Ready, set, Christmas! easy recipes and handy shortcuts for a wonderful no-stress holiday 9781620932407, 1620932407

Christmas is coming! Swirling snowflakes have us reaching for our coziest scarves and mittens, thinking about tree trimm

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Ready, set, Christmas! easy recipes and handy shortcuts for a wonderful no-stress holiday
 9781620932407, 1620932407

Table of contents :
Ready, Set,Christmas!......Page 1
Contents......Page 6
Chilly-Day Breakfasts......Page 8
Festive Open House Appetizers......Page 36
Meal-Making Soups, Sides & Salads......Page 68
Easy Mains for Busy Days & Holidays......Page 102
Scrumptious Cookies, Candies& Desserts......Page 140
Convenient Slow-Cooker Recipes......Page 178

Citation preview

I love your Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and have lots of the Christmas books and others as well. They make wonderful gifts for anyone who enjoys cooking. I also love reading the stories about Christmas past, because they remind me so much of my own Christmas growing up. Jean Johns-Schmehl Saint Marys, OH Christmas with Family & Friends is currently my favorite of your books. I have many, many Gooseberry Patch cookbooks and they are all well used! Gwen Gooda Manitoba, Canada I absolutely love your books! Christmas Comfort Classics is especially fun. The hints at the bottom are always a must-read. I probably have most of your cookbooks and return to them over and over. Thanks! Margaret Welder Madrid, IA

Dear FrleM) Christmas is coming.' Swirling snolffiakes have us reachingJbr our coziest scarves and mittens, thinking about cookie baking and tree trimming. Rea4y, Set, Christmas/ isjilled with yummy tried & true recipes shared by home cooks across the country .. sure to put you in the spirit in no time at aIL. AJter a dayqfJrosty One-Pan Chicken Dinner and Colorful ,Uannated Veggies. Relax with a steaming bowlqfTammy's Taco Soup and a basketqfwarm Cheddar Cheese M¥ffins qfter shopping. On Christmas morning, Cheesy Egg & Broccoli Casserole is pe[/'ect qfter opening gzJts. Serve up a memorable holiday dznner ifFork-Tender Roast Bet;/'& Gravy, Parmesan Potato Casserole and Honey-Ginger Roast Carrots. And since it's Christmas, we can'tJorget the sweets.' Sweetheart Sugar Cookies, Holiday Frosted Brownies, Peppermint Kisses and Christmas Fudge are all easy to make and sure to be welcome on cookie platters. You'll evenjind afo!! chapterqfslow-cooker recipe :Jor every occasion, plusJreezer;/riendly recipes indexedJor easy rief rence. So get co77JIY by a cracklzngjire, eryoy a steamy cup iftea and get ready to create sweet new memoriesJor Chnstmases to come.'

We wlsk �ou (A Yv\.eyy� CkrlstMLAs! JOAVlVl & VecKle Find us wherever you are! www.

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Gooseberry Patch An imprint of Globe Pequot 246 Goose Lane Guilford, CT 06437

www.gooseberrypatch.com 1• 800 • 854 • 6673 Copyright 2016, Gooseberry Patch 978-1-62093-240-7 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Printed in Korea.

Do you have a tried & true recipe… tip, craft or memory that you’d like to see featured in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook? Visit our website at www.gooseberrypatch.com and follow the easy steps to submit your favorite family recipe. Or send them to us at: Gooseberry Patch PO Box 812 Columbus, OH 43216-0812 Don’t forget to include the number of servings your recipe makes, plus your name, address, phone number and email address. If we select your recipe, your name will appear right along with it… and you’ll receive a FREE copy of the book!

Chilly-Day Breakfasts .................................... 5 Festive Open House Appetizers ..................33 Meal-Making Soups, Sides & Salads .........65 Easy Mains for Busy Days & Holidays ...... 99 Scrumptious Cookies, Candies & Desserts ..................................................... 137 Convenient Slow-Cooker Recipes ............. 175

Dedication For busy families everywhere who don’t want to miss a bit of the Christmas season...but could use an elf or two to help get it all done!

Appreciation A hearty thanks to everyone who shared their most-cherished recipes for making the season merry and bright!

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts

Cousin Carol’s Breakfast Casserole

Peter Kay Naples, FL

This is a very easy and tasty breakfast dish with the consistency of a soufflé. The taste is marvelous! It’s great for guests...prepare it the night before, then just pop it in the oven in the morning. The aroma will wake up the sleepiest of guests or family. Use any type of sausage and add any other seasonings you might like. 12 slices white bread, crusts trimmed, cubed 1-1/2 lbs. ground mild pork or turkey sausage, browned and drained 8-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese

8 eggs, well beaten 4 c. milk 1/2 c. onion, grated 1/4 t. ground ginger 1 t. salt

In a buttered 13"x9" baking pan, layer bread cubes, sausage and cheese; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, onion and seasonings; pour over cheese layer. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until eggs are set. Let stand for several minutes before serving. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Get a busy day of shopping, decorating or sledding off to a great start! Put together a hearty breakfast casserole and refrigerate. The next morning, just pop it in the oven. 6

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Coconut French Toast

Donna Wilson Maryville, TN

This recipe is sooo tasty...so easy to make as well. Perfect for starting off a busy day! 1 doz. eggs, beaten 1-1/4 c. milk 2 t. sugar 1 t. cinnamon

7-oz. pkg. sweetened flaked coconut 12 slices bread Garnish: warmed maple syrup

In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon. Place coconut in a shallow dish; set aside. Add bread slices to egg mixture, a few at a time; allow to soak on both sides. Coat bread slices on both sides with coconut. Place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 475 degrees for 5 minutes; turn slices over and bake for 5 minutes on the other side. Serve with warmed maple syrup. Serves 6, 2 slices each.

While the waffles are baking, stir up a super-simple fruit topping. Combine a can of cherry pie filling and 2 tablespoons apple juice in a bowl. Microwave for 2 to 2-1/2 minutes, stirring twice. Scrumptious! 7

Sunday Oven Omelet

Leona Krivda Belle Vernon, PA

I’m not an early-morning cook, but I don’t mind making something this simple! Add some fresh fruit on the side, fruit juice and coffee, and your tummy will be full for hours. 2 T. butter, sliced 7 eggs, well beaten 1/4 c. milk 1/3 c. sour cream

1/4 t. salt pepper to taste 3/4 c. cooked ham, diced 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Melt butter at 350 degrees in a 9"x9" glass baking pan. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sour cream and seasonings. Stir in ham and cheese; pour mixture into pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, until eggs are set. Makes 4 servings.

Baked Mexican Omelet

Kathy Grashoff Fort Wayne, IN

Quick & easy...a zesty egg dish to start your day! 1/2 c. salsa 1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

6 eggs, beaten 1 c. sour cream salt and pepper to taste

Spread salsa in the bottom of a lightly greased 10" pie plate. Sprinkle cheeses evenly over salsa; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs and sour cream; pour over cheeses. Season with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until eggs are set. Makes 4 servings.

Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. – Joan Winmill Brown

8

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Cranberry-Nut Coffee Cake

Kathy Courington Canton, GA

My mother made this coffee cake and it was so good, I couldn’t believe it was so simple to make. 2 c. biscuit baking mix 2 T. sugar 1 egg, beaten 2/3 c. milk 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans 1/4 t. cinnamon 2/3 c. whole-berry cranberry sauce

In a bowl, combine biscuit mix, sugar, egg and milk; beat well. Spread batter in a greased 9"x9" baking pan; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon; sprinkle over batter. Spoon cranberry sauce over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. While still warm, drizzle with Frosting. Serves 6 to 8.

Frosting: 1 c. powdered sugar 1/2 t. vanilla extract

1 T. water

Blend all ingredients together, adding enough water for a drizzling consistency.

Headed to a Christmas Eve gathering? Take along a fresh-baked coffee cake for the hostess...a thoughtful timesaver she’ll appreciate Christmas morning. 9

Night-Before French Toast Casserole

Sandra Smith Quartz Hill, CA

I’ve been making this breakfast dish for well over 20 years. Whenever we are going to have house guests spending a night or two with us, I make up this recipe in advance so that it’s ready to bake the next morning. All you need is fruit juice and maybe a bowl of fresh fruit to go with it. 10-oz. loaf French bread, sliced 1-inch thick 8 eggs, beaten 3 c. milk 4 t. sugar

1 T. vanilla extract 2 T. butter, diced Garnish: warmed pancake syrup or powdered sugar

Arrange bread slices in a greased 13"x9" baking pan; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar and vanilla; pour over bread. Cover with aluminum foil; refrigerate for 4 to 36 hours. To bake, uncover and dot with butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serve with warmed pancake syrup or dust with powdered sugar. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

To little ones, it can seem sooo long ’til Santa Claus arrives! Have them make a big chain of paper links and give each link a number from 1 to 25. Every morning at breakfast, they can remove a link...and it’s one day closer to Christmas! 10

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Baked Fruit Compote

Amy Butcher Columbus, GA

A delectable fruit dish for breakfast, just like Grandma used to make! It’s simple to make ahead. 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed 1 c. apple juice 20-oz. can pineapple chunks in juice

2 to 3 6-oz. pkgs. dried apricots 1 c. pitted prunes 21-oz. can cherry pie filling

In a small bowl, dissolve brown sugar in apple juice; set aside. Combine undrained pineapple and remaining ingredients in an ungreased shallow 13"x9" baking pan. Add brown sugar mixture; stir to mix. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for one hour, or until most liquid is absorbed. Cool slightly; cover and chill overnight. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Serves 8.

On chilly mornings all through fall and winter, I make “Santa Porridge” for my little girls. It started with the idea of making oatmeal a little more appealing for them to eat. So I simply fix packets of instant oatmeal, or sometimes I’ll make it homemade. Then I shake cookie sprinkles on top to make the oatmeal look like something straight from the North Pole. I use different colors of sprinkles depending on the season. I always say to my girls, “Can you believe you are eating the same thing as Santa? It’s delicious!” I love this magical age! – Elizabeth Cassinos, Paradise Valley, NV

11

Cheesy Egg & Broccoli Casserole

Diane Kurek Churchville, MD

I created this recipe after trying a similar dish at a restaurant. It is very simple to make, but it looks gorgeous when it comes out of the oven! I think spinach would work well in this recipe too. 8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls 6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled 2 c. broccoli, chopped and cooked

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese 1/2 c. shredded Asiago cheese 5 eggs, beaten 3/4 c. milk 1/2 t. dry mustard salt and pepper to taste

Lay crescent rolls in a greased 13"x9" baking pan; spread evenly to cover bottom of pan. Arrange bacon and broccoli over crescent rolls. Sprinkle evenly with cheeses; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients; pour over cheeses. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden on top and eggs are set. Serves 8.

Welcome friends to brunch by setting a pretty table. Use favorite holiday collections, vintage tablecloths and napkins, mismatched silver and glassware in colorful shades of red and green. 12

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Eggnog Muffins

Sandy Coffey Cincinnati, OH

Fun holiday muffins to give as gifts for friends and neighbors... keep some on hand for company. Put them in little baskets with a colorful tea towel for a great gift. 2 c. all-purpose flour 2/3 c. sugar 1 T. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 3/4 c. dairy eggnog

1/2 c. dark rum, or 1/2 c. water plus 1 t. rum extract 5 T. butter, melted 1 egg, beaten 1/2 t. nutmeg

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove muffins to a wire rack; cool completely before serving. Makes one dozen.

Use an old-fashioned ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups with batter...no spills, no drips and the muffins turn out perfectly sized.

13

Chile-Cheese Egg Casserole

Wendy Meadows Spring Hill, FL

This recipe came about as a way to make brunch on a budget for a bunch of friends. Add any additional diced fresh vegetables you like. 1/2 c. butter, melted and divided 1 doz. eggs, beaten 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. baking powder 32-oz. container cottage cheese 1/2 c. cream cheese, softened 16-oz. pkg. shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 c. chopped jalapeño peppers, or 2 8-oz. cans diced green chiles 1 lb. crisply cooked bacon, browned sausage or cooked diced ham salt and pepper to taste

Pour half of melted butter into a 13"x9" baking pan, covering the bottom; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder, cottage cheese and cream cheese. Stir in remaining ingredients; pour into pan. Drizzle remaining melted butter over top. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake another 35 to 40 minutes, until eggs are set. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

A chilled fruit salad is always welcome at brunch. For a sweet and tangy dressing, whisk together 1/2 cup honey, 1/4 cup lime juice and one teaspoon lime zest. Drizzle over sliced or cubed bananas, kiwi fruit, berries and pineapple. 14

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Hashbrown Quiche

Sandy Perry Bakersfield, CA

I had something like this once at a B&B while on a road trip. Makes a very nice breakfast when served with a basket of warm scones and a cup of fresh fruit. 24-oz. pkg frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes, thawed and patted dry 1/3 c. butter, melted 1 c. cooked ham, diced

1 c. shredded Pepper Jack cheese 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 c. milk 1/4 t. seasoned salt

Spray a 9" pie plate with non-stick vegetable spray. Press potatoes into pan to form a crust; brush potatoes with melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven. Layer ham and cheese in crust; set aside. Whisk together eggs, milk and salt in a bowl; pour over cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until set and golden. Serves 6 to 8.

A pizza cutter is ideal for dividing up slices of quiche while it’s still in the pie plate.

15

Christmas Sticky Buns

Andrea Czarniecki Northville, MI

We have made this recipe a Christmas tradition. One year, I had surgery on December 23rd and came home on December 25th. My 21-year-old son had already made these buns and they were waiting for me by the tree! These make wonderful gifts to give on Christmas Eve too. They are a special Christmas morning treat! 2 loaves frozen bread dough 1/4 c. raisins 1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans 1/2 c. butter, sliced

1 c. brown sugar, packed 1 T. cinnamon 1 T. milk 4.6-oz. pkg. cook & serve vanilla pudding mix

Thaw dough according to package directions. Spread raisins and nuts in a large greased 13"x9" baking pan; set aside. Halve both loaves of dough lengthwise; slice into 1/2 pieces. Layer dough pieces over raisins and nuts, placing them close together; set aside. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter with brown sugar and cinnamon; stir until brown sugar dissolves. Stir in milk. Add dry pudding mix; bring to a boil. Pour brown sugar mixture over dough. Cover and let rise overnight, or until double in size. Uncover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Buns will be very gooey. Immediately turn out on a platter. Scrape any leftover brown sugar mixture in pan onto tops of buns. Makes one dozen.

When decorating the Christmas tree, keep extra-special ornaments at eye level and above. Then, place unbreakable ornaments on lower branches...an ideal solution for curious little ones and pets too!

16

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Mexican Coffee

Charlene McCain Bakersfield, CA

After a long, chilly day of holiday shopping, I like to put my feet up and relax with a cup of hot Mexican coffee. It is so sweet and good. This makes plenty, so share it with friends! 10 c. water 1/2 c. ground coffee, or more to taste 1 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. chocolate syrup 1/4 t. cinnamon 1 c. milk 1/8 t. salt

Pour water into a 14-cup coffee maker. Add ground coffee to basket; add remaining ingredients to pot. Brew as usual. Stir well before serving. Makes 14 servings. Note: If coffee maker is smaller than 14 cups, use 9 cups water, 3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup milk; other ingredients are unchanged.

A fringed red plaid throw makes a festive runner for a buffet table. 17

Fruit & Bacon Pancake Pie

Janis Parr Ontario, Canada

This dish is a wonderful start to the day. The flavor of fresh fruit and bacon combined is irresistible. 1 T. butter 1/2 c. onion, chopped 1/2 lb. bacon, crisply cooked and diced 2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced 2 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and sliced

1/2 t. dried thyme 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 1/2 t. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 1 c. milk, divided 2 eggs, beaten Garnish: warmed maple syrup

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cooked bacon; cook until onion is soft. Stir in pears, apples and thyme; cook until heated through. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1/2 cup milk and beat until smooth. Add eggs and remaining milk; beat well. Spread fruit mixture in a buttered 13"x9" baking pan. Pour batter over fruit mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot with warmed maple syrup. Serves 4 to 6.

Save time and clean-up...bake the bacon! Arrange slices on a jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until done to desired crispness. Drain well on paper towels. 18

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Phyllis’s Cinnamon Toast

Kimberly Frey New Palestine, IN

This probably isn’t like the cinnamon toast you’re acquainted with, but it’s delicious! As a child, my mother-in-law Phyllis grew up with this custard-like pudding served over toast. When my husband and I married, she showed me how to make it so I could carry on this treasured family recipe that we love so much. 1/4 c. butter, sliced 3 eggs 2 c. milk 3/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. vanilla extract 4 slices white bread, toasted cinnamon to taste

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, in a blender, combine eggs, milk, sugar, flour and vanilla; process until well blended. Pour mixture into skillet. Cook, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, until thickened and a custard-like pudding forms. To serve, ladle pudding over toast; sprinkle with cinnamon. Serves 4.

As my mother and I walked into our Christmas Eve service at church, with candles glowing amid greenery at every window, the ground outdoors was totally bare. The air had that special “snow” smell...crisp and damp. When we came out from a lovely worship service, it was snowing heavily. Several inches of wet snow had already fallen. We carefully made our way home, having invited some friends over for hot chocolate. Upon arriving home we found the electricity had gone out. But my mother lit a cozy fire in the fireplace and thank goodness, we had a gas stove to heat up some water. We all had a warm cup of hot chocolate, delicious Christmas cookies my mother had baked over the last few weeks, and good friends to share the memory with. It is one of my most memorable “perfect” Christmas memories. – Victoria May, Greensburg, IN

19

Strawberry-Vanilla Scones

Janet Sharp Milford, OH

This is my favorite basic scone recipe. Its fresh taste makes it an extra-special breakfast or snack with coffee or tea. Especially yummy with butter and honey! 2-3/4 c. all-purpose flour 3/4 c. sugar 2 t. baking powder 3/4 t. baking soda 3/4 t. salt 1/2 t. cinnamon 1/2 c. cold butter, diced

1/2 c. buttermilk 1 egg, beaten 1 t. vanilla extract 1 c. strawberries, hulled and diced 1/2 c. white chocolate chips

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Cut in butter with pastry cutter; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just combined. Fold in strawberries and chocolate chips. Knead 4 to 5 times on a lightly floured board. Pat out dough into a circle, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut into 10 wedges; place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 19 to 22 minutes, until golden. Makes 10 scones.

Make Mock Devonshire Cream to spoon onto warm scones... it’s wonderful! Blend a 3-ounce package of cream cheese with one tablespoon sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Stir in a cup of whipping cream. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated. 20

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Cherry-Almond Coffee Cake

Penny Sherman Ava, MO

With this terrific recipe, I can serve up a sweet, warm coffee cake to guests in no time at all! 12-oz. tube refrigerated cinnamon rolls 1 c. cherry pie filling

1/4 t. almond extract 1 T. sliced almonds

Separate rolls; set aside icing. Cut each roll into 4 pieces. Place rolls cinnamon-side down in a greased 9" round cake pan. Combine pie filling and extract in a small bowl; spoon over rolls. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden. Cool in pan for 3 minutes. Cover pan with a wire rack; turn rack and pan over. Remove pan. Place a serving plate upside-down over coffee cake; turn right-side up. Drizzle icing over coffee cake. Cut into wedges to serve. Makes 6 servings.

Invite a best girlfriend over for a Saturday morning brunch. A great way for the two of you to spend time catching up before a holiday shopping trip!

21

Layered Salmon Pie

Shirley Howie Foxboro, MA

This is delicious and is so easy to make! It is perfect for a leisurely weekend brunch. Or just add a tossed green salad and you have a great weeknight meal. I have been making this for years and it is definitely in my file of favorite recipes! 9-inch pie crust, unbaked 14-3/4 oz. can salmon, drained and flaked 1-1/2 T. all-purpose flour 1-1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese

3 eggs, beaten 12-oz. can evaporated milk 2 T. green onion, chopped 1/2 t. dried dill weed 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Place crust in a 9" pie plate; set aside. In a bowl, toss salmon with flour; pack into bottom of pie plate. Cover with Swiss cheese. In a separate large bowl, whisk together eggs, evaporated milk, onion and dill weed; pour over Swiss cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until a knife tip inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes; cut into wedges. Makes 6 servings.

A magnetic knife holder is a handy spot to keep track of holiday lists. Attach lists with magnets from the craft store that have been spruced up with hot-glued-on buttons. 22

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Christmas Quiche

Teresa Eller Kansas City, KS

I love making this for Christmas breakfast. I serve it with fresh fruit and my special orange-cranberry muffins. I have made this quiche for a ladies’ brunch as well. It couldn’t be easier! 6 eggs, beaten 1 c. milk 1 c. fresh broccoli or spinach, chopped 1 c. onion, chopped

1-1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese 1 t. smoke-flavored cooking sauce 9-inch pie crust, unbaked

In a large bowl, whisk eggs and milk together. Fold in vegetables and cheese; stir in sauce. Pour into unbaked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour. Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Veggie Muffin Frittatas

Regina Vining Warwick, RI

These little hand-held frittatas look cute on a brunch table, or reheat in the microwave for a quick breakfast on a busy day. 6 eggs, beaten 1/2 c. milk 1/4 t. salt 1/8 t. pepper

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese 3/4 c. zucchini, diced 1/4 c. red pepper, diced 2 T. red onion, diced

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and seasonings. Add cheese and vegetables; mix well. Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each. Bake at 350 degrees until just set, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool in muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes one dozen.

On Christmas morning, keep it simple. Instead of preparing a fruit salad, set out a bowl brimming with bright-colored clementines. 23

Christmas Eve Brunch

Janice Fry Hoover, AL

This recipe was given to me many years ago by a dear older lady from our church. At the time, I was a young bride and was nervous about cooking anything, much less making a holiday brunch dish. However, I tried it and, surprise! I made it for our first Christmas together. It’s easy and good! Now, 45 years later, I’m still making it every Christmas, to serve our five children & their spouses and nine hungry grandchildren. 12 slices Canadian bacon 12 slices Swiss cheese 1 doz. eggs 1 c. whipping cream

1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese pepper and paprika to taste Garnish: chopped fresh parsley

Arrange Canadian bacon slices in a lightly greased 13"x9" baking pan; top with Swiss cheese slices. Break eggs into pan, spacing evenly. Carefully pour cream over eggs. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, pepper and paprika. Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Sprinkle with parsley; let stand 10 minutes before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Early in the holiday season, make a list of cookies to bake, cards to write and gifts to buy...even Santa makes a list! Post it on the fridge, and you’ll be able to check off each item with satisfaction as it’s completed. 24

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Asparagus with Crab Sauce

Trish Reinhart Marietta, GA

This dish is a wonderful addition to a brunch buffet. Serve alongside an egg casserole, fresh fruit and warm muffins for a lovely meal. 10-3/4 oz. can cream of celery soup 1-1/3 c. whipping cream 6-oz. can crabmeat, drained and flaked

1 t. dried tarragon salt and pepper to taste 1/4 c. sherry 1 bunch asparagus spears, ends broken off

Combine soup, cream, crabmeat, tarragon, salt and pepper in a double boiler. Simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes. Add sherry to taste. Meanwhile, fill a skillet with water; bring to a boil over high heat. Drop asparagus spears into boiling water; boil for 3 minutes. Drain; drop into a bowl of ice water and let cool. Drain again; arrange asparagus in a 13"x9" glass baking pan. Spoon crab mixture over asparagus spears and serve. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Planning a midday brunch? Along with breakfast foods like baked eggs and coffee cake, offer a light, savory main dish or two for those who have already enjoyed breakfast.

25

Jennifer’s Tomato Quiche

Jennifer Niemi Nova Scotia, Canada

Everyone always loves my Tomato Quiche. I’ve made these quiches for family & friends, taken them to potlucks, even sold them at bake sales...and had people come back the following year looking for them. One friend pre-ordered six of them! Of all the recipes I’ve ever created, this has to be one of my best. The recipe makes three quiches...great for a big family brunch during the holidays. But if you only need one, pop the other two in the freezer to enjoy later. 1/4 c. butter 4 c. onions, finely chopped 28-oz. can whole tomatoes, drained and 1/2 c. liquid reserved 2 T. dried oregano 2 T. plus 2 t. dried basil

5 to 6 eggs, beaten 1-1/2 c. milk 1/4 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper 3 c. shredded sharp white Cheddar cheese 3 9-inch pie crusts, unbaked

Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, add tomatoes to a food processor or blender; process until smooth. Add to onions along with herbs and reserved tomato liquid. Simmer over medium heat, uncovered, until most liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat; cool. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat eggs, milk, salt and pepper until light and frothy. Stir in cheese and cooled tomato mixture. Divide evenly among pie crusts. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a knife tip inserted in the center comes out cleanly. Makes 3 quiches; each serves 6.

Cardboard or styrofoam egg cartons are terrific for storing small ornaments safely until next Christmas.

26

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Cinnamon Breakfast Puffs

Janice Ertola Martinez, CA

My family looks forward to these every Christmas morning after they are done opening their gifts! 1/3 c. shortening 1 c. sugar, divided 1 egg 1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour 1-1/2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. salt 1/4 t. nutmeg 1/2 c. milk 1 t. cinnamon 1/2 c. butter, melted

In a large bowl, mix shortening, 1/2 cup sugar and egg. Stir in flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg alternately with milk. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, mix cinnamon and remaining sugar in a small bowl. Remove pan from oven; immediately turn puffs out of pan and roll in melted butter, then cinnamon-sugar. Makes one dozen.

Serve a refreshing fruit drink at brunch. Mix equal parts chilled pomegranate juice, orange juice and sparkling water. Pour into stemmed glasses over ice. 27

Farmers’ Casserole

Michelle Taggart Castle Rock, CO

I put together this easy dish every Christmas Eve so it is ready to bake on Christmas morning. My grown kids still ask for it! 3 c. frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes 3/4 c. favorite shredded cheese 1 c. Canadian bacon, diced

1/4 c. onion, diced 4 eggs, beaten 12-oz. can evaporated milk 1/4 t. pepper

Spread potatoes evenly in a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Sprinkle with cheese, bacon and onion; set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and pepper; pour over mixture in pan. If desired, cover and refrigerate at this point for several hours to overnight. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until eggs are set. If refrigerated, bake for 60 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Salt & pepper is a must with breakfast egg and potato dishes. Bring a little fun to the breakfast table with a pair of vintage-style “kissing” shakers!

28

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Creamy Blueberry Muffins

Amy Hunt Traphill, NC

These muffins are sure to be a delicious addition to your Christmas morning menu. 18-1/4 oz. pkg. blueberry muffin mix 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/4 c. sugar 1/2 c. frozen blueberries, thawed and drained

Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, prepare muffin mix as directed on package; set aside batter. In a bowl, combine cream cheese and sugar; beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for one minute. Fold in blueberries with a spoon. Divide half of batter evenly among muffin cups. Divide cream cheese mixture among muffin cups; top with remaining batter. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden. Makes one dozen.

Mmm...fresh-baked muffins! Most muffin batters can be stirred up the night before and can even be scooped into muffin cups. Simply cover and refrigerate...in the morning, pop them in the oven. 29

Orange Streusel Muffins

Linda Galvin Ames, IA

I love baking muffins for breakfast, brunch or teatime! These muffins are light in texture with a refreshing taste. 2 c. all-purpose flour 1 T. baking powder 1/3 c. sugar 1 t. salt 1/2 c. chopped pecans 1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 c. orange juice 1 T. orange zest 1/4 c. milk 1/4 c. oil 1/2 c. orange marmalade

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pecans; mix well. Make a well in the center and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle with Streusel mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden. Immediately remove muffins from pan. Makes one dozen.

Streusel: 1 T. all-purpose flour 1/4 c. sugar 1/2 t. cinnamon

1/4 t. nutmeg 1 T. butter, softened

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; mix until crumbly.

For orange zest in a jiffy, use a vegetable peeler to remove very thin slices of peel. Mince finely with a paring knife. 30

Chilly-Day

Breakfasts Creamy Breakfast Casserole

Stephanie Nilsen Fremont, NE

A family favorite at gatherings...it’s delicious and easy to make. 2 lbs. ground pork sausage 8-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided 10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup 8-oz. container French onion sour cream dip

8-oz. container sour cream 1 c. onion, diced 1/4 c. green pepper, diced 1/4 c. red pepper, diced 1/8 t. pepper 30-oz. pkg. frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes, thawed

Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium heat until no longer pink. Drain on paper towels. In a large bowl, combine 1-3/4 cups cheese and remaining ingredients except potatoes. Mix well and fold in potatoes. Spread half of potato mixture in a lightly greased 13"x9" glass baking pan. Top with sausage, remaining potato mixture and remaining cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 more minutes, or until heated through. Cut into squares. Makes 8 to12 servings.

When I was about ten years old, I was in Sunday school and we were singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” before the class started. All of a sudden in the middle of the song, the other children started to giggle. I asked what was so funny...they said I was singing “O Little Town of Bacon-Ham”! I guess I’ve always been a foodie, or maybe I should’ve eaten breakfast before I went to Sunday school that day! – Amy Hunt, Traphill, NC

31

Best-Ever Lemon Loaf Cake

Tamara Harustak Dallas, OR

I get so many compliments about this loaf! It’s a huge hit at brunches. 2 t. butter, softened 1/2 c. raw sugar 18-1/2 oz. pkg. lemon supreme cake mix 2 5.1-oz. pkgs. instant lemon pudding mix

4 eggs, beaten 1/4 c. olive oil 1/4 c. half-and-half 1 c. plus 2 t. sour cream 6 T. fresh lemon juice with pulp

Grease two 9"x5" loaf pans with butter; coat with sugar. Scatter any extra sugar evenly in bottoms of pans; set aside. In a large bowl, combine dry cake and pudding mixes; mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Add egg mixture to cake/pudding mixture. Stir just to blend; do not overmix. Divide batter between loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven. When cool to the touch, frost with Lemon Glaze. Makes 2 loaves.

Lemon Glaze: 1/4 c. butter, room temperature 2 c. powdered sugar

1 to 1-1/2 t. lemon juice or extract

Mix well to a glaze consistency.

A fresh-baked loaf of cake or quick bread is always a welcome gift! Make sure it stays fresh and tasty...let the loaf cool completely before wrapping well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. 32

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Ho-Ho-Holiday Spread

Jill Ball Highland, UT

From mid-November to New Year’s Day, I keep a bowl of this yummy spread on hand. You never know who is going to drop by! This is beautiful and easy spread to pull out quickly and give your guest a taste of the holidays. 12-oz. pkg. fresh cranberries 1 c. sugar 1 c. chopped pecans 1 c. apricot jam

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, room temperature snack crackers

Combine cranberries and sugar in an ungreased 13"x9" baking pan. Mix until cranberries are coated. Cover and bake at 350 degrees until cranberries burst, about 30 minutes. Add pecans and jam to cranberries; stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight. At serving time, place cream cheese on a platter; spoon cranberry mixture over cream cheese. Serve with crackers. Makes 24 servings.

Shopping, wrapping and decorating needn’t keep you from getting together with friends at Christmas! Invite them over for appetizers. The recipes are quick & easy to prepare, so more time can be spent enjoying each other’s company. 34

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Sausage Pinwheels

Arleen Collier Owensboro, KY

We always enjoyed a Christmas potluck at work. One lady brought this appetizer and they disappeared within a hour. That is a great sign! Hope you’ll enjoy them like we all did. 1/2 lb. ground pork sausage 8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls

2 T. fresh chives, chopped

Partially brown sausage; drain and set aside. Unroll crescent rolls on a lightly floured surface; press seams and perforations together. Roll into a 14-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Spread sausage to within 1/2 inch of edges; sprinkle with chives. Carefully roll up from one long side; cut into 12 slices. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, one inch apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 16 minutes, until golden. Makes one dozen.

Yummy Sausage Balls

Jennie Gist Gooseberry Patch

An oldie but goodie! Use mild or hot sausage to suit your taste. 1 lb. ground Italian pork sausage 16-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese

3 c. buttermilk biscuit baking mix 3/4 c. water

Brown and crumble sausage in a large skillet over medium heat; do not drain. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Form into one-inch balls, pressing firmly. Arrange balls on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden. May be wrapped and frozen after baking. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator; reheat at 350 degrees for 5 to 7 minutes. Makes about 8 dozen. 35

Jalapeño Popper Crescent Ring

Audra Vanhorn-Sorey Columbia, NC

This recipe puts a new twist on the original jalapeño poppers! Easy and delicious. 8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls 7 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 1 c. bacon bits 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Unroll crescent rolls. Form a circular ring on an ungreased baking sheet or pizza stone, overlapping wide ends of the triangles. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix well and spoon onto crescent rolls. Bring the tip of each triangle down to secure over the mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden. Serves 8 to 10.

The simplest centerpiece is often the prettiest! Set 2 or 3 pillar candles on an ironstone platter, then tuck vintage Christmas ornaments around the base to add sparkle.

36

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Cheddar-Bacon Spread

Beckie Apple Grannis, AR

I love making this fast and easy spread. It’s a great appetizer for your holiday table. 3/4 lb. bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled 8-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese

3 green onions, finely diced 2 T. mayonnaise 1/8 t. garlic powder snack crackers or toasted bread

Combine all ingredients except crackers or bread in a large bowl; mix well. Serve at room temperature or chilled with crackers or toasted bread. Serves 4 to 6.

When I was a child, we always went to my grandmother’s house on Christmas Eve. My aunts, uncles and cousins would be there too. This was especially nice since I was an only child and got to play with my cousins. We would sing carols, open presents and have a treat. My grandmother always had homemade sugar cookies, fruitcake and punch....a green punch! Of course, it was a simple lime & citrus punch, but to all of us children it was the special green punch. Our family has grown and separated, but we all remember that special green punch and the good memories of long-ago Christmas Eves at Grandmother’s house. – Linda Mercer, Parkersburg, WV

37

Turkey-Cranberry Croissants

Wendy Ball Battle Creek, MI

Very festive for holiday luncheons! Use mini croissants for tasty tidbits. I like to make my own whole-berry cranberry sauce, but, when you’re short on time, canned sauce comes in handy. 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 1/2 c. regular or sugar-free orange marmalade 1 T. milk 1 c. whole-berry cranberry sauce

6 large croissants or 12 mini croissants, split 1 c. lettuce, shredded 1 lb. thinly sliced deli hickory or honey turkey

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, marmalade and milk. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth; set aside. Place cranberry sauce in a separate bowl and stir for easy spreading; set aside. Toast croissants, if desired. To assemble, spread a small amount of cream cheese mixture evenly on cut sides of croissants. Top with shredded lettuce and sliced turkey; spread 2 to 3 tablespoons cranberry sauce over turkey. Add croissant tops. Makes 6 sandwiches or 12 mini sandwiches.

Need to soften cream cheese in a hurry? Simply place an unwrapped 8-ounce block on a plate, and microwave for about one minute at 50% power. 38

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Kay’s Best Cheese Ball

Kay Turner Slocomb, AL

I have made this cheese ball every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter meal for my family for many years. It’s a huge hit...friends will invite me to dinner and ask me to bring my cheese ball! Sometimes I add finely chopped pecans instead of the beef. 2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature 2 2-oz. pkgs. sliced beef, chopped and divided 3 T. mayonnaise

4 to 5 green onions, finely chopped 1 t. Dijon or yellow mustard 1 T. garlic salt snack crackers

In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, half of beef and remaining ingredients except crackers. Mix very well, using your hands. Form into a ball and place on a serving plate. Cover with remaining beef. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight. Serve with crackers. Makes one large cheese ball.

Colorful fresh veggies are always welcome at parties and easy to prepare in advance. Cut them into bite-size slices, flowerets or cubes and tuck away in plastic zipping bags until needed...what a time-saver! 39

Lemon-Dijon Wings

Jo Ann

We love wings and I’m always looking for something different! These are really flavorful. Broil them if the snow is flying. 2 lbs. chicken wings, separated 1/4 c. olive oil 2 T. lemon juice 2 T. Dijon mustard

6 cloves garlic, chopped 2 t. salt 1 T. pepper

Place chicken wings in a large plastic zipping bag; set aside. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl; mix well and pour over wings. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, occasionally turning bag to coat wings. Drain marinade from chicken into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside for basting. Grill wings on a lightly oiled grill over high heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until juices run clear. Turn frequently, basting with marinade during the last 5 minutes. Serves 4.

Bacon & Honey Wings

Judy Couto Kerman, CA

I have been making these little ditties for years...they’re always the first to disappear at our parties. 2 to 3 lbs. chicken wings, separated

1 lb. bacon, slices halved 1/2 c. honey

Wrap each chicken wing tightly with a half-slice of bacon. Arrange wings on ungreased rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle honey over wings. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and chicken juices run clear when pierced. Serves 6 to 8.

A jar of minced garlic on hand saves time when you’re in a hurry. When swapping it for fresh, remember that 1/2 teaspoon equals one clove. 40

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Sausage & Cheese Appetizer

Mary Muchowicz Elk Grove Village, IL

A friend served this to us and was willing to share her recipe with me. It has become a family favorite for holiday get-togethers and especially for New Year’s Eve. 1 lb. ground beef chuck 1 lb. ground pork sausage 16-oz. pkg. pasteurized process cheese, cubed

3/4 t. dried oregano 1/4 t. garlic powder 2 loaves cocktail rye bread

Brown beef and sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat; drain. Add cheese and seasonings; stir over low heat until cheese is completely melted. Spoon mixture onto rye bread slices, spreading all the way to the edges. Arrange slices on baking sheets; place in freezer. When frozen, slices may be stored in one-gallon plastic freezer bags. To serve, place desired amount of slices on a baking sheet; bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Serves 12.

Easiest-ever marinated mushrooms! Trim a pound of small mushrooms, wipe clean and place in a big jar. Add enough zesty Italian salad dressing to cover them. Add the lid and refrigerate for 24 hours. Drain and serve with toothpicks. 41

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Robin Hill Rochester, NY

All the flavor, but less mess than wings...no bones about it! 1/4 c. butter, sliced 1/3 c. hot pepper sauce 1 lb. ground chicken 3/4 c. dry bread crumbs 1 egg, beaten 1 stalk celery, minced 1/2 t. onion powder

1/2 t. garlic powder 1 t. salt 1 t. pepper 2 T. oil Garnish: chicken wing sauce Optional: blue cheese salad dressing, celery sticks

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with hot sauce. Set aside to cool. In a bowl, combine chicken, bread crumbs, eggs, celery and seasonings. Mix well with your hands. Add butter mixture; mix well and form into 3/4-inch meatballs. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook until browned on all sides, but still pink in the center; drain. Transfer meatballs to a lightly greased 13"x9" glass baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked through. Serve with desired garnishes. Makes about 3-1/2 dozen.

Turn your holiday cards into a Christmas garland...a great party decoration! Use mini clothespins to clip cards to a length of ribbon or twine. Add some favorite holiday photos and handmade gift tags to create a heartfelt display that family & friends are sure to enjoy. 42

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Pesto Mushroom Pizza

Shelby Gort Holland, MI

It’s easy to make this recipe with a pre-packaged crust, but if you like to make the pizza dough yourself, go right ahead! I mix freshly shredded mozzarella and provolone cheeses for a nice combination. 12-inch Italian pizza crust 1-1/2 t. olive oil 1 clove garlic, sliced in half 1/4 c. pesto sauce

2 c. shredded mozzarella and/or provolone cheese 1/2 c. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

Place pizza crust on an ungreased 12" round pizza pan. Brush crust with olive oil, using a pastry brush. Rub cut sides of garlic clove over crust. Spread pesto over crust; top with cheese and mushrooms. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until cheese is melted and crust is golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Sassy Shrimp Cocktail Dip

Jesi Allen Clover, SC

This dip brings back many fond memories of holidays spent with friends during winter break from school. We’d make a batch to snack on while we watched all the classic Christmas movies. 2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened 8-oz. container sour cream 1-1/2 c. catsup 2 T. prepared horseradish

1 T. lemon juice 2 4-1/4 oz. cans baby shrimp, drained and coarsely chopped snack crackers or baguette slices

In a bowl, blend cream cheese and sour cream. Spread in the bottom of a 9" pie plate or serving dish. In another bowl, combine catsup, horseradish and lemon juice. Mix well and spread over cream cheese mixture. Spread shrimp over catsup mixture. Cover and chill at least one hour. Serve with crackers or baguette slices. Serves 6.

43

Party Super Nachos

Phyl Broich Wessling Garner, IA

This is a great recipe for holiday gatherings or any time. Tasty and easy to make too! 1 lb. lean ground beef 1/2 c. onion, chopped salt and pepper to taste 2 16-oz. cans refried beans 4-oz. can chopped green chiles 3 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1/4 c. taco sauce Garnish: sour cream, chopped green onions, chopped black olives tortilla chips

In a skillet over medium heat, brown beef with onion. Drain; season with salt and pepper. Spread beans in the bottom of a lightly greased 13"x9" baking pan. Spread beef mixture over beans; top with chiles and cheese. Drizzle with taco sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Garnish with sour cream, onions and olives. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 6 to 8.

Festive ice cubes! Drop a couple of cranberries and a sprig of mint into each section of an ice cube tray. Fill with distilled water for crystal-clear cubes and freeze.

44

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Nana’s Taco Dip

Janae Mallonee Marlborough, MA

My Nana made this dip for every family gathering. Guests at her boarding house in Maine were treated to it almost every weekend. And every night, we would gather on the front porch to tell stories, sing songs and snack on this dip! It was a good time for all, lots of incredible memories made on that front porch. 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 1/2 c. sour cream taco seasoning mix to taste 1/2 head lettuce, shredded

3 tomatoes, diced 8-oz. pkg. shredded Mexicanblend cheese tortilla chips

In a bowl, blend cream cheese, sour cream and taco seasoning to taste. Spread mixture in a serving plate. Sprinkle with lettuce, tomato and cheese. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 10 servings.

When our two boys were in high school, we moved back to my hometown where most of my family & friends lived. Our boys were very active in high school activities and we met a lot of great people. Every Christmas Eve until our boys left to go on to their careers, we had Open House after five o’clock service. We served all our favorite finger foods and homemade Christmas cookies. Family & friends stayed till midnight. As soon as everyone left, we would make hot chocolate and open our gifts. The next morning we had our Christmas breakfast and started all over again, making Christmas dinner for family and any friends who had no place to go. At our house, when December 1st came, we never stopped until around midnight on Christmas night! Of course, times change and family pass away, but the memories of love and laughter are still there. – Susan Rado, Farrell, PA

45

Pepperoni & Sausage Bread

Linda Fleisher New Franklin, OH

I often make this for my family as adults and kids love it. The best part is that you can make as many loaves as you wish and just freeze what you don’t use. Then, some day when you need something quick, just pull a loaf out of the freezer and bake! 3 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed 6 T. Italian salad dressing, divided 3 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided 1 lb. thinly sliced deli sandwich pepperoni, divided 1 lb. ground pork sausage, browned drained and divided

1 lb. sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese, sliced and divided 2 T. butter, melted and slightly cooled 1 egg, beaten Garnish: sesame seed, salad seasoning and/or pepper

Thaw dough according to package directions. On a floured surface, spread out one thawed loaf into a 13-inch by 9-inch rectangle. Lightly sprinkle loaf with 2 tablespoons salad dressing and one tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Layer entire surface with 1/3 each of of pepperoni, sausage and cheese, staying within one inch of each edge. Roll up dough, beginning on one long edge and tucking in all the fillings. Pinch edges and ends together. Place loaf in a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet, sealed-edge down. Mix melted butter with egg; brush 1/3 of mixture over entire loaf and sprinkle with desired garnish. Repeat with remaining ingredients, making 2 more loaves. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Let cool for several minutes before slicing. An electric knife works best. Makes 3 loaves, 8 servings per loaf.

Set a tall pillar candle in the center of a seasonal wreath...a clever centerpiece in a jiffy!

46

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Marinated Vegetable Salad

JoAlice Patterson-Welton Lawrenceville, GA

This is a fabulous and easy, deliciously light salad! Wonderful anytime of year. Makes an especially nice colorful salad at Christmas...quite festive with the green vegetables and red pimentos. 15-oz. can petite peas 15-oz. white shoepeg corn 14-1/2 oz. can French-style green beans 13-1/2 oz. can sliced mushrooms

8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts 4-oz. jar diced pimentos 4 stalks celery, diced 1 onion, diced 1 green pepper, diced

Add canned vegetables to a large colander; drain well. Transfer to a large bowl; add remaining vegetables and toss to mix. Pour Marinade over top, stirring well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours. To serve, use a slotted spoon, allowing some of the marinade to drain off. This salad will keep, refrigerated, for 3 to 4 weeks. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Marinade: 1-1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. oil 1 c. white vinegar

2 T. water 1 t. salt 1/8 t. pepper

Combine all ingredients; whisk well to blend and dissolve sugar.

The secret of the best Christmases is everybody doing the same things all at the same time. – Robert P. Tristram Coffin

47

Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms

Nola Coons Gooseberry Patch

So easy...these go together in your microwave in a snap! Perfect for when you have surprise visitors stop by. 12-oz. pkg. frozen spinach soufflé 3/4 c. shredded Cheddar cheese 3/4 c. shredded provolone cheese

3/4 c. dry bread crumbs garlic powder to taste 1 lb. whole mushrooms, stems removed

Microwave spinach soufflé according to package directions, until softened. Transfer to a bowl; stir in cheeses, bread crumbs and garlic powder. Spoon fillings into mushroom caps. Arrange on a microwavesafe plate; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high heat until warmed through, about 6 to 8 minutes on high. Serves 8.

Mushrooms absorb water like a sponge. Instead of washing mushrooms under a faucet, just wipe them off with a damp cloth...they’ll stay firm and tasty.

48

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms

Joni Teragawachi Palatine, IL

My dear friend Loys passed away last year. She gave me this recipe and it is my go-to appetizer. It is so quick & easy, but tastes like you worked hard to create it! May be served as an appetizer or on toast points for brunch. Yummy! 16-oz. tube pkg. hot ground pork sausage 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 lb. whole mushrooms, stems removed

Cook sausage in a skillet over medium heat until pink is gone; Add cream cheese; stir until well mixed. Place mushroom caps in a greased 13"x9" glass baking pan. Stuff mushrooms evenly with mixture. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on high, until mixture is bubbly and mushrooms are soft. Serves 8.

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms

Heidi Miller Albrightsville, PA

This is one recipe that my family loves at all gatherings. 1/2 c. garlic & herb cheese spread

1/2 c. crabmeat, finely minced 18 mushrooms, stems removed

Blend cheese and crabmeat in a small bowl. Divide mixture evenly among mushroom caps. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until hot. Makes 1-1/2 dozen.

Hollowed-out red and green sweet peppers make festive containers for holiday dips. 49

Crabmeat Pizza

Mary Muchowicz Elk Grove Village, IL

A woman I used to work with many years ago used to bring this appetizer to company functions. When I first saw it, I thought it was an actual pizza...I didn’t realize it was an appetizer you spread on crackers! It was always very popular. Try it and you’ll see why. 1-1/2 c. cream cheese, softened 2 T. mayonnaise 2 T. dried minced onion 1 T. lemon juice 1 t. Worcestershire sauce 1/8 t. garlic powder

12-oz. bottle chili sauce 6-oz. can crabmeat, drained and flaked Garnish: dried parsley favorite crackers

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, dried onion, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Blend well. Spread mixture on a dinner plate, covering the whole plate. Add chili sauce; spread to cover cream cheese mixture. Add crabmeat evenly over chili sauce. Sprinkle with dried parsley. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours before serving, to allow flavors to blend. Serve with crackers. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Show off Christmas snapshots from years past. Choose a common theme like a child’s visit to Santa, or kids around the Christmas tree. Whether photos are sweet or silly, family & friends will love taking a trip down memory lane with you.

50

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Spicy Broccoli-Cheese Dip

Debbie Swank Wauseon, OH

A co-worker brought this one day to a potluck we had at work. I liked it so much, I had to have the recipe! 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 8-oz. pkg. mild Mexican pasteurized process cheese 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, cooked tortilla chips

In a saucepan, combine cheeses, soup and broccoli. Cook over medium-low heat until cheeses are melted, stirring often. Transfer to a slow cooker set on low. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 4 to 6.

Nashville Hot BBQ Chicken Strips

Bennie Wood Nashville, TN

This is a tasty change from hot wings...you’ll love it! 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips 1/3 c. all-purpose flour

4 T. oil, divided 1/3 c. barbecue sauce 1 T. hot pepper sauce 1/4 c. butter

In a large plastic zipping bag, toss chicken strips with flour. Shake to remove any extra flour; set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken strips. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden and juices run clear; drain well. Repeat with remaining oil and chicken strips. Meanwhile, stir together sauces and melted butter in a large bowl. Add cooked chicken; toss to coat. Serves 4.

Serving finger foods? Fill a mini slow cooker with dampened, rolled-up cloth napkins and set on low...a thoughtful touch. 51

Shrimp Puffs

Paula Marchesi Lenhartsville, PA

Having a party? Serve these delicious puffs and everyone will come back for more...and will probably ask you for the recipe too! 1 c. water 1/2 c. butter, cubed 1/4 t. salt 1 c. all-purpose flour 4 eggs, room temperature 4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and finely chopped 6-oz. can small shrimp, drained

4-oz. container garlic & herb cheese spread, room temperature 1/4 c. mayonnaise 2 T. green onion, finely chopped 2 t. Dijonnaise mustard Optional: minced fresh parsley

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring water, butter and salt to a boil. Add flour all at once; stir until a smooth ball forms. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Add uncooked eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny. Drop batter by teaspoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden. Remove to a wire rack. Immediately split puffs open; remove tops and set aside. Discard the soft dough from inside puffs; cool. In a large bowl, combine hard-boiled eggs and remaining ingredients except optional parsley. Just before serving, spoon one teaspoonful of filling into each puff; sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Replace tops and serve. Makes 8 dozen.

For super-simple cheese snacks, cut several 8-ounce packages of cream cheese into 1/2-inch cubes. Shape cubes into balls and roll in chopped pecans. Easy to make ahead! 52

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Best Hot Cinnamon Apple Cider

Kelly Kraus Prospect, KY

No need to light a fragrant candle while preparing this delectable beverage! This sweet and oh-so wonderful smelling cider fills up your home with warmth on a chilly night. It is so welcoming to guests, whether it is gathering family together for Christmas or opening your home to a group of dear Bible study friends. 46-oz. bottle cranberry juice cocktail 1/2 gal. apple cider

1/3 c. brown sugar, packed 1-1/2 T. whole cloves 4 4-inch cinnamon sticks

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot over high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer for about one hour. Remove from heat; strain into another pot to remove whole spices. (If preferred, spices may be enclosed in a muslin spice bag for easy removal.) Return to stove; keep warm over low heat for serving. Makes about 12 servings.

When serving specialty cheeses as an appetizer, unwrap them and place on a serving tray one hour before the party begins. The flavors are fullest when these cheeses are at room temperature.

53

Holiday Cheese Ball

Cindy McKinnon El Dorado, AR

One of our favorite snacks! These cheese balls freeze well, so I will make several to freeze for later, when company is coming over or my husband wants to take one to work to enjoy with his buddies. These also can be handed out as a great Christmas present. They are so good served with any kind of crackers. 1 lb. mild Cheddar cheese, shredded 1 lb. sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded 1 lb. longhorn Cheddar cheese, shredded 2 lbs. pasteurized process cheese, cubed

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, cubed 1 c. chopped pecans 2-oz. jar chopped pimentos, drained 1 onion, finely chopped 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2-1/2 oz. jar chili powder 2-oz. jar paprika

Combine all cheeses in a large bowl. Let stand until cheeses come to room temperature. Add pecans, pimentos, onion and garlic. Mix well with your hands. Divide mixture into 4 large or 8 small balls. Mix spices together; roll cheese balls in mixture to coat well. Makes 4 large or 8 small cheese balls.

Beeswax candles have such a sweet fragrance. Wrap up a bundle and tie with a length of wide rickrack for a simple gift from the heart. 54

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Texas Cheese Dip

Glenda Fowler Kaufman, TX

This is one of our favorite dip recipes for Christmastime. It is very easy and very good. 2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, room temperature 1/2 c. thick & chunky salsa

1 t. hot pepper sauce horn-shaped corn snacks or snack crackers

In a bowl, combine cream cheese, salsa and hot sauce. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Cover and chill. Serve with desired snacks. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

The tradition of our Trim-the-Tree Party began when our first grandson was about 3 years old. We would put up the tree and decorate it. Then we would have snacks, chips, dips and finger foods...all kinds of things they usually weren’t allowed to eat. Later, as we had three more grandkids (two more boys and one girl) my husband would take them out into the woods and they would pick out a cedar tree and cut it. The next step was going to his shop and making a stand, then the tree was brought into the house and decorated. After the decorating was finished, they would attack the food. When the party was first started, just the grandkids came, but they had so much fun their parents started coming. We really enjoyed this time with the family. – Glenda Fowler, Kaufman, TX

55

Rye Bread Dip

Rhonda Bishop Duncansville, PA

We make this appetizer at my home for all the family gatherings and holiday parties. When the middle of the bread bowl is gone, then start eating the bowl...that’s the best part! 1 large round loaf rye bread 3 c. sour cream 3 c. mayonnaise 3-oz. pkg. dried beef, shredded

3 T. dried parsley 2 T. dried minced onion 2 t. Beau Monde seasoning 2 t. dried dill weed

Scoop out the center of bread loaf; cube pulled-out bread and set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon mixture into loaf. Cover and chill overnight. Serve with reserved bread cubes. Makes 30 servings.

Platters of food set on different levels make a more appealing presentation. Arrange books, a stack of plates or upside-down bowls on a buffet table to create different heights. Simply cover with a tablecloth and set serving dishes on top.

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Festive

Open House Appetizers

Tomato & Feta with Greek Seasoning

Betsy Smith McKinney, TX

This fresh and healthy appetizer was voted our #1 family favorite this past Christmas Eve. I added this colorful little dip to offset the heaviness of rich cheesy dips that are on our menu and everyone loved it! It’s now on our must-have list for any time of year. 3 T. olive oil, divided 2 c. grape tomatoes, chopped 3 green onions, chopped 4-oz. container crumbled feta cheese

1 T. Greek seasoning 1 baguette, thinly sliced

Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil in a serving bowl. Combine tomatoes and onions in a separate bowl; spoon over oil. Sprinkle feta cheese on top. Sprinkle with seasoning and mix together; set aside. Place baguette slices on an ungreased baking sheet; drizzle lightly with remaining oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until toasted. Arrange baguette slices around dip bowl. Serves 10 to 15.

Tomato-Bacon Fluff

Jill Ball Highland, UT

If you have just a few minutes, no worries...this has to be the easiest dip recipe ever. But don’t let that fool you though, it’s yummy! Serve with sliced vegetables or crackers. 1 c. bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled 1 c. tomato, diced

8-oz. container sour cream 1/4 c. mayonnaise

In a bowl, mix all ingredients. Cover and chill before serving. Makes 24 servings.

57

Ham & Cheese Sandwiches

Jean Johns-Schmehl Saint Marys, OH

We fix these sandwiches for Christmas Eve and everyone really enjoys them. They also freeze well and can be made ahead of time...very handy, since things usually get hectic on Christmas Eve. 1 c. butter, melted 2 T. horseradish mustard 3 T. poppy seed 2 T. onion, chopped

1/8 t. Worcestershire sauce 8 hamburger buns, split 16 slices ham 16 slices Swiss cheese

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in mustard, poppy seed, onion and Worcestershire sauce. Spread mixture over cut sides of buns. Layer bun bottoms with 2 ham and 2 cheese slices each; add tops of buns. Wrap buns individually in aluminum foil; place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Just for fun, serve fresh veggies on sticks...looks so festive and kids love it! Thread bite-size veggies like cherry tomatoes, whole mushrooms, yellow pepper squares and bite-size cauliflower onto skewers. Serve with ranch salad dressing for tasty dipping. 58

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Red, White & Green Salad

Tina George El Dorado, AR

When I need a quick dish for our fellowship dinners after church, this is one recipe I turn to. Prepare the salad before church, pop it in the fridge and by the time church is over, it’s ready to serve! 1 lb. new redskin potatoes, cooked and cubed 1 lb. green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces and cooked 2 to 3 tomatoes, diced

7 T. olive oil 5 T. white wine vinegar 3/4 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper

In a large bowl, combine potatoes, green beans and tomatoes; set aside. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients and whisk well. Pour dressing over vegetables; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

Once our children were old enough to start to understand, my husband and I decided they needed to know the real meaning behind Christmas. We wanted to show them how important family is and the need for giving to others. We began the Twelve-Day tradition. For the twelve days before Christmas, we do some type of good deed together and have family time each night. For family time, we play games, read books, have indoor picnics, make craft gifts, and so forth. For our good deeds, we donate to the local library, make goodie bags for the homeless, visit nursing homes and make meals for firefighters or police on Christmas. The best part is that we all look so forward to it each year. – Courtney Stultz, Weir, KS

59

Apricot-Almond Brie

Linda Whelan Oceanside, CA

Rich and creamy and an elegant presentation. This is terrific because it’s fast and easy. 8-oz. wedge Brie cheese 1/2 c. apricot preserves 1 T. orange-flavored liqueur

1 T. sliced almonds, toasted buttery round crackers

Remove top rind from cheese. Place cheese on a serving plate; set aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine preserves and liqueur. Heat until hot, but do not boil. Spoon sauce over cheese; sprinkle with almonds. Serve with crackers. Serves 6 to 8.

Christmas Boutique Punch

Holly Child Parker, CO

My mother gave me this simple recipe. It reminds me of when I was a little girl and there were all kinds of home holiday boutiques throughout our neighborhood and community. The smell of the punch instantly welcomed you into even a stranger’s home. 1 gal. apple cider 46-oz. can pineapple juice

3-oz. pkg. red cinnamon candies

In a heavy stockpot over medium heat, combine cider and pineapple juice. Heat through. Add candies; stir until dissolved. Turn heat to low; serve warm. Makes 25 to 30 servings.

Fill pint-size Mason jars with red cinnamon candies and nestle a votive in the center. They’ll look so cute on a party table.

60

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Zippy Cranberries Over Cheese

Joyce Borrill Utica, NY

Tends to be a holiday special appetizer, due to color, but really goes at any time. I usually double the recipe because it goes quickly. 1 c. water 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed 12-oz. pkg. fresh cranberries 3 T. horseradish

1 T. Dijon mustard 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened assorted crackers

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine water and sugars. Bring to a boil; stir well until sugars dissolve. Add cranberries; return to a boil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature. Stir in horseradish and mustard. Cover and chill. At serving time, place softened cream cheese on a serving dish; spoon cranberry mixture over top. Surround with crackers. Serves 12.

We have a tradition that has family, friends and neighbors getting involved. After the holidays, we ask for everyone’s holiday cards. We encourage them to take one more look and read them again before we take them. Then, during the cold and snowy months we make Christmas tags from all the beautiful cards. You can use anything you like to embellish the tags. The next Thanksgiving weekend, we give back to everyone handmade tags to use for their holiday gift giving. We give one dozen tags to each family. They love them and some even use them as decorations on their Christmas trees. Last year we handed out thousand of tags. It’s a fun family activity! – Janet Hall, Maple Heights, OH

61

Santa’s Snack Mix

Judy Taylor Butler, MO

This delicious snack mix has become a tradition for me to make at Christmas. Put it in a pretty Christmas bowl and wrap in colored cellophane for a wonderful gift. It is the perfect winter snack mix. 1/2 c. butter, sliced 1/3 c. honey 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed 1 t. cinnamon 1/2 t. salt 3 c. square oat cereal

1-1/2 c. old-fashioned oats, uncooked 1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts 1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries 1/2 c. chocolate-covered raisins

In a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, combine butter, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Microwave on high heat until butter is melted. Stir until brown sugar is dissolved; set aside. In a large bowl, combine cereal, oats and nuts. Drizzle with butter mixture and mix well. Spread in a greased 15"x10" jelly-roll pan. Bake at 275 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When cooled completely, stir in cranberries and raisins. Store in an airtight container. Makes 6 cups.

Clever party favors in a jiffy! Spoon party mix into empty cardboard tubes. Wrap each tube in colorful tissue paper and secure the open ends with curling ribbon, then heap in a basket for guests to take home. 62

Festive

Open House Appetizers

Easy Microwave Caramel Corn

Jean McKinney Ontario, OH

This is a super-easy caramel corn recipe that just takes you back to those old-fashioned popcorn balls you got at Christmas time. It’s one of our favorites and it’s buttery good! 1/2 c. popcorn kernels, popped 1/2 c. butter, sliced 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed 1/4 c. corn syrup

1/2 t. salt 1/2 t. baking soda 1 t. vanilla extract Optional: colored sugar

Spray the inside of a large brown paper bag with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. Pop popcorn; add half of popped popcorn to paper bag. Set aside remaining popcorn. Melt butter in a microwave-safe glass bowl. Add brown sugar, corn syrup and salt; whisk together. Microwave on high until mixture comes to a boil; continue cooking for 2 minutes. Whisk in baking soda and vanilla. Pour mixture over popcorn in bag; add remaining popcorn. Roll the bag shut; microwave for 1-1/2 minutes. Shake bag well; microwave for another 1-1/2 minutes. Immediately pour popcorn onto wax paper; spread out and let cool. If desired, sprinkle with colored sugar. Makes 4 servings.

When I was a little girl, my Aunt Julia invited me to her house every Christmas season to decorate cut-out cookies, drink hot cocoa and eat homemade pizza while we sang Christmas carols. For the past 25 years I have continued that Christmas tradition with my children and am excited for this Christmas with my granddaughter. We cover the table with paper, the kids dump the crayons in the middle of the table and they draw pictures on the paper while eating caramel corn, the same pizza my aunt used to make, hot cocoa and such. Our rule is, no grown-ups allowed! Kids can eat whatever they want, and we must have Christmas songs turned up on the radio to sing along with as we decorate the cookies. It is my favorite childhood memory and one of my children’s very favorite memories as well. – Jean McKinney, Ontario, OH

63

Creamy Mocha Punch

Pat Beach Fisherville, KY

This first time I tried this punch, I thought I had gone to heaven. It is every chocolate lover’s dream! 4 c. hot water 1 c. sugar 1/4 c. instant coffee granules 4 c. whole milk

1/2 c. chocolate syrup 2 t. vanilla extract 1-1/2 qts. vanilla ice cream, softened

In a heatproof 2-quart pitcher, combine hot water, sugar and instant coffee. Stir until sugar dissolves; set aside to cool. In a separate pitcher, combine milk, chocolate syrup and vanilla; mix well and stir into cooled coffee mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, pour mocha mixture into a large punchbowl. Stir in big scoops of softened ice cream. Ladle into cups and serve. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Jill Ball Highland, UT

On Christmas Eve after the kids go to bed, my husband and I look forward to sitting on the couch by the lit Christmas tree and sharing cups of spicy hot cocoa. This has become one of our favorites... it’s perfect for that special night. 4 c. whole milk 1-1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 c. water 2 T. sugar

2 t. vanilla extract 1/2 t. chili powder 1/4 t. cinnamon 1/8 t. salt

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until chocolate melts and mixture is hot but not boiling, about 8 minutes. Pour into mugs and serve. Makes 4 servings.

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Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads

Tammy’s Taco Soup

Tammy Eason Abilene, TX

This recipe is the best! I love it. Top it with crushed white tortilla chips and a dollop of sour cream. 2 lbs. ground beef sirloin 1 onion, chopped 3 c. water 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles 15-1/2 oz. can white or yellow hominy, drained

15-oz. can ranch-style beans, drained 12-oz. can corn, drained 12-oz. can pinto beans, drained 1-1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix 1-oz. pkg. ranch dip mix

Brown beef with onion in a large soup pot over medium heat; drain. Add remaining ingredients; stir well. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Trimming the tree is such fun with friends. Put a big pot of soup on to simmer...when the last strand of tinsel is hung, dinner will be ready!

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Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Aunt Hay’s Sweet Cornbread

Haylie Smart Claremore, OK

I love this mildly sweet and moist cornbread when it’s fresh out of the oven. It’s delicious with just about any meal. Baking it in a hot cast-iron skillet gives the edges a light, buttery crispness, while the center remains tender. But if you want this recipe to taste its very best, always make it with love. 1/2 c. butter, melted and divided 1 c. cornmeal 3/4 c. all-purpose flour 1/4 c. sugar

1-1/2 t. baking powder 1/2 t. baking soda 2 eggs, lightly beaten 12-oz. can evaporated milk Garnish: additional butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Add 2 tablespoons butter to a cast-iron skillet; place in oven while it warms up. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, evaporated milk and remaining melted butter. Add egg mixture to cornmeal mixture. Stir together until well moistened; batter will be a little lumpy. Pour batter into the hot skillet. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 to 23 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or a little longer if a darker golden cornbread is preferred. Remove carefully from oven; let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve with pats of butter. Serves 4 to 6.

Evaporated milk can be substituted whenever a recipe calls for regular milk. Keep a few cans on hand for rich, creamy soups, or use in all kinds of baked goods. 67

Ellen’s Turkey-Vegetable Soup

Ellen Garrison Broken Arrow, OK

I like to serve this soup with hot cheese bread...so satisfying! 2 c. cooked turkey, diced 2 14-oz. cans chicken or turkey broth 1-3/4 c. water 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes 1 onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled and diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper 1 t. salt-free herb seasoning 1 t. dried parsley

Combine all ingredients in a stockpot over medium heat. Stir well; bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low. Simmer until vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 servings.

Cheddar Cheese Muffins

Samantha Starks Madison, WI

It’s so simple to stir up these tasty muffins...why not try them with your next pot of soup? 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour 1/3 c. sugar 2 t. baking powder 1/4 t. salt 1/2 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 egg, beaten 3/4 c. milk 1/4 c. oil

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; mix well. Stir in cheese; make a well in center of flour mixture and set aside. In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter will be lumpy. Spoon batter into 12 greased muffin cups, filling 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden and a toothpick tests clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes one dozen.

68

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Bowties & Spinach Salad

Vickie

This is a great little fresh salad for the holidays, since all the ingredients are available year ’round. 12-oz. pkg. bowtie pasta, uncooked and divided 2 c. baby spinach

1 c. cherry tomatoes, halved 1/4 c. green onions, sliced Optional: toasted pine nuts

Cook half of pasta as package directs, setting aside remaining pasta for another recipe. Drain and rinse with cold water; transfer to a bowl. Add spinach, tomatoes and onions; mix gently. Drizzle Dressing over salad; toss well. Top with pine nuts, if desired. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Dressing: 1/4 c. olive oil 2 T. lemon juice 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t. Dijon mustard 1/2 t. salt 1/2 t. sugar

Combine all ingredients; whisk well.

Combine the ingredients for a simple salad dressing in a squeeze bottle instead of a bowl. Shake the bottle to incorporate flavors and squeeze onto salad...what could be easier? 69

Snowy-Day Chicken Noodle Soup

Mary Thomason-Smith Bloomington, IN

Serve up a warm, nourishing soup to your little ones for lunch. Ready-to-use chicken broth and a rotisserie chicken make it simple. 32-oz. container chicken broth 3 carrots, peeled and diced 3 c. wide egg noodles, uncooked

1 c. cooked chicken breast, shredded

In a soup pot, combine broth, carrots and noodles. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until carrots and noodles are tender. Stir in chicken and warm through; ladle into bowls. Serve with Vermont Cheddar Toasties on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Vermont Cheddar Toasties: 1/2 lb. Vermont white Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

1 French baguette, thinly sliced

Place a cheese slice on each baguette slice; arrange on a broiler pan. Broil for one to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Send home a container of hearty homemade soup with a college student or an older person who lives alone... a gesture that will be much appreciated. 70

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Cheesy Potato Soup

Tammy Griffin Ontario, Canada

This delicious soup is always enjoyed at potlucks and dinner parties. For a really rich soup, use whipping cream instead of half-and-half. 2 onions, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 c. butter 4 c. chicken broth 10 to 12 potatoes, diced 1 t. dried thyme salt and pepper to taste

2 c. milk 2 c. half-and-half 16-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped 1/2 c. bacon bits

In a soup pot over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in butter until onions are transparent. Add broth to onions; bring to a boil. Stir in potatoes and seasonings; simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add half of potato and broth mixture to a blender. Purée until smooth; return to pot. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat over medium heat, stirring often, until heated through and cheese is melted. Season with additional salt and pepper, as desired. Serves 10 to 12.

I’m remembering back to age eight or nine in the 1950s and the Sunday school Christmas play my brother and I would be in. We loved the stage and reciting what we had practiced! But the greatest joy was the applause at the end...and that wonderful little box of animal crackers that we each received along with hard candy and chocolate drops. A treasure to behold like the shining star of the night! So appreciated, as back then every penny counted and there was no room for extra treats. Christmas at Sunday school was a very special time. – Sandy Coffey, Cincinnati, OH

71

Broccoli, Cranberry & Feta Salad

Gail Blain Peterson Stockton, KS

We love this colorful salad that uses fresh cranberries! The instant I start seeing them in my local produce market, this salad starts making its appearance on our menus. 1 lb. broccoli flowerets, coarsely chopped 1/2 c. fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

1 shallot, finely minced 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese 1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted

Combine broccoli and cranberries in a bowl. Toss with minced shallots, cheese and almonds. Pour Dressing over salad; stir until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 6.

Dressing: 1 c. mayonnaise 1/4 c. sugar or sweetener 2 T. red wine vinegar

1/2 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until smooth.

Christmas is coming; it is almost here! With Santa and presents, good will and cheer! – Gertrude Tooley Buckingham

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Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Colorful Marinated Veggies

Dawn Raskiewicz Alliance, NE

I have a husband who isn’t exactly fond of veggies, so sometimes I have to get creative so he’ll eat them. He really liked this salad, so it will pass inspection for any other picky eaters out there. Differentcolored veggies are very pleasing to the eye and the tummy as well. 4 to 6 roma tomatoes, cubed or thinly sliced 1/2 red onion, cubed 7-oz. can black olives, drained and sliced or halved 1 cucumber, sliced

1/2 yellow pepper, diced 1 Anaheim pepper, diced 8-oz. bottle zesty Italian salad dressing 1/2 t. garlic salt, or more to taste

Combine all vegetables in a glass bowl. Pour desired amount of dressing over top. Sprinkle with garlic salt; stir gently. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate until serving time. The longer the vegetables are in the dressing, the more flavor they will absorb. Serves 4 to 6.

Tote along a vintage thermos filled with hot soup on a visit to the Christmas tree farm...it’ll really hit the spot! Before ladling in the soup, prewarm the thermos with hot water for 10 minutes. 73

Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup

Kay Marone Des Moines, IA

My family loves this hearty soup on a wintry day! Sometimes I’ll add a handful of alphabet macaroni just for the kids. Serve with buttered hot rolls or a basket of saltines. 2 lbs. ground beef 1 onion, chopped 4 carrots, peeled and diced 4 stalks celery, chopped 4 c. beef broth 4 potatoes, peeled and diced 14-1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes

15-oz. can tomato sauce 15-1/2 oz. can corn, drained 15-oz. can green beans, drained 15-oz. can peas salt and pepper to taste 1/8 t. dried thyme 1 bay leaf

In a stockpot over medium-high heat, brown beef with onion; drain. Add carrots and celery. Cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add broth. Stir in potatoes, tomatoes with juice and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer for about one hour, until potatoes are tender. Discard bay leaf before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

If family members or guests will be arriving at different times, keep soup simmering in a slow cooker set on low. 74

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Texas Steakhouse Salad

Michelle Powell Valley, AL

This sassy salad is ready to serve in a jiffy and is tasty any time of year. 1 clove garlic, cut in half 1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped 3-oz. jar sliced green olives with pimentos, drained and juice reserved

2 tomatoes, chopped 2 T. olive oil juice of one lemon salt and pepper to taste

Rub the inside of a wooden salad bowl with the cut clove of garlic. Add lettuce, olives and tomatoes; set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, reserved olive juice and seasonings. Drizzle over salad; toss well and serve immediately. Makes 8 servings.

A cheery, painted chalkboard is ideal for kids as they count down the days until Christmas.

75

Garlic Potato Soup & Garlic Toast

Teresa Eller Kansas City, KS

I love this soup on a snowy cold winter day. It really hits the spot! For an even heartier soup, add some diced, cooked ham or chicken. 6 potatoes, peeled and cubed 1/4 c. butter 1/2 c. celery, chopped 1/2 c. onion, chopped

1 t. garlic powder, or to taste 4 to 6 c. milk 1/2 to 3/4 c. pasteurized process cheese, cubed

In a soup pot, cover potatoes with water. Bring to a boil over mediumhigh heat; cook until potatoes are tender. Drain; add butter, celery, onion, garlic powder and milk to desired consistency. Simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until celery and onion are tender; do not boil. Add cheese; stir until melted. Serve soup with Garlic Toast. Serves 4 to 6.

Garlic Toast: 1/4 c. butter 1 t. garlic powder

1 loaf French bread, sliced

Mix butter with garlic powder until creamy. Spread on sliced bread; place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted.

Need to add a little zing to a soup or stew? Just add a splash of Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice or cider vinegar. 76

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Cream of Mushroom Soup

Courtney Stultz Weir, KS

Not only is this a great soup by itself, it goes perfectly in other recipes. We love using this in our favorite green bean casserole recipe for the holidays! 8-oz. pkg. sliced mushrooms 1/2 c. onion, diced 1 T. olive oil 1 t. garlic, minced 1/2 t. white wine vinegar

1 t. sea salt 2 t. pepper 1/2 t. dried thyme 2 t. cornstarch 2 c. milk

In a large saucepan, sauté mushrooms and onion in olive oil until soft. Add garlic, vinegar and seasonings; stir until well combined. Sprinkle with cornstarch. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Simmer for about 10 minutes, to desired consistency; soup will thicken as it cooks. If it gets too thick, add a little more milk or water. If it is too thin, sprinkle with a little bit more cornstarch. Makes 4 servings.

Soups can be garnished with lots of tasty toppers...crispy crumbled bacon, sour cream, croutons, snipped fresh parsley or shredded cheese. Try something new!

77

Rustic Zucchini-Veggie Soup

Jackie Smulski Lyons, IL

This stew-like soup is wonderful! Sometimes I’ll add a cup of diced chicken or turkey...it’s good either way. 3 T. olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 white onion, diced 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 to 2 zucchini, diced 28-oz. can stewed tomatoes 2 c. vegetable or chicken broth 1/2 t. dried rosemary 1/2 t. dried thyme 1/2 t. pepper 1 c. orzo pasta, uncooked

In a Dutch oven over medium-low heat, sauté garlic for one to 2 minutes; add onion. Cook until onion is softened. Add sweet potato, butternut squash and zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened. Add tomatoes with juice, broth and seasonings. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for one to 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if needed. Add orzo during the last 10 minutes; cook until tender. Serves 4 to 6.

Are the kids getting cabin fever on a snowy day? Send ’em outdoors with bottles of colored water to squirt holiday messages on the freshly fallen snow! 78

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Mama Meg’s Christmas Chili

Megan Kreplin Coxsackie, NY

I make this chili every year for our Christmas Eve dinner. I love to serve it with all the fixin’s...sour cream, cheese, chopped red onion and tortilla chips. There’s always a basket of mini cornbread muffins on the table too. It’s so quick & easy and can even be made a day or two in advance. A super simple recipe to double or triple. 1 lb. ground beef 1 c. onion, chopped 1-1/4 oz. pkg. chili seasoning mix

14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes 15-oz. kidney beans, drained and rinsed 8-oz. can tomato sauce

In a soup pot over medium heat, brown beef with onion until beef is no longer pink. Drain; stir in chili seasoning. Add tomatoes with juice, beans and sauce; stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serves 4 to 6.

Julie’s Best-Ever Cornbread

Julie Warren Valdosta, GA

My husband loves cornbread! I worked awhile on this recipe to achieve the crunchy edges and salty taste. We both think this is the best cornbread we’ve ever tasted. Be sure to use real salted butter. 1 c. buttermilk 1 egg, beaten 1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. self-rising yellow cornmeal

2-1/2 T. butter, melted and cooled slightly

Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Batter will be thin. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Pour 1/4 cup batter into each cup. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes, until edges start to turn golden. Immediately turn muffins out of pan so they will stay crunchy. Makes 10 to 11 muffins.

79

Seafood Stew

Duane Kasten Springfield, MN

This is an easy and tasty stew for any special occasion. The recipe is easily doubled for a large group. 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 6-1/2 oz. cans chopped clams 6-oz. can white crabmeat, drained and rinsed 6-oz. can small shrimp, drained and rinsed 10-3/4 oz. can tomato soup

2-oz. jar diced pimentos 1-1/2 c. hot water 1/4 t. salt pepper to taste 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped 1/4 t. dried basil 1/4 t. dried oregano Optional: grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat. Add onion and garlic; cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Stir in clams with juice, crabmeat, shrimp, soup, pimentos with juice, hot water and seasonings. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. At serving time, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if desired. Serves 4.

Sprinkle a tossed green salad with ruby-red pomegranate seeds for a festive touch. 80

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Jackson Salad

Becky Butler Keller, TX

This is my go-to salad recipe for impressing guests. Because it uses romaine lettuce, it can stand up to being dressed, tossed and allowed to sit for awhile on a buffet table. I always cook the bacon the night before so the house won’t smell like bacon at party time. Using flavored or marinated feta cheese only adds more delicious flavor! Wonderful! 2 heads romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces, hard ribs removed 14-oz. can hearts of palm, drained and sliced 1/2-inch thick

14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered 4 to 6 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl; toss and set aside. Drizzle with Dressing; toss and serve. Serves 8.

Dressing: 2 T. onion, minced 3 T. cider vinegar 2 t. spicy or coarse-ground brown mustard

1/2 t. sugar 1/2 t. salt, or to taste 1/2 t. pepper, or to taste 1/2 c. light olive oil

In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients, slowly adding oil last. Process until smooth.

Save time when peeling and chopping veggies. Set a large bowl on the counter and toss all the peelings into it. You’ll only need to empty it once. 81

Kielbasa, Cabbage & Potato Soup

Andria Meyers Chester, MT

I love the aroma of this simple soup simmering on a blustery day. Growing up, this soup was my favorite meal, and it’s one of my family’s favorites now. Add more or less broth depending on how much liquid you prefer or how far you want to stretch it. Paired with fresh-baked buns, it is the ultimate comfort meal! 6 redskin potatoes, peeled if desired and diced 1/2 head cabbage, shredded 1 onion, diced 6 to 8 c. chicken or vegetable broth

1/2 t. garlic powder 14-oz. pkg. Kielbasa sausage, sliced one to 2 inches thick salt and pepper to taste

Combine potatoes, cabbage, onion, broth and garlic powder in a Dutch oven. Simmer over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add Kielbasa and heat through; season with salt and pepper. Tastes especially good the next day. May also be prepared in a slow cooker; cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours. Makes 6 servings.

It’s easy to make a double batch of soup, so stock your freezer with warming winter soups, ready to enjoy anytime. They freeze well in plastic freezer containers for up to 3 months. Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator and add a little water when reheating. 82

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Party Bread Strips

Tena Huckleby Morristown, TN

This recipe is great all through the year, for parties and to serve with soup. Save the bread crusts to make croutons. 7 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed 2 c. light mayonnaise 1.35-oz. pkg. onion soup mix 1/2 c. shredded low-fat Cheddar cheese

1/4 c. green olives with pimentos, drained and diced 2 T. dried parsley 2 T. pepper

Cut each bread slice into 3 strips. Place bread strips on an ungreased 14" round pizza pan; set aside. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise and soup mix; spread on bread strips. Top with remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve warm. Makes 21 pieces.

Garlic Knots

Janae Mallonee Marlborough, MA

This is my go-to appetizer. Everywhere I go, everyone expects me to bring these savory bread knots! 11-oz. tube refrigerated bread stick dough 1/2 c. olive oil 3 T. garlic, minced

2 t. garlic powder 2 t. Italian seasoning 2 t. balsamic vinegar

Separate bread sticks; cut into halves or thirds. Tie dough pieces into knots and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 13 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; stir well. Add baked knots to bowl. Stir into mixture, adding more olive oil if needed. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

Add a tasty crunch to tossed salads with a sprinkle of sunflower kernels or sliced almonds. 83

Christmas Veggie Crunch Salad

Lori Simmons Princeville, IL

A pretty Christmas salad with red, green and white colors. Simple to make ahead, then pull from the fridge at serving time. 4 c. broccoli, cut into bite-size flowerets 4 c. cauliflower, cut into bitesize flowerets 3/4 c. red onion, chopped 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved

1 c. mayonnaise 1/2 c. sour cream 1 to 2 T. sugar 1 T. vinegar salt and pepper to taste

Combine all vegetables in a large bowl; toss to mix and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients until smooth. Spoon over vegetables and toss to coat. Cover and chill at least 2 hours before serving. Serves 8.

A large clear glass bowl is a must for entertaining family & friends. Serve up a layered salad, a fruity punch or a sweet dessert trifle...even fill it with shiny glass ornaments to serve as a sparkly centerpiece.

84

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Artichoke-Pepperoni Salad

Rita Morgan Pueblo, CO

This hearty salad is so simple to toss together and I can pull most of the ingredients from my pantry. It’s just the thing for our Christmas lasagna dinner. 14-oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 1 c. shredded Italian-blend cheese 3-1/2 oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni 1/4 c. red onion, chopped

2-oz. jar sliced pimentos, drained 10-oz. pkg. salad greens 1/3 c. Italian salad dressing, or to taste

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except greens and salad dressing. Toss well; cover and chill. Just before serving time, add greens; drizzle with dressing and toss gently. Serves 6.

On Christmas Eve in 1972, my brother Cary and I were about five and six years old. We were anxiously waiting for Santa to come. There was a knock on the door and when my mom answered, there was Santa! We were so excited. He left us each a candy cane and said he would be back to leave our presents after we were asleep. After he left, my mom played it up, saying, “Can you believe Santa came?” My brother said, “That wasn’t the real Santa. That was Uncle Gary because those were his boots.” I argued with him, saying, “No, it wasn’t.” My mom was trying to convince him too, but he wouldn’t let it go. Well, my brother was right after all and the “real” Santa left our presents after we went to sleep. After “Santa” left, Mom read us the Nativity from the Bible as she always did. Several years later, I finally realized it had been my uncle. I was so fortunate to know the real reason for the wonderful season, but also got to have some magic of Christmas too! My uncle and mom have since passed, but that is one of my fondest memories of Christmas Eve. – Celia Breeding, Eaton, IN

85

Walnut Broccoli

Judy Henfey Cibolo, TX

An easy side dish to serve with roast chicken or turkey. Sometimes I sprinkle shredded cheese over the top during the last five minutes of baking, for even more flavor. 3 10-1/2 oz. pkgs. frozen chopped broccoli 1/2 c. plus 6 T. butter, divided 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 2 t. chicken bouillon granules

2 c. milk 2/3 c. boiling water 2/3 c. fine bread stuffing mix 2/3 c. chopped walnuts

Cook broccoli according to package instructions, just until tender; drain. Transfer to a lightly greased shallow 13"x9" baking pan; set aside. In a small saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter over low heat; blend in flour and bouillon. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in milk; cook and stir until thickened. Pour milk mixture over broccoli. In a bowl, combine boiling water and remaining butter; add stuffing and fluff with a fork. Stir in walnuts. Spoon stuffing mixture over broccoli. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until heated through and stuffing begins to turn golden. Serves 8 to 10.

Keep a couple of favorite side dishes tucked away in the freezer. Pair with hot sandwiches or a deli roast chicken for a hearty quick meal on a busy day. 86

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Homemade Creamed Corn

Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio Vineland, NJ

Sure to please any corn lover! 1/2 c. butter 2 16-oz. pkgs. frozen corn 1 c. whipping cream

2 T. sugar sea salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add frozen corn. Cook and stir for several minutes, until thawed. Stir in remaining ingredients. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes, until corn is cooked through and sauce thickens. If a creamier texture is desired, after corn has been cooking for 5 to 10 minutes, crush some of the corn in the skillet with the back of a ladle or potato masher. Makes 6 servings.

Make a scrumptious topping for steamed veggies. Sauté soft bread crumbs in olive oil or butter until golden...sprinkle with dried herbs for extra flavor.

87

Honey-Ginger Roasted Carrots

Joan Chance Houston, TX

The carrot...a fine vegetable, usually loved by all. Mom usually served them cooked with a bit of butter. This is updated to make them extra special. 1/4 c. honey 1/4 c. olive oil 1 to 2 t. fresh ginger root, peeled and grated 1 T. soy sauce 1 clove garlic, minced

1 T. brown sugar, packed salt and pepper to taste 1 lb. carrots, peeled, left whole or cut into serving-size pieces Optional: sesame seed

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients except carrots and optional sesame seed. Add carrots; toss to coat well with glaze. Spread carrots on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 25 minutes, turning and stirring once, until carrots are tender. If desired, sprinkle with sesame seed before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Parsley-buttered tiny new potatoes are a delicious side that’s ready in no time. Boil potatoes just until tender, then toss with butter, salt, pepper and snipped fresh parsley. Try mini Yukon Gold fingerlings too...yum! 88

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Italian Garlic Green Beans

Courtney Stultz Weir, KS

A quick recipe for a fresh side dish. The flavors are unique and go with a variety of main dishes. 2 T. coconut or olive oil 1 lb. fresh green beans, trimmed 1 clove garlic, minced 1/4 c. onion, diced

1/2 t. sea salt 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar 1 t. honey

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add beans, garlic and onion; sprinkle with salt. Cook for about 10 minutes, until beans are just slightly soft. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and honey; pour over beans. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, until just slightly reduced. Makes 4 servings.

Grandmother’s Squash Casserole

Beverley Williams San Antonio, TX

This casserole was always a favorite at holiday dinners. 6 yellow squash, sliced 3/4 c. onion, chopped 1/4 c. butter, divided 1/2 c. milk 2 eggs, beaten

1-1/2 sleeves round buttery crackers, crushed and divided 1-1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

In a saucepan, cover squash with water; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes; drain. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, sauté onion in one tablespoon butter. Combine milk, eggs and 1/3 of crushed crackers in a bowl; mix well. Add squash, onion and 2 tablespoons butter; mix well. Add one cup cheese; mix well. Transfer to a greased 2-quart casserole dish; set aside. Sauté remaining crackers in remaining butter; sprinkle over squash mixture. Top with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Serves 6.

89

Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes

Mary Warren Sanford, MI

I love au gratin potatoes and came up with this recipe one Christmas. My family raved about it, so now it’s a favorite. My son always looks for leftovers to take home. 3 T. butter 3 T. all-purpose flour salt and pepper to taste 2 c. milk 1-1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

4 russet baking potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 1 onion, thinly sliced or diced

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook until mixture starts to turn dark golden. Gradually stir in milk; whisk until blended and smooth. Stir in cheese; whisk until melted and creamy. Remove from heat. In a buttered 13"x9" baking pan, layer potatoes and onion, spooning a little of the cheese sauce over each layer and over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 1-1/2 hours, until bubbly and potatoes are tender. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Get a head start by peeling and slicing or cubing potatoes the night before. They won’t turn dark if you cover them with water before refrigerating them. 90

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Parmesan Potato Casserole

Gloria Kaufmann Orrville, OH

This is our favorite potato casserole recipe and it’s a tradition for every Christmas dinner. I received the recipe from a boss I worked for 50 years ago! I often take it to carry-ins because not only do the potatoes taste good, they stay hot a long time. 3 12-oz. pkgs. frozen hashbrown patties, thawed 4 c. half-and-half 4 to 6 T. margarine, softened

1 t. salt 1/8 t. pepper 1 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Crumble hashbrown patties into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients except cheese; mix well. Transfer to a greased 13"x9" glass baking pan. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Serves 10.

Carrying in a casserole? Be sure to tie on a tag with the recipe! Clever tags can be made from holiday cards or colorful scrapbooking paper. 91

Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

Wanda Penton Franklinton, LA

My family loves sweet potatoes. One day we were looking for a new way to fix them. I fix a fruit crisp with this crunchy topping on it, so we decided to try it on these potatoes. Sometimes I boil the potatoes for about 30 minutes, then finish them in the oven. Sometimes we like to add 1/2 cup of drained crushed pineapple to the pulp mixture. Yum! 1 t. vanilla extract 1/2 t. nutmeg 1/2 t. cinnamon 3/4 c. corn flake cereal, crushed 1/2 c. chopped pecans

4 sweet potatoes 1-1/2 c. brown sugar, packed and divided 4 T. butter, softened and divided 1 egg, beaten 1/4 c. evaporated milk

Pierce sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour, until fork-tender. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp into a large bowl, creating a 1/2-inch shell. Place potato shells on an ungreased baking sheet; set aside. To the potato pulp, add one cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, egg, milk, vanilla and spices; mix well. Spoon 1/3 cup filling into each potato shell. In a separate bowl, combine cereal, pecans, remaining brown sugar and remaining butter; mix until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over potatoes. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until topping is lightly golden and filling is hot. Serves 8.

Don’t toss out that little bit of leftover cranberry sauce! Purée it with balsamic vinaigrette to create a tangy salad dressing that’s perfect over crisp greens, cubed apples and walnuts.

92

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Baked Cranberry Casserole

Krista Marshall Fort Wayne, IN

My grandma and mom have been making a pineapple casserole for years, and I decided to make it more holiday friendly by using cranberries instead. It’s a great side dish with a hint of sweet too! 6 T. butter, room temperature 1 c. sugar 4 eggs 14-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce

2 T. cranberry-black cherry juice cocktail 5 slices white bread, cubed

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs; beat well and set aside. In a separate bowl, lightly mash cranberry sauce with a fork. Add juice and bread cubes to butter mixture; stir well. Pour into a greased 2 to 3-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for one hour, or until bubbly, golden and a toothpick tests clean. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Pickled Beets

Eileen Bennett Jenison, MI

My recipe card says I first made this side dish in 1975. It has appeared on every holiday table since then! My daughter was 15 at that time. She says it’s still her favorite dish and her own grandchildren are enjoying this old tradition today. 3 13-1/4 oz. cans sliced or whole beets, drained and juice reserved

1 c. vinegar 2 c. sugar 2 4-inch sticks cinnamon

Set aside beets in a large heat-proof bowl. If necessary, add water to reserved beet juice to make 2 cups. Combine juice, vinegar and sugar in a saucepan. Stir to combine; add cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over beets; cool. Cover and refrigerate several hours to overnight before serving. Part or all of liquid may be poured off when serving. Keep refrigerated up to 14 days. Makes 8 servings. 93

Savory Sage Stuffing

Courtney Stultz Weir, KS

At our house, we try to waste as little as possible. This recipe uses dry bread pieces, homemade broth and some simple seasonings, yet makes for a delicious holiday side dish that is easy on the wallet! You can really use whatever bread you have on hand. We like to use a French bread loaf but have used just about anything...sandwich bread, day-old rolls, even a mix with cornbread. It’s all good! 1 t. dried parsley 1 t. sea salt 1 t. pepper

10 to 12 slices bread 2 eggs, beaten 2 c. chicken or beef broth 2 t. dried sage

Spread bread slices in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Let bread stand on counter overnight to dry. May instead bake bread on baking sheets at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes, until bread is dry and crisp. Break bread into small pieces and place in a bowl. Add eggs, broth and seasonings. Mix with your hands until bread is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to overnight, until bread soaks up the liquid. Transfer mixture to a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, until heated through and starting to become golden. Makes 8 servings.

Light up the dinner table with a votive candle in a glass holder at each place setting. Write each guest’s name on the holder with acrylic paint and they can take them home as party favors!

94

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Company Mashed Potatoes

Leona Krivda Belle Vernon, PA

I like this because I can make it ahead, then put it in the oven right before dinner. Sometime I have some leftover crispy bacon and I will crumble a little on the top right before baking. 4 c. mashed potatoes 1 c. sour cream 2 T. onion, finely minced 1 c. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1/2 t. seasoned salt Optional: 2 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

Warm potatoes until hot; season as desired. Stir in sour cream, onion and cheese; spoon into a lightly greased 1-1/2 quart casserole dish. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Cover and refrigerate. About 30 minutes before serving time, uncover and top with bacon, if desired. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until heated through. Makes 6 servings.

Toward the end of November, I select 23 Christmas books from our collection that has been stored in the attic since the previous Christmas. I wrap each of the books in Christmas paper and on December 1st I place them under our Christmas tree. Each night, one of my four children chooses a wrapped book from under the tree and unwraps it so we can read it together as a family. I started this tradition when my children were too young to read, but now we pass the books around and we all take turns reading pages. On Christmas Eve, the reading is all up to me. We all pile into the car in our new Christmas pajamas and go out to see all of the holiday light displays in the surrounding towns. While Dad drives, I read The Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express to the kids. These two books stay tucked away until December 24th. I had worried that as my children got older, they’d tire of this tradition, but they still look forward to it every year! – Christy Jones, Dover, NH

95

Herbed Barley Pilaf

Dale Duncan Waterloo, IA

This savory dish is perfect with roast chicken or pork. 2 slices bacon, chopped 1 onion, finely chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced 3-1/4 c. chicken broth 3/4 c. pearled barley, uncooked

3/4 t. dried sage 3/4 t. dried thyme 1 t. lemon zest 1 t. salt 3/4 t. pepper 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook bacon in a saucepan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add onion and garlic; sauté until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add carrots; cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in broth, uncooked barley and remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring often, for about 45 minutes, until barley is tender. Stir in Parmesan cheese just before serving. Makes 6 servings.

Fill the sink with hot soapy water when you start dinner and just toss in pans and utensils as they’re used...clean-up will be a breeze. An old tip but still a good one! 96

Meal-Making

Soups, Sides & Salads Cranberry Compote

Molly Ebert Columbus, IN

Super easy to put together...that perfect touch of cranberry for the holidays! 14-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce 15-oz. pkg. frozen raspberries, thawed

15-oz. pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Combine all ingredients in a bowl; mix well. Cover and chill. Makes 6 servings.

Swirled Dill Rolls

Claire Bertram Lexington, KY

These rolls taste so good, and they’re easy to make. 8-oz. tube refrigerated crescent rolls 2 T. butter, softened

1/4 t. onion powder 1/4 t. dried dill weed

Do not unroll dough; cut into 8 slices. Place dough slices cut-side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes, until golden. Blend butter and seasonings in a cup; spread over warm rolls and serve. Makes 8 rolls.

Bring a bit of retro to the holiday kitchen...tie on a vintage Christmas apron!

97

Deviled Twice-Baked Potatoes

Mel Chencharick Julian, PA

I love twice-baked potatoes, so I’m always looking for new ways to fix them. This is one of my favorites, easy and flavorful. I like being able to make these in the microwave. It’s tasty and easy... a good combination. 4 russet baking potatoes 1/4 c. butter, softened 1/4 c. milk 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1/3 c. bacon bits 2 green onions, chopped 1 t. Dijon mustard 1/8 t. paprika

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; place on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high heat for 6 to 10 minutes, until potatoes are tender, turning once and testing for doneness with a knife tip. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut a thin slice off the top of each potato and discard. Scoop out pulp, leaving a thin shell. In a large bowl, mash potato pulp with butter and milk. Stir in cheese, bacon, onions, mustard and paprika. Spoon into potato shells. Return to microwave-safe plate. Microwave, uncovered, on high heat for one to 2 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serves 4 to 8.

When baking or boiling potatoes, cook a few extras and refrigerate them. You’ll be well on the way to the next day’s dinner...even hashbrowns for breakfast or a cheese-topped baker for a quick lunch. 98

Easy Mains for Busy Days & Holidays

Can’t-Miss Roast Turkey

Claudia Keller Carrollton, GA

So simple...sure to be a delicious success! You’ll have plenty of pan juices for making gravy too. 2 T. all-purpose flour 12 to 16-lb. whole turkey, thawed if frozen

salt and pepper to taste 2 onions, quartered 5 stalks celery

Sprinkle flour into a turkey-size oven bag. Pat turkey dry; remove and discard giblets. Season turkey with salt and pepper; place onions and celery inside turkey. Place turkey in bag. Seal bag; cut several small slits in the top with a knife tip. Set turkey in a roasting pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, until a thermometer inserted in the thigh reaches 165 degrees. Remove turkey to a serving platter; let stand 15 minutes before carving. Serves 12 to 16.

My grandfather was retired from B & O Railroad, like his father before him. They lived in West Virginia, but we lived in Arizona. He got travel discounts and visited us every winter. Sometimes my grandmother would come too. Granddaddy, who was a very jolly man and definitely could fill out a Santa suit, always got a job as Santa Claus in the neighborhood grocery store. Every morning he would get dressed in his Santa suit, carrying his bag of toys, and Mom would drive him to work. Every night he came home, still dressed in his Santa suit. We were the envy of every kid in the neighborhood, because Santa lived at our house from Thanksgiving to Christmas! I am the oldest and I was about four to six at the time, so it has been more than 50 years ago. He has long since passed away, yet every time I see the family pictures of my brother and me with our own personal Santa, I smile. – Sherry Sheehan, Phoenix, AZ

100

Easy Mains

for Busy Days & Holidays

Laura’s One-Pan Chicken Dinner

Leona Krivda Belle Vernon, PA

This was the first meal my daughter Laura made for us when they moved into their new home. It was really good... I couldn’t wait to ask for the recipe! 4 chicken breasts, each cut in half salt and pepper to taste 2 14-1/2 oz. cans French-style green beans, drained

6 to 8 redskin potatoes, cubed 1-1/2 T. Italian salad dressing mix 1/4 c. butter, melted

Coat a 13"x9" baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken down the center of pan, overlapping as needed. Place green beans on one side of chicken; place potatoes on the other side. Sprinkle salad dressing mix over all; drizzle with melted butter. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about one hour and 20 minutes, until chicken juices run clear when pierced and potatoes are fork-tender. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

Pan gravy isn’t hard to make. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat, then sprinkle in a tablespoon of flour and whisk for one minute. Add a can of chicken or beef broth and a dash of pepper. Stir well, lower heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is thickened. 101

Franciscan Chicken

Shirley Howie Foxboro, MA

An easy yet elegant entrée! I like to make this dish around the holidays to serve to guests, as the cognac gives it such wonderful flavor! However, if you don’t have cognac or sherry on hand, you can substitute chicken broth and it will still be delicious. This dish can also be made a day ahead; the next day, bake for one hour. 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts salt, pepper and paprika to taste 1/4 c. butter, divided 1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms

1-1/2 T. all-purpose flour 1/2 t. dried rosemary 2/3 c. chicken broth 3 T. cognac, sherry or chicken broth

Season chicken with salt, pepper and paprika; set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook until golden on both sides. Transfer chicken to a lightly greased 13"x9" baking pan. Add remaining butter to drippings in skillet; sauté mushrooms until tender. Sprinkle flour over mushrooms; stir in rosemary, 2/3 cup chicken broth and cognac, sherry or broth. Cook until thickened, stirring often. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear when pierced. Serves 6.

Make mini wreaths of rosemary to slip around dinner napkins. Simply wind fresh rosemary stems into a ring shape, tuck in the ends and tie on a tiny bow...so festive! 102

Easy Mains

for Busy Days & Holidays

Chicken Diablo

Denise Bushnell Centreville, VA

A longtime family favorite! It doubles well, freezes well, travels well and is the perfect dish to take to a friend who may need a little help during a difficult time. One of my kids’ favorites, and even with Diablo in the name, it is not a spicy dish. Use any chicken pieces you prefer...white, dark, boneless and bone-in all work well. 1/2 c. honey 1/4 c. yellow or spicy brown mustard

1/4 c. butter, melted 1 t. curry powder 3 lbs. chicken pieces

In a shallow dish, combine all ingredients except chicken; mix well. Roll chicken pieces in mixture, coating completely. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a greased shallow 13"x9" baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees, about one hour for bone-in or 30 minutes for boneless, until chicken juices run clear when pierced and sauce is glaze-like. Serves 4.

Nacho Chicken Dinner

Laura Flood Markleville, IN

Perfect for when you’re in a rush! 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed 2 10-3/4 oz. cans cream of chicken soup 1-1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix

8-oz. container sour cream 1-1/2 c. nacho cheese tortilla chips, crushed 1-1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

In a bowl, combine chicken, soup, taco seasoning and sour cream. Spread in a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Spread tortilla chips over chicken; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Serves 6.

103

Denise’s Penne Rosa

Denise Webb Newington, GA

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes, a great meatless main or side dish. Company worthy, yet so quick & easy! 8-oz. pkg. penne rigate pasta, uncooked 1 T. butter or olive oil 1 T. garlic, minced 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained and 1/4 cup juice reserved

1 t. dried basil salt and pepper to taste 2/3 c. whipping cream or half-and-half 2 T. shredded Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt butter or heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for one minute, just until golden. Add tomatoes, reserved juice and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid is reduced. Add cream or half-and-half; heat through for one to 2 minutes, until thickened. Add sauce to cooked pasta; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Aged Parmesan cheese is most flavorful when it’s freshly grated. A chunk of Parmesan will stay fresh in the fridge for several weeks if wrapped in a paper towel dampened with cider vinegar and then tucked into a plastic zipping bag. 104

Easy Mains

for Busy Days & Holidays

Patty’s Baked Ziti

Patty Hancock Hawthorne, NJ

This cheesy pasta dish is simple to make. Your family will love it! 16-oz. pkg. ziti pasta, uncooked 2 24-oz. jars spaghetti sauce 2 lbs. ground beef 15-oz. container ricotta cheese

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese Optional: 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, brown beef in a skillet over medium heat; drain. Stir in sauce and heat through. In a bowl, mix all cheeses together. Combine cooked pasta, beef sauce and cheese in a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes. Serves 8 to 10.

Cheesy Mushroom Bread

Suzanne Abbate Harrington, DE

My girlfriends and I got together for lunch one day and this bread was served with a salad. It’s delicious with any course, if you ask me! I took the recipe and added my touches to it. It’s a huge hit! 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained 1/3 c. mayonnaise 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

2 T. fresh chives, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/4 t. cayenne pepper 1 loaf French bread, halved lengthwise

Combine all ingredients except bread in a bowl; mix well and set aside. Place both halves of loaf on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Spread mixture evenly onto cut sides of bread. Place under broiler set on low broil. Broil just until bread is slightly golden and bubbly, checking after 4 minutes; do not overcook. Slice and serve hot. Makes 10 servings.

For juicy, flavorful chicken, cover it with water and simmer gently just until tender, then turn off the heat and let the chicken cool in its own broth. 105

Beef & Broccoli

Madonna Alexander Chicago, IL

This is a dinner I make that all of my family loves. I rarely have leftovers! It’s an American spin on an Asian classic. My husband isn’t fond of Asian flavors, but I make it this way and he loves it. He didn’t even eat broccoli when we met! I love it because of the lean beef and broccoli...two healthy options. I use brown rice as well, which I never thought they would like, so it’s a winner! 1-oz. pkg. brown gravy mix 2 T. olive oil, divided 1 lb. beef sirloin steak, cut into thin strips 1 onion, coarsely chopped

3 c. fresh or frozen broccoli flowerets 1 T. Worcestershire sauce 1/2 t. garlic powder 4 c. hot cooked brown rice

Prepare gravy mix according to package instructions; set aside. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef; stir-fry until browned and juices evaporate. Remove beef to a plate; set aside. Heat remaining oil in skillet. Add onion and broccoli; cook until crisp-tender. Return beef to skillet; stir in gravy, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Heat through. Serve over cooked rice. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Set a pine-scented potted rosemary wreath in a kitchen window...handy for adding flavorful fresh sprigs to roasting meats and vegetables. Tie on tiny red bows to contrast with the evergreen foliage. 106

Easy Mains

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Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Sue Coppersmith Granbury, TX

This tasty recipe is a favorite of family & friends. It is often requested for church potluck meals...never any leftovers! 2 15-oz. cans green chile enchilada sauce 4-oz. can chopped green chiles 12 8-inch corn tortillas, cut in half 2 c. deli rotisserie chicken, cubed and divided

1/2 c. onion, chopped and divided 16-oz. pkg. shredded Colby Jack cheese, divided

In a bowl, mix together enchilada sauce and green chiles; set aside. Arrange 8 tortilla halves in the bottom of a lightly greased 13"x9" glass baking pan. Layer with half of chicken, half of onion, 1/3 of sauce mixture and 1/3 of cheese; repeat layering. Add a final layer with remaining tortilla halves, sauce and cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 12.

Cooking for just a few? Use two 8"x8" baking pans instead of one 13"x9". Enjoy one dish for dinner tonight, and freeze the other for a future no-fuss meal!

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Greek Chicken Skillet

Katie Wollgast Florissant, MO

This recipe is really good, so colorful and fast for busy nights, and it uses some of my favorite vegetables. I like to garnish it with the works! I love it with polenta in the colder months because it is so warm and satisfying. It’s good over pasta, couscous or rice too. 1 T. oil 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips 1 yellow pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 green pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 onion, cut into wedges 1/2 c. green onions, chopped and divided 1/4 lb. sliced mushrooms 2 cloves garlic, minced 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

8-oz. can tomato sauce 1 T. brown sugar, packed 1 T. dried basil 1/2 t. dried oregano 1/2 t. dried thyme 1 t. salt cooked polenta, sliced Garnish: crumbled feta cheese or shredded Parmesan cheese, sliced black olives 8-oz. container plain Greek yogurt 1 T. pesto sauce

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken; cook until golden on all sides. Add peppers, onion, 1/4 cup green onions, mushrooms and garlic; sauté until fragrant. Stir in tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, brown sugar and seasonings. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Serve over polenta; garnish with remaining onions and other toppings as desired. Combine yogurt and pesto sauce; serve on the side. Makes 4 servings.

The very name of Christmas, All that’s merry, sweet and gay, May it bring the very thing you long for most This happy day. – From an antique postcard

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Quick Chicken Cacciatore

Shirley Howie Foxboro, MA

This recipe is so easy to make, and delivers great taste in a short amount of time. Perfect for those days when I have a busy schedule and am pressed for time! 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 T. olive oil 1 c. sliced mushrooms 1 c. zucchini, sliced 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

8-oz. can tomato sauce 1 t. Italian seasoning 1/2 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper cooked pasta or rice

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook chicken in oil until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove chicken to a plate; keep warm. Add mushrooms and zucchini to drippings in skillet. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce and seasonings. Return chicken to skillet; spoon sauce over chicken. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear. Serve chicken and sauce from skillet with cooked pasta or rice. Serves 4.

For an instant appetizer, toss a drained jar of Italian antipasto mix with bite-size cubes of mozzarella cheese. Serve with party picks...perfect with pasta dishes! 109

Roland’s Barbecued Spareribs

Janet Dumas Raleigh, NC

This is our Christmas tradition. My father, Roland Lambert, used to make these spareribs for Christmas every year and boy, did they taste good! He liked to cook after he retired. My mom would help make the sauce with him. You couldn’t rush the ribs...they are wonderful. 3 to 4 lbs. pork baby back ribs, cut into serving-size sections 1 lemon, peeled and thinly sliced 1 onion, thinly sliced 2 c. water

1 c. catsup 1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce 1 t. chili powder 1 t. salt 3/8 t. hot pepper sauce

Place ribs meaty-side up in a shallow roasting pan; top with lemon and onion slices. Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 30 minutes; pour off any drippings. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Spoon sauce over ribs. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for one hour, or until tender, turning and basting often with sauce. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

A fun countdown to Christmas! Help the kids think up 25 holiday activities like making gingerbread cookies, dancing to holiday music, going sledding or reading a Christmas story. Write each on a paper strip, link them together and then pull one off each day in December and have fun doing the activity together. 110

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Sausage with White Beans & Spinach

Jo Ann

We enjoy this hearty, warming dish on cold and snowy days. Serve in big soup bowls with hot garlic bread or toasted baguettes. 1 T. olive oil 14-oz. pkg. Kielbasa sausage 2 c. chicken broth 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 t. dried oregano 2 to 3 15.8-oz. cans Great Northern beans, drained

14-1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes 1 lb. baby spinach 1 T. coarse pepper, or to taste

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add sausage. Brown on all sides; slice sausage and return to skillet. Add chicken broth, garlic and oregano; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir in beans and tomatoes with juice; heat through. Add spinach; cook just until wilted. Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes to blend flavors. Sprinkle with pepper at serving time. Makes 6 servings.

When I was younger, every year my aunt, cousin and I would gather greens from the woods and make wreaths for elderly folks in the neighborhood. This was my first experience of giving rather than receiving at holiday time. Although it didn’t mean too much at the time, now that I am older, I look back on it as an important life lesson. It was a long process, especially for a child, but when the wreaths were finished and we delivered them, we were happy that our efforts were so appreciated. I wonder if it was the only gift some of those folks received. I still make a wreath for my front door. The smell of the boughs takes me back to those times with my aunt, who is no longer with us. A special memory for sure! – Lisa Cunningham, Boothbay, ME

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Neapolitan Pork Chops & Fettuccine

Lynda Bolton East Peoria, IL

This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. The pork chops are tender, the fixins’ are tangy and the pasta is pure slurpy yumminess! 8-oz. pkg. fettuccine pasta, uncooked and broken into thirds 6 bone-in pork loin chops, fat trimmed 2 T. canola oil 1 lb. sliced mushrooms 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 c. onion, thinly sliced 1 c. yellow or red pepper, thinly sliced 1 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper Optional: 14-oz. can chicken broth

Cook pasta according to package directions, just until tender; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown pork chops in oil on both sides. Remove pork chops to a plate; set aside. To the drippings in skillet, add mushrooms, tomatoes with juice, onion and red or yellow pepper; sauté until softened. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta to mixture in skillet, stirring gently to combine. If pan juices have mostly cooked away, add chicken broth. Return pork chops to skillet; cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes to one hour. Serves 6.

Make it easy on yourself when planning holiday dinners...stick to tried & true recipes! You’ll find your guests are just as happy with simple comfort foods as with the most elegant gourmet meal. 112

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School Night Swiss-Ham Noodle Bake

Sandy Coffey Cincinnati, OH

A great family meal recipe for busy school nights with homework and holiday activities going on. 8-oz. pkg. wide egg noodles, uncooked 1/2 c. butter, divided 1/2 c. onion, chopped 1/2 c. green pepper 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

8-oz. container sour cream 2 c. shredded Swiss cheese, divided 3 c. cooked ham, cubed and divided 1 c. fresh bread crumbs

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and green pepper until soft. Stir in soup and sour cream. In a buttered 3-quart casserole dish, layer 1/3 of the cooked noodles and half each of the cheese, ham and soup mixture. Repeat layering; end with remaining noodles. Melt remaining butter and toss with bread crumbs; spread over top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, until golden. Makes 6 servings.

It’s easy to mix & match..set a festive table with items you already have! Green transferware serving bowls, sparkling white dinner plates and ruby-red stemmed glasses combine beautifully with Christmas dinnerware and with each other. 113

Turkey Knob Cabin Whiskey Glaze

Penny Arnold Louisville, IL

Our Christmas dinner would not be complete without this glaze! The rich sweetness of the glaze is irresistible when drizzled over roast chicken, baked ham or grilled steak. 3 T. onion, minced 1 T. olive oil 2 t. garlic, minced 1 c. unsweetened pineapple juice 1-1/4 c. brown sugar, packed 2/3 c. water

1/2 c. crushed pineapple 1/4 c. teriyaki sauce 3 T. lemon juice 1 T. whiskey or pineapple juice 1 T. soy sauce 1/4 t. cayenne pepper

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, sauté onion in olive oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low. Simmer over low heat for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. The darker and thicker it gets, the better it is. Cool; transfer to a glass container. Cover and refrigerate up to 3 weeks. May also place in a freezer-safe container and freeze until needed. Makes about one cup.

Remember to place larger, more showy floral arrangements like poinsettias on a buffet table and smaller ones on the dining table, so guests can talk and visit. 114

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Mom’s Most-Requested Baked Chicken

Gloria Von Gesslein Port Monmouth, NJ

This was Mom’s famous dish. Everyone loved it and asked for it often. A family get-together couldn’t pass without her making it. Mom just sprinkled in a generous amount of herbs until she liked the way it looked. Because I love these ingredients, I add marjoram and rosemary too. 1/2 c. margarine, sliced 2 c. all-purpose flour dried thyme, dried sage, poultry seasoning and pepper to taste

6 chicken legs, thighs and/or wings 1 onion, chopped

Add margarine to a 13"x9" baking pan; set in a 350-degree oven to melt. Combine flour and desired seasonings in a large plastic zipping bag; shake to mix. Add chicken pieces to bag, one at a time; shake to coat and set aside. Tilt pan to coat with melted margarine. Add chicken pieces; sprinkle with onion. Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Turn chicken over; bake another 30 minutes, or until golden and chicken juices run clear when pierced. Serves 4 to 6.

Turn a boxed wild rice mix into your own special blend in a jiffy. Sauté a cup of chopped mushrooms, onion and celery in butter until tender...you can even toss in some dried cranberries. Add the rice mix and prepare as the package directs. 115

Al’s Stuffed Shells

Al Hajducko Hollywood, FL

A long time ago, I made large batches of this sauce with ground beef & Italian sausage, froze it and took it to Atlanta to make the lasagna for my wedding rehearsal dinner. It’s delicious and perfect for special occasions. 10 to 12 jumbo pasta shells, uncooked 16-oz. container ricotta cheese 8-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese

2 eggs, beaten 1 T. dried parsley 1 T. bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled, or real bacon bits

Start Sauce. Cook pasta shells according to package directions, just until tender; drain. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together cheeses, eggs, parsley and bacon. Spread a little Sauce in a lightly greased 13"x9" baking pan, just to cover the bottom. Spoon cheese mixture into cooked shells and arrange in pan; cover with remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, until hot and bubbly. May also divide sauce and stuffed shells between two, 9"x9" pans. Cover and freeze one pan to thaw and bake later. Serves 4 to 6, 2 to 3 shells each.

Sauce: 28-oz. can tomato purée 1/4 t. dried parsley 1/8 to 1/4 t. garlic powder 1/8 t. dried oregano 1/8 t. dried basil

1/8 t. dried marjoram 1/8 t. dried thyme 1/8 t. pepper 1 to 2 T. sugar, to taste

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients except sugar. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in sugar near end of cooking time; simmer 2 to 3 more minutes.

God bless us, every one! – Charles Dickens

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Florentine Meatloaf Roll & Pasta

Vickie

This meatloaf with its swirls of filling looks impressive, yet isn’t difficult to make. For happy hostessing, it can be prepared earlier in the day, covered and refrigerated, then baked closer to dinnertime. 1 egg, lightly beaten 1/3 c. dry bread crumbs 24-oz. jar spinach & cheese pasta sauce, divided 1/2 t. garlic salt

1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef 1/4 lb. mozzarella cheese, cut into strips 12-oz. pkg. penne rigate pasta, cooked

In a large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup pasta sauce and garlic salt. Add beef and mix well with your hands; set aside. On a long piece of wax paper, flatten beef mixture into a 12-inch by 10-inch rectangle. Top with cheese, spreading to within 2 inches of edges. Using the wax paper to lift, roll up beef mixture starting on one short edge. Press to seal seam and ends. Transfer roll into an ungreased shallow 13"x9" baking pan, seam-side down. Discard wax paper. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for one hour. Heat remaining sauce; spoon 1/2 cup sauce over meatloaf. Serve sliced meatloaf and remaining sauce with cooked pasta. Serves 4 to 6.

Steam vegetables to keep their fresh-picked taste. Bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a saucepan and add cut-up veggies. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, to desired tenderness. A quick toss with a little butter and they’re ready to serve. 117

Bacon-Colby Lasagna

Pat Wissler Harrisburg, PA

This is a great dish for a potluck because it serves so many. With lots of bacon and Colby cheese, it appeals to the kids too. I never have any leftovers at potlucks! Or you can assemble both casseroles and freeze one for later or take dinner to a friend. 24 lasagna noodles, uncooked 2 lbs. ground beef 2 onions, chopped 2 lbs. bacon 2 14-1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes

2 15-oz. cans tomato sauce 2 T. sugar 1 t. salt 2 lbs. Colby cheese, shredded and divided

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, cook beef and onions in a Dutch oven over medium heat until beef is no longer pink; drain. In a large skillet, working in batches, cook bacon until crisp; drain and crumble bacon. Return bacon to pan; add tomatoes with juice, tomato sauce, sugar and salt. Cook over mediumlow heat until heated through, stirring occasionally. Spread one cup beef sauce in each of 2 greased 13"x9" baking pans. In each pan, layer 4 noodles, 1-2/3 cups beef sauce and 1-1/3 cups cheese. Repeat layers twice. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 to 10 minutes longer, until bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting. Makes: 2 casseroles; each serves 12.

“Cook” lasagna noodles the lazy way! Put them in a baking pan filled with very hot water while mixing up the rest of the recipe. They will be soft and pliable when you’re ready for them! 118

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3-Cheese Baked Spaghetti

Jessica Kraus Delaware, OH

So cheesy and good! This is a great recipe for busy days, because it can be made the night before and refrigerated. Just add a little extra baking time the next day. The leftovers are tasty too! 16-oz. pkg. thin spaghetti, uncooked 1 lb. ground beef 1 onion, chopped 24-oz. jar spaghetti sauce salt and pepper to taste Optional: red pepper flakes to taste

2 eggs, beaten 5 T. butter, melted and slightly cooled 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese 16-oz. container cottage cheese 8-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions, just until tender; drain. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook beef and onion until beef is no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and desired seasonings; remove from heat. In a large bowl, combine eggs, melted butter and Parmesan cheese; add cooked spaghetti and toss gently to coat. Add beef mixture, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese; mix well. Spoon into a greased deep 13"x9" baking pan. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Serves 8.

Be sure to share family tales at Christmastime...they’re super conversation starters. How about the time Grandma set out cookies to cool and her dog ate them? Or the year a big snowstorm led to a houseful of extra Christmas guests? Stories like these make priceless memories. 119

Southwest Chicken Hashbrown Crystal Bond North Richland Hills, TX Casserole We’ve made this delicious recipe for our family for years for weeknight suppers, PTA meetings and potluck gatherings. Everyone enjoys it and it’s not too spicy. On busy days, I like to prepare this in the morning and tuck it in the fridge with the cracker topping in a plastic zipping bag. Then I just pop the casserole in the oven an hour before dinner and make a side salad while it bakes. In a hurry? Use two 12-1/2 ounce cans of white chicken. 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup 1/2 c. small-curd cottage cheese 1/4 c. sour cream 1 sweet onion, chopped 20-oz. pkg. refrigerated southwest-style hashbrown potatoes

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, baked and shredded 1 sleeve buttery round crackers, crushed 8-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese 1/2 c. butter, melted

Mix soup, cottage cheese, sour cream and onion in a large bowl. Add potatoes and chicken; stir well. Spread mixture evenly in a lightly greased 13"x9" baking pan; set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together crushed crackers and shredded cheese; drizzle with melted butter and stir to mix well. Spoon cracker mixture evenly over chicken mixture in pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes, until bubbly and topping is melted and golden. Makes 8 servings.

Start a sweet new tradition at your holiday dinner...hand out cut-out paper stars and have each person write down what they’re happiest for since last Christmas. 120

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Crispy Garlic-Ranch Parmesan Chicken

Linda Diepholz Lakeville, MN

This recipe makes such crispy chicken...my family just loves it! Serve with marinara or pizza sauce for dipping, if desired. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs 1/3 c. butter, melted 3 T. sour cream ranch dip 1/2 t. garlic powder

2/3 c. Italian-style panko bread crumbs 1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese 1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese

With a rolling pin, flatten chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to 1/2-inch thick. In a shallow dish, mix melted butter, ranch dip and garlic powder. In another shallow dish, mix bread crumbs and cheeses. Dip chicken into butter mixture; dip into bread crumb mixture to coat. Coat a 13"x9" baking pan with non-stick vegetable spray. Arrange chicken in pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden, turning once. Serves 4.

Smothered Mushroom Pork Chops

Kathleen Feth Union, MO

These pork chops are fork-tender! I created this recipe myself and my family loves it. I include a copy of it in all bridal shower cards. If you use 2 cans of mushroom soup, the chops make their own gravy. 4 to 6 pork chops celery salt, salt and pepper to taste 1 to 2 10-3/4 oz. cans cream of mushroom or golden mushroom soup

4-oz. can mushroom pieces, drained

Arrange pork chops in a greased 13"x9" baking pan; sprinkle with seasonings. Spread soup over chops; top with mushrooms. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. To check for doneness, lift one corner back; steam will be hot. Let stand about 5 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6. 121

Sandra’s Shrimp Creole

Sandra Monroe Preston, MD

This is a quick & easy main dish for busy days during the holidays. Good enough to serve to guests! 1/2 c. onion, chopped 1/2 c. celery, chopped 3 T. butter 1 t. garlic powder 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes 8-oz. can tomato sauce 1 T. Worcestershire sauce 1 t. sugar

1 t. chili powder 1-1/2 t. salt 2 t. cornstarch 1 T. cold water 3/4 to 1 lb. frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and cleaned 1/2 c. green pepper, diced cooked white rice

In a skillet over medium heat, sauté onion and celery in butter until tender and golden; season with garlic powder. Stir in tomatoes with juice, sauces, sugar and seasonings. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix cornstarch with cold water; stir into tomato mixture. Cook until thick and bubbly. Add shrimp and green pepper. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes. Serve over cooked rice. Serves 4 to 6.

Do you love the golden glow of candlelight, but worry about an open flame? Tuck battery-operated tealights and pillars into favorite votives, sconces and centerpieces for a safe, soft glow. 122

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Tomato & Basil Baked Halibut Steaks

Timothy Fint Corpus Christi, TX

I created this recipe in the 1980s and it is so delicious that my best friend used to bring home halibut steaks, just so I would make it again. I hope you will enjoy it just as much! 8 T. butter, divided 4 4 to 6-oz. halibut steaks 1/4 c. onion, chopped 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, partially drained

2 t. dried parsley 1 t. dried basil 1 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper cooked rice

Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a shallow 13"x9" baking pan at 350 degrees. Arrange halibut steaks in pan; turn to coat each side with melted butter. Divide onion and tomatoes evenly among steaks. Slice remaining butter into 4 equal pats; add one to each steak. Sprinkle evenly with seasonings. Cover pan with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until fish flakes easily. Serve steaks with hot cooked rice, topped with some of the pan juices. Serves 4.

A potato masher is handy for lots more than potatoes! Mash apples for applesauce, mash bananas for banana bread, even break up ground beef quickly and evenly as it browns.

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3-Cheese Lasagna Roll-Ups

Lorrie Coop Munday, TX

I love to keep a batch of these in the freezer for busy nights. No matter who shows up for dinner, it’s so easy to pop the number I need in the oven with my favorite sauce, allowing me to serve up homemade lasagna quickly. It’s great for portion control, too! 20 lasagna noodles, uncooked 32-oz. container ricotta cheese 1 c. shredded Parmesan cheese 2 eggs, beaten 1/4 c. fresh spinach, chopped 1 T. fresh basil, minced

1/4 t. salt 1 t. pepper 3 to 5 24-oz. jars favorite pasta sauce, divided 1 to 2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions, just until tender. Drain; lay noodles flat on a length of aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, eggs, spinach, basil and seasonings. Stir well. To assemble, spread 3 tablespoons cheese mixture on each noodle and roll up. If baking immediately, spread a little sauce in the bottom of a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Arrange roll-ups in pan in a single layer. Top with remaining sauce and mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Makes 10 servings, 2 roll-ups each. If freezing: Lay roll-ups in a single layer on a baking sheet; freeze. Wrap individual roll-ups individually in plastic wrap; place in a plastic freezer bag and keep frozen until needed. To bake, spread sauce (3/4 cup per roll-up) as above in a pan to fit the desired number of roll-ups. Arrange frozen roll-ups in pan. Top with sauce; cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; top with cheese and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until heated through.

Do you prefer to shred cheese yourself? Place the wrapped block of cheese in the freezer for 15 minutes...it will just glide across the grater! 124

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Nan’s Meatballs & Noodles

Karen Gregg Ferguson, KY

When I was growing up, my mom made these wonderful meatballs often for our family dinner. It is a favorite and, although she suffers from Alzheimer’s now and cannot make them anymore, my family and I keep her tradition going. A crisp garden salad and warm garlic bread go well with these meatballs. Mom used to serve hot buttered corn with them also. 1-1/4 c. water 1.35-oz. pkg. onion soup mix 2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce, divided 1 lb. ground beef chuck

1/2 t. garlic salt 1/4 t. pepper Optional: 1 T. dried parsley cooked egg noodles

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine water, soup mix and 1-1/2 cans tomato sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a large bowl, combine beef, seasonings and remaining tomato sauce. Mix well with your hands; shape into meatballs and add to sauce mixture. Simmer for 25 minutes. Serve meatballs over cooked egg noodles. Serves 6.

Alongside pasta meals, warm garlic bread can’t be beat. Mix 1/2 cup melted butter and 2 teaspoons minced garlic. Spread over a split loaf of Italian bread; sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes, or until hot, then broil briefly, until golden. Cut into generous slices. 125

Healthy Skillet Tacos

Robbi Courtaway Webster Groves, MO

There are lots of recipes for skillet tacos out there, but none really fit our family’s taste. So I adapted my own. Add cheese or not...the flavor is excellent without it! 1 T. oil 1/2 lb. lean ground beef 1 onion, chopped 14-1/2 oz. can petite diced tomatoes 1/2 c. chicken broth 1-1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix 1-1/2 c. frozen corn or canned sweet corn & diced peppers

15-1/2 oz. can small red beans, drained and rinsed, or 15-oz. can hot or mild chili beans Optional: 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese Garnish: crushed tortilla chips

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add beef and onion. Cook until beef is browned and onion is golden; drain. Stir in tomatoes with juice, chicken broth and taco seasoning; stir in corn and beans. Simmer over low heat until hot and bubbly, stirring occasionally. Stir in cheese, if desired. Top with crushed tortilla chips. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Here’s a simple holiday accent for a dining table. Take any assortment of glass bottles and spray-paint them in holiday colors. Fill with candles, flowers or twigs for a festive touch. 126

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Chicken Piccata

Irene Robinson Cincinnati, OH

This is a melt-in-your-mouth dish! It’s delicious made with four boneless pork chops too, pounded thin and cut into tenders as for the chicken breasts. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 egg, beaten, or 1/4 c. egg substitute 2/3 c. Italian-seasoned dry bread crumbs

1/4 c. margarine, divided 1 T. butter juice of 1 lemon 3/4 c. chicken broth

Cut chicken into tenders; pound until flattened. Place egg or egg substitute in one shallow dish; place bread crumbs in another dish. Dip chicken into egg, then into bread crumbs; set aside. Melt 2 tablespoons margarine in a skillet over medium heat; add chicken. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, adding more margarine if needed. Remove chicken and set aside. Add butter to drippings in skillet and melt; stir in lemon juice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer for a few minutes. Serve chicken topped with sauce from skillet. Makes 4 servings.

Brighten up gatherings with family & friends by stringing sparkly white lights across curtain rods and around entryways...simple and festive! 127

One-Pot Coffee Roast Dinner

Linda Machado Kenai, AK

This roast is so easy! My mom used to make it and only added a little bit of coffee to the water when she made her chuck roasts. After I married and made the roast several times, I decided to use a whole pot of coffee and no water. It tastes fantastic and the aroma while cooking is wonderful! It doesn’t smell or taste like coffee...when people compliment me after dinner, I tell them how it’s made and they are so shocked. I just put everything in the pan and bake it all at once. Can’t get any easier than that! 3 to 4-lb. beef chuck roast 2 cloves garlic, 1 sliced and 1 minced garlic salt and pepper to taste 3 to 4 potatoes, peeled and cut in half lengthwise 3 to 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

3 to 4 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch pieces 12 c. brewed coffee salt and pepper to taste 1 onion, sliced

Cut slits in roast with a knife tip; insert sliced garlic into slits. Season roast with garlic salt and pepper; place in an ungreased large roasting pan. Arrange potatoes, carrots and celery around roast. Pour coffee over roast, just to cover top of roast. Season roast and vegetables with salt and pepper; top roast with minced garlic and onion slices. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Start a family tradition with a white cotton tablecloth. Using colored permanent markers, ask each family member, friend and special guest to sign their names along with the year. Younger children can trace around their hands...sweet!

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Christine’s Turkey Squares

Linda Randolph League City, TX

My mother-in-law, Christine Randolph, used to make turkey squares with the leftover roast turkey from Christmas. They still remind me of her and her warm inviting kitchen. The recipe is easily doubled or tripled. It can be frozen too...when baked, they taste like you just made them! 3-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 3 T. mayonnaise 1-1/4 c. roast turkey, diced 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese 1/4 c. celery, thinly sliced

1/4 c. onion, chopped 1/2 t. garlic salt salt and pepper to taste 2 8-oz. tubes refrigerated crescent rolls Garnish: melted butter

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except crescent rolls and butter; mix well and set aside. Unroll crescent rolls. Slightly roll out 2 crescent rolls to form a rectangle. Spoon 1/3 cup of turkey mixture into center of rectangle. Bring up the sides and pinch ends together. Brush tops with melted butter. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden and heated through. Squares freeze well; just add additional baking time. Serves 4.

Dress up holiday platters with a festive touch...it only takes a moment. Simply arrange fresh rosemary sprigs and cranberries around the platter to resemble a pine wreath. 129

Crabmeat & Shrimp Casserole

Janice Curtis Yucaipa, CA

This casserole is delicious. Just add a zesty tossed salad and dinner is served. 2 c. seasoned dry stuffing mix 1/2 c. margarine, melted 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup 1/2 c. plus 2 T. water 10-3/4 oz. can crabmeat, drained and flaked 10 uncooked large shrimp, cleaned and chopped

1/2 c. onion, chopped 1/2 c. celery, chopped 4 to 5 mushrooms, chopped 1-3/4 c. milk 4 egg whites, beaten 1/2 c. mayonnaise 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

In a small bowl, mix stuffing and margarine together; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together soup and water; set aside. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients except cheese; add stuffing mixture and fold together. Spread in a buttered 3-quart casserole dish; spoon soup mixture over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes. Serves 4.

I come from a large Italian family and Christmas happiness is often equated to food. Every Christmas my dad would carefully prepare the traditional Italian fish dinner. He would get out my grandmother’s cookbook and precisely prepare the same dishes he had eaten every past Christmas of his life. My brother and I were always grossed out by the large salted cod soaking in the kitchen sink, and by the stuffed squid bodies, and by the whole octopus in the refrigerator. We could never understand why our family always prepared this awful meal when the adults were the only ones to eat it! As I became an adult, I understood. When I would order calamari at a restaurant, I would say, “Ahhh...smells like Christmas.” All the familiar sights, smells and tastes of that time of year are what make memories. If we ate octopus, stuffed squid and salted cod all the time, they wouldn’t be special at all. – Stephanie Dardani-D’Esposito, Ravena, NY

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Fish Fillet Bubble Bake

Janis Parr Ontario, Canada

This delicious dish will disappear fast, followed by requests for the recipe. A crisp green salad nicely completes the meal. 2 lbs. frozen cod or haddock fish fillets, thawed 2 c. seasoned dry stuffing mix 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom or celery soup

1/4 c. onion, chopped 1 T. lemon juice 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Cut fish fillets into thirds. Arrange half of fish fillets in a buttered 11"x7" baking pan. Spread dry stuffing over fish. Arrange remaining fillets over stuffing; set aside. In a small bowl, combine soup, onion and lemon juice; spread over top. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, bubbly and fish flakes easily with a fork. Serves 6.

Easy Skillet Shrimp

Cheri Maxwell Gulf Breeze, FL

Ready in a flash! Serve over angel hair pasta and add a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley. 1 lb. uncooked large shrimp, peeled and cleaned

2 t. seafood seasoning 1 T. butter or olive oil

Sprinkle shrimp with seasoning; toss to coat well and set aside. Heat butter or oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pink. Serves 4.

Thaw frozen shrimp overnight in the fridge, or for a quicker way, place the frozen shrimp in a colander and run ice-cold water over it. Don’t use the microwave, as it can make the shrimp mushy. 131

Ham & Macaroni Hot Dish

Mary Thomason-Smith Bloomington, IN

Use leftover holiday baked ham to make this delicious comfort meal. 2 c. elbow macaroni, uncooked 3 T. butter 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 T. minced dried onion 1/2 t. dry mustard 1 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper 2-1/2 c. milk 2 c. cooked ham, cubed 8-oz. pkg. shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Sprinkle with flour, onion and seasonings; stir well and cook for 2 minutes. Add milk and blend well. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick and bubbly. Stir in ham, cheese and cooked macaroni. Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Recall simpler Christmases with charming table favors. Fill brown paper lunch sacks with a juicy orange, a popcorn ball, a handful of nuts and some old-fashioned hard candies. Tie with yarn and set one at each place. So sweet! 132

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Tuna & Pasta Toss

Susan Kruspe Hall, NY

This is a tasty quick & easy meal in a hurry. It doesn’t use canned soup, as many tuna-noodle casseroles do. It’s made from scratch and it’s simple to do. 8-oz. pkg. bowtie pasta, uncooked 1/4 c. butter 1/2 c. onion, chopped 2 T. all-purpose flour 1-1/2 c. milk 1 cube chicken bouillon 1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper 1 to 2 6-oz. cans tuna, drained and flaked 1 T. fresh parsley, chopped, or 1 t. dried parsley Optional: 2-oz. jar diced pimentos, drained

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and cook onion until tender. Stir in flour; blend well and cook for one minute. Gradually add milk; cook and stir until blended. Add bouillon, salt and pepper. Cook until thickened and smooth, stirring constantly. Stir in tuna. Sprinkle with parsley and pimentos, if using; heat through. Toss tuna mixture with cooked pasta and serve. Makes 4 servings.

When a busy-day pasta dish is on the menu, put a big pot of water on the stove as soon as you get home. Dinner will be ready in a jiffy! 133

Cuban Breaded Pan-Fried Steaks

Patricia Aguero Bakersfield, CA

My grandkids love these tasty little steaks! This recipe has been handed down for generations, starting with my own grandmother. I have been making this family favorite for many years. 4 thin sandwich or milanesastyle beef steaks 1 T. dried oregano 1 T. onion powder 1 T. garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 c. milk 2 c. dry bread crumbs 1/2 c. olive oil

Season steaks on both sides with herbs, salt and pepper; set aside. Beat eggs and milk together in a pie plate; spread bread crumbs onto a large plate. Dip each steak into egg mixture; immediately place in bread crumbs and coat generously on both sides. Set aside steaks on a plate. In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add steaks; cook until golden on both sides. Turn steaks only once, to prevent coating from falling off. Makes 4 servings.

Set a teeny-tiny snowman at each person’s place...so cute! Simply glue white pompoms together with craft glue, then add faces and scarves clipped from bits of felt.

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Turkey Meatloaf

Thomas Hiegel Union City, OH

I’m eating less red meat these days, so I came up with this flavorful recipe. My wife said she likes it better than a beef meatloaf! She and I are both 80 years old and hope you like this too. 1 lb. ground turkey 1/16 t. cayenne pepper 3/4 T. sweet spicy mustard 3/4 T. light mayonnaise 1/2 c. sweet onion, finely chopped

2 t. onion soup mix 1 egg, lightly beaten 6 saltine crackers, crushed

To a large bowl, add all ingredients in the order given. Mix well with your hands; form into a loaf. Place in a lightly greased roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for one hour and 15 minutes, or until no longer pink and a meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees. Let stand several minutes before slicing. Serves 6.

When purchasing a fresh-cut Christmas tree, ask about trimmed-off branches. They’re often available at little or no cost and are so handy for adding seasonal color and fresh pine scent to your home.

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Beef & Bean Burritos

Amy Bradsher Roxboro, NC

I love having these in the freezer for a quick meal or handy lunch! A friend and I have gotten together a few times to wrap burritos and hang out while our children play together. Our kids like to pick up these burritos and eat them like sandwiches. Add your favorite toppings...yummy! 2 16-oz. pkgs. dry black beans 1 lb. ground beef 1 to 2 onions, diced 1 to 2 green peppers, diced 2 T. dried cumin 2 t. cayenne pepper 2 t. dried oregano 4 t. garlic powder

2 t. onion powder 2 t. sea salt 2 t. pepper 2 to 4 c. shredded Cheddar cheese 2 to 4 c. salsa 24 to 40 flour or corn tortillas

Soak and cook beans according to package directions. Drain; rinse and set aside. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef with onions and peppers; drain. Stir in seasonings. Add cooked beans, cheese and salsa. Cook and stir over low heat until well blended and cheese is melted. Remove from heat. To assemble, lay a tortilla on a single paper towel. Spoon 1/2 cup beef mixture down the center of tortilla. Fold the ends towards each other; fold one side over and roll. Wrap in the paper towel the same way. Repeat with remaining ingredients; total number of burritos depends on size of tortillas used. Place wrapped tortillas into plastic freezer bags; freeze. To serve, microwave a frozen burrito, still wrapped in the paper towel, on high heat until until hot in the center, turning once. Makes 24 to 40 burritos.

The glow of candlelight is so pretty...don’t save candles for special occasions only! If the candleholders have become coated with wax, simply place them in the freezer for a couple of hours and the wax will peel right off. 136

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts

Peppermint Kisses

Lynette Larsen Lafayette, IN

These are my favorite cookies! When I was a child, Mom or Dad always made these cookies. They are so light and fluffy...while they bake, they fill the house with this wonderful peppermint scent. What a sweet way to start the Christmas season! 2 egg whites 1/8 t. salt 1/8 t. cream of tartar 1/2 t. peppermint extract

3/4 c. sugar 12-oz. pkg. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine egg whites, salt, cream of tartar and extract. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add sugar gradually; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets while slightly warm. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

While getting your cookie ingredients together, put the bowl and beaters in the freezer. Egg whites will fluff up better when the bowl and beater are cold. Speeds up the whipping time for cream too. 138

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Minty Iceberg Cookies

Amy Hunt Traphill, NC

Mint is my son’s favorite flavoring, as well as mine, and these cookies are always a welcome treat at our home. 18-3/4 oz. pkg. brownie mix with chocolate syrup 1/4 c. baking cocoa 2 eggs, beaten 1 T. oil

1 T. water 1/2 c. powdered sugar 48 mini creamy mint chocolate candies

In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, syrup pouch, cocoa, eggs, oil and water. Beat until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for one hour, or until chilled thoroughly. Dough will be sticky. Coat baking sheets with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. Shape dough into one-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar; place on baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes. Cool slightly; press a mint into the center of each cookie. Allow to soften for several minutes; swirl with a toothpick to blend the creamy center and chocolate together. Cool completely. Makes 4 dozen.

A little coffee brings out the flavor in any chocolate recipe. Just dissolve a tablespoon of instant coffee granules in the liquid ingredients and continue as directed. 139

Holiday Frosted Brownies

Diana Krol Nickerson, KS

These super-rich brownies are my grandson Easton’s favorite! They are very rich...cut into small pieces for a real chocolate treat! I sometimes like to sprinkle seasonal candies over the frosting. 1/2 c. butter, softened 1 c. sugar 1 t. vanilla extract 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 t. salt 1/4 t. baking powder 1/3 c. baking cocoa Optional: candy sprinkles

In a large bowl, stir together all ingredients except sprinkles in the order listed; mix well. Spoon batter into a greased 8"x8" baking pan Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. Cool, then frost; cut into bars. Makes 1-1/2 dozen.

Frosting: 3 T. butter, softened 3 T. baking cocoa 1 T. honey

1 t. vanilla extract 1 c. powdered sugar 1 T. milk

Combine all ingredients; beat well until smooth.

Host a cookie sampling party! Have each friend bring a plate of her tastiest cookies, while you provide the coffee and tea. Such a fun idea for a get-together! 140

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Dutch Almond Bars

Joyce Keeling Springfield, MO

Almond pastries were a specialty in the Dutch community where I grew up. This recipe was shared with my mom, and she made these every Christmas and on special occasions. Mom’s gone now, but these wonderful bars bring memories of her and my hometown flooding back with that first bite. 1 c. margarine 1/2 c. powdered sugar 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour, divided

2 c. sugar 1/2 c. milk 4 egg yolks, beaten 5 t. almond extract

Combine margarine, powdered sugar and 2 cups flour in a bowl; beat until smooth. Pat out dough into an ungreased rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes; remove from oven. Meanwhile, combine sugar, remaining flour, milk, egg yolks and extract; beat until smooth. Pour mixture over baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until center is crusty and set. Cool; cut into bars. Makes 1-1/2 dozen.

For dazzling bar cookies, melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips with a teaspoon of shortening. Drizzle over uncut bars. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, sugar crystals or crushed candy canes for an extraspecial finish. No one will believe they didn’t come from a bakery!

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Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Crunch

Joyceann Dreibelbis Wooster, OH

This is a Christmas favorite of mine. I like to make up a large container of this crunchy snack and pack it in small bags or festive containers to give to family & friends at Christmastime. 8 c. corn puff snacks 2 c. pecan halves 1 c. butter, melted

1 c. brown sugar, packed 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine corn puffs and pecans in an ungreased 15"x10" jelly-roll pan; set aside. In a bowl, combine butter and brown sugar; mix well. Pour butter mixture over corn puff mixture; stir to coat evenly. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden, stirring twice. Remove 6 cups corn puff mixture; place on wax paper. Sprinkle chocolate chips over remaining hot mixture in pan; toss until chocolate is melted and pieces are coated completely. Cool both mixtures for 10 minutes. When completely cooled, toss together in a large bowl or container. Store in a covered container. Makes 11 cups.

Delightful vintage holiday cookie tins can usually be found at thrift stores. Just pop in a cellophane or tissue paper lining and they’re ready to fill with goodies for gift giving.

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Easiest-Ever Peanut Butter Fudge

Kristy Wells Ocala, FL

I asked my kids what food came to mind when they thought of Christmas and their answer...fudge! I love making this super-easy fudge with my babies to give as gifts to their classmates as well as family & friends. Add some festive sprinkles on top, and voilà! One year a teacher requested a batch for an end-of-the-year party because the class loved it so much! 1 c. butter, sliced 1 c. creamy peanut butter

1 t. vanilla extract 16-oz. pkg. powdered sugar

Combine butter and peanut butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high heat for 2 minutes; stir. Microwave for 2 more minutes. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar until well blended. Pour fudge into a wax paper-lined, buttered 8"x8" baking pan. Place a piece of wax paper on top; refrigerate until cool. Cut into one-inch pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Makes about 5 dozen pieces.

Good & Easy Vanilla Fudge

Connie McKone Fort Atkinson, IA

Our family has enjoyed this quick and simple recipe over the years. It is good for Christmas or any time of the year. Try adding dried cranberries or nuts for a different taste. 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 4 c. powdered sugar 1-1/2 t. vanilla extract 12-oz. pkg. white chocolate chips

Optional: 3/4 c. chopped nuts, 1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries

In a large bowl, blend together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy; set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate chips on high heat, stirring at 30-second intervals, until melted and smooth. Stir into cream cheese mixture; mix well. Fold in optional ingredients, if desired. Pour fudge into a lightly buttered 8"x8" baking pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares. Makes about 3 dozen pieces. 143

Sweetheart Sugar Cookies

Mary Caminiti Marysville, IL

This is my favorite recipe for cut-out sugar cookies and it’s so easy to roll out. Everyone wants the recipe! 1 c. butter, softened 3/4 c. cream cheese, softened 1 c. sugar 1 t. vanilla extract 2 c. all-purpose flour 1 T. baking powder

1/4 t. salt 1 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked Garnish: favorite frosting Optional: candy sprinkles

In a large bowl, beat together butter and cream cheese until well mixed. Beat in sugar and vanilla until fluffy; set aside. In a separate large bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. Add butter mixture to flour mixture. Stir in oats; mix well. Cover and chill several hours to overnight. Roll out dough about 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters. Arrange cookies on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden, checking after 12 minutes. Let cool slightly on baking sheets; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Frost; add sprinkles, if desired. Makes about 4 dozen, depending on size of cookie cutters.

Beginning in early December, mix up batches of cookie dough and pop them in the freezer. Jot down the baking directions on a label and fasten to the freezer bag. Later in December, just remove from the freezer, thaw and bake. 144

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Sand Tarts

Jane Sallade Harrisburg, PA

My grandmother baked these cookies every Christmas. The whole family would gather on the first Sunday after Christmas...all 37 of us! We ate the meal in shifts to feed everyone. Grandmother’s pantry was a walk-in room connected to the kitchen and it contained the most delicious smells! When these cookies came to the table, everyone raced to get one. 1/2 c. butter, softened 1 c. plus 1 T. sugar 2 eggs, beaten 1/4 t. vanilla extract 1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking powder 1/8 t. salt 24 to 36 walnut halves, or 1 c. chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, blend together butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder add salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix well. Cover and chill thoroughly. Roll out dough about 1/8-inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut out with desired cookie cutters. Arrange cookies on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Press a walnut half into each cookie, or sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, until edges start to turn golden. Watch closely as cookies will darken quickly. Remove to wire racks; cool completely. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

Stir up sweet memories...look through Grandma’s recipe box and rediscover a long-forgotten favorite dessert recipe to share with your family. 145

Coffee Drop Cookies

Vivian Schweppe Greensburg, PA

My grandma made these yummy cookies for the holidays and for lots of other occasions. 1/2 c. shortening 1 c. sugar 1 egg, beaten 1 t. vanilla extract 2 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. baking powder 1/2 t. baking soda

1 t. ground cloves 1/2 t. cinnamon 1/4 t. salt 3/4 c. cold brewed coffee Optional: 1/2 c. raisins, 1/2 c. chopped nuts

In a large bowl, blend together shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla; stir well. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; mix well. Slowly stir in coffee. Fold in raisins and nuts, if using. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto well greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 3 dozen.

All year long, I collect cookie recipes from books, magazines, and web pages. Sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving, I sit with my children and go through the huge, wonderful collection. We have “The Great Cookie Debate” with the goal of narrowing the field to ten recipes to use for our Christmas cookie baking. We always have new and different recipes to try and I still mix in a few old favorites too. When the time comes, we get busy baking and freezing to be ready for Christmas! Even today, with my children grown, we still debate (sometimes long-distance) and share the baking. – Patti Larche, Victor, NY

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Shortbread Thumbprints

Laura Flores Middletown, CT

These sweet little cookies can also be filled with sprinkles or a dab of colored frosting instead of jam. 1/2 c. butter, softened 1/4 c. shortening 1/2 c. sugar

1 t. almond extract 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour 4 to 6 T. favorite jam

In a large bowl, blend butter and shortening. Gradually stir in sugar little by little; mix in extract. Add flour gradually; mix well. Form dough into one-inch balls; arrange on aluminum foil-lined baking sheets. With your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball. Fill with jam. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.

Snowdrop Cookies

Cassie Hooker La Porte, TX

A great little snow cookie for the holidays! 1 c. butter, softened 1-1/2 c. powdered sugar, divided 1/2 t. salt 1 T. vanilla extract

1 c. almonds or pecans, finely chopped 2 c. all-purpose flour Optional: additional powdered sugar

Stir butter in a bowl until smooth. Gradually blend in 1/2 cup powdered sugar and salt. Continue blending until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and nuts. Gradually stir in in flour; mix well. Shape dough into balls by teaspoonfuls. Roll balls in remaining powdered sugar; arrange on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool; remove from baking sheets. If desired, sprinkle with more powdered sugar while cookies are cooling. Makes 4 dozen.

Need some softened butter in a hurry? Grate chilled sticks of butter with a cheese grater...it will soften in just minutes. 147

Choco-Cherry Candy

Judy Taylor Butler, MO

When my children were still living at home, I would have them and my husband choose one candy or cookie recipe that they wanted me to make for the holidays. This two-layered fudge was always the choice for my husband and daughter. 2 c. sugar 2/3 c. evaporated milk 1/2 c. plus 1 T. margarine, divided 12 marshmallows 1/8 t. salt 1 c. cherry baking chips

1 t. vanilla extract 12-oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter 10-oz. pkg. salted peanuts, crushed

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, milk, 1/2 cup margarine, marshmallows and salt. Bring to a boil; boil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Add cherry chips and vanilla; stir until smooth. Pour cherry mixture into a greased 13"x9" baking pan; cool. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Add peanut butter, remaining margarine and peanuts; stir until smooth. Spread over cherry mixture; cover and and chill. Cut into small squares. Makes 3 dozen pieces.

A little candy-making hint: a cold, sunny winter day is perfect weather for making candy. Homemade candy prepared on a rainy or humid day may not set up properly.

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Anna’s Yummy Pralines

Linda Smith Fountain Hills, AZ

These pralines were one of our favorite candies that our grandmother would make for us at holiday time. We always looked forward to their wonderful taste. Grandma has passed on, but we still keep the tradition alive and make these at holiday time. 2 c. pecan halves 1 c. sugar 1 c. brown sugar, packed

3/4 c. evaporated milk 2 T. butter 1/8 t. salt

Combine all ingredients in a microwave-safe 4-quart glass bowl. Microwave on high heat for 12 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Beat mixture vigorously by hand, until sticky. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls onto buttered wax paper; cool until firm. Makes 3 dozen.

Store brown sugar in an airtight container to keep it soft. If it’s already hardened, place the brown sugar in a microwave-safe bowl and cover first with a damp paper towel, then plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to one minute, fluff with a fork and use immediately.

149

Homesteader Cookies

Denise Denton Williamsville, NY

These cookies are delicious with a cup of hot tea! I received this recipe from a friend more than 35 years ago. It originally called for the dough to be pressed into an old-fashioned metal ice cube tray to chill. I’ve since adapted it to be rolled into a log before chilling. 1 c. butter, melted 1 c. brown sugar, packed 1 egg, beaten 3 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 t. baking soda 1/2 t. salt 1-1/2 t. cinnamon 1/2 c. walnuts, finely chopped

In a large bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar and egg; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; stir well. Fold in walnuts. Form dough into logs, about 1-1/2 inches in diameter; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for several hours, until firm. Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place slices on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle Frosting over cooled cookies. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Frosting: 1 c. powdered sugar 2 T. butter, melted

1/2 t. vanilla extract 2 to 3 t. warm milk

Mix all ingredients together, adding milk gradually to a pouring consistency.

At Christmas, when old friends are meeting We give that long-loved joyous greeting... “Merry Christmas!” – Dorothy Brown Thompson

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Spicy Molasses Cut-Out Cookies

Patsy Saunders New Salisbury, IN

I make these cookies every Christmas in the shape of gingerbread boys & girls. This dough is easy to work with and holds up very well. Everyone who eats one loves them! They look very nice outlined with white icing. 1 c. margarine 1-1/2 c. sugar 2 T. molasses 1 egg, beaten 3 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking soda 2 t. ground ginger 2 t. ground cloves 2 t. cinnamon Optional: favorite icing

In a large bowl, blend margarine and sugar until fluffy. Stir in molasses. Add egg and beat well; set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and spices. Add flour mixture to margarine mixture; mix well. Cover and chill for 4 hours to overnight. Roll out dough on a floured surface, 1/8-inch thick. Cut out with floured cookie cutters. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Cool slightly; remove from baking sheets to a wire rack. Makes about 3 to 4-1/2 dozen, depending on size of cookie cutters.

Here’s a simple tip to help cut-out cookie shapes bake up neatly. Place cookies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and pop into the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes before baking. 151

Butter Pecan Bars

Rebekah Tank Mount Calvary, WI

These bars are a nut lover’s dream! Simple to make too. 1 c. all-purpose flour 1 c. whole-wheat flour 1 c. brown sugar, packed 1 t. baking soda 1/4 t. salt 1 c. butter, softened 2 c. chopped pecans

1/2 c. white chocolate chips 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips 12-1/4 oz. jar butterscotch ice cream topping 3 T. all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in butter until a moistened dough forms; pat into a greased 15"x10" jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden. Sprinkle pecans and all chocolate chips over warm crust. In a bowl, stir together butterscotch topping and flour; drizzle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for another 12 to 16 minutes, until bubbly and golden. Cool on a wire rack; cut into bars. Keep refrigerated. Makes 4 dozen.

Why not wait to build a gingerbread house until after Christmas? The kids are home on break, and you’ll be able to enjoy the activity together in a more relaxed fashion... and maybe even use up some leftover Christmas candy! 152

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Pecan Puffs

Christina Mattea Saint Augustine, FL

These were my mom’s favorite cookies, my brother Tony’s as well. One year she hid them from him so well, she didn’t find them until the following Christmas. She said that’s what she got for being stingy with my brother! Lesson well learned...life is too short not to make another batch. Try this recipe and you’ll want to as well! 1 c. butter, softened 1/4 c. sugar 2 c. chopped pecans

2 c. all-purpose flour 2 t. vanilla extract Garnish: powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a large bowl. Mix together, using your hands; roll into one-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Roll in powdered sugar while warm; let cool and roll again in powdered sugar. Makes about 3 dozen.

For the most delicious baked goods, always use the best ingredients you can find. Real butter and pure vanilla extract can make a big difference in the finished cookies! 153

Grandma Nona’s Bar Cookies

Corinne Gross Tigard, OR

This bar cookie has long been a family favorite. When we were kids, my brothers could not keep their fingers out of the cookie dough. It was fun to distract my mother and sneak fingers into the bowl! 2/3 c. butter, room temperature 16-oz. pkg. dark brown sugar 1 t. vanilla extract 3 eggs 2-3/4 c. all-purpose flour

2-1/2 t. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 12-oz. pkg. semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips Optional: 1 c. chopped nuts

In a large bowl, combine butter and brown sugar until blended. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Add chocolate chips and nuts, if using; mix until well combined. Spread dough in a greased 15"x10" jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool bars in pan on on a wire rack; cut into squares. Makes 4 dozen.

A scoop of peppermint ice cream is yummy sandwiched between two sugar cookies...dessert in no time!

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Cranberry Drops

Eleanor Dionne Beverly, MA

I cannot stop making these...I’ve discovered that cranberries and nuts in cookies are very tasty! My “Cookie Monster” husband eats them up as fast as the grandchildren do. 1/2 c. butter 1 c. sugar 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed 1/4 c. milk 2 T. orange juice 1 egg, beaten 3 c. all-purpose flour

1 t. baking powder 1/4 t. baking soda 1/2 t. salt 2-1/2 c. fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped 1 c. chopped nuts

In a large bowl, blend butter and sugars. Beat in milk, orange juice and egg; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; blend well. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Makes about 5 dozen.

I was raised in the city and my family owned a variety store. At Christmastime my dad would order Christmas trees from the nearby mountains and have them delivered to sell to our neighbors. To get everyone in the holiday spirit, he would play Christmas music out the front window. Being young and rather bored after hearing “Jingle Bells” a hundred times, I changed the record to the “Lone Ranger” theme music! Needless to say, the neighbors wouldn’t let my dad forget the Lone Ranger Christmas! – Kathy Meyers, Warminster, PA

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Russian Tea Cakes

Jasmine Burgess Dewitt, MI

These cookies are quick & easy and fun to do with kids...let them roll the warm cookies in the powdered sugar. They are a staple Christmas cookie in my house. Sprinkle them with coarse colored sugar, if you like. 1 c. butter, room temperature 1 c. powdered sugar, divided 1 t. vanilla extract 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 t. salt 3/4 c. pecans, finely chopped Garnish: powdered sugar

Combine butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until blended. Add flour and salt; beat until combined. Add pecans; beat just until dough holds together. Scoop dough by tablespoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, placing one inch apart. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not golden. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks; cool slightly. Roll warm cookies in remaining powdered sugar; return to wire rack and cool again. Roll in powdered sugar again. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.

Line baking sheets and pans with parchment paper cut to fit... cakes and cookies won’t stick and clean-up is oh-so easy. 156

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Super-Simple Peanut Butter Bites

Hollie Moots Marysville, OH

My son is a peanut butter nut! He loves all things peanut butter, and these cookies are one of his favorites. I’ve made them for years, and they’re easy enough that he can now make them for me! 1 c. creamy peanut butter 1 c. brown sugar, packed 1 egg, beaten Garnish: sugar

24 chocolate kisses or mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped

In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, brown sugar and egg; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls into sugar; roll to coat. Place in well greased mini muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes, until golden on edges. Remove from oven; immediately press a candy down into center of cookies. Allow cookies to cool in muffin cups; remove carefully. (Twisting gently helps cookies come out cleanly.) Let stand until chocolate cools completely and sets up. Makes 2 dozen.

Albany Cookies

Megan Simpson Smithsburg, MD

This recipe has been passed down in my family for many years and it is Dad’s favorite cookie. I cannot imagine Christmas without Albany cookies. Be brave...dump in the whole jar of cinnamon. This is not a typo! 16-oz. pkg. dark brown sugar 3/4 c. oil 1 c. whipping cream 2.37-oz. jar cinnamon

1 t. baking soda 4 c. all-purpose flour Garnish: sugar

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a large bowl; mix well. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Flatten with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Dough may also be rolled out 1/4-inch thick, cut with cookie cutters and dipped in sugar. Makes 5 to 6 dozen. 157

Christmas Fudge

Gretchen Brown Hillsboro, OR

I took this recipe off from the marshmallow fluff label over 20 years ago. It is easy and a must every year for Christmas. 3/4 c. butter, softened 3 c. sugar 5-oz. can evaporated milk 12 1-oz. sqs. semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped

7-oz. jar marshmallow creme 1 t. vanilla extract 1 c. chopped walnuts

Line a 9"x9" baking pan with aluminum foil, extending over the sides; grease foil and set aside. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, sugar and evaporated milk. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. When it reaches a rolling boil, boil for 4 to 5 minutes, continuing to stir. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and marshmallow creme; stir until completely melted. Add vanilla and walnuts; mix well. Immediately pour fudge into pan; spread evenly in pan. Let stand at room temperature for 4 hours, or until completely cooled; cut into one-inch squares. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature. Makes 2 dozen pieces.

For perfectly sliced fudge squares, line the pan with aluminum foil, leaving a foil “handle” extending on each side. Once the fudge has completely cooled, lift it out by the handles, peel off the foil and cut into squares. Works great for bar cookies and brownies too. 158

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Grandma’s Caramels

Sandra Sullivan Aurora, CO

An old recipe from Grandma..she made these for Christmas stockings and for Halloween trick-or-treat. They’re very easy. If you are a candy beginner, I recommend using a candy thermometer. 1 c. butter 2-1/4 c. brown sugar, packed 1/8 t. sea salt 1 c. light corn syrup

14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk 1 t. vanilla extract Optional: chopped nuts

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and salt; stir thoroughly. Add corn syrup and mix well. Gradually add condensed milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture reaches the firm-ball stage, or 244 to 249 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and nuts, if desired. Pour caramel mixture into a buttered 13"x9" baking pan. Cool; cut into squares. Wrap squares individually in wax paper. Makes about 8 dozen pieces.

For someone far away, a care package of sweets is a terrific surprise! Along with homemade candies, tuck in a gift card and some family photos...so thoughtful! 159

Rocky Road Melts

Janis Parr Ontario, Canada

These candies are soft and rich, a chocolate lover’s delight! I have made this delicious little treat so many times. They are rich and chocolatey and really do melt in your mouth. I wouldn’t host a cookie swap without them! 12-oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

2 T. butter, sliced 2 t. vanilla extract 1 c. chopped pecans 4 c. mini marshmallows

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips, condensed milk and butter. Microwave on medium heat for 2 minutes, or until melted; stir well. Stir in vanilla extract and nuts. Cool mixture for 2 minutes; fold in marshmallows. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper; chill. These freeze well. Makes 5 dozen pieces.

Coconut-Chocolate Balls

Donna Carter Ontario, Canada

A friend of mine who I still see today gave me this recipe over 30 years ago, Easy to make, delicious and great for holiday time. Over the years, I have changed a few ingredients to make it my own. 12-oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

7-oz. pkg. shredded coconut 10-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and cut in half

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt chocolate chips and condensed milk together; stir until smooth. Cover and chill for 3 hours, or until firm. Roll mixture into balls by teaspoonfuls; roll in coconut. Make an indent with a fingertip; put a cherry half on top. Store in an airtight container. These freeze well. Makes 2 to 3 dozen pieces.

Place individual candies in mini paper muffin cups... party-perfect on a platter. 160

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Cashew English Toffee

Linda Diepholz Lakeville, MN

I like to make this toffee candy at Christmastime. It’s fairly easy and everybody loves it. 3-oz. pkg. chopped cashews 1 c. butter, sliced 1 c. sugar

1/3 t. salt 6-oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Spread cashews on a buttered baking sheet; set aside. Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat; stir in sugar and salt. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until mixture turns a caramel color and reaches the soft-crack stage, or 270 to 289 degrees on a candy thermometer. Pour mixture over cashews. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top; spread until melted. Break into pieces; refrigerate or store in a cool place. Makes about 3 dozen pieces.

We didn’t have a lot of money when I was young. One year my dad was laid off from his job. My parents must have worried about Christmas gifts for my three little sisters and me. Christmas Eve came and we all went to bed very early. I awoke about 2 am and woke up my sister Tanja. I was eight and she was six. We held hands and walked up the dark hall, each with a hand on the wall, waiting to feel our stockings that were hanging there. If the stockings were filled, we would know Santa had come. When we finally reached them, we could feel a banana hanging out of each stocking. We squealed with delight! Around the corner was the living room where Dad and Mom always left the lights on the tree lit for Christmas Eve. It was the most beautiful sight to behold. Around the tree you could see the shadows of four dolls lined up in a row, from largest to smallest. We ran into our parents’ room to wake them. When we all went to open the gifts, the four dolls from Santa were homemade Raggedy Ann dolls made by our sweet Aunt Neta. It truly was the best Christmas ever. Joy takes no money...only the love of a wonderful family. – Teanda Smith, Saint Albans, ME

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Fruit Slice Cookies

Sandra Smith Quartz Hill, CA

One Christmas I took trays of cookies to my women’s bowling league. This recipe was the biggest hit and the most frequent recipe request. if I am going to keep the cookie dough more than a few hours before baking, I wrap it in plastic wrap and then wrap foil over that. You can write the name of the cookie and baking temperature on the outside of the foil with a permanent marker. 1 c. mixed candied fruit, chopped 2-1/4 c. all-purpose flour, divided 1 c. butter, softened 1 c. powdered sugar

1 egg, beaten slightly 1 t. vanilla extract 1 c. pecan halves 2 c. maraschino cherries, well drained and halved

In a bowl, toss candied fruit with 1/4 cup flour until coated; set aside. In a large bowl, blend butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add remaining flour and mix well. Stir in pecans, cherries and candied fruit. Divide dough into thirds. Shape each into rolls, about 12 inches long; wrap in aluminum foil. Chill several hours or longer. Cut dough into 1/4-inch slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Makes 5 to 6 dozen.

Got a big day of cookie baking ahead? Pick up an extra set of measuring spoons. You’ll never need to stop in the middle of a recipe to wash spoons! 162

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Mrs. Santa’s Thumbprints

Lynn Williams Muncie, IN

My kids love to help make these scrumptious cookies. The recipe used to be named “Santa’s Thumbprints” but we all agreed Mrs. Santa would be doing the baking at the North Pole! 1-1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening 1 c. brown sugar, packed 1 egg, beaten 1 T. vanilla extract 2 c. all-purpose flour

2-1/2 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked 1/2 t. salt 1-3/4 c. walnuts, finely chopped 2/3 c. strawberry preserves

In a large bowl, beat shortening and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, oats and salt. Add oat mixture to shortening mixture; mix well. Form into one-inch balls; roll in nuts. Place balls on ungreased baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Press centers of balls with your thumb; spoon preserves into the indents. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove to wire racks and cool completely. Makes 4-1/2 dozen.

Jams and preserves keep well, so pick up a few jars of local specialties like beach plum, peach or boysenberry on family vacations. Later, you can use them to bake up jam bars, linzer cookies or thumbprints...the flavors will bring back happy family memories! 163

Raspberry Champagne Punch

Gladys Kielar Whitehouse, OH

Our family looks forward to this festive punch every Christmas. 2 10-oz. pkgs. frozen red raspberries in syrup, thawed 1/2 c. lemon juice 1/2 c. sugar 750-ml bottle red rosé wine, chilled

1 qt. raspberry sherbet 750-ml bottle champagne, chilled

Purée raspberries with syrup in a blender; set aside. In a punch bowl, combine raspberries, lemon juice, sugar and wine. Stir until sugar dissolves; chill. Just before serving, scoop sherbet into punch bowl. Add champagne and stir gently. Makes 3 quarts.

Mock Champagne

Stephanie Mayer Portsmouth, VA

For the kiddies! If you can’t find the grenadine syrup, substitute a splash of maraschino cherry juice. 2/3 c. sugar 2/3 c. water 1 c. pink grapefruit juice cocktail

1/2 c. orange juice 3 T. grenadine syrup 1-ltr. bottle ginger ale, chilled

Combine sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat; cook and stir until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil; boil for 10 minutes. Cool; stir in grenadine syrup and chill. At serving time, add ginger ale. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Dress up stemmed glasses in a jiffy. Cut or tear holiday fabric scraps into 1/2-inch wide strips and tie a length around the stem of each glass. 164

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Spiced Tea Punch

Betty Lou Wright Fort Worth, TX

My family loves tea punch, and I have several favorite recipes. This is my newest #1 favorite. It’s delicious served hot or over ice. Oooh, it smells so good! 6 c. cold water, divided 4 tea bags 12-oz. can frozen pineappleorange juice concentrate 1/2 c. sugar or sweetener, or a combination

1/2 t. cinnamon 1/4 t. ground allspice 1/8 t. ground cloves Optional: lemon and/or orange slices

In a Dutch oven over high heat, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add tea bags and let stand for 5 minutes; discard tea bags. Stir in remaining water, frozen juice, sugar or sweetener and spices. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Cover and chill for 4 hours. Serve punch over ice cubes. Garnish with lemon and/or orange slices, if desired. Makes 10 servings.

Make a fruit-studded ice ring that won’t dilute the punch. In a gelatin mold, arrange fresh cranberries and sliced oranges, lemons and limes. Pour in a small amount of punch and freeze, then add more punch and freeze again. 165

Cookie Sheet Cake

Katherine Case Muncie, IN

My mom makes this cake every year for the holidays. It’s been in my family for years. 2 c. all-purpose flour 2 c. sugar 1/2 c. margarine 1/2 c. shortening 1/4 c. baking cocoa 1 c. cold water

1/2 c. buttermilk 1 t. baking soda 1 t. cinnamon 1/4 t. salt 2 eggs, beaten 1 t. vanilla extract

Mix flour and sugar together in a large bowl; set aside. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine margarine, shortening, cocoa and cold water; bring to a boil. Pour cocoa mixture over flour mixture. Add remaining ingredients; stir well. Pour batter into a greased 15"x10" jelly-roll pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of baking time, make Icing. Spread icing over warm cake. Serves 15 to 20.

Icing: 1/2 c. margarine 1/4 c. baking cocoa 5 T. milk

1 t. vanilla extract 16-oz. pkg. powdered sugar 1 c. chopped walnuts

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine margarine, cocoa and milk; bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.

Save the wrappers from sticks of butter and store them in the freezer in a plastic zipping bag. They’re always on hand whenever you need to grease a baking pan! 166

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Creamy Pumpkin Pie

Geneva Rogers Gillette, WY

We love our pumpkin pie at Christmastime! This one is no-bake, so you can pop that last tray of cookies in the oven instead. And it’s so easy, the kids can make it. 1/2 c. cold milk 5-1/4 oz. pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix 1 t. pumpkin pie spice

1 c. canned pumpkin 8-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed and divided 9-inch graham cracker crust

In a large bowl, combine milk, dry pudding mix and spice. Whisk well for one minute, or until very thick. Whisk in pumpkin; stir in 2-1/2 cups whipped topping. Spread pumpkin mixture in crust. Cover and chill at least 2 hours. Garnish slices with dollops of remaining whipped topping. Makes 8 servings.

Make a yummy ice cream pie in a jiffy. Pat a tube of refrigerated cookie dough into a pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes, then bake as package directs. Let cool, then fill with spoonfuls of ice cream...yum!

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Chocolate Praline Cake

Nan Calcagno Grosse Tete, LA

This cake is just wonderful...delicious and soo easy! 1/2 c. butter, sliced 1/4 c. whipping cream 1 c. light brown sugar, packed 1 c. coarsely chopped pecans, divided

15-oz. pkg. chocolate cake mix 1-1/4 c. water 1/3 c. oil 3 eggs, beaten

In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, combine butter, whipping cream and brown sugar. Cook over low heat until butter is melted and brown sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into 2 greased 8" or 9" round cake pans. Sprinkle evenly with 3/4 cup chopped pecans; set aside. In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, water, oil and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until mixed. Increase speed to medium; beat for 2 minutes. Carefully spoon batter over pecan mixture. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes, until cake springs back when touched. Cool for just 5 minutes; remove from pans onto wire racks. Cool for one hour. To assemble cake: place one layer on a cake plate, praline-side up; spread with Topping. Add second layer, praline-side up; add remaining topping. Garnish with remaining pecans. Refrigerate. Makes 16 servings.

Topping: 1-3/4 c. whipping cream 1/4 to 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1/4 t. vanilla extract

Beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form.

Chocolate curls dress up any dessert and they’re a snap to make...just pull a vegetable peeler over a chocolate bar. 168

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Sugar-Free Chocolate Cream Pie

Cyndi Little Whitsett, NC

My husband was recently diagnosed with diabetes. I’ve been searching to find something to make that is good for both folks who have diabetes and those who do not. I know my husband was glad to finally have homemade chocolate pie again. While it’s not the old-fashioned meringue pie I’ve made for years, it sure satisfied his craving! 2 6-oz. sugar-free shortbread cookies, divided 5 T. butter, melted 1-oz. pkg. instant sugar-free chocolate pudding mix

1-3/4 c. milk 1/4 c. cream cheese 8-oz. container frozen light whipped topping, divided

Add 1-1/2 packages of cookies to a food processor; set aside remaining cookies for another use. Process cookies to fine crumbs. Add melted butter; process well. Press into a 9" pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes; cool. Meanwhile, combine dry pudding mix and milk in a bowl; whisk for 2 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes, or until thickened. In another bowl, beat cream cheese; stir in thickened pudding and blend gently. Mix in half of whipped topping. Spoon filling into cooled pie crust; cover and chill. At serving time, spread remaining whipped topping over pie, or add a dollop to each slice of pie. Makes 8 servings.

Add a scrumptious salty-sweet contrast to your favorite pie recipe with a pretzel crust. Mix 1-1/2 cups finely crushed pretzels, 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup melted butter; press into a pie plate. Chill for 20 minutes or bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 169

Amy’s Famous Pound Cake

Amy Pinion Norwood, NC

This recipe was given to my mother by her sister. It is my most requested cake and a favorite with everyone that tastes it. 1 c. shortening 3/4 c. butter, softened 3 c. sugar 5 eggs, beaten

1to 2 t. vanilla extract 3-1/2 c. cake flour, sifted 1 c. milk

In a large bowl, blend shortening and butter together. Add sugar, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and milk in 3 parts; mix well after each, until well blended. Pour batter into a greased and floured tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 hours, until a toothpick inserted near the center tests clean. Makes 20 servings.

The smells of the holidays filled our home when I was growing up. My mother baked dozens of wonderful cookies and breads for the holidays. I remember the beautiful tins lined all lined up and waiting to be put on decorated trays to enjoy by family & friends during the holiday season. I especially remember when Mom and my aunt would get together to make bushels of cookies that were piled high with powered sugar. The trick was hiding all these goodies from little hands! This is a memory that I hope my children will remember about me as they think back on the holidays. – Ann Viviano, Saint John, IN

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Nana’s Orange Marmalade Cake

Karin Geach Elk Grove, CA

One of the grandchildren’s favorites...adults too! Such an easy recipe to make. A sweet reminder of all our blessings. 15-oz. pkg. white cake mix 1-1/4 c. water 1/2 c. oil 4 eggs, beaten

2 t. orange extract 1 c. orange marmalade, divided 1/4 c. powdered sugar 1 T. butter, softened

In a large bowl, combine dry cake mix, water, oil and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add extract and 1/2 cup marmalade; beat for another minute. Pour batter into a greased and sprayed Bundt® pan or 9"x5" loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, until cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool in pan for 10 minutes; turn out. Meanwhile, heat remaining marmalade in a saucepan over low heat until melted; whisk in powdered sugar and butter until smooth. Drizzle warm glaze over top of cake. Cool completely. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Whip up some cake-mix cookies in a jiffy! Blend together a 9-ounce package of devil’s food cake mix with one beaten egg, one tablespoon melted shortening and 2 tablespoons water. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen. 171

Cheery Cherry Christmas Bars

Sheri Kohl Wentzville, MO

These cookie bars are a regular at my annual Christmas brunch. Festive and tasty, they get scooped up quickly. 1-1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed 1/2 c. butter-flavored shortening 1/2 c. chopped pecans 2 8-oz. pkgs cream cheese, softened

2/3 c. sugar 2 eggs, beaten 2 t. vanilla extract 2 21-oz. cans cherry pie filling

Combine flour and brown sugar in a large bowl; mix well. Cut in shortening with a fork until fine crumbs form; stir in pecans. Press mixture into the bottom of a greased 13"x9" baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Spread cream cheese mixture over hot crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; cool. Top with pie filling. Cover and chill before cutting into bars. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Pure vanilla extract is a must in all kinds of baked treats! Save by purchasing a large bottle of vanilla at a club store. Ounce for ounce, it’s much cheaper than buying the tiny bottles sold in the baking aisle. 172

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Cookies, Candies & Desserts Frozen Peppermint Dessert

Gladys Kielar Whitehouse, OH

This dessert is wonderful for any party. We enjoy it for holidays, birthdays and showers. The colors are a delight...wow! 14-oz. pkg. chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed 1/2 c. butter, melted 1 gal. peppermint ice cream, slightly softened 12-oz. container frozen whipped topping, thawed

11-3/4 oz. jar hot fudge ice cream topping, warmed Garnish: crushed peppermint candies

In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs and butter; mix well. Press into an ungreased 13"x9" baking pan. Spread ice cream over cookie layer; top with whipped topping. Cover and freeze until solid. Just before serving, drizzle with hot fudge topping; sprinkle with peppermint candies. Makes 10 servings.

To crush peppermint candy, place the candy in a large plastic zipping bag. Tap it gently with a kitchen mallet (or even a small cast-iron skillet) until the candy is broken up.

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Pam’s Pumpkin Bread

Pam Hooley LaGrange, IN

I have been using this recipe for many years, I usually have lots of butternut squash, so I use it in place of the pumpkin. It makes a lot, so many friends and family members have received it over the years, If you’re making a mess anyway, you might as well make it worthwhile! If you’re adding the optional ingredients, add 1/2 cup, total, of your choice. 4-3/4 c. all-purpose flour 1-1/2 t. baking powder 1-1/2 t. baking soda 1-1/2 t. salt 1-1/2 T. pumpkin pie spice 3 c. pumpkin or butternut squash purée

1-1/2 c. oil 6 eggs, beaten 4 c. sugar Optional: 1/2 c. raisins, chopped dates and/or chopped nuts

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice; mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, stir together purée, oil, eggs and sugar; beat well. Add flour mixture to purée mixture; stir together. Fold in raisins, dates and/or nuts, if desired. Divide batter evenly among 3 greased 9"x5" loaf pans. May sprinkle the top with nuts. Bake at 350 degrees, 45 to 60 minutes for medium to large loaves; 30 to 35 minutes for small loaves. Makes 3 large, 4 medium or 6 small loaves.

A loaf of homemade quick bread is always a welcome gift! To ensure it stays fresh and tasty, let the bread cool completely before wrapping well in plastic wrap. Wrap in a holiday tea towel and tie with a bow. 174

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal

Beverley Williams San Antonio, TX

This is one of my family’s favorite breakfasts. I like it because we can put it together the night before. It makes the busy mornings easier. We do it during the holidays also. 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed 1-1/2 t. cinnamon 8 c. water 1 c. milk

1/2 c. butter, room temperature 2 t. vanilla extract 2 c. long-cooking oats, uncooked 1 c. chopped pecans

Spray a 4-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. Combine apples, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir gently until apples are evenly coated; transfer to slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients; stir well. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours to overnight. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Slow cookers are perfect when you’re feeding a crowd! Use several set on low to keep scrambled eggs, oatmeal and other breakfast foods warm and yummy for Christmas brunch.

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Slow-Cooker Recipes

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Sandy Churchill West Bridgewater, MA

This is one of our family’s favorite autumn and winter breakfasts. Enjoy on a chilly morning and awaken to the glorious scent of pumpkin pie! 1 c. steel-cut oats, uncooked 1 c. quick-cooking oats, uncooked 2 T. ground flax seed 1 T. chia seed 1-1/2 c. water

1/2 c. almond milk 1/2 t. vanilla extract 15-oz. can pumpkin 2 T. brown sugar, packed 2 T. cinnamon

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine oats, seeds, water, milk and vanilla. Add remaining ingredients; stir well. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours to overnight. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

The memories of childhood are so full of joy. I remember well how we listened with such anticipation to the newscast telling where Santa’s sleigh was being spotted by radar at that very moment. Then we would be sent to bed to await his arrival. The next morning, we would wake up to presents wrapped in plain brown paper, tied with twine and our names written on them in pencil...that way we knew they were from Santa! The tree was decorated with bubble lights and a construction paper garland or strung popcorn. To us it was most beautiful. I am sure by today’s standards it was rather primitive looking, but I would love to have those days back to relive all over again with my grandchildren. Christmas then was more about anticipation, not how much you might get or how expensive everything was. If there was one thing I could pass on to my grandchildren, it would be a Christmas morning like my family used to have. – Ava Conner, Saint Joseph, MO

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Sausage Breakfast Casserole

Vickie

Can’t beat this recipe for easy preparation. Just a little chopping, a little whisking and then back to your wrapping and decorating! 26-oz. pkg. frozen shredded hashbrown potatoes 10-oz. pkg. sausage crumbles 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese 6 green onions, sliced

1/2 c. sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained and thinly sliced 1 doz. eggs, beaten 1/2 c. milk 1 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper

In a lightly greased 6-quart slow cooker, layer half each of potatoes, sausage, cheeses, onions and tomatoes. Repeat layers; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper until well blended. Pour evenly over mixture in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours, until eggs are set. Serves 12.

Wrapping up a slow cooker as a gift for a new bride? Jot down all your favorite, tried & true slow-cooker recipes and tuck ’em inside. A thoughtful gift that’s sure to be appreciated!

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Slow-Cooker Recipes

Comfort Potatoes

Teri Lindquist Gurnee, IL

This is a wonderful recipe, especially for the holidays when time is precious, or any day you are craving the comfort of a creamy, flavorful hashbrown potato casserole! 32-oz. pkg. frozen diced hashbrown potatoes, thawed slightly 1/2 sweet onion, diced 10-3/4 oz. can Cheddar cheese soup

10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup 8-oz. container sour cream 1/2 c. butter, sliced into 8 pats 1 c. sharp shredded Cheddar cheese

Spray a 5-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray, or use a liner, also sprayed, for easy clean-up. Add hashbrowns to slow cooker; sprinkle with onion and set aside. In a bowl, mix together soups and sour cream; pour over potatoes. Dot with butter; top with cheese. Stir gently to combine ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes 8 servings.

A Christmas family-party! We know nothing in nature more delightful! There seems a magic in the very name of Christmas. – Charles Dickens

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Sarah’s Southwestern Breakfast Casserole

Marian Forck Chamois, MO

Our daughter Sarah made this for Christmas breakfast and it was a big hit, simple and delicious. Prepare it the night before and let it cook while you wait for Santa to come...ready in the morning. We made scrambled eggs and spooned the casserole on top. 4 redskin potatoes, diced 1-1/2 c. cooked ham, cubed 1 onion, diced 1 red pepper, diced 1 T. olive oil 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes

4-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained salt and pepper to taste 1/4 c. shredded Cheddar cheese Optional: additional shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa

Spray a 4-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Layer potatoes, ham, onion and red pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Add tomatoes with juice, mushrooms and seasonings. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 9 hours. Just before serving, top with cheese; garnish as desired. Serves 6.

Traveling for the holidays? Have little ones leave Santa a note with instructions telling him where you’ll be visiting the night before Christmas! 180

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Amazing Caramel Sweet Rolls

Marsha Baker Pioneer, OH

These are awesome to serve on Christmas morning! The first time I tried this, I couldn’t imagine it would result in such perfect rolls. 1/2 c. butter, melted 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed 1 t. cinnamon

2 12-oz. tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuits Garnish: frosting or glaze

Line a 5-quart slow cooker with parchment paper, cutting out a circle for the bottom and a long piece to stand up around the sides. Spray paper with non-stick vegetable spray; set aside. Place melted butter in a small bowl; combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Dip biscuits into butter, then into brown sugar mixture, coating both sides. Place biscuits in slow cooker, standing them on edge and overlapping. Place 2 paper towels over top of slow cooker to catch any condensation. Cover and cook on high setting for 1-1/2 hours, checking for doneness after one hour. Let stand 10 minutes; place rolls on a plate and drizzle with frosting or glaze. Makes 20 rolls.

Warm Breakfast Fruit

Cathy Hiller Salt Lake City, UT

This recipe goes together in minutes...perfect for brunch! 2 29-oz. cans sliced peaches 2 29-oz. cans pear halves 15-oz. can apricot halves

20-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained 21-oz. can cherry pie filling

Drain all fruit; slice any larger pieces. Combine in a 5-quart slow cooker; top with pie filling. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 hours, or until heated through. Serve with a slotted spoon. Makes 12 to 14 servings.

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Easy Rich Hot Chocolate

Suzanne Fritz Hutto, TX

I make this every year when we are decorating the Christmas tree. It really kicks off the holiday season for my family! 6 c. whole milk 1-1/2 c. whipping cream 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 t. vanilla extract 12-oz. pkg. milk chocolate chips Garnish: marshmallows or marshmallow creme

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. Turn to low setting; garnish servings as desired. Serves 8.

Some of the greatest gifts my mother gave me were the exquisite Christmases she created as I was growing up. Mom and Dad were immigrants from Germany, the land of Christmas! As a new immigrant, she improvised to create Old World Christmas drama the best she could. One day every December, while we children were at school, a secret day only she ever knew, she went into intense action the minute we left the house. In just a few hours, she would buy a real pine tree, get it home, secure it in the stand, decorate it with lovely traditional glass ornaments, electric lights and tinsel, gorgeously wrap gifts and set them out under the tree. My mother was extremely artistic, and she placed every ornament and gift for maximum beauty. One by one, we children got home from school. Frozen from the cold, stomping snow off our feet, we would come in the door completely unsuspecting. And suddenly there it was...my mother’s work-of-art Christmas tree, with its lights of festively illuminating the living room and reflecting in the lovely glass ornaments. I will never forget the wild joy that would leap into my heart at the sight of my mother’s tree, or the magic she created by her surprise. – Peggy Grant, Plano, TX

182

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Slow-Cooker Recipes

Christmas Wassail

Susan Kruspe Hall, NY

Not only does this taste delicious, the aroma will put everyone in your home in the Christmas spirit! 10 c. boiling water 3/4 c. sugar 4-inch cinnamon stick 1/8 t. whole cloves

6-oz. can frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed 6-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

Pour boiling water carefully into a 4-quart slow cooker. Add sugar; stir to dissolve. Add spices, enclosing cloves in a tea ball or cheesecloth bag as desired. Cover and cook on low setting for 3 hours. Remove spices. Add juices; stir to mix. Increase slow cooker to high setting; cook until heated through and desired temperature is reached. Makes 10 servings.

Realistic snow for your Christmas village! Simply lay lengths of rolled cotton along the ground and rooftops, then sprinkle with crystal snow.

183

Cindy’s Chicken Spread

Cindy Katris Franklin, OH

This recipe will remind you of your favorite chicken salad in spreadable form. It can also be used as sandwich filling, delicious piled high on sliced bread with some spinach leaves and a slice of provolone cheese. Don’t worry about the large amounts of seasonings...the chicken will be perfectly flavored. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 T. dried minced onion 2 T. Montreal chicken seasoning 2 T. paprika

1 T. dried oregano 1-1/2 to 2 c. mayonnaise assorted crackers, cut-up vegetables

Spray a 3-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Pat chicken breasts dry and place side-by-side in slow cooker. Sprinkle with onion and seasonings; do not add any liquid. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours. Turn off slow cooker; let stand to cool for one hour. Uncover; transfer juices in slow cooker to a glass bowl and set aside. Shred chicken using 2 forks; discard any fat or gristle. Add shredded chicken to reserved juices. Cover and refrigerate overnight to cool and absorb juices. Next day, stir chicken with a fork; add enough mayonnaise to coat well. Serve with crackers and vegetables. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Add a welcoming row of twinkling luminarias along the front walk and your house will be party perfect! 184

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Hot Wing Dip

Debra Blean Morrison, IL

Such a great recipe for get-togethers with family & friends. Almost a meal in itself...hot wings without the mess! 2 10-oz. cans chunk chicken, drained and flaked 2 8-oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened 1/4 to 3/4 c. hot pepper sauce

8-oz. pkg. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided 1 c. ranch salad dressing tortilla chips, celery sticks

In a skillet over medium-low heat, combine chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cream cheese is melted. Stir in 1-1/2 cups Cheddar cheese and ranch dressing; cook and stir until well blended. Transfer to a 3-quart slow cooker; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 hours, or until hot and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips and celery sticks. Makes 10 servings.

It’s fun to play games on a wintry day when family & friends come to visit. Pull out all the best board games and jigsaw puzzles, set out lots of yummy snacks and turn up the Christmas music...terrific for all ages! 185

Cranberry-Orange Sausages

Emily Cole Grafton, OH

My mom used to make these every Christmas Eve and they were my favorite! Now that she is no longer with us, it’s even more important to keep her traditions alive. Thank goodness it’s easy too! 2 14-oz. pkgs. mini smoked sausages 12-oz. jar orange marmalade

14-oz. can jellied cranberry sauce

Combine all ingredients in a 3-quart slow cooker; stir to mix. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 hours. Serves 8 to 10.

Apple-Jalapeño Meatballs

Lisanne Miller Wells, ME

Guys love these! An easy appetizer for game day. 2 to 2-1/2 lbs. frozen meatballs 12-oz. jar apple-jalapeño or red pepper jelly

Optional: pretzel sticks

Add frozen meatballs to a 4-quart slow cooker. Spoon jelly over meatballs. Cover and cook on low setting for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, until bubbly, stirring after one hour. Serve with pretzel sticks or toothpicks. Serves 6 to 8.

The perfect Christmas tree? All Christmas trees are perfect! – Charles N. Barnard

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Slow-Cooker Recipes

Potluck Sticky Spareribs

Jo Ann

We all love these flavorful ribs...they’re great for parties! They are sticky, though, so be sure to use a crock liner, then set out plenty of napkins for guests. 6 lbs. pork spareribs, cut into serving-size pieces 1-1/2 c. catsup 3/4 c. brown sugar, packed 1/2 c. vinegar 1/2 c. honey

1/3 c. soy sauce 1-1/2 t. ground ginger 3/4 t. dry mustard 1/2 t. garlic powder 1 t. salt 1/4 t. pepper

Add a plastic liner to a 6-quart slow cooker; arrange ribs in crock and set aside. Stir together remaining ingredients in a bowl. Pour catsup mixture over ribs, turning to coat. Cover and cook on high setting for 5 hours, or until ribs are glazed and cooked through. Makes 12 servings.

Gather everyone for a fireside meal...so cozy on a snowy day! Cook hot dogs on long forks or use pie irons to make pocket pies. You can even roast foil-wrapped potatoes in the coals. Let the kids make s’mores for a sweet ending. 187

Spicy Cheese Dip

Alyssa Davis Colonial Heights, VA

I made up this recipe ten years ago for a football party, and it was a hit! I have served it for baby showers, wedding showers, barbecues, birthday parties, goodbye parties, you name it. People request it all the time. It is so yummy. 16-oz. pkg. pasteurized process cheese, cubed 8-oz. pkg. Mexican pasteurized process cheese, cubed 16-oz. pkg. spicy ground pork sausage, browned and drained 1 lb. ground beef, browned and drained

10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup 16-oz. can chili no beans 2 14-1/2 oz. cans mild or hot diced tomatoes with green chiles 16-oz. jar hot salsa tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients except chips in a 6-quart slow cooker; mix well. Cover and cook on high setting for 4 hours, or until cheese is fully melted. Turn to low setting for serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Makes 20 to 30 servings.

Easy Queso

Deanna Atkinson El Reno, OK

This is a recipe I received from my sister-in-law. I have made a few adjustments, and it is one of our favorites. Simple and delicious! 16-oz. pkg. ground pork sausage, browned and drained 32-oz. pkg. pasteurized process cheese, cubed

14-1/2 oz. diced tomatoes with green chiles tortilla chips

Combine all ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes 10 servings. Serve with tortilla chips. Serves 10. 188

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Hot Beef & Chipotle Dip

Darrell Lawry Kissimmee, FL

Spicy, cheesy and easy to make...it doesn’t get any better than that! For a crowd, double the recipe in a 4-quart slow cooker. 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened 1/2 c. shredded Pepper Jack cheese 2 T. onion, finely chopped 2 T. mayonnaise 1/4 t. garlic powder

2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped 2-oz. pkg. dried beef, finely chopped 1/4 c. toasted pecans, chopped snack crackers or chips

In a 2-quart slow cooker, combine cheeses, onion, mayonnaise, garlic powder and chiles; mix well. Stir in beef. Cover and cook on low setting for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, until hot and bubbly. Just before serving, sprinkle with pecans. Serve with crackers or chips. Makes about 1-1/2 cups.

One slow cooker, 2 different dips...brilliant! Form several lengths of heavy-duty aluminum foil into a “wall” that fits tightly in the center of a slow cooker. Add a disposable slow-cooker liner, tucking it well into both sides. Fill with 2 dips of similar cooktime, choose the setting and go! 189

Barbecued Beef

Missy Abbott Hickory, PA

I was at a Christmas party where the hostess served barbecued beef but preferred not to share her secrets. So I came up with my own recipe, which my husband likes even better! Now everyone asks for my recipe which I gladly share. I have found a pork roast can be used with equally delicious results. It pairs nicely with scalloped potatoes or mac & cheese. 5-lb. beef rump roast, fat trimmed 2 c. water 10-3/4 oz. can tomato soup 1 c. brown sugar, packed 1/4 c. catsup 1/4 c. butter, melted

2 T. spicy brown mustard 2 T. smoke-flavored cooking sauce 2 T. lemon juice 1 T. Worcestershire sauce 1-1/4 t. granulated garlic sandwich buns, split

Place roast in a 6-quart slow cooker; add water. Cover and cook on high setting for about 6 hours. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients except buns in a bowl; cover and refrigerate. Once roast has cooked, remove to a platter; shred roast with a fork. Drain liquid from slow cooker; add shredded beef. Pour sauce over top; stir. Cover and continue cooking on high setting for 1-1/2 to 2 hours longer. Serve shredded beef on buns. Serves 12 to 15.

Warm sandwich buns for a crowd...easy! Fill a roaster with buns, cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and cut several slits in the foil. Top with several dampened paper towels and tightly cover with more foil. Place in a 250-degree oven for 20 minutes, or until rolls are hot and steamy. 190

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Chicken Sandwiches

Karen Gierhart Fremont, OH

This is a family favorite for all special occasions...showers, graduation parties, birthdays, even holiday parties. 1 c. water 6-oz. pkg. chicken flavor stuffing mix 28-oz. can chicken

10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup sandwich buns, split

Pour water into a 4-quart slow cooker; add dry stuffing mix. Pour chicken with juices over stuffing. Spoon soup over chicken. Cover and cook on low setting for 3 to 4 hours; stir halfway through. To serve, spoon chicken mixture onto buns. Serves 12.

Cinnamon Applesauce

Nina Jones Springfield, OH

I love to make applesauce this way. Your house will smell amazing! 3-1/2 lbs. JonaMac apples, peeled, cored and sliced 2 c. apple cider

2 4-inch cinnamon sticks 2 T. sugar, or to taste

Combine apples, apple cider and cinnamon sticks in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting until tender, 2 to 3 hours. Drain apples and transfer to a bowl; discard cinnamon sticks. Mash apples with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in sugar to taste. Serve warm or chilled. Makes 6 servings.

Serve up bite-size portions of shredded beef or pork on slider buns...easier for guests to handle at parties.

191

Italian Chicken Vegetable Soup

Beverley Williams San Antonio, TX

This fresh and healthy soup is great on cool fall & winter days. Just the thing after days of holiday overindulgence too! 2 c. chicken, cooked and cubed 3 c. chicken broth 8-oz. can tomato sauce 1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped 12 green beans, broken into one-inch pieces 1 carrot, peeled and sliced 1 tomato, diced

1 zucchini, cubed 4 mushrooms, sliced 1 T. onion, diced 2 T. dried basil 1 t. dried oregano 1/2 t. garlic powder 1 c. small macaroni shells or soup pasta, uncooked

Combine all ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours, until vegetables and pasta are tender. Add more broth or water if needed. Makes 6 servings.

Crisp, savory crackers are delightful alongside a steamy bowl of soup. Spread saltines with softened butter and sprinkle with Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Bake at 350 degrees for just a few minutes, until golden. 192

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Easy Vegetarian Mexican Chili

Laura Witham Anchorage, AK

I recently adopted a vegetarian lifestyle, and I have completely overhauled my recipes. This is a new version of a recipe I used to make, with a few vegetarian-friendly changes. It’s so good, I serve it all the time, even to my carnivorous friends. They don’t even miss the meat! 3 15-1/2 oz. cans chili beans 2 14-1/2 oz. cans diced tomatoes and green chiles 15-1/2 oz. can white hominy

15-1/2 oz. can yellow hominy 1-oz. pkg. ranch salad dressing mix 3 cubes vegetable bouillon

In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine canned vegetables; do not drain. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours, stirring occasionally. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Serve chili Cincinnati-style! For 2-way chili, ladle chili over a bowl of spaghetti. For 3-way, top chili and spaghetti with shredded Cheddar cheese. For 4-way, spoon diced onions on top of the cheese...add chili beans to the stack for 5-way. 193

Hearty Ham & Hashbrown Soup

Teresa England Hutchinson, KS

One of the easiest and fastest recipes to make ever...a family favorite. 6 c. boiling water 2 to 3 cubes chicken bouillon 10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup 10-3/4 oz. can cream of celery soup 1 lb. cooked ham, cubed

30-oz. pkg. frozen diced potatoes 14-1/2 oz. can sliced carrots, drained 1 onion, chopped 1/4 c. butter, sliced salt and pepper to taste

Carefully pour boiling water into a 4-quart slow cooker. Add bouillon cubes; stir to dissolve. Stir in soups; add remaining ingredients and mix well. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally Makes 6 servings.

Try this easy substitution for canned cream soups. In a bowl, combine one tablespoon softened butter, 3 tablespoons flour, 1/2 cup low-fat milk, 1/2 cup chicken broth and salt and pepper to taste. Use as you would one 10-3/4 ounce can of cream soup. 194

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

New Year’s Black-Eyed Pea Stew

Shannon Swindall Littleton, CO

I put this stew together after I heard it was lucky to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. I use leftover Christmas ham or turkey. Serve with salad, rolls and sparkling juice to toast in the New Year. 2 c. cooked ham or turkey, chopped 14-oz. can chicken or beef broth 14-1/2 oz. can Italian-style diced tomatoes

12-oz. pkg. frozen black-eyed peas, or 2 15-oz. cans black-eyed peas 1 onion, chopped

Layer ham or turkey, broth, tomatoes with juice, peas and onion in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 5 to 6 hours; stir occasionally Makes 6 servings.

Brooklyn’s Broccoli Cheese Soup

Becki Weber Boise, ID

Super-quick & easy! I came up with the recipe for my daughter, whose favorite food is broccoli. This soup goes together fast...just combine everything in the slow cooker and let it do the cooking. 10-oz. pkg. frozen chopped broccoli, thawed 2 10-3/4 oz. cans cream of celery soup

2 c. milk 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours; stir occasionally. Makes 6 servings.

Scent your home for the holidays. Fill a mini slow cooker with 2 to 3 cups water, several cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and strips of orange peel. Simmer on low setting...sweet! 195

Cream Cheese-Chicken Chili

Stephanie Wren La Vergne, TN

I’ve been making this chili for several years and make it often during winter months. It’s super-quick to prepare and absolutely delicious! It’s even tasty as a dip...just ladle it over corn chips. 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or 5 to 6 chicken tenderloins 15-oz. can corn 14-1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles 15-1/2 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed 3 T. dried chopped onion 1 T. chili powder

1 T. dried parsley 2-1/2 t. paprika 2 t. sugar 2 t. salt 2 t. pepper 1-1/2 t. garlic powder 1 t. onion powder 1 t. ground cumin 8-oz. pkg. light cream cheese, cubed

Place chicken in a 4-quart slow cooker. Add corn with liquid, tomatoes with liquid, beans, onion and and seasonings. Stir together; place cream cheese on top. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 hours. Stir cream cheese into chili. Use 2 forks to shred chicken. Stir together and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Give chicken thighs a try in slow-cooker chicken recipes. They’re often priced lower than chicken breasts, and the darker meat cooks up juicy and flavorful. You may find you like them best! 196

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Winter Beef Stew

Lynda Valley Decorah, IA

Great for family meals...guests always love it too. Smells so good when cooking! Serve with a crisp tossed salad and warm rolls for a wonderful meal. 16-oz. can sloppy Joe sauce 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup 1 c. water 1/3 c. quick-cooking tapioca, uncooked 1 cube beef bouillon

1 t. salt 1/4 t. garlic powder 1 c. celery, diced 1-1/2 to 2 lbs. stew beef cubes Optional: potatoes, carrots and onion, peeled and cut into large cubes

In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine sauce, soup, water, tapioca, bouillon cube and seasonings; mix well. Add celery and beef. If desired, add potatoes, carrots and onion, filling slow cooker 2/3 full. Cover and cook on high setting for 5 to 6 hours, or on low setting for 10 to 12 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Browning adds lots of flavor to slow-cooked beef dishes. For the best flavor, pat the beef cubes dry with a paper towel before browning. Don’t crowd the pieces in the pan, and be sure to stir up all the tasty browned bits at the bottom. 197

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

Julie Pak Henryetta, OK

This is a family favorite with kids and adults alike. It’s always just expected that we’ll have this side with our big holiday meals! 6 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced 1 c. water 1/2 t. cream of tartar 1 onion, thinly sliced 10-3/4 oz. can cream of chicken soup

8-oz. container sour cream 3/4 c. evaporated milk 1/4 c. butter, melted salt and pepper to taste 2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Place potatoes in a bowl. Combine water and cream of tartar in a cup; pour over potatoes. Let stand one to 2 minutes; drain potatoes well. Spray a 4-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Layer half each of potatoes and onion; set aside. In a separate bowl, combine soup, sour cream, evaporated milk, melted butter, salt and pepper. Mix well; fold in one cup cheese. Spoon half of soup mixture over potatoes. Layer remaining potatoes and onion; spoon remaining soup mixture over top. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover and cook on low setting for 4 to 5 hours, until potatoes are tender. Makes 6 servings.

For buffets or dinner parties, roll up flatware in colorful napkins ahead of time and stack in a basket. 198

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Saucy Succotash

Laura Fuller Fort Wayne, IN

This creamy mix of corn and lima beans is always perfect alongside our holiday ham. 16-oz. pkg. frozen corn, thawed 16-oz. pkg. frozen lima beans, thawed 14-3/4 oz. can cream-style corn 1 c. red pepper, diced

1/2 c. onion, diced 1 c. shredded Gouda cheese 1/4 c. water 8-oz. container sour cream

In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine vegetables and cheese. Pour water over all; stir gently. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours, or on high setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Stir in sour cream. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serves 10 to 12.

In our Polish household, Christmas Eve dinner is meatless. This is a sacrifice made to prepare ourselves for Jesus’s birth. We also place hay under the dining table to represent the hay upon which Jesus was born. We set an extra place at the table for the “uninvited guest.” This means that, should anyone arrive at our door that night, seeking food or company, we will welcome them into our home to join us. Last, we all share the oplatek, or Christmas wafer. By doing this, we symbolize that we are asking forgiveness for any wrongs we’ve done to the people at the table since last Christmas and forgiving the sins of the others. The menu that night consists of homemade pierogi, potato soup, fish and a vegetable side. I always look forward to this meal because it helps remind me why we are celebrating Christmas! – Mary Pyrzynski, Naperville, IL

199

Green Beans & Bacon

Joni Rick Hemet, CA

When I was growing up, this dish was a favorite of mine whenever Mom made it. She always simmered it slowly on the stovetop. Now I’ve adapted it for the slow cooker. 6 14-1/4 oz. cans cut green beans 6 slices bacon, diced

1 c. onion, chopped 2 14-1/2 oz. cans chicken broth

Drain 4 cans of beans; add beans to a 6-quart slow cooker. Add undrained cans and remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low setting for 4 to 5 hours, until bacon is cooked and beans are soft and tender. Serve with a slotted spoon. Serves 10 to 12.

Christmas Carrots

Gladys Kielar Whitehouse, OH

Kids will love these sweet carrots! 2 lbs. carrots, peeled 1/4 c. butter 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

8-oz. can crushed pineapple 1/2 c. shredded coconut

Cut carrots into strips, 2 inches long and 1/2-inch wide. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat; add carrots and cook until lightly golden. Transfer carrots to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add brown sugar and pineapple with juice; mix together gently but well. Cover and cook on low setting for 3 hours, or until tender. At serving time, sprinkle with coconut. Makes 8 servings.

For clever napkin rings, slip jingle bells onto lengths of colorful pipe cleaners and twist the ends together.

200

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Kathy Grashoff Fort Wayne, IN

This is a great recipe...it frees up your oven for other dishes! 2 15-1/2 oz. cans sweet potatoes, drained and mashed 2 T. sugar 1/3 c. plus 2 T. butter, melted and divided 1/3 c. plus 2 T. brown sugar, packed and divided

2 eggs, beaten 1/2 c. milk 1 T. orange juice 1/3 c. chopped pecans 2 T. all-purpose flour

In a lightly greased 3-quart slow cooker, combine sweet potatoes, sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Stir gently and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and orange juice. Pour over mixture in slow cooker; mix gently. In a separate bowl, combine pecans, flour and remaining butter and brown sugar. Spread over potatoes. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

A pocket calendar for the new year makes a thoughtful gift for family members near & far. Fill in birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates. Everyone is sure to appreciate this gift and use it all year long! 201

Simple Turkey Roast

Gloria Kaufmann Orrville, OH

Roast turkey for dinner with no effort at all...wonderful! 3-lb. boneless turkey breast, thawed if frozen

1-oz. pkg. turkey gravy mix

Place turkey in a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle dry gravy mix over turkey; no need to add water. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Cover slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 hours. Remove turkey to a serving platter; let stand 10 minutes before carving. Serves 5.

Celery & Onion Stuffing

Nancy Christensen West Des Moines, IA

I love this savory recipe! It’s delicious and easy. 1 loaf white or French bread, cubed 1 c. onion, chopped 1 c. celery, chopped 2 t. salt 1-1/2 t. dried sage

1 t. poultry seasoning Optional: 2 8-oz. cans sliced mushrooms, drained 2 10-1/2 oz. cans chicken broth 2 eggs, beaten 1/2 c. margarine, melted

The day before, spread bread cubes on baking sheets; let stand until slightly dried out. In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine bread cubes, onion, celery, seasonings and mushrooms, if using; toss to mix. Add chicken broth, eggs and margarine; add some water if mixture doesn’t look moist enough. Cover and cook on high setting for 45 minutes. Turn to low setting and continue cooking for 3 to 4 hours. Makes 12 servings.

Frozen chopped onions are especially good time-savers for slow-cooker recipes. There’s no need to thaw before adding...and no more tears!

202

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Sweet & Spicy Turkey Dish

Ginny Watson Scranton, PA

We were looking for something different for the holidays and we found it! Slow-simmered turkey and tender barley, drizzled with cranberry gravy...just add a steamed veggie and a basket of hot rolls for a festive meal. 2 to 3 turkey thighs, skin removed 2/3 c. onion, chopped 3/4 c. cranberry juice cocktail 1/4 c. Dijon mustard

1/4 t. cayenne pepper 1/2 c. sweetened dried cranberries 1 T. cold water 2 t. cornstarch

Place turkey thighs in a 4-quart slow cooker; set aside. In a small bowl, combine onion, cranberry juice, mustard and cayenne pepper; spoon over turkey. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 to 6 hours. Remove turkey to a plate; shred coarsely and keep warm. Strain juice in slow cooker and measure out 1-1/2 cups, adding water if needed. Pour juice into a saucepan; add cranberries. Combine cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl; mix well and add to saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Serve turkey and Fruited Barley, topped with sauce. Serves 6.

Fruited Barley: 3/4 c. pearled barley, uncooked

1 pear, peeled, cored and diced

Prepare barley according to package directions; toss with pear.

Stock up on festive party napkins, plates and candles at post-holiday sales. Tuck them away in a big box...you’ll be all set to turn any casual meal or get-together into a party!

203

Chicken Florentine

Stephanie Monroe Franklin, TN

Our favorite spinach-artichoke dip recipe inspired this delicious main dish. 2 16-oz. pkgs. frozen cut spinach, thawed 2 14-oz. cans artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 2 10-3/4 oz. cans cream of chicken soup 15-oz. jar Alfredo sauce 1 c. mayonnaise

1 T. garlic, minced 2 t. garlic salt 1/2 t. pepper 3 c. shredded Swiss cheese 8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 16-oz. pkgs. angel hair pasta, uncooked

In a 7-quart slow cooker, combine spinach, artichokes, soup, sauce, mayonnaise, seasonings and cheese. Mix well; add chicken and stir gently. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours. About 20 minutes before serving time, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Remove chicken from sauce; keep warm. Remove 1/3 of the sauce from slow cooker; keep warm. Stir cooked pasta into remaining sauce in slow cooker. To serve, place pasta mixture on serving plates; top each with a piece of chicken. Spoon some of reserved sauce over chicken. Sprinkle generously with additional garlic salt, as desired. Serves 8.

Use a sturdy rubber band to secure peppermint sticks to the outside of a cylindrical vase. Tie on a pretty ribbon to cover the band and fill with a favorite holiday bouquet or candle...so easy! 204

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Balsamic Chicken

Ginger Jones Rosman, NC

This is a light recipe with lots of flavor. It’s very simple to make. 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 onion, thinly sliced 8-oz. jar sliced mushrooms, drained 4-oz. can sliced black olives, drained

1 t. dried basil 1 t. dried oregano 1 t. dried rosemary 1/2 t. dried thyme salt and pepper to taste 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar 14-1/2 oz. can crushed tomatoes cooked angel hair pasta

Pour olive oil into a 3-quart slow cooker, spreading to coat the bottom. Add remaining ingredients except pasta in the order listed; do not drain tomatoes. Cover and cook on low setting for 3 to 5 hours, or on high setting for 2 to 3 hours. Check chicken occasionally for doneness. Serve chicken over cooked pasta. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Save extra cooked pasta for another meal. Place it in a plastic zipping bag, toss pasta with a little olive oil, close tightly and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. To reheat pasta, pour it into a metal colander. Dunk the colander in a pot of boiling water for one minute, drain and serve. 205

All-Day-Long Roast Beef

Barbara Argotsinger Storm Lake, IA

This recipe from a friend quickly became one of my favorites. Start it before you go to work and have a delicious meal ready when you get home...perfect! Serve with mashed potatoes. 3 carrots, peeled and diced 2 stalks celery, diced 1 green pepper, sliced into rings 1 yellow onion, sliced and separated into rings 1-1/2 lb. beef chuck or arm roast 1 to 2 T. olive oil 2 T. onion soup mix

2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 t. pepper 1/2 c. tomato juice 1/2 c. water 2 t. Worcestershire sauce 1 t. steak sauce Optional: 2 T. flour, 1/2 c. cold water

Place vegetables in a 5-quart slow cooker; set aside. In a skillet over medium-high heat, brown roast in olive oil on all sides; drain. Season roast on all sides with soup mix, garlic and pepper. Place roast on top of vegetables. In a small bowl, mix tomato juice, water and sauces; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low setting for 7 to 9 hours. At serving time, remove roast to a platter. For a thicker gravy, shake together flour and water in a small jar. Add to juices in slow cooker; cover and cook until thickened. Serves 6.

Fork-Tender Roast Beef & Gravy

Daralee Ghinder Akron, OH

The gravy you’ll have when the roast is done just begs for a side of mashed potatoes! Add some carrots or other veggies if you like. 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup 1.35-oz. pkg. onion soup mix

1 c. water 3 to 4-lb. beef English or chuck roast

Whisk together soup, soup mix and water in a 5-quart slow cooker; add roast. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours; turn roast over halfway through cooking. Serves 6 to 8. 206

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Sherried Beef

Kerri Lavoie Dunbarton, NH

Great for a day of sledding! Turn it on before you leave, come home and enjoy great comfort food. I have even made this with venison and moose, both excellent. 3 lbs. stew beef cubes or beef tips 4-oz. can sliced mushrooms, drained 8-oz. can sliced water chestnuts

2 10-3/4 oz. cans golden mushroom soup 1 c. sherry or beef broth 1.35-oz. pkg. onion soup mix cooked egg noodles or rice

Combine all ingredients except noodles or rice in a 5-quart slow cooker. Stir gently. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 10 hours. Serve over cooked noodles or rice. Makes 6 servings.

Judy’s Red Wine Beef

Helen Phillips Eaton, CO

My sister-in-law’s friend has Christmas trees all over her house. One year when we went to see her trees, she had this delicious-smelling dinner in the slow cooker. She shared the recipe with us. 2 lbs. stew beef cubes 1 c. red wine or beef broth 1.35-oz. pkg. onion soup mix

2 10-3/4 oz. cans cream of mushroom soup cooked rice or egg noodles

Place beef in a 4-quart slow cooker. Pour wine or broth over beef; sprinkle with soup mix. Spoon soup on top. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, or on high setting for 3 to 4 hours. Serve over cooked rice or egg noodles. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Ding dong! Merrily on high, In heaven the bells are ringing. – Old carol

207

Maple-Sage Pork Roast

Shirley Howie Foxboro, MA

This is a savory roast, with a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup. The veggies are really good, too. I usually serve this with mashed potatoes, to soak up all the wonderful flavor in the gravy! 2 to 3-lb. boneless pork shoulder roast 2 T. maple syrup 1 clove garlic, finely chopped 2 t. dried sage 1/2 t. beef bouillon granules 1 c. water, divided

2 c. butternut squash, peeled and cubed 2 c. baby carrots, halved lengthwise 2 small onions, cut into wedges 3 T. cornstarch

Spray a 5-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Add roast and set aside. In a small bowl, mix maple syrup, garlic, sage, bouillon granules and 1/2 cup water; spoon over pork. Arrange vegetables around pork. Cover and cook on low setting for 8 to 9 hours. Remove pork and vegetables to a platter; cover to keep warm. Skim fat from juices in slow cooker; pour juices into a microwave-safe 4-cup measuring cup. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining water until smooth; stir into juices in measuring cup. Microwave, uncovered, on high setting for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute, until mixture thickens. Serve gravy with pork and vegetables. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Crisp green salads are the perfect go-along to hearty slow-cooked dinners. Keep it simple by picking up a bag of fresh spring mix and tossing with toasted pecans and dried cranberries or apricots. Top with a splash of balsamic vinegar dressing. 208

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Cherry Ribs

Anne Alesauskas Minocqua, WI

We love ribs and I try different recipes all the time. This one is supereasy and a bit sweet with the addition of the cherry preserves. 2 lbs. pork baby back ribs, cut into 2-rib sections 1/2 t. garlic powder salt and pepper to taste 8-oz. jar cherry preserves

2-1/2 c. honey-flavored barbecue sauce 1 T. Dijon mustard 1/4 t. salt

Rub ribs with garlic powder, salt and pepper; place in a 4-quart slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl; spoon over ribs. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours, until tender. Makes 4 servings.

Perfect Cranberry Pork Roast

Jan Purnell Littlestown, PA

My husband never cared for pork until I started making this roast. It is now among his favorite meals! 2 to 3-lb. boneless pork loin roast 2 T. butter 1.35-oz. pkg. onion soup mix

14-oz. can whole-berry cranberry sauce 2 t. Dijon mustard

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown roast in butter on all sides. Transfer roast to a 5-quart slow cooker; sprinkle with soup mix and set aside. Add cranberry sauce to the same skillet. Heat through, stirring well to loosen the browned bits of pork from skillet. Spoon sauce mixture over roast. Cover and cook on low setting for 4 to 5 hours, until tender. Remove roast to a platter; keep warm. Strain juices from slow cooker; stir in mustard. Slice roast; serve with the warm sauce. Makes 6 servings.

209

No-Knife-Needed Pork Chops

Beth Bennett Stratham, NH

One day, I found some pork chops in the freezer. I decided to toss some ingredients in the slow cooker and see what happened. It was a delicious surprise! The sauce is so good over potatoes or noodles. 6 boneless pork chops 10-3/4 oz. can cream of mushroom soup 8-oz. container low-fat sour cream 3/4 c. water

3/4 c. Marsala wine or white grape juice 1 c. sliced mushrooms 1/2 c. onion, diced salt and pepper to taste 1 t. dried dill weed

Place pork chops in a 4-quart slow cooker; set aside. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients except dill; pour over pork chops. Sprinkle dill over top. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on low setting for 6 to 7 hours. Makes 6 servings.

Easy Cranberry Sauce

Lynda Robson Boston, MA

A must with our Christmas turkey or ham! So easy to do. 1/2 c. orange juice 1/2 c. water 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

1/2 c. sugar 1/4 t. cinnamon 12-oz. pkg. fresh cranberries

Combine orange juice, water, sugars and cinnamon in a 3-quart slow cooker; stir in cranberries. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 hours, stirring after each hour. Stir again; cover and cook on high setting another 45 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and most cranberries have burst. Serve warm or chilled. Serves 12.

A paste made of equal parts baking soda and vinegar works for removing stains on a slow cooker. Just rub on, then rinse well.

210

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Northeast Iowa Pork Roast

Connie McKone Fort Atkinson, IA

This is a good and easy change of pace for a pork roast. Excellent with mashed potatoes. 1 onion, sliced 3 to 4-lb. pork roast 1 c. hot water 1/4 c. sugar 2 T. soy sauce 1 T. catsup 1 T. vinegar

4 drops brandy extract 1/2 t. ground ginger 1/2 t. garlic salt 1/2 t. salt 1/2 t. pepper Optional: 2 T. cornstarch, 1 c. water

Place onion in a 5-quart slow cooker; add pork roast. Mix together remaining ingredients except optional cornstarch and water; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on high setting for 4 to 5 hours. Set aside roast on a platter. Strain juice from roast; pour into a saucepan. Whisk together cornstarch and water; add to juices and cook over medium heat until thickened. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Brown Sugar-Pineapple Ham

Erin Brock Charleston, WV

Ham is a must for our Christmas dinner. This is so yummy! 2 c. brown sugar, packed and divided

6-lb. bone-in spiral-cut ham 20-oz. can pineapple chunks

Spread one cup brown sugar in a 6-quart slow cooker. Add ham, cut-side down. Top with pineapple chunks and juice; sprinkle with remaining brown sugar. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours. Serves 12.

For extra fluffy mashed potatoes, whip in a teaspoon of baking powder.

211

Sausage & Spinach Lasagna

Marianne Pierce Bridgewater, MA

A friend shared this recipe with me when I purchased my first slow cooker. Over the years, I have added and subtracted from the original recipe. It is my favorite slow-cooker dish. 1 lb. ground Italian pork sausage 1 c. onion, chopped 1/2 c. green pepper, chopped 2 t. garlic, finely chopped 2 24-oz. jars pasta sauce 15-oz. container ricotta cheese 3/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese 1 t. Italian seasoning 1/2 t. salt

6-oz. pkg. fresh spinach, chopped 1/2 c. zucchini, shredded 1/2 c. carrot, peeled and shredded 12 no-boil lasagna noodles, uncooked and divided 2-1/4 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Combine sausage, onion, green pepper and garlic in a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain; stir in pasta sauce and and set aside. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients except lasagna noodles and mozzarella cheese; mix well and set aside. Generously spray a 6-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. To assemble, layer with 1/4 of sausage mixture, 3 lasagna noodles broken to fit, 1/4 of cheese mixture and 1/3 of mozzarella. Repeat layers 2 more times. Top with remaining noodles, remaining cheese and remaining sausage mixture. Cover and cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours, or on high setting for 2 to 4 hours, until bubbly and noodles are tender. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese; let stand until cheese is melted. To serve, cut lasagna into wedges or squares. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

An instant appetizer! Set out sliced Italian bread and a little dish of olive oil, sprinkled with Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese for dipping. 212

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Elaine’s Spaghetti Sauce

Cyndi Little Whitsett, NC

This recipe was shared by my friend Elaine when our daughters were in a competition clogging group together. It became a family favorite. I love my slow cooker! 4 lbs. ground beef, browned and drained 4 stalks celery, diced 3 green peppers, diced 2 8-oz. cans tomato paste 2 8-oz. cans tomato purée 2 8-oz. cans tomato sauce 32-oz. bottle tomato juice

1/4 c. sugar 2 T. chili powder 2 T. vinegar 1 T. paprika 1 T. salt 2 T. pepper 3/4 t. garlic, minced

In a 5-quart slow cooker, add all ingredients in order listed. Stir gently. Cover and cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours. Makes 12 servings.

Have a holiday movie marathon...dinner is simmering in the slow cooker, so no worries! Toss pillows and quilts on the floor, set out lots of snacks and have a non-stop viewing of all the best Christmas movies.

213

Peanut Butter & Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Janis Parr Ontario, Canada

One of the girls from work made this dessert for us for our Christmas potluck...what a special treat! Such a nice change from pies and cookie squares. 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 3/4 c. sugar, divided 3/4 t. baking powder 1/3 c. milk 1 T. oil

1/2 t. vanilla extract 1/4 c. creamy peanut butter 3 T. baking cocoa 1 c. boiling water Garnish: vanilla ice cream

Combine flour, 1/4 cup sugar and baking powder in a bowl. Add milk, oil and vanilla; mix until smooth. Stir in peanut butter. Pour batter into a 2-quart slow cooker; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa and remaining sugar; slowly stir in boiling water. Slowly pour mixture over batter in slow cooker; do not stir. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Serve warm, topped with a scoop of ice cream. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Tip: When pouring boiling water over the batter, use a large spoon held over the batter to deflect the water so it doesn’t disturb the batter.

Mini slow cookers are terrific for melting chocolate...no scorching! Fill up the crock with chocolate chips or chunks and cook on low setting until melted; stir and use as desired. 214

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Cassie’s Pecan Pie in a Crock

Cassie Hooker La Porte, TX

This is delicious and is great for the holidays! 9-inch pie crust, unbaked 3 eggs, beaten 1 c. sugar 2/3 c. dark corn syrup

1 c. pecans, broken up 1/2 c. margarine, melted 1 t. vanilla extract

Spray a 5-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Place unbaked pie crust into slow cooker; press about 1/2-inch up the sides and set aside. In a bowl, stir together remaining ingredients until well mixed. Pour into crust. Cover and cook on high setting for 2 to 3 hours. Let cool before slicing. Makes 8 servings.

Growing up, Christmas time was always a special time to my sister and me. What we lacked in monetary things, we were rich in love and happiness. Winters back then were really cold and snow came in feet instead of inches, but we girls were always outdoors to ice skate on the frozen creek, build a snowman or harvest that perfect patch of snow for snow cream. We’d go with Daddy to cut down the perfect tree. Once home, the decorating began. Christmas carols played merrily in the background and the aroma of hot chocolate filled the air. At night we’d sit with just the illumination of the tree lights, together as a family, filling our little home across the creek with laughter and wishes for Santa. My parents and sister are gone now, but those treasured memories remain in my heart and when Christmas carols begin to play, the first snowflake falls, I know somewhere above they share the holiday with me still. – Tina Owen, Ghent, KY

215

Best-Ever Bread Pudding

Tina Goodpasture Meadowview, VA

I retired seven years ago from the department of corrections as a correctional officer. Our chow hall was maintained by inmates. The bread pudding was the best ever! This one is hard to beat. 1-lb. loaf Italian bread, slightly stale, cut into cubes 4 eggs, lightly beaten 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 c. milk 1 t. vanilla extract 1/4 t. salt Garnish: caramel ice cream topping, chopped pecans

Spray a 5-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Spread bread cubes in the bottom; set aside. In a bowl, combine eggs, milks, vanilla and salt. Mix well; pour over bread cubes. With a spoon, spread mixture over bread cubes, ensuring all cubes are soaked. Cover and cook on low setting for about 5 hours. Pour caramel topping over the top; sprinkle with pecans. Cover and cook an additional 15 minutes, until caramel is hot. Serve warm. Makes 8 servings.

Tuck odds & ends of leftover raisin bread, croissants and even cinnamon rolls into a freezer container. Before long, you’ll have enough for a yummy bread pudding! 216

Convenient

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Holiday Cherry Cobbler

Gladys Kielar Whitehouse, OH

It is so exciting to make dessert in a slow cooker. At holiday get-togethers, everyone wants to take home a copy of this recipe! 21-oz. can cherry pie filling 18-oz. pkg. white or yellow cake mix 1 egg, beaten

3 T. evaporated milk 1/2 t. cinnamon 1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Spray a 4-quart slow cooker with non-stick vegetable spray. Spread pie filling in slow cooker. Cover and cook on high setting for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir together dry cake mix and remaining ingredients. Spoon over hot pie filling; do not stir. Turn slow cooker to low setting. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours, until a toothpick inserted into cake layer comes out clean. To serve, scoop into bowls; serve warm. Makes 6 servings.

Take the whole family to select and cut a Christmas tree... an old tradition that’s worth keeping. Have a yummy warm dessert waiting in a slow cooker to chase away the chill afterwards!

217

Appetizers & Snacks Apple-Jalapeño Meatballs, 186 Apricot-Almond Brie, 60 Bacon & Honey Wings, 40 Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, 42 Cheddar-Bacon Spread, 37 Cheesy Spinach-Stuffed Mushrooms, 48 Cindy’s Chicken Spread, 184 Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms, 49 Crabmeat Pizza, 50 Cranberry-Orange Sausages, 186 Easy Microwave Caramel Corn, 63 Easy Queso, 188 Ho-Ho-Holiday Spread, 34 Holiday Cheese Ball, 54 Hot Beef & Chipotle Dip, 189 Hot Wing Dip, 185 Jalapeño Popper Crescent Ring, 36 Kay’s Best Cheese Ball, 39 Lemon-Dijon Wings, 40 Nana’s Taco Dip, 45 Nashville Hot BBQ Chicken Strips, 51 Party Super Nachos, 44 Pesto Mushroom Pizza, 43 Potluck Sticky Spareribs, 187 Rye Bread Dip, 56 Santa’s Snack Mix, 62 Sassy Shrimp Cocktail Dip, 43 Sausage & Cheese Appetizer, 41 Sausage Pinwheels, 35 Shrimp Puffs, 52 Spicy Broccoli-Cheese Dip, 51 Spicy Cheese Dip, 188 Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms, 49 Texas Cheese Dip, 55 Tomato & Feta with Greek Seasoning, 57 Tomato-Bacon Fluff, 57 Turkey-Cranberry Croissants, 38 Yummy Sausage Balls, 35 Zippy Cranberries Over Cheese, 61

Beverages Best Hot Cinnamon Apple Cider, 53 Christmas Boutique Punch, 60 Christmas Wassail, 183 Creamy Mocha Punch, 64 Easy Rich Hot Chocolate, 182 Mexican Coffee, 17 Mexican Hot Chocolate, 64

Mock Champagne, 164 Raspberry Champagne Punch, 164 Spiced Tea Punch, 165

Breads Aunt Hay’s Sweet Cornbread, 67 Cheddar Cheese Muffins, 68 Cheesy Mushroom Bread, 105 Creamy Blueberry Muffins, 29 Eggnog Muffins, 13 Garlic Knots, 83 Julie’s Best-Ever Cornbread, 79 Orange Streusel Muffins, 30 Pam’s Pumpkin Bread, 174 Party Bread Strips, 83 Pepperoni & Sausage Bread, 46 Swirled Dill Rolls, 97

Breakfasts Amazing Caramel Sweet Rolls, 181 Apple-Cinnamon Oatmeal, 176 Asparagus with Crab Sauce, 25 Baked Fruit Compote, 11 Baked Mexican Omelet, 8 Cheesy Egg & Broccoli Casserole, 12 Cherry-Almond Coffee Cake, 21 Chile-Cheese Egg Casserole, 14 Christmas Eve Brunch, 24 Christmas Quiche, 23 Christmas Sticky Buns, 16 Cinnamon Breakfast Puffs, 27 Coconut French Toast, 7 Cousin Carol’s Breakfast Casserole, 6 Cranberry-Nut Coffee Cake, 9 Creamy Breakfast Casserole, 31 Farmers’ Casserole, 28 Fruit & Bacon Pancake Pie, 18 Hashbrown Quiche, 15 Jennifer’s Tomato Quiche, 26 Layered Salmon Pie, 22 Night-Before French Toast Casserole, 10 Phyllis’s Cinnamon Toast, 19 Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal, 177 Sarah’s Southwestern Breakfast Casserole, 180 Sausage Breakfast Casserole, 178 Strawberry-Vanilla Scones, 20 Sunday Oven Omelet, 8 Veggie Muffin Frittatas, 23 Warm Breakfast Fruit, 181

218

Candies

Freezer-Friendly Foods

Anna’s Yummy Pralines, 149 Cashew English Toffee, 161 Choco-Cherry Candy, 148 Chocolate-Caramel Pecan Crunch, 142 Christmas Fudge, 158 Coconut-Chocolate Balls, 160 Easiest-Ever Peanut Butter Fudge, 143 Good & Easy Vanilla Fudge, 143 Grandma’s Caramels, 159 Rocky Road Melts, 160

3-Cheese Lasagna Roll-Ups, 124 Al’s Stuffed Shells, 116 Bacon-Colby Lasagna, 118 Beef & Bean Burritos, 136 Chicken Diablo, 103 Christine’s Turkey Squares, 129 Coconut-Chocolate Balls, 160 Frozen Peppermint Dessert, 173 Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, 58 Holiday Cheese Ball, 54 Jennifer’s Tomato Quiche, 26 Pepperoni & Sausage Bread, 46 Rocky Road Melts, 160 Sausage & Cheese Appetizer, 41 Turkey Knob Cabin Whiskey Glaze, 114 Yummy Sausage Balls, 35

Cookies Albany Cookies, 157 Butter Pecan Bars, 152 Cheery Cherry Christmas Bars, 172 Coffee Drop Cookies, 146 Cranberry Drops, 155 Dutch Almond Bars, 141 Fruit Slice Cookies, 162 Grandma Nona’s Bar Cookies, 154 Holiday Frosted Brownies, 140 Homesteader Cookies, 150 Minty Iceberg Cookies, 139 Mrs. Santa’s Thumbprints, 163 Pecan Puffs, 153 Peppermint Kisses, 138 Russian Tea Cakes, 156 Sand Tarts, 145 Shortbread Thumbprints, 147 Snowdrop Cookies, 147 Spicy Molasses Cut-Out Cookies, 151 Super-Simple Peanut Butter Bites, 157 Sweetheart Sugar Cookies, 144

Desserts Amy’s Famous Pound Cake, 170 Best-Ever Bread Pudding, 216 Best-Ever Lemon Loaf Cake, 32 Cassie’s Pecan Pie in a Crock, 215 Chocolate Praline Cake, 168 Cookie Sheet Cake, 166 Creamy Pumpkin Pie, 167 Frozen Peppermint Dessert, 173 Holiday Cherry Cobbler, 217 Nana’s Orange Marmalade Cake, 171 Peanut Butter & Hot Fudge Pudding Cake, 214 Sugar-Free Chocolate Cream Pie, 169

Mains 3-Cheese Baked Spaghetti, 119 3-Cheese Lasagna Roll-Ups, 124 Al’s Stuffed Shells, 116 All-Day-Long Roast Beef, 206 Bacon-Colby Lasagna, 118 Balsamic Chicken, 205 Beef & Bean Burritos, 136 Beef & Broccoli, 106 Brown Sugar-Pineapple Ham, 211 Can’t-Miss Roast Turkey, 100 Cherry Ribs, 209 Chicken Diablo, 103 Chicken Florentine, 204 Chicken Piccata, 127 Christine’s Turkey Squares, 129 Crabmeat & Shrimp Casserole, 130 Crispy Garlic-Ranch Parmesan Chicken, 121 Cuban Breaded Pan-Fried Steaks, 134 Denise’s Penne Rosa, 104 Easy Skillet Shrimp, 131 Elaine’s Spaghetti Sauce, 213 Fish Fillet Bubble Bake, 131 Florentine Meatloaf Roll & Pasta, 117 Fork-Tender Roast Beef & Gravy, 206 Franciscan Chicken, 102 Greek Chicken Skillet, 108 Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas, 107 Ham & Macaroni Hot Dish, 132 Healthy Skillet Tacos, 126

219

Judy’s Red Wine Beef, 207 Laura’s One-Pan Chicken Dinner, 101 Maple-Sage Pork Roast, 208 Mom’s Most-Requested Baked Chicken, 115 Nacho Chicken Dinner, 103 Nan’s Meatballs & Noodles, 125 Neapolitan Pork Chops & Fettuccine, 112 No-Knife-Needed Pork Chops, 210 Northeast Iowa Pork Roast, 211 One-Pot Coffee Roast Dinner, 128 Patty’s Baked Ziti, 105 Perfect Cranberry Pork Roast, 209 Quick Chicken Cacciatore, 109 Roland’s Barbecued Spareribs, 110 Sandra’s Shrimp Creole, 122 Sausage & Spinach Lasagna, 212 Sausage with White Beans & Spinach, 111 School Night Swiss-Ham Noodle Bake, 113 Sherried Beef, 207 Simple Turkey Roast, 202 Smothered Mushroom Pork Chops, 121 Southwest Chicken Hashbrown Casserole, 120 Sweet & Spicy Turkey Dish, 203 Tomato & Basil Baked Halibut Steaks, 123 Tuna & Pasta Toss, 133 Turkey Knob Cabin Whiskey Glaze, 114 Turkey Meatloaf, 135

Salads Artichoke-Pepperoni Salad, 85 Bowties & Spinach Salad, 69 Broccoli, Cranberry & Feta Salad, 72 Christmas Veggie Crunch Salad, 84 Colorful Marinated Veggies, 73 Jackson Salad, 81 Marinated Vegetable Salad, 47 Red, White & Green Salad, 59 Texas Steakhouse Salad, 75

Sandwiches

Sides Baked Cranberry Casserole, 93 Celery & Onion Stuffing, 202 Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes, 198 Christmas Carrots, 200 Cinnamon Applesauce, 191 Comfort Potatoes, 179 Company Mashed Potatoes, 95 Cranberry Compote, 97 Creamy Au Gratin Potatoes, 90 Deviled Twice-Baked Potatoes, 98 Easy Cranberry Sauce, 210 Grandmother’s Squash Casserole, 89 Green Beans & Bacon, 200 Herbed Barley Pilaf, 96 Homemade Creamed Corn, 87 Honey-Ginger Roasted Carrots, 88 Italian Garlic Green Beans, 89 Parmesan Potato Casserole, 91 Pickled Beets, 93 Saucy Succotash, 199 Savory Sage Stuffing, 94 Sweet Potato Casserole, 201 Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes, 92 Walnut Broccoli, 86

Soups & Stews Brooklyn’s Broccoli Cheese Soup, 195 Cheesy Potato Soup, 71 Cream Cheese-Chicken Chili, 196 Cream of Mushroom Soup, 77 Easy Vegetarian Mexican Chili, 193 Ellen’s Turkey-Vegetable Soup, 68 Garlic Potato Soup & Garlic Toast, 76 Hearty Ham & Hashbrown Soup, 194 Italian Chicken Vegetable Soup, 192 Kielbasa, Cabbage & Potato Soup, 82 Mama Meg’s Christmas Chili, 79 New Year’s Black-Eyed Pea Stew, 195 Old-Fashioned Vegetable Beef Soup, 74 Rustic Zucchini-Veggie Soup, 78 Seafood Stew, 80 Snowy-Day Chicken Noodle Soup, 70 Tammy’s Taco Soup, 66 Winter Beef Stew, 197

Barbecued Beef, 190 Chicken Sandwiches, 191 Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, 58

220

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U.S. to Metric Recipe Equivalents Volume Measurements 1/4 teaspoon 1/2 teaspoon 1 teaspoon 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons 2 tablespoons = 1 fluid ounce 1/4 cup 1/3 cup 1/2 cup = 4 fluid ounces 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces 2 cups = 1 pint =16 fluid ounces 4 cups = 1 quart

Weights 1 mL 2 mL 5 mL 15 mL 30 mL 60 mL 75 mL 125 mL 250 mL 500 mL 1L

1 ounce 4 ounces 8 ounces 16 ounces = 1 pound

30 g 120 g 225 g 450 g

Oven Temperatures 300˚ F 325˚ F 350˚ F 375˚ F 400˚ F 450˚ F

150˚ C 160˚ C 180˚ C 190˚ C 200˚ C 230˚ C

Baking Pan Sizes Square 8x8x2 inches 9x9x2 inches Rectangular 13x9x2 inches

2 L = 20x20x5 cm 2.5 L = 23x23x5 cm 3.5 L = 33x23x5 cm

Loaf 9x5x3 inches Round 8x1-1/2 inches 9x1-1/2 inches

2 L = 23x13x7 cm 1.2 L = 20x4 cm 1.5 L = 23x4 cm

O u r St o r y Back in 1984, we were next-door neighbors raising our families in the little town of Delaware, Ohio. Two moms with small children, we were looking for a way to do what we loved and stay home with the kids too. We had always shared a love of home cooking and making memories with family & friends and so, after many a conversation over the backyard fence, Gooseberry Patch was born. We put together our first catalog at our kitchen tables, enlisting the help of our loved ones wherever we could. From that very first mailing, we found an immediate connection with many of our customers and it wasn’t long before we began receiving letters, photos and recipes from these new friends. In 1992, we put together our very first cookbook, compiled from hundreds of these recipes and, the rest, as they say, is history. Hard to believe it’s been over 30 years since those kitchen-table days! From that original little Gooseberry Patch family, we’ve grown to include an amazing group of creative folks who love cooking, decorating and creating as much as we do. Today, we’re best known for our homestyle, family-friendly cookbooks, now recognized as national bestsellers. One thing’s for sure, we couldn’t have done it without our friends all across the country. Each year, we’re honored to turn thousands of your recipes into our collectible cookbooks. Our hope is that each book captures the stories and heart of all of you who have shared with us. Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or are just discovering us, welcome to the Gooseberry Patch family!

JoAnn & Vickie

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