Recipe grab bag: no theme, just lots of interesting recipes to try

Saturday, August 4, 2018

By Susan McClanahan

In cooking we add a little of this and a pinch of that, and somehow end up with a delicious meal. Like in cooking, today's column is a little of this and a little of that and just a hodgepodge of various recipes that I just think sound interesting. Instead of having a theme for the week, it is a wide variety of new recipes to try.

I hope you enjoy this selection and have the opportunity to try these very soon. Be sure to continue reading all of the recipes online so you don't miss a one.

Eggplant Tomato Pie

* 1 eggplant

* 2 tomatoes, sliced

* 1 onion, diced

* 2 cloves garlic

* Breadcrumbs

* 1 egg

* 1 tablespoon butter, melted

* 1 tablespoon pesto

* Cheddar cheese, shredded

* Fresh parsley

Peel and cube eggplant, boil until soft and tender, then drain water and mash. Add diced onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, melted butter and pesto to the mash; mix well. Grease a pie pan. Slice one tomato and layer on bottom of pan. Add the eggplant mixture. Slice the remaining tomato and layer on top of eggplant mixture. Add shredded cheddar cheese and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Shrimp-and-Okra Hush Puppies

* Creole seasoning, okra, and shrimp add a delightful Southern taste and texture to these addictive cornbread bites.

* 1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal mix

* 1/2 cup self-rising flour

* 1 cup medium-size raw shrimp, chopped

* 1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

* 1/2 cup frozen diced onion, red and green bell pepper, and celery, thawed

* 1/2 cup frozen cut okra, thawed and chopped

* 1 large egg, lightly beaten

* 3/4 cup beer

* Canola oil

Stir together cornmeal mix and flour in large bowl until combined.

Sprinkle shrimp with Creole seasoning. Add shrimp, onion mixture, and okra to cornmeal mixture. Stir in egg and beer just until moistened. Let stand 5 to 7 minutes.

Pour oil to depth of 4 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 350 degrees. Drop batter by level tablespoonfuls into hot oil, and fry, in batches, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Drain on a wire rack over paper towels; serve immediately.

Note: Keep fried hush puppies warm in a 225 degree oven for up to 15 minutes.

Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Table Biscuits

* 4 cups self-rising flour, plus more for the work surface

* 2 tablespoons baking powder

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 3/4 pound (3 sticks) salted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces or grated

* 2 large eggs, beaten, plus 1 large egg for brushing

* 1-1/2 cups buttermilk, or as needed, plus 1 tablespoon for brushing

* Jam or gravy, for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the butter and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are even and about the size of peas.

Stir in the beaten eggs with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in 1-1/2 cups buttermilk until the dough comes together into a sticky mass. If it is too dry, add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition, until it reaches the correct consistency. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Scrape the dough onto a floured work surface. Use your floured hands to press it into a round roughly 14-inches across and about 1/2- inch thick.

Use a floured 2-3/4 -- inch round cutter to cut out about 20 biscuits. If necessary, collect and pat out the scraps to cut more biscuits.

Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking sheet, arranging them so that they all are touching.

In a small dish, beat together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon buttermilk. Brush the mixture on the top of the biscuits.

Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in the pan on a rack.

Biscuits are best the day they are made (and ideally fresh out of the oven!). Serve with strawberry jam or gravy, if desired. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. PREP: 20 minutes, plus at least 30 minutes chilling COOK: 15 to 20 minutes COOL: 5 minutes

Makes about 20 biscuits

Note: For longer storage, arrange the biscuits about 1/2 inch apart on two parchment-paper-lined baking sheets and freeze until solid. Transfer them to a zip-top plastic bag and freeze for up to 2 weeks. There is no need to thaw them before baking.

Old Fashioned Lemonade Icebox Pie

You will detect a definite lemonade flavor in this refreshing pie. High and fluffy, this dessert has a creamy smooth consistency that we really appreciate.

* 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

* 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

* 3/4 cup thawed lemonade concentrate

* 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

* Yellow food coloring, optional

* 1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and milk until smooth. Beat in lemonade concentrate. Fold in whipped topping and, if desired, food coloring. Pour into crust. Cover and refrigerate until set.

Favorite Praline Grape Salad

* 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

* 1 (8 ounce) cup sour cream

* 1/3 cup sugar

* 2 to 3 pounds seedless red grapes, remove from stem, wash and dry

For the topping:

* 2 cups chopped pecans

* 1 cup brown sugar

* 1/2 cup butter

* 1/2 cup flour

Mix well the cream cheese, sour cream and sugar in bowl and pour over grapes. Cover and chill in refrigerator while making the topping.

Mix together the topping ingredients with fingers until well mixed. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes, until lightly brown. Let cool completely then crumble over grape mixture or just use one pound chopped candied or praline pecans as topping.

Frozen Cherry Salad

* 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, well drained

* 1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

* 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk(not evaporated milk)

* 1/2 cup minced pecans

* 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

* 1 (8 ounce) carton Cool Whip

* Stemmed maraschino cherries, for garnish, optional

Drain the pineapple well, reserving the juice for another use if desired; set aside. Mix together the cherry pie filling, condensed milk and pineapple. Add the pecans and marshmallows, then fold in the whipped topping until well blended.

Transfer to a serving bowl for soft serve and refrigerate for at least four hours. If freezing, line cupcake pans with 24 paper or silicone liners, or transfer into loaf pans or a 9 x 13 inch pan. If frozen, let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

Notes: Give the crushed pineapple plenty of time to drain - you want it very dry. Place into a mesh strainer and use layers of paper towels to press out all of the moisture. When serving as a refrigerator "fluff," this fruit salad is very versatile. Add in a variety of canned fruits or fruit cocktail, softened cream cheese, pudding mix (reserve pineapple juice and dissolve dry pudding in the juice), double up on the Cool Whip, exchange the crushed pineapple for tidbits, add chopped maraschino cherries.

Summertime Grilled Chicken

* 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

* 1/3 cup canola oil

* 1/4 cup water

* 2 tablespoons dried minced onion

* 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

* 1 tablespoon sugar

* 4 garlic cloves, minced

* 1 teaspoon ground ginger

* 3/4 teaspoon salt

* 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

* 2 broiler/fryer chickens (3 to 4 pounds each), quartered

In a small bowl, combine first 10 ingredients. Set aside 1/3 cup for basting; cover and refrigerate. Pour remaining marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken; seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Prepare grill for indirect heat, using a drip pan. Place chicken over drip pan; grill, covered, over indirect medium heat 45-60 minutes or until a thermometer reads 170-175 degrees, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade during the last 20 minutes.

Bruschetta Casserole

* 8 medium tomatoes, peeled and cut into wedges

* 8 slices bread, crusts removed, cubed

* 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon dried basil

* 1 teaspoon dried thyme

* 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Arrange tomatoes in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with bread cubes. Combine the butter, salt, basil and thyme; drizzle over bread and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until tomatoes are tender.

Zucchini Pizza Casserole

* 4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 2 large eggs

* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

* 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

* 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

* 1 pound ground beef

* 1/2 cup chopped onion

* 1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce

* 1 medium green or sweet red pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place zucchini in colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 10 minutes, then squeeze out moisture.

Combine zucchini with eggs, Parmesan and half of mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into a greased 13x9-inch or 3-quart baking dish. Bake 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook beef and onion over medium heat, crumbling beef, until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add red pepper. Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes longer.

Freeze option: Cool baked casserole; cover and freeze. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap casserole; reheat on a lower oven rack until heated through and a thermometer inserted in center reads 165 degrees.

Notes: Italian sausage or ground turkey sub well in this casserole. Make it vegetarian by skipping the meat and increasing the veggies. Mushrooms or finely chopped cauliflower (or a combination of the two) taste great. This packs up nicely for weekday lunches.

Frito Corn Salad

* 2 (15 ounce) cans whole corn kernels, rinsed and drained

* 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

* 1 (10.25 ounce) bag regular or chili cheese Fritos, plus more for garnish

* 1 green pepper, seeds removed, diced

* 1/2 cup red onion, diced

* 1 cup mayonnaise

* 1 tablespoon lime juice

* 1 tablespoon taco seasoning

In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, lime juice and taco seasoning until combined.

In a large bowl, toss together corn kernels, cheddar cheese, green pepper and red onion, mixing until combined.

Pour mayonnaise dressing over corn mixture, tossing until everything is thoroughly coated, then, before serving, top with Fritos.

Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary.

Ice Cream Cookie Dessert

* 1 package (15-1/2 ounces) Oreo cookies, crushed, divided

* 1/4 cup butter, melted

* 1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened

* 1 jar (16 ounces) hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed

* 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

In a large bowl, combine 3-3/4 cups cookie crumbs and butter. Press into a greased 13x9-inch dish. Spread with ice cream; cover and freeze until set.

Drizzle fudge topping over ice cream; cover and freeze until set. Spread with whipped topping; sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs. Cover and freeze 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.

Notes: To make cutting a breeze, try dipping your knife in hot water. Wipe the blade periodically to clean it. Skip the whipped topping and use whipped cream in a can to pipe pretty decorations on top. It's a great way to keep little ones busy.

Spicy Grilled Salmon

* 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

* 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

* 1 green onion, thinly sliced

* 1 tablespoon olive oil

* 1 tablespoon maple syrup

* 2 garlic cloves, minced

* 1 teaspoon ground ginger

* 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

* 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)

In a small bowl, combine the first 10 ingredients. Pour 1/4 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Add the salmon; seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate for up to 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate remaining marinade.

Drain salmon, discarding marinade in bag. Place salmon skin side down on a greased grill rack. Grill, covered, over high heat or broil 3-4 inches from the heat for 5-10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with remaining marinade.

South Carolina Peach Cobbler

* 4 cups sliced peeled fresh or frozen peaches, thawed

* 1 cup sugar, divided

* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

* 1/3 cup butter, melted

* 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

* 2 teaspoons baking powder

* Pinch salt

* 3/4 cup milk

* Vanilla ice cream, optional

In a large bowl, gently toss peaches, 1/2 cup sugar and extract; set aside. Pour butter into a 2-quart baking dish.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining sugar; stir in milk until smooth. Pour evenly over butter (do not stir). Top with peach mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Serve with ice cream if desired.

Plum Skillet Chicken Tenders

* 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

* 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

* 1-1/2 pounds chicken tenderloins

* 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

* 2 cups sliced fresh plums

* 1/2 cup diced red onion

* 1/3 cup apple jelly

* 1 tablespoon grated fresh gingerroot

* 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

* 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

* 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

* 1 tablespoon cornstarch

* 2 tablespoons white wine

* 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Combine garlic salt and lemon pepper; sprinkle mixture over chicken. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken. Add plums and red onion; cook and stir 1-2 minutes.

Reduce heat. Stir in next five ingredients. Mix cornstarch and wine until smooth; gradually stir into pan. Cook, covered, until chicken juices run clear and plums are tender, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.

Bright and Sunny Lemon Pie

* 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 1 can (15-3/4 ounces) lemon pie filling, divided

* 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed

* 1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in half of the pie filling. Fold in the whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Spread remaining pie filling over cream cheese layer. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Delight

* 1 tube (16-1/2 ounces) refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough

* 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

* 1 cup confectioners' sugar

* 1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

* 3 cups cold 2 percent milk

* 1 package (3.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix

* 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix

Chopped nuts, chocolate curls and miniature semisweet chocolate chips, optional

Let cookie dough stand at room temperature for 5-10 minutes to soften. Press into an ungreased 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Fold in 1-3/4 cups whipped topping. Spread over crust.

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mixes for 2 minutes. Spread over cream cheese layer. Top with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate curls if desired.

Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight until firm.

Freezer Lemon Pie

* 1 graham cracker pie crust

* 1 (12 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

* 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk

* 1/4 cup sugar

* 1 lemon, zested

Pour evaporated milk into a baking dish or bowl and freeze for 30 minutes.

Remove evaporated milk from freezer and pour into a large mixing bowl. Beat milk with mixer, until stiff peaks form.

Add sugar and lemonade concentrate to bowl and mix until well combined. Pour mixture into pie crust.

Place pie in freezer for at least 3 hours to freeze completely. Prior to serving, garnish top of pie with lemon zest, and let pie stand at room temperature for 5 minutes before slicing.

Crustless Spinach Quiche

* 1 cup chopped onion

* 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

* 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

* 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

* 2/3 cup finely chopped fully cooked ham

* 5 large eggs

* 3 cups shredded Muenster or Monterey Jack cheese

* 1/8 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet, saute onion and mushrooms in oil until tender. Add spinach and ham; cook and stir until the excess moisture is evaporated. Cool slightly. Beat eggs; add cheese and mix well. Stir in spinach mixture and pepper; blend well. Spread evenly into a greased 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Notes: To ensure perfectly cooked quiche, start checking early to see whether it's done. Baking times are great guidelines, but because every oven heats differently, we recommend taking an early look, especially for cakes, cookies, muffins and delicate egg-based dishes. For cheese that's extra melty, shred or grate it yourself.

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

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