When the weather gets warmer and ideas for simple but nutritious dinners get scarce, follow the suggestion of one popular food manufacturer: "Do what chefs, cooking contest entrants and other creative cooks do: Pick one of your favorite foods and create a new way to serve it."
Since health is of concern, a good idea is to start with a favorite vegetable--particularly one that adapts well to a variety of cooking methods--and work it into an adaptation of a well-liked recipe that the family will enjoy.
Stuffed Pepper Pie, for example, is a hearty meal in one that provides 100% of the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin C, because green peppers are a good source of the vitamin, even when cooked.
Vitamin Count Varies
Potatoes and corn are some of other vegetables featured in the recipes that follow. The vitamin and mineral counts may vary appreciably depending on whether you use fresh or packaged varieties.
The crust in Tato Taco Supreme is made from mashed potatoes and Parmesan cheese, baked, then piled high with shredded lettuce, seasoned ground beef, tomato, avocado and sour cream. Potatoes also are called for in Potato-Corn Cakes, easily made with frozen corn in butter sauce.
STUFFED PEPPER PIE
2 quarts plus 1 cup water
3 medium green peppers, halved and seeded
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups instant mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained
1 medium tomato, cut into wedges
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Place peppers in pan and cook 15 minutes. Drain. Arrange around sides of ungreased 8- or 9-inch pie pan.
In same saucepan, combine onion, remaining 1 cup water and butter. Heat to boiling. Remove from heat and stir in potato flakes, milk and egg until well combined. Stir in pork sausage. Spoon into pepper-lined pan. Arrange tomato wedges on top and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 15 to 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Makes 6 servings.
PER SERVING: 290 calories; 15 gm protein; 14 gm carbohydrate; 20 gm fat; 640 mg sodium; 400 mg potassium.
Protein 25% Riboflavin 15% Vitamin A 15% Niacin 10% Vitamin C 100% Calcium 20% Thiamine 25% Iron 08%
TATO TACO SUPREME
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 cup flour
1 cup instant mashed potato flakes
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup taco sauce
4 cups shredded lettuce
1 tomato, cut into wedges
1 avocado, peeled and cut into wedges
1/2 cup sour cream
Spray 12-inch pizza pan with non-stick coating spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Combine flour, potato flakes, Parmesan and onion salt in medium bowl. Cut butter into mixture with fork until crumbly. Add water and stir with fork until mixture leaves sides of bowl and forms soft, moist dough. (Additional water may be added, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve desired consistency.)
Press into bottom of prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees 18 to 24 minutes or until light golden brown.
In large skillet, brown ground beef and onion, then drain. Add oregano, salt, pepper, cumin and taco sauce. Continue cooking until thoroughly heated.
Arrange lettuce over baked crust. Top with ground beef mixture, tomato, avocado and sour cream. Cut into wedges and serve. Makes 8 servings.
Note: May be served with additional taco sauce but this figure is not included in nutrient data.
PER SERVING: 450 calories; 20 gm protein; 21 gm carbohydrate; 33 gm fat; 510 mg sodium; 530 mg potassium.
Protein 30% Riboflavin 15% Vitamin A 20% Niacin 25% Vitamin C 10% Calcium 10% Thiamine 15% Iron 20%
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup apple juice or cider
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter
1 (10-ounce) package frozen whole kernel corn with butter sauce in pouch
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups mashed potatoes
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup oil
Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Stir in apple and lemon juices and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in butter.
Place unopened corn pouch in warm water 20 minutes to thaw. Cook onion and corn in butter sauce in large skillet until onion is tender-crisp.
Combine potatoes, flour, eggs and corn mixture in medium bowl. Heat oil in large skillet and spoon mixture from 1/3 cup measuring cup into hot oil. Flatten slightly and fry over medium-high heat 2 1/2 to 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve warm with sauce. Makes 12 servings.
PER SERVING: 180 calories; 3 gm protein; 21 gm carbohydrate; 9 gm fat; 200 mg sodium; 190 mg potassium.
Protein 04% Riboflavin 04% Vitamin A 04% Niacin 04% Vitamin C 20% Calcium 02% Thiamine 06% Iron 02%