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January Recipes

CAJUN MAC AND CHEESE

Kielbasa sausage turns mac and cheese into a hearty meal, while green pepper and Cajun seasoning add color and a zesty flavor twist.

1       lb. Elbow Macaroni (or other short pasta)

2       Tbsp. Olive Oil (plus more for the baking dish)

1       pkg. (13 oz.) Kielbasa (thinly sliced)

1       Medium Onion (finely chopped)

1       Green Bell Pepper (sliced)

         Salt and Pepper

1       Clove Garlic (finely chopped)

1       Tbsp. All-purpose Flour

1 1/2 cups Whole Milk

4       oz. Low-fat Cream Cheese

2       tsp. Cajun Seasoning

8       oz. (2 cups) Extra-sharp Cheddar (shredded)

8       oz. (2 cups) Gruyère (shredded)

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Oil a shallow 3-quart baking dish or six 2 cup ramekins. Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the kielbasa, about 1 minute per side; set aside. Wipe out the skillet; heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetable mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

Whisk in the milk and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cream cheese and Cajun seasoning until blended. Stir in the Cheddar and Gruyère and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is melted and the mixture has slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.

Toss the pasta with the cheese sauce, fold in the kielbasa, and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Serves: 6


SLOW COOKER BEEF PAPRIKASH

1    Medium Onion (sliced)

2    lbs. Cubed Beef (about 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces)

2    Tbsp. All-purpose Flour

      Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2    Red Bell Peppers (stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped)

2    Cloves Garlic (minced)

1/2 Cup Low-sodium Beef Broth

2    Tbsp. Sweet Paprika

2    Tbsp. Tomato Paste

1    tsp. Caraway Seeds (crushed)

1/2 Cup Sour Cream

1/4 Cup Fresh Dill and/or Parsley (chopped)

      Hot Boiled Egg noodles or Potatoes (for serving)

Spread the onions in the bottom of an 8 cup slow cooker. Toss the beef with the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and place on top of the onions. Top with the bell peppers and garlic. Stir together the broth, paprika, tomato paste and caraway and pour over the beef. Cover and cook until the meat is very tender, either on high for 4 to 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.

Uncover and let stand at least 10 minutes. Stir in the sour cream and dill and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over noodles or potatoes. Yield: 6-8 servings.


HEARTY BEEF STEW

Beef is combined in a slow cooker with paprika, teriyaki sauce, onion, carrots, celery, potatoes and mushrooms for a thick, flavorful stew.

1       lb. Beef Stew Meat (cubed)

1/4    Cup All-purpose Flour

1       Tbsp. Paprika

         Salt and Pepper (to taste)

2       Cups Beef Broth

1 1/2 Tbsp. Teriyaki Sauce

1       Onion (chopped)

3       Carrots (sliced)

1       Rib Celery (sliced)

2       Potatoes (cubed)

1/2    lb. Mushrooms (quartered)

2       Cloves Garlic (minced)

1       Bay Leaf

In a small bowl, mix together flour, paprika, salt, and pepper; sprinkle over beef stew meat, stirring to coat. Place potatoes, carrots, celery into a slow cooker. Add the floured meat. Pour in beef broth and teriyaki sauce. Add the onion, mushrooms, garlic and bay leaf.

Cover, and cook on Low 6 to 8 hours, stirring occasionally. Servings: 4


TUSCAN BEAN SOUP

1  Cup Baby Carrots (peeled, coarsely chopped)

1  Small Onion (chopped)

3  Tbsp. Olive Oil

2  15 oz. Can Cannellini Beans (rinsed and drained)

1  32 oz. Box Reduced-sodium Chicken Broth

2  tsp. Dried Italian Seasoning (crushed)

1  5 oz. pkg. Baby Spinach

    Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

    Cracker Bread (optional)

In 4-quart Dutch oven cook and stir carrots and onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add beans, broth, and seasoning. Bring to boiling; slightly mash beans. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in large skillet heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add spinach; toss with tongs 1 to 2 minutes, just until wilted. Remove from heat. Ladle soup; top with spinach, sprinkle with pepper. Serve with cracker bread. Makes 4 servings.


CREAMY HOT COCOA

The kids will love this homemade, creamy hot chocolate recipe.

1/3    Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/2    to 3/4 Cup White Sugar

1       Pinch Salt

1/3    Cup Boiling Water

3 1/2 Cups Milk

3/4    tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/2    Cup Half-and-half Cream

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch. Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat until very hot, but do not boil! Remove from heat and add vanilla. Divide between 4 mugs. Add cream to the mugs to cool it to drinking temperature. Servings: 4


UNDONE STUFFED PEPPER CASSEROLE

1       lb.  Lean Ground Beef

2       Green Peppers (coarsely chopped)

3       Cloves  Garlic (minced)

2       Cups Cooked Long-grain White Rice*

1       Jar  (24 oz.) Spaghetti Sauce

1 1/2 Cups  KRAFT Shredded Italian Five Cheese w/ Touch of Philadelphia (divided)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown meat with peppers and garlic in a large skillet; drain. Stir in rice, spaghetti sauce and 3/4 cup cheese.

Spoon into 2 quart casserole sprayed with cooking spray; top with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until heated through. 7 servings, 1 cup each.

SUBSTITUTE: Prepare using cooked brown rice.

Optional Additions:

1/2 Cup Onion (chopped),

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1 Small Can Diced Tomatoes (undrained)

Recipe From: Wendy Reinert


CROCK POT NEW ORLEANS RED BEANS AND RICE

This classic dish is easy and delicious. Sliced andouille sausage adds another dimension of flavor to the standard red beans and rice.

1    lb. Dried Red Beans

7    Cups Water

1    Green Bell Pepper (chopped)

1    Medium Onion (chopped)

3    Celery Ribs (chopped)

3    Garlic Cloves (chopped)

1/2 lb. Andouille Sausage (sliced)

3    Tbsp. Creole Seasoning

      Hot Cooked Rice

      Garnish: Sliced Green Onions

Place first 8 ingredients in a 4 quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, at HIGH 7 hours or until beans are tender. Serve with hot cooked rice. Garnish, if desired.   Yield: 3 1/2 quarts


APPLE CITRUS SIPPER

6    Cups Apple Cider or Apple Juice (48 oz.)

1/4 Cup Sugar

9    Inches Stick Cinnamon

8    Whole Cloves

1/2 tsp. Anise Seeds

1    Large Naval Orange (sliced)

1    Medium Lemon (sliced)

Add first 5 ingredients to crock pot. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 hours. Add orange and lemon slices. Cover and cook for 30 minutes more.

Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl; strain cider mixture. (Or use a slotted spoon to remove orange slices, lemon slice, and whole spices.) If using high-heat setting, turn cooker to low-heat setting. Pour the strained mixture back into the slow cooker to keep warm. 8 Servings at 3/4 cup each.


RED VELVET BROWNIES

1      (4-oz.) Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar (chopped)

3/4    Cup Butter

2       Cups Sugar

4       Large Eggs

1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour

1       (1-oz.) Bottle Red Liquid Food Coloring

1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder

1       tsp. Vanilla Extract

1/8    tsp. Salt

         Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch square pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 to 3 inches to extend over sides; lightly grease foil.

Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at high 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals. Whisk in sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Gently stir in flour and next 4 ingredients. Pour mixture into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 44 to 48 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 2 hours).

Lift brownies from pan, using sides as handles; gently remove foil. Spread  Cream Cheese Frosting on top of brownies, and cut into 16 squares. Yield: 16 servings


CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

8   oz. Cream Cheese (room temperature)

8   Tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter (cut into pieces, room temperature)

1   Cup Confectioners' Sugar

1   tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract

Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl. Using a rubber spatula, soften cream cheese. Gradually add butter, and continue beating until smooth and well blended. Sift in confectioners' sugar, and continue beating until smooth. Add vanilla, and stir to combine. Yield Makes about 2 cups


MISSISSIPPI MUD CAKE

A classic Southern sheet cake filled with marshmallows, chopped pecans and covered in a rich chocolate frosting.

1       Cup Pecans (chopped)

1       Cup Butter

4       oz. Semisweet Chocolate (chopped)

2       Cups Sugar

1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour

1/2    Cup Unsweetened Cocoa

4       Large Eggs

1       tsp. Vanilla Extract

3/4    tsp. Salt

1       (10.5 oz.) Bag Miniature Marshmallows

         Chocolate Frosting

Place pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.

Microwave 1 cup butter and semisweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe glass bowl at high 1 minute or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.

Whisk sugar and next 5 ingredients into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into a greased 15 x 10 x 1 inch jelly-roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and sprinkle evenly with miniature marshmallows; bake 8 to 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Drizzle warm cake with Chocolate Frosting, and sprinkle evenly with toasted pecans. Yield: Makes 15 servings


CHOCOLATE FROSTING

1    (16 oz.) Pkg. Powdered Sugar (sifted)

1/2 Cup Milk

1/4 Cup Butter (softened)

1/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa

Beat all ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Yield: Makes 2 cups