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The summer flew by and the kids are back in school; how quickly the time passes! Here are some wonderful recipes that will keep the early autumn chill away while we enjoy the energy and fulfillment of the fall season. Enjoy!

Beef and Potato Stew

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds boneless lean beef, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 cups water

1 beef-flavored bouillon cube

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

3 cups cubed, peeled potatoes

4 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch slices

1 cup celery, sliced

1 cup frozen peas

1/3 cup cornstarch, mixed with 1/2 cup water

In a 5-quart soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add beef, 1/2 at a time; brown, turning frequently, about 5 minutes. Remove beef; set aside. Add onion and garlic and stir while cooking, about 1 - 2 minutes, or until tender. Add water, bouillon cube, salt and pepper to taste, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to boil over high heat. Add beef; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots and celery; cover and cook 20 minutes. Add peas; cover and cook 10 minutes longer, or until beef is tender. Stir cornstarch and water; stir into stew. Stirring constantly, bring to boil and boil 1 minute. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Apple-Cider Chicken

1/2 stick unsalted butter

1 large red onion, sliced thin

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cord, thinly sliced

3/4 cup apple cider

2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned, split

1/4 cup unsifted all-purpose flour

1/4 cup half-and-half

Salt and black pepper to taste

2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Melt 3 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet. Add onion and thyme and sauté over medium-low heat for 12 minutes, until onion is soft and begins to turn brown. Add apple and cider; stir over medium heat; sauté for about 8 minutes until apple is soft. Remove mixture from skillet; set aside and keep warm. On waxed paper, coat chicken with flour. In skillet, melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat and cook chicken 5 - 8 minutes on each side until no longer pink and nicely browned. Remove to platter; keep warm. Add apple mixture, half-and-half, salt and pepper to taste, to skillet; slowly heat until hot. Spoon over chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Yield: 4 servings.

Fish Fillet with Orange-Basil Butter

6 (4-ounce) fresh sole fillets

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 to 3/4 cup dry white wine

Orange-Basil Butter (recipe below)

Sprinkle both sides of the fillets with salt and pepper and place in ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Pour wine over fillets. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 18-20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Place on serving platter and top with Orange- Basil Butter. Yield: 6 servings.

To Make Orange-Basil Butter:

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 tablespoon butter, melted

3/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup fresh orange juice (remove pulp)

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

In skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender. Add wine, orange juice and chopped basil; cook until heated thoroughly. Yield: 1-1/2 cups.

Stir-Fried Lemon Rice

1/2 stick butter

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas, thawed

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

Dash hot sauce

4 cups cold cooked rice

1/4 cup soy sauce

Preheat wok; brush butter or margarine around top and sides of wok and heat at medium-high 1 minute. Add parsley and green onions. Stir-fry 1 minute. Add peas, lemon rind, hot sauce, cold cooked rice and soy sauce; stir fry until thoroughly heated. Serve at once. Delicious served with chicken, beef or pork. Yield: 8 servings.

Potato Casserole

4 large baking potatoes

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1-1/2 cups Swiss cheese, grated

1 cup chicken broth

Peel and thinly slice potatoes. Combine potatoes, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper and thyme in a large bowl and gently toss. In a greased 1-1/2-quart casserole dish, place a layer of potatoes, a layer of Swiss cheese, continuing in layers, but end with a layer of potatoes and reserve some cheese. Add chicken broth; cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 30 - 35 minutes; remove foil and bake 30 minutes more. Sprinkle with reserved cheese and bake, uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with additional parsley, if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 (12-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 cups ice

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup pumpkin puree’

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 baked pie crust

Put the can of sweetened condensed milk in the freezer for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, put the sweetened condensed milk and ice in a blender and blend for approximately 1 - 2 minutes. Add milk, pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice; blend until the mixture is that of a milkshake consistency. Crush the pie crust into small pieces and stir desired amount of pie crust into the smoothie. Serve immediately. Yield: 1 to 2 smoothies.

Key Lime Squares

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 sticks butter

4 large eggs

2 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup key lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Combine flour and 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar in large bowl. Cut in butter or margarine with a pastry blender until ingredients are crumbly. Press into a lightly greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes until golden. Set aside.

Beat eggs until thick and pale yellow. Slowly add 2 cups granulated sugar, lime juice and salt, beating well after each addition. Spread evenly over baked layer in pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. Yield: 30 squares.

Kitchen Tip: When you have leftover juice from canned fruit, turn it into a marinade. For chicken — try pineapple juice, chives and rice wine vinegar; for fish — try pear juice with white wine vinegar, garlic and fresh dill; for beef or lamb – try peach juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and basil.

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