It is hard to believe that late summer is here already! There are a couple of salad recipes in the column today that will help you cool off, and a delicious Hawaiian flavored chicken that takes practically no time at all to prepare, and when the occasion calls for cookies, be sure to think about today’s Butterscotch Chip Chocolate Cookies! And if you are looking for a delicious pasta dish that is not all about tomato sauce and hamburger meat, surprise someone this week with the Tortellini Soup with Chicken as well as the Pasta Portofino and the Best Pasta Sauce Ever by Perry Ward.

When someone asked me to find the Weight Watcher’s Cabbage Soup recipe, I had no idea there were so many versions of it out there. This week I am including one that sounds pretty good and does not have 1000 ingredients in it as some do. If someone out there has a tested and tried version, we would all love to have it.

I made a tasty little pie this week that goes together in a snap. It is a variation on a recipe I came across some time ago, and you might swear it is a Key Lime Pie. I am calling it Richard’s Easy Pie. It calls for lemon curd that you can find at the store over with the jellies, but I am also including a recipe for lemon curd as well in case you want to make your own.

Make this a good week and try something new, but most of all, let me hear from you soon!

Yummy Squash

Richard’s Note: This is the squash recipe I mentioned last week. It has become one of my favorite new recipes! I added just a little onion to mine because I like onions! I think some pimentos mixed in would be nice, too!

Slice squash into the dish you plan to cook it in. The size of your dish will determine how much squash you need—make a little or a lot! Sprinkle each layer with Ranch Dressing powder and Parmesan Cheese. The kind like you shake onto spaghetti works perfectly. When you have your dish prepared, dot it generously with butter. Bake it at 350 for about 45 minutes.

Rich’s Magnolia Room Fruit Salad

Note: Long known for its delicious food, the Magnolia Room at Rich’s department store in Atlanta served up many a delicious treat, and this is one of them. I am passing it along courtesy of a reader in the Atlanta area who worked for Rich’s many years.

1 (8 oz.) pkg. of cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 (6.5 oz.) can sliced peaches, drained

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained

1 (26-oz.) can fruit cocktail, drained

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 (13 oz.) can crushed pineapple drained

1/2 cup whipped cream

Place cream cheese in a mixer bowl. Add the confectioner’s sugar. Blend in the mayonnaise and the vanilla. Fold in the fruit and the marshmallows gently. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour into large paper-lined muffin tins and freeze. Before serving take out of the freezer for about 10 or 15 minutes, but do not allow them to become soft. Remove the paper liners before serving.

Buttermilk Salad

And speaking of salads, this was one of my mother’s favorites.....It is delicious and perfect for a hot day!

With this salad it is easy to go the lowfat, lite route just by making the proper substitutions. The buttermilk is already low fat.

1 (6 oz.) pkg. apricot gelatin

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple in syrup

2 cups buttermilk

1 (8 oz.) carton whipped topping, thawed

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine the gelatin and the pineapple with the syrup in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir to prevent sticking. Cool slightly. Stir in the buttermilk. Fold in whipped topping and pecans. Pour into a mold as desired and chill.

Waikiki Chicken

Take your family to the Islands tonight with this delicious recipe....

1 whole fryer cut up, or equivalent chicken parts

Flour for coating

Salt and Pepper to taste

Oil for browning

1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained

1 cup barbecue sauce of your choice

1 tsp. cornstarch

1/2 tsp. ginger

Coat chicken in flour, salt and pepper and brown in oil. Drain off excess oil. Combine all other ingredients and stir well to blend. Pour over chicken in skillet. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes on low heat until chicken is done. Monitor fluid level and add small amounts of water or juice as needed.

Weight Watchers Best Cabbage Soup

I am sure that the version I have seen before called for tomatoes and tomato juice, but this recipe does not.

2 cup shredded cabbage

1 cup chopped leeks

1/2 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup diced celery

2 tsp margarine

2 cloves garlic, crushed

4 cup water

Salt and pepper to taste

2 pkgs. vegetable bouillon

Saute cabbage, leeks, carrots, celery and garlic in margarine until vegetables are tender. Add water and bouillon and simmer. Makes four servings

Butterscotch Chip Chocolate Cookies

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 cups butterscotch chips

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine cake mix, oil, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in the chips and the pecans. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake in a preheated oven at 350° for eight to 10 minutes or until the centers are just set. Let stand for two minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely!

Tortellini Soup with Chicken

Some good bread and a green salad and dinner is ready! If you want less of a soup, decrease the amount of broth and add more as needed to reach the consistency you want.

4 & 1/2 quarts chicken broth

18 oz. fresh cheese-filled spinach tortellini

3/4 lb. spinach leaves, stemmed and julienned

1 lb. chicken breasts, skinned, boned and cut into 1/2-inch chunks

1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

2 tsp. dry tarragon or sage

Grated Parmesan cheese

In a large stock pot, bring chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Add tortellini and cook until al dente, about five to eight minutes. Add spinach, chicken, mushrooms, bell pepper and tarragon or sage. Return to boil over high heat and cook about five minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink. Cut to test. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Lemon Curd Pound Cake

Makes 10 to 12 servings

Pre: 20 minutes

Bake: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Note: Wait to prepare the Lemon curd until the cake comes out of the oven so it will still be warm when spread over the cake.

1 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

6 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. lemon extract

Lemon Curd (recipe to follow)

Garnishes: fresh rosemary, sugared cranberries, lemon rind strips

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow yolk disappears. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat batter at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla and lemon extracts. Pour batter into a greased and floured 12-cup tube pan. Bake at 325° for one hour and 30 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan; carefully brush Lemon Curd over top and sides of cake. Cool completely on wire rack. Garnish, if desired.

Richard’s Easy Pie

1 graham cracker pie crust

Melted butter

2 blocks of cream cheese (reduced fat is fine)

1 cup lemon curd

Cool Whip or whipped cream

Berries or other fruit (optional)

If you use a bought crust, paint it with melted butter and chill. This will keep the crust together when you serve your pie. Mix the cream cheese and the lemon curd together. I use the food processor to do it. You can also use “creamed” cream cheese if you want to. Put the cheese-curd mixture into the crust and chill it until it sets and firms up. When you are ready to serve it you can top it with Cool Whip or whipped cream and the fresh fruit of your choice. I used blueberries, but any fruits in any combinations would be great. Or you can serve it plain.

Lemon Curd

I like to make this and serve it over vanilla ice cream or over pound cake. Layer either cake or ice cream and the lemon curd and top with a dollop of real whipped cream and you have an elegant easy dessert. To dress it up even more, serve it in your prettiest dessert dish. If you really want to go all out, include the pound cake AND the ice cream! When I do this, I usually cut the pound cake into a “finger” and slip it in on the side.

Makes about 3/4 cup

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 12 minutes

2/3 cup sugar

1 & 1/2 Tbs. butter, melted

2 tsp. grated lemon rind

2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Stir together first four ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan, add egg, stirring until blended. Cook mixture, stirring constantly over low heat, 10 to 12 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly (cooked mixture will have a thickness similar to unwhipped whipping cream) and begins to bubble around the edges. Remove from heat. (The curd should be brushed immediately over cake, as mixture will continue to thicken as it cools). Sugared cranberries for garnish: Bring one-half cup sugar, one-half cup water, and one cup fresh cranberries to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring often, over medium-high heat. (Do not overcook; cranberries should swell and just begin to pop). Remove from heat, and drain, reserving liquid for another use. Toss cranberries with one-fourth cup granulated sugar, and arrange in a single layer on wax paper. Use immediately or let stand a room temperature, uncovered for up to 24 hours.

Pasta Portofino

12 oz. linguini

1 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

12 green onions, chopped

4 ripe tomatoes, chopped

4 medium shallots, chopped

1/2 cup black olives, sliced

1/2 cup green olives, sliced

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1/2 cup dry white wine

Fresh parsley (optional)

Cook the pasta using package directions; drain. Cover to keep warm. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter, green onions and tomatoes and mix gently. Saute for two minutes. Add the shallots, black olives, green olives and pepper and mix well. Saute for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the wine. Reduce the heat to low. Simmer to the desired consistency, adding additional wine if the mixture becomes too dry. Place the pasta in a large serving bowl. Spoon the tomato sauce over the pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley. Serve immediately.

The BEST Pasta Sauce. EVER! By Perry Ward

Richard’s Note: When Perry posted this recipe not long ago, I knew it was one I have to try. I bet you will, too! It sounds simple, light, and perfect for a hot summer’s evening!

Adapted from The Italian Country Table by Lynn Rosetto Kasper.

2 lbs. fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 to 3 cloves garlic, sliced

3 to 4 Tbs olive oil

6 to 7 large basil leaves, torn in small pieces

1 to 2 Tbs capers (optional)

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine the above ingredients in a large serving bowl and allow to mellow for at least an hour, preferably five to six hours. The longer it sits, the more the flavors intensify. (That’s right, no cooking!) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add your favorite pasta (fusili, campanelle or farfalle are best) and cook about two minutes short of the package directions. Drain and add the pasta to the sauce. Toss and allow to sit for five minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Toss again, add your favorite cheese and serve. If you want a more intense flavor, once you drain the pasta, return it to the empty pot along with several spoonfuls of the liquid the tomatoes have thrown off. Allow the pasta and tomato liquid to steep over low heat for a minute or two before you add the rest of the tomato mixture. Season and serve as above.