic, you'll love roasted garlic. The sweet, slightly caramelized pulp of the roasted garlic cloves has all of the flavor of raw garlic and none of the harshness. While this recipe requires very little prep time, the garlic has to roast for an hour, so it's not something to do at the last minute. You can, however, roast the garlic in advance and store it in the refrigerator. A little spread on toasted crusty bread makes a delightful appetizer.

Marinated Mushrooms

This recipe is perfect as a side dish or relish as well as an appetizer. You can make it up in advance and use it throughout the week. While you can eat the mushrooms straight out of the refrigerator, the flavors of the spices will be more pronounced if you allow the mushrooms to come to room temperature before serving.
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