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Tradition plays a big role during the holiday season. Food is at the center of many families’ traditions, which may include big family dinners and Sunday brunches together.
Holiday baking sessions also hold a sacred spot in many households. Such sessions are a great opportunity for adults and children to have some fun in the kitchen and create some tasty treats the whole family can enjoy.
Baked goods devotees may find it hard to imagine the holidays without gingerbread, and this recipe for “Soft Glazed Gingerbread” from Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson’s “Tartine” (Chronicle Books) can ensure the whole family enjoys this holiday season staple.

Soft Glazed Gingerbread
Yields 12 to 20 cookies

Dough
33/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
4 teaspoons ground ginger
11/2 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
11/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup blackstrap or other dark molasses
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

Glaze
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons water

To make the dough, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar and mix on medium speed until the mixture is completely smooth and soft. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the egg and mix well.
Add the molasses and corn syrup and beat until blended. Stop the mixer again and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until a dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl and all the ingredients are well incorporated. Remove the dough from the bowl, flatten it on a large piece of plastic wrap into a rectangle about 1 inch thick, cover the dough with the plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper on a nonstick liner.
Unwrap the dough and place on a floured work surface. If using a plaque with a design, roll out the dough 1/3-inch thick, lightly dust the top with flour, press your cookie molds over the dough, and then cut out the shapes with a small knife and place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Alternatively, using the mold as a guide, cut around it with a small knife, flip the mold over so the design is facing you, and place the dough over it, pressing it into the design. Unmold the shapes onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.
If using a patterned rolling pin, lightly dust the lined baking sheet with flour and transfer the dough to the pan. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and roll it into a rectangle about 1/3-inch thick with a plain pin. Then, using the patterned pin, roll over the dough with enough pressure to ensure a clear impression of the design. Trim the sides with a small knife. It is not necessary to cut into smaller sizes before baking.
Bake the cookies until lightly golden along the sides but still soft to the touch in the centers, 7 to 15 minutes. The timing will depend on the size of the individual cookies, or if you have made a single large patterned piece that will be cut after baking.
While the cookies are baking, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and water until smooth.
When the cookies are ready, remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Then, while the cookies are still warm, using even strokes, brush a light coat of glaze on the top of each cookie, evenly covering it. Let the cookies cool completely. When the glaze dries, it should leave a shiny, opaque finish. If you have used a patterned pin to make a single large plaque, cut into the desired sizes with a small, very sharp knife. The cookies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for about 2 weeks. They do not freeze well, however, as the glaze becomes watery when they are thawed.

 

The home-crafted pasta sauce brand, Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes, is excited to officially announce the launch of their eagerly anticipated 2021 Recipe Contest. Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes offers the opportunity for culinary novices and home cooks to submit their favorite recipes for a chance to win $1,000 and the opportunity to be considered for distribution at retailers nationwide. Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes looks forward to finding the best recipes in the United States, and to continue their growing support of donations to local homeless shelters throughout the United States.  

The recipe contest will be available for submissions from October 1, 2021, through midnight December 1, 2021, allowing for the Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes team to carefully evaluate every single recipe that comes to them. Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes will pay homage to the brilliant recipes with additional opportunities to include adding the name, likeness, and signature of the original recipe creator to each jar, allowing family favorites to potentially become the favorite meal for food lovers across the country. Along with this, Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes is building on the support of assisting homeless shelters by donating twenty-five cents of every jar purchased to homeless shelters throughout the country. 

Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes is excited to taste the amazing recipes people will love to share and intends on announcing the winners of the recipe contest on February 11, 2022. Food is more than just dinner, it is spending time with those that mean the most to you, hearing stories, sharing laughs, and now home cooks have a unique opportunity to bring those same characteristics of their favorite meals to people everywhere. 

“Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes is searching beyond red pasta sauces with the upcoming recipe contest to now include products such as Creamy Pasta Sauces, Salad Dressings, Barbeque Sauces, Soups, Chilis, and Salsas” said Wayne Luciano, Co-Founder and President of Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes. “This allows home cooks nationwide to share their favorite family recipes with the opportunity of seeing their recipe come to life much like the brand’s flagship pasta sauces.”

Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes is excited to share this special opportunity for people to potentially share with the world their favorite recipes, all with the end result of assisting in Just Like Home Kitchen’s mission to help and support homeless shelters throughout the United States. Great food is about sharing meals and memories with those that mean the most to you. With Just Like Home Kitchen Recipes, those favorite memories of your favorite dinner can be shared by people across the nation. 

The Belfonte Ice Cream Specialists have unwrapped two limited-time flavors to help with the holiday spirit! Belfonte released the holiday ice cream at the end of October and believes they will begin appearing on grocers' shelves in early to mid-November. Southern Pecan Pie contains maple praline flavored ice cream swirled with brown sugar ribbons bursting with pie crust pieces and roasted pecans. A scoop of this premium ice cream is sure to be on everyone's list!
Next, Belfonte is featuring everyone's favorite holiday candy in an ice cream, Peppermint Stick. This favorite premium vanilla ice cream is blended with red and green peppermint candy and makes the perfect Candy Cane Delight Shake!
"We're excited to share the taste of the season with these two limited-time flavors," said Tim Ketcham, General Sales Manager, Belfonte Dairy. "We also wanted to create flavors that reflect the season and add to those family gatherings and the memories they create."
In addition to the new ice cream flavors, Belfonte has announced a "Comfy Pants, Good Food Dance" Holiday Contest. One lucky winner will receive a Belfonte Dairy Free Product Coupon Pack and a Vitamix Blender Package to blend those favorite holiday flavors. The Belfonte website also will feature holiday recipes that help our holiday meal planners prepare a taste of tradition and a dash of fresh, festive flavor. Rules and details at www.BelfonteDairy/Holiday

This recipe is best referred to as “zingy”, because it really isn’t that hot (however, that is somewhat subjective). It gets its “zingy” taste primarily from lemon juice and soy sauce.

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Ingredients

• 2 (4-5 ounce)chicken breasts
• 4 ounces Sliced mozzarella cheese
• ½ cup Grape tomatoes; sliced in half
• ¼ cup Basil leaves
• 1 3/4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ tsp pepper
• 2 teaspoons olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board.
  3. Using a sharp knife, cut slits across the chicken breast about 3/4 of the way through the chicken breast being careful not to cut all the way through. Depending on the size of your chicken breast, you're going to want around 6 to 8 slits per chicken breast.
  4. Stuff each slit with a slice of mozzarella cheese, half a grape tomato and a basil leaf.
  5. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish that has been coated with non-stick baking spray.
  6. Brush each chicken breast with olive oil.
  7. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
  8. Bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees.
  9. Remove and serve (Makes 2 servings).

This is a very quick version of stuffed peppers except these peppers are already cut up! I have a dicer to dice the peppers, so the prep work is minimal. You can even substitute the 2 1/2 cups of diced tomatoes with canned diced tomatoes if you don't feel like cutting those up yourself. Whatever makes it easiest for you! This recipe is for the days that you want something home-cooked but don't have a lot of time or energy to put into a homecooked meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 3/4 green peppers, chopped
  • 3 cups riced cauliflower
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 2 1/2 cups diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Brown and drain ground beef.
  2. Add onions and peppers until tender.
  3. Stir in drained-well tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, riced cauliflower.
  4. Heat through, turn off the heat, and mix in cheese to melt.
  5. Serve.

Makes 4 servings.

This is a simple recipe for football game days or for when you’re in the mood for Mexican food.
It makes a wonderful batch of nachos and has extra beef left over for tacos or burritos!

Ingredients:
2 lb ground beef
2 pkg your favorite taco/burrito seasoning
1 onion, chopped
1 can (4.5 oz) chopped green chilies
1 cup diced tomatoes (or one 14.5oz can, drained)
1can refried beans
1 jar of queso dip
1 can ripe black olives, sliced
1 8oz pkg Mexican blend cheese
1 bag tortilla chips
Iceberg lettuce
Sour cream
Salsa
Taco and/or Burrito shells

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400°
2. Cook chopped onion in 1 TBS olive oil until translucent and set aside.
3. Brown ground beef, drain, and stir in cooked onion.
4. Add your favorite taco/burrito seasoning per instructions on packet.
5. In a 9x13 casserole dish, put down 1 layer of tortilla chips and top with 1/2 can refried beans,
1/4 ground beef mixture, 1/2 can chilies, 1/2 jar of queso dip, & 1/2 the bag mexican blend
cheese.
6. Repeat step 5 for second layer.
7. Bake in oven at 400° for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and top with diced tomatoes & black olives.
9. Serve with toppings of shredded lettuce, sour cream, and salsa that guests can choose from.
10. Use remaining ground beef mixture for tacos or burritos.

Mini Rosemary-Roast Beef Sandwiches

1 beef top round roast (3 pounds)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons crushed dried rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons pepper
2 cups mild giardiniera, drained
1 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
24 Hawaiian sweet rolls, split

Sprinkle roast with salt and rosemary. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 325°. Uncover roast and pat dry. Rub roast with 1 tablespoon oil; sprinkle with pepper. In a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Brown roast on both sides.
Transfer to oven; roast until a thermometer reads 135° for medium-rare, 50-60 minutes. (Temperature of roast will continue to rise about 10° upon standing.) Remove roast from skillet; let stand 1 hour. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours, until cold.
Place giardiniera in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, mustard and horseradish.
To serve, thinly slice cold beef. Serve on rolls with mayonnaise mixture and giardiniera.

Walking Tacos

1 pound ground beef
1 envelope reduced-sodium chili seasoning mix
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chiles
1 can (15 ounces) Ranch Style beans (pinto beans in seasoned tomato sauce)
5 packages (1 ounce each) corn chips
Toppings: Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and sliced green onions

In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles, 6-8 minutes; drain. Stir in chili seasoning mix, pepper, tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Just before serving, cut open corn chip bags. Add beef mixture and toppings

 

Tailgate Apple Pies

Crust:
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup shortening
9 to 10 tablespoons cold water
Filling:
2 tablespoons butter
5 cups finely chopped peeled tart apples
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
Coarse sugar

In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter and shortening until crumbly. Gradually add water, tossing with a fork until dough holds together when pressed. Divide dough in half; form each into a disk. Wrap separately in plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour or until easy to handle.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Add apples; cook and stir 5 minutes. Mix brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon; add to apples. Cook and stir until apples begin to soften and caramelize, 7-8 minutes longer. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 400°. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut 12 footballs with a floured 4-in. football-shaped cookie cutter.
Transfer half of the footballs to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon about 2 tablespoons filling onto center of each. Brush edges of pastry with egg. Top with remaining footballs; press edges with a fork to seal. Cut three slits in top of pastry and score a curved line on each end of the footballs. Brush tops with egg; sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. While pies are baking, repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Let pies stand 5 minutes before removing to wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 

I love great lasagna! This one is a homemade classic, right down to the sauce. There are no cutting corners with this recipe, so many of the ingredients listed will also include the brand names that I believe give it its wonderful flavors. Obviously, you can substitute your favorite brands, but I recommend that you go with TASTE, not just price! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb. 80/20 or 90/10 ground beef
  • 1 lb. Johnsonville Hot Italian Sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of Hunts Tomato sauce
  • 1 (15 oz.) can of Hunts Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 (6 oz.) cans of Contadina Tomato Paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2 cups Kraft shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup Kraft grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Make the meat sauce – In a large skillet over medium-high heat, sauté chopped onion in a Tbsp of olive oil until tender.
  3. Add ground beef and Italian sausage, breaking it apart as you brown it (6-8 minutes).
  4. Drain the fat and return to heat, and add garlic. Stir in and cook for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, 2 teaspoons of the salt, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon basil, and the black pepper, stirring until well combined. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Cook the pasta according to package directions (if homemade pasta, al dente)
  7. As sauce and pasta cook, make the ricotta cheese mixture – In a medium bowl, add 1 cup of the mozzarella, the ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan, 2 Tablespoons of the fresh parsley, the egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and ½ teaspoon basil. Stir until ingredients are well mixed.
  8. When the pasta and meat sauce are done, assemble the lasagna in a 9X13 baking dish as follows – Start with a thin layer of meat sauce on the bottom (about ¼ cup). Layer 3 lasagna noodles side by side, topping evenly with 1/3 of the ricotta mixture and about 1 ½ - 2 cups of the meat sauce. Repeat the layers twice more.
  9. Finish with the final layer of noodles, topping evenly with the remaining meat sauce, 1 cup mozzarella, and ¼ cup of the fresh parmesan cheese.
  10. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more.
  11. Remove from oven and let stand for 15-20 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.

 Jack-o’-lanterns is a Halloween tradition that both adults and children enjoy. It’s hard to resist an opportunity to carve a funny or scary face into a pumpkin that will soon make its way to the front porch, but there’s another irresistible element to carving pumpkins as well. Roasted pumpkin seeds make for a tasty, tempting treat.

Seeds must be removed before carving pumpkins, so turning them into a savory snack is a great way to make use of them and cook up some fuel for family carving sessions. Roasting pumpkin seeds is a straightforward process, though some people may have their own techniques to make seeds more flavorful. The following recipe for “Pumpkin Seeds” from the Food Network reflects various ways to prepare this beloved snack, ensuring that people with varying tastes can no doubt find a way to incorporate their favorite flavors into this Halloween staple.

Pumpkin Seeds

1. Seed the pumpkin: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Using a spoon, scrape the pulp and seeds out of your pumpkin into a bowl.
2. Clean the seeds: Separate the seeds from the stringy pulp, rinse the seeds in a colander under cold water, then shake dry. Don’t blot with paper towels; the seeds will stick.
3. Dry them: Spread the seeds in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet and roast 30 minutes to dry them out.
4. Add spices: Toss the seeds with olive oil, salt and your choice of spices (see below). Return to the oven and bake until crisp and golden, about 20 more minutes.
5. Sweet Toss with cinnamon and sugar (do not use salt in step 4).
6. Indian Toss with garam masala; mix with currants after roasting.
7. Spanish Toss with smoked paprika; mix with slivered almonds after roasting.
8. Italian Toss with grated parmesan and dried oregano.
9. Barbecue Toss with brown sugar, chipotle chile powder and ground cumin.

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