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Phyllis' Fixin's

Before we get into the lighter eating and meatless Fridays of Lent, how about some great Italian cooking? I think they're about my favorite ethnic recipes--good old Italian pasta (with lots of oregano).

Chicken Tetrazzini

1 8 oz. pkg spaghetti, broken into pieces

1/4 C. butter

1/4 C. flour

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper (I like the coarse grind)

1 C. chicken broth

1 C. heavy cream

2 T. sherry

1 (4.5 oz.) can sliced mushrooms, drained

2 C. chopped, cooked chicken

1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or spray a 9x13" baking dish. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti, and cook for 8-10 minutes; drain.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in chicken broth and cream. Return to heat, and bring to a low boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sherry, then stir in cooked spaghetti, mushrooms and chicken. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish, and top with Parmesan cheese.

Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 T. olive oil

1 (29 oz.) can tomato puree

1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. Italian seasoning

1 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

In a large saucepan, saute garlic in oil until tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes or until sauce reaches desired thickness. Use in any recipe that calls for pizza sauce. Sauce may be refrigerated for up to 1 week. I'd probably have more oregano, Italian seasoning, etc. on the side.

An Italian friend gave 3 arguments that Jesus had to have been Italian:

1. He talked with his hands

2. He had wine with every meal

3. He used olive oil

Here's a new one that I'm going to try, at least. It's kind of a potato dumpling, called gnocchi. You can use it with tomato and pesto sauces.

Italian Gnocchi

6 russet potatoes

1 C. flour

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 T. olive oil

1 pinch salt

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in potatoes and cook until tender, but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, and peel. Season with salt, then mashed the potatoes with fork, masher or ricer. Place in a large bowl, and stir in egg and olive oil. Knead in enough flour to make a soft dough. On a floured surface, roll dough into a long rope. Cut the rope into 1/2 inch pieces. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop in gnocchi, and cook until they float to the top, about 3 to 5 minutes. Serve with pasta sauce.

The next one I've made quite a few times; it's from the good old Alberta cookbook, again.

Almond Biscotti

1 C. flour

1/2 C. sugar

1/2 tsp. soda

Pinch of salt

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. almond extract

3/4 C. almonds

Mix all ingredients together and divide dough in halves. On a well-floured surface, shape into logs. Transfer logs to a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. Cut logs diagonally into 3/4 inch slices. Bake in 300 degree oven for 15 minutes. Cool. Keep in airtight container.

Computer parting shots:

If computers get too powerful, we can always organize them into a committee- that will do them in!

Computers are not intelligent; they only think they are!

Have a fun Mardi Gras!