Home Cooking Recipes
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Quick & Easy
By Beverly Barbour

A little of this and that

Here are a few simple recipes that taste good and are easy to throw together. All are suitable for guests, even the chili. Actually the chili and the lettuce salad would be very, very good together. Add either of the desserts and you even have a touch of easy elegance.


NOW AND LATER MEATY CHILI

Doesn't take long to make and remainders freeze well.

1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
salt
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, peeled, diced
2 onions, diced
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder
1 can (14 oz.) pureed tomatoes
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups (15 oz.) cooked or canned back beans
1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Break beef and pork into large chunks; season with salt. Heat some oil in heavy pan; add about half of the beef. Let brown without stirring for a few minutes, then stir and brown on all sides. Don't break up meat. Remove with slotted spoon, then repeat with remaining beef and pork, working in batches and adding more oil as needed. Drain off all but 2 tablespoons fat. Add carrots, onions and spices and sauté until tender; about 8 minutes. Return meat to pan. Add tomatoes, broth, water and beans. Simmer 45 minutes. Stir in orange juice. Taste; add more salt, if needed. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


STRAWBERRY MOUSSE

So elegant and so easy! If you want to make it even prettier, fan strawberries to decorate each serving. Hold onto green leaves of each berry and make 4 or 5 cuts from just under top of each berry down to the bottom. Fan the slices out with the green hull still attached.

1 pint fresh strawberries plus 6 berries for garnish
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1 cup whipping cream

Choose 6 berries for garnish and puree the remaining berries in a blender until smooth. Pass the puree through a fine mesh sieve if you don't want seeds in the mousse. Transfer the puree to a large bowl and stir in sugar. Bring water to a boil and sprinkle gelatin over the top. Let stand about 5 minutes. Whisk the dissolved gelatin into the strawberry puree. Let cool to room temperature. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the puree. Spoon the mouse into dessert glasses, wine glasses or glass bowls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve garnished with the fanned strawberries, hulls and all. Makes 6 servings.


EASY AND TASTY SMOKED SALMON APPETIZERS

Any bread can be used but toast it ahead to save time, also cook and crumble the bacon ahead. You can also combine the milk, cheese and salmon ahead. Assemble just before serving so the toast doesn't get soggy.

12 slices baguette or circles of white bread flattened
1 tablespoon milk or cream
3 ounces soft goat cheese
3 ounces smoked salmon, chopped
4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled

Grill or toast the bread slices until slightly golden. Combine milk and cheese to make a smooth spread. Mix in salmon. Spread each toast with some of the salmon mixture, and then sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Makes 12.


ITALIAN FRUIT SUNDAES

The meringues are crumbled and layered in with fruit, yogurt, ice cream, whipped cream and fruits. Sounds great and it is!

Meringues:
4 large egg whites
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
Sundaes:
1 pint strawberries
dash of port or orange-flavored liquor, optional
1 cup whole-milk plain yogurt, sweetened to taste
1 banana
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped and sweetened
1 basket blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, or other berries

Meringues: Preheat oven to 250°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Whip egg whites, gradually increasing mixer speed until stiff peaks form. Add the granulated sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff glossy peaks form, scraping the bowl from time to time. Fold in confectioners sugar by hand. Spoon the meringue mixture onto the parchment paper in rounds. Bake 1 to 1 1/2 hours; turn off oven after meringues take on a light caramel color. Let the meringues dry in the oven with the door shut for a few hours or overnight. When cool, chop with a knife into large chunks. Set aside.

Sundaes: Layer as follows: Dice 2 strawberries per serving into small cubes and drop them into the bottom of tall glasses. Add a dash of optional spirits to each. Top with enough yogurt to cover the berries. Slice banana and place on top of yogurt. Add ice cream; sprinkle with the meringues. Cover with half of the whipped cream. Add the blackberries, then more whipped cream. Garnish with strawberry slices or fans, pineapple spears, kiwi slices, or any kind of berry. Makes 4 to 6 sundaes.


MARTHA MARCHAND'S WILTED LETTUCE

When the leaf lettuce raises its tender little leaves to the heavens, this makes a heavenly salad. A big bowlful with lots of crusty bread makes a delightful, light lunch.

A lot leafy lettuce or nearly 2 pounds bibb lettuce
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions
3 hard cooked eggs, chopped
6 bacon slices
4 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Put the cleaned and dried lettuce into a salad bowl. Cook bacon until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet. Add vinegar and sugar to bacon fat and cook over medium heat, whisking until sugar dissolves. Whisk in cream, salt and pepper, then boil until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour hot dressing over salad and toss well. Season with salt and pepper and crumble bacon over top. Serves 6 to 8.

GOOD COOKS ALWAYS ADD A LITTLE OF THIS AND THAT, DON'T THEY?

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