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These show up on our table more often than not.

Angel Lush Cake with Pineapple
Prep 15 minutes plus refrigerating
Makes 10 servings
1 pkg (4-serving) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding & Pie Filling
1 can (20 oz) Dole Crushed Pineapple in juice, undrained
1 c. thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
1 pkg (10 oz) prepared round angel food cake
10 small strawberries
1. Mix dry pudding mix and pineapple with juice in a medium bowl.  Gently stir in whipped topping.

2. Cut cake horizontally into 3 layers.

3. Place bottom cake layer, cut side up, on serving plate.  Spread 1 1/3 cup of the pudding mixture onto cake layer; cover with middle cake layer.  Spread 1 cup of the pudding mixture onto middle cake layer; top with remaining cake layer.  Spread with remaining pudding mixture.  Top with strawberries.

4. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.
1 10 oz. can chicken chunks
1 c Frank’s Red Hot sauce
2 8 oz. cream cheese
1 c ranch dressing
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Drain chicken.
Cook chicken in Red Hot sauce until boiling.
Add cream cheese until melted, stirring frequently.
Add ranch dressing and cheddar cheese (reserving some cheese for topping).
Bake for 40 minutes, add remaining cheddar cheese as a topping and bake 10 minutes more.
Serve with tortilla chips.
(I usually use an oven-safe saucepan to make it.)
Chicken Supreme
Prep Time 15 minutes 
Bake Time 30-45 minutes
Yield  8 servings
1.5 lbs. chicken tenders
1 lb. sliced mozzarella
1 can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup
1/3 cup milk
1 package Stouffer's Chicken Stuffing
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Layer chicken tenders on the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking pan.
3.  Layer sliced mozzarella over the chicken.
4.  In a bowl, mix cream of chicken soup and milk.  Spread mixture over the mozzarella cheese.
5.  In a microwave-safe bowl, melt butter (amount on called for on stuffing mix directions).  Add the amount of water called for on the stuffing mix directions MINUS 1/4 cup.  Add dry stuffing ingredients to butter/water mixture.  Spread stuffing over soup mixture.
6.  Bake 30-45 minutes until stuffing is golden brown.
Tip:  You can pre-make the casserole.  Just refrigerate it and don't bake it until you're ready.  In those instances, I usually leave the tin-foil on while baking for the first half hour, then remove the tin foil and continue baking until stuffing is a gold brown.
Double-Chocolate Bread Pudding
Prep time:   10 minutes plus standing
Bake time:   40 minutes
Yield:   8 servings

2 c. heavy or whipping cream
1/3 c. sugar
¼ c. whole milk
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 oz. day-old French bread, cut into ¾-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
¼ c. semisweet chocolate chips
   Whipped cream (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In 2-quart saucepan, heat cream, sugar and milk over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.

2. Add chopped chocolate, stirring with wire whisk until mixture is smooth and chocolate melts completely.  Gradually whisk in eggs and vanilla until well combined.

3. Place bread in shallow 1 ½-quart or 8” x 8” glass or ceramic baking dish.  Pour chocolate mixture over bread.  Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of bread mixture.  Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes or until set.  Cool 10 minutes to serve warm, or cover and refrigerate to serve cold later.  Serve with whipped cream if you like.
3 sm pkgs frozen broccoli spears (or 1 bag)
6 boneless chicken breasts
3 cans Cream of Chicken soup
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
6 tbsp sherry (optional)
¾ c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¾ c soft bread crumbs or bread cubes
2 tbsp melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook broccoli, but not mushy.  Cut spears into bite-size chunks and layer in the bottom of a 9 x 13 casserole dish.
Cook chicken breasts; cube chicken and layer on top of broccoli.  (Can sauté chicken in olive oil, seasoning, and garlic)
Combine Cream of Chicken soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice and sherry.  Spread on top of chicken.
Layer shredded cheese on top of mayonnaise mixture.
Layer bread crumbs on top of cheese.  Drizzle bread crumbs with melted butter.
Cook for 1 hour until bubbly hot.
Serve over hot rice.
Green beans with caramelized red onions
Prep time:   30 minutes
Cook time:   40 minutes
Yield:   16 servings

Salt and ground black pepper
3 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1 ½ lbs. red onions (about 3 medium), each cut in half, then sliced
3 tbs. margarine or butter
1 tbs. fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1. Fill large bowl with ice water to cool beans quickly after cooking; set aside.

2. Heat 6 to 8-quart saucepot of salted water to boiling over high heat.  Add beans in 2 batches and cook each batch 4 minutes or until beans are tender-crisp, making sure water returns to boiling before adding each batch of beans.  With slotted spoon or sieve, transfer beans to bowl of ice water.  Drain beans thoroughly.

3. In nonstick 12-inch skillet, combine onions, margarine, thyme, 1 ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper.  Cook over medium-high heat 15 minutes or until onions start to brown, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 7 minutes longer or until onions turn dark brown, stirring frequently.

4. Stir beans into onion mixture; heat through, stirring frequently.

Tip:  Up to 2 days in advance, blanch, cool and drain beans.  Cook onion mixture and cool.  Refrigerate each component separately in sealed plastic bags.  To reheat, toss beans and onion mixture into 4-quart microwave safe glass bowl.  Microwave on high about 8 minutes, stirring halfway through heating.
Holiday Hideaways

Prep time: 60 minutes  Bake time: 10 minutes
2/3 cup Butter Flavor Crisco   1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar      1 tsp baking powder
1 egg       ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp milk      ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
48 maraschino cherries, well-drained on paper towels
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream Butter Flavor Crisco, sugar, egg, mile and vanilla in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.

4. Beat flour mixture into creamed mixture at slow speed.

5. Press dough into very thin layer around well-drained cherries.

6. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

8. Cool on baking sheet for one minute.

9. Remove to cooling rack.  Cool completely.
Dipping chocolate

1 cup white or dark melting chocolate, cut into small pieces 
2 tbsp Butter Flavor Crisco 
Finely chopped pecans
Slivered white chocolate
1. Melt chocolate of choice and Butter Flavor Crisco on very low heat or 50% power in microwave.

2. Stir.

3. Transfer chocolate to glass measuring cup.

4. Drop one cookie at a time into chocolate.  Use fork to turn.

5. Cover completely with chocolate.*

6. Lift cookie out of chocolate on fork.  Allow excess to drip off.

7. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheet.

8. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of white chocolate cookies.  Sprinkle white chocolate on dark chocolate cookies while chocolate is wet. 

9. Chill in refrigerator to set chocolate.

*If chocolate becomes too firm, reheat on low.
Johnny B's Hot Potato Casserole
5 lbs. potatoes, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
1 lb. bacon
1 lb. sliced yellow American Cheese
1/2 cup minced onion
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Boil potatoes until slightly tender (not quite as firm as you'd want for potato salad).  Drain.  Return to pot.

3.  While potatoes are boiling, cut bacon into 1.5-2 inch strips.  Cook in a large pan on the stovetop until almost done.  (You want the bacon not to be too crispy.)

4.  Cut American cheese into 1 inch cubes.

5.  Add bacon (reserve some for the top), cheese, minced onion and mayonnaise to potatoes.  You want a little more mayonnaise than you'd use on potato salad.

6.  Spread mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish. Top with remaining bacon.

7.  Bake for 1 hour.
Tip:  It's easier to cut up the bacon when it's slightly frozen.  Casserole can be made ahead of time - just refrigerate until ready to bake.
We usually add a little more bacon and cheese to the recipe.
Montreal Steak Marinade
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning
Combine ingredients in a Ziploc bag.  Add steak or steak tips.  Seal bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour, flipping bag over every half hour or so.  Makes enough to adequately cover two ribeye steaks.
Tip:  We use this as a base for other marinades.  Sometimes adding crushed garlic cloves, lemon zest, orange zest, etc.  Experiment!
Pineapple Cheese Ball
2 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 8 oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
1 sm. box instant French vanilla pudding
½ c sliced pecans (or other nuts)
Mix all ingredients except pecans (or nuts) and roll into a ball.
Roll ball in pecans (or nuts).
Chill overnight.
Serve with cinnamon graham crackers.

Syrupy Banana-Nut Overnight French Toast
Prep 20 minutes plus chilling and standing
Bake about 45 minutes
Makes 8 main-dish servings
6 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 ½ c. packed brown sugar
5 large ripe bananas, cut diagonally into ½-inch thick slices; or
 3 to 4 very ripe pears or peaches (about 1 ½ pounds), sliced; or
 1 cup dried cherries, cranberries or raisins
1 long loaf French or Italian bread (12 ounces), cut crosswise into
1-inch thick slices
6 large eggs
2 c. milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ c. sliced almonds or coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans
1. In microwave-safe small bowl, heat butter in microwave on High for 1 minute or until melted.  Stir sugar into butter until moistened.  With fingertips, press sugar mixture onto bottom of a 13” x 9” glass baking dish.  (It’s okay if mixture does not cover the bottom.)  Spread fresh or dried fruit over sugar mixture; top with bread slices, cut sides down.

2. In medium bowl, with whisk, beat eggs; whisk in milk, vanilla and cinnamon.  Slowly pour milk mixture over bread; press bread down to absorb egg mixture.  Sprinkle with nuts.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Remove plastic wrap from baking dish.  Bake, uncovered, 45 to 50 minutes or until bread is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Triple-Cheese Mashed Potato Casserole
Prep time:   35 minutes
Bake time:   15 minutes
Yield:   20 servings

5 lbs. all-purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
5 tbs. margarine or butter
¾ c. finely grated Parmesan cheese
¾ c. plain dried bread crumbs
2 c. reduced fat milk (2%)
4 oz. Cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese, cut up

1. In 6-quart saucepot, heat potatoes, 1 tbs. salt, and enough water to cover to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

2. Meanwhile, in microwave-safe small bowl, heat 3 tbs. margarine in microwave oven on high 30 seconds or until margarine melts.  Stir in Parmesan and bread crumbs; set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Drain potatoes well; return to saucepot.  With potato masher, mash potatoes with 2 tsp. salt.  Stir in milk, then Cheddar, Neufchatel, and remaining margarine until cheese melts.

4. Grease 13” x 9” glass or ceramic baking dish.  Spoon potato mixture into dish. 

5. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly over potatoes.  Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or until top is lightly browned.

Tip:  Follow recipe through step 4; cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  Refrigerate crumb mixture in a sealed plastic bag.  To serve, let dish stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Bake, uncovered, in preheated 325 degree oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes; uncover, sprinkle with crumb mixture and bake until browned, 15 minutes.

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