Southern Living: Ultimate Quick & Easy Cookbook: Incredibly Good, Unbelievably Easy — over 450 Superfast Recipes by Editors of Southern Living Magazine, EPUB, 0848728254

March 12, 2018

 Southern Living: Ultimate Quick & Easy Cookbook: Incredibly Good, Unbelievably Easy -- over 450 Superfast Recipes by Editors of Southern Living Magazine, EPUB, 0848728254

Southern Living: Ultimate Quick & Easy Cookbook: Incredibly Good, Unbelievably Easy — over 450 Superfast Recipes by Editors of Southern Living Magazine

  • Print Length: 400 Pages
  • Publisher: Oxmoor House
  • Publication Date: April 1, 2004
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848728254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848728250
  • File Format: EPUB
”Preview”

Southern Living

ULTIMATE QUICK & EASY COOKBOOK

Southern Living

ULTIMATE QUICK & EASY COOKBOOK

Fresh Raspberry-Spinach Salad

Compiled and Edited by Jane E. Gentry

Contents

Cover

Title

Frontmatter

Streamlined Southern

Hot Off the Grill

Healthy Homestyle

One-Dish Family Favorites

Slowcooker Favorites

Quick Bites

Drinks In a Blink

No Fuss Breads

Main Dishes In Minutes

Pronto Pizza & Pasta

Super Sandwiches

Satisfying Soups & Salads

Shortcut Sides

Desserts In a Dash

The Quick & Easy Kitchen

Metric Equivalents

Copyright

Southern Salutations

Beef Fillets with Orange Cream

Imagine finding all of your childhood favorites in one source revised into simpler, more streamlined recipes. With Southern Living® Ultimate Quick & Easy Cookbook, you’ve discovered just such a collection of our best recipes with fewer steps and quicker times without sacrificing flavor. With this edition, you can put dinner on the table in no time, and have your family and friends believing you’ve spent all day in the kitchen.

Revisit your childhood memories in Southern style using these recipes that will leave you with more time to spend with family and friends.

• Chicken-Fried Steak ’n’ Country Gravy is on the table in 30 minutes flat.

• Caramel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread is a treat for the whole family—and easy on the cook with just 4 ingredients.

• Pop some fries in the oven when you start preparing Fried Catfish Sandwiches, and you’ll have dinner finished in 25 minutes.

• Spiced Pecans are sure to disappear quickly at your next party…good thing it only takes 15 minutes to whip up a second batch.

• Pan-Seared Steaks with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce offer unbelievable flavor with only 5 ingredients and 10 minutes start to finish!

Reflections of family, traditions, and favorite foods flood our memories when we think back on meals from our childhood. Whether it’s the home cooking or the cozy feelings we relish, it’s great to have these simple versions of the foods we grew up with. They bring us back together again—quicker than ever.

The Editors

Chapter One

Streamlined Southern

From okra and tomatoes to fried chicken to peach cobbler, memories abound of the Southern foods we’ve grown up with. Find these comfort-food favorites in this chapter, and prepare a classic Southern meal for your family tonight.

30 Minutes or Less

Chicken-Fried Steak ’n’ Country Gravy

Prep: 14 minutes

Cook: 16 minutes

This all-time classic is quicker than you might think!

* Editor’s Favorite

2¼ teaspoons salt, divided

1¾ teaspoons ground black pepper, divided

4 (4-ounce) cubed steaks

1 sleeve saltine crackers (about 38 crackers), crushed

1¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

½ teaspoon baking powder

4¾ cups milk, divided

2 large eggs

1 cup peanut oil

• Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper evenly over steaks. Set aside.

• Combine cracker crumbs, 1 cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, red pepper, and baking powder.

• Whisk together ¾ cup milk and eggs. Dredge steaks in cracker mixture; dip in milk mixture, and dredge again in cracker mixture.

• Pour oil into a 12-inch skillet; heat to 360°. (Do not use a nonstick skillet.) Fry steaks 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until golden. Remove steaks onto a wire rack in a jellyroll pan. Keep steaks warm in a 225° oven. Carefully drain hot oil, reserving cooked bits and 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

• Whisk together remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 4 cups milk. Add to reserved drippings in skillet; cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat 10 minutes or until gravy is thickened. Serve over warm steaks. Yield: 4 servings.

Menu Makings

Be sure to serve this Southern steak with mashed potatoes for soaking up the gravy. Cook potatoes in the microwave for mashing, or stir up frozen mashed potatoes, if you’d rather.

Smoked Sausage with Warm Potato Salad

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Because it’s so meaty, this potato salad can be served as a main dish or as a hearty side.

3 pounds small red potatoes, quartered

2 pounds smoked sausage, cut into 1-inch-thick slices

¾ cup dry white wine, divided

2 (8-ounce) packages sliced fresh mushrooms

¾ cup olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon pepper sauce, divided

1 bunch green onions, chopped

⅓ cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon salt

⅓ teaspoon pepper

• Cook potato in boiling water to cover in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain and cool slightly. Cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, and place in a large bowl.

• Meanwhile, brown sausage in Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Add ½ cup wine, and cook 5 minutes. Drain sausage, and add to potato slices.

• Sauté mushrooms in 2 tablespoons hot oil in Dutch oven 5 minutes or until liquid evaporates. Sprinkle with 1½ teaspoons pepper sauce, tossing gently. Add mushroom mixture and green onions to potato mixture.

• Process remaining ¼ cup wine, 1½ teaspoons pepper sauce, chicken broth, and next 3 ingredients in a blender or food processor until blended. Turn blender on high; add remaining oil in a slow, steady stream. Pour over potato mixture, tossing gently to coat. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

No need to peel the potatoes. That’ll save time and lend a great rustic look to this chunky salad.

30 Minutes or Less

Quick Black-Eyed Peas ’n’ Ham

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

No Southerner is satisfied without their black-eyed peas. Get your fill with this quick Hoppin’ John-style recipe.

* Stovetop Solution

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 (15-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

¾ cup chopped cooked ham

¼ cup teriyaki marinade and sauce (we used Kikkoman)

1 teaspoon salt-free Creole seasoning

1¼ cups water

Hot cooked rice

Toppings: chopped tomato, sliced green onions

• Sauté chopped onion in hot oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 3 minutes. Add peas and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Serve over rice with desired toppings. Yield: 4 servings.

Kitchen Timesavers

When you begin cooking, put some water on to boil for boil-in-bag rice—it’ll be ready when the peas are.

Zesty Barbecued Chicken Drumsticks

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

This barbecued chicken has extra zing due to the addition of horseradish.

¼ cup spicy-hot vegetable juice

2 tablespoons chili sauce

1 tablespoon molasses

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1½ teaspoons prepared horseradish

1 garlic clove, crushed

8 chicken drumsticks, skinned (about 1½ pounds)

• Prepare grill.

• Combine vegetable juice and next 6 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

• Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill, uncovered, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) for 30 minutes or until done, turning often. Baste chicken frequently with sauce after 15 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Chicken legs are a quick kind of chicken to cook on the grill, second only to boneless breasts.

30 Minutes or Less

Pecan Chicken

Prep: 12 minutes

Cook: 18 minutes

Using just 3 ingredients to flavor this chicken makes a miraculous quick main dish.

* 5 Ingredients or Less

4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (we used Grey Poupon)

2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans

• Place chicken between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, and flatten to ¼-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin.

• Stir together honey and mustard; spread on both sides of chicken, and dredge in pecans. Arrange in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish.

• Bake at 350° for 15 to 18 minutes or until done. Yield: 4 servings.

Fix it Faster

Pounding chicken breasts shortens the time they take to cook.

30 Minutes or Less

Garlic Fried Chicken Breasts

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

A quick soak in a salty milk mixture makes this chicken extra moist and flavorful. Stir up the breading, and heat the oil while it soaks.

4 small bone-in chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika

Vegetable oil

• Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, and place in a shallow bowl. Whisk together eggs and milk; pour over chicken, turning pieces to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.

• Combine flour, garlic powder, and paprika in a zip-top freezer bag. Drop 1 chicken breast at a time into bag; seal bag, and shake to coat.

• Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches in a large, heavy skillet. Heat oil to 360°. Add chicken, and cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until done, turning as needed. Drain. Yield: 4 servings.

Menu Makings

Green beans and mashed potatoes with gravy team up to make perfect fried chicken sides.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Prep: 13 minutes

Cook: 32 minutes

Rediscovering the “King Ranch Casserole” brings back fond childhood memories.

* Make Ahead

* Freeze It

1 (10-ounce) package frozen seasoning blend

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 (10¾-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 (10¾-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles

1 teaspoon chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic salt

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

• Stir together first 7 ingredients.

• Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer one-third of tortilla pieces in bottom of a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Top with one-third of chicken mixture and ⅔ cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice.

• Bake at 350º for 32 minutes or until casserole is thoroughly heated and bubbly. Yield: 6 servings.

Note: Freeze casserole up to 1 month, if desired. Thaw in refrigerator overnight, and bake as directed.

Fix It Faster

We’ve published several versions of this family favorite, and this one’s the quickest yet. No sautéing is needed; just stir the ingredients together and pop them in the oven.

30 Minutes or Less

Chicken and Dumplings

Prep: 9 minutes

Cook: 19 minutes

The best chicken and dumplings yet! Your family will think you worked all day in the kitchen to prepare this favorite of the South.

* Editor’s Favorite

* Kid Friendly

3 celery ribs, sliced (about 1 cup)

2 carrots, sliced (about 1 cup)

3 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth

½ teaspoon poultry seasoning

½ teaspoon pepper

1⅔ cups all-purpose baking mix

½ cup milk

3 cups chopped cooked chicken

• Combine first 5 ingredients in a large Dutch oven. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 6 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

• Meanwhile, stir together baking mix and milk. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; roll dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Cut into 3- x 2-inch strips.

• When vegetables are tender, stir in chicken. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium­-low. Drop dough strips, 1 at a time, into simmering broth. Cover and simmer 8 minutes, spooning broth over dumplings occasionally. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Use chopped cooked chicken from the freezer section, or pull the meat from a deli-roasted bird. One roasted chicken yields about 3 cups chicken.

Crispy Fried Catfish

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 3 minutes per batch

Frying fillet strips instead of whole catfish greatly speeds up the process. Three minutes, and these golden nuggets are ready to eat.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground red pepper

2½ cups cornmeal mix

1 tablespoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons dried thyme

10 (6- to 8-ounce) farm-raised catfish fillets, cut into strips

1 cup buttermilk

Peanut oil

• Combine first 4 ingredients in a shallow dish.

• Combine cornmeal mix, garlic powder, and thyme in a zip-top freezer bag.

• Dredge catfish fillets in flour mixture, and dip in buttermilk, allowing excess to drip off. Place catfish fillets in cornmeal mixture; seal bag, and shake gently to coat.

• Pour oil to a depth of 1½ inches into a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet; heat to 360°. Fry catfish fillets, in batches, 3 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels, and serve immediately. Yield: 10 servings.

Frying Success

1. Select an oil with a high smoke point, such as peanut oil.

2. Use a deep-fat thermometer to maintain an accurate temperature. When the oil is hot enough, the cooking process seals the outside of the fish to lock in flavor and moisture.

3. Fry in batches to prevent the oil temperature from dropping too low.

Layered Cornbread-and-Turkey Salad

Prep: 25 minutes

Other: 2 hours

Some brands of precooked bacon are crispier than others. For extra crunch, sizzle the bacon in the microwave at HIGH for 1 to 2 minutes.

* No-Cook Creation

* Make Ahead

1 (15-ounce) bottle roasted-garlic dressing (we used T. Marzetti’s)

½ cup buttermilk

1 head romaine lettuce, shredded

1½ cups chopped smoked turkey (about ½ pound)

8 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped

2 cups crumbled cornbread

8 fully cooked bacon slices, crumbled

5 green onions, chopped

• Stir together dressing and buttermilk, blending well.

• Layer a 3-quart glass bowl with half each of lettuce and next 6 ingredients; top with half of dressing. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients and dressing. Cover and chill 2 hours. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Use premade cornbread from your grocer’s bakery. You only need two cups, crumbled, for this recipe, so serve the rest with Easy Texas Chili later in the week.

Blackened Tomato Salad

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

Other: 1 hour

The juice from the tomatoes creates the fantastic marinade for this salad.

* Make Ahead

4 large tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons sliced fresh basil

¼ cup olive oil

1½ tablespoons red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Garnish: fresh basil leaves

• Cut tomatoes into quarters; remove and discard seeds. Pat dry, and brush sides evenly with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

• Cook tomato quarters in a hot cast-iron skillet over high heat 1½ to 2 minutes on each side or until blackened. Remove from skillet, and cool, reserving juice from skillet.

• Toss tomato with reserved juice, basil, and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Dilled Potato Salad

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Other: 2 hours

* Make Ahead

2 pounds new potatoes, cut into wedges

1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite sweet green peas, thawed and drained

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon garlic salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 small sweet onion, chopped

3 tablespoons minced fresh dill

• Combine potato and water to cover in a saucepan; cook 20 minutes or until tender. Drain and add peas.

• Meanwhile, stir together mayonnaise and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add potato mixture; toss gently to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Yield: 8 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

There’s no need to cook the peas for this salad. Just thaw them, and stir them in.

Creole Potato Salad

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Leaving the peel on the potatoes adds nutrients and color—and speeds up the prep time.

* Make Ahead

3 pounds red potatoes, cubed

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup Creole mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1¼ teaspoons garlic salt

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

½ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 medium-size sweet onion, diced

• Combine potato and water to cover in a saucepan; cook 12 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool slightly.

• Stir together mayonnaise and next 6 ingredients in a large bowl; add potato, egg, and onion, tossing gently. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Yield: 8 servings.

10 Minutes or Less

Colorful Coleslaw

Prep: 10 minutes

* No-Cook Creation

* Super Fast and Fresh

1 (10-ounce) package finely shredded cabbage

4 green onions, chopped

1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

½ teaspoon salt

• Stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Menu Makings

Serve this cool side with Crispy Fried Catfish.

10 Minutes or Less

Jalapeño Coleslaw

Prep: 5 minutes

* No-Cook Creation

* Make Ahead

⅓ cup sour cream

⅓ cup mayonnaise

¼ cup chopped pickled jalapeño peppers

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

1 (16-ounce) package shredded coleslaw mix

• Stir together first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; add coleslaw mix, tossing to coat. Cover and chill, if desired. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Gadget Magic

You can quickly snip the jalapeño peppers in a cup using kitchen shears.

20 Minutes or Less

“Fried” Green Tomato BLTs

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 6 minutes

Oven-frying speeds up the cooking process and minimizes the cleanup compared to the traditional frying procedure.

* Ideas for Two

* Super Fast and Fresh

1 medium-size green tomato, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

⅛ teaspoon hot sauce (optional)

1 egg white, lightly beaten

1½ tablespoons self-rising cornmeal

2 Green Leaf lettuce leaves

2 (1-ounce) slices mozzarella cheese

4 bacon slices, cooked and halved

4 (1-ounce) slices white sandwich bread, toasted

• Sprinkle tomato slices with hot sauce, if desired; dip in egg white, and dredge in cornmeal.

• Place slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat slices with cooking spray. Broil 3 inches from heat 3 minutes on each side or until tender and golden.

• Layer lettuce, cheese, bacon, and tomato slices on 2 slices of toast. Top with remaining 2 slices of toast. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.

Menu Makings

Serve these sandwiches with sliced fresh fruit.

30 Minutes or Less

Spicy Tortilla Soup

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 23 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

½ cup chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 medium zucchini, sliced

4 cups chicken broth

1 (16-ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (11-ounce) can sweet whole kernel corn, undrained

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon pepper

Tortilla chips

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese

• Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until onion is tender. Add zucchini and next 6 ingredients; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

• Spoon soup into individual bowls. Top with tortilla chips and shredded cheese. Yield: 2¼ quarts.

20 Minutes or Less

White Bean Soup

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Ham gives this soup a punch of flavor. Using the canned kind keeps things simple.

* Stovetop Solution

1 (16-ounce) can navy beans, undrained

1 (15.8-ounce) can great Northern beans, undrained

1 cup water

¼ cup chopped onion

½ cup preshredded carrot

¼ cup butter or margarine, melted

1 (5-ounce) can chunk ham, drained and flaked

• Combine beans in a large saucepan; mash slightly with a potato masher. Stir in 1 cup water, and cook over low heat until thoroughly heated.

• Meanwhile, sauté onion and carrot in butter over medium-high heat until onion is tender. Add sautéed vegetables and ham to bean mixture. Cook over low heat 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yield: 1 quart.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Preshredded carrot, found in the produce section, speeds up this simple soup and is handy to keep around for sprinkling into green salads.

Chunky Beef Chili

Prep: 7 minutes

Cook: 37 minutes

This chili is handy to keep on hand in the freezer for when you’re late getting home. Just defrost it in the microwave while you set the table.

* Freeze It

* Ideas for Two

* Big Batch

2 pounds ground round

2 large onions, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans

½ cup ketchup

1 (14½-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

2½ tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

• Cook beef and next 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Drain; pat dry with paper towels. Wipe drippings from Dutch oven. Return meat mixture to Dutch oven. Add beans, ketchup, and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes. Yield: 10 cups.

To Freeze: Place 3⅓ cups chili in each of 3 labeled airtight containers. Freeze up to 3 months.

To Serve Two: Thaw 1 (3⅓-cup) container in refrigerator or microwave oven. Cook chili in a medium saucepan over medium heat until thoroughly heated.

Menu Makings

Serve this hearty chili with Old-Fashioned Skillet Cornbread. Prepare the cornbread while the chili simmers.

30 Minutes or Less

Easy Texas Chili

Prep: 3 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

If your beef is lean enough, there’s no need to drain it after browning.

* Make Ahead

* Stovetop Solution

* Freeze It

1 pound lean ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1½ cups water

1½ teaspoons chili powder

½ teaspoon garlic salt

• Cook beef and onion in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Add pinto beans and remaining ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yield: about 5 cups.

30 Minutes or Less

Old-Fashioned Skillet Cornbread

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Bacon drippings add extra flavor to this crispy, down-home cornbread.

* Editor’s Favorite

3 bacon slices

2 cups buttermilk

1 large egg

1¾ cups white cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

• Cook bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

• Heat skillet in a 450° oven 3 minutes or until very hot.

• Whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add cornmeal, stirring well.

• Stir in bacon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Pour batter into hot skillet.

• Bake at 450° for 15 minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

Jalapeño Hush Puppies

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 7 minutes per batch

If you like more spice in your hush puppies, simply mince the jalapeño pepper without seeding it—it’ll save a little time too.

* Big Batch

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup self-rising white cornmeal

½ teaspoon sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 small onion, grated

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1 cup buttermilk

1 large egg

Peanut oil

• Combine first 4 ingredients; stir in onion and jalapeño.

• Whisk together buttermilk and egg; add to flour mixture.

• Pour oil to a depth of 3 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls into oil; fry, in batches, 5 to 7 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Yield: about 2½ dozen.

Freezer Fresh

If you have any of these leftover, pop the puppies in a zip-top freezer bag, and freeze for up to a month. Crisp them in a 400° oven until hot.

30 Minutes or Less

Broccoli Cornbread Mini-Muffins

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Mini-muffin pans speed up the cook time for these cheesy cornbread bites.

1 (8½-ounce) package corn muffin mix

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

1 small onion, chopped

2 large eggs

½ cup butter or margarine, melted

• Combine first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

• Stir together eggs and butter, blending well; add to broccoli mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon into lightly greased mini-muffin pans, filling three-fourths full.

• Bake at 325° for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Let stand 2 minutes before removing from pans. Yield: 2 dozen.

20 Minutes or Less

Creamy Grits

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Cream cheese and half-and-half put the “cream” in this Southern favorite.

* Stovetop Solution

2 cups half-and-half or whipping cream

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon garlic powder

⅛ teaspoon pepper

½ cup uncooked quick-cooking grits

2 ounces cream cheese, cubed

¾ cup (3 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

¼ teaspoon hot sauce

• Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven; gradually stir in grits. Return to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Add cheeses and hot sauce, stirring until cheeses melt. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Quick-cooking grits have the germ removed, which gives them a longer shelf life than regular. They’re a great pantry staple.

Hot Tomato Grits

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Everything cooks in the same saucepan, so there’s minimal cleanup with this cheesy main dish or side dish.

* Stovetop Solution

2 bacon slices, chopped

2 (14-ounce) cans chicken broth

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits

2 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons canned chopped green chiles

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

Garnishes: chopped tomato, cooked and crumbled bacon, shredded Cheddar cheese

• Cook bacon in a heavy saucepan until crisp, reserving bacon and drippings in pan. Gradually add broth and salt; bring to a boil.

• Stir in grits, tomato, and chiles; return to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring often, 15 minutes.

• Stir in cheese. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

20 Minutes or Less

Quick Double-Cheese Grits

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Quick-cooking grits make this cheesy dish a 15-minute marvel.

* Stovetop Solution

* Make Ahead

6 cups water

½ teaspoon salt

1½ cups uncooked quick-cooking grits

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

½ teaspoon pepper

• Bring 6 cups water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in grits. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until thickened. Remove from heat. Add shredded cheeses, butter, and pepper, stirring until blended. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

Two Meals in One

Grits can be chilled and reheated. When reheating, whisk a tablespoon or two of warm water into grits over medium heat, adding more water as necessary.

Bacon ’n’ Herb Butterbeans

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 34 minutes

Fry the bacon, and stir up the other seasonings while the butterbeans simmer; you’ll be able to toss everything together in a jiffy.

* Stovetop Solution

1 (16-ounce) package frozen butterbeans

4 bacon slices

4 green onions, sliced

1 large garlic clove, minced

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

¾ teaspoon seasoned salt

• Cook butterbeans according to package directions; set aside.

• Cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

• Sauté green onions and garlic in hot drippings 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in butterbeans, parsley, and seasoned salt; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with bacon. Yield: 4 servings.

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 3 minutes per batch

Other: 1 hour

* No Fuss Entertaining

* Big Batch

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 (15.5-ounce) cans black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained, and divided

1 (8-ounce) container chive-and-onion cream cheese, softened

1 large egg

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 (8-ounce) package hush puppy mix with onion

Olive oil

Toppings: sour cream and green tomato relish

• Sauté onion in 1 tablespoon hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until tender.

• Process onion, 1 can of peas, and next 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor until mixture is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Stir in hush puppy mix, and gently fold in remaining can of peas.

• Shape mixture by 2 tablespoonfuls into 3-inch patties, and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Cover and chill 1 hour.

• Cook patties, in batches, in 3 tablespoons hot oil (adding oil as needed) in a skillet over medium heat 1½ minutes on each side or until patties are golden. Drain on paper towels, and keep warm. Serve with desired toppings. Yield: 30 appetizer servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Canned black-eyed peas and packaged hush puppy mix make this recipe a snap to prepare.

30 Minutes or Less

Saucy Green Beans

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed*

1 small sweet onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

½ to ¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

• Cook green beans in boiling water to cover 5 to 10 minutes or to desired degree of doneness; drain and set aside.

• Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

• Add tomato sauce and sugar; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Add green beans, salt, pepper, and vinegar; cook 5 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

* Substitute 1 pound frozen whole green beans for fresh green beans, if desired. Cook according to package directions; drain well.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Purchase one of the flavored tomato sauces for a change of pace.

30 Minutes or Less

Corn Pudding

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

* 5 Ingredients or Less

2 cups milk

½ cup yellow cornmeal

1 (16-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons whipping cream

• Bring milk to a boil in a heavy saucepan; gradually add cornmeal, stirring until blended after each addition. Cook, stirring constantly, just until mixture begins to boil. Reduce heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened.

• Add corn, stirring until mixture is consistency of whipped potatoes. Stir in salt and whipping cream. Yield: 6 servings.

30 Minutes or Less

Basil Okra ’n’ Tomatoes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

* Simply Southern

Basil adds an aromatic twist to this traditional side dish.

4 bacon slices

1 (16-ounce) package frozen sliced okra, thawed

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 large onion, chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons minced fresh basil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

• Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

• Dredge okra in flour.

• Sauté onion in reserved drippings until tender. Add okra; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in tomato and basil; cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle with bacon. Yield: 4 servings.

20 Minutes or Less

Crunchy Fried Okra

Prep: 6 minutes

Cook: 3 minutes per batch

Pick small, tender okra pods, and skip the traditional slicing step to speed up this time-honored favorite.

* Editor’s Favorite

1½ cups buttermilk

1 large egg

1½ sleeves saltine crackers, finely crushed

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound small fresh okra

Peanut oil

• Stir together buttermilk and egg. Combine cracker crumbs, flour, and salt. Dip okra pieces in buttermilk mixture; dredge in cracker crumb mixture.

• Pour oil to a depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven; heat to 375°. Fry okra, in batches, 3 minutes or until golden, turning once. Drain on paper towels. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Okra Creole

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

This spicy okra concoction will have you coming back for more.

* Stovetop Solution

3 bacon slices

1 (16-ounce) package frozen sliced okra

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 cup frozen onion seasoning blend

1 cup frozen whole kernel corn

½ cup water

1 teaspoon Creole seasoning

¼ teaspoon pepper

Hot cooked rice (optional)

• Cook bacon in a Dutch oven until crisp; remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Crumble bacon.

• Cook okra and next 6 ingredients in hot drippings in Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Top with crumbled bacon. Serve over rice, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

10 Minutes or Less

Savory Stuffed Tomatoes

Prep: 6 minutes

Cook: 4 minutes

Use a small spoon to scoop the pulp out of these tomatoes.

* Super Fast and Fresh

1 (1.5-ounce) slice whole grain bread

4 medium tomatoes

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives

1 garlic clove, minced

2 teaspoons olive oil

• Place bread in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure ½ cup, and set aside.

• Cut top off each tomato. Scoop out pulp, leaving shells intact. Discard tops and pulp.

• Place tomatoes on a jellyroll pan lined with foil. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper.

• Combine breadcrumbs, basil, olives, and garlic. Spoon crumb mixture evenly into tomato shells. Drizzle each with ½ teaspoon oil.

• Broil 3 to 4 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Yield: 4 servings.

How-To Hints

If your tomatoes are too rounded to stay still on the jellyroll pan, place them in a muffin tin instead—the cups will cradle the tomatoes.

10 Minutes or Less

Soufflé Potatoes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

The instant potato flakes in this recipe make for a super-quick soufflé.

* 5 Ingredients or Less

* Microwave Miracle

2⅔ cups instant potato flakes

1 egg, beaten

1 (2.8-ounce) can French fried onion rings

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

• Prepare potato flakes according to package directions. Add egg, onion rings, and salt, stirring until blended. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Yield: 8 servings.

Microwave Directions: Prepare potato flakes in microwave according to package directions. Add egg, onion rings, and salt, stirring until blended. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Microwave at HIGH 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

Bourbon Yams

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

One-half teaspoon allspice will make a flavorful substitution for the three spices in these yams.

1 (29-ounce) can cut sweet potatoes, drained and cut into ½-inch-thick slices

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

3 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons orange juice

3 tablespoons bourbon

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

⅛ teaspoon ground cloves

⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

• Place sliced potato in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Combine butter and next 6 ingredients; pour over potato. Sprinkle with pecans. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Yield: 4 servings.

Note: If you’re partial to fresh sweet potatoes, substitute 3 medium-size fresh (about 1½ pounds) for canned sweet potatoes. Cook in boiling water to cover 30 to 45 minutes or until tender. Let potatoes cool to touch; peel and slice.

Easy Oven Rice

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Sometimes it’s nice to get rice off the cooktop and into the oven to bake alongside an entrée. No tending needed.

1 cup sliced celery

¾ cup sliced green onions

¾ cup chopped green bell pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2¾ cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

½ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

1½ cups uncooked long-grain rice

¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

• Sauté celery, green onions, and bell pepper in hot oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in broth and next 3 ingredients; bring to a boil.

• Spoon rice into a shallow 2-quart baking dish; add hot broth mixture. Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle with pecans. Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

10 Minutes or Less

Cream Gravy

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

1 cup milk

1 (¼-inch-thick) onion slice

1 fresh parsley sprig

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon ground white pepper

Dash of nutmeg

• Bring first 3 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Pour milk mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a small bowl, reserving the hot milk and discarding solids.

• Melt butter in a large skillet over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in reserved hot milk, and cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Yield: ¾ cup.

Menu Makings

Serve with vegetables, pasta, or chicken. If you have drippings from fried chicken or steak, you can substitute those for the butter.

Meat Gravy

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

1 medium onion, halved and sliced

2 celery ribs, sliced

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 (10½-ounce) can beef consommé, undiluted

1¼ cups water, divided

1 beef bouillon cube

2 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon browning-and-seasoning sauce (we used Kitchen Bouquet)

• Sauté onion and celery in hot oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat 10 minutes; stir in consommé, 1 cup water, and bouillon cube. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until onion is tender.

• Stir together cornstarch, remaining ¼ cup water, and seasoning sauce until smooth. Stir into gravy mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Yield: 2 cups.

Menu Makings

This gravy is as rich as one that begins with a roast. Serve over rice or potatoes.

20 Minutes or Less

Sausage Gravy

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

* 5 Ingredients or Less

8 ounces ground pork sausage

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2⅓ cups milk

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

• Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Remove sausage, and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.

• Whisk flour into hot drippings until smooth; cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened. Stir in sausage, salt, and pepper. Yield: 2 cups.

Menu Makings

Serve thick sausage gravy over buttermilk biscuits or grits.

Come Back Sauce

Prep: 8 minutes

Other: 1 hour

Pair this sauce with your favorite fried chicken strips for a meal that’s quick and easy. You’ll want to “come back” for more!

* Make Ahead

* No-Cook Creation

* Big Batch

1 cup mayonnaise

½ cup olive oil

⅔ cup chili sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper

¼ teaspoon hot sauce

1 medium onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

• Stir together all ingredients. Cover and chill 1 hour or up to 2 days. Yield: 3 cups.

20 Minutes or Less

Quick Corn Relish

Prep: 2 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Other: 4 to 8 hours

The microwave can cut the time for this 12-minute recipe nearly in half.

* Make Ahead

* Microwave Miracle

1 (11-ounce) can yellow corn with red and green bell peppers

⅓ cup sugar

⅓ cup cider vinegar

⅓ cup sweet pickle relish

2 tablespoons instant minced onion

½ teaspoon celery seeds

• Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes.

• Remove to a serving bowl; cover and refrigerate relish 4 to 8 hours, if desired. Yield: 2 cups.

Microwave Directions: Combine all ingredients in a 1-quart casserole. Cover and microwave at MEDIUM HIGH (70% power) 5 to 7 minutes. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours, if desired.

Menu Makings

Serve this zesty relish with beef, pork, or poultry.

20 Minutes or Less

Shortcut Pralines

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

The microwave is magic when it comes to pralines. It cuts your cook time in half. If your oven is 1000 watts or more, use the lower time option.

* Make Ahead

* Microwave Miracle

1½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 cups pecans, chopped

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

¼ cup butter or margarine

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

⅛ teaspoon salt

• Stir together all ingredients in a 4-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 5 to 6 minutes; stir well. Microwave 5 to 6 more minutes. Stir for 2 minutes or just until candy begins to become opaque.

• Working rapidly, drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased wax paper; let stand until firm. Yield: 2 dozen.

Gadget Magic

Scoop the mixture into a spoon for portioning, and use another spoon to quickly push it off onto the surface.

Raisin-Oatmeal Cookies

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes per batch

Other: 8 hours

Convenience is key for cookie bakers. Mix and chill this dough ahead, and then you can bake however many cookies you want at a time. You can even freeze the dough up to 3 months. No need to thaw, but the cookies might take a minute or two longer to bake.

* Freeze It

* Make Ahead

* Kid Friendly

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups self-rising flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 cups uncooked regular oats

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped pecans

• Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, beating until blended. Gradually add flour and cinnamon, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in oats, raisins, and pecans. Cover and chill dough 8 hours.

• Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 12-inch log. Cut each log into 1-inch-thick slices. Place slices on ungreased baking sheets.

• Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until golden brown; remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 dozen.

Pecan Squares

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

* Editor’s Favorite

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup powdered sugar

1 cup butter or margarine, cut up

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (10-ounce) package almond toffee bits (we used Heath Bits ’O Brickle)

1 cup chopped pecans

• Combine flour and powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Press mixture evenly into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking pan.

• Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Combine sweetened condensed milk and remaining ingredients; pour over prepared crust.

• Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool and cut into squares. Yield: 3 dozen.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Find Bits ‘O Brickle in the baking section of your supermarket.

Honey-Pecan Pie Fingers

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

* Big Batch

* Kid Friendly

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar, divided

½ cup butter, softened

½ cup honey

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup chopped pecans

• Combine 1¼ cups flour and ⅓ cup sugar in a medium bowl; cut ½ cup softened butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. Press flour mixture firmly and evenly into an ungreased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until edges of crust are lightly browned.

• Combine remaining ⅔ cup sugar and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well. Pour evenly over prepared crust. Bake at 375° for 20 to 25 minutes, shielding with aluminum foil the last 5 minutes, if necessary. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 1½- x 1-inch bars. Yield: 4½ dozen.

Gadget Magic

If you don’t have a pastry blender, use two knives to cut through the butter and flour mixture until crumbly.

Blueberry-Pecan Cobbler

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 33 minutes

The pecans in this cobbler provide a surprise middle layer.

* Editor’s Favorite

3 pints fresh or frozen blueberries

1 cup sugar

⅓ cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup water

1½ tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

Vanilla ice cream

• Bring first 6 ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar melts. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.

• Spoon half of blueberry mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Roll 1 piecrust to ⅛-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut dough into an 11- x 7-inch rectangle. Place dough over blueberry mixture; sprinkle with pecans.

• Bake at 475° for 10 minutes. Spoon remaining blueberry mixture over baked crust. Roll remaining piecrust to ⅛-inch thickness; cut into 1-inch strips. Arrange in lattice design over blueberry mixture.

• Bake at 475° for 10 minutes or until golden. Serve with vanilla ice cream. Yield: 4 servings.

Gadget Magic

Use a fluted pastry wheel to quickly cut the pastry into strips.

Quick Peach Cobbler

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Try substituting apricots, cherries, or apples for the peaches.

* Ideas for Two

* Kid Friendly

1½ teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon cold water

1 (8.5-ounce) can sliced peaches, undrained

½ cup buttermilk baking mix (we used Pioneer)

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Vanilla ice cream

• Dissolve cornstarch in 1 tablespoon cold water in a medium saucepan; add peaches, and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Pour into a 1-quart baking dish.

• Combine baking mix and sugar; add milk and vegetable oil, stirring to form a soft dough. Drop dough by spoonfuls on top of peach mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with ice cream. Yield: 2 servings.

Texas Star Pecan Pie

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 27 minutes

This pie is sure to be a star on your favorite recipes list.

4 egg whites

⅛ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1 (9-ounce) ready-made graham cracker crust

• Beat egg whites in a small bowl at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; add salt and vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar and brown sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Stir in chopped pecans.

• Spoon mixture into crust. Bake at 350° for 25 to 27 minutes or until pie is done. Cool on a wire rack. Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie.

Menu Makings

Serve this decadent pie with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce on top.

Coconut Cream Pie

Prep: 12 minutes

Cook: 6 minutes

Other: 1 hour

Use a refrigerated or frozen piecrust to keep this recipe quick. It’ll be ready in less than 20 minutes other than the stand and chill time.

* No Fuss Entertaining

¾ cup sugar, divided

¼ cup cornstarch

2 cups half-and-half

4 egg yolks

3 tablespoons butter

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided

1 baked 9-inch pastry shell

1 cup whipping cream

Garnish: toasted coconut chips

• Combine ½ cup sugar and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan; gradually whisk in half-and-half and egg yolks. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in butter, coconut, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

• Place plastic wrap directly over custard mixture, and cool to room temperature. Spoon custard mixture into pastry shell, and chill 30 minutes or until set.

• Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy; gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, beating until soft peaks form. Spread or pipe whipped cream over pie. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 1 (9-inch) pie.

New-Fashioned Banana Pudding

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Who knew you could make banana pudding just like Mom used to make? Half-and-half enriches instant pudding and makes it taste homemade. Sit down, and dip your spoon into this big bowl of comfort!

* Kid Friendly

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup milk

1 (5.1-ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix

1 (12-ounce) package vanilla wafers

6 small ripe bananas

4 egg whites

⅓ cup sugar

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

• Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat at low speed with an electric mixer until blended. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes or until mixture is smooth and thickened.

• Layer one-fourth of wafers in a 2½-quart baking dish. Slice 2 bananas, and layer over wafers. Pour one-third of pudding over bananas. Repeat layers twice, ending with pudding. Arrange remaining wafers around edge of baking dish.

• Beat egg whites at high speed until foamy. Add ⅓ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes). Fold in vanilla extract.

• Spread meringue over pudding, sealing to edge of dish. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until golden. Yield: 8 servings.

Fix it Faster

Create this treat even faster using the no-bake, meringue look-alike: thawed, frozen whipped topping!

Chapter Two

Hot Off the Grill

Summertime and a grill—what a refreshing combo. Warmer weather seems to call us outside to cook over an open flame, as we yearn for that perfect grilled flavor. Choose one of these succulent main dishes or sides the next time the grill beckons you.

30 Minutes or Less

Grilled Gorgonzola Rib-Eye Steaks

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 19 minutes

Coarsely grained kosher salt adds nice texture to the seasoning blend slathered on these steaks.

* No Fuss Entertaining

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced shallot

2 tablespoons olive oil

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground white pepper

4 (8-ounce) rib-eye steaks

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese

¼ cup fine, dry breadcrumbs (commercial)

8 large green onions

• Combine first 5 ingredients; stir well. Brush about two-thirds of mixture evenly over both sides of steaks. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 6 to 8 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.

• Remove steaks from grill, and place on a rack in a broiler pan. Crumble cheese evenly over steaks; sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over cheese. Place green onions around steaks on rack. Brush remaining garlic mixture over green onions. Broil 5½ inches from heat 3 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

You can prepare this recipe without kosher salt by substituting 1 teaspoon regular salt in place of 1½ teaspoons kosher salt.

Asian Grilled Flank Steak

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Other: 8 to 24 hours

* Make Ahead

1½ pounds flank steak

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

• Score steak diagonally across grain at ¾-inch intervals. Place steak in a large zip-top freezer bag or shallow dish. Combine soy sauce and remaining 5 ingredients. Pour ½ cup marinade over steak; seal or cover, and marinate in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours, turning occasionally. Cover and chill remaining marinade.

• Remove steak from marinade, discarding marinade in bag or dish. Grill steak, without grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 8 to 10 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness, basting with reserved marinade during last 5 minutes. To serve, slice diagonally across grain. Yield: 4 servings.

How-To Hints

Score steak diagonally across the grain at ¾-inch intervals to encourage the marinade to seep in.

Peppered Flank Steaks

Prep: 13 minutes

Cook: 16 minutes

Other: 8 to 24 hours

* Make Ahead

* No Fuss Entertaining

¾ cup olive oil

⅓ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup Dijon mustard

2 green onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

1½ tablespoons coarsely ground pepper

1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon salt

2 (1½-pound) flank steaks

• Combine first 8 ingredients in a large zip-top freezer bag. Add steaks; seal bag securely.

• Marinate in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

• Remove steaks from marinade, discarding marinade. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350º to 400º) 8 minutes on each side or to desired degree of doneness.

• Slice steaks diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

No fresh thyme? No problem. Almost any herb works well with this tangy pepper-based seasoning.

Molasses-Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Other: 8 to 24 hours

* Make Ahead

* 5 Ingredients or Less

¼ cup molasses

2 tablespoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

4 (¾-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed

• Combine first 3 ingredients, and brush evenly over tenderloins. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

• Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) about 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160°, turning once. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

Gadget Magic

Resolve the “doneness” dilemma—purchase one-time use, disposable thermometers from your local grocery store.

Blue Cheese-Stuffed Chops

Prep: 13 minutes

Cook: 19 minutes

Ask your butcher to cut pockets in the loin chops for you—it will save time and keep the recipe easy.

* No Fuss Entertaining

½ cup crumbled blue cheese

2 green onions, thinly sliced

4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops, trimmed and cut with pockets

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

¼ cup sour cream

½ teaspoon chicken bouillon granules

⅛ teaspoon pepper

¾ cup milk

Crumbled blue cheese (optional)

Cracked pepper (optional)

• Toss together ½ cup crumbled blue cheese and green onions in a small bowl. Stuff mixture into pockets of chops; secure openings with wooden picks. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350º to 400º) 8 minutes on each side or until done. Remove wooden picks. Set aside, and keep warm.

• Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a small saucepan, whisking until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly; reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Serve chops with sauce; top with crumbled blue cheese and cracked pepper, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Menu Makings

Serve these cheesy chops with a crisp green salad topped with grilled red peppers for a splash of color. Simply cut bell peppers in half, remove seeds, and flatten peppers with the palm of your hand. Grill 8 minutes on each side along with the chops, and they will all be ready at the same time.

20 Minutes or Less

Ham ’n’ Cheese Kabobs

Prep: 16 minutes

Cook: 4 minutes

Leftover ham becomes a feast threaded onto skewers alongside chunks of pineapple and Swiss cheese. A simple orange marmalade sauce lends a tangy touch.

* Kid Friendly

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice, undrained

½ cup orange marmalade

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

1 pound cooked ham, cut into 1-inch cubes

8 ounces Swiss cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes

• Drain pineapple, reserving 2 tablespoons juice. Combine reserved juice, marmalade, mustard, and cloves; stir well with a wire whisk.

• Alternately thread ham, cheese, ham, and pineapple chunks onto 6 (12-inch) skewers. (Cheese cubes must be between and touching ham to prevent rapid melting.) Place kabobs on grill rack. Brush with marmalade mixture.

• Grill, without grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is partially melted and ham is lightly browned, brushing often with marmalade mixture. Serve kabobs immediately. Yield: 6 servings.

Grilled Citrus-Ginger Chicken

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

* No Fuss Entertaining

¼ cup low-sugar orange marmalade

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper

4 bone-in skinned chicken breast halves

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

½ teaspoon grated orange rind

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

• Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a small bowl.

• Coat food rack with cooking spray; place rack on grill over medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Brush half of marmalade mixture over chicken. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 30 minutes or until done, basting twice with remaining marmalade mixture.

• Stir together butter, orange rind, and ¼ teaspoon ginger. Spoon about 1 tablespoon butter mixture on top of each chicken breast. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Be sure to use low-sugar orange marmalade in this glaze. The full sugar kind tends to brown too much while the chicken grills.

Garlic-Lime Chicken

Prep: 3 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Other: 20 minutes

A short soak in a zingy marinade infuses this grilled chicken with flavor.

* No Fuss Entertaining

½ cup lite soy sauce

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon dry mustard

½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 skinned and boned chicken breast halves

Garnish: lime wedges

• Combine first 6 ingredients in a large zip-top freezer bag; add chicken. Seal bag; marinate in refrigerator 20 minutes, turning bag once.

• Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade. Coat grill rack with cooking spray; place rack on grill over medium-high heat (350° to 400°). Place chicken on rack, and grill, covered with grill lid, 6 minutes on each side or until done. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Menu Makings

Layer this zesty chicken atop black beans and yellow saffron rice mix, such as Mahatma.

Teriyaki Grilled Chicken Thighs

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Other: 8 hours

* Make Ahead

8 large chicken thighs, skinned if desired (about 2 pounds)

½ cup soy sauce

5 green onions, chopped

¼ cup lime juice

2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1 garlic clove, pressed

• Place chicken in an 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Combine soy sauce and next 6 ingredients; pour over chicken. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours, turning occasionally.

• Drain chicken, reserving marinade. Bring reserved marinade to a boil in a small saucepan; reserve for basting.

• Cook chicken, without grill lid, over medium heat (300° to 350°) 10 minutes on each side or until done, basting often with reserved marinade. Yield: 4 servings.

Swordfish Steaks with Basil Butter

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 16 minutes

Other: 8 to 24 hours

Basil gives an accented herb punch to this mild-flavored fish. Team leftover butter with any fish, shellfish, or veggies within three days.

* Make Ahead

½ cup butter, softened

¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1½ teaspoons capers

8 (8-ounce) swordfish steaks (about 1 inch thick)

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Garnishes: basil sprigs and lemon wedges

• Combine first 4 ingredients in a blender or food processor, and process until blended, stopping once to scrape down sides. Cover and chill 8 to 24 hours.

• Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Grill steaks, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) about 8 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

• Serve with basil butter. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

Menu Makings

Round out this meal with steamed green beans and roasted new potatoes. The basil butter compliments them as well as the steaks.

Savory Salmon Steaks

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Other: 8 hours

* Make Ahead

4 (8-ounce) salmon steaks (1 inch thick)

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons prepared horseradish

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

3 tablespoons lite soy sauce

• Place steaks in a large shallow dish. Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients; brush half of mixture over steaks, reserving remaining half. Cover and marinate steaks in refrigerator up to 8 hours. Cover and chill remaining marinade.

• Remove steaks from dish, discarding marinade in dish; place steaks in a lightly greased grill basket. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting often with reserved marinade. Yield: 4 servings.

Gadget Magic

We recommend using a grill basket for these flavorful salmon steaks. We found the steaks stuck when cooked directly on the grill rack, even though we used vegetable cooking spray.

30 Minutes or Less

Grilled Trout

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Lemon slices are stuffed into each trout during grilling, and lemon juice is cooked in the sauce, lending a citrus flavor to the fish and the sauce drizzled over each fillet.

* Super Fast and Fresh

3 (1-pound) whole trout, dressed (heads and fins removed)

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

2 medium lemons, thinly sliced

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ teaspoon pepper

• Brush cavity of each fish evenly with 3 tablespoons melted butter; stuff each fish evenly with lemon slices.

• Place fish in a lightly greased grill basket. Place grill basket on food rack, and grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) about 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

• Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook 3 minutes or until golden. Stir in lemon juice and pepper.

• Separate each trout into 2 fillets; discard lemon slices. Place trout, skin side down, on a serving platter. Drizzle butter sauce evenly over fillets. Yield: 6 servings.

20 Minutes or Less

Honey-Macadamia Mahimahi

Prep: 9 minutes

Cook: 11 minutes

Mahimahi and macadamia nuts blend deliciously because they both hail from the tropics. If you need a substitute for the mahimahi, any firm white fish will do.

* Ideas for Two

2 (8-ounce) mahimahi fillets

½ teaspoon vegetable oil

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons honey, divided

¼ cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped and toasted

• Rub fillets with oil; sprinkle both sides evenly with salt and pepper. Brush 1 side of fillets with 1½ tablespoons honey; place fillets in a lightly greased grill basket, brushed side up.

• Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 7 minutes; turn basket. Baste fillets with remaining 1½ tablespoons honey, and sprinkle with nuts. Grill, covered, 3 to 4 additional minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Toasting nuts really brings out their flavor. To toast macadamias, toss them in a dry skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. When you detect their aroma, they’re done.

20 Minutes or Less

Tuna Steaks with Green Peppercorn Sauce

Prep: 3 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

Green peppercorns in brine create a pleasant pepper flavor for this grilled fish. Look for them bottled in the condiment section of the grocery store.

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

6 (8-ounce) tuna steaks

¼ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup dry red wine

3 tablespoons green peppercorns in brine, drained

2 tablespoons low-sodium teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

• Combine first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Brush mixture evenly over both sides of tuna steaks. Grill steaks, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350º to 400º) about 5 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

• Meanwhile, combine mustard and remaining 4 ingredients in a small saucepan, stirring well; cook over medium heat until butter melts and sauce is thoroughly heated. To serve, spoon sauce over tuna steaks. Yield: 6 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

If you can’t find bottled green peppercorns, substitute 3 tablespoons drained capers plus ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper instead.

Pacific Rim Tuna Steaks

Prep: 7 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Other: 15 minutes

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon dried crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons sweet rice wine

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 garlic clove, minced

6 (4-ounce) tuna steaks (1 inch thick)

Garnish: fresh cilantro sprigs

• Combine first 7 ingredients in a large zip-top freezer bag; add fish. Seal bag, and chill 15 minutes, turning occasionally.

• Remove fish from marinade, reserving marinade. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300° to 350°) 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting twice with reserved marinade. Remove fish to a serving platter. Garnish, if desired. Yield: 6 servings.

Kitchen Timesavers

You can make the ginger marinade for these tuna steaks ahead and store it in the refrigerator up to a week.

Shrimp Skewers with Cilantro Salsa

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

Other: 15 minutes

Fresh tomato, onion, and cilantro in this salsa give a boost to simple grilled shrimp.

* Editor’s Favorite

1½ pounds peeled, large fresh shrimp (2 pounds if unpeeled)

8½ tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

1 garlic clove, minced

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

¾ teaspoon salt, divided

¼ teaspoon black pepper

• Lightly grease 8-inch metal skewers. Thread shrimp onto skewers; place in a shallow dish.

• Combine 6 tablespoons lime juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil; pour over shrimp. Cover and chill 15 minutes.

• Meanwhile, combine remaining 2½ tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, tomato, onion, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Cover and chill salsa.

• Remove shrimp skewers from marinade, reserving marinade.

• Grill shrimp, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 3 to 4 minutes on each side or just until shrimp turn pink, brushing with reserved marinade. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Serve shrimp immediately with salsa. Yield: 4 to 5 servings.

Kitchen Timesavers

Save yourself some time! Have the seafood department of your local grocery store peel and devein the shrimp for you.

Grilled Vegetable Sandwiches

Prep: 18 minutes

Cook: 18 minutes

Other: 10 minutes

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey

½ teaspoon ground red pepper

2 small zucchini, cut diagonally into ½-inch-thick slices

1 medium-size red onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1-inch-wide strips

1 (12- x 7-inch) focaccia (Italian flatbread)

2 (4-ounce) packages garlic-and-herb-flavored goat cheese

• Stir together first 4 ingredients in a large bowl; add vegetables, tossing gently to coat. Let mixture stand at room temperature 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

• Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon, reserving marinade, and place in a large lightly greased grill basket. Cut focaccia in half horizontally.

• Place grill basket on grill rack. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 8 minutes on each side or until vegetables are tender. Set aside. Place focaccia halves, cut sides down, on grill rack. Grill, without grill lid, 2 minutes or until toasted.

• Toss grilled vegetables in reserved marinade. Spread goat cheese evenly over cut sides of focaccia; spoon grilled vegetable mixture evenly on bottom half of focaccia. Top with remaining focaccia half. Cut sandwich into 4 slices; serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Focaccia comes in all shapes and sizes and can be found in the bakery section of the grocery store. If the exact dimensions can’t be found, use the closest in size possible.

20 Minutes or Less

Grilled Portobello Pizzas

Prep: 3 minutes

Cook: 8 minutes

Grilled portobellos lend a smoky, meaty flavor to this vegetarian delight.

* 5 Ingredients or Less

* Super Fast and Fresh

1 cup roasted garlic pasta sauce

½ cup chopped fresh basil, divided

8 large portobello mushroom caps

1 (8-ounce) bottle Italian dressing

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Italian three-cheese blend

• Stir together pasta sauce and ¼ cup basil. Set aside.

• Combine half of mushroom caps and half of Italian dressing evenly in each of two large zip-top freezer bags turning to coat. Seal and let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Remove mushrooms from marinade, discarding marinade.

• Place mushrooms, stem side up, on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) 3 minutes on each side. Turn mushrooms, stem side up, and spoon sauce mixture evenly into each. Grill 2 more minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese and remaining basil; serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

20 Minutes or Less

Grilled Okra and Tomatoes

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

This recipe pairs two Southern foods with a favorite style of Southern cooking.

* 5 Ingredients or Less

* Super Fast and Fresh

* Simply Southern

6 large tomatoes (about 3 pounds)

2 pounds small fresh okra

2 tablespoons olive oil

¾ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• Toss tomatoes and okra with oil. Place okra in a grill wok or basket.

• Grill okra, covered with grill lid, over medium heat (300° to 350°) 3 minutes, stirring or turning occasionally. Place tomatoes on grill rack beside wok; grill tomatoes and okra 5 to 7 minutes, turning tomatoes and okra occasionally.

• Peel tomatoes, if desired, and cut into large chunks; toss gently with okra, salt, and ground pepper. Arrange on a platter, and serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

How-To Hints

Toss the veggies on the grill the last 10 minutes that your entrée grills.

30 Minutes or Less

Grilled Corn with Jalapeño-Lime Butter

Prep: 7 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Minced jalapeño mixed into butter adds a twinge of spice to this corn. Use any leftover butter for steamed vegetables within 5 days.

* Editor’s Favorite

* No Fuss Entertaining

½ cup butter, softened

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 tablespoons grated lime rind

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

6 ears fresh corn

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

• Combine first 4 ingredients, and shape into a 6-inch log; wrap in wax paper, and chill while grilling corn.

• Rub corn with olive oil; sprinkle evenly with salt and black pepper.

• Grill corn, covered with grill lid, over high heat (400° to 500°), turning often, 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Serve with flavored butter. Yield: 6 servings.

Menu Makings

Spice up traditional fried fish or chicken by serving it alongside this corn with a kick.

10 Minutes or Less

Grilled Tomatoes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 4 minutes

A quick sizzle on the grill heats these Italian-inspired tomatoes just enough to serve alongside a deserving grilled entrée.

* Super Fast and Fresh

4 large tomatoes, cut in half crosswise

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

• Brush cut sides of tomato halves with oil, and sprinkle evenly with garlic and remaining ingredients.

• Grill, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350° to 400°) about 2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately. Yield: 8 servings.

Chapter Three

Healthy Homestyle

Who knew healthy could taste so good? Whether you’re cutting back on calories or just want to cook healthier for your family, you can still enjoy your favorites. It’s easy to please with this selection of recipes on the lighter side.

20 Minutes or Less

Vegetable-Cheese Melts

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 7 minutes

Nothing tastes better than homegrown vegetables from the garden. Give them a unique twist in this sandwich.

* Super Fast and Fresh

* Ideas for Two

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 small zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

1 large red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch strips

1 small onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

2 tablespoons creamy mustard-mayonnaise blend

4 (1.1-ounce) rye bread slices, toasted

¼ cup (1 ounce) shredded colby-Jack cheese blend

• Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and onion; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in cumin.

• Spread 1½ teaspoons mustard-mayonnaise blend on each of 4 toast slices. Place 2 slices, mustard side up, on a baking sheet. Arrange 1 cup vegetable mixture on top of each. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil 3 inches from heat 40 seconds or until cheese melts. Top with remaining toast, mustard side down. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich).

Per serving: Calories 292 (27% from fat); Fat 8.7g (sat 3.6g, mono 2.2g, poly 1.3g); Protein 10.2g; Carb 43.7g; Fiber 6.7g; Chol 13mg; Iron 2.6mg; Sodium 712mg; Calc 146mg

Double Delight

This recipe is easily doubled if you’re having company.

Spinach-and-Cheese Calzones

Prep: 19 minutes

Cook: 24 minutes

* Kid Friendly

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

½ cup chopped onion

½ (6-ounce) package Canadian-style bacon, chopped

1 tablespoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 (15-ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese

1¼ cups (5 ounces) shredded light pizza cheese blend

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

2 (11-ounce) cans refrigerated crusty French loaf

1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free garlic-and-herb pasta sauce (we used Healthy Choice)

• Sauté first 5 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray 6 minutes or until bacon is browned. Remove from heat. Combine ricotta cheese, pizza cheese blend, and Italian seasoning; stir into spinach mixture.

• Unroll each bread loaf on a lightly floured surface, and cut each into 4 rectangles. Spoon a heaping ⅓ cup spinach mixture onto half of each rectangle. Fold dough over spinach filling, pressing edges to seal. Crimp edges with a fork dipped in flour.

• Place calzones on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Coat each calzone with cooking spray.

• Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until golden. Serve with pasta sauce. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 calzone and ¼ cup pasta sauce).

Per serving: Calories 378 (22% from fat); Fat 9.3g (sat 4.8g, mono 2.3g, poly 0.6g); Protein 23.6g; Carb 50.4g; Fiber 3.6g; Chol 28mg; Iron 3.6mg; Sodium 1,249mg; Calc 332mg

Fix it Faster

To save time preparing this recipe, place frozen spinach in refrigerator overnight to thaw.

30 Minutes or Less

Vegetable Pasta

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 16 minutes

Ridged penne pasta makes a sturdy base for this chunky tomato-vegetable sauce, but you can substitute an equal amount of another favorite pasta if you’d like.

* Stovetop Solution

8 ounces uncooked penne pasta

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices (about 3 cups)

1 medium onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices (about 1¼ cups)

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 (14½-ounce) cans Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

• Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil; keep warm.

• Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onion, and garlic. Sauté 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove vegetables from skillet; keep warm.

• Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat 12 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in vegetables and basil. Serve over pasta; sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup pasta, 1 cup vegetable mixture, and 1 tablespoon cheese).

Per serving: Calories 350 (18% from fat); Fat 7.1g (sat 1.7g, mono 3.9g, poly 0.9g); Protein 12.7g; Carb 61.6g; Fiber 6.6g; Chol 4mg; Iron 2.1mg; Sodium 933mg; Calc 143mg

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Preseasoned canned tomatoes add great flavor to your homemade pasta sauce without wasting time or money.

20 Minutes or Less

Mediterranean Ravioli

Prep: 9 minutes

Cook: 11 minutes

Frozen ravioli and commercial tomato sauce speed up preparation of this trendy one-dish meal.

* Editor’s Favorite

* No Fuss Entertaining

1 (14.5-ounce) package light cheese ravioli (we used Buitoni Light Four-Cheese Ravioli)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups chunky tomato sauce (we used Classico Tomato and Basil)

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

• Cook ravioli according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Rinse and drain; set aside.

• Meanwhile, coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add oil; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add eggplant, onion, and garlic; cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomato sauce; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.

• Combine ravioli and eggplant mixture in a large bowl; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup).

Per serving: Calories 269 (20% from fat); Fat 6.2g (sat 2.3g, mono 1.3g, poly 0.2g); Protein 12.9g; Carb 42.2g; Fiber 5.3g; Chol 29mg; Iron 1.9mg; Sodium 613mg; Calc 178mg

Menu Makings

Pair this entrée with Sautéed Pineapple the next time you’re expecting guests.

30 Minutes or Less

Fettuccine Primavera

Prep: 9 minutes

Cook: 14 minutes

Enjoy the bounty of vegetables with each bite of this creamy pasta classic.

* Stovetop Solution

1 small onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 cup fresh broccoli florets

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

8 ounces fresh sugar snap peas

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fettuccine

1 (1.6-ounce) package Alfredo sauce mix (we used Knorr)

1½ cups 1% low-fat milk

1 tablespoon butter

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• Cook onion in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat, stirring constantly, 3 minutes or until tender. Add bell pepper strips, broccoli, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir in peas, and cook 2 minutes.

• Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Rinse and drain; set aside.

• Prepare sauce mix according to package directions, using 1% low-fat milk and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir in ¼ cup cheese.

• Combine vegetables, pasta, and sauce, tossing gently.

• Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of pasta. Sprinkle with pepper. Serve immediately. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup).

Per serving: Calories 266 (25% from fat); Fat 7g (sat 3.7g, mono 1.8g, poly 0.3g); Protein 12.7g; Carb 35.2g; Fiber 3.4g; Chol 16mg; Iron 0.8mg; Sodium 636mg; Calc 197mg

Secret Ingredient Savvy

We found that Knorr’s Alfredo sauce mix offered the most abundant creaminess. We made it extra creamy by adding Parmesan cheese.

Macaroni and Cheese

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

* Editor’s Favorite

* Kid Friendly

1 (12-ounce) container 1% low-fat cottage cheese

1 (8-ounce) container light sour cream

4 cups cooked elbow macaroni (cooked without salt or fat)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

½ cup fat-free milk

1 green onion, chopped

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 large egg

Butter-flavored cooking spray

¼ cup fine, dry breadcrumbs (commercial)

¼ teaspoon paprika

• Process cottage cheese and sour cream in a blender until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.

• Combine cottage cheese mixture, macaroni, and next 6 ingredients; spoon into a 2-quart deep baking dish coated with butter-flavored cooking spray. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and paprika; coat with cooking spray.

• Cover and bake at 400º for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes. Yield: 8 servings.

Per serving: Calories 289 (35% from fat); Fat 10.8g (sat 6.7g, mono 0.4g, poly 0.2g); Protein 20g; Carb 24.9g; Fiber 0.3g; Chol 63mg; Iron 0.8mg; Sodium 697mg; Calc 306mg

Menu Makings

Mac ‘n’ cheese goes with virtually anything. Serve it with your favorite veggies for a meatless meal.

20 Minutes or Less

Broccoli-Ginger Stir-Fry

Prep: 6 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

6 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta

¾ cup vegetable broth

⅓ cup lite soy sauce

3 tablespoons dry white wine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 (16-ounce) package broccoli stir-fry blend (we used Birds Eye)

• Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta, and keep warm.

• Meanwhile, stir together broth and next 5 ingredients; set aside.

• Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok at medium-high heat. Add vegetables; stir-fry 8 minutes.

• Stir in broth mixture, and cook 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Serve over pasta. Yield: 4 servings.

Per serving: Calories 233 (9% from fat); Fat 2.4g (sat 0.3g, mono 0.9g, poly 0.4g); Protein 9.4g; Carb 42.7g; Fiber 3.4g; Chol 0mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 1,028mg; Calc 31mg

10 Minutes or Less

Garlic-and-Herb Cheese Grits

Prep: 3 minutes

Cook: 7 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

* 5 Ingredients or Less

4 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

1 cup quick-cooking grits, uncooked

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 (5-ounce) package light garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese

• Bring chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat; gradually stir in grits. Cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened.

• Remove from heat; stir in pepper and cheese. Serve immediately. Yield: 5 cups (serving size: 1 cup).

Per serving: Calories 128 (37% from fat); Fat 5.3g (sat 3.8g, mono 0.1g, poly 0.2g); Protein 7.6g; Carb 26.9g; Fiber 0.5g; Chol 25mg; Iron 1.3mg; Sodium 644mg; Calc 4mg

Menu Makings

Serve these grits as a side dish with grilled or broiled beef or chicken, or serve them as a main dish for breakfast.

20 Minutes or Less

Pork-and-Pepper Skillet

Prep: 7 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

8 (2-ounce) wafer-thin boneless center-cut pork loin chops

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 small onion, cut into thin strips

2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

• Rub both sides of pork with thyme, salt, and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook 2 minutes on each side. Remove pork from skillet.

• Sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic in same skillet 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Return pork to skillet, and cook 2 minutes. Drizzle with vinegar. Yield: 4 servings.

Per serving: Calories 224 (49% from fat); Fat 12.2g (sat 4.3g, mono 5.9g, poly 1.1g); Protein 22.1g; Carb 6.8g; Fiber 1.7g; Chol 59mg; Iron 1.2mg; Sodium 578mg; Calc 28.6mg

Menu Makings

Sautéed peppers look pretty with this pork. Garlic mashed potatoes round out the meal nicely.

Zucchini-Beef Spaghetti

Prep: 13 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

1 pound extra-lean ground beef

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

2 cups thinly sliced zucchini

1 cup chopped onion

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2½ cups pasta sauce

6 cups hot cooked spaghetti (cooked without salt or fat)

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

• Brown ground beef in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink. Add mushrooms and next 5 ingredients to beef in skillet. Sauté 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in pasta sauce. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or to desired consistency. Serve over hot cooked spaghetti; top with cheese. Yield: 6 servings.

Per serving: Calories 406 (21% from fat); Fat 9.4g (sat 3.2g, mono 3.2g, poly 0.8g); Protein 26.8g; Carb 53.7g; Fiber 5.8g; Chol 29mg; Iron 5mg; Sodium 612mg; Calc 126mg

How-To Hints

Use any leftover fresh zucchini as a garnish. Just chop or shred what you have left, and sprinkle on top of the meat mixture.

30 Minutes or Less

Deviled Chicken Breasts

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 22 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

2 tablespoons Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs

4 (4-ounce) skinned and boned chicken breast halves

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup dry white wine

½ teaspoon dried savory, crushed

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

1 (4-ounce) jar whole mushrooms, drained

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon honey mustard

• Place breadcrumbs in a large zip-top freezer bag; add chicken. Seal bag; shake until well coated. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.

• Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned. Add wine and next 4 ingredients; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

• Remove chicken and mushrooms with a slotted spoon; place on a serving platter. Add lemon juice and mustard to skillet; stir. Cook 1 minute or until heated; serve with chicken. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 tablespoon sauce).

Per serving: Calories 191 (27% from fat); Fat 5.7g (sat 1g, mono 3.1g, poly 1g); Protein 27.4g; Carb 6.1g; Fiber 0.5g; Chol 66mg; Iron 1.2mg; Sodium 404mg; Calc 24mg

30 Minutes or Less

Oven-Fried Catfish

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 21 minutes

* No Fuss Entertaining

* Simply Southern

2 cups cornflakes cereal

¾ teaspoon celery salt

¼ teaspoon onion powder

⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper

Dash of black pepper

4 (6-ounce) skinless catfish fillets, halved

• Place cereal in a zip-top freezer bag. Seal and crush to measure ¾ cup crumbs, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Combine crumbs, salt, and next 3 ingredients in a shallow dish. Coat both sides of fish with cooking spray. Dredge fish in crumb mixture, pressing gently to coat. Arrange fish in a single layer on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of fish with cooking spray.

• Bake at 400º for 21 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

Per serving: Calories 211 (22% from fat); Fat 4.9g (sat 1.2g, mono 1.5g, poly 1.5g); Protein 28.9g; Carb 11g; Fiber 0.3g; Chol 99mg; Iron 0.9mg; Sodium 471mg; Calc 28mg

Secret Ingredient Savvy

You can use 1 teaspoon seasoned salt instead of the four seasonings, if desired.

20 Minutes or Less

Pesto-Crusted Orange Roughy

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

* 5 Ingredients or Less

* Super Fast and Fresh

2 tablespoons pesto

½ cup fine, dry breadcrumbs

¼ teaspoon pepper

4 (4-ounce) orange roughy fillets

• Combine pesto, breadcrumbs, and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in breadcrumb mixture, and place in an 11- x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Coat fillets with cooking spray.

• Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Yield: 4 servings.

Per serving: Calories 172 (25% from fat); Fat 4.7g (sat 1.1g, mono 2.9g, poly 0.4g); Protein 20.2g; Carb 11.2g; Fiber 0.9g; Chol 25mg; Iron 1mg; Sodium 529mg; Calc 105mg

30 Minutes or Less

Sautéed Shrimp and Linguine

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 14 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

* No Fuss Entertaining

8 ounces uncooked linguine

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

6 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 (2¼-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained

¼ cup lemon juice

1½ teaspoons dried Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1½ pounds peeled, medium-size fresh shrimp

2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

• Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain.

• Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add tomato and next 5 ingredients; cook 6 minutes, stirring constantly. Add shrimp; cook 5 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink, stirring occasionally.

• Serve over pasta; sprinkle with cheese. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup shrimp mixture and ⅔ cup pasta).

Per serving: Calories 378 (21% from fat); Fat 8.7g (sat 2.6g, mono 2.5g, poly 2.2g); Protein 38.3g; Carb 36.1g; Fiber 2.8g; Chol 238mg; Iron 6mg; Sodium 618mg; Calc 162mg

Kitchen Timesavers

If you don’t see peeled shrimp at the seafood counter, ask the attendant to peel it for you. If you’d rather peel it yourself, you’ll need to purchase 2 pounds in the shell.

Baked Hush Puppies

Prep: 11 minutes

Cook: 13 minutes per batch

* Big Batch

2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix

⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup 1% low-fat milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

• Combine cornmeal mix and red pepper in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

• Combine eggs and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well. Add egg mixture to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon about 1 tablespoon batter into miniature (1¾-inch) muffin pans coated with cooking spray.

• Bake at 425° for 13 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans, and serve immediately. Yield: about 3 dozen (serving size: 1 hush puppy).

Per serving: Calories 69 (30% from fat); Fat 2.4g (sat 0.3g, mono 1.2g, poly 0.7g); Protein 1.6g; Carb 10.7g; Fiber 0g; Chol 12mg; Iron 0.9mg; Sodium 229mg; Calc 19mg

Menu Makings

Serve these crisp “puppies” with Oven-Fried Catfish.

Jalapeño Cornbread

Prep: 11 minutes

Cook: 21 minutes

* Simply Southern

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 cup self-rising yellow cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons nonfat sour cream

1 (8¾-ounce) can cream-style corn

¼ cup sliced pickled jalapeño pepper, chopped

• Heat oil in an 8-inch cast-iron skillet in a 450° oven 5 minutes or until hot.

• Combine cornmeal and baking powder in a large bowl; make a well in the center of mixture. Combine eggs and next 3 ingredients; add to cornmeal mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

• Remove pan from oven. Stir hot oil into batter. Pour batter into hot skillet. Bake at 450° for 21 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan immediately. Cut into wedges. Yield: 8 servings.

Per serving: Calories 137 (26% from fat); Fat 3.9g (sat 0.6g, mono 1.5g, poly 0.7g); Protein 3.7g; Carb 21.6g; Fiber 1.6g; Chol 54mg; Iron 1.2mg; Sodium 526mg; Calc 102mg

Gadget Magic

For the quickest way to chop jalapeños, snip them in a small cup using kitchen shears.

20 Minutes or Less

Best Ever Buttermilk Biscuits

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

* Simply Southern

1 cup all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons chilled butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

½ cup low-fat buttermilk

Honey (optional)

• Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.

• Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture is crumbly. Add buttermilk; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

• Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 4 or 5 times. Roll dough to ½-inch thickness; cut with a 2½-inch biscuit cutter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with honey, if desired. Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 1 biscuit).

Per serving: Calories 102 (32% from fat); Fat 3.6g (sat 2.2g, mono 1g, poly 0.2g); Protein 2.5g; Carb 14.8g; Fiber 0.5g; Chol 10mg; Iron 0.9mg; Sodium 298mg; Calc 79mg

Two Meals in One

Toast leftover biscuits for breakfast—and don’t forget the honey!

30 Minutes or Less

Parmesan Corn Muffins

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

* Simply Southern

* Big Batch

2 cups white cornmeal mix

¾ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

2½ cups fat-free buttermilk

½ cup egg substitute

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

• Combine first 4 ingredients in a mixing bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

• Stir together buttermilk, egg substitute, and oil; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Spoon into muffin pans coated with cooking spray, filling two-thirds full.

• Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from pans immediately, and cool on wire racks. Yield: 17 muffins (serving size: 1 muffin).

Per serving: Calories 118 (29% from fat); Fat 3.7g (sat 1g, mono 1.5g, poly 0.9g); Protein 5g; Carb 16g; Fiber 1g; Chol 5mg; Iron 1.2mg; Sodium 284mg; Calc 138mg

10 Minutes or Less

Hummus

Prep: 10 minutes

* No Cook Creation

* Super Fast and Fresh

1 (19-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

¼ cup tahini

1 tablespooon chopped fresh parsley

1 garlic clove

⅓ cup fresh lemon juice

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

¼ teaspoon ground red pepper

1 shallot, quartered

1 tablespoon lite soy sauce

• Process all ingredients in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Yield: 1¾ cups (serving size: ¼ cup).

Per serving: Calories 137 (39% from fat); Fat 5.9g (sat 0.8g, mono 2g, poly 2.6g); Protein 6g; Carb 16.9g; Fiber 4.3g; Chol 0mg; Iron 2mg; Sodium 8mg; Calc 41mg

Two Meals in One

Use ½ cup of this creamy bean spread inside a pita to make a sandwich. Or serve it as a dip with pita chips or vegetables.

20 Minutes or Less

Roasted Garlic-Potato Soup

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 3 minutes

* 5 Ingredients or Less

2 cups fat-free milk

1½ cups water

½ (7.6-ounce) package roasted garlic instant mashed potatoes

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded 2% reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

• Combine milk and 1½ cups water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add potatoes, and stir with a wire whisk until well blended. Add ¾ cup cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Spoon evenly into 4 bowls; sprinkle evenly with remaining ¼ cup cheese and pepper. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 cup).

Per serving: Calories 146 (40% from fat); Fat 6.5g (sat 3.9g, mono 0.1g, poly 0g); Protein 12.7g; Carb 11g; Fiber 0.2g; Chol 20mg; Iron 0.2mg; Sodium 299mg; Calc 354mg

20 Minutes or Less

Stewed Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

* Simply Southern

1½ cups frozen sliced okra

1 cup frozen whole kernel corn

¼ cup diced cooked ham

1 teaspoon dried basil

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 (14½-ounce) can no-salt-added stewed tomatoes, undrained

• Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray.

• Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: ¾ cup).

Per serving: Calories 99 (8% from fat); Fat 0.9g (sat 0.3g, mono 0.1g, poly 0.2g); Protein 5.2g; Carb 19.6g; Fiber 4.9g; Chol 5mg; Iron 2.2mg; Sodium 252mg; Calc 107mg

Menu Makings

Pair this side dish with your favorite Southern entrée.

Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes per batch

* Kid Friendly

* Make Ahead

¼ cup margarine, softened

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup egg substitute

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking soda

⅛ teaspoon salt

1½ cups quick-cooking oats, uncooked

½ cup raisins

• Beat margarine at medium speed with an electric mixer. Gradually add sugars, beating well. Add egg substitute and vanilla; mix well.

• Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Gradually add to margarine mixture, mixing well. Stir in raisins.

• Drop dough by 2 teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 3 dozen (serving size: 1 cookie).

Per serving: Calories 64 (21% from fat); Fat 1.5g (sat 0.3g, mono 0.7g, poly 0.5g); Protein 1.2g; Carb 11.8g; Fiber 0.5g; Chol 0mg; Iron 0.4mg; Sodium 40mg; Calc 7mg

20 Minutes or Less

Pears with Raspberry Sherbet

Prep: 15 minutes

* No Fuss Entertaining

* 5 Ingredients or Less

5 tablespoons fat-free chocolate sundae syrup, divided (we used Smucker’s)

1 (29-ounce) can pear halves in extra light syrup, drained

1¼ cups raspberry sherbet

1¼ cups fresh raspberries

Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

• Drizzle 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup evenly over 5 dessert plates. Place pear halves on syrup, using a slotted spoon. Top each serving with ¼ cup sherbet; drizzle evenly with remaining chocolate syrup. Sprinkle raspberries over pear halves. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1 pear half, ¼ cup sherbet, 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup, and ¼ cup raspberries.)

Per serving: Calories 175 (3% from fat); Fat 0.7g (sat 0.3g, mono 0g, poly 0.1g); Protein 1.8g; Carb 41.8g; Fiber 4g; Chol 3mg; Iron 0.5mg; Sodium 72mg; Calc 47mg

10 Minutes or Less

Sautéed Pineapple

Prep: 3 minutes

Cook: 7 minutes

Brown sugar and butter add a sweetness to this pineapple you won’t be able to resist.

* 5 Ingredients or Less

* No Fuss Entertaining

2 (20-ounce) cans pineapple chunks in juice

1 tablespoon reduced-calorie margarine

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon rum or ½ teaspoon rum extract

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

• Drain pineapple chunks, reserving ¼ cup juice.

• Melt margarine in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add pineapple chunks, reserved juice, brown sugar, rum, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve warm. Yield: 6 servings.

Per serving: Calories 91 (9% from fat); Fat 0.9g (sat 0.2g, mono 0.4g, poly 0.3g); Protein 0g; Carb 18.9g; Fiber 1g; Chol 0mg; Iron 0.4mg; Sodium 33mg; Calc 5mg

Chapter Four

One-Dish Family Favorites

Looking for a new weeknight solution that will get dinner on the table fast? Spend less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing with your family with these one-dish wonders. Select an entrée from this chapter to satisfy any appetite.

20 Minutes or Less

Breakfast Burritos

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

Have a Southwest-style breakfast with this blend of potatoes, onions, and eggs wrapped in warm flour tortillas.

* Kid Friendly

1 (10-ounce) baking potato

8 bacon slices

4 green onions, sliced

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

⅓ cup milk

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

4 flour tortillas (we used 7-inch)

Toppings: sour cream, picante sauce

• Prick potato with a sharp knife. Microwave at HIGH 5 minutes; let stand 5 minutes. Peel and dice potato.

• While potato cooks, cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp; drain bacon on paper towels, reserving drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon, and set aside.

• Sauté potato in drippings over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until potato begins to brown. Remove from skillet, using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels. Sauté green onions in drippings 1 minute.

• Combine eggs and next 3 ingredients; pour over green onions. Cook over medium heat 2 minutes or until set, stirring gently. Stir in bacon and potato. Remove from heat.

• Place tortillas in a zip-top freezer bag; do not seal. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until warm.

• Working with 1 tortilla at a time, spoon one-fourth of egg mixture down center of tortilla. Fold bottom third of tortilla over filling; fold opposite sides over filling, leaving top open. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas and egg mixture. Serve with desired toppings. Yield: 4 servings.

Fix It Faster

Instead of frying bacon, look for precooked bacon at your grocery store.

20 Minutes or Less

Green Eggs and Ham

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 5 minutes

Guacamole-stuffed eggs are topped with country ham in this storybook-inspired recipe.

* Kid Friendly

6 ounces thinly sliced country ham

12 large hard-cooked eggs

1 ripe avocado, peeled and mashed

2 tablespoons finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing

1½ to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 small tomato, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped

• Cook ham in a nonstick skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Drain and finely chop.

• Cut eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully remove yolks. Mash yolks with a fork; add avocado and next 5 ingredients, stirring well. Fold in tomato, and spoon into egg whites. Top with ham. Yield: 2 dozen.

20 Minutes or Less

Veggie Scramble

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

* Super Fast and Fresh

½ small red bell pepper

½ small green bell pepper

¼ small sweet onion

8 large eggs, lightly beaten

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

• Chop bell peppers and onion. Cook in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

• Whisk together eggs, black pepper, and salt. Add mixture to vegetables in skillet, and cook, without stirring, until eggs begin to set on bottom. Draw a spatula across bottom of skillet to form large curds. Sprinkle with cheese, and continue cooking until eggs are thickened but still moist. (Do not stir constantly.) Remove from heat. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Menu Makings

Serve these veggie-filled eggs with whole grain toast for a healthy breakfast.

20 Minutes or Less

Easy Crawfish Omelet

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 9 minutes

Bloody Marys and hash browns make this a New Orleans-style Sunday brunch.

* Ideas for Two

* Simply Southern

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

1 tablespoon water

¼ teaspoon hot sauce

5 large eggs

¼ cup cooked crawfish tail meat, chopped

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning

1 tablespoon sour cream

⅓ cup sliced mushrooms

¼ cup finely diced ham (1½ ounces)

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup shredded Cheddar cheese

• Whisk together first 4 ingredients; set aside.

• Combine crawfish, Creole seasoning, and sour cream.

• Sauté mushrooms and ham in hot oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet for 3 minutes. Pour egg mixture into pan; let egg mixture set slightly. Carefully lift edges of omelet with a spatula, and tilt pan so uncooked portion flows underneath. Cook 3 minutes; flip omelet. Spoon crawfish mixture onto half of omelet. Carefully loosen omelet with a spatula; fold in half. Gently slide omelet onto a plate; top with cheese. Cut omelet in half. Yield: 2 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Chopped cooked shrimp makes a fine substitute for crawfish if it’s easier to find in your area.

20 Minutes or Less

Ham ’n’ Cheddar Omelets

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 10 minutes

* Kid Friendly

* Ideas for Two

6 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 green onions, chopped

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons butter, divided

½ cup chopped cooked ham, divided

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided

• Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir with a wire whisk until blended.

• Place an 8-inch omelet pan or nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add 1 teaspoon butter, and rotate pan to coat bottom. Pour half of egg mixture into skillet. As mixture starts to cook, gently lift edges with a spatula, and tilt pan so uncooked portion flows underneath.

• Sprinkle ¼ cup ham and ¼ cup cheese over half of omelet. Fold omelet in half, and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat procedure with remaining butter, egg mixture, ham, and cheese. Yield: 2 servings.

Gadget Magic

Omelet aficionados like to have two omelet pans. The process is simple enough to cook two at a time, and breakfast can be ready in half the time.

30 Minutes or Less

Breakfast Pizza

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

1 (16-ounce) prebaked Italian pizza crust

1 (8-ounce) package shredded Italian cheese blend, divided

8 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

4 plum tomatoes, sliced

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 large eggs

½ cup milk

¼ cup chopped fresh basil

• Place pizza crust on a pizza pan or jellyroll pan. Sprinkle half of cheese over bread shell; top with bacon, tomato, and pepper. Whisk together eggs, milk, and basil; pour in center of pizza (it will spread to edges). Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

• Bake at 425° for 20 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Gadget Magic

Quickly snip fresh basil in a small cup using kitchen shears.

Weeknight Pizza Casserole

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Other: 5 minutes

* Kid Friendly

1 pound ground beef

1 (3.5-ounce) package sliced pepperoni

1 (2¼-ounce) can sliced ripe olives, drained

1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped (optional)

1 (14-ounce) jar pizza sauce

1 (8-ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese

¾ cup biscuit mix

1 cup milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

• Cook ground beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pepperoni, olives, and bell pepper. Spoon into a lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish. Top with pizza sauce and cheese.

• Combine biscuit mix, milk, and eggs, stirring until smooth. Pour over cheese, spreading evenly.

• Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yield: 4 servings.

Deep-Dish Taco Squares

Prep: 7 minutes

Cook: 34 minutes

Other: 5 minutes

* Kid Friendly

2 cups all-purpose baking mix

½ cup water

1 pound ground chuck

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

1 (8-ounce) jar picante sauce

⅓ cup mayonnaise

1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Paprika

Picante sauce (optional)

• Combine baking mix and ½ cup water in a medium bowl, stirring with a fork until blended. Press mixture in a lightly greased 11-x 7-inch baking dish. Bake at 375° for 9 minutes.

• While crust bakes, cook beef and bell pepper in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in jar of picante sauce; spoon over crust.

• Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream, and cheese; spoon over meat mixture, spreading to within ½ inch of edges. Sprinkle with paprika.

• Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 25 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into squares. Serve taco squares with additional picante sauce, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Use hot picante sauce to pack a punch in this Tex-Mex creation.

20 Minutes or Less

Quick Mexican Dinner

Prep: 7 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

* Stovetop Solution

* 5 Ingredients or Less

1 pound ground beef

1 (15-ounce) can Spanish rice

1 (15-ounce) can Ranch-style beans, undrained

10 (10-inch) flour tortillas

Toppings: shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sour cream, sliced jalapeño peppers

• Cook beef in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Add rice and beans, and cook until thoroughly heated. Spoon evenly onto half of each tortilla; fold tortillas over. Serve with desired toppings. Yield: 5 servings.

30 Minutes or Less

Beefy Noodle Casserole

Prep: 7 minutes

Cook: 17 minutes

* Kid Friendly

4 ounces uncooked wide egg noodles

1 pound ground chuck

1 (14-ounce) jar pasta sauce

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cubed

1 cup cottage cheese

½ cup sour cream

½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

• Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Place noodles in a lightly greased 11-x 7-inch baking dish. Set aside.

• Meanwhile, cook beef in a large skillet, stirring until it crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in pasta sauce; set aside.

• Place cream cheese in a 1-quart glass bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until softened. Stir in cottage cheese and sour cream. Spread mixture over noodles. Spoon beef mixture over cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cover tightly with heavy-duty plastic wrap; fold back a small corner to allow steam to escape. Microwave at HIGH 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture is thoroughly heated, giving dish a half-turn after 4 minutes. Yield: 4 servings.

Menu Makings

Serve this cheesy casserole with a garden salad for a well-rounded meal.

20 Minutes or Less

Corn Chip Chili Pie

Prep: 4 minutes

Cook: 13 minutes

* Super Fast and Fresh

* Kid Friendly

* Microwave Miracle

1 pound ground chuck

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (16-ounce) can kidney beans, drained

1 (11-ounce) can sweet whole kernel corn, drained

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (2¼-ounce) can sliced ripe olives

1 (1.25-ounce) package chili seasoning

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup coarsely crushed corn chips

• Combine beef and onion in a 2½-quart baking dish. Cover with wax paper. Microwave at HIGH 5 to 6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, stirring at 2-minute intervals to crumble meat; drain.

• Stir in beans and next 4 ingredients. Cover and microwave at HIGH 4 to 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, giving dish a half-turn after 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and corn chips.

• Microwave at MEDIUM HIGH (70% power), uncovered, 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Yield: 6 servings.

30 Minutes or Less

Speedy Shepherd’s Pie

Prep: 8 minutes

Cook: 14 minutes

Other: 5 minutes

* Editor’s Favorite

½ (22-ounce) package frozen mashed potatoes (about 3 cups)

1⅓ cups milk

1 pound ground round

1 cup fresh or frozen chopped onion

1 cup frozen peas and carrots

½ teaspoon pepper

1 (12-ounce) jar beef gravy

½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese

• Combine potatoes and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH, uncovered, 8 minutes, stirring once; set aside.

• Meanwhile, cook ground round and onion in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink. Add peas and carrots, pepper, and gravy. Cook over medium heat 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often; remove mixture from heat.

• Spoon potatoes evenly over meat mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edge of skillet. Broil 5½ inches from heat 3 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with cheese; let stand 5 minutes. Yield: 6 servings.

Pronto Enchiladas

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 30 minutes

1 pound ground chuck

1 small onion, chopped

1 (10¾-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted

2 (4.5-ounce) cans chopped green chiles

8 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 (8-ounce) package shredded colby-Jack cheese blend

1 (10¾-ounce) can Cheddar cheese soup, undiluted

Salsa

• Cook beef and onion in a large skillet, stirring until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain. Stir in mushroom soup and 1 can green chiles.

• Spoon ½ cup beef mixture down center of each tortilla; sprinkle each with 2½ tablespoons cheese blend. Roll up tortillas, and place each, seam side down, in a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour Cheddar cheese soup over tortillas.

• Drain remaining can green chiles; sprinkle chiles and remaining cheese blend over soup.

• Bake, covered, at 350° for 20 minutes; uncover and bake 5 additional minutes. Serve with salsa. Yield: 4 servings.

Secret Ingredient Savvy

Substitute Montery Jack cheese with peppers if you’d like this casserole a little spicier.

 

More than four hundred easy-to-prepare recipes from the test kitchens of Southern Living feature a wide variety of luscious dishes for families on the go, including appetizers, main courses and side dishes, salads, breads, and desserts, in a cookbook that features special flags for dishes that take ten, twenty, or thirty minutes to prepare. 20,000 first printing.

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