(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
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes
Broil: 3 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
- 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
- Preheat broiler.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Granny Smith Guacamole
Prep: 10 minutes
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
- 3 ripe avocados, halved and pitted
- ½ cup finely chopped Vidalia onion
- ½ 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)
- 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.
- Serve with dippers.
Source: Meredith Corporation
(Family Features) Even if you’ve mastered the art of a smart workday lunch and can pick the most nutritious items on a restaurant menu like a pro, eating healthy at home is an unexpected downfall many people face.
When you find the chance to take a break from the busy pace of life and spend some time at home, it can be easy to slip into an all-indulgence mindset. Just remember that doesn’t have to mean going all-out on junk food.
Enjoy the comforts of home and keep your eating on track with these helpful tips.
When you’re spending time with family
It’s easy to catch a carefree spirit while you’re running the bases in an impromptu game of backyard baseball or being tempted by yet another imaginary dessert from the kiddie kitchen. When playtime winds down for dinner, there’s no reason for the fun to stop. Have kids get hands-on to help assemble a healthy meal everyone can enjoy. Skip the cutting, peeling and mess by using Dole Jarred Fruit to prepare salads, desserts and even main dishes that satisfy the whole family’s sweet tooth.
When you’re tackling chores
From seasonal landscaping to the myriad projects you’ve been putting off, the list of chores around the house may seem never-ending. Remember to stay hydrated, especially if you’re working outdoors, and be sure you make time to eat, even if it’s just a quick bite to keep you fueled. Air-popped crackers and hummus is a smart alternative to chips and dip, or get your pick-me-up from a handful of nuts and a serving of sweet, juicy fruit.
When you want to be a couch potato
When a new TV season begins this fall, keep your guilty pleasure in check with quick, healthy dishes to enjoy as you binge watch your favorite shows. Keep your kitchen stocked with ingredients such as high quality, ready-to-eat Dole Jarred Fruit so you can create quick and easy snacks with a serving of fruit in between episodes or during a commercial break.
Tickle your taste buds with these tricks that transform a kitchen staple like jarred fruit into a tasty treat:
- Brighten up bland yogurt or frozen waffles with a serving of jarred fruit, such as sliced peaches or mandarin oranges.
- Dip jarred pineapple chunks in melted chocolate and pop them in the freezer until hardened.
- Top a serving of jarred tropical fruit with coconut flakes for an island escape.
For more recipes you can enjoy at home, visit dolesunshine.com.
Total time: 10 minutes
- 1 jar (23.5 ounces) Dole Pineapple Chunks
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 2 vanilla wafers, crushed
- Measure 1/2 cup drained fruit.
- Spoon pineapple chunks into dessert glass. Spoon yogurt over pineapple. Sprinkle crushed wafers on top.
Tropical Rum Raisin Dessert
Total time: 30 minutes
- 1 jar (23.5 ounces) Dole Tropical Fruit, drained, juice reserved
- 1/2 cup Dole Seedless Raisins
- 1/4 cup spiced or coconut rum
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, divided
- 4 teaspoons toasted shredded coconut, divided
- Place fruit in medium bowl and set aside. In small bowl, combine raisins, rum and 1/4 cup reserved juice. Allow raisins to soak at least 20 minutes until plump. Drain off liquid.
- Combine fruit and rum raisins; spoon into serving bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 cup scoop of ice cream and top each with 1 teaspoon toasted coconut.
Tip: 1/2 teaspoon rum extract and 1/2 cup reserved juice may be used instead of rum.
Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1/2 cup refrigerated cooked chicken breast strips
- 2 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
- 1/2 cup Dole Mandarin Oranges, drained
- 2 teaspoons slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon light Asian salad dressing
- Divide chicken equally inside two lettuce leaves, making two wraps.
- Add 1/4 cup of Dole Mandarin Oranges and 1 teaspoon slivered almonds into each wrap.
- Serve lettuce wraps with light Asian salad dressing for dipping.
Orange Chipotle Avocado Toast
Total time: 10 minutes
- 1 slice whole wheat bread
- 1/2 avocado, diced or smashed
- 1/3 cup Dole Mandarin Oranges, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1/4 lime
- Lightly toast whole-wheat bread and top with diced avocado. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- In medium bowl, toss oranges with chipotle peppers.
- Spoon oranges over avocado toast and finish with a squeeze of lime.
Tip: For spicier toast, include pepper seeds. For more mild heat, remove seeds. A sprinkle of chili pepper can also be used to add spice.
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (1 1/2 to 2 pounds) washed, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 1/2 ripe Avocado from Mexico (4 ounces), pitted and diced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves or Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray.
- Pierce outside of each half of squash a few times with a fork. Place squash cut side down on baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, or until very tender when tested with a fork. Cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, place avocado, basil or parsley, chives, Parmesan, garlic, salt, black pepper and hot water in blender and process until smooth, turning blender off and on occasionally and adding a tablespoon or two of additional hot water if needed. There will be between 1/2 and 3/4 cup of pesto.
- When squash has cooled, use fork to rake the spaghetti-like threads of squash into a serving bowl. Discard skin. Drizzle pesto over squash and garnish with fresh basil or parsley if desired.
Makes 6 servings
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Credit: Cheryl Forberg, R.D. "The Biggest Loser: Simple Swaps" (Rodale, 2009)
Source Avocados from Mexico
- 2 (16-ounce) can Goya black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (14.25-ounce) can Muir Glen diced tomatoes no salt added
- 2 (11-ounce) cans Del Monte Golden Sweet Whole Kernel Corn no salt added, drained
- 1 (4.5-ounce) can Old El Paso green chilies chopped, drained
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco pepper sauce
- 1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- Baked tortilla chips
- In large bowl combine black beans, diced tomatoes with liquid, corn, green chilies, olive oil, vinegar, salt and Tabasco. Cover and refrigerate 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.
- To serve, stir in avocado and cilantro to mix well. Serve with tortilla chips.