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EASY VEGETABLE SOUP

1 tablespoon oil

1/4 cup green pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

1/2 cup celery, finely chopped

1 (10-3/4-ounce can) condensed tomato soup

1-1/4 cups water

1 (12-ounce can) vegetable juice cocktail

Heat oil in medium saucepan; add vegetables and cook until tender. Blend together tomato soup, water and vegetable juice cocktail in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; add cooked vegetables. Cover and heat to serving temperature. Yield: 6 servings.

GRILLED CHICKEN AND SAUSAGES WITH HERBED SALAD

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons garlic, chopped

1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for rack

7 pounds chicken parts (breasts, thighs and drumsticks) with skin, or halve

1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped

2-1/2 pounds assorted small and large heirloom tomatoes, large, sliced and small, halved

2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

3 packages (13-ounces each) precooked turkey or chicken sausages

Whisk together 1/3 cup vinegar, rosemary and 3 tablespoons garlic in small bowl. Add 1/2 cup oil in a slow stream until thickened and emulsified; salt and pepper to taste, for marinade. Divide chicken and marinade between 2 large heavy-duty resealable plastic bags and seal. Turn until chicken is well-coated. Marinate, chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight, placing bags in large bowls to catch any leaks. Whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon garlic and shallot in serving bowl. Add remaining 3 tablespoons oil in slow stream, whisking, until thickened and emulsified; salt and pepper to taste, for dressing. Add tomatoes, cilantro and basil to dressing; toss gently to coat. Preheat grill; lightly oil rack. Remove chicken from marinade (discard marinade) and grill on rack over moderate heat turning once, until heated through, about 35 minutes. Transfer to serving platter. Halve sausages lengthwise and grill on lightly oiled rack over moderate heat, turning until heated through, about 6 minutes. Transfer to platter with chicken. Top all with herbed tomato salad and serve remaining salad on the side. Yield: 16 servings.

GRILLED OR BROILED LAMB BURGERS

2 pounds lean ground lamb

1 (10-ounce package) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

2/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder

1/4 cup white wine Worcestershire sauce

Mix lamb, spinach, powdered milk and 2 tablespoons of the wine Worcestershire sauce in a large bowl until well-blended. Shape into 6 (1-inch-thick) patties.

To grill: Place patties 4 to 6 inches above hot coals. Grill 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium, basting with remaining Worcestershire sauce. Serve on lightly grilled pita breads; top with mango chutney.

To broil: Place on broiler-pan rack 4 to 6 inches from heat source. Broil 5 to 6 minutes per side for medium. Yield: 6 servings.

GRILLED CHICKEN BURGERS WITH SALSA

1/3 cup purchased sweet and sour sauce

1 clove minced garlic

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Scant 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 medium peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped

1 pear, cored and chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped onion

1 pound ground raw chicken

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons crushed dried basil

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce

To prepare salsa: In a medium bowl, mix sweet and sour sauce, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and crushed red pepper. Stir in peaches, pear and 1 tablespoon chopped onion. Cover; chill until time to serve. In another medium bowl, combine chicken, remaining 1/2 cup onion, basil, seasoned salt, black pepper and hot pepper sauce; blend well. Shape into 4 (3/4-inch-thick) patties. Grill meat on the grill rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium-hot coals for 15 to 18 minutes or until no pink remains, turning once. Or grill, covered, indirectly over medium heat for 22 to 25 minutes. Serve burgers with fruit salsa. Yield: 4 main-dish servings.

POTATO-PEPPER PACKETS

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

1 each medium-size yellow and green bell pepper, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn in small pieces

1/2 stick butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients in large bowl until evenly coated with melted butter. Put potato mixture in center of an 8-inch square of heavy-duty foil. Fold top half over and bring edges together. Turn bottom edges 1/2-inch, then repeat to make a double fold. Smooth with fingers; double-fold each side.

To grill: Place package on grill 4 to 6 inches above hot coals. Grill 35 to 40 minutes, shaking packet 3 times and turning over once, until potatoes are tender when pierced. (to test for doneness, pierce through foil with long fork.)

To broil: Heat oven to 425º. Place foil package directly on oven rack, shaking and turning once. Yield: 4 servings.

GIANT OATMEAL COCONUT COOKIES

2 cups old-fashioned oats

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 sticks butter, room temperature

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/3 cups shredded coconut

1 (6-ounce) cup chocolate-covered raisins

Combine oats, flour, baking soda and salt in bowl; set aside. Beat butter and both sugars in large mixer bowl at high speed until light and fluffy; add eggs and vanilla. With mixer at low speed, blend in dry ingredients, mixing well. Stir in coconut and chocolate-covered raisins. Using a 2-1/4-inch ice-cream scoop or level 1/4 cup measure, scoop dough onto greased, large cookie sheets placing dough 3 inches apart. Bake at 350º for 15 to 18 minutes until golden. Cool cookies on wire racks; repeat with remaining dough. Yield: 18 cookies.

EASY STRUDEL

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 sticks butter

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons vinegar

1/4 cup water

Cut butter into flour as for pie crust. Add egg yolks, vinegar and water; mix well. Cover; refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours. Divide dough into 3 parts and work with one at a time. Roll out on a floured cloth to fit a 10-1/2-by-15-1/2-inch cookie sheet. Sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon flour, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. (You’ll have to judge the kind of apples you will be using; may need more sugar, etc.) Arrange peeled and diced apples along edge of the long side of dough and roll up, guiding with cloth (towel) grasped in each hand. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350º for about 30 to 35 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Yield: 3 strudels.

Any comments, questions or favorite recipes? I would love to hear from you. Feel free to send your email to helenkitchen@msn.com, and please write “Helen’s Kitchen Request, ATTN: Lori” in the subject line to make sure that I receive your email. Thank you. WEB BONUS RECIPE

MILD TOMATO RELISH

1 small onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 large ripe yellow tomato, diced

1 large ripe red tomato, diced

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Marinate onion in lime juice in a small bowl for 15 minutes or until slightly wilted. Stir in both tomatoes, parsley, salt and pepper. Prepare a day ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container. Yield: 2 cups.