February 6, 2004 at 11:51 a.m.
This is National Canned Food Month and these important factors can be found in canned foods. Studies have shown that canned foods are as nutritious as fresh and frozen foods when prepared for the table. I always thought fresh foods were better for us than canned or frozen but not necessarily so. Foods for canning are picked at their peak of ripeness and packaged within hours of harvest, helping to preserve high nutritional value for two years or more.
On the other hand, fresh foods are picked before fully ripened to avoid spoilage, which can cause them to lose nutrients while being shipped all over the country. I’m not talking about homegrown foods, as in “fresh from our gardens.”
Just think about it. The canning process itself is made to preserve food without adding any preservatives and at the same time seals in taste and nutrition.
So, let’s cook using canned soups today. Remember––watch the labels and buy what suits your dietary needs the best.
Potatoes have been cooked in just about every way imaginable. Try them this way as a side dish or add cubed or sliced ham for a delicious casserole meal.
CHEDDAR POTATO SLICES
one 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. pepper
4 medium baking potatoes (about 1-1/4 lbs.) cut into 1/4-inch slices (about 4 cups)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz.)
In a small bowl, whisk together soup and seasonings.
In a greased 2 qt. oblong baking dish, arrange potatoes in overlapping rows. Sprinkle with cheese; spoon soup over cheese. Cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes more or until potatoes are fork tender. Makes about five cups.
Hot soup weather is still with us for awhile and this soup is just a little different from chicken vegetable soup.
HEARTY CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE SOUP
1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed or use bulk sausage
two 14-1/2 oz. cans chicken broth
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 large onion, diced (about 1 c.)
1 large carrot, diced (about 2/3 c.)
1/2 c. diced celery
1 t. dried oregano leaves
4 cloves garlic, minced or 1/2 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. pepper
1 c. dry rotini (corkscrew) pasta, cooked according to package directions, drained
1 c. diced cooked chicken
In a 3 qt. saucepan, over medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned, stirring to break up meat; drain off fat. Add next eight ingredients. Cover; heat to boiling. Lower heat and cook 20-25 minutes or until veggies are tender, stirring occasionally. Add pasta and chicken; heat through. Makes about 7 cups.
When I hear “pepper steak” I think of strips of steak and peppers with oriental seasonings. This recipe gives a neapolitan accent using Italian tomato soup served over a bed of buttered noodles.
ITALIAN PEPPER STEAK
1 lb. boneless sirloin or top round steak, 3/4 inch thick
2 T. olive oil or vegetable oil
2 c. sweet pepper strips (green and/or red)
1 medium onion, cut in slices and separated into rings or cut in thin wedges
1 t. dried oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced or 1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. pepper
1-11 oz. can Italian tomato soup
1/2 c. water
4 c. hot cooked medium noodles
Slice beef across the grain into thin strips. In a large skillet brown beef in oil over medium-high heat. Remove beef from skillet.
Add peppers, onion and seasonings (add a little additional oil if pan is dry). Cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Stir in soup and water; heat through.
Serve over hot cooked noodles. Makes 4 servings.
This is a good skillet meal to prepare when you’re in a hurry. Stove to table in just 25 minutes.
CHEESY MAC AND BEEF
1 lb. ground beef
one 10-1/2 oz. can condensed beef broth
1-1/3 c. water
2 c. uncooked medium shell or elbow macaroni
one 10-3/4 oz. can condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 c. thick and chunky salsa
In large skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef until browned, stirring to break up meat. Pour off fat. Add broth and water. Heat to boiling; stir in macaroni. Lower heat; cook 10 minutes or until macaroni is tender, stirring often. Stir in soup and salsa; heat through. Makes 4 servings.
Thought for the day: Praise is simply letting off esteem.