According to the boys at our house, it is the most wonderful time of the year. The NCAA basketball tournament is the highlight of the year for them. There are completed brackets from family members and friends -- and even experimental brackets filled out by flipping a coin and the old "eenie meenie miney mo" method -- all over the family room. I find myself having quite a bit of extra time to read cookbooks during this time. Today I am passing along a few vegetarian recipes from Cheryl Mothes and a couple of bread recipes you will want to add to your collection.
1 cup quick-cooking barley
1 can garbanzo beans
1 package thawed edamame (soybeans)
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup low-fat Italian salad dressing
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Prepare 1 cup of quick barley in microwave. Put in strainer and rinse to cool. Pour one can of garbanzo beans on top and rinse also. Pour into bowl or serving dish and add one package thawed edamame (soybeans) and 1 cup chopped celery. Stir in 1/2 cup of low-fat Italian salad dressing, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Chill for one hour before serving. This is a high-protein and filling dish.
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place whole-wheat pitas on a cookie sheet and bake three to five minutes until crispy. Dollop 1/3 cup ricotta cheese on each, followed by 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese and 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Top with 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves. Put back in oven for 5 minutes more until cheese is thoroughly melted. Cut and serve.
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 jar plus 2 tablespoons pesto
1 large egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 box frozen baby spinach, thawed
1 package wonton wrappers
Red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine 1 cup ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons pesto and one large egg white. Heat 1 tablespoon water in a medium skillet over medium heat and add 1 box of thawed baby spinach until wilted (about 2 minutes) stirring well. Spread 2 tablespoons pesto in an 8-inch square baking dish, then top with 6 wonton wrappers, overlapping slightly. Layer half of the ricotta mixture over the wontons, then sprinkle with chopped red peppers and half of the spinach. Repeat the layer of wontons, the last of the cheese mixture and peppers then spinach. Top with more wontons, then sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Cover with foil and back 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
12 bacon strips, diced
2 tubes (12 ounces each) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon Italian salad dressing mix
2 teaspoons olive oil
In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until cooked but not crisp. Using a slotted spoon, remove to paper towels to drain. Separate biscuits; cut each biscuit into quarters. In a large bowl, combine the cheese, dressing mix, oil and bacon.
Place half of the biscuit pieces in a greased 10-in. fluted tube pan; sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture. Top with remaining biscuit pieces and cheese mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve immediately. Yield: 12 servings.
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 (0.25-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
3 tablespoons 2 percent reduced-fat milk
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat and add butter, stirring until butter melts. Let stand until mixture cools (about 20 minutes). Combine yeast and warm water in a glass measuring cup; let mixture stand 5 minutes. Beat eggs at medium speed using a heavy-duty stand mixer; add Splenda Sugar Blend and salt, beating until blended. Add yeast mixture and butter mixture, beating on low speed until blended. Gradually add flour, beating until blended. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and chill dough 8 hours or up to 3 days.
Prepare caramel sauce and immediately pour into three lightly greased 8-inch round or square cake pans. Sprinkle each pan with 1/3 cup pecans. Punch dough down and divide into 3 equal portions. Roll one portion of dough into a 12-by-10-inch rectangle. Brush with melted butter. Combine 1 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend and cinnamon; sprinkle mixture evenly over each rectangle. Roll up starting at long edge; pinch edges to seal. Cut log into 9 slices. Arrange slices cut-side down over caramel sauce. Repeat procedure with remaining dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack 5 minutes. Invert onto serving plate.
Caramel sauce directions: Combine butter, milk, corn syrup and Splenda Brown Sugar Blend in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until Splenda Brown Sugar Blend dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat; boil one minute.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, MO 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.