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It is that time of year again: Labor Day! The summer seemed to fly by so quickly this year, and now the kids are heading back to school. However, there is still plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the summer’s best fruits and vegetables for the upcoming holiday weekend! Make it a very good one! Enjoy!

Summer Seafood Chowder

1 pound fresh haddock or cod fillets

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup water

1 (10-ounce) can baby clams, save liquid

3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

3 cups half-and-half or milk

1 (13-ounce) can evaporated milk

1/2 pound scallops, halved or quartered

1 (4-1/2-ounce) can small shrimp, drained

Salt, white pepper and paprika

Chopped parsley

Cut fish fillets into 1-inch chunks; set aside. In a 3-quart pot, sauté onion in butter until tender, but not browned. Stir in flour. Add water, liquid drained from clams and the potatoes. Bring to a boil. Cover and gently simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Add fish, clams, half-and-half, evaporated milk, scallops and shrimp. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes or until fish becomes opaque. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let chowder stand 5 minutes before serving in soup bowls. Garnish each serving with paprika and chopped parsley. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Steak Rolls with Mushrooms

4 (4-ounce each), 1/2-inch thick, sirloin tip top round steaks

3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3 tablespoons cornstarch

3 tablespoons butter

1/4 pound fresh mushrooms

1/3 cup water

1 cup beef broth

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

Fresh chopped parsley for garnish

Pound steaks between sheets of plastic wrap with flat side of mallet into large, thin rounds, 6 to 8 inches across. Spread meat with mustard; sprinkle with parsley and thyme. Roll up tightly into long, narrow rolls. Coat with 2 tablespoons of the cornstarch. Heat butter in frying pan. Add beef rolls; brown over medium-high heat on all sides. Lower heat. Cook 15 minutes for medium-rare, 20-23 minutes for well done. Remove stems from mushrooms; chop. Add mushroom caps to pan half-way through cooking. Remove meat and mushrooms onto a heated serving plate; keep warm. Add chopped mushrooms to pan; sauté 1 minute. Mix remaining cornstarch, water, broth, lemon juice and sugar, if using. Stir and cook with mushrooms in pan until thickened. Spoon sauce over meat. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. You can prepare beef rolls the day before and refrigerate until ready to cook. Yield: 4 servings.

Lamb and Eggplant Casserole

1-1/2 pounds ground lamb

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 to 1-1/2 pounds eggplant, peeled, sliced, salted and drained

1 green pepper, cut in strips

1 zucchini, sliced

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1 cup rice, uncooked

1-1/2 cups tomato sauce

3 tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled

Brown lamb in oil; drain, and set aside. In same pan, saute onions and garlic in small amount of oil until golden; drain. Place 1/2 of the tomato slices on the bottom of a 3-quart casserole. Add in layers, 1/2 each of the seasonings, eggplant, green pepper, zucchini, mushrooms, lamb, onions and garlic. Repeat layers with remaining seasonings, vegetables and meat. Combine rice and tomato sauce. Pour this mixture over casserole ingredients. Top casserole with remaining tomato slices and feta cheese. Cover and bake at 350° for about 1 hour; then uncover, and bake 10 minutes more. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Vegetarian Taco Salad

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 to 1/2 cup salsa

8 cups chopped lettuce

1 (8-ounce) bag baked tortilla chips, slightly crushed

3/4 to 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese

1/4 to 1/2 cup salsa (additional salsa for topping)

1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream

Combine beans with 1/4 to 1/2 cup salsa in a small bowl. Mash slightly with a fork or potato masher. To prepare, put 2 cups lettuce on each of 4 plates; sprinkle with crushed chips. Spread bean mixture over each serving and top with cheese, remaining salsa and a dollop of yogurt. (This tangy blend is delicious by itself, or you can also add tomatoes, bell peppers, chiles or corn to this salad.) Yield: 4 servings.

Zucchini Onion Pie

3 eggs

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

3 cups sliced zucchini

1 cup Bisquick

1 small onion, chopped

Preheat oven at 350°. In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients; mix thoroughly. Add the zucchini, Bisquick and onion. Pour mixture into a greased 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until the pie becomes lightly browned. Yield: 6 servings.

Blueberry Yogurt Brulee

(Absolutely delicious!)

2 cups fresh blueberries

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 (8-ounce) containers vanilla yogurt

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preheat broiler. Put 4 (1 cup) custard cups or ramekins on a broiler-proof baking sheet. Stir together the blueberries and lemon rind in a medium bowl. Spoon 1/2 cup of the blueberry mixture into each custard cup. Top each with about 1/2 cup yogurt and 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Broil about 4 inches from the heat for 2 to 4 minutes, or until brown sugar is melted and bubbly. Watch very carefully to keep sugar from burning. Yield: 4 servings.

Butterscotch Crumb Apple Pie

4 cups peeled, sliced Granny Smith apples

1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 unbaked 9-inch pastry shell

Butterscotch topping (recipe below)

Whipped cream (optional)

Combine apple slices and lemon juice in a medium bowl; toss well. Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt; stir well. Add sugar mixture to apple mixture, stirring gently to combine. Spoon apple mixture into pastry shell. Cover edges of pastry with strips of aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle topping mixture over apple mixture; bake an additional 20 minutes. Serve with whipped cream, if desired. Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie.

To make butterscotch topping:

1 (6-ounce) package butterscotch morsels

1/2 stick butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

Combine butterscotch morsels and butter in top of a double boiler; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until morsels and butter melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; add flour and salt, stirring well. Let stand 10 minutes or until crumbly. Yield: 1-1/3 cups.

Kitchen tip: If a lemon gets a little dried out in your refrigerator, perk it up by soaking it in a bowl of water overnight. The water will plump it right up.

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