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Here are some mouth-watering recipes that are easy to prepare and simply delicious. Your family and friends will love that you took the time to make them. Enjoy.

Chicken Cacciatore

(Prepared in the slow-cooker.)

2 red and/or green peppers, sliced (about 2 cups)

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 pounds chicken thighs and legs, skin removed

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup capers, rinsed, drained

Cooked pasta, optional

Place peppers, onion and garlic in 4-quart slow-cooker. Toss chicken pieces with flour to coat, shaking off and reserving excess flour. Place chicken over vegetables. Next, stir together tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and reserved flour; pour over chicken. Cover; cook on low until tender, approximately 8 to 10 hours.

Skim and discard fat. Stir in capers. If desired, place pasta on serving plate; top with chicken mixture. Yield: 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 11x7x1-1/2-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 350˚ for 1 hour. Yield: 4 servings.

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.

Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

For chips:

1-1/4 pounds baking potatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and black pepper, to taste

For fish:

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup seasoned dried breadcrumbs

1-1/2 pounds cod fillet (preferably center-cut), cut into 3x1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a large jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Do not peel potatoes, but cut each one in half lengthwise. Holding each potato-half, flat-side down, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Then cut each slice lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide sticks. Place potatoes into a medium bowl and toss with oil, salt and pepper. Arrange potato sticks in 1 layer in jellyroll pan. Bake 30 minutes or until tender and golden, turning over once with metal spatula halfway through cooking time.

To prepare fish sticks: Mix together egg white and mustard with fork in deep plate until blended. Place breadcrumbs on waxed paper. Dip fish in egg whites; then coat in crumbs. Spray another cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place fish in pan and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Oven-fry with potatoes for 20 minutes, until golden. Yield: 4 servings.

Grilled Corn with Tarragon Butter

4 ears fresh corn, in husks

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 scallion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper

Holding con firmly, pull off strip of husk from each ear; remove silk and replace husk. Place ears of corn in bowl of cold water. In the meantime, prepare grill for direct-heat cooking. Drain corn; pat dry with paper towels. Smooth husk over exposed surface of corn. Place over direct heat. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Next, in a bowl with spoon, mash butter with scallion, tarragon, salt and pepper. Serve with corn. Yield: 4 servings.

Spumoni Ice Cream Cake

1/4 cup toasted pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup drained maraschino cherries, chopped

4 cups chocolate chip ice cream, softened

1 (18.25-ounce) box white cake mix

3 eggs

1 (3.4-ounce) package instant pistachio pudding mix

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 (16-ounce) cans vanilla frosting

Cooking spray

Chocolate curls and maraschino cherries, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Line 8-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap so that it overhangs the side of the pan by 4 inches. Stir pistachios and chopped cherries into ice cream. Spread in pan; cover with wrap. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

Next, coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. On medium-low speed, beat cake mix, 1-1/3 cups water, eggs and dry pudding mix until just combined. Add butter and 1/4 teaspoon extract; on medium-high speed, beat until smooth, 2 minutes. Divide between pans. Back 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool completely.

To form cake: Stir remaining 1/4 teaspoon extract into frosting. Unwrap ice-cream layer. Place one cake layer on serving plate; top with ice cream, then remaining cake layer. Spread frosting mixture over cake. Freeze at least 1 hour. Garnish with chocolate curls and cherries, if desired. Yield: 16 servings.

Granny Smith Apple-Walnut Crisp

For topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 stick cold butter, cut in small pieces

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

For filling:

6 or 7 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 -inch thick wedges

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

To make topping: Mix all five ingredients in medium size bowl. Rub together with your fingers or stir with fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

To make filling: Mix ingredients in 13x9x2-inch baking dish and stir to mix well. Spread evenly, then sprinkle with topping. Bake at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes until fruit is tender and topping is crisp and lightly browned. Yield: 8 servings

Kitchen Tip:

In a hurry for a really quick dessert? How about making a yummy caramel-peach parfait … simply layer chopped peaches in dessert glasses with vanilla ice cream, storebought caramel topping and chopped toasted walnuts. Delicious.

Any comments, questions or favorite recipes? I would like to hear from you. Please email me at Please write “Helen’s Kitchen Request” in the subject line to make sure that I receive your email.