Recipes for all seasons

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Have you ever seen weather so topsy-turvy around here? Every morning I don't know how to dress for work because it's 30 degrees when I leave the house and 60 degrees when I go home. It also makes it hard to plan meals. Soup sounds great in the morning, and then by the afternoon, it's perfect for a barbecue. The weather keeps us on our toes.

With this up and down weather, I've included a variety of recipes for you -- salad, a crockpot entree, dessert and a soup. Give them a try and enjoy.

Orange and Spinach Salad

1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach, torn

1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

Dressing

3 tablespoons ketchup

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1/8 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, toss the spinach, oranges, mushrooms and bacon; set aside. In a blender or food processor, combine the ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, onion, salt and pepper; cover and process until smooth. While processing, gradually add oil in a steady stream. Serve with salad. Yields four to six servings, about 3/4 cup dressing.

Maple Teriyaki Salmon Fillets

The maple syrup and apple juice in this recipe give the salmon a mild sweet flavor. They can be broiled or grilled, depending on your preference. This would be a nice recipe to have on hand all the time, especially during Lent.

cup apple juice

cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 salmon fillets, about 2 pounds

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. Remove 1/2 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add salmon; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for one to three hours. Drain and discard marinade. Broil salmon four inches from the heat for about five minutes. Baste with reserved marinade. Broil 10 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting frequently. Yields four servings.

Apple Cobbler

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into eight sections each

2 cans crescent rolls

1 cup real butter, not margarine

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups Mountain Dew soda, not diet

Wrap each 1/8 apple section in crescent roll dough. Place in lightly greased baking dish. Melt butter and mix with sugar; spread over apples. Pour Mountain Dew over apples. Do not stir. Sprinkle with cinnamon and chopped nuts. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Can be served with ice cream or whipped cream.

Cream of Onion Soup

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 cups milk

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 1/2 cups half-and-half or light cream

Croutons (optional)

In a 3-quart saucepan, melt butter or margarine. Add onion and green onions. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper. Add milk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for one minute more. Add half-and-half. Cook and stir until heated through. Serve topped with croutons, if desired.

Mexican Stuffed Shells

21 jumbo pasta shells, uncooked

1 (16-ounce) jar picante sauce

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

1 pound ground beef

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained

1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided

1 small can French fried onion rings

Cook shells according to directions, drain. Combine picante sauce, tomato sauce and water; set aside. Cook ground beef over medium heat; drain. Add 1/2 cup picante mixture, green chilies, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 can onions. Fill each shell with about 2 tablespoons ground beef mixture. Spoon about half of the remaining picante mixture into a 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Place filled shells on sauce; top with remaining picante mixture. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese and onions. Bake an additional five minutes. Makes four servings.

Beef Brisket with Smokey BBQ Sauce

This crockpot recipe makes for easy preparation for work days or busy days running the children from various activities.

1 (2 to 3 pound) fresh beef brisket

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon celery seed

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup chili sauce

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke

2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Trim fat from brisket. Combine chili powder, garlic powder, celery seed and pepper; rub evenly over meat. Place meat in a 3 1/2, 4 or 5 quart crockpot. For sauce, combine ketchup, chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and dry mustard. Pour over brisket. Cover and cook on low for eight to 10 hours, or on high for four to five hours. Remove meat from crockpot. Cut into thin slices across the grain. Skim fat off juices in cooker; serve juices with meat. Serves six to eight.

Does anyone have a recipe for a really good cream of cauliflower soup? I have a request for one and was hoping someone has a good recipe. Have a wonderful 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 Southeast Missourian staff.

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