(Family Features) - In the restaurant world, professional chefs can afford to spend hours on their culinary creations. When they come home after a long day, however, even the most passionate cooks tend to relish a few cooking shortcuts. From simple recipes to pantry essentials, there are a variety of tips and tricks that home cooks can add to their repertoire, too.
Timesaving products, such as prepared stock and mashed potatoes, allow home cooks to replicate restaurant-quality dishes without spending all day over a hot stove. Here are a few recipes that are easy to prepare, but rich with flavor.
For an elegant main course, try Pan Sautéed Chicken With Vegetables and Herbs. This moist, flavorful dish gets its richness from Swanson chicken stock. Or trade in the traditional salmon filet for savory Butter and Herb Salmon Cakes. Made with cayenne, tarragon, garlic and Idahoan Butter and Herb Mashed Potatoes, these cakes are a cinch to prepare, but friends and family will think you ordered in.
Butternut Squash Soup With Sage is a show-stopping first course that is accented with the flavors of sweet apples and sage. For an appetizer that will please a crowd, try Four-Cheese Potato-Stuffed Mushrooms.
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 bone-in chicken breast halves
- 2 small red onions, cut into quarters
- 1 pound new potatoes, cut into quarters
- 8 ounces fresh whole baby carrots (about 16), green tops trimmed to 1 inch
- 1 1/2 cups Swanson chicken stock
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- Heat oven to 350°F. Combine black pepper, paprika and flour in small bowl. Coat chicken with flour mixture.
- Heat the oil in 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until it's well browned on all sides. Remove chicken from skillet.
- Add onions and potatoes to skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add carrots, stock, lemon juice and oregano and heat to a boil. Return the chicken to the skillet. Cover the skillet.
- Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Uncover the skillet and bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with the thyme.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 cups Swanson chicken broth (regular, Natural Goodness or Certified Organic)
- 1 tablespoon butter OR margarine
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- Heat oil in saucepot over medium heat. Add squash, apples and onion and cook until almost tender. Stir in sugar, coriander and cayenne pepper. Cook and stir 2 minutes.
- Add broth. Heat to a boil. Cook over low heat 10 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Place cooked squash mixture in food processor, using a slotted spoon. Cover and blend until smooth, adding enough cooking liquid to make soup of desired consistency.
- Heat butter in small skillet. Add sage and cook until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels. Reserve butter in skillet. Divide soup among 4 bowls. Drizzle each with sage butter and garnish with fried sage leaves.
- 4 cups water
- 1 1/2 lemons
- 1 10 to 12-ounce salmon filet
- 1/3 cup celery, finely diced
- 1/3 cup onion, finely diced
- 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 4-ounce pouch Idahoan Butter and Herb Mashed Potatoes, dry
- Canola oil
- In a medium pot, boil 4 cups water with the juice of the lemons, placing one lemon half in the water. Reduce heat to a simmering boil. Poach salmon filet in water by cooking, covered, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until done. Remove with spatula. Set aside to cool.
- When salmon is cool, combine with celery, onion, mayonnaise, cayenne, tarragon, garlic, dry mustard, salt and black pepper in large bowl and mix well. Add dry potatoes slowly while mixing until everything is moist.
- Form patties and cook in preheated canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat until both sides are brown (3 minutes per side).
- Serve hot.
- 1 4-ounce package Idahoan Four Cheese Mashed Potatoes
- 12 large mushrooms or 18 medium mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter, margarine or olive oil
- 3 tablespoons chopped chives
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Prepare potatoes as package directs.
- Remove stems from mushrooms; chop stems and set aside. Carefully scoop out center of each mushroom cap with a spoon, leaving 1/2-inch shell.
- Melt butter in 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add chopped mushroom stems and cook 3 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat and stir in mashed potatoes, 2 tablespoons chives and salt.
- Fill each mushroom cap with potato mixture, mounding it slightly. Bake 10 minutes or until potatoes are lightly golden. Sprinkle mushrooms with remaining 1 tablespoon chives.
Roasted vegetables with taco seasoning mix turns a simple selection of vegetables into a trouble-free Southwestern side.
- 4 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (yams), cut in 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 cups zucchini, cut into small chunks
- 1 small red onion, cut into small chunks
- 1 6-ounce package portabella mushroom slices, halved
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix (about half a 1.25-ounce packet)
- Salt to taste (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray or line with foil.
- In large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, zucchini, onion and mushrooms. Toss with olive oil to coat. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and spread vegetables on baking sheet.
- Bake 40 minutes, shaking pan every 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender and roasted.
Total Fat: 4g
Makes 8 1/2-cup servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Pop any leftovers into a soup pot with some chicken broth for a terrific Southwestern vegetable soup.
This recipe is from "Holly Clegg's Trim & Terrific(tm) Diabetic Cooking" (American Diabetes Association, $18.95). For more recipes, visit www.hollyclegg.com.
(Family Features) - Surprise! You already know this mild-tasting, delicately textured fish that swims wild in clean, icy Alaskan waters. You just didn't realize it.
Like the boy next door who's so friendly and easy going he's taken for granted - until his superman talents are revealed - genuine Alaska Pollock is finally making a name for itself. A kissing cousin to cod, this whitefish is the one you love to eat in so many good things, from fish sticks and fish tacos, to fish sandwiches, fillets and surimi seafood. It's a rock star in fish and chips, too.
Versatility is where Alaska Pollock scores top points. Alaska Pollock is flash-frozen within hours of harvesting and processed for breaded fish sticks, frozen fillets or surimi seafood. Its mild flavor and snow-white, tender flesh are particularly kid-friendly and appealing.
On the nutrition side, Alaska Pollock is a terrific source of protein and minerals, making it especially popular during Lent. Low in fat and calories, it's a product worth seeking out year-round.
Add sustainability as another plus for Alaska Pollock, harvested from the largest sustainable fishery in the world. Alaska Pollock fishery managers strive - and have for more than 30 years - to maintain the quality and capacity of the biannual catch while protecting the species' habitat and ecosystem in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska. The result of their long-term dedication is an abundant, economical fish.
The versatility of Alaska Pollock is highlighted with the cross-cultural flavors in the trio of recipes here. Traditional Thai ingredients such as red curry paste, ginger, green chiles and coconut milk spark Thai Fishermen's Stew, a zesty dish with built-in warmth for an evening meal. Classic south-of-the-border seasonings give Alaska Pollock Fish Stick Tacos lively flavor with plenty of family appeal. What's not to like about pairing fish sticks with guacamole, taco seasoning, lime juice, green onions and cilantro? Or prepare Alaska Surimi Seafood Breakfast Bake. It's an easy-to-make frittata-type dish that matches Mexican seasonings with Alaska surimi seafood.
Add everything together and there's no question genuine Alaska Pollock is one tasty fish worth looking for in all its delicious forms. To find more recipes featuring this versatile fish, visit alaskaseafood.org.
- 8 frozen Alaska Pollock fish sticks (about .75 ounces each) or 4 frozen breaded/battered fish fillets (about 1.5 ounces each)
- 8 taco shells or flour tortillas (5- to 6-inch each)
- 2 cups shredded lettuce
- 1 cup prepared guacamole
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon Mexican or taco seasoning
- 1 lime, cut in 8 wedges
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- 1/4 cup sliced green onions
- Prepare fish sticks/fillets according to package directions.
- In each taco shell, layer 1/4 cup lettuce, 2 tablespoons guacamole, 2 tablespoons tomato, and 2 fish sticks or 1 fish fillet.
- Sprinkle on small amount of Mexican or taco seasoning. Squeeze juice of a lime wedge over fish.
- Top with 1 tablespoon cilantro and 1/2 tablespoon green onions.
Calories: 322g Total Fat: 18g
Cholesterol: 10mg Protein: 8g
Carbohydrates: 34g Sodium: 260mg
- 1 large bell pepper, cut into strips
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms
- 1 can (4 ounces) sliced black olives, drained
- 1/3 cup sliced green onions
- 12 ounces Alaska Surimi Seafood (Imitation Crab)
- 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons Cajun, Creole or Mexican seasoning
- 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby Jack or Mexican cheese blend, divided
- 8 eggs
- 3/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Spray coat 9- to 10-inch baking dish. Place peppers, mushrooms, olives and green onions in baking dish. Sprinkle seasoning over Alaska Surimi Seafood; stir to coat. Add surimi and 3/4 cup cheese to baking dish. Blend eggs and water; pour over surimi. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.
- Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until puffed and center is firm.
Calories: 324g Total Fat: 19g
Cholesterol: 374mg Protein: 25g
Carbohydrates: 14g Sodium: 1171mg
Servings: 4 to 6
- 2 bottles (8 ounces each) clam juice
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) organic
- tomatoes with basil and garlic
- 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles
- 2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, or to taste
- 1 can (14 ounces) regular or light coconut milk
- 1-1/2 pounds Alaska Pollock fillets, fresh, thawed or frozen
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- In Dutch oven, combine first 7 ingredients. Simmer covered 15 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and continue to simmer but do not boil.
- Meanwhile, preheat broiler oven to 450°F. Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska Pollock under cold water; pat dry with paper towel. Brush both sides of fillets with oil and place in baking pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heating element until opaque, about 5 to 6 minutes for frozen Alaska Pollock or 3 to 4 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Cook just until fish is opaque throughout.
- Remove fillets from pan and break into large chunks. Stir into stew; bring to a simmer. Sprinkle with basil leaves and serve piping hot.
Calories: 241g Total Fat: 10g
Cholesterol: 83mg Protein: 25g
Carbohydrates: 10g Sodium: 839mg