BAKED POTATO SOUP
The next time you bake potatoes, make some extra ones and try this hearty soup. This is also a great soup for using up any leftover boiled potatoes.
5 lbs. russet baking potatoes (6 large bakers)
½ lb. bacon
3 Cups 2% milk
1 stick butter or margarine
3 Cups onion, minced
7½ Cups chicken stock
½-¾ Cup all-purpose flour
1 TB. parsley
¼ tsp. cayenne red pepper
1 tsp. salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°. Wash and dry potatoes, poke with a fork, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until soft. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for 1 hour to speed up the cooling. Remove the skins and coarsely chop the potatoes. Set aside. Finely chop the bacon and fry until crispy. Drain the bacon on paper toweling and set aside. Let the milk come to room temperature. Place 1½ Cups of chopped potatoes into a blender. Blend or mash with a little water to make the potatoes thin, yet smooth and creamy. In a large, heavy pot, melt the margarine or butter over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. In a separate pan, heat the chicken broth to boiling. Using a wooden spoon, gradually mix the flour into the onion mixture. Continue stirring mixture for 3 minutes. Do not brown. While stirring the mixture, slowly add the rest of the chicken broth to the onion mixture. Next, add the potato puree. Mix well. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Stir often to avoid scorching on the bottom. Add milk, parsley, thyme, cayenne, salt, pepper, and the remaining chopped potatoes. Cover and simmer another 30 minutes, stirring often. If soup is too thick, thin with more milk. Add ¾ of the crisp bacon and mix well. Serve garnished with the remaining bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives, if desired.
HELLO DOLLY BARS
1/2 Cup butter (1 stick), melted
1 1/2 Cups graham cracker crumbs (10 whole graham crackers)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans are great)
1 Cup chocolate chips
1-1/3 Cups shredded coconut
1-1/2 Cups sweetened condensed milk (15 oz.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Mix the butter, graham cracker crumbs, and cinnamon together until well blended. Press the mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13" baking dish to form a thin crust. Sprinkle on the nuts and spread evenly to form a layer, followed by a layer of chocolate chips and a layer of coconut. In a small bowl, beat together the condensed milk with the vanilla. Pour the mixture evenly over the top of the bars, (don't worry if it doesn't completely cover everything), and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden. Chill for an hour before slicing.
HARVEST GREEN BEANS
A simple vegetable dish is perfect for the holiday meal - no rich sauce or cheese is needed. Pecans add a holiday flavor.
1 lb. fresh green beans
1/2 Cup pecans
2 TB. butter or olive oil
2 tsp. sesame seeds
2 tsp. honey
Wash the beans, discarding any less than desirable beans that are limp or have spots. Cut the stem end off. This can be done a day ahead of time and the beans placed in a zip top bag in the fridge.
To cook: Bring a pot of water (at least 2 quarts) to a rolling boil. This takes up to 15 minutes. Add the green beans and cook 2 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans to stop the cooking, but leave them warm. While the water is coming to a boil, heat the butter/oil in a medium pan and simmer on low with the pecans. Once they are lightly browned, add the sesame seeds . Once the beans are boiling in the pot, drizzle the pecan mix with the honey, stir regularly, then when the beans have been drained and rinsed, add them to the pan and toss with the seasoned nut mix. Place in a serving bowl. Cover the bowl with foil and place in a warm place until ready to serve - the oven turned off after the turkey has been pulled out is perfect.
FUDGE TRUFFLE CHEESECAKE
This cheesecake is delicious, but you only need a small piece because it is so rich.
Chocolate Crumb Crust
1-1/2 Cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 Cup powdered sugar
1/3 Cup cocoa powder
1/3 Cup melted butter
Cream Cheese Filling
2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
3-8 oz. pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Crust: Preheat oven to 300°. Combine all of the crust ingredients and mix well. Press the crust into the bottom of a greased springform pan. Bake at 300° for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven.
In a double boiler, heavy bottomed small saucepan or heat-proof bowl placed over a pan of boiling water, melt the chocolate chips. Remove from the heat, Add the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk and VANILLA; stir to combine. Slightly beat the eggs in a bowl and add to the mixture. Blend well. Pour over the crust. Bake at 300° for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until the center is almost totally set. It will wiggle just slightly when done if you gently shake the pan. Turn the oven off and open the door and let the cake stand in the warm oven for 10 minutes, then place on a rack to cool. This gradual temperature change helps keep the top from cracking. Sometimes it cracks anyway, which is not a big deal. While the cake is still hot, carefully run a thin knife around the edge to make sure it is not sticking to the pan. Cool completely, remove carefully from the pan and serve. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
Recipes from Penzy's