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SPRING RECIPES

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LETTER FROM SANTA
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Smell the sweetness of the wild plums, or the clean, earthy dampness left by a passing shower. Savor the fresh greens of the cottonwoods, elms and maples. Feel the excitement of the woods-rattling gobble of a lusty tom turkey. Marvel at the dazzling yellow of the goldfinches against the rain-washed gray sky. The bird’s golden glow is matched only by the new blossom of a dandelion on a sunny day.

The rose-breasted grosbeak is calling, cotton-ball clouds are drifting over the hills and the river is dancing with delight. It’s Spring!

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Spring Baskets

Celebrate spring with these adorable cupcakes decorated with licorice and candy to resemble tiny baskets.

1 package Betty Crocker® SuperMoist® yellow cake mix

Water, oil and eggs called for on cake mix package

1tub Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy ready-to-spread frosting (any flavor)

Shoestring licorice

Jelly beans or other desired candy

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups, or grease bottoms only of muffin cups.

2. Make cake mix as directed on package, using water, oil and eggs. Pour into muffin cups.

3. Bake 21 to 26 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

4. Frost with frosting. Use licorice for handle. Decorate with jelly beans. Store loosely covered.

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Spring Greens Fruit Salad (Crowd Size)

What a beautiful and inviting salad boasting colorful fruit and greens! Best of all, YOU can make it--it's easy!

1/2 cup champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon chopped fresh

or

1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

Dash of salt

6 cups mixed baby greens

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced

1 cup diced Gouda cheese (4 ounces)

1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

1. Mix vinegar, oil, honey, marjoram and salt.

2. In large serving bowl, mix baby greens, strawberries, peaches and cheese. Add vinegar mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.

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Spring Vegetable Paella

No special pans required! Experience authentic-tasting paella with fresh vegetables, rice and saffron seasonings. It's quick and easy!

1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces

3 cups broccoli flowerets

2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

2 small zucchini, chopped (1 1/4 cups)

1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)

4 cups cooked brown or regular long-grain rice

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon saffron threads

or

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2 cups)

2 cans (15 or 16 ounces) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 package (10 ounces) frozen green peas, thawed

1. Cook asparagus and broccoli in enough boiling water to cover in 2-quart saucepan about 4 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain.

2. Heat oil in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook asparagus, broccoli, bell pepper, zucchini and onion in oil about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onion is crisp-tender.

3. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot.

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Grilled Salmon with Spring V eggies

Wash weather woes away when you grill indoors. With the cooking speed of a contact grill, you can have a delicious dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less!

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

2 tablespoons chopped fresh

or

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

8 oz fresh asparagus spears

1 medium red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips

2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon red and black pepper blend

1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1lb salmon fillet, 3/4 to 1 inch thick

1. Heat closed medium-size contact grill for 5 minutes. In small bowl, mix butter, basil and lemon peel; set aside.

2. In large bowl, toss asparagus spears and bell pepper with 1 teaspoon of the oil and 1/4 teaspoon each of the pepper blend, lemon-pepper seasoning and garlic salt. Place vegetables crosswise on grill. Close grill. Grill 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove from grill; cover to keep warm.

3. Cut salmon into 4 serving-size pieces. Brush salmon with remaining 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each of the seasonings. Place salmon, skin side down, on grill. Close grill. Grill 4 to 5 minutes or until salmon flakes easily with fork. Serve butter mixture with salmon and vegetables.

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Grilled Spring Vegetables

Fresh herbs and fresh v eggies? What could be better!

Herb Butter

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

2 tablespoons chopped fresh

or

2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

Vegetables

1 pound asparagus

1 pound green beans

1/2 pound mushrooms, cut in half

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1. Heat coals or gas grill for direct heat.

2. In large bowl, mix all Herb Butter ingredients. Add remaining ingredients except walnuts; toss to coat with butter.

3. Place vegetables in grill basket. Cover and grill vegetables 5 inches from medium heat 6 to 8 minutes, turning vegetables once or twice, until tender. Sprinkle with walnuts.

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Mushroom-Herb Stuffing

Move over, croutons. Here's a flavorful and delicious stuffing based on cereal!

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth

1 package (0.9 ounce) spring vegetable-flavored soup mix

2 tablespoons instant chopped onion

1 1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

1 can (4 ounces) Green Giant® mushroom pieces and stems, drained

9 cups Corn Chex® or Rice Chex® cereal, (or combination)

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray with cooking spray or grease 2-quart casserole. Mix all ingredients in order listed in large bowl, stirring just until cereal begins to soften. Spread in casserole.

2. Cover and bake 50 minutes. Or if desired, use as stuffing for poultry or pork.

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Beef, Bacon and Blues Wrap

Pondering what to pack for a picnic? Wrap up the main course with beef, bacon and blues sandwiches.

2 soft cracker breads, 15 inches in diameter (from 17-ounce package),

or

3 flour tortillas (10 inch)

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 container (4 ounces) crumbled blue cheese (1 cup)

1/4 cup milk6slices bacon, crisply cooked and crumbled

2 tablespoons chopped fresh

or

1 tablespoon freeze-dried chives

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 pound sliced cooked deli roast beef

2 cups lightly packed spring salad greens mix or small lettuce leaves

2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced

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1. Let cracker breads come to room temperature as directed on package. Meanwhile, mix cream cheese, blue cheese, milk, bacon, chives and pepper.

2. Spread half of cream cheese mixture evenly over 1 cracker bread. Layer half of roast beef, salad greens and tomatoes (in that order) on cracker bread, leaving 4 inches at one side covered only with cream cheese mixture. Beginning at side covered with fillings, roll up tightly. Repeat with remaining cracker bread, cream cheese mixture and fillings.

3. For uniform-size slices, cut ends without fillings from each roll (about 1 inch from each end). Cut remaining portion of each roll into 5 slices. Serve immediately, or wrap securely with plastic wrap and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours.

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Praline 'n Cream Shortcake

Spring for this less-traditional shortcake. It’s filled with a yummy caramel whipped cream filling.

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

Praline 'n Cream Filling (See Below)

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour round pan, 9x1 1/2 inches.

2. Beat all ingredients except Praline ‘n Cream Filling in medium bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Pour into pan.

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Split shortcake horizontally. Fill and top with Praline ‘n Cream Filling.

Praline 'n Cream Filling

1 1/2 cups whipping (heavy) cream

1/4 cup caramel topping, room temperature

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Beat whipping cream, caramel topping and powdered sugar in chilled large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Stir in pe cans.

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Springtime Ham and egg Bake

Spring for a brunch! No last-minute scrambling is needed with this easy egg bake!

6 eggs

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 container (8 ounces) sour cream

3/4 cup milk

2 cups cubed fully cooked ham (12 ounces)

1 cup chopped roma (plum) tomato, (3 medium)

2 cups shredded Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Ameri can cheese blend (8 ounces)

1/2 cup chopped fresh chives

or

1 1/2 teaspoons freeze-dried chives

Additional roma (plum) tomato, thinly sliced, if desired

Additional chives, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray rectangular baking dish, 11x7x1 1/2 inches, with cooking spray.

2. Beat eggs, flour, mustard, seasoned salt, baking powder, sour cream and milk in large bowl with wire whisk until blended. Fold in ham, chopped tomatoes, cheese and chives. Pour evenly into baking dish.

3. Bake uncovered 50 to 60 minutes or until mixture is set and top is lightly browned. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Garnish with tomato slices and chives.

 

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Lemon Schaum Torte

Lemon desserts are especially popular in the spring, but this favorite-garnished with fresh strawberries or raspberries-transcends the seasons.

Meringue Shell (See Below)

3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup water

3 egg yolks, slightly beaten

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 cup whipping (heavy) cream

1. Bake and cool Meringue Shell.

2. Mix sugar, cornstarch and salt in 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

3. Gradually stir at least half of the hot mixture into egg yolks; stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat.

4. Stir in butter, lemon peel and lemon juice. Press plastic wrap onto surface to keep it from drying out. Cool to room temperature. Spoon into shell. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 hours but no longer than 24 hours.

5. Beat whipping cream in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Spread over filling. Refrigerate until serving. Store covered in refrigerator.

Meringue Shell

3 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

3/4 cup sugar

Heat oven to 275°F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or heavy brown paper. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until foamy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue beating until stiff peaks form and mixture is glossy. Do not underbeat. Shape meringue on cookie sheet into 9-inch circle with back of spoon, building up side. Bake 1 1/2 hours. Turn off oven; leave meringue in oven with door closed 1 hour. Finish cooling at room temperature, about 2 hours.

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