Discovering Recipes In The Cookbooks That Come Across My Desk

IN THE KITCHEN

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I love to see new recipes, that is why I've signed up for a number of recipe services on the Internet.

There was a time when we received lots of recipes at the newspaper from various sources. On rare occasions there might even be a cookbook in the mail.

Well I had the good fortune of having not one, but two different cookbooks come across my desk in recent weeks.

One was featured in the Nov. 17 edition of the Payson Roundup, the latest edition of the Wal-Mart "Family Cookbook" because it includes a recipe by Pine resident Barbara Hall.

The other came into my possession because of an article I wrote more than two years ago. The author, Dee McCaffrey, an organic chemist and diet counselor, has developed an eating system that eliminates flour and sugar and makes use of natural foods. Through the system she lost 100 pounds in a year's time about 14 years ago. Her cookbook "Dee's Mighty Cookbook" was published last year, with a second edition published this year.

McCaffrey delivered her cookbook to me personally, meeting me early one weekend morning while she and her family were visiting the area for hiking. The book is more than a cookbook, it is a handbook that outlines her philosophy about food and what refined ingredients do to our bodies.

This food column is a combination of a couple of things: some of the interesting recipes to be found in the 2006-2007 version of the Wal-Mart "Family Cookbook" and a brief overview of some of material McCaffrey covers in her book, plus a couple of her recipes.

Since Hall's recipe was part of the story that ran Nov. 17 in the Roundup, I am including other recipes here.

The Wal-Mart cookbook is divided into several sections: Appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and brand recipes.

The following is one of the appetizer recipes.

Mini Taco Bites

Lara E. Burchell, Manteca, Calif.

Ingredients

24 won ton wrappers

2, 3-ounce packages Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon McCormick oregano leaves

3/4 teaspoon McCormick chili powder

Assorted toppings: finely chopped tomato or avocado, sliced ripe olives or green onions, cooked bacon pieces, sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray 24 1-3/4-inch muffin cups (mini muffin cups). Place a won ton wrapper in each muffin cup, making sure the dough doesn't fold over, set aside.

In a medium bowl beat cream cheese, sour cream, garlic, oregano and chili powder until smooth, then fill won ton wrapper cups evenly.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until wrappers begin to brown and filling puffs slightly. Add desired toppings and serve warm.

I love to have breakfast meals at dinner time, I think it's because the pace in the morning is almost always too hectic to enjoy a nice breakfast.

One of the main dish recipes in the Wal-Mart cookbook was this one for a breakfast casserole.

Breakfast Casserole

Vicki Elias, Phoenix

Ingredients

1 pound bulk turkey sausage

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

4 cups frozen Ore-Ida Tater Tots, thawed

1, 2-1/4 ounce can sliced, pitted ripe olives, drained

2 cups Kraft shredded cheddar cheese

12 eggs, slightly beaten

biscuits (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat a three-quart rectangular baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large skillet cook sausage, onion and bell pepper until sausage is browned. Drain fat.

In a large bowl gently stir together sausage mixture, potatoes, olives and cheese and spoon into prepared baking dish. Pour the slightly beaten eggs over entire contents.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Let stand for 5 minutes to set and serve with biscuits if desired.

After all the heavy holiday eating most of us will be doing, I imagine a light pasta salad will be just the thing to start breaking the bad habits of the season.

Melissa's Pasta Salad

Melissa Fahlgren, San Antonio, Texas

Ingredients

1, 16-ounce package bow-tie pasta

Garlic-Herb Dressing (see below)

4 ounces deli roast beef, cut into thin strips

2 ounces deli pastrami, cut into thin strips

2 ounces pepperoni, cut into thin strips

1 cucumber, sliced

1 large tomato, seeded and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup sliced, pitted ripe olives

1/2 cup Kraft shredded parmesan cheese

chopped fresh parsley

Garlic Herb Dressing

1, 3/4 ounce envelope garlic-herb salad dressing

1/2 cup Enova oil

1/4 cup vinegar

3 tablespoons water

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon McCormick ground black pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and place in large bowl.

While the pasta is cooking make the Garlic Herb Dressing. Using a screw-top jar, combine the dressing ingredients, cover and shake well. Then add to past, toss to coat and chill for 30 minutes.

Once the pasta has chilled add the beef, pastrami, pepperoni and vegetables and toss together to combine. Top with cheese and parsley.

No true sampling of a cookbook would be complete without looking at one of its dessert recipes.

The one I think I might try is called Christmas Eggnog Pie.

Christmas Eggnog Pie

Angie Eshelman, Phoenix

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups SPLENDA Sugar Blend for Baking

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoons McCormick ground nutmeg

1 cup eggnog or half-and-half

2 teaspoons McCormick imitation rum extract

1 teaspoon McCormick pure vanilla extract

9-inch unbaked pie crust

Frozen whipped topping, thawed (optional)

McCormick ground nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine thoroughly the first six ingredients. Add the next three ingredients and stir well.

Pour mixture into the unbaked pie crust and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set.

Cool. If desired, before serving, top each piece with a dollop of whipped topping garnished with nutmeg.

Healthy eating post-holiday

If a healthier way of eating is something you are considering for a New Year's resolution, then a good place to start might be Dee McCaffrey's "Dee's Mighty Cookbook" -- after talking it over with your health care provider.

The subtitle of McCaffrey's book is "Tasty Cuisine for Flourless and Sugarless Living."

In the introduction to the book, the author writes, "One of the first things my nutrition students learn is that foods made with refined sugar and white flour are the bane of weight loss and good health.

The second thing they learn is that we can live ‘flourless' and ‘sugarless' and still enjoy life."

Further in the book, McCaffrey presents "The Six Most Important Foods for Weight Loss and Good Health." She names the food then writes about why it is important.

To learn more about McCaffrey's story, her eating plan, the cookbook and more, visit her Web site, www.deemccaffrey.com.

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