Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's Kitchen Cabinet

Magazine article Sunset

Sunset's Kitchen Cabinet

Article excerpt

When whipping up sangria for a dinner party, Peggy Deen uses purchased flavored syrups - the kind that are popular bar ingredients for fancy coffees, sparkling waters, and smoothies. Not only do the syrups save prep time, but they also put a smooth finish on the wine punch. The two syrup flavors that Deen favors for sangria are vanilla and orange.

Shortcut Sangria Peggy Deen, Beaverton, Oregon

Prep time: About 7 minutes

Makes: About 2 1/2 quarts; 10 servings

1 cup vanilla-flavor syrup

2 oranges (about 6 oz. each), thinly sliced

1 lime, thinly sliced

1 cup orange juice

2 bottles (750 ml. each) dry red wine

Ice cubes

1. In a pitcher (at least 3-qt. size), combine syrup, orange slices, lime slices, and orange juice.

2. Add wine to pitcher; mix, and pour into ice-filled glasses.

Per cup: 188 cal., 0.5% (0.9 cal.) from fat; 0.7 g protein; 0.1 g fat (0 g sat.); 23 g carbo (0.6 g fiber); 7.8 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

Chilly Willy's Avocado Soup Leslie Giffin, Winthrop, Washington

On a trip to Puerto Vallarta in the mid-'80s, Leslie Giffin discovered this delicious chicken and avocado soup at Chilly Willy's - a quaint restaurant by the river. The restaurant is no more, but because the soup is so quick and easy, Giffin often re-creates it for guests. Any tiny pasta can be used instead of the orzo.

Prep and cook time: 30 to 35 minutes

Makes: 4 main-dish servings

7 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 clove garlic, pressed or minced

1 teaspoon pepper cup

3/4 cup dried orzo pasta

2 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (about 1/2 lb. total)

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 firm-ripe avocado (about 6 oz.)

1. In a 4- to 5-quart pan over high heat, bring broth, onion, celery, garlic, and pepper to a boil. Add pasta and chicken; return to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and simmer until chicken is white in thickest part (cut to test), about 5 minutes. With tongs, lift out breasts and let stand. Continue simmering soup until pasta is tender to bite, about 2 minutes more. Reduce heat to very low and keep soup warm.

3. When chicken is just cool enough to handle, in about 5 minutes, tear into coarse shreds and return to pan.

4. Stir lemon juice, parsley, and cilantro into soup. Ladle into wide bowls.

5. Peel, pit, and thinly slice avocado; add to bowls.

Per serving: 299 cal., 26% (78 cal.) from fat; 24 g protein; 8.7 g fat (2.3 g sat.); 32 g carbo (2.2 g fiber); 243 mg sodium; 39 mg chol.

Spicy Corn Relish Aulii Pila, Honolulu

While Aulii Pila and her husband were house-sitting, he challenged her to create a new dish using ingredients on hand. The result was this versatile corn relish. Add it to tacos, burritos, or fajitas, or spoon it onto lettuce for a salad. Alternatives for canned corn are 1 1/2 cups of frozen corn kernels or grilled corn cut off the cob.

Prep time: About 10 minutes

Makes: About 3 cups

1 can (15 oz.) corn kernels, drained

1/2 cup diced red bell pepper

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Hot sauce

Salt and pepper

1. In a bowl, mix corn, red and green bell peppers, onion, lime juice, oil, and sugar. Add hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.

2. Serve, or cover and chill up to 8 hours.

Per 1/2 cup: 72 cal. …

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