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Photo: D103, License: N/A, Created: 2010:09:11 16:39:35

TOMATO SOUP WITH FENNEL

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium bulbs fresh fennel, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 can (28-ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, undrained

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add chopped fennel, onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes until tender, but still crisp; stir occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Next, pour half of the mixture into blender; cover and blend on high speed about 30 seconds or until smooth. Repeat with remaining mixture. Pour into bowls and serve. Yield: about 6 servings.

BRAISED RUMP ROAST

5 pounds beef or rump roast

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds peeled and thinly sliced onions

1 cup water

3 beef bouillon cubes

Pat meat dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat. Add rump roast and brown on all sides. Remove meat; add remaining tablespoon oil to drippings and stir in sliced onions. Cook until lightly browned and slightly softened. Return meat to pot; spoon some onions over meat. Add water and bouillon cubes; cover and bring to a boil. Place in 300º oven and bake for 3-1/2 hours until meat is tender. Cut meat in thin slices; serve topped with onions and pan juices. Yield: 10 servings.

CHICKEN FRIED STEAK WITH CREAM GRAVY

2 pounds boneless round steak

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon garlic salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

olive oil

For creamed gravy:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup pan drippings

2-1/2 to 3 cups milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

dash black pepper

To prepare steak: Trim excess fat from steak. Pound steak to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat mallet. Cut into serving-size pieces. Combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Combine eggs and milk, beating well. Dredge steak in flour mixture; dip in egg mixture and dredge in flour mixture. Lightly pound steak. Heat 1 inch of olive oil in skillet and fry steak until browned, turning steak once. Drain on paper towels. Reserve 1/4 of pan drippings for gravy. Serve with creamed gravy (below). Yield: 6 servings.

To make creamed gravy: Add flour to pan drippings; cook over medium heat until bubbly, stirring constantly. Slowly add milk; cook until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Stir in salt and pepper. Yield: 2-3/4 cups gravy.

BEEF AND RICE SKILLET

1 pound ground chuck

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (10-3/4-ounce) can beef broth, undiluted

1 (14-1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped

1-3/4 cups instant white or brown rice, uncooked

Cook first four ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until meat is browned and vegetables are tender; drain. Return meat to skillet. Add beef broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in rice; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

CHEESY PASTA WITH BACON AND PEAS

6 ounces lean bacon

8 ounces farfalle pasta

2 tablespoons Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

1 cup frozen peas

4 ounces Italian blend shredded cheese

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Slice bacon into bite-sized chunks and place into a large skillet; cook over medium high heat until the bacon is crisp. Set aside. Fill an 8 quart pot with water, cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Add salt to boiling water and cook pasta until tender, about 8-10 minutes. Next, add the peas into boiling water about 2 minutes before end of cook time.

Add flour to skillet with the bacon and whisk to combine. Cook over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add milk and whisk to combine. Add cheeses and stir. Remove from heat. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water, and drain when done. Add pasta and peas to skillet; stir to combine. Add pasta water a little at a time until the mixture has a creamy consistency. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired. Yield: 4 servings.

CREAM PUFF CAKE

1 cup water

1 stick margarine

8 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened

Egg Beaters to equal 4 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 packages sugar-free instant vanilla pudding

2-1/2 cups skim milk

1 cup flour

8 ounces fat-free whipped topping

Bring to a boil the water and margarine. Gradually stir in 1 cup flour; remove from heat. This will be paste-like. Gradually add Egg Beaters; then add 1 tablespoon vanilla. Bake in 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan at 375° for 30-35 minutes. After cake is cooled, punch bubbles to break. (Will be like cream puffs). Mix 2 packages pudding with 2-1/2 cups skim milk; add softened cream cheese. Blend well. Spread mixture over cake. Top with whipped topping.

FRESH PEACH COBBLER

(You may substitute apples, blueberries or blackberries for the peaches.)

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 cups sugar, divided

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup milk

2 cups sliced fresh peaches

Cream, whipped cream or ice cream

Preheat oven to 350º. Melt butter in a deep 1-1/2-quart casserole. Combine flour, 1 cup of the sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; mix well and stir in the milk. Pour batter evenly into the melted butter without additional stirring. Combine peaches with remaining cup of sugar; pour into middle of batter without stirring. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm with cream, whipped cream or ice cream. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.