Recipes to kick off the summer

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

School is out and with that comes children at home, eating constantly and wanting a wide variety of foods. I try to have things on hand that we can prepare quick and easy but still not lose nutritional value along the way.

Our Ross could do just fine living on cereal and milk, but that just won't fly at our house. So, I am on the lookout for child-friendly summer foods. If your family has favorites, be sure to send those in so other readers can enjoy them, too.

All of today's recipes are from Jodi Thompson of Jackson. She sent me several recipes that all sound really good. I love cranberries and orange together, so I look forward to trying this coffee cake with orange glaze. Yummy!

Cranberry-Apricot Coffee Cake

Laden with fruits and nuts, this hearty coffee cake is scrumptious fare for breakfast, brunch or dessert.

3 cups buttermilk baking mix

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract

2 eggs

1 cup plain low-fat yogurt

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped

1 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup finely chopped almonds or pecans, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur or orange juice

Orange-Almond Glaze (See Below) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour 12-cup Bundt cake pan.

Stir baking mix, sugar, oil, almond extract, eggs and yogurt in large bowl until blended. Stir in remaining ingredients except Orange-Almond Glaze. Pour into pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Drizzle with Orange-Almond Glaze.

Orange-Almond Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons orange juice 1/2 teaspoon almond extract Mix all ingredients until smooth and thin enough to drizzle.

Makes 16 servings

Beef and Butter-Fan Potatoes

1 beef rolled rump roast (4 1/2 to 5 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

12 medium baking potatoes

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs (any flavor) Paprika or Old Bay Seasoning

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place beef roast, fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Insert meat thermometer so tip is in center of thickest part of beef and does not rest in fat. Roast uncovered for 1 hour, 45 minutes to 2 hours, 15 minutes, or until thermometer reads 140 degrees (for medium-rare) to 155 degrees (for medium). While beef is roasting, continue with recipe. Peel potatoes. Make crosswise cuts 1/4 inch apart in each potato to within 1/2 inch of bottom. Heat 1 inch water (salted if desired) to boiling. Add potatoes. Cover and heat to boiling; boil 10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Brush each potato with butter, separating cuts slightly to resemble fan. Sprinkle with seasoned salt and bread crumbs. Place on rack with beef. Roast about 1 hour, 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and golden. Remove beef from oven and let stand 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle potatoes with paprika or Old Bay Seasoning. Serve with beef juices. Makes 12 servings

Pineapple Upside-Down Carrot Muffins

These delicious muffins have the flavor of carrot cake with pineapple upside down cake tops.

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts or pecans

1 can (8 ounces) pineapple slice, drained

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 egg white

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, undrained

1 cup finely grated carrot (1 large)

3/4 cup raisins

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 muffin cups, 2.5-by 1 3/8 inches, with cooking spray. Pat 1 teaspoon brown sugar in bottom of each muffin cup. Divide nuts evenly among muffin cups. Stack pineapple slices; cut stack into 6 wedges (24 pieces). Place 2 pineapple pieces in each muffin cup. Stir together flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Mix egg, egg white, 3/4 cup brown sugar, the oil and vanilla in large bowl, using fork or wire whisk. Stir in crushed pineapple. Stir in flour mixture, carrot and raisins, using spoon, just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Loosen edges immediately; turn muffins out onto cookie sheet. Cool 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 muffins.

The next recipe calls for Gouda cheese, which comes from Holland. It's actually the country's most famous exported cheese. Gouda's mild, nutlike flavor and rich, creamy texture make it a classic melting cheese.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Gouda and Spinach

4 chicken breast halves (1 1/4 pounds)

Smoked Gouda-Spinach Stuffing (see below)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons butter or margarine, melted

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease square pan, 9-by-9-by-2 inches. Remove bones from chicken breasts. Do not remove skin. Loosen skin from chicken breasts.

Make Smoked Gouda-Spinach Stuffing. Spread one-fourth of the stuffing evenly between meat and skin of each chicken breast. Smooth skin over breasts, tucking under loose areas. Place chicken, skin sides up, in pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with butter. Bake uncovered 45 to 55 minutes or until juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Smoked Gouda-Spinach Stuffing 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda or Swiss cheese (2 ounces) 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to drain

Mix all ingredients. Makes 4 servings

Tortellini Alfredo with Roasted Peppers

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated meat- or cheese-filled tortellini

1 (4-ounce) jar roasted red sweet peppers

1/2 cup refrigerated light Alfredo sauce

1/2 cup shredded fresh basil

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Cook tortellini according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, drain sweet peppers and cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips. In a large saucepan heat Alfredo sauce. Stir in cooked and drained tortellini. Reduce heat and add sweet peppers. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Before serving, stir in half of the basil. Sprinkle with the remaining basil and the black pepper. Makes 3 servings.

Once again I am all out of room. Be sure to send in your favorite recipes as you try new ones this season.

Have a great week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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