Native Cooking

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COLUMNIST

During the depths of winter, like now, dinners need to be filling and
nutritious. I am fond of one-dish meals that cover all the bases. We all
need a little more, not much, but a bit more fat in our diets, especially
if we move about a lot in the cold. Two of my sons work outside all year,
even in winter, and they can be ravenous at dinnertime.

I have compiled a few recipes that are sure to please hungry appetites on a
cold winter night. Sometimes a soup and bread just isn't enough. Three
hearty meals you can make from these recipes are pleasing to both adults
and children and are less work for the cook.

Dough Delights for Dinner

Make your own dough (recipe to follow) or buy the fresh pizza dough now
available in supermarkets. I bought some of that fresh pizza dough and had
to hold it once, so I froze it. When it thawed, it was just fine, like
brand new, so now I freeze my own to use on a whim. The best thing about
this dough is that you can make a meal on it. Do the Navajo taco filling as
a topping, use canned or fresh pizza sauce with cheese, onions, bacon,
portabella or regular mushrooms, pepperoni or other sausage slices on top.
Try pulled pork, chicken, ground buffalo, other toppings like sweet or hot
peppers, herbs (oregano, marjoram, basil, rosemary, sage), olives,
sun-dried tomatoes, and/or any combination of the above. A very nice
topping that my kids like is the white Alfredo sauce sprinkled with cooked,
crumbled bacon and onions.

Basic Dough

2 tablespoons active dry yeast (I recommend the Rapid-rise)

1 teaspoon sugar

1-1/2 cups lukewarm water

6 cups flour

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

Dissolve the yeast and sugar in one cup of the water. Set aside until
bubbly. Mix two cups of the flour with the olive oil and salt. Now add the
yeast mixture and blend well. Put into this the remaining flour, one cup at
a time, and enough of the water to make a smooth, elastic dough. Turn onto
a floured board and knead for five minutes or use a food processor with
plastic blades for three minutes.

Put the dough in a lightly-greased bowl, turn it to grease all over. Cover
and let rise in a warm place for about an hour until double in size. Roll
or stretch it out in a pizza pan or on a cookie sheet. Now heat your oven
to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating up, put on your toppings. Bake
for 20 - 25 minutes. Check and remove or let it bake a few more minutes.

Chicken & Penne

1/2 box of penne pasta, cooked, drained (8 oz.)

4 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, white or Baby Bella

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 chopped fresh parsley

Cook and drain the pasta and set aside. Cut the chicken into bite-size
pieces, about one inch square, and cook in hot oil over high heat for eight
to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside. Slice the mushrooms and saute with the
garlic for one minute. Now put in the tomatoes, wine, broth and basil.
Bring to a boil. Add the chicken, reduce heat and cover, cooking for four
minutes or until chicken is tender. Add the pasta, parsley and butter to
the chicken, gently stir to blend and combine flavors. Cook until
thoroughly heated, about two minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and serve.

A.J.C.S. a.k.a. American Jndian Chop Suey

1 box elbow macaroni, cooked and chilled

1 pound ground buffalo or beef chuck

1 large onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped fine

1 small can tomato sauce

1 can petite diced tomatoes

Salt and pepper

Kids of all ages love this and it disappears very quickly, so make a lot,
trust me. Saute the meat in a large frying pan. Drain the meat out with a
slotted spoon and remove most of the meat fat, if any. Saute the onion and
pepper in the little fat that is left. Now return the meat to the onion and
pepper in the pan and add the cooled, drained elbows, tomato sauce and
diced tomatoes. Let all cook very slowly, stirring occasionally, until good
and hot and all the surfaces are covered. Serve immediately or refrigerate
overnight. It's one of those dishes that is better the next day. It is also
excellent made in volume for a social.

notes & Tips

When recipes call for fresh mushrooms, you don't have to stick to plain
white. Mix it up a bit with Portabellas, Crimini, Shitaki, or other. Even
though mushrooms contain quite a bit of water naturally, you won't want to
cook them too long.

If you've got a bunch of old pantyhose or knee-highs, don't throw them out.
You can stuff them in saggy upholstery and pillows. Stuff the toes with
catnip and drive the cat crazy. Store bulbs in the feet, keep high and dry.
Stuff with aromatic cedar chips and hang in the back of your closet.

Outrageous. Americans have more food than any other people on earth and
more diets to keep them from eating it.

The trouble with a good square meal is that it makes you round.

I want to thank all of you who have sent in suggestions and ideas to
NativeCooking@aol.com. I am always learning things. Please let me know what
YOU want to see for recipes in this column.

Dale Carson is the author of three books, "New Native American Cooking,"
(temporarily out of print) "Native New England Cooking" and "A Dreamcatcher
Book."

For ordering information write to Dale Carson, P.O. Box 13, Madison, CT
06443 or e-mail NativeCooking@aol.com.