Over the next few weeks, as Christians observe the 40 days of Lent, many families will be serving simple, meatless meals at least once a week.

Plain spaghetti and grilled cheese sandwiches can get pretty boring after awhile.

Here are a couple of family favorites that not only honor the meat-free tradition, but are flavorful enough to be enjoyed year round.

Macaroni Pie

1 pound spaghetti

6-8 eggs

Parsley flakes

1 cup-plus, grated Parmesan cheese

cup shortening

Salt and pepper to taste

Cook spaghetti until done; drain. Add shortening, let melt. Add cheese, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper. Pour into greased 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

(On a personal note, I really enjoy Macaroni Pie with a little ketchup on the side.)

Baked Macaroniand Cheese

1 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoons salt

teaspoon pepper

teaspoon dry mustard

1 large onion, diced

2 cups milk

pound diced cheddar cheese, pound diced muenster cheese, and pound diced American cheese

1 1/2 cups frozen peas, defrosted (optional)

Cook macaroni according to packages directions. Rinse and drain. Turn into buttered 1 1/2-quart casserole. In a saucepan, melt butter; remove from heat.

Combine flour, salt, pepper and mustard; blend into melted butter and stir until smooth. Add onion and stir. Gradually whisk in milk.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add cheese; stir until it all melts. Pour over macaroni; add peas, if desired, and stir to coat.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes; uncover. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Makes 4-6 servings.

Vegetable Quiche

1 Prepared frozen pie shell

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 10-ounce package frozen spinach or broccoli

3 eggs

1 cup milk

1 1/2 to 1 cups Swiss cheese

Salt

Pepper

2 tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Sauté chopped onion; parboil vegetable, drain well. Grate cheese and mix well with flour. Beat egg, add milk, dash of salt, dashes of pepper.

Add cheese and onions with butter from pan. Mix well, add vegetables, mix well. Pour into pie shell. Jiggle to distribute evenly.

Bake in preheated 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes; turn down oven to 350 degrees for last 15-20 minutes. Total baking time 30-40 minutes.

Quiche is done when no liquid is showing in center, and center is puffed up and firm.