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Call readers know how to cook; check out 2013 winning recipes

Start a new holiday tradition by using these tasty recipes

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November 20, 2013 - Call readers certainly know how to cook, and they had no shortage of favorite recipes for the newspaper’s annual Home for the Holidays Recipe Contest.

This year’s winning recipes come from chefs in south county, Dupo, Ill., and Waterloo, Ill.

Winners can pick up their prizes beginning Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Call, 9977 Lin Ferry Drive, St. Louis, Mo. 63123.

Here are the 2013 winning recipes:

Hors D’oeuvres

Crab-filled Crescent Snacks

6 ounces canned crabmeat,

rinsed and well-drained

3-ounce package

cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sliced green onions

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

2 8-ounce cans crescent rolls

1 egg yolk whisked

with 1 tablespoon water

1 teaspoons sesame seeds

nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine crab, cream cheese, onions and garlic salt. Mix well.

Unroll both cans of dough. Separate into 16 triangles. Cut each triangle in half lengthwise, making 32.

Place 1 teaspoon crab mixture on the center of each triangle about one-inch from the short side of the triangle. Fold short ends over filling and pinch sides to seal. Roll up and place on cookie sheet.

Whisk egg yolk and water; brush lightly on triangles; sprinkle on sesame seeds.

Bake 15 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden.

Linda Pacino


Tender Turkey

4 cups apple juice

1 cup bourbon

½ cup firmly packed

light-brown sugar

1 12- to 15-pound whole fresh

or frozen turkey

cheesecloth and kitchen string

4 celery ribs

4 large carrots

3 small apples, quartered

1 large onion, sliced

¼ cup butter

¼ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup chicken broth

1. Stir together apple juice and next two ingredients, stirring until sugar dissolves.

2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey and rinse turkey with cold water. Drain cavity well; pat dry. Place turkey in a large roasting pan. Dip cheesecloth in apple juice mixture. Wring dry.

Cover turkey with cheesecloth; pour apple juice mixture over cheesecloth, coating completely. Cover and chill 12 to 24 hours, basting occasionally with marinade.

3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove turkey from pan, discarding cheesecloth and reserving 3 cups marinade. Sprinkle cavity with salt; rub into cavity.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on skin; rub into skin. Tie ends of legs together with string; tuck wingtips under.

4. Arrange celery and next three ingredients in a single layer in bottom of roasting pan. Place turkey breast side up, on celery mixture; pour reserved marinade over turkey in pan.

5. Bake at 325 degrees for three hours and 15 minutes to four hours or until a meat hermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 165 degrees. Baste every 30 minutes with pan juices and shield with aluminum foil after two hours and 30 minutes to prevent excessive browning, if necessary. Remove from oven and let stand 30 minutes.

6. Transfer turkey to a serving platter, reserving 2½ cups pan drippings. Pour reserved drippings through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup, discarding solids.

7. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; whisk in flour, and cook, whisking constantly, one to two minutes or until smooth. Gradually add drippings, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring mixture occasionally, five minutes or until gravy thickens.

Add up to ½ cup chicken broth for desired consistency. Stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve turkey with warm gravy.

Fabulous turkey — the combination of the apples with the bourbon is like none other. This will be on our holiday table again this year.

Patti Kappel


Super Soups

egan Butternut

Squash Soup

3 quarts vegetable stock

4 pounds butternut squash

2 cups carrots, diced ½-inch

2 cups celery, diced ½-inch

1 cup onion, diced ½-inch

½ cup dry Sherry

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt

1 bay leaf

1 pinch white pepper

½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground

2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped

¼ teaspoon paprika

1. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds.

2. Place squash cut side down on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until squash is soft to the touch, and the skin begins to pull away from the flesh.

3. Remove from oven and let cool.

4. Spoon roasted squash out of the skin and pass it through a ricer or food mill to remove any of the stringy fibers.

5. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot and saute the carrots, celery and onions, until the onions and carrots just start to caramelize.

6. Deglaze the pot with Sherry.

7. Add the vegetable stock, salt, pepper, nutmeg and bay leaf and bring to a boil.

8. Add the squash, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes.

9. Remove the bay leaf and puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender until it reaches a smooth creamy consistency.

10. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.

11. Garnish with chopped parsley and paprika and serve.

Sheila Sheppard


Deserving Dressings

Fruited Dressing Balls

2 cups diced celery

½ cup chopped onion

⅓ cup butter, melted

4 cups seasoned dressing cubes

1 cup dried apricots, finely chopped

¾ to 1 cup chicken broth

½ cup raisins

2 eggs, slightly beaten

⅓ cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon. rubbed sage

1 teaspoon salt

⅓ teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large skillet, saute celery and onion in butter until tender. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients. Mix well. Shape into 12 balls.

Place in 13-inch-by-9-inch-by-2-inch baking dish. Bake uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Charlotte Moret


Special Salads

Holiday Winter Fruit Salad

With Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

about 16 ounces torn mixed greens, such as romaine and spinach

½ cup finely shredded

Swiss cheese

¼ cup cashew halves

6 tablespoons sweetened dried cranberries

1 large unpeeled Gala apple, diced

1 large unpeeled Bosc pear, diced

½ cup granulated sugar

⅓ cup lemon juice

2 teaspoons finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon Dijon-style

prepared mustard

½ teaspoon salt

⅔ cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Arrange mixed greens on four chilled salad plates. Top each salad with cheese, cashews, cranberries, apple and pear, divide evenly.

Mix sugar, lemon juice, onion, mustard and salt in a blender. With motor running, add oil in a slow, steady stream; process until thickened. Add poppy seeds; process a few seconds, just to mix. Add dressing to taste. Enjoy.

Yield: 4 servings

1¼ cups dressing

Salads are my specialty. I make a lot of different salads all year round. Throughout the holidays, the favorite is my Fruit Salad with my homemade dressing. It’s a poppy seed with a lemon twist to it.

The salad is so colorful, pretty and delicious. Along with the colorful fruit, it has lots of yummy cheese, cashews and sweetened dried cranberries as well.

The poppy seed dressing with the taste of lemon is a nice complement to the salad.

It’s just so good.

Lisa Rapp


Holiday Hams

1 fully cooked bone-in ham

(10 to 12 pounds)

2 teaspoons whole cloves, divided

1 large onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon pepper

1 cup packed brown sugar, divided

½ cup minced fresh parsley

3 cups ginger ale

1 cup honey

1 can (16 ounce) pineapple slices, drained

Remove skin from ham. Score the surface, making diamond shapes ½-inch deep.

Insert a clove in every other diamond. Set remaining cloves aside.

Place ham on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Combine the onion, garlic, oregano, basil and pepper. Pat onto ham. Combine ½ cup brown sugar and parsley. Sprinkle over top of ham. Pour ginger ale around ham.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1½ hours, basting often. Remove ham from pan. Set aside. Drain pan juices, reserving three tablespoons for glaze. Combine honey, remaining brown sugar and reserved pan juices in a small bowl.

Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. Return ham to pan. Insert remaining cloves into ham. Spoon half of the glaze over ham. Bake for 20 minutes.

Place pineapple on ham. Drizzle with remaining glaze. Bake 30 minutes longer or until thermometer reads 140 degrees.

Yield: 30 servings.

The honey, brown sugar and pan juices create a succulent glaze for this tasty holiday ham.

Kathy Bauer


Holiday Beverages

Spiced Pumpkin Smoothie

2 cups ice

1 cup almond, soy or coconut milk

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon honey (optional)

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or to taste

Place the ice, milk, pumpkin puree, honey and spice in blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. Top with a pinch of nutmeg and serve with a cinnamon stick.

Laura Herzberg


Positive Roll Models

Cinnamon Rolls

Made With Cake Mix

2 packages yeast

2 cups warm water

flour (see recipe)

3 eggs, beaten

⅓ cup oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 box yellow cake mix


2 sticks butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

Pecans (optional)

Dissolve yeast in water. Add one cup flour, salt, eggs, oil and cake mix. Beat well. Add enough flour to make soft dough.

Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Knead five to six minutes. Roll out and spread with the mixture of butter and sugars; sprinkle with nuts, if desired. Roll jelly-roll style and cut into slices. Let rise in pan until doubled. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

Glaze with the following glaze while hot.


2½ cups powdered sugar

enough milk

to make glaze consistency

1 teaspoon vanilla

Each Christmas Eve, my family gets together. It’s tradition that all of the couples have to make each other’s Christmas gifts; no store-bought items.

I’ve been lucky enough to receive family keepsake ornaments, homemade barbecue sauce and fudge, just to name a few.

My gift to my family is always cinnamon rolls. I make a pan for each family to have for Christmas morning. I hope this “positive roll model” begins a tradition for your family and evokes a family memory.

Cathy Fritz

Waterloo, Ill.

Scintillating Side Dishes

Holiday Carrots

1 pound carrots peeled

and cut into chunks,

cook until just tender, drain.

1 cup orange marmalade

½ cup butter

Melt marmalade and butter in skillet.

Add carrots and saute until well-coated.

Serve hot. Makes six to eight servings.

Jean Reilly


Garlic Mashed Potatoes

5 pounds Idaho potatoes

1 clove garlic, peeled

5 10-ounce cans chicken broth

1 cup half and half

1 stick of unsalted butter

salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut potatoes into quarters. Place them into a 4-quart pot with the garlic clove. Pour the broth over the potatoes and garlic so that it covers the potatoes. Cover pot and bring to a boil.

Cook potatoes until they are tender when you pierce them with a knife. This will take 15 to 20 minutes. While the potatoes are cooking, heat the half and half and butter, just until melted, in one pot.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them, saving a half cup of the broth. Start mashing potatoes along with the garlic clove, adding the half and half mixture as you are mashing. Add ½ cup of broth if you wish. Season with salt and pepper.

Nancy Van Buskirk


Just Desserts

Rocky Road Christmas Bars

Cookie layer

½ cup butter

1 square (1 ounce)

unsweetened chocolate

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup chopped nuts

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs, lightly beaten

Cream Cheese Filling

6 ounces cream cheese,

room temperature

¼ to ½ cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

¼ cup butter, softened

1 egg

½ teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup chopped nuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 cups miniature marshmallows


¼ cup butter

1 square (1 ounce)

unsweetened chocolate

2 ounces cream cheese, softened

¼ cup milk

1 box (1 pound)

confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, over low heat, melt butter and chocolate.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Mix flour with baking powder and nuts and add to the chocolate-sugar mixture, along with the vanilla and eggs. Spread in a greased and floured 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan.

Set aside while you make the filling.

Beat cream cheese, sugar, flour, butter, egg and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.

Stir in nuts. Spread this filling over the chocolate batter.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until it tests done with a toothpick. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with marshmallows and bake for 2 minutes more.

Make the frosting while the bars bake.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in chocolate, cream cheese and milk. Heat gently, stirring, just until smooth.

Remove from heat. Beat in confectioner’s sugar and vanilla. As soon as you remove the pan from the oven, spread on the frosting, swirling it into the marshmallows.

Cool on a rack and cut into bars.

These improve if you refrigerate them for a few hours.

Yield: 36 bars — or cut into smaller pieces to reduce the guilt.

Nancy Posey

Dupo, Ill.

Lovable Leftovers

Ham, Potato

and Asparagus Packets

1 medium red potato,

thinly sliced for each packet

ham pieces

4 to 6 asparagus spears,

trimmed for each packet

1 jar of Alfredo sauce

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat aluminum foil sheets — 12-inch-by-8-inch — with nonstick cooking spray.

Center potatoes on each sheet of foil. Top with ham pieces, then asparagus.

Spoon Alfredo sauce on top. Bring up foil sides to overlap and seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place on baking sheet.

Bake packets for 20 to 22 minutes.

Rosalie Wisniewski


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