No Bake Butterfinger Pie

“This is the easiest recipe, but it is requested every year!”

— Sarah Davies, multi-media marketing consultant with News-Press Media Group

Ingredients:

Premade graham cracker pie crust

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 container Cool Whip, thawed

8 Butterfinger candy bars, crushed

Directions:

Mix the cream cheese and Cool Whip until fully combined. Crush candy bars (This can be done in a food processor, but my kiddos like to put them in a gallon zipper bag and crush them with a hammer!) and mix 3/4 of it into the pie filling mixture. Scoop filling into pie crust and top with remaining candy bar pieces. Chill three to four hours before serving.

Cracker Candy

“Here is a holiday staple in our family. This is a recipe from my mother-in-law, Holly Frey.

It is addicting!”

— Kristen Frey, director of revenue with News-Press Media Group

Ingredients:

1 sleeve of saltines

1 stick of butter

1 stick of margarine

1/2 cup of sugar

Bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheet with tinfoil and create a single layer of saltines that fills the cookie sheet from edge to edge. Melt butter, margarine and sugar together and boil for three minutes. Pour mixture over saltines on foil-lined sheet, covering all crackers. Bake for 12 minutes. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top and spread as they melt, creating a solid layer of chocolate across all crackers. Freeze until solid. Break apart into desired size pieces. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies

“My favorite recipe for these delicious cookies.”

— Melissa Friger, multi-media consultant with News-Press Media Group

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour (stir, spoon

and level)

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup oil (canola/vegetable)

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For rolling:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, pumpkin and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined. Dough will be thick, soft, wet and sticky.

Place sugars for rolling in two separate bowls. Use a No. 50 scoop (a heaping tablespoon) and drop batter directly into the bowl of granulated sugar. Swirl bowl or use a spoon to coat the dough in sugar. Shake off excess. Roll dough in hands to smooth edges. Then coat the dough in powdered sugar. Do NOT shake off excess. Squeeze the powdered sugar gently around the dough and place it on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart. (Dough may spread/flatten some before baking. It is quite soft. This is OK.) Repeat process quickly to fit 12 cookies on the pan. Bake immediately. (Prepare cookies just before placing in oven. If the dough sits too long it will absorb the powdered sugar.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes, until puffy and cracked. The cookies should be soft and matte (not wet/shiny) where the cracks are. Do not over-bake. Cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

One-pot Lasagna Soup

“These are always crowd pleasers.”

— Carissa Teschner, digital service coordinator with News-Press Media Group

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground beef or half Italian sausage

1 yellow onion, diced

4 to 5 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 24-ounce jar traditional Italian sauce

8 to 10 cups chicken broth, divided

1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon each of dried parsley, dried

oregano and salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 whole bay leaf

10 uncooked lasagna noodles broken into

approximately 1- to 2-inch pieces

1/2 cup heavy cream, optional

Cheese garnish

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Fresh finely grated Parmesan cheese

Ricotta cheese

Directions:

Heat large Dutch oven or large soup pot over medium high heat. Add beef and onion and cook, stirring occasionally until beef is browned. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 30 seconds. Drain off any excess fat.

Add Italian sauce, six cups chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, sugar, spices and lasagna noodles. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until lasagna noodles are tender, stirring occasionally (approximately 20 to 30 minutes).

Discard bay leaf and stir in heavy cream (optional) and 2 to 4 cups of chicken broth to reach desired consistency. Garnish individual servings with desired amount of cheeses.

Chicken Poppy Seed Bake

— Jackie Dix, creative services specialist with News-Press Media Group

Ingredients:

4 or 5 chicken breasts

1 can cream of chicken soup

8 ounces sour cream (softened)

2 sleeves Ritz crackers (crushed)

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

2 sticks oleo (melted)

Ingredients:

Boil chicken, drain, shred or cut into pieces. Combine soup, sour cream and chicken.

Directions:

Spray 9x13 pan with non-stick spray. Layer in pan: chicken mixture, cracker crumbs, poppy seeds and oleo. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

— Nora Rouse, multi-media consultant with News-Press Media Group

Ingredients:

5 russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 onion, sliced into rings

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

Directons:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8x8 casserole dish. Arrange the potatoes and onions in the prepared baking dish, staggering potato and then onion. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

In a medium-size saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Mix in the flour and salt, and stir constantly with a whisk for one minute. Stir in milk. Cook until mixture has thickened. Stir in cheese all at once, and continue stirring until melted and smooth, about 30 to 60 seconds. Pour cheese over the potatoes, and cover the dish with aluminum foil.

Bake 90 minutes in the preheated oven. For a crisp topping, change the oven setting to broil for five minutes before removing the dish.

Green Bean Tater Tot Casserole

“Delicious and filling main dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas.”

— Jennifer Hall, editor of Josephine magazine

Ingredients:

1 pound hamburger, browned and drained

1 onion, chopped

1 16-ounce bag of tater tots, thawed

2 cans cream of mushroom soup

2 cans cut green beans, partially drained

2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Directons:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10x13 casserole dish. Brown hamburger and onion. In the casserole dish, add half of the bag of tater tots, hamburger and onion mix, one can of cream of mushroom soup, one can of green beans, one cup of cheddar cheese and the seasonings. Mix well. Add the other half of the bag of tater tots and remaining cream of mushroom soup, green beans and cheese. Mix again.

Bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Add another 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese on top of casserole in the last five minutes of baking.

Mom’s Christmas Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

“My mom used to make these when we were kids. I still have her Christmas cookie cutters! She says she never makes them now because they are a lot of work… but they are so delicious! She said her friend, Norma, gave her this recipe.”

— Carole Dunn, Josephine Expo Coordinator with News-Press Media Group.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cups butter

1 3 oz. package of cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directons:

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. Blend together the butter, cream cheese and sour cream. Gradually add in your sugar while beating. Beat until light and fluffy then add in the egg yolks and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients, mixing well after each addition.

Wrap in wax paper and chill several hours or overnight. Roll out 1/4-inch thick on powdered sugar covered board (can substitute with flour). Use cookie cutters to cut into desired holiday shapes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 – 12 minutes. Decorate with icing and sprinkles or simply use Christmas colored sugar sprinkles just before baking.

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