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home : news : news
January 27, 2023

12/2/2022 11:21:00 AM
Let's get started on holiday faves

I hope every one had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I spent mine with my wife and her family over in Hutchinson and we had a bounty of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cheese cake, pumpkin pie and plenty of other goodies!

A lot of that food is stuff that I only eat once or twice a year, so it’s always a great time! And then to top it off that exciting Vikings game at night too. It was a perfect Thanksgiving, and I was glad to relax this year instead of having to cook a bunch!

But, now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s officially on to the holiday season. Christmas parties are starting soon and the festive mood is upon us. I even saw Gary Gerke ringing bells at Brink’s Market the other day, so you know it’s the time for the holidays!

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TWICE-BAKED SWEET POTATOES
8 medium sweet potatoes (10-12 ounces each)
1 tbsp. canola or sunflower oil
1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/3 c. sour cream
2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. freshly grated or ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Prick sweet potatoes in 3 to 4 spots with a fork. Rub with oil and place on the prepared baking sheet. Roast until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle.

Increase oven temperature to 450 degrees.

Slice each sweet potato in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh into a large bowl, leaving a generous 1/4-inch border in the skins. Place 12 of the prettiest skins back on the baking sheet. (Discard the remaining skins.)

Add 1/4 cup cheese, sour cream, syrup, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the scooped sweet potato flesh and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Divide the filling among the skins. Top each with a little of the remaining cheese.

Bake until the filling is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

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CRANBERRY MERINGUE PIE
4 large eggs, separated
Pastry for single-crust pie (9 inches)
4 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed
2-1/4 c. sugar, divided
3/4 c. water
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Let egg whites stand 30 minutes at room temperature.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 1/8-in.-thick circle; transfer to a 9-in. pie plate. Trim crust to 1/2 in. beyond rim of plate; flute edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

Line unpricked crust with a double thickness of foil. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake on a lower oven rack 15-20 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Remove foil and weights; bake 3-6 minutes longer or until bottom is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce heat to 325°.

In a large saucepan, combine cranberries, 1-1/2 cups sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to medium; cook, uncovered, 4-6 minutes or until berries stop popping, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, flour and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot cranberry liquid; return all to saucepan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

For meringue, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and remaining vanilla on medium speed until foamy. Add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high after each addition until sugar is dissolved. Continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form. Transfer hot filling to pastry. Spread meringue evenly over hot filling, sealing to edge of pastry. Bake 25-30 minutes or until meringue is golden brown. Cool 1 hour on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

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PEAR CUSTARD PIE
4 firm pears of any variety cored, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 c. of unsalted butter melted
3 eggs
3/4 c. milk
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar for garnish
Cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a nine inch round pan with cooking spray.

Arrange the pear slices in the pan.

Put the butter, eggs, milk, salt, granulated sugar, flour and vanilla into a blender; process until smooth.

Pour the batter over the pears. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the custard is golden and firm to the touch. Dust the top with powdered sugar before serving.

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CREAMED SPINACH CASSEROLE
3 10-oz, packages frozen spinach, thawed
1 c. low-fat milk
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white or black pepper
⅛ tsp. nutmeg
1 c. extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 c. low-fat cottage cheese
3 large egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.

Press spinach in a mesh strainer to get out as much moisture as possible. Pulse in a food processor until very finely chopped.

Combine milk, flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking, until thickened, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup Cheddar, cottage cheese and the spinach.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl with an electric mixer, slowly increasing the speed, until they begin to foam. Continue to beat until the whites hold their shape; do not overbeat. (You'll know they are ready when you lift the beaters out and the peak doesn't flop over.)

Gently fold the whites into the spinach mixture with a rubber spatula until uniform. (It's OK if a few white streaks remain.) Transfer to the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 35 minutes. Top with the remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar; continue baking until the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes

TFD: Christmas isn’t a season, it’s a feeling.



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