published Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Recipe begins a yen for stir-fries

Good morning, readers, and thank you for keeping company with this column all these long short years. It’s great to see familiar names and equally as fine to hear from brand-new Chattanoogans.

The request for seafood recipes brought a sheaf of possibilities from an anonymous Exchanger, and one of those was a stir-fry dish with shrimp. Such discussion makes one hungry for more stir-fry — and egg-drop soup.

And here’s a pantry question: What does one do with red curry paste? Recipe, please.

S.L.P. wrote this week to ask you how to make chocoflan — “a chocolate version of a flan.”

A reader tried the Easy Potato Soup from Margaret Decker and loved it but wonders whether refrigerated hash browns will work as well as the prescribed frozen hash browns. Has anybody tried that?

And here’s a repeat request: recipes using summer sausage.

Sue Mickel highly recommends this tortilla soup; it’s a fine aroma to come home to, says she. Note that it calls for canned chicken and six more cans of ingredients, plus one jar and assorted seasoning, and is therefore mighty easy to make.

Tortilla Soup

2 cans chicken (break apart chunks)

1 can whole kernel corn

1 can kidney beans

1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans

2 cans Rotel tomatoes and green chilies

1⁄2 small onion, chopped

1 (8-ounce) jar taco sauce

1 package taco seasoning

1 package Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix

Cumin powder, to taste

Cayenne pepper, to taste

Do not drain any ingredients; use juices in the can as well. Put all ingredients in slow cooker with all the liquids. Cook on low all day.

Serve with tortilla chips or Fritos. You may top with cheese or sour cream.

Thanks to an anonymous Exchanger for this shrimp dish that came first from Southern Living magazine.

Shrimp Stir-Fry

1 pound frozen, peeled and deveined medium shrimp

1 (141⁄2-ounce) can low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

1⁄2 cup light soy sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons sesame oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger

11⁄2 cups chopped fresh broccoli

5 large mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 large sweet onion, chopped

1 small green bell pepper, chopped

Hot cooked rice

Thaw shrimp according to package directions. Stir together chicken broth, soy sauce and cornstarch; set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet at medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add broccoli, mushrooms, onion and bell pepper; stir-fry 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from skillet.

Add shrimp to skillet and stir-fry 3 minutes; stir in vegetables and chicken broth mixture. Bring to a boil and stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce thickens. Serve over rice.

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 13 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

A good while back we had a passel of hash-brown casseroles, too many to share at one time. Here’s the version sent by J. Bradley.

Hash-Brown Casserole

1 (30-ounce) bag Ore-Ida country style shredded frozen hash browns

1⁄2 cup chopped onion

16 ounces (4 cups) Kraft shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese blend

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon pepper

1 (103⁄4-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, plus 1⁄4 can water

1 cup sour cream

1 stick melted butter or margarine (Reserve 1⁄2 of this mixture for topping.)

1 sleeve Town House or Ritz crackers

Thaw hash browns unopened in refrigerator overnight, or 1 to 2 hours before mixing.

In a large mixing bowl, combine hash browns, onions, cheese, salt and pepper, mixing together thoroughly. Add the soup, water, sour cream and half of the melted butter to the mixture. Mixture will be hard to mix, but make sure all ingredients are thoroughly blended. Put mixture into a well-greased 11- by 9-inch casserole dish. (Alternately to greasing the dish, you may spray with cooking spray.)

Mix crushed crackers with reserved butter; spread on top of casserole. Bake at 350 F for 1 hour.

Variation: Omit topping, and the casserole is still wonderful. If omitted, use only 1⁄2 stick of butter in the recipe.

The request for gluten-free recipes brought this contribution from an anonymous Exchanger. “It doesn’t seem like a recipe that is a “do-without” recipe but one that anybody in the family would want to eat.”

Heavenly Chocolate-Chip Meringues

2 large egg whites

1⁄2 teaspoon cream of tartar

2⁄3 cups sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate or miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl with a mixer on high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until thick and foamy. Gradually add sugar, and continue to beat until mixture holds stiff, shiny peaks.

With a spatula, gently stir in almond extract and chopped chocolate. Spoon 1⁄2-tablespoon portions into 1-inch wide mounds (or with a pastry bag fitted with a 1⁄2-inch plain or star tip, pipe 1-inch-wide mounds about 1 inch apart onto baking sheets (12- by 15-inch) lined with cooking parchment.

Bake meringues in a regular or convection oven at 275 F until dry and firm to touch on the outside and almost dry inside (break one open to test), 30 to 35 minutes. If baking 2 sheets at once, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes on sheets, then slide a spatula underneath meringues and transfer to racks to cool completely.

As always, your recipes make me hungry ... and hungry for more. I’ll see you next week., same time, same place, with gladness.

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