Recipe Swap: The search for the Holy Grille

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas! On this Christmas Eve -- one of my favorite days of the year -- we look forward to being with family and attending church with candlelight and singing carols and looking at all of the beautiful decorations. In the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season, I hope you pause to reflect on Christ, the reason for this special time. It is because of his birth that we have the promise of eternal life; wow, what a special gift given to each of us. Enjoy and celebrate with family and friend as this is something to really celebrate about.

To help celebrate Christmas, my mother-in-law received a gift from her dear friend, Cheryl Gilges, of Gulf Shores, Ala. Cheryl's church put together a charming cookbook, "The Holy Grille" by St. Andrew by the Sea Community Church. The book includes sections such as Chiming of the Hour (appetizers), Processional (soups and salads) Passing the Peace (breads and rolls), Blessing the Children (fun and crafts), The Anthem (vegetables and side dishes) and so on. It is clever and nicely arranged, I have really enjoyed reading it. Today, enjoy a few recipes pulled from this church cookbook as we celebrate Christ's birth.

Almond Tea

1 can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

1 cup refined sugar or Splenda

3 to 4 tablespoons instant unsweetened tea

1 tablespoon almond extract

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

14 cups water

In a 1-gallon container, combine the first 5 ingredients. Mix well. Add 8 cups water. Stir to blend. Add the remaining water. Serve over ice with sliced lemons.

Cheese Ring

2 cups sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 cup mayonnaise

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/2 to 1 cup pecans, chopped

Dash cayenne pepper

Pepper to taste

Strawberry preserves

Wheat Thins snack crackers

Mix cheese, mayonnaise, onion, pecans, cayenne pepper and pepper together, pour into gelatin ring mold. Chill overnight. Just before serving remove from mold. Pour strawberry preserves in the middle of ring. Serve with Wheat Thins snack crackers.

Havarti Cheese and Pecan Quesadillas

1 cup pecans, toasted

6 flour tortillas

1/2 cup pear preserves

12 slices Havarti cheese

4 tablespoons butter

Toss pecans in saute pan on high until you can smell them or toast pecans in oven at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for 20 to 30 minutes. Place tortilla in fry pan over medium-high heat or on electric/gas grill at 350 degrees. Lightly butter first side of tortilla, heat until tan. Turn over, lower heat to warm, and quickly place pieces of cheese and pecans. Place another tortilla over top. Heat on medium to medium-high heat until lightly browned. Now turn the quesadilla over to lightly brown (may add more butter before flipping). Remove from pan and cut into serving slices. Repeat process. Serve with fruit preserves and your favorite cocktail or wine.

Marinated Shrimp

1/4 cup tarragon vinegar

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup dry mustard

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup minced parsley, flat leaf is best

6 green onions, chopped

2 1/2 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 (3-ounce) package crab and shrimp boil

Using a 3-quart bowl, mix together the first 6 ingredients. Whisk together, then gradually add the oil until thickened. Stir in parsley and green onions. Set aside. In a large pot, bring water and crab/shrimp boil to a boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Add shrimp and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until pink. Drain and shake in colander to remove excess water. Immediately add shrimp to sauce. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Serve shrimp on seedless cucumber slices.

Crab Pie

This pie would be delicious and elegant served with fresh fruit for a Christmas morning brunch.

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tablespoons flour

2 eggs

Dash salt

1/2 cup milk

1 cup crabmeat

4 ounces Swiss cheese

4 ounces milk Cheddar cheese, grated

1/3 cup onion, grated

1 pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayonnaise, flour, eggs, salt and milk together. In a separate bowl mix crabmeat, cheese and onion. Combine the two mixtures. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Onion-Crusted Chicken

This recipe was submitted to the cookbook by Cheryl Gilges, my mother-in-law's dear friend. Our children love this chicken recipe. Our daughter can sit and eat the onion rings right out of the can.

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 (2.5-ounce) can fried onion rings, crushed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place each piece of chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Flatten to 1/4-inch using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine butter, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Stir well. Dredge chicken in butter mixture then in crushed onions. Arrange chicken in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with remaining onions. Drizzle with remaining butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Shredded Chicken and Peanut Noodles

1 (8-ounce) package linguine

3 tablespoons chunky peanut butter

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 teaspoon refined sugar

1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons scallions, chopped

1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and the next 6 ingredients. Mix well. Toss in chicken and pasta. Mix well. Serve warm or cold.

Blueberry Crunch

1 can crushed pineapple, with juice

3 cups blueberries

3/4 cup sugar

1 package yellow cake mix

1 stick margarine, melted

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Add ingredients in the order listed above. Do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Enjoy this day, tomorrow and all of the new year. May it be filled with hope, peace, health, happiness and, of course, lots of new recipes and great food. Until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at or by mail at P.O. Box 699, Cape Girardeau, Mo. 63701. Recipes published have not been kitchen-tested by Southeast Missourian staff.

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