Central New York is noted for its apple crop and its many orchards. The annual Fall Apple Festival in Lafayette - just south of Syracuse - is attended by so many people that the road becomes one huge parking lot! Good weather or bad - Lafayette 'built it' - and they do come - in droves!!
So it's natural that apples figure large in many of our regional recipes - which is why I've placed my watercolor of apples at the top of the page! The recipes below don't necessarily feature apples but they do reflect my philosophy of cooking - which is as follows:
A recipe that is to my satisfaction - must fulfill three requirements. It must be easy, delicious - and cheap. While I haven't always stuck to that 3rd requirement - I have held fast to the first two. The first recipe here is an old family favorite that I've been making for years. Our sons don't eat it - they inhale it:
1 can chopped clams
8 oz. cream cheese - low fat can be used*
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder - or 'to taste'
a dollop of mayonnaise**
Drain clams, reserving juice. Beat together in large bowl with remaining ingredients. Add reserved clam juice gradually, till of dipping consistency. Spoon into serving bowl, cover and chill. Serve with chips, crackers or veggies of your choice.
*Persons using no-fat cream cheese will be stripped of their utensils and drummed out of the kitchen. I used it once accidentally and it was vile.
** For those ignorant of the fine points of dollop - it is roughly a heaping serving spoon of mayo. Anyone using Miracle Whip will also be stripped of their utensils. You've got to have some standards....
Something Fishy Here
Sardine lovers unite! The teensy fish are cheap and really really good for you! They taste good, too - honestly. The following recipe is excellent as a cracker spread - for hors d'oeuvres - (or as a sandwich filling):
1 can sardines in oil mayonnaise finely chopped mild onion garlic powder to taste
Mash it all together - using some but not all of the oil - to a paste consistency & refrigerate. Serve with crackers.
Add a hard boiled egg, mash & mix.
Comfort Food For a Cold Winter
In large oven proof pot with snug cover, place:
Beef - whatever is on sale - most recently I used - top round steak 1/2 price (Trim fat off)
Lo - sodium chicken (yup - chicken) broth - 2-3 cans (can substitute water & low-sodium chicken bouillon cubes) I used Herb-Ox - which is nicely flavored + water .
garlic powder to taste
1 - 2 Tablespoons lo-sodium soy sauce
You can throw in a cut up onion if you want to. Put in 350' oven for 4 or more hours. (You can also put it in at 300' for 5-6 hours). You can cook it on the top of the stove if you want to - but with the oven method you don't have to worry about it boiling dry. During the 4+ hours, you can clean your house or drink - your choice. Half an hour or so before dinner time - you can toss in carrots - those pre-peeled carrots if you want to. Or not.
Combine all and add real mayonnaise - to taste. Serve on a lettuce leaf for lunch, accompanied by rolls.
real mayonnaise - enough to moisten
Pork Chops in a Pot
This is adapted from a recipe I found in a community cookbook. Very easy and quite delicious. As you can no doubt see - I rely heavily on the magic of Herb-Ox bouillon powder (I use low sodium) and soy sauce (also lower sodium).
For 4 people:
4 boneless pork chops
2 TBL butter
2 cups water
1 TBL. lower sodium soy sauce
small onion - sliced
1/4 C. dry white wine (may be omitted)
1/4 c. water & 1/4 cup flour to thicken gravy
In pan with snug lid, brown chops on both sides with butter and onions (medium high heat). Add water, soy sauce & bouillon. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove chops to warm platter. Add wine to liquid in pan. Put flour & water in small container with tight lid. Shake and gradually add to liquid in pan till gravy is of desired consistency, scraping bottom as you do. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes. Serve with potatos or rice.
Oven Fried Boneless Chicken Breasts
Yes - it is possible to have healthy=yummy! Not common - but possible. This is brainlessly easy and really good. Of course - after I made the changes noted in bold print below - I suppose you could call it a whole new recipe.
1/2 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs (I used regular store bought - and used more than 1/2 cup) 2 tbsp grated Parmesan (I omitted) 2 tsp grated lemon zest (No lemon? Leave it out) 1/2 tsp paprika (not necessary) 1/4 tsp salt (I always omit) 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice (I used bottled lemon juice) Vegetable-oil cooking spray (I buttered the pan) 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz each) - I used 3 big ones) 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (I used about 2 TBL)
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, cheese, zest, paprika, and salt. In another shallow bowl, mix lemon juice and 1 tbsp water. Coat a baking pan with cooking spray. Dip chicken in liquid mixture, then in breadcrumb mixture, coating entire breast, and lay on the baking pan. Repeat with remaining breasts. Drizzle chicken with oil. Bake 20 to 25 minutes* or until chicken is cooked through (no longer pink inside).
*20 - 25 minutes?? Are they nuts? Make it one hour. After that time, it was moist and tender - lovely - and cooked through.
"Without what? - you may well say. I wish I could say 'without gaining weight' but that's a dream - something like peace in the middle east. OK - you want to make a pecan pie - got all the ingredients lined up and - you're without corn syrup!!! Fret not. Here is an excellent recipe from artist June Carey which is so good - I don't even buy corn syrup anymore!
Pecan Pie Without Corn Syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup melted butter (margarine can be used)
Beat well & fold in 1 cup pecans. Pour into unbaked pie shell & bake at 375' for 40-45 minutes. Cool before cutting.
Lasagna Without Lasagna Noodles
1 16 oz. pkg. egg noodles (wider ones preferred)
3 TBL. olive oil - DIVIDED
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
2 cloves garlic - minced - or equivalent in garlic powder
1 26 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1 tsp. basil
1 lb. low fat or regular ricotta
1 cup low fat or regular sour cream
1/4 c. (skim) mozzarella cheese - shredded
1/2 cup plus 1 TBL. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley (optional)
1 egg - beaten
Cook, drain & toss noodles with 1 TBL oil and set aside. In pan, heat 2 TBL oil & brown beef & chopped garlic - immediately add sauce & basil
combine remaining ingredients with beaten egg
Cover bottom of oiled lasagna pan or 3 quart casserole with thin layer meat sauce. Spread 1/2 the noodles on top & spread with cheese mixture. Top with remaining noodles. Cover all with beef sauce & sprinkle with 2 TBL. parmesan.
Bake uncovered 30 - 40 minutes till hot and bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. (If made ahead, remove from frig 20 min. before cooking. If frozen, add 30 minutes to cooking time.