Wednesday, September 30, 2009

MICROWAVE RANCH DIJON HALIBUT STEAKS FOR 2

1/2 cup ranch salad dressing
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 halibut steaks (at least 1-inch thick)

In a small bowl, combine the salad dressing mustard. Brush 1/4 cup of the sauce on the fish, covering both sides. Reserve the remaining sauce.

Arrange the halibut on a microwave-safe baking dish. Arrange so the thickest portion of the fish is toward the outer edge of the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and cut a vent slit. Microwave on high for 4 to 7 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with the reserved sauce.

RICE AND TOMATOES WITH CREAM CHEESE

3 cups minute rice
8-oz cream cheese, softened
1 can diced tomatoes, drained (save juice for another use)

In a saucepan, cook the rice as directed on the package. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces. When the rice is done, stir in the cream cheese until melted. Add the tomatoes, gently fold in and serve.

Yield: 8 servings

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

HOMEMADE CARAMELCORN

28 vanilla caramels, unwrapped
2 tbsp cold water
2 1/2 quarts freshly popped corn

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Lightly butter a cookie sheet that has sides; set aside.

In a large glass measuring cup, put the caramels and water. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes; stir. Continue microwaving on high for another 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the sauce is smooth and the caramels melted. Immediately pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn; toss until popcorn is well coated. Spread onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Break into bite-sized pieces.

EASY SPINACH-PARMESAN DIP

1 pkg (10-oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup mayonnaise style salad dressing
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (8-oz) water chestnuts, drained & chopped
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

In a medium bowl, blend the salad dressing and sour cream together. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and red pepper. Add the spinach and water chestnuts, stir to blend well. Cover and chill. Serve with assorted crackers and/or fresh vegetables.

Yield: 4 cups

Monday, September 28, 2009

QUICK PIZZA CASSEROLE

6 oz fettucine, broken up
1 pkg (3 1/2-oz) sliced pepperoni
1 jar (15 1/2-oz) pizza sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 can (4-oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 can (2.25 oz) can sliced pitted ripe olives, drained
1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Bring 8 cups of hot water to boiling. Add the fettucine, boil gently for 8 to 10 minutes until tender. Drain; return to the pan. Cut the pepperoni slices in half and add to the fettucine. Stir in the pizza sauce, 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, olives, and the Parmesan cheese. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top. Bake in a 400 degree oven about 15 minutes or until heated through.

QUOTES WE CAN APPLY TO COOKING

Here are a couple of quotes that aptly apply to cooking. Especially when we have to hurry to prepare meals. So remember these when you are worried to try something new or think feeding your family fast food would be easier!

The first quote is from Mary Tyler Moore. I doubt she was talking about cooking but I believe it certainly applies. "Take chances, make mistakes. That's how you grow."

The second quote is from actor George Clooney. Again, I doubt he was talking about cooking but it definitely applies. "The only failure is not to try."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

MARY'S BANANA MUFFINS

1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas
2 cup biscuit baking mix
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease the bottoms only of 12 muffin cups.

Beat the egg slightly; stir in the bananas, baking mix, sugar, milk, and oil just until moistened. Evenly divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes.

EASY TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE

1 pkg (about 8 oz) egg noodles, cooked
1 can tuna
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1/2 stick butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
crushed potato chips, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the tuna, soup, butter, salt, and milk; whisk until smooth. Fold in the noodles and pour the mixture into a casserole dish that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Sprinkle crushed potato chips on top, if desired.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes until bubbly and heated through.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

ASPARAGUS AND TOASTED ALMOND CHICKEN SALAD

2 1/2 cups 1-inch cut pieces asparagus
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp lemon juice (fresh preferably)
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups chopped roasted chicken breast
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

Steam the asparagus for a couple of minutes until crisp tender.

Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl using a wire whisk. Add the asparagus, bell pepper, parsley, almonds, and chicken; toss to coat.

Yield: 4 servings

Friday, September 25, 2009

LINGUINE PASTA CARBONARA

8 oz linguine
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Cook linguine as directed on the package. Drain but do not rinse; return to the pan. Whisk together the eggs, butter, and milk; toss with the linguine. Add the remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Serve sprinkled with additional cheese, if desired.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

QUICK AND EASY FILLO PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

1 box (15) mini-fillo shells
15 miniature peanut butter cups
1 small can whipped cream
chopped peanuts for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place 15 paper baking cups on the foil putting a fillo cup into each one, if desired. Fillo cups do not have to be put in paper cups. Place a peanut butter cup into each shell. Bake for 5 minutes or until the chocolate softens. With a small spatula, flatten and even out the chocolate in the cup. Let stand at room temperature until cooled. Top each with whipped cream. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE KEBABS

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsps dried oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 24 strips
18 slices zucchini, (1/2-inch thick)
1 fennel bulb, cut into 12 wedges
12 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Nonstick cooking oil spray

In a plastic ziptop bag combine the lemon juice, oregano, olive oil, chicken, and zucchini. Be sure bag is sealed, shake well to coat, and refrigerate for 20 minutes to marinate. Remove from the refrigerator and remove the mixture from the bag. Discard the marinade.

Prepare the indoor or outdoor grill.

Cook the garlic cloves in some boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.

To prepare kebabs: Thread 4 chicken strips, 3 zucchini slices, 2 fennel wedges, and 2 garlic cloves alternately onto each of 6 (12-inch) skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place kebabs on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Cook 8 minutes, turning once, or until chicken is done.

Yield: 6 kebabs

THYME FOR BASMATI PILAF

2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp bottled minced garlic
1 cup basmati rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/2 tsp dried thyme

In a medium saucepan with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the rice and saute 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat, stir in the green onion and thyme.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

EASY VEGETABLE STIR-FRY

1 cup chicken broth (vegetable, if you prefer)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup baby carrots
1 1/4 cup broccoli flowerets
1 1/4 cup cauliflowerets
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
Toasted sesame seeds, optional

In a small bowl, stir the broth, cornstarch, and soy sauce until the mixture is smooth.

Heat the vegetable oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, ginger and garlic. Stir-fry until the vegetables are crisp tender. Add the broth mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring, until the mixture boils and thickens. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds, if desired.

VEGGIE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

1 lb (approx 20) large white mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli
1/4 cup finely chopped or grated carrot
1 tbsp finely chopped onion
1/2 cup crushed seasoned croutons
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Clean mushrooms and cut a thin slice off the stem and discard it. Remove the stems from the mushrooms and chop enough stems to make a fourth of a cup. Place chopped stems in a small mixing bowl.

Place mushrooms, cap side down, in a deep baking dish. With the stems in the mixing bowl, combine the broccoli, carrot, and onion. Stir in the crushed croutons, salt, and cheese. Add the butter and mix well. Spoon the vegetable mixture evenly into the mushroom caps. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the stuffing is light golden brown. Serve warm.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PORK WITH CURRIED ORANGE SAUCE

4 (1 lb total) boneless center-cut loin pork chops
3/4 tsp curry powder, divided
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 1/2 tsp prepared horseradish
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
nonstick cooking oil spray

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of the curry powder. Sprinkle the mixture over the pork chops.

In another small bowl, combine the remaining curry powder, orange marmalade, horseradish, vinegar, and red pepper.

Heat a skillet that is coated with nonstick cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the pork to the skillet and cook three to five minutes on each side or until the pork loses its pink color. Remove from pan and set aside to keep warm.

Add the marmalade mixture to the pan and cook for a few seconds while scraping pan to loosen the browned bits. Spoon sauce over the pork chops.

CHEESY SALSA DIP

1 lb Velveeta-style cheese, cubed
1 jar (8-oz) your favorite salsa
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

In a microwave-safe bowl, put the cubed cheese product and salsa. Microwave on high for about 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Stir after 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Add the cilantro; stir in to mix well. Serve dip with tortillas and/or corn chips.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Quick and Easy Noodles Romanoff

8-oz pkg egg noodles
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles well and return to the pan. Add the sour cream and Parmesan cheese. Toss noodles lightly to coat with the sour cream and cheese. Serve immediately while still hot.

CHEDDAR SLOPPY JOES

1 lb ground beef
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 small carton Velveeta cheese, cubed
1 can (14 1/2-oz) can diced tomatoes
6 hamburger buns

In a large skillet brown the ground beef and drain. Add the onion and bell pepper, saute until tender. Stir in the cheese and tomatoes; stir and cook over medium-low until the liquid cooks out. Serve on the buns.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

QUICK AND EASY CHICKEN FAJITA PIZZAS

4 (6-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups Mexican-style shredded cheese
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper*
1/2 cup chopped tomato
1/4 cup ripe olive slices

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tortillas on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the shredded cheese on each of the tortillas. Bake 4 to 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Toss the chicken and salsa together; spread on the warm tortillas. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the chicken mixture. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Top the pizzas with the chopped bell pepper, chopped tomatoes, and ripe olives.

TURKEY AND VEGETABLE WRAPS

2 cups diced smoked turkey breast (or leftover turkey)
2 cups salad greens
1/2 cup canned corn, drained
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tbsp ranch dressing
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

In a large bowl, combine the turkey, salad greens, corn, bell pepper, green onions, and ranch dressing. Toss the mixture well to coat. Warm the tortillas according to the package directions. Top each of the tortillas with a cup of the turkey mixture; Tuck in one end of the tortilla then roll up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

YOUR OWN BACON, EGG, & CHEESE ENGLISH MUFFIN SANDWICH

1/4 cup egg substitute
1 Whole-wheat English muffin, split and toasted
1 slice low-fat cheese
1 slice already cooked bacon; halved

Spray a small skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the egg substitute and cook until set, stirring or turning occasionally. Spoon mixture onto 1/2 of the English muffin. Top egg with the cheese slice and bacon. Place other half of the English muffin on top to form a sandwich.

EASY SEAFOOD SALAD

1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb sea scallops
1/2 lb lump crabmeat, all shell pieces removed
1 1/2 cups diced seeded tomato
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 tbsp minced green onions
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp minced jalapeno pepper, seeded
6 cups gourmet salad greens

Steam shrimp and scallops, covered, for 6 minutes or until done. Allow to cool. Cut the shrimp and scallops into quarters. Combine shrimp, scallops, crabmeat, tomato, cilantro, green onions,lime juice, and jalapeno pepper in l bowl. Serve the mixture over the salad greens.

WEEKEND WAFFLES

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup soy flour
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups low-fat milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 large egg yolks
2 large egg whites
dash of sugar
nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups maple syrup
Fresh fruit, optional

Lightly spoon the flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Combine the milk, oil, and egg yolks; add to the flour mixture, stirring until smooth.

Place the egg whites in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add the sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the batter.

Coat waffle iron with the nonstick cooking spray; preheat. When hot, spoon 1/3 cup batter per 4-inch waffle onto the iron. Spread batter to the edges. Cook until the steaming stops; 5 to 6 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with syrup and fresh fruit, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings of two waffles

Thursday, September 17, 2009

APPLE GLAZED CHICKEN BREASTS

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup apple jelly
3 tbsp chicken broth
2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions, including tops

Preheat broiler. Line pan with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.

In a small saucepan, blend the jelly and broth. Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the jelly melts. Reduce the heat and add the green onions, salt and pepper; stir to mix well. Remove 1/3 of the mixture and set aside.

Put the chicken breasts on the foil lined broiler pan and brush with the apple jelly mixture. Broil for about 20 minutes or until the juices run clear. Turn frequently while cooking and baste with the jelly mixture.

Heat the reserved jelly mixture in the microwave. Drizzle over the cooked chicken before serving.

PEANUTTY OKRA

1 cup all-purpose baking mix
1/2 cup finely chopped dry-roasted peanuts
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb fresh okra, cut into 1/4-inch pieces OR 1 pkg (16-oz) frozen cut okra, thawed
Peanut oil for frying

In a large bowl, stir together baking mix, chopped peanuts, salt and pepper. Add the okra, tossing to coat; gently press the mixture onto the okra.

Pour oil to 2-inches deep in a cast iron skillet or use a deep fryer. Oil should reach 375 degrees. Fry the okra in batches for about 4 minutes or until golden. Drain okra on paper towels on a cookie sheet.

Yield: 4 servings

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LIGHT AND DARK BEAN SALAD

1 can light red kidney beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 chopped dill pickle
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Drain the beans and save the liquid. Place beans in a large bowl and add the celery, onion, pickle, and eggs. Stir to mix. Add the mayonnaise and any of the reserved liquid you need to mix well.

MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE AND JAM BARS

TOPPING:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 stick butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate mini-chips, divided
2 tbsp chopped pecans

BASE:
1/2 stick butter, softened
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup jam

To make topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and brown sugar. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until fine crumbs form. Stir in 1/2 cup of the chocolate mini-chips and the pecans. Set bowl aside.

To make base: In a small mixer bowl, combine butter, sugar, and brown sugar; beat until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in the flour and salt. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips from the topping list. Spread the mixture into a greased 8-inch square microwave-safe dish. Microwave on High power for 4 minutes. Rotate dish after 2 minutes (if microwave doesn't have a turntable). Top with the jam. Sprinkle the topping over the jam. Microwave on High 3 to 5 minutes longer, rotating once, until the jam bubbles around the edges. Cool completely by setting on the counter. Cut into bars.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MOCHA PUDDING

This pudding goes together in minutes. However, it does need to chill for a couple of hours.

1 container (15-oz) fat-free ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp espresso powder
12 chocolate-covered coffee beans

Combine the ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup of the yogurt, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, vanilla, and espresso powder in a food processor or blender container. Process just until smooth. Divide the pudding evenly into 4 dessert dishes, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

Before serving top each dish of pudding with one tablespoon of the remaining yogurt. Top the yogurt with 3 of the chocolate-covered coffee beans per dish.

HOMEMADE SPICE RUB

1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Mix the brown sugar and the spices together. Seal in a jar with a lid or an airtight container. Use on chicken, beef, pork, or fish before grilling, broiling, or baking.

Friday, September 11, 2009

MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE OATMEAL MUFFINS

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup quick oats, uncooked
6 tbsp sugar, divided
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk chocolate baking chips
2 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
powdered sugar for garnish, if desired

In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, half the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the chocolate chips.

In a small bowl, combine the eggs, canola oil, applesauce, vanilla extract, and the remaining half of the sugar. Stir the mixture to blend. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the flour mixture is moistened.

Spoon the batter into paper lined microwave muffin cups. Fill each cup about 2/3s full. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes or until done. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Yield: 15 muffins

Thursday, September 10, 2009

HONEY-PECAN CHICKEN

2 tbsp lite soy sauce
2 tbsp honey
2 cups wheat cereal squares, crushed
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
Vegetable oil cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small shallow bowl, stir together the soy sauce and honey; set aside.

Line a baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil and spray with the vegetable oil spray; set aside.

Combine the cereal crumbs and pecans in a pie plate or shallow dish. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. Dip chicken in the honey mixture then dredge in the crumbs mixture to coat. Place chicken on the prepared baking pan. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

QUICK AND EASY BROCCOLI CHOWDER

1 pkg (10-oz) frozen chopped broccoli
1 tbsp dried minced onion
1 can (10 3/4-oz) condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/8 tsp ground red pepper

In a medium saucepan bring 1/2 cup water to boiling; add broccoli and onion. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until the broccoli is crisp tender. Stir in the soup, milk, cheese, and red pepper. Cook and stir about 4 minutes or until heated through.

EASY CHEESY TORTELLINI

7-oz pkg cheese filled tortellini
1/2 lb pasteurized process cheese spread, cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Cook tortellini according to the package directions and drain.

In a saucepan, over low heat, combine the milk, nutmeg, and the cubed cheese. Cook the mixture until the cheese spread is melted. Toss the tortellini with the cheese mixture.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BUTTERED CITRUS CIDER

6 cups apple cider
1/2 medium unpeeled orange, sliced
8 whole allspice
8 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 orange peel strip
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In a large saucepan, combine the cider and orange slices. Place the allspice and cloves, cinnamon sticks and orange peel on a double thickness of cheesecloth. Pull cheesecloth up to form a bag and tie with kitchen string; add to the cider. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes. In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, butter and cinnamon. Discard the spice bag from the cider saucepan. Pour cider into mugs and dot with the butter mixture. Use extra cinnamon sticks as stirrers, if desired.

BANANAS FOSTER

4 firm bananas
lemon juice
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tbsp banana liqueur
3 tbsp rum
whipped cream
ground cinnamon for garnish, optional

Peel bananas and brush with lemon juice. Melt the butter in a skillet. Stir the brown sugar into the butter and cook, stirring until sugar is melted. Add bananas in a single layer. Saute about 3 or 4 minutes; turn once. Pour the liqueur over all. Over low heat, heat rum in a small saucepan until warm. Pour over the bananas and then remove the skillet from the heat.

Carefully ignite the mixture in the skillet using a long stemmed match or fireplace lighter; shake pan back and forth. Spoon the flaming liqueur over the bananas until the flames die out. Serve immediately with the whipped cream. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Caution: Be care to remove pan from heat before igniting. Always be cautious when working with live fire.

Friday, September 4, 2009

CINNAMON AND SUGAR BISCUITS

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3 tsp double-acting baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon, or more as desired

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Cut the shortening into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two butter knives until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add milk and stir just enough for the dough to hold together. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly. Roll the dough out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter or a glass, cutting straight down without twisting. Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar that has been stirred together in a small bowl. Bake at 425 degrees for 6 to 9 minutes.

SPICY SHRIMP WITH REMOULADE SAUCE

SAUCE:
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tsp grated lime rind
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp capers, chopped
dash of ground red pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside or refrigerate.

SHRIMP:
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 lbs large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp olive oil
Cilantro sprigs for garnish, if desired

In a medium bowl, combine cumin, paprika, coriander, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Add shrimp and toss well. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the shrimp to the skillet. Cook about 3 minutes on each side or until done. Do not overcook. Remove shrimp and keep it warm. Repeat the procedure with the remaining oil and shrimp. Serve shrimp with the Remoulade Sauce. Garnish with the cilantro sprigs, if desired.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

DEBBIE'S SPICED CIDER

8 cups apple cider or juice
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 3-inch cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp ground allspice
dash of salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
Additional cinnamon sticks for garnish, optional

In a large saucepan, combine the cider or juice, brown sugar, 3 cinnamon sticks, allspice, salt, and nutmeg; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Discard the cinnamon sticks. Use the additional cinnamon sticks as stirrers in the mugs, if desired.

Yield: approximately 1/2 gallon

STOVE TOP CHICKEN WITH WINE SAUCE

4 (1 lb) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup butter
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley*
3/4 cup whipping cream

Pound each chicken breast to about 1/4-inch thickness. On waxed paper or in a pie plate, mix together the flour, salt, and pepper. Coat the chicken with the flour mixture and shake off excess flour. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through. Remove from the skillet and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the mushrooms and wine to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes. Add the parsley and whipping cream to the skillet. Cook, stirring constantly, a couple of minutes or until the sauce thickens. Serve the sauce over the chicken.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

SNOWCAPPED INDIVIDUAL BROCCOLI & HAM

1 pkg (10-oz) frozen cut broccoli
2 cups fully cooked ham, chopped
1/4 cup onion
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3 egg whites
1 tsp dry mustard
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Thaw broccoli in a colander under hot running water. Drain well and evenly divide among four 10-oz custard cups. Combine the ham with the onion and 1/4 cup of the mayonnaise; spoon over the broccoli in the custard cups.

For the topping, in a small mixer bowl with mixer on high beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir the remaining half cup of the mayonnaise and the mustard together. Fold the mayonnaise mixture into the egg whites. Spoon the egg whites over the ham. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the egg whites. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

CHICKEN VEGGIE STIR-FRY

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp canola oil
2 green onions, sliced
1 tbsp minced garlic
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 pkg (16-oz) frozen Oriental mixed vegetables
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

Slice the chicken breasts into 1-inch strips. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles when dropped onto pan. Add the oil. Place chicken in skillet and stir-fry about 5 minutes. Add the green onions and garlic; cook while stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and ginger. Add the mixed veggies and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil and cook until vegetables are heated through. This will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

Blend the cornstarch and water together until smooth. Add to the skillet and bring to a boil. Boil until the sauce is thickened. Remove from the heat and serve while hot. Serve over white rice.