Recipes for beef, fish and chicken

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Who doesn't have a favourite ground beef casserole recipe? Unfortunately, most of them call for canned soup and cheese.

This version is much healthier from every perspective, but the flavour won't leave your family complaining. If you're a fan of nachos but the toppings are too evil for you, toast flour tortillas or pitas cut into triangles in a hot oven until crispy and serve with this dish. It satisfies even the most fanatical addiction to chip dipping.

Who doesn't have a favourite ground beef casserole recipe? Unfortunately, most of them call for canned soup and cheese.

This version is much healthier from every perspective, but the flavour won't leave your family complaining. If you're a fan of nachos but the toppings are too evil for you, toast flour tortillas or pitas cut into triangles in a hot oven until crispy and serve with this dish. It satisfies even the most fanatical addiction to chip dipping.

Piccadillo

1 lb. extra lean ground beef

1 tsp. vegetable oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1 large onion, diced

2 large red or yellow potatoes, cubed

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained

1 each small green and red bell pepper, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced prunes or raisins

handful fresh spinach

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Fry beef in vegetable oil until brown but not cooked through. Add cumin, salt and onion and cook a couple of minutes on medium-high heat, until onion starts to colour and wilt. Add potatoes and tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are nearly cooked through, stirring often. Add peppers and garlic and cook a few minutes, then stir in prunes, spinach, tomatoes and pepper, and cook together until everything is tender and flavours are combined. Serve with rice or tortillas.

Herby Halibut

Fish is a great way to reduce salt and improve your diet because its delicate flavours encourage you to serve it simply. Nothing goes better together than fish and lemon - except fish, lemon and herbs.

2 lbs. halibut steaks (or other fish you like)

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. each chopped fresh parsley and tarragon

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

few sprigs fresh thyme

3 bay leaves - if you have fresh all the better

2 tsp. butter (unsalted to reduce even further)

Place halibut in a single layer in a greased baking dish. Whisk together wine, lemon juice and olive oil. Stir in onion, garlic, parsley, tarragon and pepper and pour over fish. Strew thyme and bay leaves on top and bake, uncovered, at 350 F for 30 minutes or until fish flakes. Remove fish from cooking liquid and strain. Bring to a simmer and reduce liquid by about half. Stir in butter, whisking until melted; drizzle on halibut and serve with fresh lemon wedges and lots of colourful vegetables.

Jerked Chicken

You can jerk pork, turkey, fish or veggies - the Jamaica-inspired flavour goes well with a wide variety of bases.

Serve with rice or roasted herb potatoes. One thing I have learned about jerking meat is the dry rub versions are more powerful - many recipes call for fresh onion and garlic and lime juice, but this is my favourite.

1 tbsp. firmly packed brown sugar

2 tsp. allspice - whole freshly ground is superior but ground works fine

1 tsp. ancho or chipotle Chili powder (or regular chili powder)

1 tsp. each freshly ground black pepper and ground cumin

1/2 tsp. each dried ground oregano and thyme

1/2 tsp. each dried ground garlic and onion powder

1/2 tsp. each ground cinnamon and ginger

1/4 tsp. each ground cloves and cayenne pepper

1 chicken, cut into pieces, or 2 lbs. chicken parts

2 tbsp. each lime juice and dark rum (optional)

Combine brown sugar, allspice, chili powder, pepper, cumin, oregano, thyme, garlic, onion, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and cayenne. Rub briskly into the chicken pieces and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to overnight. If you are cooking chicken with the skin on then you don't need any fat - just roast it, basting now and again with the pan juices until cooked through. If you are using boneless/skinless, drizzle on a little vegetable oil before roasting, again basting as needed, or fry in a little oil in a non-stick pan. To fancy it up a bit stir lime juice and rum into baking pan and boil for a minute or two; drizzle on chicken just before serving.

Cynthia Stone is a writer, editor and teacher in St. John's. Questions may be sent to her c/o The Telegram, P.O. Box 86, St. John's, NL, A1E 4N1.

Organizations: The Telegram

Geographic location: Jamaica, St. John's

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