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Cooking with Myra:

June 28, 2010 at 1:28 a.m.
Updated June 29, 2010 at 1:29 a.m.

Sausage stuffed French Loaves with Quick Tortellini Salad

SAUSAGE-STUFFED FRENCH LOAVES2 large long (fat) loaves French bread

10 oz. bulk pork sausage

10 oz. lean ground beef chuck

1 medium yellow onion, finely diced

1 egg

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/2 tsp. fennel seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp. butter

2 cloves garlic, crushed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut off ends of loaves and set aside. Hollow out bread with your fingers being careful not to split the loaf. You can use a knife to remove the soft bread from the inside of the loaf. Process the bread you removed by placing in a food processor. Using a steel blade process into bread crumbs.

Brown the pork sausage in a heavy skillet. Add beef and onion and cook until meat is browned. Pour off any excess liquid. Combine the meat, bread crumbs, parsley, mustard, fennel, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spoon the meat mixture into the bread shell and attach the ends with skewers. Melt the butter and garlic together and stir. Brush the loaves with the butter mixture, and wrap individually in foil. Leave the foil open at the top in order to brown the loaves. Bake for 20 minutes. Cut into 1-inch slices for appetizers, or serve as main course portions. This can be eaten hot or cold. Perfect for picnics.

QUICK TORTELLINI SALAD2 pounds frozen cheese stuffed tortellini

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 yellow bell pepper, diced

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1 jalapeno, chopped finely

1 tsp. salt

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 cup Newman's Own Italian dressing

1/2 lemon

1 head broccoli

Prepare tortellini according to package directions. Drain and toss with Italian dressing. Blanch broccoli florets and drain. Chop remaining vegetables and add to tortellini tossing gently to coat with dressing. Squeeze lemon and add lemon juice to salad. Serve chilled or room temperature. Optional: fresh oregano, basil, thyme.

By Myra Starkey

We had lots of fun this past weekend. We drove to Houston to visit the newlyweds. Hannah and Ben still have about two months before they start their next level of education, she in medical school and he in law school.

They have been spending their last few weeks furnishing and fixing up their apartment.

It is really cute to see what they are doing both in terms of their decorating and also their behaviors towards each other.

Once two people live together, they begin that frequent dance of compromise: she wants one TV, and he wants two; she wants them to read together; and he wants to watch sports, etc.

They have already borrowed or bought most of their big furniture, but they still needed odds and ends, so when we arrived Saturday morning, we were off to the antique, thrift and second-hand stores. Houston has great places to shop, especially over in the Montrose/Westheimer area. They carefully considered and discussed their purchases and only came away that morning with a pair of old, scratched bedside tables, which will look great after touch up. It reminded me so much of the way Taylor and I used to shop 28 years ago, when we were first married.

We ate Mexican food for lunch, Thai food for supper and then Sunday after church, we had a brunch of "new American bistro" food.

I find it interesting how the relationship with kids changes over time. When they are very young, they just want to be held all the time or at least be very near you. By elementary school age, they like to play with friends, but if you come in their room, they are happy to include you in their activity.

By junior high, they would be mostly happy if you just left them and their friends alone, and by early high school, they often prefer to not be seen with you.

By their senior year, they seem to tolerate your presence and even accept limited advice.

Once they leave for college, you don't know what they are up to, but whatever it is, they can at least behave when you come to town to visit.

My experience with a married child after college is very limited, but I think it is going to be great. She has lots of friends, and I don't really expect to be just her friend. I hope, as her mother, I can be a steady force in her life whom she can lean on for help and advice . when she asks for it.

This holiday, I will be entertaining family and friends. An easy menu that can be done ahead of time will allow you to enjoy precious time with others instead of spending hours in the kitchen. Sausage-stuffed French Loaves served with a cheese tortellini salad is a perfect holiday lunch.

Spread a red-checkered cloth on your table, and enjoy Independence Day.

Myra Starkey lives in Victoria. Write her in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901, or e-mail



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