Recipe Swap: A different take on comfort food

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I recently purchased a new cookbook at a book sale but had not had time to sit down and read it from cover to cover. This afternoon I decided to pull it off the shelf and take a look through it and pull out a few recipes to include here today. "Kitchen Comforts, Recipes To Feed Body and Soul" provided great reading, and I found myself reading the book instead of watching the Cardinals game. I tried to select different recipes or ones that have a little different twist to them. I hope you can give these a try.

Caesar Toast

1 egg

1/4 cup Caesar dressing

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

2 cups herb-seasoned bread stuffing

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, combine egg and salad dressing; mix well. Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into 8 triangles. Cut each one in half lengthwise, forming 16 triangles. Dip each triangle into salad dressing mixture, then put in crushed stuffing and coat both sides. Place one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 16 appetizer bites. These are good served alone with small bites of cheese or with a Caesar salad.

Crescent Mushroom Bites

1 tub soft cream cheese

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

1 large jar sliced mushrooms, well drained

Remove cream cheese from refrigerator and allow to warm slightly, about 15 minutes. Unroll crescent rolls and separate into 2 squares. Spread each square evenly with cream cheese. Place an even layer of mushroom slices over cheese. Roll up, jelly-roll fashion. Slice and place on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 24 appetizers.

Eggplant Dip

1 medium eggplant, about 1 pound

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1/2 cup

1 (14-ounce) can stewed tomatoes

1/4 cup dry red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 loaf of crusty or French bread (baguette)

Peel eggplant, if desired, and cut into 1/4-inch cubes. You should have about 5 cups. In a large skillet, heat olive oil, and add eggplant and onion. Cook uncovered over medium-high heat about 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, red wine vinegar, capers, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until liquid is evaporated. Cool slightly, cover and chill for at least 3 hours. Before serving, slice bread in small slices and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil in oven, turning once until toasted golden. Makes about 4 cups of dip.

Watermelon Salad

1/4 pound prosciutto, cut into thin strips

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 teaspoon honey

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/3 cup olive oil

3 cups watermelon, peeled, seeded and cubed

2 large bunches watercress

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Line the bottom of a large platter with the prosciutto. In a small bowl, mix basil, vinegar, honey, paprika and olive oil with a wire whisk. Place watermelon and watercress in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss lightly. Place salad on top of prosciutto on platter; sprinkle with pepper. Makes 4 servings.

Open-Faced Monte Cristo

2 large eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

4 (1-inch thick) slices white bread

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

4 tablespoons strawberry jam or red currant jelly

4 ounces thinly sliced cooked turkey or chicken

4 ounces thinly sliced smoked cooked ham

8 (3/4-ounce) slices Swiss cheese

Powdered sugar

Sliced whole strawberries or whole strawberries for garnish, is desired

Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish. Dip both sides of bread slices in egg mixture. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add bread slices and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Spread 1 tablespoon strawberry jam on one side of each bread slice; top evenly with turkey, ham and cheese. Place on a baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with strawberries, if desired, and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Cheeseburger Pie

1 pound lean ground beef

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

1 1/2 cups milk

3/4 cup buttermilk baking mix

3 eggs

Lightly grease a 10-inch pie plate. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion until beef is browned and onion is clear. Drain. Add salt and pepper. Spread beef in pie plate and sprinkle with cheese. In a medium bowl, beat together remaining ingredients. Pour over beef. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting into pie pieces. Serves 6.

'Meat' Gravy

1 can Spam

3 tablespoons shortening

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Chop Spam into small cubes and brown in shortening. Add flour and blend well; add milk, stirring constantly. When thickened, add chopped eggs and salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot over biscuits or toast. Serves 6.

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 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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