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Cape Gazette
Lewes, Delaware
Jim's Towing Service
May 2, 1997     Cape Gazette
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May 2, 1997

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tm __+ ..................... _ ...... 2o._iJ .......................... 5# - CAPE  tday, May  May S, 1 I ]. FooD & DRINK Fast. fixin' chi'cken a great time saver, DPI advises Everyone is busy, bet that doesn't mean we can't eat well. It's possible to serve creative, healthy family meals even when time is short. What's the key to getting deli- cious meals on the table quickly? Choose recipes with short ingredi- ent lists that are easily assembled and cook quickly with little atten- tion required. Chicken offers great flexibility for the time-pressed cook. Bone- less breasts and thighs and ground chicken products are quick cook- ing cuts thatqend themselves to hurry-up meals. Combine the chicken with a few simple but fla- vorful ingredients from an always well-stocked refrigerator and pantry, and practice these time- saving tips: Defrost chicken quickly in the microwave following manufactur- ers' directions. Complete preparation immedi- ately after defrosting. Use range-to-table cookware to eliminate an extra serving dish. Pound boneless chicken pieces to a uniform one-quarter to one- half inch thickness for even cook- ing in a hurry. Use kitchen shears to cut chicken into quick-co0king chunks or strips. The recipes that follow were developed by the Delmarva Poul- try Association with cooking ease in mind. Each dish begins with a package of boneless, skinless breasts to which just five ingredi- ents are added. Thirty to thirty- five minutes in the oven allows just enough time to complete sal- ad, rice or pasta, and a quick dessert. Who says you can't get a tasty, nutritious meal on the table in a hurry? Pesto Chicken With Mushrooms 4 broiler-fryer chicken breast halves, boned, skinned 4 tablespoons prepared pesto I cup sliced fresh mushrooms 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt 2 tablespoons grated Parme- san cheese 1/8 teaspoon pepper In a baking dish, place chicken breasts in a single layer. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper over chick- en. Spread one tablespoon pesto over each chicken breast; top with mushroom slices. Cover and bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle Parmesan cheese over chicken. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until cheese melts and chicken is fork-tender. Makes four serv- ings. Per serving: 229 calories, 9.6 g. total fat, 2.9 g. saturated fat, 73 mg cholesterol, 3 g. carbohydrates, 30 g. protein, 326 mg. sodium. Chicken Rio Grande 4 broiler-fryer chicken breast halves, boned, skinned 1/2 cup sliced ripe ofives 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat Cheddar cheese 1/4 teaspoon spicy seasoned salt 1 jar (16 oz) medlum-hot plcante sauce 1 package (10 0 z) frozen spinach, thawed, juices pressed Continued on page 54 Take one package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, add salt, pepper and just three more ingredients and Pesto Chicken with Mushrooms is ready for the oven. While the chicken bakes for 30 minutes, there's time to complete rice and salad for a nutritious meal in a hurry. may dominate your menu, know- ing more about seafood handling is especially important. Buying tips: First, look at the display. All fresh seafood should be held as near to 32 degrees Fahrenheit as possible, which is maintained by refrigeration and/or ice. Fresh seafood should feet cold to the touch, not cool. Now use FOCUS ON FOOD your eyes, hands, and nose to select the fish that looks the best. For example, whole fish should have bright clear eyes that are often protruding, bright red gills, firm yet elastic flesh, shiny skin and a fresh sea breeze odor. Fish fillets should have firm, elastic flesh and a fresh-cut appearance, with no browning around the edges. Seafood storage: It is important to keep your catch or purchase cold before it is prepared. Store seafood in the coldest part of your refrigerator at a temperature as close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit as possible. Many home refrigerators operate at 40 degrees Fahrenheit; therefore, fish will lose quality faster. Exceptions to this would be for live crabs, lobsters, oysters, clams and mussels. They need to be kept in a moist, cool environ- ment at around 40-42 degrees. Don't store these same shellfish in airtight, containers or immersed in fresh water. Freezing fish: I always recom- mend that consumers plan to use fresh fish within one to two days of purchase. If you catch your own, you may evaluate the quality part of the freezer. To determine the length of time for freezing a quick rule of thumb is to go by the color of the flesh. Fish with dark flesh tend to have a higher per- This column features local restaurateurs, gro- cers, seafood purveyors, educators, etc. who write on a variety of topics in which they have some expertise. Anyone wishing to con- tribute may call the Cape Gazette at 645,7700. each day as described above to determine its shelf life. If you plan to freeze your fish, do so right away - don't wait. To freeze fish at home, start with a high-quality and carefully handled product. Fish should be cleaned under cold water and patted dry. Wrap with plastic wrap, excluding as much air as possible. Then over wrap with freezer paper or freezer bags. Carefully seal all packages and label with contents, amount, and date. Place packages in the coldest i centage of fat, which will continue to break down in the freezer, and cause off flavors; therefore, fish, such as bluefish, should not be stored for more than three months. Fish with light colored flesh, such as flounder or cod, should not be held for much more than six months. Thawing f'mh: The best way to thaw fish is to plan ahead; defrost fish overnightin the refrigerator to minimize loss of moisture. A one- Continued on page 53 Answering consumer questions about seafood for 15 years does not an "expert make," but it sure provides for lots of memories and a few stumpers. As seafood sPe- cialist for the University of Delaware Sea Grant College Pro- gram, I conduct research projects in seafood science, work with retailers, food service workers, and industry representatives to assist them in solving problems, and present educational programs about seafood to consumers of all ages. Over the years, consumers have asked me a broad range of inter- esting and sometimes unusual questions, from "Can I eat jelly- fish?" to "Aren't all scallops shark meat?" Yet the greatest percentage of questions I've been asked focus on how to properly (safely) handle seafood, whether that seafood has been caught by the consumer or purchased at the store. Now that warm weather is approaching and lighter meals featuring seafood" It's wise to know more about seafood handling Doris Hicks