By SUSAN NASH GILPIN
December 16, 2009 12:00 PM

Sweet Potato Casserole (see recipe p. 66)

Great to make ahead of time!

SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE

Serves: 10 to 12

Hands-on time: 30 min.

Total time: 1 hr., 35 min.

8 large sweet potatoes (5 lbs.), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

•½ cup half-and-half

•½ cup maple syrup

•1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•¾ teaspoon salt

•1 large egg, lightly beaten

•½ cup all-purpose flour

•½ cup firmly packed brown sugar

•¼ cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces

•½ cup chopped pecans

•2 cups miniature marshmallows

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray a 13-x-9-inch baking dish with vegetable cooking spray.

2. Cook sweet potatoes in boiling water to cover 12 minutes or until tender; drain.

3. Whisk together half-and-half and next four ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add potatoes. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into prepared baking dish.

4. Pulse flour and brown sugar in a food processor two to three times; add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Stir in pecans; sprinkle over potato mixture.

5. Cover and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Arrange marshmallows to form a 2-inch border on outside edge of potatoes.

6. Broil 6 inches from heat 1 to 2 minutes or just until marshmallows are golden.

Note: Make and freeze up to 2 weeks ahead.

PEPPER JELLY GLAZED CARROTS

Serves: 6

Hands-on time: 27 min.

Total time: 37 min.

1 (2-lb.) package carrots, diagonally sliced

1 (10½-oz.) can condensed chicken broth, undiluted

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 (10½-oz.) jar red pepper jelly, (about 1¼ cups)

1. Bring carrots and chicken broth to a boil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring often, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the carrots are crisp-tender and the broth is reduced to ¼ cup.

2. Stir in butter and red pepper jelly and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens and glazes carrots.

SLOW-COOKER CORNBREAD DRESSING

Serves: 12 to 16

Hands-on time: 45 min.

Total time: 4 hrs., 45 min.

2 (7½-oz.) packages yellow cornbread mix

1 (16-oz.) package herb-seasoned stuffing mix

1½ cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 tablespoon rubbed sage

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 (10¾-oz.) cans cream of chicken soup

2 (14-oz.) cans reduced-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth

2 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

1. Prepare and bake cornbread according to package directions; cool completely. Crumble cornbread; measure 4½ cups crumbs and set aside. Reserve remaining crumbs for other use.

2. Stir together cornbread crumbs, stuffing mix, onion, celery, sage, salt and pepper in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

3. Stir together eggs, chicken soup and broth in a medium bowl; add to cornbread mixture, stirring just until moistened.

4. Spoon cornbread mixture into a lightly greased 5½- or 6-quart slow cooker. Dot with butter. Cook, covered, on low 4 hours or until thoroughly cooked and set.

Fresh and dried cranberries add twice the flavor

DOUBLE CRANBERRY-APPLE RELISH

Serves: 10 to 12

Hands-on time: 23 min.

Total time: 1 hr., 16 min.

6 large Granny Smith apples (3 lbs.), peeled and diced

1 (12-oz.) package fresh cranberries

1 small lemon, thinly sliced and seeded

1 cup sugar

•½ cup water

•¾ cup sweetened dried cranberries

1. Combine apples and cranberries and next three ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring often, 15 to 20 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat.

2. Stir in dried cranberries; cool. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Note: Mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

GREEN BEANS WITH BACON

Serves: 6

Hands-on time: 20 min.

Total time: 40 min.

1¾ lbs. fresh green beans, trimmed

8 bacon slices, slivered

5 green onions (white and light-green parts only), thinly sliced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1. Cook green beans in boiling salted water to cover 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and plunge into ice water to stop cooking process. Drain well and set aside.

2. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp; remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 tablespoons drippings in a small bowl. Discard remaining drippings. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel.

3. Sauté green onions in reserved drippings in skillet over medium-high heat 1 minute. Stir in green beans, salt and pepper; sauté 2 to 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in bacon.

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