Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Always-a-Hit Pizza Dip

Margaret McCormick, Post-Standard food editor, asks Joan to share her dips for a Super Bowl column. Photos were taken in the newspaper studio in Syracuse. Al Campanie was the photographer.

In the photo, Margaret and Al are noshing after the photo shoot.

Always-a-Hit Pizza Dip

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 (8-ounce) container of sour cream
(may use light or reduced-fat)

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 (14- to 16- ounce) jar or can pizza sauce

1 1/2 cups mixture of shredded mozzarella
and Cheddar cheese

Pepperoni slices

Tortilla chips or Italian bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic powder. Mix into a paste. Line bottom of baking dish with cream cheese mixture. Smooth pizza sauce over all. Layer cheeses on top of pizza sauce. Place slices of pepperoni on top of cheese, being sure to cover entire baking surface as pepperoni will shrink during baking. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve hot with tortilla chips or Italian bread.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Broccoli Wild Rice Soup

While Brad, our painter, was finishing the windows and sills in the Bistro Room, Joan prepared this ready in 30 minutes or less soup.

1 package (6 ounces) chicken and wild rice mix
5 cups water
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup slivered almonds, optional

In a large saucepan, combine rice, contents of seasoning packet and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring once. Stir in the broccoli, carrot and onion. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in soup and cream cheese. Cook and stir until cheese is melted. Stir in almonds if desired.

Yield: 8 servings (about 2 quarts)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Hearty Beef Minestrone

Last evening, we charbroiled two London Broil steaks. There were leftovers. As recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture the cooked meat was wrapped and stored in the refrigerator.

Before supper, Joan diced about 3 or 4 slices of the reserved beef and use it in this soup.

1 cup tiny pasta, such as macaroni, shells or alphabets
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, including leaves, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) ready-to-use chicken broth
1 can (16 to 19 ounces) red kidney or cannellini beans, undrained
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup diced roast beef (reserved from yesterday)
Grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Cook about 8 minutes, or until soft. stirring often. Add zucchini, chicken broth, beans and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Stir in diced beef and reserved pasta. Simmer 2 minutes, or until heated through. (Do not overcook the beef or it will become tough.) Serve the minestrone with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Menu Roundout: A loaf of crusty bread is all you need to make a full meal from this soup.

Makes 4 servings

Monday, January 22, 2007

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Recall as a kid the Swanson Chicken Pot Pie you were served in their aluminum container and thinking they were the best thing in the world. Know what’s taste better - one made from scratch in your own kitchen.

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 package (16 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) ready-to-use chicken broth
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken and broccoli soup
2 cups biscuit baking mix
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the chicken chunks, mixed vegetables, chicken broth, and soups; mix well. Spoon into a 9" x 13" baking dish that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the biscuit baking mix, milk, and butter until smooth and spoon over the top of the chicken mixture. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until no pink remains in the chicken and the topping is golden.

Note: This can also be made in small round casserole dishes for individual pot pies if you are nostalgic for the good old Swanson days.