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Taste of Franklin: Fiesta of flavors

FRANKLIN LIVING— When it comes to an inspired meal full of flavor, hungry foodies just might turn to a Tex-Mex feast. Cindy Coan has cravings covered, with recipes for tastes a little elevated above the basic, plain-Jane taco.

“American cuisine is a combination of the flavors from all over the world. As people settled in America they brought with them their tastes and cooking techniques from their home countries and adapted them to the available produce and meats found in the area where they settled,” Coan said. “This is why American cuisine has so many different flavors and options. We are literally a ‘melting pot’ of people and their foods.”

Coan describes her stuffed peppers are a super simple recipe, a great option for those on a low-carb diet. The stuffing, she adds, is also delicious for stuffing vegetables besides peppers, such as zucchini or squash.

Extra sausage mixture can be refrigerated and served as a dip or frozen for a later meal. Coan said the sausage could be replaced with cooked chicken for a different taste.

The corn muffins are a versatile bread to serve with many Southern dishes,” Coan said. “Here they are served with a Tex-Mex meal, but they are also good with soups, a vegetable plate or even with breakfast.” Leftover muffins – if there are any – can be frozen to prolong their freshness.

What would dinner be without dessert? Coan’s cobbler recipe is “so easy and a great way to use bountiful summer fruits,” she said. “You can also decrease the recipe easily and bake in a 9×9 pan for a smaller portion.” This cobbler is topped with a real, fluffy biscuit crust – “which is how I like my cobbler,” Coan added.

CREAMY STUFFED PEPPERS

2 bell peppers, red, green or yellow

1 pound sausage

8 oz. block of cream cheese, softened

1 can Rotel diced tomatoes, drained

1 cup cheddar or pepper jack cheese, grated

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice the cap from the peppers and cut each pepper in half to create a boat for holding the filling.
  3. Remove the seeds from the peppers.
  4. Place peppers in a shallow baking dish, drizzle each with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast peppers in hot oven for five minutes to soften. Do not over-bake.
  6. While peppers are roasting, fry sausage in a skillet, crumbling the sausage as it cooks. Drain.
  7. Return cooked sausage to the skillet, adding the cream cheese and Rotel diced tomatoes. Stir until cream cheese is melted.
  8. Spoon mixture into roasted peppers.
  9. Top with cheese.
  10. Bake in oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.

GREEN CHILI CORN MUFFINS

Yields: 48 miniature muffins

1 1/4 cup cornmeal

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder (I use this even with self-rising cornmeal)

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup of cream-style corn

1 cup sour cream

4 oz. can chopped green chilies

1/2 cup canola oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. You can make mini or regular size muffins, depending on the meal.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt and baking powder, stirring with a spoon.
  4. Add the cheese, corn, sour cream and chilies. Stir until lightly combined.
  5. Add the oil and eggs and stir until everything is just combined; do not over stir.
  6. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Do not overfill.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

GUACAMOLE

Yields: 2 cups

2 large ripe avocados, diced

1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried basil leaf, crushed

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Half of a tomato, diced

2 Tbsp. thinly sliced green onion

1/4 cup sour cream (or more to taste)

1/2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)

1 Tbsp. minced cilantro

  1. Peel and mash avocados.
  2. Mix with lemon juice, cilantro, garlic, basil and salt.   
  3. Fold in sour cream, red pepper flakes, tomato and green onion.
  4. Serve with tortilla chips and fresh vegetables.

EASY PEACH COBBLER

2 cups fresh sliced peaches or one 29-oz can of sliced peaches in natural juice, drained
2 cups Bisquick All Purpose Mix
2 cups milk
1 cup butter (two sticks)
2 cups sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In an 9×13 baking dish, melt butter.
  3. In a bowl, stir Bisquick mix, sugar and milk together until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Pour over melted butter.
  5. Spoon peaches over the cobbler crust.
  6. Bake for one hour or until crust is a golden brown. Serve warm.

Tips: 

  • Cobbler is terrific served hot with vanilla ice cream but may be enjoyed cold, too.
  • You can use 2-3 cups fresh peaches, strawberries or blueberries. Coat sliced fresh fruit with half a cup of sugar and let set for 10 minutes to macerate.

CONFETTI RICE

1 small package Mahatma yellow rice

1 stick margarine

2 cans Green Giant mexicorn, drained

1 can cream of celery soup

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Paprika

1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. Add margarine and stir until melted.

3. Stir in corn, soup and 3/4 cup of cheese.

4. Pour into greased casserole and bake at 350 degrees

for 30 minutes.

5. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese and paprika.

6. Let stand 10 minutes for cheese to melt.

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