Recipes meant to warm up cold winter days

Wednesday, January 2, 2002



Although Christmas Day has come and gone, we are still in the season of Christmastide according to our church calendar. Epiphany will be celebrated Jan. 6, which is 12 days after Christmas Day. So for our family, we are still celebrating Christmas. We had our Sunday school class party after Christmas Day and our couples supper group had its Christmas party over the weekend. It is so wonderful to celebrate the arrival of Christ through Christmastide and enjoy the season and the fun of 12 days of Christmas.

I hope the spirit of Christmas stays alive and vibrant in your heart all year through.

Having cold winter days and that one little snow shower we had made me turn to some winter warm-up recipes for casseroles and soups. I like having a couple of casseroles on hand for quick lunches while we are all home for the holidays.

I am going to borrow some recipes from a cookbook I got for Christmas. The Butler County Democratic Women's Club put out a cookbook in 2000, and it is still available for purchase. Someone was selling the books in the store where my mother works, and she got a copy for me. I hope you enjoy these recipes from the book.

Beef and Crescent Roll Pie

1 pound ground beef

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 (8 ounce) can crescent dinner rolls

1/3 cup chopped celery

1 (4 ounce) package shredded Mozzarella cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

Dash pepper

Brown the meat; drain. Add onion and celery. Cook until tender. Add tomato paste, 1/2 cup cheese and seasonings; mix well. Separate crescent roll dough into eight triangles. Place in a 9-inch pie plate, pressing together to form a crust. Flute edges. Fill with meat mixture; top with remaining cheese. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Pie may be made and refrigerated the day before ready to serve.

Peach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

6 whole chicken breasts, boned and skinned

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cashews

1/2 cup butter or margarine

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided

3 fresh peaches, peeled and diced (canned or frozen may be used)

1/8 teaspoons ground ginger

Creamy Fresh Peach Sauce, recipe follows

Place chicken breasts on a sheet of waxed paper. Flatten to 1/4-inch thickness, using a meat mallet or rolling pin; sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt and pepper over the inside of breasts. Set chicken aside.

Combine peaches, onion, cashews and ginger, stirring well. Place 1/4 cup filling in center of each breast; fold side of chicken over filling and secure with a toothpick. Melt butter in a 9-by-13-inch- baking pan; place beasts top side down in butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes; turn chicken and bake 20 additional minutes. Serve with Creamy Fresh Peach Sauce. Yields 6 large servings.

Creamy Fresh Peach Sauce

2 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (canned or frozen will work)

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon brandy

1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan; place over low heat for 8 minutes or until sauce is heated thoroughly. Yields about 2 cups.

Company Chicken Cordon Bleu

8 chicken breast halves, skinned and boned

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup milk

4 (1 ounce) slices cooked ham, cut in half

4 (1 ounce) slices Swiss cheese, cut in half

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/3 cups fine dry bread crumbs

Vegetable oil mushroom sauce, optional, recipe follows

Place each piece of chicken between 2 sheets of waxed paper; flatten to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Combine eggs and milk; brush both sides of chicken pieces with milk mixture. Place a piece of ham and a piece of cheese in center of each chicken piece. Brush top of cheese slices with milk mixture. Fold ends over ham and cheese; roll up, beginning with long side. Secure with wooden picks. Dredge chicken in flour; dip in remaining milk mixture and coat well with bread crumbs. Cover and chill 1 hour. Heat 1/2-inch oil in heavy skillet; add chicken and pan-fry over medium heat 20 minutes or until golden brown, turning frequently. Drain well. Serve with mushroom sauce, if desired. Yields 8 servings.

Mushroom Sauce

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 (8 ounce) carton sour cream

1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained

1/3 cup dry sherry

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated. Yields about 2 1/2 cups.

Ham Steak with Onion Gravy

1 ham steak, about 1 1/2-inches thick

2 cups onion, thinly sliced

1 cup sour cream

1/8 cup heavy cream

1/8 cup warm water

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash of Garlic powder

1 small can mushrooms

Pan cook ham steak on both sides. Remove from the pan. Add onions to pan and cook until browned. Add Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder and mushrooms. Mix in heavy cream with water. Add sour cream and heavy cream with water to pan. Heat through. Pour over ham steak.

Shrimp Scampi

2 pounds large shrimp

1 1/2 sticks butter

1/4 cup chopped onion

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup chopped parsley

Shell and clean shrimp. Sauté shrimp in butter with onion and garlic about 5 minutes; turning shrimp once. Transfer shrimp to hot serving dish; set aside. Add seasonings and lemon juice to skillet and heat.

Pour over shrimp and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Beef Stew A La Ireland

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound beef cubes, about 1-inch cubes

1 onion, chopped

3 carrots, quartered

2 potatoes, cubed

1/2 cup small pieces celery

1 cup beef broth

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

Combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a shallow bowl or plastic bag; mix well. Cover beef cubes with flour mixture. Heat oil in large skillet. Brown beef on all sides. Arrange vegetables on bottom of slow cooker. Pour beef over vegetables. Pour small amount of broth into skillet used to brown meat. Stir to loosen meat particles. Add this liquid and remaining beef broth to cooker, along with bay leaf and Worcestershire sauce. Cook on low 10 to 12 hours.

Remove bay leaf before serving.

Worlds Easiest Corn Chowder

3 strips bacon, chopped

1 chopped onion

3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 1/2 cups water

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups corn kernels

1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook bacon in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until crisp. Drain off all but 1-tablespoon fat. Add onion and cook until tender. Add potatoes, water and salt; bring to a boil over high heat, until potatoes are tender. Put corn, milk and pepper into food processor.

Pulse until blended, but not pureed. Return to saucepan and heat.

Serve topped with thinly sliced chives. Yields 6 servings.

Meta Siemers of Cape Girardeau had a bumper crop of pecans this fall and would like to make spiced pecans. I have several recipes, of which orange spiced is my favorite. I have shared that recipe with you in the past, so will share a different one this time.

Frosted Pecans

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

1 pound pecan halves or pieces

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat egg white and water until frothy, but not stiff; stir in pecans. Mix the sugar, salt and cinnamon together. Add pecan mixture; stir well. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 300-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and store in airtight container.

Happy New Year to each of you. May your year ahead be filled with much health and happiness, and, of course, lots of new recipes. Until next week, happy cooking.

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