Posts Tagged ‘Better Homes & Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites’

I’ve been wanting to make this for a while now, and somehow I felt that the onset of a hurricane would be a good opportunity. The zucchini is a summer vegetable, but with the sausage and stuffing this dish is redolent of autumn just around the corner. Jim & I decided that this would make an excellent side dish at a Thanksgiving feast. We also call it “hurricane food.”

Zucchini-Sausage Casserole
serves 8

1 lb. bulk pork sausage
4 medium zucchini
1 10 3/4 oz. can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1 8 oz. carton of sour cream
4 c. chicken stuffing mix
1/3 c. butter or margarine, melted

In a stovetop skillet, cook sausage until browned. Drain off fat. Return sausage to skillet.

Meanwhile, quarter each zucchini lengthwise and cut each quarter crosswise in to half-inch slices. Add zucchini to the sausage in the skillet.

In a small bowl, combine soup and sour cream. Add to the sausage and zucchini. In a separate large bowl, combine stuffing mix and melted butter.

Lightly coat a 3-quart (I actually used a 2.5 qt dish and thought it was perfect) baking dish with non-stick spray. Spoon half the stuffing in to the bottom of the dish; layer the zucchini-sausage mixture evenly over the top; spoon the rest of the stuffing over the top. Bake, covered, in a 350-degree oven about 30 minutes or until heated through.

The next time I make this I think I am going to try turkey sausage; to me the sausage flavor was very strong and salty, and I think a non-pork sausage will help mitigate this. This is definitely an excellent dish to throw together in an oncoming late summer storm: warm, savory, with the crunch of vegetables and the crisped, crumbly stuffing mix. It even reheats well, and the stuffing didn’t get overly soggy in keeping.

for 4 servings
8 oz. bulk sausage
2 medium zucchini
1/2 10 3/4 ounce can of condensed cream of chicken soup
1/2 c. sour cream
2 c. stuffing mix
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted

Prepare as above in a 2-quart square baking dish.


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When in doubt, cranberries — even in the summer. This is a good leftovers dish, the sauce is sweet but not too sweet — sort of like a sweet and sour — although if you’re colour blind, it will make mixing the sauce much easier to stomach, as the contrasting shades of ruby-red cranberry sauce and bright-orange French dressing can be a little overstimulating. But it darkens and thickens as it bakes and comes together like a charm.

Serve with rice and plenty of leftover sauce on the side for each person’s taste.

Cranberry Glazed Chicken
serves 4

2 1/2 lb. meaty chicken pieces*
1 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
1 8 oz. bottle reduced-calorie Russian or French salad dressing
1 envelope onion soup mix (1/2 2 oz package)

*I thaw one chicken breast for each person I’m feeding, plus any leftovers I want to plan on. If you decide to go with wings or drumsticks, I would calculate 3 of these pieces per person and get that much chicken. Sometimes the by-weight recommendation in recipes just don’t work for me.

Arrange the chicken in one layer in a rectangular baking dish. For the glaze, combine in a large bowl the cranberry sauce, salad dressing, and soup mix. Pour the glaze over the chicken.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350-degree oven for about 1 hour or until the chicken is no longer pink. Stir glaze and spoon over chicken once or twice during baking. Serve in the baking dish or on a platter, with the glaze, and hot cooked rice if desired.

This has few ingredients and ingredients which you can keep on hand in your pantry, which makes it ideal for family dinners, but it is good enough to serve guests for dinner as well. I made it for a hearty dinner while my parents were visiting, the day Jim and my dad spent most of the day in the hot New England seaside summer sun doing work on the exterior basement entryway. My mom was able to eat it and enjoy it, with a little less rice, even being diabetic, and my dad, who has been known for years as the picky eater, said it was a good meal.

One takes one’s credit where one can.

For 8 servings:
5 lb. meaty chicken pieces
2 16 oz. cans whole cranberry sauce
2 8 oz or 1 16 oz. bottles reduced-calorie Russian or French salad dressing
2 envelopes onion soup mix (1 2 oz package)

Prepare and bake the same as 4 servings, but use two baking dishes instead of one.

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I’ll bet that not a lot of people out there know whether they like capers, or not. I’m not exactly sure myself what a caper is. Let’s see…

“A caper (Capparis spinosa L.) is a perennial spiny bush that bears rounded, fleshy leaves and big white to pinkish-white flowers. A caper is also the pickled bud of this plant. The bush is native to the Mediterranean region, growing wild on walls or in rocky coastal areas throughout. The plant is best known for the edible bud and fruit (caper berry) which are usually consumed pickled.”

Thanks, Wikipedia!

So the caper, as used culinarily, is the pickled bud or berry of the caper plant. This explains, then, why capers come packed in a brine.

Try this dip at least once. The flavors are subtle, and crab and capers go well together to create a quietly complex flavor profile.

Crab-Caper Dip
serves 8

1/2 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. light mayonnaise
2 oz. (1/2 c.) sliced reduced-fat Swiss cheese, finely chopped*
1/4 c. cooked lump crabmeat, drained and flaked OR
1/4 6-oz can crabmeat, drained and flaked
1 Tbsp. capers, drained

*Getting reduced-fat Swiss instead of regular Swiss is critical. The reduced-fat version keeps itself intact better when it melts.

In a small saucepan, cook the onions, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain well. In a large bowl stir together the cooked onions, mayonnaise, finely chopped Swiss cheese, the crabmeat, and the capers.

Spoon the mixture in to an appropriately-sized ovenproof casserole. Cover and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until heated through. Can be served in the ovenproof casserole, transferred to a serving bowl, or transferred to a hollowed-out round bread loaf for presentation. Serve chips, vegetable dippers, or small toasts alongside.

for 40 servings
2 c. chopped onions
2 c. light mayonnaise
8 oz. (2 c.) sliced reduced-fat Swiss cheese, finely chopped
1 c. cooked lump crabmeat, drained and flaked OR
1 6-oz. can crabmeat, drained and flaked
1/2 c. capers, drained

Prepare following the same steps, but bake in a 350 degree oven, covered, for 55 minutes or until heated through.

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Seized by the desire to make a carrot cake, I found myself confronted with multiple recipes. Some recipes called for whipped egg whites to be folded in to the batter, but after my encounter with whipped egg whites in the lemon meringue pie, I decided that was too much trouble. So I turned to my trusty Better Homes and Gardens carrot cake recipe, which didn’t ask me to whip any egg whites.

Carrot Cake
serves 12

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 c. finely shredded carrots*
1/2 c. cooking (vegetable) oil
2 eggs
1/2 c. chopped pecans
1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting

*First of all, what an adventure I had figuring out how to use the shredding blade on the food processor attachment on my stand mixer. I had carrots everywhere, but it was fun, it made my life a heck of a lot easier, and I think I’ll do a better job next time.

Grease an 8×8 pan and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and baking soda. Then add the finely shredded carrots, cooking oil, and eggs. Beat until just combined.

TIP: Do not use the whisk or paddle attachment on your mixer if you choose to mix this batter in your electric mixer. Use the dough hook. The shredded carrots will wrap around your whisk or paddle and you will have one big carroty blob. Either use the dough hook, or mix by hand.

Pour batter in to prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Mine took about 35 minutes before I was well and truly pleased with it. Cool pan on a wire rack. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting. Cover and store in the refrigerator.

Since I was making this cake in the morning to serve in the evening, I put the cooled cake in the fridge unfrosted, then mixed up the frosting later in the day and frosted the cake right before serving. Pop it back in the fridge for five minutes to let the frosting firm back up, if the ravening hoardes will allow it.

Cream Cheese Frosting
makes 1 recipe

In a medium mixing bowl (electric helps), beat together 6 or 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened, and 2 teaspoons vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar, beating well. Gradually beat in 2 to 2 1/2 cups additional sifted powdered sugar until the frosting is optimal spreading consistency. Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups.

And because this is the Better Homes and Gardens potluck cookbook, we know there are directions for a larger recipe, right? Right!

serves 16
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 c. finely shredded carrots
1 c. cooking (vegetable) oil
4 eggs
1 c. chopped pecans
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting

Prepare in a 13×9 inch baking pan, and bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

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Why did I not give you this recipe last summer?

Spicy Artichoke Dip
from Better Homes & Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites
serves 14

1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
1/3 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp diced green chile peppers, drained
2 tsp drained and chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced

In a large bowl, combine chopped artichoke hearts, mayo, Parmesan, green chile peppers, chopped jalapeno peppers, cumin, and garlic. Spoon in to an ungreased small casserole. Sprinkle with paprika.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

for 40 servings (!)

3 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained, and coarsely chopped
1 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 4-ounce can diced green chile peppers, drained
2 Tbsp drained and chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves of garlic, minced

Same preparation, but use a larger casserole — about 1 1/2 quarts — and bake for about 30 minutes.

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It occurs to me that I made this for a birthday party last spring, but I don’t think I shared the recipe. My bad.

This recipe works best if you are feeding a crowd, and you have a dedicated sous chef; preferably one who doesn’t mind handling chicken parts.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
from Better Homes and Gardens Hometown Potluck Favorites

for 24 servings
2 1/2 lb. chicken wings
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
3 Tbsp. cooking oil
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
1/4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 c. ketchup
1 tsp. soy sauce
green onions (optional, for garnish)

First, cut off the tips of the chicken wings. Cut wings at joints to form 24 to 30 pieces. This is a really good job for your sous chef.

In a shallow dish, combine the flour, lemon-pepper seasoning, and garlic salt. Coat each chicken piece in the mixture.

Heat your cooking oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add the coated chicken pieces. You will probably end up doing this in batches, which is fine. Cook, uncovered, until brown, turning occasionally. Remove chicken from the skillet and arrange in a 3 to 4 quart rectangular baking dish.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, pineapple juice, ketchup, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour over chicken in baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Turn pieces over after 15 minutes and baste. If desired, garnish with the green onions.

This travels fairly ok, just make sure that you wrap or cover it securely. If you have an insulated hot carrier, all the better. And it helps if there is an oven at your destination in which you can reheat the chicken just prior to serving.

Here is the 12 servings recipe — though I wouldn’t go through with this recipe for only 12 servings. There are a lot of steps to the recipe and it’s just more worth it to make the bigger batch. Leftovers will keep well or can be sent home with guests, and they reheat nicely in the microwave.

for 12 servings:

1 1/4 lb. chicken wings
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. lemon-pepper seasoning
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
4 1/2 tsp cooking oil
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. white wine vinegar or rice vinegar
2 Tbsp unsweetened pineapple juice
2 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp soy sauce

Prepare using the same method as the 24-serving recipe, except bake in a 2 to 3 quart rectangular baking dish.

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Hello. The 1950s called. They said we can keep the casserole dishes. Yay!

Sausage-Rice Casserole
from Better Homes & Garden Hometown Potluck Favorites
serves 6*

1 lb. uncooked sweet (mild) or hot Italian sausage (or sausage links with the casings removed)
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 1/2 c. cooked white rice
1 4-oz. can green chiles, drained
1 4-oz. can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1 10 3/4-oz. can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
3/4 c. (3 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook sausage and onion in a skillet on the stovetop until sausage is brown. Stir it to break up big pieces. Drain off excess fat.

In a very large bowl, stir together the rice, chiles, and mushrooms; add the soup, milk, and cheddar cheese; then add the sausage-onion mixture. Stir thoroughly. Tip in to a 2- or 2.5-quart rectangular baking dish. Bake uncovered in your preheated oven for 50 minutes or until heated through.

You can also make this in advance, up to 24 hours according to the recipe book, and store it covered in the fridge til you are ready to cook. Just bake for 65 to 70 minutes if baking straight from the fridge, or until heated through.

How easy is that??

It’s simple, it’s filling, it’s not too expensive if you think about it (just the sausage, really), and I feel that it will reheat spectacularly. It could even do a great impression of a hot, cheesy, creamy, filling dish at a brunch. I used sweet Italian sausage, so the only heat really came from the green chiles and that is not an overpowering or off-putting heat. It was actually quite pleasant with a green salad on the side.

*Why do we love the Hometown Potluck Favorites cookbook? Because it provides the recipe in small and large serving sizes so we can adjust it for family dinners or family reunions, as necessary.

For 12 servings:

2 lbs. sausage
1 c. chopped onion
5 cups cooked white rice
2 4-oz. cans of green chiles, drained
2 4-oz. cans mushroom stems and pieces, drained
2 10 3/4-oz. cans condensed cream of chicken soup
2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. (6 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

Follow all the same preparatory steps, but divide the mixture evenly between 2 2- or 2.5-quart baking dishes. Bake both dishes 50 minutes at 350, or cover, refrigerate up to 24 hours, and bake at 350 for 65 to 70 minutes, just as you would for the 6-serving recipe.

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