Monthly Archives: July 2010

Mary’s Memo #2172


In early June the Pillsbury newsletter at featured a recipe for Grilled Italian Sausage and Bell Pepper Folds. Although Chief and Rays don’t have 6-inch soft pita folds, Pillsbury suggested hoagie buns as a suitable alternative so I used Pepperidge Farm brand. All I can say is it was good but messy, even when I cut the peppers and onion pieces smaller. Since I liked the Italian sausage and pepper combination I’m sharing the recipe without any kind of bread to go with it.


4 links uncooked Chief Smokehouse brand Italian sausage (because it’s fresh and MSG-free)
1 medium green bell pepper cut into 8 pieces
1 medium red bell pepper cut into 8 pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat gas or charcoal grill. If using charcoal, bank briquettes on one side. When grill is heated cook sausage by indirect mediumhigh heat, turning meat occasionally. Meantime, in medium bowl combine bell peppers, onion, oil, and seasonings and toss to mix. Place in grill basket and cook over direct heat, shaking occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-cooked and sausage is no longer pink in the center. Recipe makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from recipe.


The “barbecue queens,” Karen Adler and Judith Fertig, latest cookbook is Techniques for Grilling Fish, published by Harvard Common Press, and featuring 25 great recipes for grilling fish and seafood. Colored photographs accompany each recipe. Salt and Pepper-Grilled Fillets with Homemade Tartar Sauce is something beginners as well as experienced grillers can do. If you’re a beginner pick a fillet that’s mild flavored and fairly firm in texture. Once you get the hang of grilling fish, try delicate varieties like freshwater bass or cod. Regarding heat and timing, grill fish fillets for 10 minutes per inch of thickness over a hot fire. Use two large fish spatulas to turn fillets once during grilling.


1 cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sweet pickle relish
2 tablespoons grated onion
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 fish fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each
Olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Prepare a hot fire in a grill. Oil the grill grate or a perforated grill rack. To make tartar sauce, mix all ingredients in a small bowl until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Brush or spray the fillets on both sides with olive oil. Place fish, flesh side down, on the grill rack and grill 10 minutes per inch of thickness, turning once halfway through. A fish fillet is done when it begins to flake when tested with a fork in the thickest part. Remove from the grill, season with salt and pepper, and serve hot with tartar sauce.

Source: Techniques for Grilling Fish by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig; Harvard Common Press 2010; $12.95.

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Mary’s Memo #2171


From what I read 25 percent of you buy bottled tea, also called ready-to-drink (RTD) tea. Some of it is made from a tea extract rather than tea leaves. In addition, many contain a lot of sugar or high fructose corn syrup and lower levels of flavonoids, the antioxidants found in black, green and white tea. Although sun tea is also popular during the summer months, research shows that sun tea does not give you the same benefits as brewing tea at a high temperature. Boiling water affects the acidity, important in releasing polyphenols that protect the body against disease. Of added concern is bacteria developing because the water wasn’t boiled.

Hot off the press from The Harvard Common Press is Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cookbook by Beth Hershperger. One of the recipes is for a citrus flavored brewed tea that makes 2 quarts in about 8 minutes.


6-ounces frozen pink lemonade, thawed
8 cups water
8 orange pekoe tea bags
½ small bunch of fresh mint
1 cup squeezed orange juice
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Place water in 2-quart Pyrex glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes, to bring to a boil. Place the tea bags and mint in a deep heatproof bowl. Add the boiling water and let steep for 30 minutes. Add the juices, stir, and then pour through a strainer into a large serving pitcher. Discard the tea bags and mint. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve iced tea over ice cubes in a tall glass, with a small pitcher of Sugar Syrup on the side to sweeten if desired.

To make syrup, in a one quart measuring cup combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and a few strips of orange zest and lime zest. Microwave on high for 2-1/2 minutes, until water is hot and sugar is dissolved. Stir to completely dissolve sugar. Discard the zest and transfer to a jar, cover and refrigerate.

Source: Not Your Mother’s Microwave Cookbook by Beth
Hershperger; The Harvard Common Press, June 2010;
$14.95/softback. Order from or buy at your favorite bookstore.


Hot, humid weather is the perfect time for grilling outdoors. In addition to the variety of foods that “take to grilling,” outdoor cooking is the “green thing” to do. It puts less strain on your AC inside.

During the summer months I do a lot of vegetables in an inexpensive grill pan that I bought at Chief several years ago. Vegetables that I grill include different colored bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, red onion slices, asparagus and/or green beans and sometimes partially cooked small whole red potatoes. Add just enough olive oil to coat pieces and grill until crisp-cooked, stirring often. Memo readers know that for years I’ve cooked meats and fish by indirect heat and veggies over direct heat. To keep things from sticking, spray the grill with Pam that’s made for grilling but do it before you turn on the grill.

This summer I’ve added stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and plum halves to my grilling repertoire. Beforehand brush with melted butter. Grill cut side down until grill marks form. Turn over and add a spoonful of honey or brown sugar to the cavity and continue grilling. Slightly under ripe fruit works better than overripe ones.

Something else that I grill is hearts of romaine halves. Brush the cut side with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Grill until romaine starts to brown at the edges. Before serving drizzle with a small amount of balsamic vinegar or serve plain. Another Thaman grill favorite is a mixture of unpeeled thinly sliced russet potatoes (1 per person), thinly sliced sweet onion to taste, small dabs of butter, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Spray a large sheet of heavy duty foil with Pam. Arrange potato mixture in the center of the sheet. Wrap securely so juices can’t leak out. It will take about 45 minutes over medium heat, turning the package a couple times so what’s inside doesn’t burn. The bigger the package, the longer it will take. To serve, cut off one end of foil package and hold over serving bowl. Potato mixture will slide out.


I love summer when fresh fruit is its flavorful best! Fresh Fruit Salad Dressing will enhance the flavor of whatever fruits you put together. Bryan shoppers gave it rave reviews and I do, too!


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Mary’s Memo #2170


Women who ate food high in trans fats were 30 percent more likely to have a stroke than women who ate food with the least trans fat, according to a study presented at a February 2010 conference of the American Stroke Association. The data from the Women’s Health Initiative included more than 87,000 women ages 50 to 79.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health, June 2010.


Although I’m not a big fan of regular hummus, I do like the roasted red pepper kind and recently tried Oasis Mediterranean Cuisine Red Pepper Hummus, available in the deli at Chief and Rays. We ate it with baby carrots and New York Style Pita Chips, also in the deli. They’re all natural, baked and free of cholesterol, preservatives and MSG. Spray and Wash now contains Resolve, an in-the-wash laundry booster. I wouldn’t be without Spray and Wash to pre-treat stains. I thought to myself that if it removes stains on cloth items, would it remove stains on white background ceramic coasters? It worked for me. Spread Spray and Wash with Resolve over the surface of the coaster. Let it set several minutes, rinse and dry.

Niagara brand starch now comes in a non-aerosol plastic bottle that is also biodegradable. It works as well as the aerosol kind and the slight increase in cost is worth it. I also have Italian parsley growing in a biodegradable pot. In the future we’ll see more biodegradable containers. Finally, one of the few companies that hadn’t jumped on the reduction-in-size bandwagon, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, is now marketed in 14-ounce instead of 16 ounce cans. Please food companies, no more reductions!


Daughter Mary Ann said last week’s recipes weren’t very “summery.” In case you thought the same, this week’s picks should please. I don’t have a recipe for grilling potatoes and onions together but I think I’ve grilled them in foil since we had our first grill. Slice one medium potato per person, also as much sliced onion as you like. The amount of heavy duty foil that you use depends on the amount of potatoes and onions that you’re grilling. It should be enough foil to seal the package securely. When cooking spray became available I started spraying the foil before adding potatoes and onions for easy removal. Dot mixture with butter, salt and pepper, wrap securely and grill over medium heat, turning package halfway through grilling. The time it takes depends on the size of your package but it could be ½ to 1 hour. Years ago I had a summer recipe sheet as well as a Christmas one. The 1978 edition included Joyce Covert’s Pink Lemonade Salad. It’s really more of a dessert than salad but anything with lemonade is suitable for summer meals.

6-ounces frozen pink lemonade, thawed
8-ounce carton Cool Whip
1 can Eagle Brand Sweetened condensed milk (can be fat-free kind)
Enough red food coloring to tint pink
60 Ritz Crackers, crushed
1 stick butter, melted
¼ cup powdered sugar

Mix lemonade, Cool Whip and sweetened condensed milk together. Add just enough food coloring to tint pink. Mix Ritz Cracker crumbs with melted butter and powdered sugar. Spread half of cracker crumb mixture in 9x13-inch glass dish. Spoon lemon filling on top. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Refrigerate until set or overnight. Cut in small squares.


Hot dogs are not the healthiest meat we can eat but they’re popular at cookouts and a favorite of children. But once in awhile I have a hankering for one, too. Americans consume over 20 billion hot dogs a year. Ten percent of annual sales occur during July, national Hot Dog Month. Thirty-eight percent are sold between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Like most older consumers, I prefer all beef hot dogs while younger consumers like them made with pork and chicken. You’ll note that I specify all beef hot dogs in this week’s recipe.


½ cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons butter
1 can condensed tomato soup
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 pound all beef hot dogs

In a saucepan, cook onion with chili powder in butter until tender; add tomato soup, water, brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Add hot dogs and continue cooking until thoroughly heated through. Serve on toasted buns or plain. Download PDF of Memo #2170

Mary’s Memo #2169


Ever since Cooking Light magazine listed kale as one of the 7 best foods for women to eat, I’ve been looking for more ways to eat it. Chief and Rays carry Glory Food Kale Greens that are washed, trimmed and ready-touse (although like the bagged lettuces, I wash again). Glory Food greens are grown in the United States. Kale can be prepared like spinach and served raw or cooked. A cruciferous vegetable, kale contains ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium and iron.

I subscribe to Bon Appetit’s weekly newsletter available at ( and a recent issue included Fritatta Bites with Chard, Sausage and Feta. Instead of an appetizer, I decided to serve it in larger portions as a brunch dish, replacing Swiss chard with Glory Foods kale. To reduce calories I used evaporated milk instead of whipping cream and opted for Chief and Rays signature Smokehouse brand mild Italian sausage because it doesn’t contain MSG while Bob Evans and Johnsonville brands do.

Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor, June 2010.


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
8-oz. (2-½ links) Chief/Rays signature Smokehouse brand mild sweet Italian sausage
8 large eggs,
¼ cup evaporated milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
(1) 4-oz. package crumbled Feta cheese (can be reduced-fat kind)
Fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Preheat over to 325°F. Spray 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add kale and cook just until wilted. Place on clean kitchen towel and squeeze dry. Set kale aside. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to skillet and sauté until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add sausage and sauté until lightly browned and cooked through, breaking up with fork, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Whisk eggs, evaporated milk, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add kale and cooled sausage mixture, then feta; stir to blend. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake frittata until set in the center, about 35 minutes. Cut into 6 squares. Garnish each with a parsley sprig.


Maybe because of Cinco de Mayo, May 5, a soup called Albondigas showed up in my cookbook reading recently, not once but twice. I had never heard of it. According to the 4th Edition Food Lover’s Companion, albondigas is the Spanish word for meatball and it’s the name of a popular Mexican soup. Researching the soup-with-an-interesting-name, all albondigas recipes contain meatballs, of course, but the broth they’re cooked in may be chicken or beef-flavored. Vegetables vary with some recipes calling for carrots, green beans, onion, celery, zucchini and some contain canned tomatoes. Rice was an ingredient in all recipes but vegetable combinations varied. Cilantro, oregano and cumin were popular herbs. So here’s my version.

ALBONDIGAS (ahl-BON-dee-gah)

2 quarts chicken broth without MSG
1 pound lean ground beef
½ cup finely chopped onion
1 egg
½ cup soft bread crumbs
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup whole grain rice (like Uncle Ben’s regular)
(1) 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 ribs celery, chopped
1 cup sliced carrots
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped cilantro
6-ounce bag baby spinach, stems removed
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth to a boil, reserving ½ cup for meatballs. To make meatballs, combine ground beef, reserved chicken broth, finely chopped onion, egg, bread crumbs, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Form into small meatballs and drop in boiling chicken broth, one at a time. Add rice, carrots, celery, onion and cilantro. Cover and simmer until meat is done and rice is soft, about half hour. Bring to a boil again, add spinach, turn burner off and place lid on top to wilt spinach, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Recipe makes about 8 servings.

Sources: Adapted from recipes in Sierra Madre MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers at Sierra Madre Congregational Church) Favorites From Our Table and Best Albondigas Soup from
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