Saturday, August 29, 2009

TORTELLINI BROCCOLI SALAD

1 pkg (7-oz) cheese tortellini
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 jar (6-oz) marinated artichokes, drained
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
2 1/2 tsp chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
6 cherry tomatoes, halved

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain. Rinse and drain again. In a large bowl, combine the tortellini with the broccoli florets, parsley, artichokes, and green onions; toss lightly to mix. Pour the Italian dressing over the tortellini mixture and sprinkle with the fresh basil. Toss gently to coat. Cover salad and chill until serving time. Toss gently again just before serving. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the salad and garnish with the cherry tomatoes.

Note: This is an excellent make ahead salad as it can be prepared 6 to 8 hours before serving, if need be. Also, you can add leftover, cooked chicken to make an excellent entree salad.

Friday, August 28, 2009

TURKEY LETTUCE WRAPS

2 large leaves of leaf lettuce
2 slices turkey bacon, cooked
6 thin slices smoked turkey breast
2 thin peeled avocado slices
2 thin tomato wedges
1 tbsp Blue Cheese salad dressing

Top the lettuce leaves evenly with the bacon, turkey slices, avocado slices and tomato wedges. Drizzle the dressing over the meat and vegetables. Roll each lettuce leaf up tightly, securing it with a toothpick, if desired.

Yield: 2 wraps

Note: Be careful with the toothpicks to prevent choking. Toothpicks should be removed before you start eating.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

QUICK AND EASY SPANISH RICE

2 tbsp olive or canola oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 can (4-oz) chopped mild green chiles, drained
1 cup minute rice
2 cups canned tomatoes
2 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
dash of chili powder

Heat oil in a large skillet, over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, green chiles, and rice. Saute until rice is browned and vegetables are tender; about 5 minutes. Add the undrained tomatoes and the vinegar to the skillet; stir to mix well. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper; mix well.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

TURKEY & MACARONI CASSEROLE

1 pkg (14-oz) pkg macaroni and cheese dinner mix
1 pkg (10-oz) frozen mixed vegetables
1 lb bulk turkey sausage
1/2 small onion, chopped
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter
1 pkg (3-oz) cream cheese, cut-up

Cook macaroni from mix in a large amount of boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Add frozen vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes longer. Drain the mixture and return to the saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, cook turkey sausage and chopped onion until the sausage is cooked through and the onion is tender. Drain, if needed.

To the hot macaroni-vegetable mixture, add the cheese sauce from the boxed mix, milk, butter, and the cream cheese. Stir until the butter and cream cheese have melted. Stir in the turkey-onion mixture and heat through.

Yield: 4 servings

SESAME VEGETABLES

2 red bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
2 medium zucchini
4 carrots
1 tbsp olive or canola oil
1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 tsp vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Cut bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots julienne-style. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; add oil. Add bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots. Stir-fry for 5 minutes. Add cabbage, salt and pepper. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Mix the vinegar and water in a measuring cup; add to the skillet. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. Add sesame seeds to the mixture. Stir-fry for another minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a serving bowl. Serve immediately while hot.

Monday, August 24, 2009

CREAMY SPAGHETTI WITH TURKEY SAUSAGE

6 oz uncooked whole wheat spaghetti
3/4 pound Italian turkey sausage links, remove casings
2 tsp olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/2 cup half-and-half cream
Parmesan cheese

Cook spaghetti according to the package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil and add the sausage. Cook for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook an additional 10 minutes or until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Add the tomatoes and basil, heat through. Add cream and bring the mixture to a boil. Drain the spaghetti and toss with the sausage mixture. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese.

GRILLED ZUCCHINI WITH CHEESE

1 lb zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 lb shredded mozzarella

Preheat broiler or prepare indoor or outdoor grill.

Brush the olive oil on the zucchini slices. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and oregano over the oil. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese. Grill or broil for about 5 minutes until zucchini softens and cheese melts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

MICROWAVE PIZZA DIP

1 jar (8-oz) pasteurized process cheese spread
1 can (8-oz) pizza sauce
8 to 10 slices pepperoni, diced

In the microwave heat the cheese spread about 30 seconds for more easy removal from jar. In a small microwave safe bowl, mix the cheese spread and pizza sauce together. Microwave on high for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until heated thoroughly, stirring halfway through cooking. Stir the diced pepperoni into the dip and stir to mix in well. Serve with bread sticks, fresh vegetables, or crackers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

TROPICAL CHEESE SPREAD APPETIZER

1 pkg (8-oz) cream cheese
1 can (8 1/4-oz) crushed pineapple with juice
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts
Assorted crackers and party breads

In a small mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and pineapple with juice; mix until well blended. Add the cheese and blend in well. Stir in the coconut, apricots, and nuts; mix well. Chill until serving time. Serve with an assortment of crackers and/or miniature party breads.

ITALIAN TOTE ALONG SANDWICH

1 loaf (1 lb) Italian bread
1 pkg (3-oz) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup basil pesto
4 oz thin sliced provolone cheese
1/2 lb sliced salami
8 bottled banana peppers, stemmed, seeded, sliced
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives, drained

Split loaf of bread in half horizontally. Scoop some of the soft bread from the bottom half but leave at least a half inch thick bottom. Spread the cream cheese on each cut side of the bread. Spread the pesto over the cream cheese on the bottom half of the bread. On the bottom half, layer the provolone cheese, salami, banana peppers, red onion slices, and sliced olives. Drizzle a little Italian dressing on sandwich over the olives if desired. Place the top half of the bread atop the sandwich and press down lightly.

Wrap sandwich tightly in plastic wrap for toting to a picnic, etc. Before serving, cut in six sections and top each with a cherry tomato on a long pick, if desired. If taking for lunch, cut into sections of desired size and wrap each separately. Store extras in refrigerator.

Monday, August 17, 2009

QUICK AND EASY CHICKEN SKILLET

1 tbsp canola oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 can (10 1/4) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked instant brown rice
2 cups fresh broccoli broken into small florets

In a heavy 10-inch skillet, over medium heat, heat the canola oil. Add the chicken until well browned on both sides; remove from skillet.

Stir the soup, water, paprika, and pepper together in the skillet. Heat to a boil. Stir rice and broccoli into the soup mixture in skillet and reduce heat to low. Return the chicken to the skillet. Sprinkle additional paprika and pepper over the chicken. Cover and cook 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

SWIRLY CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES

3 cups vanilla ice cream
3 cups milk
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chocolate fudge syrup, divided
4 maraschino cherries with stems attached

In a blender container combine the ice cream, milk, and vanilla. Process until thick and smooth, about 1 minute.

Divide fudge syrup among four parfait glasses, covering the bottom and drizzling syrup in a spiral pattern around the inside of each glass. Divide the ice cream mixture evenly among the four parfait glasses. Swirl some chocolate fudge syrup over each serving. Place a maraschino cherry atop each milkshake.

NOTE: In a hurry, stir the fudge topping into the glasses rather than swirling the insides of the glass.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

BARBECUE CHICKEN GREEN SALAD

1/2 lb chicken strips or tenders
1/4 cup your favorite barbecue sauce
4 slices ready to serve bacon
1 large tomato
1/2 small yellow onion
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 cup whole-kernel corn, drained
1/3 cup ranch salad dressing

If using an electric stove, preheat broiler. Gas broiler does not need to be preheated. Spray broiler pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a bowl, pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and toss to coat. Broil 10 minutes or until cooked through, turning once during cooking process. Cut strips into thirds.

Heat bacon in microwave, crumble; set aside.

Coarsely chop the tomato. In a salad bowl, combine the tomato, onion, salad greens, and corn. Toss to mix ingredients. Pour the ranch dressing over the salad and toss. Divide salad among serving bowls or plates and top with chicken and sprinkle with bacon.

SAUTEED ZUCCHINI AND YELLOW SQUASH

1 lb zucchini
1 lb yellow squash
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp salt
dash of garlic powder
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tbsp snipped chives, optional

Slice zucchini and squash into 1/4 inch thick slices. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the squash, zucchini, salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in chives before serving, if desired.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

HERBED BAKED TOMATOES

3 large tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp unflavored bread crumbs
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking pan. Place tomatoes in pan, cut side up. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients; spread on tomatoes. Bake 15 minutes.

Friday, August 14, 2009

ROTEL NACHO CHEESE DIP

1 can Cheddar cheese soup
1 can Rotel chilies and tomatoes
1 small box Velveeta cheese
1 lb ground beef

Brown ground beef and drain. Mix soup, chilies and tomatoes, cheese, and beef in a crockpot. Let cheese melt and get hot. Serve over tortilla chips.

ARKANSAS DOWN-HOME FRIED CORN

1 tbsp bacon drippings or butter
4 cups whole-kernel corn (6 to 7 ears cut from the cob)
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

In a large skillet, heat the bacon drippings or butter over medium heat. Add corn, sugar, salt, and water; saute 5 to 7 minutes. Serve hot.

Yield: 8 servings

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

EASY GRILLED VEGETABLES

1/2 cup mayo style salad dressing
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
2 yellow squash, cut in half lengthwise
2 bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into fourths

If using an electric broiler, preheat. If using an outside grill, cook over hot not flaming coals. No need to preheat a gas broiler.

Mix the mayo style salad dressing and the Italian dressing until they are well blended. Lightly score the cut sides of the vegetables and brush one side with the salad dressing mixture. Place, salad dressing side up, on broiler pan about 4-inches from the heat. Broil 6 minutes. Turn vegetables, brush second side with the dressing mixture and return to broiler for another 5 to 6 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

MAYO-PARMESAN BREAD

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp snipped chives or parsley
8 to 10 slices French or Italian Bread, about 1/2-inch thick

In a small bowl combine the Parmesan cheese and mayonnaise. Stir in the chives or parsley; set aside.

Place bread slices on the rack on an unheated broiler pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat about a minute or until toasted. Turn bread over and spread with the remaining mayonnaise mixture on the untoasted side. Broil, 3 to 4 inches from heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned.

Yield: 4 to 5 servings.

Friday, August 7, 2009

BREAKFAST WRAPS

3/4 lb sausage, crumbled
4 green onions, sliced
2 apricots or peaches, pitted and sliced
4 eggs, beaten
4 burrito-size flour tortillas

In a greased medium skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned, stirring to break up. Drain meat and wipe skillet of excess fat. Return meat to skillet; add onions and fruit. Cook another minute and remove from the skillet. Again, wipe skillet with paper toweling. Spray skillet with nonstick cooking spray and add the eggs. Cook eggs, stirring constantly until thoroughly cooked. This will take a couple of minutes. Heat tortillas by wrapping in paper towels and heating for a few seconds in microwave. Divide the egg mixture and sausage mixture evenly between the four tortillas. Roll tortillas to wrap around sausage and eggs.

ITALIAN TORTELLINI SALAD

1 pkg (7-oz) cheese filled spinach tortellini
8 oz provolone cheese, cubed
1 small tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 small green bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup sliced pitted ripe olives, drained
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain tortellini in a colander. Place colander in a large bowl of ice cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Drain well. Transfer tortellini to a serving bowl. Add cubed provolone cheese, tomato, pepper strips, olives, and green onions. Pour dressing over the mixture. Toss gently to coat. Top with grated Parmesan and toss lightly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

PAN GRILLED SALMON with BEANS-SPINACH SAUTE

3/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp sage
2 tsp canola oil
1 can (cannellini beans, rinsed and drained)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt, optional
3 cups baby spinach
4 (about 3-oz each) skinless salmon fillets
red pepper flakes, optional

In a deep wide skillet, heat half the canola oil. Add the onion, garlic, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of the sage. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for approximately 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the beans, broth, and salt,if using. Simmer mixture approximately 10 minutes. Stir the spinach into the beans mixture and cook another 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Rub the salmon with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sage. Heat the remaining half of the oil in a skillet. Place salmon fillets in the skillet and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully turn the salmon and cook another minute. Remove to serving plates and spoon the spinach-bean mixture evenly over each fillet. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired.

FRUIT-GLAZED CUSTARDS

3 large eggs
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup hot water
1 tsp vanilla
dash salt
1/2 cup red-current jelly
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp cornstarch
Fresh strawberries, raspberries, peaches, etc

Beat eggs slightly in a medium mixing bowl. Add the milk, hot water, vanilla, and salt; mix thoroughly. Arrange six 6-oz custard cups on a rack in a wok that has 1 1/2 to 2 inches simmering water. Pour custard mixture evenly into the custard cups. Cover with a sheet of waxed paper and add the wok cover. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the custards are firm and knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Remove custards from wok and sit on a wire rack to cool. Chill in refrigerator while making fruit glaze.

To Make Glaze:

In a small saucepan combine the jelly, orange juice, and cornstarch. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thickened. Allow to cool.

To serve, unmold the custards onto individual serving dishes. Pour the glaze over tops of the custards and garnish with the fresh fruit.