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Ann Hernandez and Karen Boughton making pupusas.

It is 103 degrees in the shade and 60 percent humidity. I can’t even get my husband, Phil, to grill a steak on the patio outside, under the fan and in the shade. So I was wondering, what can I create that won’t keep me in the kitchen too long and still be a delicious, filling summer meal? Lucky for me, I just completed an eight-week Texas A&M Expanded Food and Nutrition Program where I not only brushed up on my nutrition knowledge but also acquired a few great recipes.
Ann Hernandez, the instructor of this program, was very informative and entertaining, from teaching us to make healthy shakes and vegetable pupusas to main course chicken and yummy breakfast breads. We refreshed our memories on food temperatures and portion control as well as FDA daily requirements using the current food pyramid. With these tools, I am sharing a few recipes, Ann’s and mine. They just may help keep you cool as a cucumber through the month of August.
“Please Join My Table.” Take a seat in the shade, sit back and try these easy dishes!

Ann Hernandez’s Broccoli-Stuffed Pupusas

INGREDIENTS
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups masa harina (9
ounces by weight)
1 1/2 cups water
12 ounces mozzarella, grated
2 pounds frozen chopped
broccoli (defrosted, drained
of liquid and chopped)

DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, add the masa flour, salt and water, knead briefly, and you’re ready to go. Form the dough into golf ball-sized balls, and use your thumb to press an indentation into the center, then work it with your fingers to create a small “bowl” – like you did as a kid with play doh. Now it’s ready to be filled with the cheese broccoli stuffing. Use about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of stuffing, then pinch the bowl back together and roll it back into a ball. Place parchment paper on top and bottom and carefully flatten it out to the size of a fat pancake. Spray a cast iron skillet or a nonstick griddle with nonstick spray and cook the pupusas on both sides ‘til golden brown. You can serve them with a pre-made cabbage slaw and a dash of hot sauce and or a red sauce.

A Quick Red Sauce Topping

INGREDIENTS
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon Cholula
hot sauce
1/2 cup tomato paste

DIRECTIONS: Mix all together in a small saucepan and heat. Adjust heat to your liking and serve over pupusas.

Ann’s Texas Two-Step Chicken

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups picante sauce
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/ 2 seeded, chopped jalapeno
1 1/2 tablespoons
packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cups cooked brown rice
(You can finds this pre-
made now in many stores
on the pasta/rice aisle)
3 chopped green onions
2 tablespoons
chopped cilantro

DIRECTIONS: In a shallow baking dish, mix together picante sauce, ground cumin, jalapeno, brown sugar and mustard. Add the chicken breasts and marinate for 30-60 minutes in the fridge, turning chicken a couple of times. Remove from fridge. Stir well. Preheat regular oven to 400 degrees or electric skillet to medium high. Place the chicken dish in the oven and bake 35-45 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If using the electric skillet, pour the entire contents into the skillet, cover with lid, and bake. Serve the chicken over rice, topped with the sauce, onions and cilantro.

Greek Two-Step Chicken

INGREDIENTS
4 boneless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups Greek
salad dressing
1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
2 seeded, chopped jalapenos
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cups cooked brown rice

DIRECTIONS: In a shallow baking dish, mix together Greek salad dressing, oregano, jalapeno, honey and mustard. Add the chicken breasts and marinate for 30-60 minutes in the fridge, turning chicken a couple of times. Remove from fridge. Stir well. Preheat regular oven to 400 degrees or electric skillet to medium high. Place the chicken dish in the oven and bake 35-45 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. If using the electric skillet, pour the entire contents into the skillet, cover with lid and bake. Serve the chicken over rice, topped with Greek salsa and feta cheese.

Karen’s Greek Salsa

INGREDIENTS
3 Roma tomatoes,
seeded and chopped
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/3 cup pitted Greek olives
2 tablespoons minced
fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons fresh Greek oregano leaves, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons
lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

DIRECTIONS: In a medium sized bowl, mix all ingredients together except the feta and marinate in the fridge at least 1 hour. Stir and serve. 

 

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Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.