Thursday, June 30, 2011

Great American Potato Salad


1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
4 cups cubed potatoes, cooked, cooled
2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/3 cup dill pickle relish

Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients; mix lightly. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled. Makes 8 servings.

Flag Cupcake Cake


The first order of business is to bake 48 cupcakes. This will require two boxes of cake mix. Use all white cake but you can vary the flavors however you like. After you bake the cupcakes, put them in the freezer overnight. This really helped in the decorating process. They were much more stable for all the frosting you will be spreading.

The next day, lay out your cupcakes in a rectangular flag shape on a board. (You may want to cover the board with foil.)

Next, divide your frosting. You will need about four cans of Betty Crocker® Rich and Creamy frosting for this cake. One can should be colored blue. (I used blue food color paste in order to achieve a rich blue color.) I then colored 1-1/2 cans of frosting with red food color paste.

Set the colored frostings aside so that they firm up and become brighter in color.

In the meantime, slide 12 of the cupcakes to the side of the board. These are your blue section. It helps to move them away from the rest of the cake.

Now it is time for the base. Put some white frosting (straight from the can) into a decorating bag. I used the largest tip I had...the size and shape of the tip doesn't matter because the frosting just has to be piped all over the cupcakes. After the cupcakes are covered, start spreading.

You will need to refill your bag a couple of times.

Then do the same with the blue frosting and 12 cupcakes you set aside; carefully slide to join the rest of the cake.

Next, scoop the red frosting into another decorating bag. Using a large star tip, pipe a row of stars. Then pipe another row directly underneath, making a wider stripe. You can be creative with this, making smaller stripes if you want.

Finally, add white stars to the blue section with your leftover white frosting and a small star decorating tip.

You now have a delicious cupcake cake that is guaranteed to feed your 4th of July crowd...and have them coming back for sweet seconds!

Texas Coleslaw


1 bag (16 oz.)coleslaw mix
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cans (11 oz. each) mexicorn whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt

Toss coleslaw mix, cilantro and corn in very large (4-quart) bowl. Place oil, lime juice, cumin and salt in tightly covered container; shake well. Pour over coleslaw mixture; toss. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours to blend flavors. Makes 16 servings.

Layered Summer Pasta Salad


1 box Suddenly Salad ranch & bacon pasta salad mix
1 1/4 cups ranch dressing
3 cups torn romaine lettuce
2 cups shredded carrots
2 cups fresh broccoli florets
2 plum (Roma) tomatoes, coarsely chopped

Empty Pasta mix into 3-quart saucepan 2/3 full of boiling water. Gently boil uncovered 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta; rinse with cold water. Shake to drain well. In medium bowl, stir together seasoning mix and dressing. Add pasta; toss to combine. In 3- or 4-quart glass salad bowl or 13x9-inch glass baking dish, layer lettuce, carrots, broccoli and pasta mixture. Top with tomatoes. Serve immediately, or refrigerate. Makes 10 servings.

Brownie 'n Berries Dessert Pizza


1 box brownie mix
Butter and eggs called for on brownie mix box
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup apple jelly

Heat oven to 350 degrees (or 325 degrees for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray or shortening. In large bowl, stir brownie mix, butter and eggs until well blended. Spread in pan. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out clean or almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over brownie base. Arrange berries over cream cheese mixture. Stir jelly until smooth; brush over berries. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Cut into wedges. Store covered in refrigerator. Makes 12 servings.

Patriotic Margaritas


Simple Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Red Cocktail
1/4 cup cranberry juice cocktail
2 Tbsp. (1 oz.) silver tequila (clear)
2 Tbsp. (1 oz.) orange-flavored liqueur
1 Tbsp. simple syrup
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedge
Colored sugar

To make simple syrup, mix sugar and water in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to cool, about 1 hour. Pour syrup into glass jar, cover jar and refrigerate until needed. 1 1/4 cups (use 1 tablespoon per margarita). To prepare cocktail, add cranberry juice, tequila, orange-flavored liqueur, simple syrup and lemon juice to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Cover and shake. Rub rim of martini glass with lemon wedge; dip in sugar. Strain cocktail into glass. Makes 1 cocktail.

Fireworks Push-Up Cakes


1 box white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
Red food color
Blue food color
18 plastic push-up pop containers
2 cans rich & creamy white frosting
2 envelopes popping rock candy

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 36 mini muffin cups with cooking spray. In medium bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and egg whites with electric mixer on low speed until moistened; beat 2 minutes on high speed until well blended. Divide batter into 2 bowls. Tint 1 bowl of batter with a few drops red food color; tint other bowl with blue food color. Fill 18 muffin cups 2/3 full with red batter. Bake about 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven. Repeat with blue batter to make an additional 18 mini cupcakes. Cool completely. To assemble push-up cakes, drop 1 mini cupcake into each push-up pop container. Add generous teaspoon frosting to top of each cupcake. Top each with second mini cupcake; add dollops of frosting to tops of each. Sprinkle each of popping rock candy. Serve. Makes 18 servings.

Seafood & Shells Salad


2 cups uncooked small pasta shells
3 pkg. (8 oz. each) imitation crabmeat
1 lb. cooked small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
3 Tbsp. each finely chopped green, sweet red and yellow pepper
3 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill or 2 tsp. dill weed
1-1/2 cups fat-free mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and rinse in cold water. In a large bowl, combine the crab, shrimp, onion, celery, peppers, parsley and dill. Stir in pasta. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Chill until serving. Makes 13 servings.

Chicken with Wild Mushroom Cream Sauce


1 1/4 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. butter
4 oz. sliced mixed wild mushrooms (cremini, shiitake, oyster) (about 2 cups)
4 green onions, sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped drained jarred roasted red pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Season the chicken with black pepper and coat with the flour. Heat the butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned on both sides. Add the mushrooms and onions and cook until they're tender. Stir the broth in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the roasted pepper and sour cream and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Sprinkle with the parsley. Makes 4 servings.

Turkey Primavera


2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp. garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 medium carrots, sliced (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup green or red pepper cut into 2-inch long strips
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 cups cubed cooked turkey or chicken
1/2 of a 1-lb. package spaghetti, cooked without salt and drained
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Stir the cornstarch and 1/4 cup broth in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Heat the remaining broth, garlic powder, broccoli, carrots, pepper and onion in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Cook and stir until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the turkey and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Add the spaghetti and cheese and toss to coat. (Time-Saving: You can use 3 cans (4.5 oz. each) white chunk chicken breast in water, drained, for the turkey in this recipe.) Makes 4 servings (about 2 cups each).

Salted Caramel Kissed Cheesecake


1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1 (3.5 oz.) Chocolate Waterfall Bar, divided

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter in medium bowl. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan or 9- to 10-inch deep-dish pie plate. Bake for 5 minutes. Finely chop half of chocolate bar and sprinkle evenly over crust. Set aside remaining half of chocolate bar for chocolate curl garnish.

Beat cream cheese and sugar in large mixer bowl until fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour filling into crust.

Bake for 30 minutes or until center is almost set and edges just begin to crack. Remove from oven and quickly put together topping.

Combine sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract in medium bowl; mix well. Spoon topping over cheesecake, starting with the edges first and working inward toward the center. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Combine water and sugar in medium saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat and boil, without stirring, until syrup is deep amber in color (occasionally brush down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirl pan). This should take about 8 to10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; add whipping cream and salt (mixture will bubble vigorously). Whisk until smooth, then pour into serving pitcher; cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Gently run knife around inside of springform pan to loosen cheesecake. Remove side of springform pan. With vegetable peeler, shred remaining chocolate bar half around perimeter of cheesecake. Cut cheesecake into 16 wedges. Drizzle bottom of dessert plates with a little caramel sauce; top with piece of cheesecake. Drizzle with additional sauce.

Makes 16 servings.

Homemade Chicken Broth


2-1/2 lb. bony chicken pieces
2 celery ribs with leaves, cut into chunks
2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, quartered
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
8 to 10 whole peppercorns
2 quarts cold water

Place all ingredients in a soup kettle or Dutch oven. Slowly bring to a boil; reduce heat. Skim foam. Cover and simmer for 2 hours. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones. Discard bones; save meat for another use. Strain broth, discarding vegetables and seasonings. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Skim fat from surface. Yield: about 6 cups.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Gnocchi Soup


1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 cup julienne carrots (1 1/2x1/4x1/4-inch pieces)
1/2 cup chopped celery (1 medium stalk)
1/2 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 carton (32 oz.) chicken broth (4 cups)
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed cream of mushroom with roasted garlic soup
1 pkg. (16 oz.) gnocchi (not frozen)
1 pkg. (9 oz.) frozen baby sweet peas, thawed

In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook chicken 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until browned and no longer pink in the center. Spray 3- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In cooker, mix chicken and remaining ingredients except gnocchi and peas. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 8 to 10 hours. Increase heat setting to High. Stir in gnocchi and peas. Cover; cook about 30 minutes longer or until gnocchi and peas are tender. Makes 6 servings.

Chicken Bacon Bites


12 bacon strips, halved
10 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 24 cubes
1 can (8 oz.) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1/2 cup orange marmalade
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. grated fresh gingerroot
Sweet-and-sour sauce, optional

Place bacon on a broiler rack. Broil 4 in. from the heat for 1-2 minutes on each side or until partially cooked; cool. Wrap a piece of bacon around a chicken cube and water chestnut slice; secure with a toothpick. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the marmalade, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. Add wrapped chicken; seal and carefully turn to coat. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Broil chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side or chicken is no longer pink and bacon is crisp. Serve warm with sweet-and-sour sauce if desired. Makes 2 dozen.

Baked Onion Cheese Dip


2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded pepper Jack cheese
4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 cups chopped sweet onions, divided
Assorted crackers

In a food processor, combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, thyme and 1 cup onions; cover and process until blended. Stir in remaining onions. Transfer to a greased 3-cup baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with crackers. Yield: 3 cups.

Party Nachos


1 carton (18 oz.) refrigerated fully cooked barbecued shredded pork
1 pkg. (12-1/2 oz.) nacho tortilla chips
2 cups (8 oz.)shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup shredded lettuce
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced ripe olives, optional
1/4 cup pickled pepper rings, optional

Heat pork according to package directions. Place tortilla chips on a large microwave-safe serving plate. Layer with pork and cheese. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream, salsa, lettuce and onions. Sprinkle with olives and pepper rings if desired. Yield: 12 servings.

Pineapple Pecan Cheese Spread


2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted, divided
3/4 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1 can (4 oz.) chopped green chilies, drained
2 Tbsp. chopped roasted sweet red pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Assorted fresh vegetables

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add the cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup pecans, pineapple, chilies, red pepper and garlic powder; beat until combined. Transfer to a serving dish. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Sprinkle with remaining pecans just before serving. Serve with vegetables. Yield: 3-3/4 cups.

Veggie Cheese Spread


1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 cup seafood cocktail sauce
2 cups (8 oz.)shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
Assorted crackers or tortilla chips

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sour cream and mayonnaise until smooth. Spread onto a serving plate; top with seafood sauce. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and vegetables; repeat layers. Cover and chill until serving. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips. Yield: 6-1/4 cups.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Nut Cake


1/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4-1/2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fat-free milk
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 Tbsp. water
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. semisweet chocolate

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until crumbly, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in applesauce and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating well after each addition. Pour into a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack. For caramel topping, in a small saucepan, combine brown sugar and flour. Stir in milk until smooth. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir a small amount of hot topping into egg yolk; return all to pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Gently stir in butter. Cool to room temperature without stirring. Spread over cake to within 1/2 in. of edges; sprinkle with walnuts. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set. For frosting, in a small heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, water, egg whites and cream of tartar over low heat. With a hand mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low over low heat until frosting reaches 160 degrees, about 8-10 minutes. Pour into a large bowl; add vanilla. Beat on high until frosting forms stiff peaks, about 7 minutes. Spread over cake. In a microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Drizzle over frosting. Chill until serving. Makes 20 servings.

Wild Rice Soup


2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
2 medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
1 medium carrot, coarsely shredded (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup Bisquick
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme leaves, if desired
1 cup water
1 can (10 1/2 oz) condensed chicken broth
1 1/2 cups canned or frozen cooked wild rice
1 cup half-and-half
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

In 3-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add celery, carrot, onion and bell pepper; cook about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Stir in Bisquick, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir in water, broth and wild rice. Heat to boiling, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in half-and-half, almonds and parsley. Heat just until hot (do not boil). Makes 4 servings.

Pepperoni Pizza-licious Dip


1 tub (8 oz.)cream cheese spread
1/2 cup pizza sauce
1/2 cup finely shredded Italian five cheese blend
1/2 cup chopped pepperoni
1/3 cup chopped red peppers
1/3 cup chopped green peppers

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 2 ingredients until well blended; spread onto bottom of 9-inch pie plate. Top with next 4 ingredients. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until dip is heated through and shredded cheese is melted. Serve with crackers. Makes 2 cups dip (16 servings).

Chocolate Cheesecake


1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 20 squares)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
6 Tbsp. butter, melted

3 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp. honey

In a large bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and cocoa; stir in butter until crumbly. Press onto the bottom and 1-in. up the side of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined. Stir in melted chocolate and extracts just until blended. Pour into crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run knife around the edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate until completely cooled. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate chips, cream and honey; stir until smooth. Remove from the heat; cool for 5 minutes. Pour topping over the cheesecake. Chill for at least 4 hours or until topping is set. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 12 servings.

Sour Cream Chicken


1 cup (8 oz.) reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tbsp. minced chives
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 small garlic clove, minced
1-1/4 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1 broiler/fryer chicken (2 to 3 pounds), cut up and skin removed
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat butter, melted

In a shallow bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow bowl. Coat chicken with sour cream mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. Arrange chicken on a rack in a foil-lined 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Drizzle with butter; bake 15-20 minutes longer or until juices run clear. Makes 4 servings.

Chicken Alfredo Stuffed Shells


1 pkg. (12 oz.) jumbo pasta shells
1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 lb. sliced fresh baby portobello mushrooms
1 egg, beaten
1 carton (15 oz.) ricotta cheese
3-1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 cup (4 oz.) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown chicken in 1 Tbsp. oil. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, saute mushrooms in remaining oil until tender; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the egg, ricotta, 1-1/2 cups Parmesan, mozzarella and seasonings. Drain and rinse pasta with cold water; stuff each shell with about 1 Tbsp. of cheese mixture. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Top with chicken and mushrooms. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add cream; cook 5 minutes longer. Add 1-1/2 cups Parmesan cheese; cook and stir until thickened. Pour sauce over the casserole. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until bubbly. Makes 10 servings.

Creamy Chicken Rice Casserole


3 cups cubed cooked chicken
2-2/3 cups chicken gravy
2 cups uncooked instant rice
1 can (10-3/4 oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
1 can (8 oz.) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
1/4 cup chopped ripe olives
2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/8 tsp. pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and stir; bake 20-25 minutes longer or until bubbly and rice and vegetables are tender. Makes 9 servings.

Cheesy Football


2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Miracle Whip Dressing
2 green onions, chopped
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 pkg. (3 oz.) real bacon bits
2 Tbsp. pimiento strips
Ritz Crackers

Beat cheeses and dressing with mixer until blended. Add onions and pepper; mix well. Refrigerate several hours. Form into football shape on serving plate; coat with bacon bits. Add pimento strips for "lacing." Serve with crackers. Makes 32 servings.

Velveeta Cheese Bites


2 lb. baking potatoes (about 5), peeled, cut into chunks
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp. black pepper
4 oz. Velveeta, cut into 24 cubes
1 pouch extra crispy seasoned coating mix
1-1/2 cups thick 'n chunky salsa

Cook potatoes in boiling water in large saucepan 15 to 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Cool 10 minutes. Mash potatoes until smooth. Add onions, egg and pepper; mix just until blended. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll potato mixture into 24 balls, using about 2 Tbsp. for each. Insert 1 Velveeta cube into center of each ball, completely enclosing Velveeta cube with potato mixture. Place potato balls on baking sheet covered with coating mix; turn until evenly coated. Place on clean baking sheet. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until heated through. Serve with salsa. Makes 24 servings.

Ritz Cheese Steak Sliders


1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1 lb. trimmed thin cut boneless beef rib-eye steak
1/2 tsp. each granulated garlic, chili powder and dry mustard
1/2 tsp. each dried thyme, basil, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. each white pepper and cayenne
4 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 cup sweet onion, quartered, thinly sliced
1 cup red bell pepper, cut in julienne strips, 1" long
1/2 cup each yellow bell pepper and Anaheim chile, cut in julienne strips, 1" long
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1-1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 pkg. (8 oz.) jalapeno American cheese slices
Ritz Crackers

In a small saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar to a boil, then simmer gently over low heat 40 minutes until reduced to 1/3 cup. Cut meat across the grain into 1/4 inch thick slices, then julienne to 1 inch long pieces. In a large bowl, combine dry spices. Add steak pieces; toss to evenly coat. Set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and Anaheim chile and sauté 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Heat remaining oil in same skillet. Add steak and cook 2 minutes until done, stirring frequently. Add the 1-1/2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and the Worcestershire sauce, stir to combine. Add the vegetables and cook until heated through. Drain excess liquid. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each cheese slice into 6 pieces. Place 1 piece on each of 48 crackers, then top with approximately 1 Tbsp. of the steak mixture. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes, or until cheese melts. Place on serving plate and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Top each with a second cracker. Makes 48 servings.

Oreo Ice Cream Bars


20 Oreo Cookies, chopped (about 2 cups)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 cups butter pecan ice cream, softened
1/2 cup caramel ice cream topping
1-1/2 cups thawed whipped topping
1/3 cup cocktail peanuts, chopped

Combine cookie pieces and butter until well blended. Press onto bottom of 9-inch square pan. Spread ice cream carefully over crust; drizzle with ice cream topping. Cover with whipped topping and nuts. Freeze 3 hours or until firm. Makes 18 servings.

Sausage-Stuffed Mushrooms


36 large fresh mushrooms (about 2 lb)
1 lb. bulk pork sausage
1/4 cup freeze-dried chopped chives
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
3/4 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup Italian-style dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove stems from mushrooms; finely chop stems. In 10-inch skillet, cook sausage, chopped mushroom stems, chives, onion and garlic until sausage is no longer pink; drain, reserving drippings. Stir Bisquick mix and bread crumbs into sausage mixture until mixture holds together. (If mixture is dry, add 1 to 2 Tbsp. reserved drippings.) Spoon about 1 rounded Tbsp. sausage mixture into each mushroom cap. In ungreased 15x10x1-inch pan, place filled mushrooms; sprinkle with cheese. Bake about 15 minutes or until hot. Serve immediately. Makes 36 appetizers.