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Pat’s Pantry: My most requested recipes

By Pat Mills

Each of these recipes has run in this column before, but I give them out so often that I want to share them with everyone again. My grandkids will come running to my house for dinner if I’m making basil pork chops or spinach pizza.

smoked gouda spinach pizza
1       tube (13.8-oz) refrigerated pizza crust
1       small red onion, chopped
2       garlic cloves, minced
1/2    teaspoons dried thyme
1/2    pound sliced fresh mushrooms
2       tablespoons butter
1       cup alfredo sauce
1       pkg. (6 oz) fresh baby spinach
1/2    pound Italian chicken sausage links, cooked and sliced
2       cups smoked gouda cheese

Unroll dough into a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan; flatten dough and build up edges slightly. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute mushrooms and onions in butter until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in alfredo sauce and thyme. Spread over crust. Top with spinach, sausage and cheese. Bake for 10-15  minutes or until crust and cheese are lightly browned.

basil pork chops
1/4      cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2   teaspoon dried basil
1/2       teaspoon salt
1/2       teaspoon chili powder
2          tablespoons canola oil, divided
4          boneless pork loin chops (about 1/2-in thick)

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, basil, salt and chili powder. Gradually stir in 1  tablespoon oil until crumbly. Rub over both sides of pork chops. In a large skillet, cook pork in remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat for 7- 8 minutes each side or until juices run clear. Serves 4

potato smashers
8     small new potatoes (3/4 pound), about 1 1/2-inch in diameter
1/2  cup cold water
4      slices bacon
2      tablespoons Kraft zesty italian dressing
1/2   cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place potatoes and water in 2-quart microwave dish. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook bacon in large nonstick skillet on medium heat 8-10 minutes or until crisp, turning  frequently; drain on paper towels. Drain potatoes; place on work surface. Press each potato with bottom of small bowl or saucer to flatten to 1/2 thickness. Heat dressing in skillet on medium heat. Add potatoes; cook 4 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown. Meanwhile, crumble bacon. Turn potatoes over; sprinkle evenly with cheese and bacon. Cover skillet with lid. Cook an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

devil’s food cookies
1/2    cup shortening
1       cup sugar
2       eggs
1 3/4  cups flour
1/2     cup cocoa
1       teaspoon baking soda
1/2    teaspoon salt
1       teaspoon vanilla extract
1       teaspoon butter flavoring
about 20 large marshmallows cut in half
1 can ready-to-spread chocolate frosting

Cream shortening in a large mixing bowl; gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Sift together flour, soda,  salt and cocoa in a medium mixing bowl; add to creamed mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in flavorings, blending well. (Dough will be stiff). Cover and chill at least 30 minutes. Shape dough into 1-in balls; place 2-in apart on greased cookie sheets. bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Place a marshmallow half on top of each cookie. Bake an additional 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool, and spread chocolate frosting evenly over each cookie. Leave cookies on wire racks until frosting is set. Store in airtight containers. Yields: 3-1/2 dozen.

food facts
• A small amount of baking soda applied to your under arms can replace your deodorant.
• To keep your pizza crust crispy, place the cheese before the tomato sauce.

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