Baking Cookies for Santa!

After today, there are only eight more Fridays before Christmas .. which means it’s past time to get started baking cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas eve, don’t you agree?!  We’re going to share a favorite cookie recipe each Friday until Christmas – and if you have a favorite you’d like to share, get in touch – we’ll be happy to let the world in on your holiday baking success secrets, too!

Yes, I am in the lucky position of sorting through sweet recipes and picking my favorites.  Do you think this is easy?  No.  Each week, I will be #479057 Possible Dreams Santa - Jelly Filledconsidering, contemplating, curating, copying, and collating thoughts about cookies for a day.  Maybe more than a day.  This is a hard, hard thing.  No, really.  Walk in my shoes.  You know, I really need some new shoes.  I think I’d better put that on my list for Santa right now.  Shoes.  And a new mixer.  A red KitchenAid® stand mixer.  Good start.  Now, what was I talking about??

Cookies!  I’m starting with a non-traditional cookie, so you’ll have time to bombard me with your best recipes for next week.  And I like easy in my repertoire, so this one will just get you thinking about sweet treats for Santa, without too much work.  (I literally have no idea how to make donuts, so this [Possible Dreams Santa – Jelly Filled] is for illustration purposes only.  Imagine cookies with me.)

Shared with me by a friend in Indiana many years ago, thank you, Melissa, you know who you are!

First, a quick housekeeping note, I like efficiency and shorthand in my recipes.  I always put oven temperature, pan size, and baking time at the top; for measurements, I use this shorthand:  C = Cup, T = Tablespoon, t = teaspoon.

Magic Cookie Bars

350° oven, 13″ x 9″ pan, 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C margarine/butter
  • 1-1/2 C Graham Cracker crumbs (don’t you love being able to get them pre-smashed these days?  Me, too!)
  • 1 C chopped nuts
  • 1 C shredded coconut
  • 1 C milk chocolate chips
  • 1 C butterscotch chips
  • 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

Instructions:

Put margarine in baking pan and place in oven.  Turn oven on to heat.  When margarine has melted, remove from oven and sprinkle with Graham Cracker crumbs.  Spread evenly across bottom of pan as a crust.  Sprinkle crust with chocolate and butterscotch chips, nuts, and coconut (in any order).  Top with sweetened condensed milk.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, watching the sides for burning.  Cool completely and cut into squares.  (or eat straight from the pan, there’s no judgement here.)

You can also use a smaller pan for thicker cookies, and you can substitute crushed pretzels for a savory counterpoint to the sweet toppings.  You can use any topping you like, but keep the volume the same, about four cups of toppings.

Cookies for Santa plateThese cookie bars have never lasted long enough for me to be able to suggest an average shelf life of anything more than, oh, eight to ten hours, sorry.

When you put them out for Santa on Christmas eve, do you have a fun plate for Santa?  [Maybe one like this?]

Plesae don’t forget to leave a few apple slices and carrots for the reindeer, too!

~Janet @ The Incredible Christmas Place

P.S. Send us a recipe to share – e-mail it to santa@christmasplace.com, and use the message title “cookie recipe for blog.”  We’re looking forward to your creativity – and maybe some of your cookies will show up at the elves’ annual post-Christmas gathering, fingers crossed for it!

Food for Friday

Now that the chill of winter has set in, I want something hot and hearty for dinner – but I don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking when I get in at the end of the day.  Me?  I want to get under a warm blanket as soon as I can!  I found this fantastic Gooseberry Patch cookbook – One-Pot Meals.  What could be more simple?  “Flavor without the fuss …home-cooked dinners your family will love!”

http://www.christmasplace.com/shopping/ItemNumber/66071

The recipes cover most every cooking method you might use, including range-top, crockpot, microwave, and even campfire entrees, as well as cold salads and desserts.  As I set the book down and randomly flipped open the pages, what did I land on but a personal favorite of mine all year round – Potato-Corn Chowder!  The publishers allow me to share a recipe with you occasionally, so here it is:

Potato-Corn Chowder

Ingredients:

    • 2 – 10-3/4 oz cans potato soup
    • 2 – 14-3/4 oz cans cream-style corn
    • 8 slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled (substitute ready-cooked bacon if you’re short on prep time)
    • 1/2 to 1 C milk (for extra creamy soup or chowder, replace milk with evaporated milk)
    • salt, pepper and garlic salt to taste
    • Optional: 1 to 2 T bacon drippings
    • Garnish:  fresh parsley, chopped

Blend soup and corn in a slow cooker; add bacon along with bacon drippings if desired.  Add milk until soup is of desired consistency; add seasonings to taste.  Heat on low setting in your slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours.  Sprinkle individual servings with parsley.  Serves 6 to 8.

Imagine coming home in the evening to the scent of a steaming pot of this chowder!  Better hope you’re the first one in the kitchen!

My recipe short-hand:  C = cup; T = tablespoon

Hmmm….now what do they have in here that will work for a hungry crowd that’s coming over for some big event I’ve heard is happening this weekend?  You know, the one where everyone gathers around giant T.V. screens to watch a whole bunch of commercials, periodically interrupted by some bits of guys running about a field, chasing after an odd-shaped, punkin’-looking thing?

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Check out some of the other yummy cookbooks from Gooseberry Patch – they’re the best books you’ll find anywhere!

 

Food for Friday

Now that the rush is over, I’m discovering new publications that I missed in the store – including seven gorgeous cookbooks under the main title “The Gathering of Friends,” with volume subtitles including “A Year of Holidays at Home,” “Return to the Table,” “Celebrating With Simplicity,” and four others.  From the creators and publishers:

The Gathering of Friends cookbooks were created to introduce “food as a love language,” enhancing traditions, fortifying relationships and celebrating life!

Gathering of Friends book

Paraphrasing Brian Wansink, we eat first with our eyes – and these volumes demonstrate that presentation is just as important to the enjoyment of a meal as food preparation.  Chapters feature recipes illustrated with beautiful photographs of each dish, along with a bit of inspiration, serving and tablescape ideas, and decorating suggestions.  Also included is a complete shopping list for the chapter menu!  Though hard-backed, the pages are spiral bound, so the books will lay open in a stand or on a tabletop for easy viewing.

010715 Gathering Friends

Naturally, the one which first caught my eye, “A Year of Holidays at Home,” features a Christmas dinner table, though it includes menus and ideas for July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, a Winter Celebration, Valentine’s, and Easter!  Curated (my choice of words!) by Michelle Huxtable and Abby Jane Green, it’s “an inspiring collection of delicious recipes and memorable menus.”  There is a comprehensive index of all recipes, so you can easily pull together your own menu, too.

Here’s an easy little Christmas recipe that just might work for Valentine’s, too, especially in color.

Cranberry Coconut Squares

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 C flour
  • 2 t coconut extract
  • 1-1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut, divided
  • 1-1/2 C white chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 C dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; prepare a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with cooking spray.  Beat eggs in a medium-sized bowl.  Fold in butter, sugar, flour, and coconut extract.  Gently stir with a fork until just combined.

Fold in 1/2 C sweetened flaked coconut and 1/2 C white chocolate chips.  Pour batter into the baking dish, and sprinkle with dried cranberries and remaining white chocolate chips and coconut.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Fully cool before cutting into squares.

Serve up these lovely, sweet, red-and-white squares on cut-paper doilies as a treat, any time of day!

(C = Cup, t = Teaspoon)

I’m making room on my shelf for a few of these delicious cookbooks!  What’s your favorite Christmas – or any holiday – recipe?  We’d love to expand our culinary horizons with a few of your suggestions.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  The volume pictured is available to buy; call the store at 1-800-445-3396 and ask Guest Services to arrange shipment of item 766005.  We have all seven volumes, numbered from 766000 to 766006!

Food for Friday

As soon as I figure out how to squeeze a couple of extra hours out of each day, I’m going to be cooking up a snow storm for Christmas!  I really am!  I haven’t even had time to make my favorite peanut butter-marshmallow-almond bark treats this year .. now that’s too busy for me.

I think an excellent gift request to send to Santa this year is a wish for ANY of the Gooseberry Patch cookbooks – or even one of each.  I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy every volume they print, from the delicious recipes and serving suggestions of the recipes’ authors, to the quick and easy tips on each page for holiday decorating and entertaining.

At only $16.95, Christmas with Family & Friends would make an excellent hostess gift for the holidays.  This volume begins with a collection of brief essays & stories from contributors sharing their own Christmas memories – a special treat!  Then all the food categories are covered, from Breakfast & Brunch with Friends to soups, casseroles, and, of course, Festive Family Desserts.

As I flipped through the pages, I was caught by this recipe title:  “Fancy Pants Chicken.”  For sure!  Don’t we always have chicken in the fridge or freezer?  What a fast and fun dish to put together for any holiday or every day gathering.

Fancy Pants Chicken

Ingredients
12 chicken breast tenders
2 T olive oil
1/3 C teriyaki marinade sauce
1/2 C ranch salad dressing
6 to 8 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled
1 C shredded Colby Jack Cheese

In a large skillet over medium heat, lightly brown chicken in oil.  Remove chicken and place in a lightly greased 11″ x 7″ baking pan.  Brush both sides of chicken generously with teriyaki sauce.  Top with salad dressing, crumbled bacon and cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees until chicken juices run clear, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Serves 6.

I’m very intrigued by how the flavors of the sweet teriyaki and the creamy ranch dressing mix together.  It sounds like something you can make in a snap – the contributor recommends serving the chicken over an almond rice pilaf.

C = Cup; T = Tablespoon

Here’s another hostess gift idea – seasonal salt & pepper shakers!  We have some really cute styles in the store and on-line this year.  Check out this classic Santa set.

Hope your Christmas shopping and celebrating plans are going well!  We’ve had snow, and the kids have missed several school days already, so we’re thinking the holidays are working out pretty well so far this year.

Have a Merry – and tasty – Christmas!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  My sister taught me that you can put frozen chicken tenders  straight into a toaster oven and bake them up in about 20 minutes – a good draining, a good saucing, and a good vegetable side and dinner’s on the table.  Easy really works for me!

Food for Friday

Well, there are only 71 more days until Christmas – but 101 recipes in this cook book .. what are you going to do???  You’ll have to double up on some days to get them all in!

101 Christmas Recipes, a Gooseberry Patch publication, is a colorful and beautifully photo-illustrated, spiral-bound recipe book – I like the easy binding on the book, because you can open it to the one page you want and not have to lay out the whole thing – counter space is often a premium in the kitchen!  Every recipe is accompanied by a full-color photo and a quote from the author of the dish.

This concise volume (by normal Gooseberry Patch standards!) of only four chapters covers Holiday Open House, Snow Fun, Christmas Day, and Sweets of the Season.  You’ll not believe it, but I have not opened the sweets section this time!

Is yours a pizza-loving home? Here’s a quick and easy sandwich recipe, a take on Sloppy Joes that the kids – of all ages – will love!

Pizzawiches

Ingredients
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
4-oz sliced mushrooms, drained
16-oz jar pizza sauce
6 to 8 slices mozzarella cheese
6 to 8 hamburger or sub buns
Optional:  olive slices, pepperoni slices

In a skillet over medium heat, brown ground beef and onion; drain.  Add mushrooms and pizza sauce to skillet; heat through.  Assemble sandwiches with ground beef mixture, top with cheese slices, adding olives and pepperoni if desired.  Serves 6 to 8.

Doesn’t that sound delicious – and a one-pan meal can’t be beat!

Okay, here are some more recipe titles from the book – all the pictures are just so appealing!  Shoepeg Corn & Green Bean Casserole, Spiced Christmas Cashews, Jalapeno Cheese Spread, Chocolate Eggnog, Eggnog French Toast Strata, Candy Cane Thumbprints, GiGi’s Cranberry Cobbler – uh oh, looks like I’ve passed over into sweets land!  Have I made you hungry enough to bake something this weekend?

You need a copy of 101 Christmas Recipes ~ you just don’t know what you’ll be missing at this year’s Christmas party without it!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Oooo..I just found the prettiest and most fun cookbook in the Gallery with a wonderfully promising subtitle ~ The 12 Days of Christmas Cookbook, The Ultimate in Effortless Holiday Entertaining.

The folks who compiled this collection really had fun with naming their chapters, following the pattern of the Christmas carol ~ Beverages-a-Blending, Cookies-a-Cooling, Desserts-a-Delighting, and so on, all the way to Soups-a-Simmering.  In the middle is Ca-a-an-dies (five-gold-den-rings, you get it?).  “On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me An Appetizer on a Platter.”

The pages are all printed in Christmas-y shades of red & green, and accented with snowflakes and candy striping.  “Effortless Entertaining Tips” are included with each chapter, and on page 184 I just found the most delightful idea called “Scrambled Dinner.”  No, it’s not serving scrambled eggs, it’s serving a secret meal in which every dish – and beverage and utensil and napkin! – is given a Christmas name and guest have to order based only on the names – like “Clouds over Bethlehem” (mashed potatoes) and “Herod’s Scepter” (dinner knife).  A guest might end up with meat, veggies, and dessert, but only a toothpick with which to eat!  What a fun party idea – if your friends are up for some holiday hijinks!

The recipe I’ve selected to share is called “Strawberry Pretzel Salad” because I was immediately intrigued by the idea of mixing a sweet, soft strawberry with a salty, crunchy pretzel – I enjoy mixing sweet and salty together – and wondering where to get fresh, tasty strawberries in December.  Turns out I might like this recipe for many more reasons than just sweet+salty!

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

Ingredients
3/4 C butter or margarine, melted
3 T sugar
2 C crushed pretzels
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 C sugar
1 (8 oz) tub frozen whipped topping, thawed
**2 (3 oz) packages strawberry-flavored gelatin
2 C boiling water
1 (16 oz) package frozen strawberries
1 (8 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained

In bowl, mix butter or margarine, 3 T sugar, and crushed pretzels; press mixture into 9×13-inch pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool completely.

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese with 3/4 C sugar.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spread evenly over cooled pretzel crust.  In bowl, combined gelatin & boiling water; stir to dissolve.  Mix in frozen strawberries & pineapple.  Allow gelatin to set slightly; pour over cream cheese mixture.  Refrigerate til completely set.  Makes 12-15 servings.

I think I’ve had a slice of this heaven at a party or a pitch-in sometime in the past, and I’m so happy to have a recipe for it – I’m going to make it for an event this Sunday!  I’m just not sure how they class this as a salad though .. sounds like a fruity dessert to me.

This cookbook is item 491000, and it will be on our website later today – as soon as it is up, I’ll add a link to it from the photo above.  In the mean time, if you love strawberries, and maybe chocolate, too, how about a really special ornament for your Christmas tree??

Taking a bite NOT recommended!  Enjoy!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

**UPDATE!

Okay, I tried to make this on Sunday, having printed a copy of this post to take with me to the grocery store.  I did not notice until I had half of it constructed that I had NOTHING to add to the two cups of boiling water!  I’m so sorry, folks, that I left out the 2 boxes of gelatin!  As it was, I only used one box of gelatin, and my dish failed .. which means I’ve been munching on the crust and cream cheese layer only, and I had to buy a snack for my Sunday night gathering.  I hang my head in shame (though I love the sweet & salty mix, even without the fruity layer).

Now that I have returned to the office, revisited the original recipe, & updated it above, I hope you’ll have more success.  Also, I was making mine with raspberries instead of strawberries, and I found a box of raspberry jello in the cabinet – how amazing is that .. when did I last think to buy raspberry jello?  I think you could mix this up with any fruits & jellos that strike your fancy – while looking for frozen raspberries I also contemplated a package of frozen mixed berries, and a friend recommended frozen blueberries.

Note to self:  better blogging through better proof-reading!
 

Food for Friday

Okay, rest of the world, I did not know that chickens could lay GREEN eggs .. I did not.  But they are lovely!  I purchased a dozen home-grown eggs from one of the associates here at the store, and they are really too pretty to crack open.  I feel like I want to blow them out and preserve them .. but she’s told me the shells are a lot harder than store-bought egg shells, so my chances of success are slim and none.

One of her lovely ladies likes to lay a BIG brown egg each day, too.  It just makes me happy to look at the beautiful colors in my carton.  In honor of these extraordinary eggs that have come into my life, I have to share a recipe that calls for eggs, don’t I?

Christmas mornings, my family used to rush around opening presents and then race to put together breakfast before everyone died of starvation .. you know how that is when you’re roused before dawn for the fun!  We finally had a good thought between us and began doing breakfast casseroles that we put together the night before and just pop in the oven on Christmas morning – and it’s wonderful.  The food is ready at about the same time all the wrappings have been rounded up, and there’s less to clean up before preparations for The Big Meal begin.

Here is a sister publication to the last 3-in-1 I shared,  filled with more recipes submitted by some of your favorite brand names.  The Church Potluck, Sunday Suppers, & Bake Sale collection is another feast for the eyes as well as the dinner table!  I’ve picked a breakfast casserole from the Brunch for a Bunch section that is a play on one of my favorites, French Toast.

Aunt Marilyn’s Cinnamon French Toast Casserole

Ingredients
1 large loaf French bread, cut into 1-1/2 inch slices
3-1/2 C milk
9 eggs
1-1/2 C sugar, divided
1 T vanilla
1/2 t salt
6 to 8 medium baking apples, such as McIntosh or Cortland, peeled & sliced
1 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t ground nutmeg
Powdered sugar (optional)

Place bread slices in greased 13×9-inch glass baking dish or casserole.  Whisk milk, eggs, 1 C sugar, vanilla & salt in large bowl until well blended.  Pour half of mixture over bread.  Layer apple slices over bread.  Pour remaining half of egg mixture over apples.  Combine remaining 1/2 C sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl; sprinkle over casserole.  Cover & refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake uncovered 1 hour or until eggs are set.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Makes 6-8 servings.

In the picture, the serving is garnished with a mix of red and blue berries for a very festive presentation on a Christmas-green plate.  It’s making me look forward to Christmas morning already – which is only about 105 days away, people!  That’s only three-and-a-half months already – my favorite time of the year!

I guess I can’t hang on to my beautiful eggs forever, I’m going to have to enjoy the insides as well as the outsides.  Maybe I’ll try slicing them open with an exacto so I can glue them back together, covering the seam with a bit of cheery (and likely glittered!) ribbon.  Sounds about right.

Have a grand weekend – the Shades of the Past car show is on, and we’ve been enjoying the parade past the courtyard all week!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

Recipe time again, and I spotted a new cook book in the gift gallery.  Favorite Brand Name Holiday, a collection of recipes that are perfect for parties, open houses, cookie exchanges, and all your holiday eating opportunities!

The food photographs in this book are amazing – I’m looking at a picture of cheese “balls” made in the shape of a Christmas tree, a football (covered in almonds to look like leather) and a pine cone (covered in sliced almonds resembling the petals of a cone).  Virtually every recipe is illustrated by a closely-detailed photo – I’m now looking at a one-bite burger, with the buns cleverly crafted out of pre-made breadstick dough that is easily shaped into the miniature buns.

It’s much too close to dinner time to keep turning these pages!  I’m going straight to Cookies, and this quick and tasty recipe made with chocolate bars.

Snowball Surprises

Ingredients
1 C (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 C powdered sugar, divided
1 t vanilla
1-3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 t salt
1 C pecan halves, toasted* & finely chopped
1 bar (3 oz) chocolate candy with almonds, broken into 36 (1/2-inch) pieces

Lightly grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.  Beat butter & 1/2 C powdered sugar in large bowl until well blended.  Add vanilla; beat until blended.  Gradually add flour & salt, beating after each addition.  Stir in pecans.

Shape dough by tablespoonfuls into 36 balls.  Press chocolate pieces into each ball, working dough around chocolate to cover.  Place balls 1-1/2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.  Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour or until dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Bake cookies 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Remove to wire racks; cool slightly.  Sprinkle remaining 1/4 C powdered sugar over warm cookies.

*To toast pecans, spread in single layer on cookie sheet.  Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.

Your guests will not expect the surprise of the lovely chocolate center to these delicious snowball cookies!

This cook book is an absolute feast for the eyes, not to mention the guests – it’s one that will draw you into every page, and I know you’ll find many new favorites in every category.  You’ll have to finish the meal with Bubbling Raspberry Coolers and Cranberry Snow Punch!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

I found a new cook book in the Gift Gallery today.  New, but offering recipes for one of the most basic kitchen implements ~ The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook, by the mother-daughter culinary team of Sharon Kramis & Julie Kramis Hearne.  The 90 recipes inside will inspire you to put this versatile tool to use, creating dishes for every meal of the day, as well as taking it on the road with you for your favorite campsite flavors.  Naturally, they include instructions on caring for your pan to get the maximum life out of it.

Here’s a quick and delicious dessert idea for fresh fruit season, though it calls for frozen cherries ~ you can substitute fresh apricots if you like.

Bing Cherry Clafouti

Ingredients
2 C (one 10-oz package) frozen Bing cherries, thawed in a colander
1-1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C granulated sugar
2-1/4 C whole milk
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla extract
2 t Kirsch (cherry liqueur, optional)
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
Zest of 1 orange
1 T butter, cut into small pieces
Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with a rack positioned in the center.

Butter the bottom and sides of a 12-inch cast iron skillet.  Place the cherries in the bottom of the pan, distributing evenly.  In a medium bowl, mix the flour and sugar.  Whisk in the milk, mixing until combined.  Add the eggs, vanilla, Kirsch (if using), nutmeg and orange zest.  Whisk until well combined.  Pour all of the batter over the top of the cherries in the skillet.  Dot the top with butter.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake until puffed and golden, 25 to 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Wow, that sounds so simple and delicious!  Serve it for dessert – or as a special brunch treat?

 Wishing everyone a delightful weekend ~ and happy eating!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Food for Friday

I know, you thought I was never going to share a recipe again!  But no, recipe Friday is back, after a short hiatus.  Maybe a little explanation would be in order.

First, in case you haven’t heard, we opened a restaurant about three weeks ago.  That kinda started interfering with my schedule for a while.  Then, one crazy Wednesday in June, I sorta fell and sprained both my ankles and even managed to break one of them.  What an inconvenience.  Did I plan to spend the hottest summer thus far this century in a cast and a wheel chair and a walker and on a cane?  No, I did not!

Of course, I realize I have a bit of a reputation for finding ways to avoid mowing the wretched lawn (that manages to survive despite my least efforts).  Having been gifted with a fabulous riding mower earlier in the spring, I promise this fall was not a lawn-work-avoidance ploy.  Nor was it a shower-avoidance ploy, though I didn’t get to stand in one for about a month.  Not fun.

Being much on the mend, and with things well under way on our many business fronts, I can finally think about food again on a Friday!

Do they have good farmer’s markets where you are?  We have not only Saturday markets but a bounty of roadside stands in this area, offering great fresh vegetables and fruits grown a few fields over.  Gooseberry Patch has published a marvelous collection titles Farmers’ Market Favorites, filled with proven favorites from around the country.  Chapters feature selections for everything from Sunny Starters for the Day to A Bushel Basket of Main Dishes, Sprouting Salads, and Fresh Baked Desserts ~ all begging for fresh, locally-grown ingredients for a summer feast.

I always enjoy the illustrated covers on Gooseberry Patch publications ~ they have such charm and imagination!

Browsing the chapter A Medley of Sides, I came across an intriguing recipe for “Apple Orchard Strudel.”  The first ingredient is cabbage!  I’m really curious about the blend of flavors among these ingredients – you’ll see what I mean (like that chocolate fudge you make with Velveeta cheese – I have never yet tasted it, but people swear it’s great).  I think this strudel would be quite tasty.

Apple Orchard Strudel

Ingredients
4 C cabbage, finely chopped
1/4 C onion, chopped
1-1/2 C apples, cored, peeled, and chopped
1/3 C raisins
1/4 C sour cream
1 t mustard (it doesn’t say, but I would guess this is prepared mustard)
1 C shredded Cheddar cheese
8 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 C butter, melted and divided

Add cabbage and onion to a skillet coated with non-stick vegetable spray.  Cook, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Combine cabbage mixture with apples and raisins in a large bowl.  Stir together sour cream and mustard; add to cabbage mixture.

Brush one sheet dough with butter; layer on a second sheet.  Continue to brush each sheet of dough with butter and arrange one on top of the other.

Spoon cabbage mixture down 1/3 of long side of dough.  Top mixture with cheese.  Beginning with the long side, roll up jelly-roll style.  Place on a 15″ x 10″ jelly-roll pan lightly coated with non-stick vegetable spray.  Brush dough with remaining butter.  Make 1/4-inch deep cuts about 2 inches apart along the length of the dough.

Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before slicing to serve.  Makes about 6 servings.

Now isn’t that an interesting combination?  I sure hope someone will give this a try and report back to me – it sounds just strange enough to be really, really delicious!

C = Cup; t = teaspoon

Have a wonderful weekend, and be sure to check out the farmer’s market near you – you may be surprised by what is growing in your neighborhood!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place