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Minestrone Soup

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups chicken broth

1 cup canned tomatoes

1 cup cooked macaroni

1 cup cooked white beans

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pot over low heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook about 7 minutes, or until soft. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, macaroni, white beans, parsley and pepper. Cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Pour into individual bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

4 large chicken breasts

2 sleeves Ritz crackers

1/4 teaspoons salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup milk

3 cups cheddar cheese, grated

1 teaspoon dried parsley


1 (10- ounce) can cream of chicken soup

2 tablespoon sour cream

2 tablespoon butter

Preheat the oven to 400°. Crush crackers using a rolling pin; set aside. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large pieces. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the salt and pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk and then the cheese. Press the cheese into the chicken with your fingers. Next, roll the coated chicken into the cracker crumbs, making sure each piece is evenly coated.

Lightly coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and place the chicken inside the pan. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy.

To make sauce: In a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken. Yield 12 servings.

Baked Spaghetti Squash

1 large spaghetti squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large Roma tomato, finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil

1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 400°. Rinse the squash with water and blot dry with paper towel. Using a large knife, slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise down the middle. Remove the seeds and center strings with a spoon. Drizzle the two halves of the squash with olive oil. Sprinkle each with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place the squash, open side down, on a cookie sheet; bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, check the squash to see if it is soft and easily comes up with a fork into a spaghetti like texture. If squash is still too hard to remove, cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, scrape and fluff the stringy squash with a fork. Leave the squash in the skin. Turn the oven up to broil. Add the tomatoes and fresh basil into the squash, stir and top with the mozzarella cheese. Place in the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving the squash. Yield: 2 servings.

Zucchini Gratin

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for topping

3 large yellow onions, cut in 1/2 and sliced

4 zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup hot milk

3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

3/4 cup grated gruyere

Preheat the oven to 400°. Melt the butter in a very large (12-inch) sauté pan and cook the onions over low heat for 20 minutes, or until tender but not browned. Add the zucchini and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook uncovered for 5 more minutes. Stir in the flour. Add the hot milk and cook over low heat for a few minutes, until it makes a sauce. Pour the mixture into an 8x10-inch baking dish.

Combine the bread crumbs and Gruyere and sprinkle on top of the zucchini mixture. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter cut into small bits and bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and browned. Yield: 6 servings.

Parmesan au Gratin Potatoes

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash of black pepper

1 cup milk

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

3 cups potato slices, cooked

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour and seasonings. Gradually add milk; cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Combine sauce and cooked potatoes; mix lightly. Spoon into 1-quart casserole; top with remaining cheese. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Yield: 4-6 servings.

Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Cake


3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1-1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup butter, melted


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon


2 cups powdered sugar

5 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

To make cake: Mix everything together except for the butter. Slowly stir in the melted butter and pour into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Make the topping by mixing all the ingredients together until well combined. Drop evenly over the batter and swirl with a knife. Bake at 350° for 28-32 minutes. Remove cake from oven. While still warm drizzle the glaze over the cake. Yield: about 10-12 servings.

Fresh Blueberry Cream Roll-Up

1 cup cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup powdered sugar, divided

1/2 pint heavy cream, whipped

1 pint fresh blueberries (more or less to taste)

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a 15x10-inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil; bring foil up the sides. Lightly grease foil. Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Beat eggs with electric mixer; gradually add sugar. Add water and vanilla alternately with dry ingredients; mix well. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Turn cake out on cloth towel sprinkled with 1 tablespoon sifted powdered sugar. Peel off foil. Loosely roll cake and towel together and let cool on rack.

When cool, unroll, spread with whipped cream sweetened with1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Gently pour the fresh blueberries over whipped cream. Reroll, put on plate and sprinkle remaining powdered sugar over top. Garnish with additional blueberries, if desired. Refrigerate. Yield: 8-10 servings.

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