Fruit Crisp

PhotobucketI keep a bag of this fruit crisp topping in the freezer for a quick dessert.  The recipe will cover a  9x13 dish of fruit, but more often I only need to make 2 to 4 servings.  

So I use a smaller dish or individual ramekins and sprinkle mixture over the fruit, bake, then serve with a whipped topping or ice cream.

We have apples, blackberries and blueberries in our yard which I pick and freeze for cobblers, pies and crisps, but I've also used it on sliced canned peaches. 

As a carb watcher I've learned to use Splenda in many recipes calling for white sugar, and it works well in this recipe if you're watching calories or white carbs.

PhotobucketFruit Crisp
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar or Splenda
1 cup quick oats
1 Tab. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 stick melted butter
3 cups of fruit for a 9x11 dish
Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended into a crumbly mixture, then put in a quart-size freezer bag and freeze. 
Photobucket Arrange chosen fruit in a sprayed dish or pan, and sprinkle desired amount of mixture over the top.  Bake in a 350° oven for 30-40 minutes until top is golden and crispy. 
Makes one 9 x 13 inch size dessert or 6-8 individual desserts. Use fruit of choice:  berries, cherries, sliced peaches, or apples.  Eat fruit crisp dessert as is, or top with a whipped topping or ice cream.

Estimated cost of topping: $1.80 or less; .30 cents a serving or less. 

Parmesan Zucchini Fries

PhotobucketLooking for another way to use the abundance of zucchini from your or your neighbor's garden?   Try zucchini fries. 

If you've never used Panko crumbs, try them!
They provide the best crunch for all kinds of oven baked or deep fried dishes.

Zucchini is a mild tasting firm squash-type vegetable that's easy to grow and just one or two plants produce many pounds for breads, relishes, an addition to soups or stews, or use as a side dish.  Grocery stores sell zucchini for around $2.50 or less per pound.

I grew two plants this year and besides my own use, gave several pounds away to family or friends. I recently made steak and "fries" using zucchini and this recipe makes them very crispy and crunchy!

Zucchini Fries

Parmesan Zucchini Fries
1 pound of zucchini cut into french fry sticks about 3 inches long.
1/3 cup  flour
1 tsp. salt, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper, divided
2 eggs beaten with a shell of water
3/4 cups panko or plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Old Bay or Taco seasoning
1 Tab. chopped dill (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange oven rack in the center. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or spray the pan.  Arrange 3 bowls or pie plates for coating fries. In the first, stir together flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. In the second bowl, whisk together eggs, water 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. In the third bowl, combine Panko, Parmesan, dill (if using), and 1 tsp. Old Bay or Taco seasoning. 
Wash and cut zucchini into sticks, unpeeled.  Then in batches, dip into flour, shaking off excess; then dip into egg mixture until coated and drain off; then toss into Panko mixture to coat all sides. 

Arrange without crowding in a single layer on prepared pan. Bake 20 - 25 minutes  until Panko coating is golden and crisp.  Serve with dipping sauces of choice. Serves 4-6.

Estimated cost for coating under a $1.00.

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Dy's Greek Lemon Chicken Soup

Lemon and chicken go together!  I often stuff a roast chicken with lemons, and also cook chicken with lemon pepper seasoning.  

For chicken soup, in addition to old-fashioned chicken soup, I've learned to enjoy Greek Lemon Chicken Soup two ways.  My way, and my sister Dyanne's way.

Mine offers a clearer broth with ribbons of cooked egg, while hers has a creamier, thicker taste and texture.

Either way, both are terrific.  Sometimes I combine the two, leaving out the spinach in mine but adding shredded carrots, or adding less eggs to her version.  It depends on what I have on hand. 

Both versions make about 2-1/2 quarts (10 cups). But to be truthful, I really do like her version the best!

Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
6 boneless skinless cooked chicken breasts, diced or shredded, about 3 - 4 cups
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup fresh spinach
6 cups chicken stock
2 Tabs. grated lemon rind
1/2 cup uncooked rice
4-6 Tab. lemon juice
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground pepper
1 Tab. chopped fresh mint, basil or thyme ( 1 tsp. of using dry herbs)
2 beaten eggs. (optional)
Garnish with parsley, thyme or chives

Add all ingredients bring to boil then turn down & simmer covered until rice is done, about 30-40 minutes. When done, slowly drizzle beaten eggs into hot soup, while stirring with a large spoon. Rice can be cooked ahead of time, (cup and a half of cooked rice) and added to soup near end of simmering time.

Dy's Greek Lemon Chicken Soup
8 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 Tabs. chicken soup base
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cooked white rice
3 - 4 cups diced, cooked chicken meat
lemon slices for garnish, optional
8 egg yolks
Garnish with parsley, thyme or chives

In a large pot, combine chicken broth, lemon juice, carrots, onions, celery, soup base, and white pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Blend butter and flour. Gradually add it to soup mixture. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, beat egg yolks until smooth and light in color. Temper eggs by slowly adding and stirring some of the hot soup to the egg yolk. Return egg mixture to soup pot and heat through. Add the rice and chicken.

Estimated cost: $5.00 or less; .50 cents a serving or less.
Entered in Food of the Month Club: Soups: #12

Plum Pie Filling for Small or Large Pies

Plum Pie photo null_zps83006c35.jpgI recently purchased a Pie and Pastry Baker which makes two individual pot pies, fruit pie, or quiches. Since we had an abundant crop of plums this year, I first used it to make plum pies.  But I've also made mini apple and peach pies and freeze them to have on hand for desserts.

Individual pies finish in about 15 minutes or less.  It's handy to have pie dough on hand in the freezer or refrigerator so pies can be made easily for a quick dessert or to use leftovers for pot pies or quiches.

For pie crust, here's my recipe which I use for pot pies, fruit pies and quiches:

Plum Pie photo null_zps99999107.jpg
Plum Pie Filling
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
2 Tabs. cornstarch
2 Tabs. flour
3 tsps. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp.salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 pounds plums, halved, pitted, each half cut into 4 wedges

 photo null_zpse4ba1583.jpgIn a bowl, combine cut plums with remaining ingredients and stir well. For a mini-pie maker, cook pie filling on medium heat for 15 minutes until plums soften, then use in pie maker according to manufactures directions. This recipe makes about 4 mini-pies.
Pie Dough photo null_zps147cceb4.jpg
For a larger pie, fill prepared pie crust and bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes, reduce heat to 325 degrees, and bake 25 minutes longer or until plums are tender and the is crust golden brown.

"Greens" with Bacon: Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards

kale and bacon
Kale, Swiss Chard, and Collard Greens all taste delightful to me, with slightly differing tastes and textures, but tasting like something from the broccoli, cabbage or Brussel sprout family of flavors. They can be used interchangeably in this recipe

They all cook down (wilt) like spinach, so a pound yields several cups of cooked greens.

I like "greens" as a side dish with pork, chicken or fish.  A bunch of kale is especially bulky, and also can be used raw for salads or cooked in a quiche, like a spinach quiche.  It also keeps longer in the refrigerator than lettuce or spinach, so cuts down on waste.

"Greens" with Bacon: Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards
1 bunch of kale, leaves removed and chopped about 6 cups
kale1/2 cup diced onions
3 - 4 slices of chopped bacon
3 or four cloves of minced garlic
splash of Balsamic vinegar 
salt and pepper

chopped stems optional or save for soups

Wash greens and pat dry.  Remove leaves by cutting or stripping off stems by hand and tear into pieces.

In large pan, on medium heat saute bacon and onion until translucent, add garlic, then greens, salt and pepper, and stir to mix.  Turn down heat and cover, letting greens steam and cook down.  When soft and tender, about 15 minutes, add a tablespoon or two of vinegar. Serves 4.

Estimated cost: 2.50 or less;  50 cents a serving or less.