Recipes from our readers, tested in Sunset's kitchen

Coconut Curry Chicken

When she needs a quick dinner, Lois Frazee makes this easy and delicious entrée. You can vary the sweetness with the type of coconut you choose. It’s excellent served with Major Grey chutney.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 30 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings

4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (1 1/3 lb. total)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup sweetened or unsweetened shredded dried coconut
2 teaspoons curry powder

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Pour butter into a 9- by 13-inch baking dish. In a wide, shallow bowl, combine coconut and curry powder. Dip chicken in butter to coat, then roll in coconut. Place chicken pieces slightly apart in the baking dish. Pat any remaining coconut mixture on top. Sprinkle with salt.

2. Bake chicken in a 350° oven until no longer pink in center of thickest part (cut to test), 20 to 25 minutes.

Per serving: 333 cal., 46% (153 cal.) from fat; 36 g protein; 17 g fat (11 g sat.); 9.4 g carbo (1.6 g fiber); 234 mg sodium; 111 mg chol.


Roasted Vegetable Salad

Jo Ann Schiro enjoys the flavors of roasted vegetables, so when she found a recipe for a marinated salad using frozen vegetables, she got the idea to try it with roasted fresh vegetables instead. Her salad is a big hit at family celebrations; it tastes even better if it’s made a day ahead, chilled, then brought to room temperature.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/4 hours
MAKES: 8 cups; 8 servings

4 cups peeled, diagonally sliced carrots (1/4 in. thick)
3 cups cauliflower florets (1 1/2 in. pieces; about 11 oz.), rinsed and drained
3 cups broccoli florets (1 1/2 in. pieces; about 8 oz.), rinsed and drained
1 pound red bell peppers, rinsed, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1- by 3-inch strips
2 jars (about 6 oz. each) marinated artichoke hearts
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 can (6 oz.) whole pitted ripe black olives, drained
Salt and pepper

1. In a 12- by 17-inch roasting pan, combine carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, and artichoke hearts with their marinade.

2. Roast in a 400° oven, stirring every 15 minutes, until carrots are tender to bite, 50 to 60 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and garlic. Scrape in vegetables, add olives, and stir to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 137 cal., 51% (70 cal.) from fat; 3.6 g protein; 7.8 g fat (0.9 g sat.); 16 g carbo (6.2 g fiber); 338 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.


Caramel Brownies

Chris Schaefer started with her grandmother’s handwritten brownie recipe, then added caramels. We couldn’t decide which we liked better, the crunchy outside pieces or the gooey inside ones. Leftovers are unlikely, but you can store the brownies airtight up to 1 day.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 1 1/4 hours
MAKES: 35 squares

1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter
3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa
14 ounces (40 to 50) square caramel candies such as Kraft or See’s, unwrapped

1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, melt butter, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in sugar, then eggs and vanilla, until blended. Stir in salt and baking powder. Add flour and cocoa and stir until batter is smooth.

3. Butter a 12- by 20-inch piece of foil. Line a 9- by 13-inch pan with foil, buttered side up, letting foil hang over pan ends. Scrape batter into pan. Evenly space caramels over batter.

4. Bake brownies in a 325° oven just until a toothpick inserted in the center (not in a caramel) comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool.

5. Lift brownies with foil from pan to a counter. Peel back sides of foil. With a long, hot knife, cut between caramels into 35 squares; occasionally rinse knife in very hot water and wipe clean.

Per square: 224 cal., 40% (90 cal.) from fat; 2.7 g protein; 10 g fat (6.1 g sat.); 33 g carbo (1.1 g fiber); 200 mg sodium; 53 mg chol.


Spiced Oatmeal

To avoid the packaging of instant oatmeal, Lynn Lloyd experimented until she came up with her own mix, a blend of dried fruit, grains, nuts, and mellow spices. She buys 4- or 7-grain hot-cereal flakes in a health food store. You can also use a coarsely ground hot cereal. The uncooked mixture (complete step 1) will keep, stored airtight, up to a month.

PREP AND COOK TIME: About 15 minutes

MAKES: 9 cups mix; 12 servings

3 cups regular rolled oats
3 cups 4- or 7-grain cereal flakes or coarsely ground hot cereal
1 cup chopped dried dates
1 cup chopped dried apples
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cloves

1. In a large container (at least 2 1/2 qt.) with a lid, combine oats, 4-grain cereal, dates, apples, walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and cloves.

2. For each serving, in a 1- to 2-quart pan, bring 1 cup water to a boil over high heat. (Or, in a microwave oven in a 2- to 3-cup bowl or glass measuring cup, heat 1 cup water on full power, (100%) until boiling, about 2 minutes.) Stir in 3/4 cup spiced oatmeal mix. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes, until it’s as thick as you like.

Per serving cooked: 445 cal., 17% (77 cal.) from fat; 11 g protein; 8.6 g fat (0.8 g sat.); 85 g carbo (5.3 g fiber); 27 mg sodium; 0 mg chol.

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