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Comfort Foods With A Twist

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Pepperoni Pizza Soup
Granny Smith Guacamole

(Family Features) - If you're looking for a new take on home-style cooking, then George Duran has the recipe for you. Duran is a popular Food Network host and chef who likes to take favorite American dishes and give them a delightful twist. PBJ Bread Pudding, Cheeseburger Frittata and Tex-Mex Lasagna are just a few of the dishes he's twisted.

"Comfort food is something that brings Americans together," said Duran, "but I noticed that I was going to be limited with the number and originality of recipes I could introduce. (After all, how many ways can you make a PBJ sandwich?) That's when I decided to take classic American flavors and twist them into a gourmet dish."

Duran says that keeping these 10 must-have ingredients in the pantry makes it easy to turn a midnight snack into a work of art: curry paste, nonstick cooking spray, bacon, ground cumin, coconut milk, red wine, chipotle hot sauce, pine nuts, fresh cilantro, and vanilla ice cream.

In his new book, "Take This Dish And Twist It: Comfort Food with New & Unexpected Flavors" (Meredith Books; November 2008), Duran re-imagines familiar foods and makes them fantastic in over 100 recipes.

Break out of the ordinary by adding fun along with flavor to your favorite comfort foods. Your taste buds will be glad you did.

Pepperoni Pizza Soup

Ingredients
  • 2 (10.75-ounce) cans condensed tomato soup
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 11/2 cups dried elbow macaroni (or other short dried pasta such as ditalini or alphabets)
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/3 cup diced pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
  • dried oregano

Preparation
    1. Preheat broiler.
    2. In large pan put soup, water, and garlic; bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in macaroni, green onion, oregano, and pepperoni; cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until macaroni is almost done.
    3. Pour soup into 4 oven-proof bowls. Top each with 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, and some oregano. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
    4. Or serve soup in a small round, crusty loaf of bread. Cut top off bread and scoop out insides. Fill with soup, top with cheeses, and broil as directed above. Try different "toppings" as well, such as mushrooms, onions, and sausage.

Preparation Time
15 minutes

Cook Time
6 minutes Broil: 3 minutes

Serves
Makes 4 servings

Granny Smith Guacamole

Ingredients
  • 3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh cilantro
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Bottled hot pepper sauce, to taste
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt or table salt, to taste
  • Assorted dippers (baked fruit crisps, apple chips, and/or tortilla chips)

Preparation
    1. Scoop avocado flesh into bowl; add onion, cilantro, lime juice, and hot pepper sauce. Mash with fork until it reaches the desired consistency. Stir in apple and season with salt to taste.
    2. Serve with dippers.

Preparation Time
10 minutes

SOURCE: Meredith Corporation



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