Recipe swap - Warm weather signals arrival of salad season

Wednesday, April 17, 2002


Spring is exploding in the trees, flowers, bushes and shrubs. I noticed in our neighborhood how beautiful the flowering trees are. Our neighbor has a flowering ornamental cherry tree, and it is exploding in a soft pink fluff of blooms. I understand for people with allergies that this may not be so pleasant. Our children have certainly noticed the warmer temperatures, as I cannot keep them out of the creek. Each warm day they have come in covered in mud with huge smiles on their faces, bragging about the treasures they have found and the mud structures they have built. I am certainly doing my part in keeping the city utilities and the Tide Co. in business. But to help us celebrate spring Jodi Thompson of Jackson, Mo., has shared several recipes with us to get us into the mind-set of the season.

Spring Caesar Margarita Salad


Lime wedges, optional

Kosher or margarita salt, optional

1 large head romaine, torn

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped

Margarita Dressing:

1/3 cup canola or safflower oil

1/4 cup lime juice, fresh

2 tablespoons commercial egg substitute

1 1/2 tablespoons tequila

1 1/2 teaspoons orange flavored liqueur

1 garlic clove, minced

1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Tortilla Triangles:

6 6-inch corn tortillas cut into small triangles

1/2 cup canola oil

Margarita salt

Rub rims of 6 chilled salad plates with lime wedges and roll edges in salt.

Set aside.

Combine lettuce, cheese, bell pepper and cilantro in bowl. Add margarita dressing and toss gently. Arrange salad on plates and sprinkle with tortilla triangles. Garnish with lime wedges. To prepare the dressing, combine all ingredients and whisk well. Cover and chill.

To prepare the tortilla triangles, fry in hot canola oil in a small skillet until golden, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with salt while hot.

Jodi also has shared a few other recipes that she has enjoyed recently and I think you will enjoy them, too.

Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta

3 plum tomatoes, finely chopped

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons capers

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, finely chopped

2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

4 slices toasted Italian bread

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Preheat broiler. In a large bowl combine tomatoes, onion, capers, basil and mozzarella. Stir in balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Top toasted bread with the mixture and place on baking sheet. Broil until cheese melts. Serve hot.

Through the course of Recipe Swap we have had so many different types of lasagna, but this Mexican lasagna recipe is a first. It sounds great, but you know me by now, I would have to leave out the green peppers for us.

Mexican Lasagna

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

Crumble into 2-quart casserole and microwave 6-8 minutes stirring twice, drain

1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 8-ounce can tomato sauce

1 6-ounce can tomato paste

1/4 cup water

Mix above ingredients into beef and green pepper mixture; microwave 5 minutes.

Place 2 flour tortillas (7- or 8-inch diameter) in a 12-by-7 dish, top with 1/2 meat mixture, 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, repeat using 4 tortillas and 1 cup each cheese in all.

Microwave 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Top with shredded lettuce, sour cream and diced tomatoes. Serves 6.

The next recipe for quiche makes 8 to 10 servings as a main dish but is a great appetizer cut into smaller squares.

Crustless Cheese Quiche

10 eggs or low cholesterol commercial egg product to equal 10 eggs

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Dash salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 (8-ounce) can diced green chilies

1 pint small curd cottage cheese

1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, about 4 cups

In medium bowl, beat eggs well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and melted butter and blend well. Stir in the chilies and cheeses. Turn into greased 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish, and bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees, and continue baking for 40 minutes more.

Following Mexican lasagna or just about any dinner, wouldn't a cold piece of chocolate pie taste wonderful? Jodi's recipe for this easy chocolate pie can be made with the children to family time fun.

Creamy Chocolate Pie

6 (1.45 ounce) milk chocolate with almonds candy bars

2 tablespoons hot water

8 ounces frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 (9-inch) pie crust

Place candy bars and water in top of double boiler; bring water to a boil.

Reduce heat to low; cook until candy bars melt. Cool about 20 minutes.

Gradually fold in whipped topping. Spoon into pie crust. Chill 8 hours.

Yield: about 8 servings.

With the price of lettuce up so high right now, spinach is actually pretty economical. You might like to try this fresh springtime spinach salad.

Spinach Salad

Wash spinach thoroughly. Dry. Chill. Just before serving, break into bite size servings.

Place in salad bowl.

Add: 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 thinly slice red onion, in rings

1/2 small package slivered almonds, toasted

1 can sliced water chestnuts

1/2 can real bacon bits

1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1 cup drained mandarin oranges

Toss with this dressing and serve.


1/2 cup olive oil

3/4 cup cider vinegar

2/3 cup sugar, or 5 packages Sweet and Low sweetener

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion salt

Freshly ground pepper

Shake well.

My friend Cheryl will enjoy this vegetarian pasta with an Italian flair.

Pasta Vegetariano

2 cups cooked spaghetti

1 diced zucchini

1/4 pound Tofu

Cherry tomatoes

1 diced clove garlic

Black pepper

Your favorite Italian spice mix (optional)

Salt to taste

With a little oil, sauté the garlic. When it gets popping, add the spaghetti and then stir it well. Add the zucchini and stir again. Crumble a layer of tofu and cover the mix in the pan. Stir frequently and just before the zucchini is transparent, add the cherry tomatoes and spices to the pasta.

Serves two.

This will close another great week of recipe sharing. I would like to thank Jodi Thompson for sharing these recipes with us today. Be sure to send in your favorites to share with other great cooks.

Have a wonderful week, and 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 the Southeast Missourian staff.

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