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ROBUST VEGETABLE SOUP

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 cup diced celery

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic

1 cup diced zucchini

2 cups fresh corn or 1 (10-ounce)

package frozen corn, thawed

4 cups chicken broth

3 cups seeded and diced fresh tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté onion and celery in hot oil for 3 minutes. Add garlic, zucchini and corn; sauté 2 minutes. Add chicken broth; bring to a simmer, cook until zucchini is tender, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper. Cook with a very slow simmer until vegetables and flavor are combined, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

VEAL ROLL WITH SPINACH STUFFING AND MUSHROOMS

Veal rolls:

1-1/2 pounds fresh spinach

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons butter

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/2 pound mushrooms, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon thyme, crumbled

1 pound ground veal

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (2 slices)

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup chopped parsley

For mushroom sauce:

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1-1/4 cups chicken broth

1/4 pound mushrooms, finely chopped

Pinch thyme

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup half-and-half

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350º.

Prepare veal roll: Wash spinach; remove tough stems. Place in heavy pot. Cover and cook over medium-high heat until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain in colander. Squeeze between pieces of paper toweling to press out excessive moisture. Cool slightly. Finely chop; you should have 1-1/2 cups. Set aside. Sauté onion in butter in large heavy skillet over medium heat, 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add mushrooms and thyme; sauté until mushrooms become juicy, 2 to 3 minutes. Cool slightly. Combine ground veal, bread crumbs, egg, milk, lemon rind, lemon juice, salt, pepper and parsley in large bowl; mix just until evenly blended. Mix in mushroom mixture. Place 12-inch square waxed paper on work surface. Place veal mixture on waxed paper; pat into 10-inch square. Spread spinach evenly over veal square. Starting at one side, fold over veal by about 2 inches, using waxed paper as a guide. Then roll up tightly, jelly-roll fashion, removing paper as you roll. Carefully transfer roll to jelly-roll pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 1 hour.

To prepare mushroom sauce: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add flour, cook, stirring a minute or two, over medium heat. Add chicken broth; cook, whisking until thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and thyme; cook 2 to 3 minutes. Add wine; boil until liquid completely evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Add half-and-half, salt and pepper; bring to boiling. Stir mushroom mixture into chicken broth mixture. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes to blend flavors. Serve hot, sprinkled with parsley, with hot mushroom sauce. Yield: 6 servings.

MEAT LOAF WITH DILL PICKLE SAUCE

1 pound lean ground round or chuck

1/2 pound lean ground pork

1/2 cup soft bread crumbs (1 slice)

1 medium-size onion, chopped

(1/2 cup)

1/4 cup dill pickle juice

1 egg

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup chopped dill pickle

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 350º. Combine beef, pork, bread crumbs, onion, pickle juice, egg, salt and pepper in a large bowl; mix lightly until blended. Shape into a 9x4-inch loaf in a shallow baking pan. Combine catsup, dill pickle, water, sugar and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl; pour over meat loaf. Bake at 350º, basting often with pan juices for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Yield: 6 servings.

BAKED ONIONS

(Great with the meat loaf above)

4 large Spanish onions

4 tablespoons butter

Salt and black pepper to taste

4 tablespoons sour cream

Press 1 tablespoon butter into one end of each onion. Salt and pepper to taste. Wrap well in heavy aluminum foil. Place on rack in oven and bake at 350º for 1 hour. Unwrap; place onions in large bowl and mash, using potato masher. Combine with sour cream. Serve with beef. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

MERINGUE RICE PUDDING

1/2 cup long-grain white rice

1 cup water

4-1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup raisins

3 eggs, separated

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup raspberry preserves

Combine rice and water in 2-quart saucepan. Bring to boiling; boil 8 to 10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir in milk. Return to boiling. Lower heat and simmer, stirring often, for 25 minutes. Add raisins; cook 5 to 10 minutes longer or until rice is very tender. Beat egg yolks in small bowl until frothy. (Reserve whites in small bowl). Beat in ¼ cup of the sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir in 1/3 cup hot rice mixture into yolks; return mixture to saucepan. Cook over very low heat 2 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly; mixture should be very loose and creamy. Pour into 1-1/2-quart casserole dish. Cover surface of pudding and egg whites with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Bring egg whites to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425º. Beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually beat in at high speed the remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until meringue forms firm peaks. Blot any accumulated moisture on top of pudding with paper toweling. Spread layer of preserves over rice pudding. Mound meringue over top. Spread with back of spoon so meringue touches all sides of casserole; swirl to form peaks. Bake in preheated hot oven for 5 minutes or until peaks of meringue are golden brown. Serve immediately. Yield: 10 servings.

EASY APPLE CHEESECAKE

7 round milk crackers

1 can (20-ounce) unsweetened

sliced apples

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel cheese

1/3 cup skim milk

1 egg

3 tablespoons sugar

Sugar substitute to equal 4

tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Ground cinnamon

Place milk crackers on bottom of an 8x1-1/2-inch cake pan in a circle of 6, with 1 in the middle. Arrange sliced apples with their liquid over crackers; sprinkle with lemon rind and juice. Combine cream cheese, skim milk, egg, sugar, sugar substitute and vanilla in blender container. Cover; whirl until smooth. Carefully pour over apple slices; sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350º for about 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm or chilled. Yield 10 servings.

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

PASTA WITH SAUSAGE AND PEAS

1 pound wagon-wheel pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound hot Italian sausage, casing removed

1 pound onions, halved, sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Cook pasta as package label directs. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and onions; sauté 12 minutes or until browned, breaking up sausage. Add chicken broth and peas. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until peas are tender. Drain pasta; place in large serving bowl. Add sausage mixture, pepper and salt. Toss. Serve with Parmesan. Yield: 6 servings.