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New twists bring back life to old recipes

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

The Labor Day holiday was a much-needed long weekend for our family.

Although we did not do much of anything exciting, we did things as a family, which is always a lot of fun. Lexie, our 8-year-old daughter, found her daddy's pogo stick from his childhood days.

She jumped up and down on that spring-loaded stick all weekend. Early in the weekend I thought it might have been hopeless, but by Monday evening she was doing great and the skill of mastering the pogo stick was in sight.

Knowing that it is really a balance thing, now she wants a unicycle for Christmas. Oh, that girl.

A person dear to me gave me this recipe to share with you. Although it looks familiar, it has a fun flavor twist making it oh-so refreshing.

Strawberry Margarita Squares

Crust:

2 cups (about 66) fat-free mini-twist pretzels, 1 cup crushed

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1/4 cup sugar

Filling:

2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup thawed, frozen margarita mix concentrate, non-alcoholic

2 containers (8 ounces each) frozen whipped topping, thawed, divided

1 package (3 ounces) strawberry gelatin

1/2 cup boiling water

1 package (10 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup

Fresh strawberry slices, optional

Lime slices, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the crust, finely crush pretzels in a resealable plastic bag. Melt butter in microwave; add crushed pretzels and sugar, mix well. Press mixture onto bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake 10 minutes. Cool completely.

For the filling, beat cream cheese and margarita mix until well blended.

Fold in 2 cups of the whipped topping. Carefully spread cream cheese mixture evenly over crust. Refrigerate while preparing strawberry layer.

Place gelatin in small bowl. Stir in boiling water; stir until completely dissolved. Add frozen strawberries and stir until strawberries separate and gelatin is thickened. When a spoon is drawn through the mixture it will leave an impression. Whisk in 3 cups of the whipped topping. Pour over cream cheese layer, spreading to edges. Refrigerate 3 hours to set.

Cut dessert into 15 squares and garnish with remaining whipped topping. Top with fresh strawberry and lime slices, if desired.

I have had several recipes shared with me recently and I wanted to pass them onto you. Each of them has been given to me by a friend or family member, and I feel certain they are "keepers" and will want to find their way into your recipe files.

Baked Fruit with Macaroons

12 to 16 macaroons, crumbled

1 (29-ounce) can peach halves

1 (29-ounce) can pear halves

1 (15-ounce) can apricot halves

1 (20-ounce) can sliced pineapple

1 (15-ounce) can pitted white cherries

1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds

1/4 cup or more brown sugar

1/2 cup sherry

1/4 cup melted butter

Generously butter 2 1/2-quart casserole. Cover bottom with macaroon crumbs; layer fruit. Cover top with rest of crumbs, almonds, brown sugar, and sherry. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Pour melted butter over the top.

Artichoke-Asparagus Casserole

1 large can asparagus tips

1 small can artichoke hearts, sliced

2 cups cracker crumbs

1/2 pound grated cheese

1/2 cup almonds or pecans, toasted

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup mushroom soup

Salt and pepper, to taste

Grate cheese and mix with cracker crumbs. Add liquid from asparagus to soup.

Put layers of crumbs and cheese in bottom of casserole, then layer of asparagus and artichokes and sprinkle of nuts. Dot with butter and cover with soup. Repeat until all ingredients are used, with layer of cheese on top. Decorate with whole almonds and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Once again I am out of room for this week. I hope you had a good holiday and you were able to spend the day just as you would have liked. Have a great week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701.

Coffee Ice Cream Pie

2 cups Rice Krispies cereal

1 small jar chocolate sundae topping

1 quart coffee ice cream, softened

Grated chocolate and chocolate curls

Combine cereal and chocolate topping; press into a 9-inch glass plate to form the crust. Chill. Fill crust with ice cream and freeze. Top with grated chocolate and curls and serve. Serves 6 to 8 people.

Italian Almond Cake with Raspberry Sauce

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

8 ounces almond paste

3 eggs

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 cup flour

1/3 teaspoon baking powder

Powdered sugar

Combine sugar, butter and almond paste; blend well. Add eggs and almond extract; beat well. Add flour and baking powder; mix until just blended. Do not overmix. Pour batter into greased and floured 8-inch round cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until wooden pick comes out clean. Cool. Invert onto serving plate; dust with powdered sugar. Slice into wedges and serve with warm raspberry sauce. Serves 8.

Raspberry Sauce

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup sugar

1 (12 ounce) package frozen raspberries

In a 2-quart saucepan, combine cornstarch with sugar. Add raspberries. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Yields 2 cups.

Heath Cookies

1 large egg

1 (18 ounce) package yellow cake mix

3/4 cup oil

1 (6 ounce) package Bits o' Brickle

Beat egg; mix with other ingredients. Cover cookie sheet with aluminum foil; drop dough by well-rounded teaspoonfuls. Flatten with fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 11 to 15 minutes. Let cool on foil. Yields 4 dozen cookies.

Once again I am out of room for this week. I hope you had a good holiday and you were able to spend the day just as you would have liked. Have a great week and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at smcclanahan@semissourian.com or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701.


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Susan McClanahan
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