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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 Holiday Recipe Contest Entries

     Now that I've caught you up on my past winning entries, I thought I'd share with you this years entries. Deadline to enter is Oct 19th, so I've been busy typing them up to send in all week. The entries will be separated into the categories they were submitted under. I entered at least one in each category. I'll list the source, of the recipe, if known, in (brackets) at the end the recipe along with notes.

Appetizers, Snacks and Beverages

Whiskey Creek Potato Wedges

20oz bag Ore-Ida Grillers (Seasoned thick-cut potatoes)Colby Jack Shredded Cheese
(Oscar Meyer Real) Bacon Bits (sold in 3oz bag)
Chives (Use freeze dried if you don’t have fresh. Chopped green onions work in a pinch.)

Bake potatoes a single layer deep on a baking sheet according to package directions. When done, season with salt. Sprinkle lightly with shredded Colby jack cheese, bacon bits, and chives. Bake another 5 minutes. Serve hot.

(Recreated from the appetizer we were served at Whiskey Creek Steakhouse.)

Soups, Salads and Side Dishes


Roasted Tatties

6 to 9 medium russet potatoes, allowing 3 halves each
Sea salt
Bacon grease (original recipe called for goose fat)
¼ to ½ cup of flour seasoned with salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the potatoes and half lengthwise. If very large, cut into quarters. Place in a pot and cover with cold salted water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and leave to stand in the colander for 2 to 3 minutes before shaking the colander gently to rough them up a bit. This action begins to break down the edges of the potato and will give you a tasty crunch later on. Heat the skillet with about a ¼ of an inch of melted bacon grease in it. Once the fat is hot, roll the potatoes in the seasoned flour and then place them into the hot fat. Fry, turning them occasionally, until completely golden brown. Fry in two batches if necessary. In the meantime, melt some bacon grease in a large roasting pan large enough to fit the potatoes, ¼ inch in depth. Add the browned potatoes and roll them in the fat. Bake in the pre-heated oven for a further 40-45 minutes, turning them about halfway through the baking time. You can add a knob of butter over the potatoes for a rich crispy roast taste. Sprinkle with sea salt and serve warm.

(Found online from OakCottageRecipes. I was looking for authentic British roasted tatties. Original recipe is titled Classic Roast Potatoes.)

Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing


1 lb fresh Mexican chorizo
1 med white onion, finely chopped
1 med carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cups coarsely crumbled cornbread
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
½ cup chicken stock
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the chorizo, breaking it up and stirring occasionally as it cooks, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have browned, about 10 minutes. Add the crumbled cornbread and cilantro and gradually pour in enough of the stock so the stuffing is not too dry but at the same time not too wet. Stir gently and well. Butter a small casserole dish. Spread the stuffing in an even layer. Bake until its heated through and lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes.
(From Food Netwok Magazine and Chef Aarón Sanchez.  Chorizo is very spicy.)


Main Dishes

Texas Oven-Roasted Beef Brisket

2 Tablespoons chili powder
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 bay leaf, crushed
4 pounds beef brisket, trimmed
1 ½ cups beef stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Make a dry rub by combining chili powder, salt, garlic and onion powders, black pepper, sugar, dry mustard, and bay leaf. Season the raw brisket on both sides with the rub. Place in a roasting pan and roast, uncovered, for 1 hour. Add beef stock and enough water to yield about ½ inch of liquid in the roasting pan. Lower oven to 300 degrees F, cover pan tightly and continue cooking for 3 hours, or until fork-tender. Trim the fat and slice meat thinly across the grain. Top with juice from the pan.
(From Food Network website. I don't really care for their roasting directions, but I use the spice rub on all different kinds of roasts. I brown my roast on all sides in a dutch oven, then add 1 can each of beef broth and chicken broth to it, then put the lid on the dutch oven and transfer to the oven for 90 mins to 2 hours. It's done when a meat thermometer inserted comes to the correct temperature of 160 degrees F.)

Curried Chicken Fingers


Cooking spray
1 ½ teaspoon curry powder
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Kosher salt
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds) cut into 1 inch strips (or use boneless, skinless chicken tenders)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Set a rack on a baking sheet and mist with cooking spray. Whisk the eggs, mustard, 1 tsp curry powder, the cumin and 1 tsp salt in a shallow bowl. Mix the panko with ½ tsp curry powder in another bowl. Dip the chicken strips in the egg mixture, letting the excess drip off, then coat with the panko. Place the chicken on the rack and mist with cooking spray all over. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
(From Food Network Magazine. I took out the part to make Curried Ketchup to go with it. If you can find the chicken tenders it's quicker and faster than cutting your own.)

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

1 can cooked, cubed chicken
1 15oz can Veg-All, drained
1 10 ¾ oz can cream of chicken soup
2 pre-made piecrusts (one for the top, and one for the bottom)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the pie crusts. Place the bottom crust in a deep-dish pie pan, smoothing it to fit. Pour the mixture into the piecrust. Place the second pie crust on top. Crimp the edges to seal. Cut slits in top crust to vent. Bake approximately 20 minutes, until filling is hot and crust is golden brown. Serves 4 to 6.
(From the book, The Duggars: 20 and Counting. I'll admit I havn't made this one yet and I don't expect to win with this recipe. They have in the past said to please enter alot of recipes, wether they are potential winners or not as they need to have enough to fill the cookbook. Since this is easy and cheap to make, I included it.)

Desserts and Baked Goods


Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes

1 box yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup water
1 stick butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar plus 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon, combined

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 muffin tins with liners.
In a bowl of a mixer, combine cake mix, eggs, water, and butter and beat on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for one minute. Fill muffin tins about ¼ of the way full. Sprinkle a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon/brown sugar mixture over batter and cover with another spoonful of batter. Sprinkle another teaspoon of cinnamon/brown sugar over the top. Cups should be about 2/3 full (try not to fill them more than that.) Bake for about 15 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool on a cooling rack.

FROSTING:  (If you want to pipe it on high, double this)
8oz block of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
In the bowl of a mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla on medium-low speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat on low until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Pipe or frost on cupcakes and place in the refrigerator until ready to glaze.

GLAZE:1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with brown sugar and cinnamon until combined and pourable but not boiling. Spoon over frosted cupcakes and immediately place in refrigerator to set.
(I found this recipe onlin from CookbookQueensRecipes.)

Banana Crumb Muffins

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
¾ cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers. In a large bowl, mix together 1 ½ cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. In a small, mix together brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 Tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.
(A basic banana muffin is made extraordinary with a cinnamon-and-brown-sugar streusel topping. Found online from

Chocolate Truffle Cake

16 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter
1 ½ teaspoon flour
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon hot water
4 eggs, separated
1 cup whipping cream
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease bottom of 8 inch spring form pan. Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler. Remove from heat. Add flour, sugar, and water and blend well. Add egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, but not dry, and fold into the chocolate mixture. Turn into pan and bake for 15 minutes only. Let cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator. Whip cream and spread over cake. Cut cake while cold, but let stand at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 - 10.
(Recipe from Eat This...You'll Feel Better cookbook by Dom DeLuise.)

Past Holiday Cookbook Recipe Winning Entries

     Every year my local paper, the Hastings Tribune, runs a recipe contest for their Holiday "All Seasons" Cookbook. It has several categories. Each category has a winner. I've won four times. My past winning entries are:

2004 Chocolate Ribbon Cookies
2006 Chicken Monterey
2008 Stromboli
2009 Breast of Chicken in Light Lemon-Herb Sauce

     As I saved them on the computer, it's pretty easy for me to copy and paste copies of the winning recipes below. It would take alot of looking for me to figure out where I originally found the recipes from, so forgive me for not listing their source. The only one I'm sure of is that I got Chocolate Ribbon Cookies from (Better Homes & Garden Recipe Center).
     Every time I won, I had to cook/bake my winning entry and bring it, camera ready, to the newspaper office. It was then photographed for the color insert of the cookbook showing the winning recipes. I not only had to make the food and bring it in, but I also had to bring everything with it. I had to come up with how to display and show off my food, to include tablecloth, display items, plate, etc. All they gave you was a wraparound white table and backdrop and lighting. Each time was different trying to come up with a way to nicely display the food so it would photograph well. After the food was photographed, it was left with the staff (who reimburse you for the ingredients) to eat. I scanned the photos out of each years winning printed newspaper holiday cookbook and added them below.

Chocolate Ribbon Cookies

½ cup butter
½ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 egg
2 TBsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces, melted and cooled
½ cup finely chopped nuts
½ cup miniature semisweet pieces
¼ tsp rum flavoring

In a mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda and salt; beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with mixer. Stir in remaining flour.

Divide dough in half. Knead the melted chocolate and nuts into half of the dough. Knead the miniature chocolate pieces and rum flavoring into the other half of the dough. Divide each portion of dough in half.

To shape dough, line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan with waxed paper or clear plastic wrap. Press half of the chocolate dough evenly in pan. Top with half of the vanilla dough, the remaining chocolate dough, and the remaining vanilla dough, pressing each layer firmly and evenly over the preceding layer. Invert pan to remove dough. Peel off waxed paper or plastic wrap. Cut dough crosswise into thirds. Slice each third crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices. Place cookies 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake cookies in a 375 degree F oven about 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool. Makes about 54 cookies.

Make-Ahead Tip: Prepare and shape dough; transfer to plastic freezer bags; seal, label, and freeze up to 1 month. Let dough thaw at room temperature for 2 hours; slice and bake as above. Or bake cookies; cool. Transfer to freezer container; seal, label, and freeze up to 1 month.

Nutritional facts per serving: Calories 100, total fat 6g, carbohydrate 10g


Chicken Monterey

1 boneless skinless chicken breast half1 boneless skinless chicken breast half
dash of salt and pepper
½ tsp chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp dried tarragon
1 ounce Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (cut into a 2 ½ x ½ inch stick)
2 TBsp all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
2 TBsp seasoned or plain dry bread crumbs
1 TBsp butter or margarine
1 TBsp cooking oil

Pound chicken to ¼ inch thickness. Season the inside with salt, pepper, parsley and tarragon. Place cheese in the center and fold chicken around it. Roll in flour; dip into egg, then roll in crumbs. Place chicken, seam side down, on a plate; refrigerate for 30 minutes. In a skillet, sauté chicken in butter and oil until golden. Place in a small shallow baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until juices run clear.

Yield: 1 serving


1 pound pizza dough
4 oz thinly sliced deli salami
4 oz thinly sliced deli capocollo (ham)
4 oz thinly sliced deli provolone cheese
½ cup (12oz jar) jarred roasted red bell peppers, rinsed, patted dry, and sliced thin
½ cup (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated
1 large egg, beaten with 2 TBsp water
1 tsp sesame seeds
coarse sea salt or kosher salt, for sprinkling (optional)

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. Press and roll the dough into a 12 by 10 inch rectangle, with the long side facing you. Lay the meat and provolone over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border at all of the edges. Top with the peppers and Parmesan. Brush the edges of the dough with some of the egg wash. Starting from a long side, roll the dough tightly into a long cylinder, then pinch the seam and ends to seal. Transfer the stromboli to the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Brush with the remaining egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds and coarse salt (if using). Cover loosely with lightly greased aluminum foil and continue to bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the crust is golden, about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the stromboli to a wire rack and let cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, slice into 2 inch wide pieces, and serve hot or warm.

Breast of Chicken in a Light Lemon-Herb Sauce

6 boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves (about 5 oz each)
½ cup fine, dry bread crumbs
¼ cup extra-virgin olive-oil
3 TBsp chopped fresh parsley
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup chicken stock or chicken broth
¼ cup fresh lemon-juice
1 tsp crushed hot red pepper
4 cloves garlic, peeled

Cut each chicken-breast half in half crosswise on a diagonal, to yield two pieces of roughly equal size. Place two pieces at a time between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound gently with the flat side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a small, heavy saucepan to flatten them slightly, to about ½ inch thick. Toss the bread crumbs, 1 TBsp of the olive oil, 1 TBsp of the chopped parsley, ½ tsp of the oregano, and salt to taste together in a bowl until blended. Spread 1 tsp of bread crumb mixture over each piece of chicken, reserving the remaining crumbs. Roll each chicken piece into a compact shape with the bread crumbs running in a spiral through the center and fasten securely with a toothpick. Preheat the oven to 475º F. Arrange the filled chicken breasts side by side in a 13 x 9 inch, preferably flameproof baking dish. (There should be some space between the pieces of chicken.) Stir the wine, stock, lemon juice, hot pepper, the remaining 3 TBsp olive oil, the remaining tsp of oregano, and salt to taste together in a small bowl. Pour into the baking dish. Whack the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and scatter them among the chicken pieces. Bake 10 minutes. Top the chicken with the remaining bread-crumb mixture. Return to the oven and bake until the bread-crumb topping is golden brown, about 5 minutes. If the roasting pan is flameproof, place it directly over medium-high heat, add the remaining 2 TBsp parsley and bring the pan juices to a boil. Boil until lightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. (If the roasting pan is not flameproof, transfer the chicken rolls to a warm platter and pour the juices into a skillet before bringing them to a boil.) Remove the garlic cloves, or leave them in if you like. Gently transfer the chicken pieces to plates with a slotted spoon. Pull the toothpicks from the chicken without loosening the bread-crumb topping. Pour the sauce around, not over, the chicken pieces, and serve immediately.