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FRUIT COCKTAIL SOUP

1 (12-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cinnamon stick (2-inches)

6 whole cloves

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 bananas, sliced

2 cups green grapes, halved

In a large saucepan mix orange juice with water according to package directions. Remove 1/2 cup juice; set aside. Add sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves to saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Blend cornstarch and reserved orange juice to form a smooth paste; stir into pan. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour into a large bowl; cover and chill. Just before serving, remove cinnamon stick and cloves; stir in the strawberries, bananas and halved grapes. Yield: 8 to 10 servings, a great summer cooler.

SPICY BAKED HOT DOGS

3/4 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons butter

1-1/2 cups celery, chopped

1-1/2 cups ketchup

3/4 cup water

3 tablespoons vinegar

1 tablespoon spicy-brown mustard

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

red pepper sauce (Just a few drops to taste)

2 (1-pound) package beef or turkey hot dogs

20 hot dog buns, split and toasted

In saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add the next 9 ingredients; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer one-half hour. Cut 3 (1/4-inch) slits on each side of hot dogs; place in a 2-1/2-quart baking dish. Pour sauce over hot dogs. Cover and bake at 350º about 35 to 40 minutes or completely heated through. Serve on toasted buns. Yield: 20 servings.

STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS AND VEGGIE SAUCE

1 large Savoy cabbage (3 to 3-1/2 pounds)

3/4 cup whole wheat couscous

1 pound lean ground pork

2/3 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

2-1/2 cups roasted veggie sauce (recipe follows) divided

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon thyme

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 cup chicken broth

Remove core of cabbage with small sharp knife, leaving all leaves intact. Combine cabbage with enough water to halfway fill a large soup pot. Bring to a boil. Cook 15 to 25 minutes. As outer leaves become tender, loosen and remove 12 leaves with tongs; transfer to large bowl. Set aside. Cook remaining cabbage until just tender when pierced in stem end with a knife, 10 minutes more. Drain and chop cabbage (about 2-1/2 cups and transfer to another large bowl. Cook couscous according to package directions; add to chopped cabbage. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork, onion and garlic; cook until pork is no longer pink and onion is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to bowl with couscous mixture. Stir in 1/2 cup roasted veggie sauce, parsley, salt, oregano, thyme and red pepper until well blended. Heat oven to 350°. Combine broth and remaining 2 cups roasted veggie sauce in small saucepan. Spread 1 cup sauce mixture on bottom of 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Spoon 1/2 cup pork filling onto center of each reserved cabbage leaf; fold in sides and roll up. Tightly arrange rolls seam side down in prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 to 20 minutes more, until sauce is bubbly and slightly thickened. Heat remaining sauce mixture and serve with cabbage rolls. Yield: 6 servings.

To make the roasted veggie sauce:

vegetable cooking spray

2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

3 red peppers, cut in half

1 medium butternut squash (2-pounds) peeled, seeded, cut into 2-inch chunks

3 medium onions (1-pound) peeled and quartered

2 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces

1-1/4 cups chicken broth, divided

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

Lightly coat 2 jelly-roll pans with vegetable cooking spray. Arrange tomatoes and peppers, cut sides down, on prepared pans. Add squash, onions and carrots. Lightly coat vegetables with spray. Bake 1 hour at 400°, switching positions after 30 minutes; cool. Remove skins from tomatoes, peppers and top layer of onion. Puree half the vegetables and 3/4 cup of broth in blender, scraping down sides as needed. Transfer puree into large saucepan. Repeat process with remaining vegetables and broth. Stir vinegar, salt and pepper into puree. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat; add garlic and cook 1 minute just until golden. Stir in puree and heat through. Yield: 6 cups.

SUMMERTIME CHICKEN KABOBS

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed

Salt and black pepper

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 pint cherry tomatoes

1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks, drained

Combine the honey, lemon juice, rosemary, and add a dash of salt and pepper (to taste). Pour 1/3 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken and gently shake the bag to coat chicken. Refrigerate the chicken in the bag for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the bag and drain excess marinade. Using metal skewers, alternately thread chicken, tomatoes, zucchini and pineapple.

Lightly coat the grill rack. Grill kabobs, covered, over low heat for approximately 10-12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade. Yield: 4 servings.

HONEY-MUSTARD RIBS

3 to 3-1/2-pounds pork spareribs, halved crosswise, cut into individual riblets

1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup Dijon mustard

1/3 cup honey

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Parsley sprigs, washed and dried

Place ribs on broiler rack and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 325º for 1-1/2 hours or until tender. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, mustard and honey. Stir in lemon juice, red-wine vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Heat, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat; set aside to cool to room temperature. Remove ribs from oven and let cool. Place in plastic bag or 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan. Pour mustard-honey marinade over ribs; seal bag or cover baking pan. Refrigerate a few hours or overnight. At serving time, preheat broiler. Remove ribs from refrigerator; drain excess marinade. Broil ribs 5to 8 inches from heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn ribs and broil second side 3 minutes or until crusty. Remove to serving plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and garnish with parsley. Yield: 12 to 15 servings.

ZESTY GRILLED EGGPLANT

2 small eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

Brush eggplant slices with oil on both sides. Drizzle with lemon juice, and sprinkle each slice with Cajun seasoning. Let stand for at least 5 minutes. Grill eggplant, covered, over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until tender. Yield: about 8 to 10 servings.

CREAMY PEACH DESSERT

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

Dash salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

6 firm ripe peaches, peeled and sliced

1 cup heavy cream, whipped

1/8 teaspoon almond flavoring

Cream butter; add sugar and eggs. Do not beat; just mix until blended. Stir in flour, which has been sifted with salt and baking powder. Add vanilla. Place peach slices in bottom of buttered 1-1/2-quart casserole. Pour batter over top and bake at 350 for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve with whipped cream scented with almond flavoring. Yield: about 6 to 8 servings.

CHOCOLATE-STRAWBERRY PIE

30 chocolate wafer cookies, crushed (1-1/2 cups)

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate morsels, divided

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled

1 teaspoon shortening

Combine cookie crumbs and butter in a medium bowl, stirring well. Firmly press over bottom and sides of a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 325º for 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Place 1/2 cup chocolate morsels in top of a double boiler; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool to lukewarm. Beat cream cheese at medium speed of an electric mixer until smooth. Add brown sugar and vanilla, beating well. Add cooled chocolate, beating well. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Spoon filling into cooled crust. Cover and chill at least 8 hours. Reserve 1 whole strawberry for garnish; slice remaining strawberries. Arrange strawberry slices over chilled pie. Place reserved whole strawberry in center. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons morsels and shortening in a saucepan. Cook over low heat until chocolate and shortening melt, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Drizzle melted chocolate mixture over strawberries. Yield: one 9-inch pie.

Any comments, questions or favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you! Feel free to send your email to helenkitchen@msn.com, and please write “Helen’s Kitchen Request, ATTN: Lori” in the subject line to make sure that I receive your email. Thank you!