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COUNTRY-STYLE MINESTRONE SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

8 ounces dried navy beans, soaked in cold water overnight

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 quarts water

1 (3-ounce) ham slice

1/2 cup olive oil

1 Spanish onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 bunch flat-leafed parsley, chopped

1/2 savoy cabbage, cored and chopped

2 pounds kale, stripped from stems and chopped

1 potato, peeled and diced

2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped

1 cup green beans

1/2 pound whole-wheat elbow macaroni

1/2 cup tomato paste

salt and black pepper, to taste

Parmesan croutons (recipe below)

Drain beans and cook 1 hour with ham slice in heavy casserole in salted water over medium heat. Continue to add more salted water as the beans absorb the liquid. There should be 2 quarts of liquid at the end of cooking time. Remove from heat and allow beans to stand in liquid. Heat olive oil in heavy soup pot and sauté the onion, celery, garlic, carrots and parsley for 12 to 15 minutes. Add cabbage, kale, potato and tomatoes and simmer 15 minutes. Remove ham slice from beans. Puree 2/3 of the beans in food processor, using small amount of the liquid as needed to puree. Add pureed beans to the vegetables, as well as the remaining beans and broth.

Return soup to burner and add green beans, macaroni and tomato paste. Dice the ham and add to soup. Cook 15 to 20 minutes until macaroni is al dente. Salt and pepper, to taste.

For Parmesan croutons:

2 tablespoons butter, softened

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, pressed

8 slices French bread

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

To prepare croutons: Combine butter, olive oil and garlic and spread over French bread slices. Sprinkle with cheese and broil lightly.

To serve: Ladle hot soup into serving bowls; place croutons on top before serving. Yields: 6-8 servings.

PORK CHOP AND BAKED BEANS CASSEROLE

1 (16-ounce) can pork and beans

1 small chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon prepared mustard

4 (1/2-inch-thick) bone-in pork chops

1/4 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine pork and beans, onion, green pepper, brown sugar, ketchup and mustard in lightly greased 11-by-7-by-1-1/2-inch baking dish. Place pork chops on top of pork and beans; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup ketchup and remaining ingredients; spread on pork chops and bake at 350º for 1 hour. Yield: 4 servings.

CHEESE TORTELLINI WITH FRESH TOMATO SAUCE

1 (16-ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 pounds plum tomatoes (about 8), halved lengthwise and seeded, divided

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 scallions, sliced

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped

2 tablespoons capers, drained

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain and return to pot off heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil; cover to keep warm. In the meantime, dice 5 tomatoes. In food processor combine remaining tomatoes and oil with vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper; process until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl; stir in reserved diced tomatoes, scallions, basil and capers. Add tortellini; toss to combine. Serve immediately or at room temperature. Yield: 6 servings.

SWEET-SOUR BRUSSELS SPROUTS

3 cups fresh Brussels sprouts

4 to 6 slices bacon

2 tablespoons vinegar

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Wash fresh Brussels sprouts. Trim stems; remove any wilted or discolored leaves. In a covered saucepan, cook sprouts in a small amount of boiling salted water for 10 to 15 minutes or until crisp/tender. Drain. In a skillet cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving drippings. Crumble bacon; set aside. To reserved bacon drippings add vinegar, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add brussels sprouts; cook and stir until sprouts are heated through and well coated. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

BANANA NUT ROLL

(TIP: First spread filling in baking pan, then cake batter. When baked dessert is removed from pan, filling is on top, ready to roll.)

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

4 egg yolks

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large banana, mashed (1/2 cup)

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

4 egg whites

1/2 cup granulated sugar

powdered sugar

cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

chocolate-flavor syrup (optional)

Lightly grease a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking pan. Line bottom with waxed paper; grease paper. Set aside.

To prepare filling: Combine 8-ounce cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in a small mixing bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add whole egg and milk; beat until combined. Spread in the prepared pan; set aside.

To prepare cake: Stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl; set aside. Beat egg yolks and vanilla in a small mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, beating until sugar is dissolved. Stir in banana and nuts. Thoroughly wash the beaters. Beat egg whites in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites, Sprinkle flour mixture evenly over egg mixture; fold in just until combined. Carefully spread the batter evenly over the filling in the pan. Bake at 350º for 20 to 25 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Immediately loosen the cake from sides of pan and turn out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off paper. Starting with a narrow end, roll up cake using towel as a guide. (Do not roll towel into cake.) Cool completely on a wire rack. Spread top with cream cheese frosting. If desired, drizzle with chocolate-flavored syrup. Yield: 10 servings.

To prepare cream cheese frosting: Combine half of a 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a small mixing bowl; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 cup unsifted powdered sugar. Beat in enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a spreadable frosting. Yield: about 1/2 cup.