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Labor Day is over, so the fall season is now approaching. Here are some great recipes your family will love, and they are relatively quick and easy to make. Enjoy.

ASPARAGUS-TOMATO SOUP

(Requested by one of our readers. Give this soup a try.)

1-1/2 cups cooked asparagus

5 cups chicken stock

1 medium onion, chopped

1 carrot, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1 bay leaf

2 cups canned tomatoes

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black

pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoon butter, melted

2 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon sour cream + 1/2 teaspoon minced chives, for garnish

Combine all soup ingredients, except butter and flour. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Whirl in food processor or blender until fairly smooth. This may need to be done in 2 to 3 batches. Return to pot over low heat. Blend butter and flour together. Stir into soup. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish as suggested. Yield: 6 to 10 servings.

POTATO MUFFINS

(Great served with the asparagus-tomato soup.)

2 egg yolks

3 cups grated potatoes, drained

4 large tablespoons onion, grated

1/2 cup sifted flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Beat egg yolks, then stir in drained, grated potatoes. Add onion, flour, salt, baking powder and melted butter. Fold in egg whites. Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray, (do not use paper cups). Fill half or 2/3 full with the mixture. Bake at 350º for 25 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve hot. Yield: 12 (2-inch) muffins.

STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

4 small butternut squash

1 pound mild Italian sausage

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 cup soft bread crumbs

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse squash with water and blot dry with paper towel. Cut each squash in half length-wise; scoop out seeds. Place squash cut side down in a baking dish and add approximately 1/2- inch water. Bake until squash is tender, approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Gently scrape the squash flesh out of the shell; do not cut through the skin. Chop squash into small pieces; set aside. In a large skillet, brown sausage and drain excess fat. Return the sausage to the skillet and stir in sausage, bread crumbs, and Monterey Jack cheese. Remove from stove and stuff the sausage mixture into 6 of the squash halves. Return the stuffed squash halves to the baking dish; top with the Parmesan cheese and bake until heated through and cheese on top is melted, about 20 to 30 minutes. Yields: 6 servings.

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK WITH CREAM GRAVY

2 pounds boneless round steak

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

Olive oil

For Cream Gravy:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup pan drippings

2-1/2 to 3 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash black pepper

To prepare steak: Trim excess fat from steak. Pound steak to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat mallet. Cut into serving-size pieces. Combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Combine eggs and milk, beating well. Dredge steak in flour mixture; dip in egg mixture and dredge in flour mixture. Lightly pound steak. Heat 1-inch of vegetable oil in skillet and fry steak until browned, turning steak once. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 1/4 of pan drippings for gravy. Serve with Cream Gravy. Yield: 6 servings.

To make cream gravy: Add flour to pan drippings; cook over medium heat until bubbly, stirring constantly. Slowly add milk; cook until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. Yield: 2-3/4 cups gravy.

SAUTEED ZUCCHINI IN HERBED TOMATO SAUCE

6 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4-inch thick

1 small thinly sliced onion

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 fresh tomato, chopped

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Salt and black pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, sauté onions in olive oil until clear. Add garlic and zucchini. Sauté over medium heat for approximately 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients; turn to low heat and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve warm. Yield: 6 servings.

SWISS VEGETABLE CASSEROLE

1 (16-ounce) bag frozen vegetables (combination broccoli, carrots, cauliflower)

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

1 cup shredded Swiss cheese

1/3 cup sour cream

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 (2.8-ounce) can French Fried Onions

Preheat oven to 350

º. Thaw and drain frozen vegetables. Combine vegetables, soup, 1/2 cup cheese, sour cream, pepper and 1/2 can French fried onions. Pour into a 1-quart casserole dish. Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and onions. Bake, covered, 5 additional minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

FALL APPLE PUDDING

(Variation: Use white or brown sugar. Use any fruit besides apples, either fresh diced or cooked.)

1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup diced fresh apples

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup boiling water

Mix lightly together 1/2 cup sugar, butter, milk, flour and baking powder. In an ungreased 1-quart baking dish, place half the dough mixture. Add the apples combined with 1/2 cup sugar. Top with remainder of the dough. Pour 1 cup boiling water over all and bake at 375º until brown, about 30-40 minutes.

CITRUS CHIFFON

1/4 cup cold water

2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup hot water

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon grated lemon peel

3/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup nonfat dry powdered milk

Place cold water in a medium saucepan and sprinkle gelatin over water. Let stand 5 minutes. Add hot water and sugar. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and stir constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon peel and orange and lemon juices. Chill until thickened to the consistency of unbeaten egg white. Sprinkle milk powder over gelatin mixture. Using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy. Pour into a serving bowl or a 1-quart mold and chill 8 hours or overnight. Unmold or spoon into serving dishes. If desired, serve with fresh strawberries or orange slices. Yield: 8 servings

Helen’s Kitchen Tip:

• Dishwashing detergent can be expensive, so if you want to buy a cheaper brand… add a few tablespoons of vinegar to the dishwater. The vinegar will cut the grease and leave your dishes sparkling clean.

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.