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FRUIT COCKTAIL SOUP

1 (12-ounce) can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cinnamon stick (2-inches)

6 whole cloves

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

2 bananas, sliced

2 cups green grapes, halved

In a large saucepan mix orange juice with water according to package directions. Remove 1/2 cup juice; set aside. Add sugar, cinnamon stick and cloves to saucepan; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Blend cornstarch and reserved orange juice to form a smooth paste; stir into pan. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour into a large bowl; cover and chill. Just before serving, remove cinnamon stick and cloves; stir in the strawberries, bananas and halved grapes. Yield: 8 to 10 servings, a great summer cooler.

SPAGHETTI CARBONARA

1 pound spaghetti

1/2 pound bacon

5 large eggs

1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/3 cup milk

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a large soup pot, bring water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, cook bacon in a frying pan until crispy. Remove bacon from pan and blot grease with paper towels. Pour out grease from the frying pan and add peas to pan and cook until warm. Transfer to medium bowl. Roughly chop bacon and add to bowl. Next, add eggs, cheese, salt, milk, and pepper to the bowl and mix until fully incorporated. When pasta is cooked, set aside 1/2 to 3/4 cup pasta water and drain (leaving pasta wet). Add pasta back to pot and pour egg mixture over hot pasta. Quickly toss well to avoid curdling, adding pasta water until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yield: 4 servings.

SAUCY SALMON BALLS

Olive oil

2 green onions, minced

1 (15-1/2-ounce) can salmon, drained and flaked

1 cup dried bread crumbs

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

Black pepper

Dill weed

1 cup water

1 chicken-flavor bouillon cube or packet

Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish

In 10-inch skillet over medium heat, cook green onions in hot oil until tender. Transfer onions to large bowl; add salmon, bread crumbs, lemon juice, egg, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dill weed. Mix; shape into balls. In skillet, over medium-high heat in 2 tablespoons hot oil, cook salmon balls until browned; transfer to bowl. Drain oil from skillet; add water, bouillon and salmon balls. Heat to boiling; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in remaining sour cream, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dill weed; heat. Garnish with parsley sprigs. Yield: 5 main-dish servings.

ZUCCHINI RELISH

5 tablespoons salt

10 cups finely chopped zucchini

4 medium onions, chopped

2-3/4 cups vinegar

2-3/4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons celery seed

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 red pepper, chopped

1 green pepper, chopped

Sprinkle salt over zucchini and onions. Let stand overnight. The next day, thoroughly rinse zucchini and onions with cold water. Drain well. Bring zucchini, onions, vinegar, sugar, nutmeg, mustard, celery seed, pepper, turmeric and peppers to a boil. Cook 20 minutes. Fill clean, hot jars to within ½ inch from top of the jar. Put lids on, twist on top. Cover jars with 1 inch of water. Bring water to a boil. Boil 5 minutes. Remove jars and set upright to cool on a wire rack. Check jars to be sure they have sealed before storing in a cool, dry place. Yield: 5 to 6 pints.

DILLED ZUCCHINI

3 pounds zucchini, cubed

1 large onion, chopped

6 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons flour

1/2 cup sour cream

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoons sugar

Salt to taste

1-1/2 tablespoons dill weed

Cook zucchini in a steamer over 1 inch of boiling water until tender. Sauté onion in butter in large frying pan. Mix in flour and sour cream. Add lemon juice, sugar and salt. Stir until blended. Stir in dill weed and steamed zucchini. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Cover and bake at 325º for 30 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

DREAMY CHOCOLATE LOAF CAKE

(Requested by one of our readers.)

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/2 stick butter

1 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix together and hollow out flour, sugar and cocoa. Add remaining ingredients into the hollow, making sure not to “cook” the egg with the boiling water. Stir by hand or mix with beaters until mixed and thoroughly blended. Pour into lightly greased and floured loaf pan. Bake at 350º for 40 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. Yield: 8 servings.

Bonus Web recipes HOMEMADE SUBMARINE SANDWICH

(Great for kids and adults.)

1/4 cup Italian vinaigrette

1 long crusty loaf (about 16 inches) French or Italian bread

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 small ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced

4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced

6 ounces Italian salami, thinly sliced

3 ounces cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

6 ounces boiled ham, thinly sliced

4 ounces provolone cheese, thinly sliced

12 slices dill pickles

1 cup shredded iceberg lettuce

12 small sweet pickled peppers, sliced

Slice loaf of bread in half lengthwise and spread both cut sides with mayonnaise. Layer bottom half of loaf with tomato slices, prosciutto, salami, Cheddar, ham, provolone, and pickles. Top with lettuce and pickled peppers. Spoon vinaigrette over the filling and cover with top half. Press down firmly. Yield: 3 to 4 servings.

VINEGAR “POTATO CHIPS”

12 redskin potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced

White wine vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 stick butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375º. Cover and soak potato slices in a good quality white wine vinegar combined with salt for 1 hour. Drain and toss with melted butter. Arrange potato slices in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake 45 minutes or until crisp. Drain. Yield: approximately 8 servings.

CHICKEN POT PIE PUFFS

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1 cup diced cooked chicken

1 can (10-3/4-ounce) condensed cream of chicken soup

1 can (16.3-ounce) refrigerated biscuits

Cheddar cheese, shredded

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375º. In medium bowl, combine vegetables, chicken and soup; mix well. Lightly spray an 8-cup muffin pan with cooking spray. Remove biscuits carefully from container. Form each biscuit into a 5-1/2-inch round shape, and place 1 round in each of 8 greased regular-size muffin cups. Firmly press in bottom and up side, forming 3/4-inch rim. Spoon a generous 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each. Pull edges of dough over filling toward center; pleat and pinch dough gently to hold in place. Bake for 15 minutes; add shredded Cheddar cheese over each puff. Bake for an additional 5 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from pan. Yield: 8 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.