Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring Supper

5/14/08 Cook’s Corner
Spring menu
Betty Kaiser

So many recipes, so little time! For some of us, reading a recipe book or column is better than a novel. I guess we could be called (in the best sense of the term) “food junkies.” We collect recipes like others collect precious coins or gems and can never get enough.

Forty years ago I had one recipe box that was barely full. The restaurant business gradually increased the number of boxes and then I added expandable files. The last few years my recipe boxes and files have overflowed into a kitchen drawer filled with manila folders. Now dozens of recipes also languish on the computer.

In the confusion that I call filing, it is easy to forget where I put the latest appetizer, chicken or dessert recipe. In fact, I have been known to spend hours tracking down something as simple as a variation on vegetable soup. Cooking is easy. Organizing is hard.

I think that’s one reason why I enjoy the “food and family” magazine put out by Kraft. Their staff of test kitchen cooks and publishing empire is not only organized but their presentation is beautiful. An added plus is that their motto is similar to mine: “Deliciously simple.”

Recently, between snow showers and with spring briefly in the air, I was hungry for something different. But what? In the frig I had defrosted some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. There was also some asparagus, broccoli and sugar snap peas. Even a bag of frozen blueberries and raspberries from last summer. Of course, I could have simply steamed and served these ingredients ‘naked’ but I wanted to dress them up.

Leafing through some old copies of “food & family” I found inspiration for a beautiful, tasty and tangy supper. Good enough to serve guests but simple enough for family. These chicken skewers are so good you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried them before. Try them over hot steamed rice for dinner or a bed of mixed lettuce for an elegant lunch.
I have made a variation on this hollandaise sauce for years. It keeps well without breaking if you just heat but do not boil! Great on many different green vegetables. This no-bake cheesecake dessert is easy to prepare and the recipe easily halved. Enjoy!

Easy Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce

¼ cup Kraft Catalina Dressing
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into lengthwise slices
2 tablespoons dry roasted peanuts, chopped
¼ cup chopped green onions

Mix dressing, peanut butter and soy sauce in large bowl until well blended. Add chicken; toss to coat. Cover; refrigerate 10 minutes to marinate.

Preheat broiler. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Thread chicken evenly onto 8 soaked wooden or metal skewers. Place on rack in broiler pan.

Broil, 4-6 inches from heat, 4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve sprinkled with peanuts and onions.

Simple Hollandaise Sauce

½ cup Kraft Mayo Light Mayonnaise
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in saucepan. Cook on low heat 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring constantly.

Serve over hot steamed fresh asparagus, sugar snap peas or broccoli.

Makes 1 cup or 8 servings (2 tablespoons each)

Philadelphia Fruit Smoothie No-Bake Cheesecake

1-1/2 cups Honey Maid graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
4 packages (8 ounces each) Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, softened
½ cup sugar
1 package (12-ounces) frozen mixed berries
1 tub Cool Whip Lite whipped topping, thawed, divided

Line 13X9-inch baking pan with foil; extend ends over sides of pan. Mix graham crumbs, butter and 2 tablespoons sugar; press firmly onto bottom of prepared pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

Beat Neufchatel cheese and ½ cup sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Smash drained berries with fork; stir into cheese mixture. Gently stir in 2 cups of whipped topping. Spoon over crust. Cover.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Use foil handles to remove cheesecake from pan before cutting into pieces to serve. Top with remaining whipped topping. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.
Serves 16 one piece each. (Yeah, right!)

All recipes are courtesy of Kraft. Their publications are free and published quarterly. Sign up at

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal!
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare.

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