When they read, the mail pours in

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It seems like I go for a long time with no reader mail, then all at once I receive several envelopes full of recipes waiting to make their way to your recipe files.

This week was that week. This first recipe was given to me by Johnny and Betty Reed, volunteers at the Senior Center. Betty has made it many times and they enjoy taking it to carry-in occasions. They said it is always a big hit. The rest of the recipes included here today were sent in by a Cape Girardeau reader and avid cook. She has tried all of these recipes, and she apologized to me in her note for the recipes calling for many red and green peppers, as she knows I do not like them. That is OK, though. I can cook just fine without them.

Banana Pineapple Layer Dessert

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup Splenda or an equivalent amount of another sugar substitute

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted

2 (4-serving-size) boxes sugar-free instant vanilla pudding

2 3/4 cups milk

3 or 4 ripe bananas

1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple

16 ounces sugar-free frozen whipped topping, thawed

Combine graham-cracker crumbs and Splenda in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Add melted butter. Stir until combined, then press into the bottom of the pan, forming an even layer. In a bowl or large measuring cup, stir together pudding mix and milk until well blended. Refrigerate pudding while you slice the bananas and arrange them in a single layer over the graham-cracker crust. Remove pudding from refrigerator; pour over bananas and smooth with a spatula. Drain crushed pineapple; spoon a thin, even layer over the pudding. Add whipped topping, forming an even layer. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, then cut into portions and serve. Yields 12 to 16 servings.

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus

2 1/2 pounds salmon steaks

1 pound fresh asparagus

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Paprika

Salt and pepper

Garlic

1/2 cup long grain rice

2 tablespoons finely chopped red and yellow peppers

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Use cookie sheet with rim and grease lightly with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Meanwhile, sprinkle asparagus spears evenly with salt and pepper. Place salmon and spears on cookie sheet; season with lemon juice, paprika and garlic. Place cooking sheet in oven and cook for 15 minutes turning once to add more lemon and paprika. Cook rice according to package instructions and toss in red and yellow peppers. Serve fish with rice and asparagus, garnished with a wedge of lemon or lime. Serves 2.

Orange Ginger Pork and Vegetable Stir-Fry

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium red onion, sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced

1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into thin strips

1 cup sliced celery

1 pound pork loin cut into strips

1 clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 cups shredded bok choy

1/4 cup orange juice

Salt

1 package ribbon rice noodles

Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Saute the onions, carrots, celery and red peppers for about 5 minutes in the skillet. Remove from pan. Add remaining oil to skillet. Brown pork with garlic, ginger root and red pepper flakes until pork is no longer pink. Return vegetables to skillet, add bok choy and orange juice. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly boil rice noodles until soft. Season with salt and serve with stir fry. Serves 4.

Lemon and Thyme Beef Kabobs

2 pounds sirloin steak

Salt

1 cup red and yellow cherry tomatoes

1 zucchini

1 yellow squash

1 cup red new potatoes

Marinade:

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cut steak, zucchini and squash into 1-inch cubes. Whisk lemon juice, oil, honey, mint, thyme, garlic and pepper in bowl. Add steak, zucchini and squash, cover and refrigerate 8 to 24 hours, stirring occasionally. Drain and reserve some marinade. Thread meat onto greased metal skewers. Alternate zucchini and squash on more skewers and then alternate red and yellow tomatoes onto additional skewers. Grill over medium hot coals, turn once and baste occasionally with marinade, for 7 to 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Garnish with lemon slices and parsley. Serves 6.

Lamb Chops with Red Pepper Pesto

8 lamb chops

2 sweet red peppers

1/2 cup basil leaves

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic

4 ears fresh corn

Salt

Place peppers and corn, husks on, on greased grill for about 20 minutes. Let cool. Cut corn into large chunks. Wrap in foil. Put peppers in food processor. Add basil, oil and cheese and puree until blended. Stir in garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Place lamb chops and foil wrapped corn on greased grill over medium high heat; grill for 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium rare meat. Serve with red pepper pesto, corn rounds and mixed salad.

Southwest Tortilla Wraps

4 10-inch flour tortillas

2 tablespoons salad dressing or mayonnaise

1/2 cup chunky salsa

4 ounces sliced beef steak

1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup thin strips red and green pepper

1/4 cup sliced onions

1/2 cup corn

Pinch cayenne pepper, optional

Lay tortillas flat, spread the salad dressing or mayonnaise on top of each. Spread with chunky salsa on top of the dressing or mayonnaise. Saute beef, onions, corn, peppers and season with cayenne pepper to taste. Spread on tortillas with cheese. Fold tortillas and serve. Serves 2.

There certainly is no theme for all of today's recipes, but I hope you enjoy them all the same.

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 have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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