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Thu, Dec. 12

Hearty cool-weather recipes help welcome winter

Even though we have had warm weather for longer than usual, it is time to think about holiday meals, using our ovens more and a shift in appetites for heartier fare. Here are a few recipes that may be used for holidays or anytime. (I know people who always want pie, holidays or not). APPLE BUTTER PUMPKIN PIE1 cup apple butter1 cup fresh or canned pumpkin1/2 cup brown sugar1/2 tsp. salt3/4 tsp. each ground cinnamon and nutmeg1/8 tsp. ground ginger3 eggs, slightly beaten1/4 cup evaporated milk1 unbaked 9-inch pie shellSweetened whipped creamPreheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine apple butter, pumpkin, sugar, salt and spices in bowl. Stir in eggs. Gradually add milk and mix well. Pour into pie shell. Bake about 40 minutes or until set. Cool and serve topped with whipped cream.CANDY APPLE PIE1 package cream cheese (8 oz,) softened (for lighter pie use Neufchatel)1/3 cup lemon juice1/4 tsp. lemon zest (finely grated lemon peel)1 can sweetened condensed milk1 tsp. vanilla extract (or inside scrapings of 1/4 of a vanilla bean for richer flavor)1 prepared 10-inch graham cracker or shortbread pie crust1/3 cup water1/3 cup cinnamon candies1 can of sliced apple pie fillingAdd cream cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla to large mixing bowl. Mix together with mixer on low to medium speed until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Cover and place in refrigerator. Place water and cinnamon candies in medium saucepan. Melt candies in water on medium heat until completely dissolved. Turn heat down to low and add can of apple pie filling. Stir constantly until bright red color has been absorbed by apples. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. When apples have cooled, take pie shell from refrigerator and pour apples on top of cream cheese mixture. Chill pie in refrigerator 1-2 hours.NOTE: If you have leftover Halloween hard candy - butterscotch and peppermint - in a clean coffee grinder, grind it up for a few seconds. Use to flavor coffee or frothy cappuccino or top ice cream. It is like instant flavored powdered sugar.COMPANY CORN2 packages (10 oz. each) frozen corn1 medium onion, chopped1/4 cup chopped celery1/3 cup butter, melted2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley1 tsp. salt1/2 tsp. dried savory1/2 tsp. white pepper3/4 cup sour cream1 tsp. lemon juiceCook corn according to package directions. Meanwhile, in large saucepan, sauté onion and celery in butter until tender. Stir in parsley, salt, savory and pepper. Drain corn; add to onion mixture. Stir in sour cream and lemon juice. Serve immediately. 6-8 servings.Easily cut in half for 3-4 servings.CRANBERRY FLUFFGood salad with poultry, ham or pork.4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries3 cups miniature marshmallows3/4 cup sugar2 cups diced unpeeled tart apples1/2 cup each halved green grapes and chopped nuts1/4 tsp. salt1 cup whipping cream, whippedPlace cranberries in food processor or blender; cover and process until finely chopped. Transfer to bowl; add marshmallows and sugar. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Just before serving stir in apples, grapes, nuts and salt. Fold in whipped cream. Makes 10 to 12 servings. NOTE: less sweet than some fluffs.CINNAMON APPLE PORK CHOPS4 boneless pork loin chops (about 4 oz. each)2 tbsp. reduced fat butter, divided3 tbsp. brown sugar1 tsp. ground cinnamon1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg1/4 tsp. salt4 medium tart apples, thinly sliced2 tbsp. chopped pecansIn large skillet over medium heat, cook pork chops in 1 tbsp. butter 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Remove chops and keep warm. Add apples, pecans, brown sugar mixture and remaining butter to the pan; cook and stir until apples are tender. Serve with chops. 4 servings.PEAR-NUT BISCUITS1 3/4 cups flour1/3 cup packed brown sugar2 tsp. baking powder3/4 tsp. salt3 tbsp. cold butter1 egg1/2 cup half-and-half cream1 cup chopped peeled ripe pears1/4 cup chopped pecansIn large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk egg and cream; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened. Fold in pears and pecans. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
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