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Recipes to help you celebrate the season

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Everyone seems busy planning Christmas menus and getting grocery shopping started. There are main dish decisions to be made, then all of the side dishes, not to mention the dessert options.

I have included a coupe of recipes here today that might help with a side dish or two, a quick dessert and a couple of other recipes that might find their way to your Christmas celebration this year.

Golden Oreo Cake Batter Blondies

Your Christmas celebration may include having family visit for extended periods of time. This recipe would be good to have available for pick up and go snacks, not only for children, but adults, as well.

1 box yellow cake mix

1/4 cup canola oil

1 egg

1/3 to 1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup sprinkles

1 1/2 cups chopped Golden Oreos (reserve a handful to sprinkle on top)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 11-inch-by-7-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Combine first four ingredients in a large bowl. Add the milk slowly. You want the cake batter to be as dense & thick as possible. Fold in the chopped Golden Oreo pieces and sprinkles. Pour into prepared baking pan, sprinkle a few more sprinkles and crushed Oreos on top, and bake for 25-30 minutes until edges are just turning brown. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes so the center sets, before cutting into squares.

Apple and Onion Stuffing

6 slices light bread

1 tablespoon light whipped butter or light buttery spread

2 cups chopped sweet onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1/2 tablespoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black pepper

1/3 cup fat-free chicken broth, room temperature, plus more, if needed

1/4 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

4 cups chopped Fuji apples

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1/4 cup raisins (not packed)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly toast the bread slices. Cut them into cubes and set aside. Add butter to a pot over medium heat on the stove. Once melted, add onion, celery, shallots, garlic, and salt. Add pepper, to taste. Saute the veggies until softened, about 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine broth with egg substitute and stir thoroughly. Set aside. Remove the pot from heat and add apples, parsley, and raisins. Mix well and set aside. Add toasted bread cubes to the broth mixture and stir to coat. Add vegetable-apple mixture and gently stir. The bread cubes should be moist but not saturated. Add a few extra tablespoons of broth to coat, if needed. Spray a medium baking dish with nonstick spray. Transfer stuffing mixture to the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove foil and, using a fork, gently fluff and rearrange stuffing. Return to the oven, uncovered. Bake until the top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. While the stuffing is still warm, mix gently, if needed.

I Can't Believe It's Not Sweet Potato Casserole

8 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash

2/3 cup light vanilla soymilk

2/3 cup sugar-free pancake syrup

1/2 cup granulated no-calorie sweetener (recommended: Splenda)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 cups miniature marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Fill a large, microwave-safe dish with 1/2 inch of water. Place squash into the dish and cover. Microwave for about 8 minutes and then drain (the squash should be tender enough to mash, but not overcooked).

With a potato masher, food processor, or fork, mash the squash thoroughly, but do not puree (the squash should be pulpy). Add soymilk, syrup, sweetener, salt, egg substitute, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, but do not over-stir. Transfer to an 8-inch by 10-inch baking pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Bake in the oven until mostly firm, 45 to 50 minutes.

Top with mini marshmallows. Return to the oven until the marshmallows begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Allow to cool before serving

Cook's note: Adding the ingredients in this order gives the squash enough time to cool before adding the egg substitute, which could begin to "cook" if added too early.

Caramel Apple Cider

Cinnamon syrup, a couple of squirts

100 percent pure apple juice

Fresh whipped cream

Caramel syrup drizzled on top

Blend cinnamon syrup with apple juice. Top with whipped cream and caramel syrup.

Christmas Punch

2 quarts cranberry juice

2 quarts lemonade

2 quarts pineapple juice

2 quarts carbonated lemon-lime beverage or 2 quarts ginger ale ( or less)

Pour all of the juices together in a big punch bowl. Add enough soda to give the punch a kick, but not so much that the flavor of the juices is diluted.

Cranberry Apple Cake

12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced

1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup sour cream

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt. Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature

Have a wonderful week, and until next time, happy cooking.

Susan McClanahan is administrator at the Cape Girardeau Senior Center. Send recipes to her at news@semissourian.com 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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