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EGG DROP NOODLE SOUP

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 packages ramen noodles (discard flavor packets)

10-1/2 cups chicken broth

1 piece fresh ginger (about 2-1/2-inches), lightly smashed

3 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon soy sauce

6 small scallions, thinly sliced

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon sesame oil

In a large soup pot, bring 6 cups salted water to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and cook for 3 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside. Rinse pot.

In the same pot over medium-high heat, bring chicken broth, ginger, garlic and soy sauce to a simmer. Add carrots and all but 2 tablespoons scallions and cook until vegetables are tender, about 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove ginger and garlic.

In a medium bowl, lightly beat together eggs, sesame oil and salt. Gently stir broth, then pour seasoned eggs into pot. Let sit undisturbed until eggs are cooked, 40 to 60 seconds. Stir with a wooden spoon to break up eggs. Return noodles to pot and cook for 1 minute. Ladle soup into 6 bowls; garnish with remaining scallions, if desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

BAKED HONEY-SRIRACHA CHICKEN WINGS

For wings:

Nonstick cooking spray

1-1/2 to 2 pounds chicken wings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For sauce:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon flour

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup Sriracha (Asian chile sauce)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Juice of 1 lime

Preheat oven to 400º. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, mix butter, oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Blot wings with a paper towel to remove excess moisture; place wings on baking sheet. Pour butter mixture over wings and toss well to coat. Arrange wings in a single layer on baking sheet and bake until browned and crisp, 45 to 55 minutes.

To make sauce: Melt butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir in honey, Sriracha, soy sauce and lime juice. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.

Next, place cooked wings in a large bowl. Pour sauce over wings and gently toss to coat. Transfer wings to a serving platter. Yield: about 8 servings.

SEAFOOD SPAGHETTI

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 tablespoons butter

1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped

1/4 pound shrimp, shelled, deveined and chopped

1/2 cup chopped clams

1/4 pound flaked, cooked lump crab meat

1/4 pound chopped, cooked lobster meat

1 pound spaghetti

1/2 pound butter or margarine, softened and cut into pieces

1/2 cup chopped parsley

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Sauté mushrooms with butter until golden. Add tomato; cook and stir mixture until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add shrimp; cook 3 minutes. Add clams; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in crabmeat and lobster meat. Keep sauce warm. Cook spaghetti in about 3 quarts boiling water for 10 minutes or just until tender; drain in colander. Combine butter and parsley in a heated bowl; add spaghetti and toss until mixed. Add sauce; serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

BABY SPINACH PASTA SALAD WITH FETA AND BEANS

1-ounce of fresh baby spinach, wash and blot dry

1-ounce of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained

4-ounces of crumbled feta cheese

1/4 cup of dried tomatoes, snipped

2 green onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon lemon peel, finely shredded

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, snipped

1 tablespoon thyme, snipped

1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

12-ounces of dried cavatappi or farfalle pasta

Parmesan cheese, shaved

In a large serving bowl combine spinach, beans, cheese, tomatoes, green onions, garlic, lemon peel and juice, oil, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper. Cover; let stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours; stir occasionally.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Toss cooked pasta and pasta water with spinach salad mixture. Serve warm or at room temperature. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 main-dish servings.

POTATO SALAD WITH BACON

5 large red potatoes

4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

1/2 cup celery, coarsely chopped

2 medium onions, finely chopped

8 slices bacon

1-1/2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

2 teaspoons flour

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon chopped parsley

In large saucepan boil potatoes in enough water to cover until firm; drain well and cut into cubes. In a large casserole dish combine potatoes, sliced eggs, celery and onions; mix thoroughly, but gently. Cook bacon slowly until crisp; drain and reserve 4 tablespoons of the drippings. Crumble and add to the potato mixture. Add salt, sugar, dry mustard, flour, vinegar and water to reserved bacon drippings; bring to a boil. Pour mixture over potatoes. Add chopped parsley and mix gently. Keep warm until ready to serve. Yield: about 6 side-dish servings.

MINI SPICE CAKES WITH BANANA CREAM FILLING

1-1/2 cups sifted cake flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1 stick butter, room temperature

3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

Maple Cream (recipe below)

1 or 2 small bananas, peeled and thinly sliced

1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted

Preheat oven to 325º. Butter eight 4-ounce (1/2 cup) soufflé dishes.

Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice and cloves in bowl; set aside. Beat butter and brown sugar in large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in flour mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon about 1/3 cup of batter into each prepared dish. Place on a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers come out clean. Cool cakes in soufflé dishes on wire racks. Run knife around edges of cakes to loosen; remove from dishes. Trim rounded tops with serrated knife. Turn cakes cut-side down; slice horizontally into 2 layers. Spread bottom layers with maple cream; top with banana slices. Cover with top layers of cakes. Spread with maple cream, leaving sides unfrosted; sprinkle with toasted coconut. Yield: 8 servings.

To make maple cream:

Beat 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 tablespoons maple syrup in small bowl until stiff.

Kitchen Tip:

• For an easy weeknight meal, save and freeze leftover sauces from previous meals in ice cube trays. The cubes can be reheated in a sauté pan when you need a quick sauce.

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

LOW-FAT CUSTARD

1-1/2 cups nonfat milk

1-1/2 cups low-fat milk

1 tablespoon sugar substitute

4 tablespoons no-sugar-added jam or jelly

1 cup egg substitute (or 3 eggs, lightly beaten)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325º. Pour milk into a saucepan (preferably nonstick). Add sugar substitute. Stir and heat to scald, but do not boil. Set aside to cool slightly. In a small nonstick frying pan, heat jam, stirring constantly until melted. Coat a 4-cup ovenproof baking dish with the melted jam. Or you can also use two 2-cup dishes). Cool. Pour egg substitute into the slightly cooled milk in the saucepan; add vanilla and stir to mix. When mixed, gently ladle into baking dishes of your choice. Try not to disturb the coat of jam or jelly. Sprinkle nutmeg evenly on top. Place custard dish gently into a larger pan. Add 1 inch of water to larger pan; bake 1 hour or until a knife inserted in center of custard out clean. Custard will set further as it cools. Remove from oven; cool thoroughly. Cover tightly; refrigerate 4 hours or longer. Loosen edges with a knife and invert on serving plate. The jam coating will be on top. Yield: 8 half-cup portions.