Spice up summer meals with seafood

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

I thought we were going to survive the virus and "crud" going around at our day care, but no such luck. Last week, we were plagued with illness at our home. When we took Lexie to her kindergarten well-child physical, she was all but "well." She had what it seems everyone else has, and we are now on 10 days of antibiotics. We are well on our way to recovery, and for your sake, I hope your family avoids it. It was not a very pleasant experience.

A Recipe Swap fan writes in to say that rice bowls are "in" right now. In the frozen-food section of the supermarket you can find a wide variety to choose from. This person sends in a recipe for rice bowl you can easily make at home.

Summertime Shrimp and Rice Bowls

3 cups hot cooked rice

1 (11 ounce) can sweet corn, drained

1/4 cup drained and chopped oil-packed sun dried tomatoes

1 cup shredded Italian blend cheeses

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon slivered fresh basil leaves

Salt

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Combine first six ingredients. Spoon into 4 bowls. Broil shrimp, brushed with the oil from the tomatoes, 4- to 5-inches from the heat source, about 4 minutes on each side. You may also grill over hot coals until cooked. Top rice bowls with shrimp.

Helen Hunt shared several recipes with me a couple of weeks ago, and I will be sharing those with you over the next couple of weeks. Here are a few of her favorites, and could easily become yours, too.

Jane's Special Rice

2 small onions

1 clove garlic, browned in a little margarine

1 cup dry rice

1 can beef bouillon soup

1 can beef consomme soup

1/2 teaspoon thyme

Pinch rosemary

1 jar sliced mushrooms

Combine all ingredients and pour into a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour. Stir once during cooking.

I grew up on my mother's wonderful Old English Date Cakes. They are truly one of my favorite things she bakes and I love them especially in the winter and around the holidays. But, I have never had date bread with cheese in it.

I'm sure this will be a very nice surprise in the bread.

Date Nut Bread

1 (8 ounce) package dates

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, grated

3/4 cup chopped nuts

Chop the dates. Put in 3/4 cup boiling water. Let stand for 5 minutes; set aside. Sift the flour, sugar, soda and salt together in mixing bowl. Beat in the egg. Add the sharp cheese. Mix all together well. Add the dates, water, and nuts. Pour into prepared loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until done.

Helen shares a recipe for seafood lasagna that she says is certainly not considered "light-fare" by any means, but is certainly a treat once in a while.

Seafood Lasagna

1 green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup butter or margarine, divided

1/2 cup chicken broth

1 (8 ounce) bottle clam juice

1 pound bay scallops

1 pound uncooked small shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 package imitation crabmeat, chopped

1/4 teaspoon white pepper, divided

1/2 cup flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided

9 lasagna noodles, cooked and drained

In a large skillet, saute onion in oil and 2 tablespoons butter until tender. Stir in broth and clam juice; bring to a boil. Add scallops, shrimp, crab and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 4 to 5 minutes or until shrimp turn pink and scallops are firm and opaque, stirring gently. Drain, reserving cooking liquid, set seafood mixture aside.

In a saucepan, melt the remaining butter; stir in flour, until smooth.

Combine milk and reserved cooking liquid, and gradually add to the saucepan.

Add salt and remaining pepper. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat, stir in cream and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Stir in 3/4 cup white sauce into seafood mixture.

Spread 1/2 cup white sauce in a greased 9-by-13-inch-baking dish. Top with three noodles, spread with half of the seafood mixture and 1 1/4 cups sauce.

Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles, sauce and Parmesan cheese. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Yields about 12 very rich servings.

I know my sister Linda will enjoy these next two recipes. She is quite a lover of tuna casseroles. These recipes are quite inexpensive to make and contain ingredients you almost always have on hand.

Tuna Bake

1/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 can drained tuna

3/4 cup milk

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup raw rice

1 can cream of chicken soup

Saute onion and celery in butter until soft. Combine with tuna, milk, water, salt, rice and soup. Turn into buttered casserole dish. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, stirring 2 to 3 times during baking.

Tuna Casserole

2 cans tuna

1/2 cup water

2 cups chopped celery

2 cans mushroom soup

1/2 cup chopped cashews

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 can mushrooms

1 can Chinese noodles

Combine all ingredients together and turn into a prepared casserole dish.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Jodi Thompson of Jackson, Mo. has been so busy cleaning out her craft supplies in her home she has not had time to do any cooking. Jodi has brought us so many great things to the Senior Center to do crafts with and sewing fabric, we will be very busy for a long time.

With zucchini abundant right now, this would be a great way to use up some of summer's great supply of this vegetable.

Zucchini Soup

2 tablespoons margarine

2 onions, chopped

2 potatoes, peeled and diced

8 zucchini, chopped

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

4 cups chicken broth

1 cup whole milk

1/4 cup dry potato flakes

1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill weed

In a large frying pan, melt butter or margarine; add onion and saute until translucent. Add diced potato, zucchini, thyme, rosemary, basil, and white pepper, and cook for 5 minutes.

In a medium-sized cooking pot, add broth and bring to boil. Add zucchini/potato mixture; reduce heat and simmer about 15 minutes. When cooked, puree in food processor or blender in batches. Return to cooking pot, add milk and bring just to boil, but do not boil. Add instant mashed potato flakes and soy sauce and stir well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Garnish with dill weed. Soup may be served hot or chilled. Makes 8 servings.

To serve along side of the soup, these well-flavored rolls go well together with the soup.

Parmesan Dill Rolls

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup milk

3 tablespoons water

1 pinch salt

2/3 cup self-rising flour

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a small saucepan, heat butter, milk, water and salt over medium-high heat. When butter has melted, pour mixture into a large bowl. Add flour and stir well.

Mix in eggs, dill and Parmesan cheese. Stir until a loose batter is formed.

Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 18 to 20 minutes. Makes 10 rolls.

While the weather is so very hot out right now, remember we still have a few recipe requests still out. A few of them are breakfast pizzas, trail mix, caramel pecan rolls, and buttermilk jumbles cookies. When it is too hot to do much outside, maybe you could grab a nice cold glass of lemonade and peruse cookbooks to help out these readers looking for recipes.

Try to keep cool and until next week, 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 published have not been kitchen-tested by the Southeast Missourian staff.

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