With today’s celebration of Ash Wednesday many people will be thinking of seafood dishes for Lenten meals.

On Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent, many Catholics and other Christians abstain from eating meat. While the choices for meatless meals are many, seafood dishes often rank popular with home cooks wishing to leave meat off their plates.

This year, those keeping the practice of abstaining from meat will do so on Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all other Fridays leading up to Easter, which this year falls on April 21.

When it comes to seafood recipes, home cooks may grill, bake or fry a variety of fish or even enjoy raw offerings such as sushi or sashimi.

For home cooks making seafood recipes, there are a few things to keep in mind when preparing it.

According to seafoodhealthfacts.org, seafood cooks must remember to keep fish and seafood cold before using.

“When storing fresh seafood, keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Use a thermometer to make sure your home refrigerator is operating at 40°F or lower. Fish will lose quality and deteriorate rapidly with higher storage temperature – so use ice when you can,” the website states.

Also remember to handle it properly.

“All foods, including seafood, must be handled and prepared in a clean area to avoid cross-contamination. Always remember to keep your hands, preparation area and utensils clean. Never let raw seafood come in contact with already cooked or ready-to-eat foods (e.g. salads, fruit, smoked fish). Whether you are storing fresh fish or thawing frozen fish in your refrigerator, make sure that the juices from raw seafood do not drip onto food that has already been cooked or food that will not be cooked,” the website states.

For those looking for seafood recipes for Lent, try the following dishes.

By Eloise Marie Valadez, Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, 219-933-3365

1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce

1 medium red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

DIRECTIONS: Cut spaghetti squash crosswise into 1-inch thick rings. Remove seeds. Place rings on microwavable plate. Pour 1/4 cup water in the plate. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on HIGH 7 minutes or until tender. Let stand in microwave 10 minutes. Carefully remove from microwave. Peel the skin off the squash, then shred the flesh, using fingers or a fork, into long thin strands. Place squash noodles in large bowl. Discard the skin. (Should yield about 5 cups of squash noodles.)

Meanwhile, mix soy sauce, honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of the ginger in small bowl until well blended. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add carrots and pepper; stir-fry 3 minutes. Add shrimp and sauce mixture; stir-fry 2 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove shrimp mixture from skillet.

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in skillet on medium-high heat. Add squash noodles, remaining 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon ginger; cook and stir gently 1 minute to heat through. Return shrimp mixture to skillet; toss gently with squash noodles. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with green onions.

This content was originally published here.