12 staff favorites for 12-12-12

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Recipes to enjoy during the 12 days of Christmas

By The Staff

9th Street Easy Holiday Brie

By Deborah Garrett

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbsp. brandy
  • 1 (14-ounce) round brie
  • Apple wedges, for serving
  • Pear wedges, for serving
  • ½ cup lemon juice in ½ cup water
  • Crackers, for serving

In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.

Place the brie on an ovenproof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Dip the fruit wedges with lemon juice mixture and drain then arrange them around one side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side.


9th Street Meatballs 

By Deborah Garrett

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 large onion, 1/4-inch dice
  • Salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped
  • Ground red pepper (amt. is up to you)
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 sausage pattie (any brand)
  • 2 large eggs  
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 2 slices of bread soaked in milk (drain off milk after soaked)
  • 1/4 cup water

Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil, add the onions and bring to a medium-high heat. Season the onions generously with salt and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes. The onions should be very soft and aromatic but have no color. Add the garlic and desired amount of red pepper and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes. Take off heat and cool.

In a large bowl combine the meats, eggs, Parmigiano, parsley and bread. It works well to squish the mixture with your hands. Add the onion mixture and season generously with salt and squish some more. Add the water and do 1 final really good squish. The mixture should be quite wet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Shape the meat into desired size. Some people like ‘em big some people like ‘em small. I prefer meatballs slightly larger than a golf ball. Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to a medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides.

Place them on a cookie sheet and bake them in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked all the way through. Accompany with your favorite marinara sauce.  If not using right away, they can be frozen for later use.


Baked asparagus in Rich Bisque Sauce
By Joan Wright

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 8 shrimp, cleaned, deveined, heads removed
  • 2 Tbsp. sherry
  • 4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick butter)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse asparagus, cut and remove the ends of all spears so they are same size. Save 3 tips for garnish and set aside. Remove outer layer of each spear using a vegetable peeler.

Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 1-2 min. until stems begin to soften. Plunge into ice water and drain. Make bisque sauce by heating the cream to almost the boiling point, then add shrimp and sherry. Reduce heat and continue to cook, uncovered, until it reduces and thickens slightly. Stir in butter and continue to cook, stirring constantly until sauce is smooth and creamy. Remove from heat.

When no longer steaming, puree sauce in blender and set aside. Place asparagus spears with all the tips on the same side in a shallow rectangular, ovenproof baking pan. Pour the slightly warm bisque sauce on top of the asparagus and bake until sauce thickens and is lightly brown along edges of pan. Garnish with the 3 reserved asparagus tips.


Cheese Crock for Gifts
By Joan Wright

  • 8oz pkgs cream cheese
  • 1lb jar sharp cheddar (Kraft Cracker barrel cheddar )about 15oz.
  • ¼ lb soft butter
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 2 Tbsp. dry vermouth
  • ½ tsp. dry mustard
  • ½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2-3 drops Tabasco sauce
  • ½ tsp. seasoned salt
  • ½ tsp. celery salt
  • ¼ tsp. oregano

Soften cheese and butter in food processor. Add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Pack in crock or place in half-pound jars. Seal well; refrigerate. Serve with crackers.


Green Beans with Blue Cheese & Walnuts
By Joan Wright

  • 1 lb fresh green beans trimmed
  • 1 cup chopped cooked ham
  • ¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 tsp. pepper

Cut trimmed green beans into 2” pieces. Arrange beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 5 min. Plunge beans into ice water to stop cooking process; drain.

Sauté 1 cup chopped ham in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 min.; add green beans, and sauté 3 min. Add crumbled blue cheese, and cook, stirring constantly 2 min. or until cheese is melted. Add 1/3 cup shopped walnuts and 1 teas. Pepper, tossing well. Serve immediately.


Hash Brown Casserole
By Pat Sherrard, submitted by Kristin Sherrard Beck

  • 1 – 26 oz. bag frozen country style hash browns
  • 2 cups shredded Colby or Cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup beef stock or canned broth
  • 2 Tbsp. margarine, melted
  • dash garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper

Combine hash browns, cheese and onion in large bowl. Combine milk, beef broth, half melted margarine, garlic powder, salt and black pepper in another bowl. Mix until well blended. Pour over hash browns and mix well. Butter spray 9x13 pan.

Put mixture into skillet with margarine and cook until cheese has melted. Pour into dish. Bake 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until surface of hash browns is brown.


Susan’s chocolate chip cookies
By Susan Miller, submitted by Kristin Sherrard Beck

  • 1 box yellow cake mix, generic brand
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Mix by hand cake mix, oil and eggs. Fold in chips. Drop on ungreased baking sheet, about tablespoon of dough. Use parchment paper so they don’t stick. Bake at 350 degrees 12-14 minutes. Let cool.


Hot Malted Chocolate
By Joan Wright

  • 4 cups 2 percent milk
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup malted milk powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar; beat until soft peaks form. refrigerate until ready to place on top of hot chocolate.

Whisk chocolate chips and milk powder into milk until chocolate is melted. Remove from the heat; whisk in vanilla. Pour into mugs. Spoon whipped cream over the top.


Bourbon Balls
By Phyllis McLaughlin

  • 1 12-oz. package vanilla wafers, finely crushed
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2½ Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • ¼ to ½ cup bourbon, depending on preference

Using a food processor, crush wafers. Then combine with powdered sugar and cocoa in a large bowl; stir until well-blended.

Combine corn syrup and bourbon, stir well. Pour mixture over wafer mixture; stir until blended. Refrigerate batter for about an hour. Once chilled, shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in a combination of powdered sugar. (I also add cocoa powder for this). Store in an air-tight container up to two weeks; refrigerate or freeze to save for later.
Helpful Hint: These are best if prepared a few days in advance of serving, as the bourbon flavor becomes more rich and mild with time. Do this especially if you use the higher amount of bourbon in your recipe.

Optional: Add 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts to wafer mixture before adding bourbon/syrup mixture.


Mom’s Meatloaf 
(with a twist)
By Phyllis McLaughlin

  • 1 pound 92 percent lean ground beef
  • ½ onion, minced
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • ½-sleeve saltine crackers, finely crushed
  • 1-1½ green pepper, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • ¼ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp. pepper, or to taste

Using a food processor, crush crackers. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix together well. Shape into a loaf and place in roasting pan. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 50 minutes or until it is no longer pink in the middle.

Helpfun Hints: The ginger is my “secret” ingredient; I added it one day on a whim, and it really gives it a nice kick. Most stores now sell ginger in small jars, minced or in a paste. I can’t always find it, but usually it’s in the produce section.

If you can’t find it, you can get ginger root and use a garlic press to get about 1 tbsp. of juice, or just mince about that much.

You want to mince it very fine. I’m guessing at these amounts, because I just add it. I don’t really measure it.

So, be careful, because you really don’t want too much.


Poppyseed Bread
By Carla Kidwell

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 3 Tbsp. poppy seeds
  • 1½ tsp. butter flavored extract
  • 1-1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1½ cups milk
  • 2¼ cups white sugar
  • 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ tsp. almond extract


  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ½ tsp. butter flavored extract
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottoms of two 9-inch loaf pans. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, poppy seeds, butter flavoring, oil, eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and almond flavoring. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool 5 minutes. Poke holes in top of loaves and pour glaze over.

To make glaze: Mix orange juice, 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring, 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add enough confectioners’ sugar to make glaze.


Sausage Balls
By Carla Kidwell

  • 3 cups baking mix (such as Bisquick)
  • 1 pound shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound sage-flavored pork sausage (or flavor of your choice), at room temperature

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease a baking sheet. Mix baking mix, Cheddar cheese, pork sausage together in a bowl. Roll mixture into golf ball-sized balls; arrange balls on the prepared baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until meatballs are no longer pink in the middle and browned on the outside, 25 to 30 minutes.