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March menus.

Counter the last chills of winter with these casual, warming meals. Even if you,re not Irish, a little "wearing of the green" is appropriate if you take advantage of mid-March price specials on corned beef to create a Saint Patrick's Day meal. Simple details, at right, add Irish humor to our feature menu.

Low-fat cooking techniques enhance the wholesomeness of the soup and sandwich supper. The results are so satisfying, your family will never notice the lightened touch. On a weekend morning, bake fruit focaccia for a grand brunch.

You can simmer the beef, shred the cabbage, and make the cabbage bowl up to a day ahead. Bake yams while meat reheats. Instead of butter, splash rice vinegar or a berry-flavor vinegar into split yams.

To give dessert a St. Pat's flair, decorate plates with shamrock stencils. First, cut shamrocks from paper (or buy paper shamrocks). Then rub dessert plates very lightly with butter (this keeps shamrocks in place as you work, and makes the cocoa dusting adhere). Lay shamrocks on a plate and sift cocoa over plate. Carefully lift off shamrocks (use tip of sharp knife), taking care not to dislodge cocoa. Shake paper clean and repeat to decorate remaining plates.

For Irish coffee, offer whiskey (Irish or other), softly whipped cream, and sugar to add to hot coffee.

Corned Beef with Sweet-Hot Glaze

1 piece (3 1/2 to 4 lb.)

corned beef round or

center-cut brisket, fat

trimmed

1 cup regular-strength

beef broth 1/4 cup firmly packed

brown sugar

2 tablespoons prepared

horseradish

Dijon mustard

Rinse meat well with cool water. Place in a 6- to 8quart pan with about 3 quarts water. Bring to a boil over high heat; drain. Repeat this step until the water no longer tastes salty, 1 or 2 more times. To drained meat, add water (about 2 qt.) to cover it by about 1/2 inch. Bring to boiling on high heat; cover and simmer gently until meat is very tender when pierced, about 3 1/2 hours.

Drain beef; put in a 9- by 13-inch pan. (If made ahead. cool, then chill airtight up until next day. Cover meat tightly with foil; bake in a 350[degrees] oven until hot in center, about 50 minutes; uncover.) In pan used to simmer beef, mix broth, sugar, and horseradish. Boil over high heat until glaze is reduced to 1/2 cup. about 5 minutes; stir often. (If made ahead, pour into a bowl and cover; chill up until next day.)

Bake hot meat, uncovered, in a 350[degrees] oven for 20 minutes, brushing with glaze until all is used. Broil about 6 inches from heat until top browns lightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Put meat on a platter; offer mustard. Makes 10 servings, or dinner for 6 with leftovers for sandwiches.

Per serving: 236 cal.; 16 g protein; 16 g fat (5.4 g sat.); 6.1 g carbo.; 970 mg sodium; 83 mg chol.

Two-tone Slaw in a Cabbage Bowl

1 large head (about 1 3/4

lb.) savoy or green

cabbage, with large

outer leaves attached

(if available)

4 to 6 red savoy kale or

red head cabbage

leaves (optional)

2 cups finely shredded

red cabbage

3 slices bacon (about 1 3/4

oz. total) 1/3 Cup seasoned rice

vinegar (or 1/3 cup rice

vinegar and 1

tablespoon sugar) 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Carefully remove 4 to 6 large outer leaves from head cabbage. Rinse these and red savoy kale leaves; drain. wrap in towels. and enclose in a plastic bag. To crisp, chill at least 30 minutes or up until next day.

Rinse and drain head cabbage. Trim a thin slice from stem end so cabbage sits steadily upright. Slice 1/2 inch horizontally from cabbage top. Using a grapefruit knife, cut out center of cabbage, leaving a wall about 1/2 inch thick. Finely shred trimmed cabbage; discard core.

In a bowl, mix shredded savoy with shredded red cabbage. If made ahead, wrap cabbage shell and shredded cabbage airtight and chill up until next day.

Cook bacon in an 8- to 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat until brown and crisp, about 3 minutes. Crumble and drain on towels. Add vinegar and pepper to warm drippings in pan.

Mix bacon and warm dressing with shredded cabbage. Gently pull cabbage shell to open bowl slightly; set on a platter and surround with reserved green and red leaves. Mound salad into cabbage bowl. Serves 6.

Per serving 83 cal.; 2.6 g protein; 4.9 g fat (1.8 g sat.); 8.7 g carbo.; 81 mg sodium; 5.5 mg chol

A lean, quick soup, ideal for sipping, and sandwiches toasted in a dry pan make a light and satisfying lunch. Buy or make cookies.

Spinach and Buttermilk Soup

1 package (10 oz.) frozen

chopped spinach 4 cups regular-strength

chicken broth 2 tablespoons grated

lemon peel 2 tablespoons cornstarch 2 cups buttermilk

Salt and pepper

Combine spinach and 2 cups broth in a 3- to 4-quart pan. Bring to boil on high heat; use a spoon to break spinach apart. As soon as spinach is in chunks, pour into a blender, add 1 tablespoon lemon peel, and puree until smooth.

In pan, mix remaining 2 cups broth with cornstarch until smooth; add spinach mixture. Stir often on high heat until boiling. Mix in buttermilk and pour into bowls or mugs. Sprinkle with remaining peel and add salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 114 cal.; 8.5 g protein; 28 g fat (1.1 g sat.); 14 g carbo.; 235 mg sodium; 4.9 mg choL

Grilled Tuna, Cheddar, and Onion Sandwiches

1 large (about 10 oz.)

onion, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, minced or

pressed 1/2 cup regular-strength

chicken broth or water

2 cans (about 6 oz. each)

water-packed albacore

tuna, drained 1/2 Cup minced celery

2 tablespoons reduced-calorie

or regular

mayonnaise

8 slices dark rye bread 1/4 pound sharp cheddar

cheese, thinly sliced

In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan, combine onion, garlic, and half the broth. Bring to a boil over high heat; stir often until liquid evaporates and browned bits stick in pan.

Add half the remaining broth; stir to scrape browned bits free, then boil again until liquid evaporates and browned bits form. Repeat step with remaining broth, cooking until liquid evaporates. Set onion mixture aside.

In a bowl, mix together tuna, celery, and mayonnaise. Top 4 slices bread equally with tuna mixture, onion mixture, cheese, and remaining bread.

Wipe the pan clean. Place over medium heat and add 2 sandwiches. (If you have another nonstick frying pan, toast all the sandwiches at once.) Cook until sandwiches are toasted on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Turn over and toast tops, about 4 minutes more. Serves 4.

Per serving: 393 cal.; 34 g protein; 14 g fat (7.6 g sat.); 33 g carbo.; 826 mg sodium; 66 mg chol.

The focaccia uses frozen bread dough as a time-saver; to have dough ready in the morning, put it in the refrigerator the night before to thaw As the focaccia bakes. you have time to organize the rest of the meal.

The ricotta spread goes together quickly, but can be made ahead. Warm sliced Canadian bacon in a frying pan, or seal in foil and heat in oven with focaccia until meat is hot in the center.

Breakfast Focaccia

1 loaf (1 lb.) frozen white

bread dough, thawed

3 large (about 1 lb. total)

firm-ripe plums, or 3

cups thin apple slices 1 1/2 tablespoons melted

butter or margarine

3 tablespoons sugar

mixed with 1 teaspoon

ground cinnamon

Place dough in a lightly oiled 10- by 15-inch pan. Stretch and press to fill pan evenly. (If dough is too elastic to stay in place, let rest a few minutes, then press.) Cover dough lightly with plastic wrap and let stand until puffy, about 45 minutes

Meanwhile, pit plums and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Brush puffy dough with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange plum slices, without overlapping, on dough. Brush fruit with remaining butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Bake focaccia on the bottom rack in a 350[degrees] oven until well browned on edges and bottom (lift gently with a spatula to check), about 40 minutes. Serve warm. (If made ahead, cool, wrap airtight, and hold at room temperature up until next day. Reheat, uncovered, in a 350[degrees] oven until warm to touch, 5 to 10 minutes.) Serves 6.

Per serving: 263 cal; 6.3 g protein; 5.2 g fat (2 g sat.); 49 g carbo.; 472 mg sodium, 86 mg chol

Spiced Ricotta Spread

1 1/2 cups part skim ricotta

cheese

2 tablespoons sugar 1 1/2 tablespoons finely

grated orange peel

1/8 teaspoon ground

nutmeg

In a bowl, mix together cheese, sugar, 1 tablespoon peel, and nutmeg.

Spoon mixture into a small bowl and sprinkle with remaining peel. If made ahead, cover and chill up to 2 days. Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Per tablespoon: 26 cal.; 1.8 g protein; 1.2 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 1.9 g carbo.; 19 mg sodium; 4.8 mg chol.

To use our nutrition information

Sunset recipes contain nutrition information based on the most current data available from the USDA for calorie count; grams of protein, total fat (including saturated fat), and carbohydrate; and milligrams of sodium and cholesterol.

This analysis is usually given for a single serving, based on the largest number of servings listed for the recipe. Or it's for a specific amount, such as per tablespoon.

The nutrition analysis does not include optional ingredients or those for which no specific amount is stated (salt added to taste, for example). If an ingredient is listed with an alternative--such as unflavored yogurt or sour cream--the figures are calculated using the first choice. Likewise, if a range is given for the amount of an ingredient (such as 1/2 to 1 cup butter), values are figured on the first, lower amount.

Recipes using regular-strength chicken broth are based on the sodium content of salt-free homemade or canned broth. If you use canned salted chicken broth, the sodium content will be higher.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Food and Entertaining; includes recipes
Author:Weber, Christine B.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Mar 1, 1992
Words:1714
Previous Article:Divider is wet bar and media center.
Next Article:Tidbits on skewers ... hot off the barbecue.
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