Dinner is in the bag

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just stir-fry and serveTonight's...

December 05, 1993|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Dinner is in the bag; just stir-fry and serve

Tonight's dinner is in the bag -- and it could be on the table within 15 minutes, thanks to Green Giant's new "Create a Meal Meal Starters."

Meal Starters are bags of fresh vegetables with a pouch of sauce that can be quickly stir-fried by a busy cook with some chicken, beef or pork, and served over rice for a healthful as well as fast family meal.

"The trend of the '90s is to cook one thing for dinner," says Audrey Nelson, of Green Giant. "We know consumers want to cook dinner in 30 minutes or less." People are also trying to eat more healthful meals, Ms. Nelson says, trying to follow federal guidelines on eating five to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables and six to 11 servings of cereals and whole grains. "We know people are trying to cut down on fat, but they don't want to sacrifice flavor."

There are four varieties of Meal Starters: Lo Mein Stir Fry, Sweet & Sour Stir Fry, Teriyaki Stir Fry, and Szechwan Stir Fry. Except for the Szechwan variety, Meal Starters have no fat; adding meat and oil for frying of course adds fat, and calories per serving range from 260 for the teriyaki version to 350 for the Szechwan.

Meal Starters are available wherever Green Giant products are sold; suggested retail price is $2.59 per package. Hanukkah celebrations this year start on Wednesday evening, and a number of local carryouts and gourmet shops are offering holiday help for folks whose schedules would be eased by not having to race home and cook a meal.

"We fry a major amount of chicken," says Marty Zangwill, of the Knish Shop at 508 Reisterstown Road, which also offers homemade potato latkes and jelly doughnuts. For more information, call (410) 484-5850.

Gourmet To Go at Eddie's markets, 5113 Roland Ave. and 6213 N. Charles St., is offering a Hanukkah menu that includes whole roast chicken, roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, poached salmon fillets, potato latkes, apple and cranberry sauces, sweet potato casserole, spinach souffle, challah, and European-style apple cake. All dishes are fully cooked and ready to serve. For more information, to place an order or to inquire about delivery, call the markets at (410) 323-3656 (Roland Park) or (410) 377-8040 (Towson).

Sutton Place Gourmet, 1809 Reisterstown Road, also has a Hanukkah menu, featuring such dishes as chicken soup, beet and onion salad, potato latkes, potato kugel, beef brisket pot roast, herb-crusted baked salmon, stuffed cabbage rolls and baked apples with currants and spiced walnuts. Orders can be placed through customer service; to place an order or for more information call (410) 484-5501.

Oh, those calendar kids

Here's one way to brighten up your kitchen next year: The 1994 Campbell Kids Calendar from Campbell's Soup Co. The new calendar marks the company's 125th anniversary, and features the kids in poses created from company archives by artist Dick Edmiston. There's plenty of room to write appointments and notes at each date. Included are coupons worth more than $3 for Campbell products, 12 recipes, and six Campbell Kid postcards. To order a calendar, send a check or money order for $1.95 to " Campbell Kids Calendar, Dept. PR, P.O. Box 4035, Monticello, Minn. 55565-4035. Allow eight weeks for delivery. Offer expires July 31, 1994, or when supplies run out.

An old friend is back in town, and just in time for the holidays. And, considering this friend was "born" in 1937, and got her first make-over in 1957, you'll be amazed at how good she looks.

The friend is a newly revised edition of "The Fannie Farmer Junior Cookbook," a beloved classic from Little, Brown (1993, $19.95) that has helped generations of young readers find their way around the kitchen. The book, dusted off, updated and rewritten by Joan Scobey, aims at ages 10 and up and includes a "Good Food Guide," with buying tips, a couple of sections on implements and appliances, and glossary of cooking terms, as well as scores of recipes, from chilled carrot soup to pecan pie.

Here's a sample recipe that would be perfect for a youngster who'd like to help fix a holiday meal.

Candied sweet potatoes

Serves 4

4 medium sweet potatoes or yams

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup water

In a large pot bring 3 quarts of water to a boil.

Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes under running water with the vegetable brush. Drop them in the pot, add the salt, lower heat to moderate and boil for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a test potato feels tender when pierced with a fork or cake tester. Drain the potatoes thoroughly through a colander in the sink.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel them with a small knife. On a cutting board, cut small potatoes in half lengthwise and large ones into 1/2 -inch slices crosswise; the shapes don't have to be uniform.

In a skillet melt the butter with the brown sugar over moderate heat, add the potatoes and turn them with a wooden spoon until they are well-coated and slightly brown. Add the water and cover the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook until the potatoes are glazed, about 10 to 15 minutes. From time to time, uncover the pan and spoon some of the syrup over the potatoes.

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