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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2006
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Extension cookbooks help with holiday cooking, make great gifts

By Patrice Stewart
pstewart@decaturdaily.com 340-2446

Whether you're a young cook trying to figure out what to prepare for a traditional holiday gathering, or an experienced one getting back to basic recipes, the Auburn Extension System office in Hartselle has some ideas and cookbooks.

Kathy Lindsey, Extension administrative assistant, recommends these cookbooks for holiday gifts. The Auburn cookbook, $10, includes 480 pages of recipes, nutrition information, meal-planning tips and cooking techniques.

The Morgan County 4-H Cookbook, $20, includes plenty of old favorites that area 4-H'ers and their parents grew up cooking and eating, as well as historical photos of this youth program.

Both are available at the Morgan County Extension office, 3120 Alabama 36 West, Hartselle, 773-2549.

Here are some of Lindsey's favorite holiday recipes, The Green Bean Casserole and traditional Cranberry Sauce are from the Auburn cookbook, while the Crock-Pot Chicken-n-Dressing, Strawberry Pretzel Salad and Pistachio Salad are from the 4-H recipe collection.

Crock Pot Chicken-n-Dressing

1 large hen, stewed, deboned and cut into pieces

1 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup

Dressing:

1 large skillet corn bread (2 quarts)

2 tablespoons sage

1 medium onion, chopped

2 eggs, hard-boiled and chopped

1 stick margarine, melted

1 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup

3 or 4 cups of chicken broth

Mix all dressing ingredients together. Layer in the crock-pot: 1/2 can chicken soup, 1/2 dressing, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 dressing, 1/2 chicken, 1/2 soup.

Cover and slow-cook on low for 3 hours. Serve while hot. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Cranberry Sauce

4 cups cranberries

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Wash cranberries and remove bad ones. Mix sugar and water in saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. Add cranberries and boil without stirring until all the skins pop open, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool in saucepan. Sauce may be strained, if desired. Serve with meats and poultry.

Makes 14 servings (about 1/4 cup), each with 116 calories, 0 mg cholesterol, 1mg sodium, 31g carbohydrates, 1g protein, 1g fat.

Green Bean Casserole

2 1-pound cans French cut green beans

1 tablespoon corn oil margarine

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon celery seed

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup

15-ounce can sliced water chestnuts

Butter-flavored vegetable cooking spray

3/4 cup grated reduced fat sharp Cheddar Cheese

1/2 cup dry bread crumbs

3/4 cup grated reduced fat sharp Cheddar Cheese

Drain liquid from beans and save. Melt margarine in a skillet. Add onion and cook over medium heat until tender but not brown. Remove pan from heat. Add celery seed, Worcestershire sauce and soup. Stir until well mixed.

Drain water chestnuts. Coat a 1-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Layer half of the drained beans in the bottom. Follow with a layer of half the water chestnuts and then half the soup mixture. Sprinkle 3/4 cup cheese over the soup.

Repeat layers with the remaining beans, water chestnuts, and soup mixture. Combine bread crumbs with 3/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Makes 8 servings, each with 161 calories, 15mg cholesterol, 696mg sodium, 15g carbohydrates, 9g protein, 7g fat.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

3 cups pretzels (crushed)

3/4 cup margarine at room temperature

3 tablespoons sugar

Mix and press into 9-x13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes and cool. Mix together the following:

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

8 ounces whipped topping

Mix well. Spread on crust.

6 ounces strawberry Jell-O

1 cups water

1 pint frozen strawberries

Mix Jell-O, water and strawberries and, when almost congealed, pour on cream cheese layer and chill.

Pistachio Salad

1 medium-sized can crushed pineapple

1 package pistachio instant pudding

1/2 to 1 cup pecans

3/4 cup miniature marshmallows

1 large container Cool Whip

Drain pineapple, combine juice and instant pudding and mix. Add rest of ingredients and mix well.

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