Country Cooking – December 18

Some days seem to drag on forever and others slip by with hardly a notice. This year with Thanksgiving so close to the end of the month there seems to be little time until we should be ready for Christmas. Just one week left and already many have celebrated with families. Of course, my plans were to send greetings early but no address book yet. I wonder whatever happened to it and if it will ever be found again. I did start a new one and hopefully can retrieve many addresses from others. I also have a couple of address books from the 1970s. Lots of names of no longer acquaintances or those that have moved to other places. The remembrances of why they are listed have brought back memories of school, college, and family gatherings.  

It has been great listening to the children and young people as they make a number of appearances in various businesses and concerts in school and in the churches. The community band concert was perhaps the best I have ever heard. They played some very difficult pieces and surely put everyone in the Christmas spirit. And of course, the elementary student Rebel voices were up to their usual performance and so well disciplined and singing so all could hear.

I needed some new bulbs for my window candelabras and apparently so did others as they were difficult to find in town. I settled on some LED bulbs and if the instructions were correct they should last 50,000 hours or 45 years. I had to read it several times to see if I could comprehend that. The light is brighter than the old bulbs and sort of look more artificial. Sometimes we can’t be choosy and it all depends on what we are expecting or used to. 

I don’t plan to make a lot of cookies like other years but I suppose a few Swedish cookies are always a treat. Alexis made caramels during her vacation time over Thanksgiving. It takes a long time to wrap them so they don’t dry out. One person makes hers in the microwave and the cooking time is much shorter. I also heard some use the crockpot for making caramels and you don’t have to watch the cooking quite so close. All I know is that they certainly taste good whatever method one uses. When I was a child we often made taffy and had a great time pulling it. I don’t know when was the last time I heard of anyone making that.

Chicken Chowder

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1-1/2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

2 onions, chopped

2 stalks, celery, sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 cups frozen corn

2 cans condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted

1-1/2 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon dried dill weed

1/2 cup half-and-half

Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir until browned.

Combine chicken, onions, celery, carrots, corn, soup, broth and dill weed in slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 3 to 4 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Turn off heat; stir in half-and-half. Cover; let stand 5 minutes or until heated through. Makes 8 servings.

Parmesan-Garlic Bread

1/2 pint whipping cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

9 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1 loaf French bread, sliced

Paprika to taste

Whip whipping cream until thick; blend in mayonnaise. Add garlic and 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese; stir well. Slice French bread in half lengthwise; generously spread garlic mixture on each half. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and paprika. Place loaf halves on an ungreased baking sheet; bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until garlic topping turns golden. Cut into one-inch slices. Makes about 2 dozen slices.

 Chocolate Caramel Cookies

1 package devil’s food cake mix

1/4 cup water

1 egg

3 tablespoons canola oil

38 Rolo® candies

Chopped hazelnuts

Combine cake mix, water, egg and oil in a large bowl. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls. Press a candy into each; reshape ball. Dip tops in hazelnuts.

Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350º for 8-10 minutes or until tops are cracked. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks. Store in an airtight container.      

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