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August 23, 2007

Ben's Bananas Foster

2 Tbsp margarine
4 small bananas, cut lengthwise
2 Tbsp brown sugar
dash of cinnamon
1 Tbsp banana liqueur
1/2 cup rum

Melt the margarine in a saucepan or skillet over a medium flame. Add the bananas and cook until olden, turning frequently. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon.

Remove the bananas to a serving dish and top with the pan juices. Heat the banana liqueur and rum, pour over the bananas and ignite. Serve blazing bananas with ice cream.

Yield: 4 servings

August 22, 2007

Spiced Chai Tea Smoothie

1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 chai tea bag
1/2 cup light silken tofu (or plain low-fat yogurt)
1 Tbsp granular sugar substitute
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6–8 ice cubes
Ground cinnamon for garnish

Pour milk into glass measuring cup; warm in microwave for 1 minute. Add tea bag; let steep 10 minutes. Remove tea bag; refrigerate measuring cup for 5 minutes.

In blender or food processor, combine milk mixture and tofu. Add sugar substitute, both extracts, and ice; process until ice is crushed and mixture is frothy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve immediately.

Makes 1 serving. Nutritional Information: 133 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 2 mg cholesterol, 11 g carbohydrate, 13 g protein, 0 g fiber, 78 mg sodium

August 14, 2007

Ginger Teriyaki Salmon

4 salmon fillets or steaks (4-6 oz each)
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Preheat grill to medium high. Make drainage holes in a sheet of Reynolds Wrap Release Non-Stick Foil lwith a large fork; set aside.

Place salmon in a shallow dish. Combine remaining ingredients; reserve 1/2 cup for basting. Pour marinade over fish, turn to coat. Cover; refrigerate 30 minutes. drai salmon; discard marinade.

Place foil sheet on grill grate with non-stick (dull) side facing up; immediately add salmon.

Grill 3-5 minutes on each side in covered grill or until fish flakes easily, brushing with reserved marinade after turning.

Makes 4 servings

Chipotle Barbecue Chicken

1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 to 1 Tbsp chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
6 chicken pieces

Preheat grill to medium. Make drainage holes in a sheet of Reynonlds Wrap Release Non-Stick Foil with a large fork; set aside. Combine barbecue sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and peppers.

Place foil sheet on grill grate with non-stick (dull) side facing up; immediately place chicken, skin side up, on foil.

Grill covered 15 minutes. Turn chicken; brush chicken with half of sauce. grill 10 minutes; turn. Brush with remaining sauce. Continue grilling 5 minutes longer or until chicken is tender and juices run clear or meat thermometer reads 170° F for breasts, 180°F for other pieces.

Makes 4-6 servings.

August 10, 2007

Fast Food French Fries

2 large potatoes
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2-2 cups hot water
6 cups shortening
1/4 cup beef lard (or save the fat from previously cooked burgers)
salt

Peel the potatoes. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, corn syrup, and hot water. Make sure the sugar is dissolved. Using a french fry slicer, cut the peeled potatoes into shoestrings. The potatoes should be 1/4" x 1/4" in thickness, and about 4" to 6" long.

Place the shoestringed potatoes into the bowl of sugar-water, and refrigerate. Let them soak about 30 minutes.

While they're soaking, pack the shortening into the deep fryer. Crank up the temperature to "full". The shortening has to pre-heat for a very long time. It will eventually liquify. After it has liquified and is at least 375°, drain the potatoes and dump them into the fryer.

After 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, remove the potatoes and place them on a paper towel lined plate. Let them cool 8 to 10 minutes in the refrigerator.

While they're cooling, add the lard or beef drippings to the hot Crisco. Again, crank the temperature to full. Stir in the lard as it melts into the oil.

After the deep fryer is reheated to 375°-400°, add the potatoes and deep fry again. This time for 5-7 minutes until golden brown. Remove and place in a large bowl.

Sprinkle generously with salt, then "toss" the fries to mix the salt evenly.

Fried Pickles

1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (32 ounce) jar sliced dill pickles, drained
1 quart vegetable oil for deep-frying

In a small bowl, mix together the egg, milk, 1 tablespoon of flour, and Worcestershire sauce. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining flour, salt, and pepper.

Heat oil to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) in a deep-fryer or heavy deep skillet. Dip pickle slices into the milk mixture, then into the flour mixture. Repeat dipping.

Place the pickles carefully into the hot oil. Avoid over crowding by frying in several batches. Fry until pickles float to the surface, and are golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

August 8, 2007

Spinach and Bean Salad With Shrimp

1 1/2 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tsp minced lemon peel (from 1 lemon)
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon), divided
Salt and black pepper
1 small red pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium bunch (1 lb) asparagus, trimmed and thickly sliced diagonally
1/2 medium shallot, minced
3/4 cup canned cannellini or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 bag (6 oz) baby spinach leaves

In medium bowl, combine shrimp, peel, 2 tablespoons juice, salt, and black pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Coat medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat. Saut� pepper slices 2 minutes. Add asparagus; cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add shallot; cook 1 minute, stirring. Transfer to bowl; add beans and let cool.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high. (Coat pan with cooking spray.) Cook shrimp about 2 minutes per side, until spotty brown and edges are pink.

In small bowl, whisk oil, remaining 1 tablespoon juice, tarragon, salt, and pepper.

In large bowl combine spinach, asparagus mixture, and dressing. 6. Serve shrimp on top of salad.

4 servings. Nutritional Information: 265 calories, 6 g total fat (1 g sat), 194 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrate, 32 g protein, 7 g fiber, 437 mg sodium

August 1, 2007

Fried Chicken Sandwich

Serves 4

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
salt to taste
1 quart buttermilk

The Vinaigrette:
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

The Coleslaw:
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup red wine vinegar
2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/2 green cabbage, core and outer leaves removed, thinly sliced
salt

The Breading:
1 lb all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp salt, to taste
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper

2 qt vegetable oil, for frying

4 large buns or rolls

Season chicken breasts with salt. Let sit for 5 minutes. Fill a wide, shallow nonreactive bowl or casserole dish with buttermilk. Add the chicken and soak in the refrigerator for 1 hour up to overnight.

For the vinaigrette: Combine mustard, vinegar and salt in a bowl. Slowly whisk in olive oil until well blended.

For the coleslaw: Soak onions in red wine vinegar, and let sit at least 20 minutes. Remove onions and discard vinegar. Toss onions with jalapeno, parsley, cabbage and salt. Toss with vinaigrette until evenly coated.

To fry chicken: Pour vegetable oil into a large stockpot. Do not fill up more than halfway, or the oil could splatter. Bring oil up to 365°, using a digital thermometer/candy thermometer to monitor the heat. Prepare the breading while waiting for oil to heat up.

In a wide shallow bowl, mix flour, cayenne, salt and pepper. Pull a chicken breast out of the buttermilk one by one, letting excess drip off, and dredge completely in flour. Place in buttermilk and dredge in flour a second time. Do not drain or shake off excess buttermilk or flour during the breading process.

When the oil is at 365°, place chicken pieces into oil one by one. Let it cook for a minute then shake it in the oil with tongs, until it is evenly cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels. Season immediately with salt.

For the sandwich: Place fried chicken breast on bottom of bun and top with coleslaw.

Per serving: 995 calories, 52 g protein, 63 g carbohydrate, 58 g fat (8 g saturated), 95 mg cholesterol, 1,497 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.

Sweet Berry Phyllo Nests

Nonstick cooking spray
4 sheets frozen whole-wheat phyllo dough, thawed
1 Tbsp granular sugar substitute, divided
Fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or chopped strawberries
Fat-free nondairy whipped topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.

Place 1 sheet phyllo dough on a clean, dry counter; lightly coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle lightly with sugar substitute. Place another sheet of phyllo on top, coat with cooking spray, and sprinkle with sugar substitute. Repeat with 2 remaining sheets of phyllo. Cut stack into 6 pieces. Gently press each piece into a muffin cup. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until just golden brown. Let cool.

Fill phyllo cups with desired berries and garnish with whipped topping (about 1 teaspoon per cup).

Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 55 calories, 1 g total fat (0 g sat), 0 mg cholesterol, 11 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 1 g fiber, 62 mg sodium

White Beans & Shrimp

* 1 can white beans, drained
* olive oil
* salt
* shrimp
* minced garlic
* thyme leaves

Combine can of white beans with olive oil, salt, small or chopped shrimp, minced garlic and thyme leaves in a pan.

Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are done; garnish with more olive oil.