Grandparents’ Day and a New Dessert

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Yesterday, on Grandparents’ Day, my two youngest grandchildren showed up at my front door, bearing handmade gifts as usual …. six-year-old Dolphin ….

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…and ten-year-old Jellyfish (currently in training as a “Ghostbuster”).

joshsuitJellyfish had taken my picture last week and printed out a frame and mounted it plus he made a great bookmark.

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Dolphin had promised me a hundred times on Saturday that she would make my favorite Scottie, which she did, along with a colored picture of a grandma and granddaughter baking.  She even made her own wrapping paper and a paper bow.

gifts_0002Their mother has always had a mug made up with a picture on it for Grandparents’ Day.  This year, number 11 will join the others on my special shelf.

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I fixed a roast beef dinner for the family and for dessert tried out one I had seen on All Recipes, Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball.  I called it a “girly” dessert but my son-in-law and grandson managed to enjoy some of it, maybe not as much as my two daughters and I did.

CHOCOLATE CHIP CHEESE BALLS

  • 8 oz. package of cream cheese (not low-fat or Neufchatel), softened
  • 1/2 cup butter (butter only, no substitutes), softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tblsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

In a medium bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and softened butter until smooth.  Mix in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

The next day, shape the chilled cream cheese mixture into three balls.  Wrap each ball in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Before serving, roll one ball in toffee bits, one in pecans and keep one with just the chocolate chips.

I served these dessert cheese balls with honey pretzels, thin cinnamon wafers and Golden Delicious apple slices.

The comments on All Recipes indicated some people had problems getting the mixture to form a ball.  Other people suggested storing the beaten cheese mixture in a metal bowl and refrigerating overnight.  They also stressed using only full-fat butter and cream cheese.  I followed these suggestions and had no problems forming the balls.

It was a fun dessert and a nice ending to our Grandparents’ Day dinner.

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Blueberry Pineapple Dessert

svgOver 20 years ago, my husband and I were members of a wonderful round dance club in Cincinnati, the Bendoliers.  At Christmas time, the couple who served as President gave a brunch for the other officers in the club.  As Secretary, my husband I were invited and it was a beautiful meal.  I told the hostess that my favorite dish was what she called “Blueberry Salad” and asked for the recipe.  She was amazed that I didn’t know this old standby and as the years have passed, I’ve seen many versions of it in community cookbooks.  But at that time it was new to me and I loved it.

I adapted her recipe a little bit and I think of it as a dessert rather than a salad, but basically, it’s the same great dish we had that long-ago Christmas.

BLUEBERRY PINEAPPLE DESSERT

  • Two 6 oz. packages of blackberry gelatin (I used four 3 oz. packages of Jell-O Blackberry Fusion)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup cold fruit juice*
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • One 8 oz. can crushed pineapple

*Whenever I drain a can of fruit, I put it into a pint jar that I keep in the freezer.  I keep adding the drained juice from whatever fruit I have until I have enough to replace the cold water in a gelatin recipe.  In this case, I used a mixture of several kinds of fruit.

Topping

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans

In a 9×9 pan, dissolve the gelatin in the boiling water, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  Add the cold fruit juice, stirring well.  Chill in the refrigerator for about 1-1/2 hours until the mixture cools and begins to thicken.  After the mixture has thickened, add the blueberries and pineapple.  (Pineapple should be drained through a sieve into a cup, lightly pressing with a spoon.   I add this juice to my jar of stashed juice in the freezer.)

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Chill gelatin/fruit mixture until set.

After the gelatin/fruit mixture has set, make the topping:  Beat together the cream cheese, dairy sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla.  Spread the topping over the gelatin/fruit mixture.  Sprinkle chopped pecans over the top.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Yield:  9 delicious servings. 

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Sunday-After-Thanksgiving Meal

thanks08-004After eating our fill of turkey on Thanksgiving, on Friday and on Saturday, it doesn’t seem possible that anything with turkey would be appetizing on Sunday, but this dish made with extra-rich turkey gravy/broth is highly anticipated by my family on the post-Thanksgiving Sunday.   I found this recipe for Creamy Turkey Tetrazzini in a Philadelphia Brand Cookbook in 2004 and we have been enjoying it ever since. The secret is to use the best turkey broth/gravy you can salvage from the holiday meal.

CREAMY TURKEY TETRAZZINI

  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 4 oz. fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly
  • 10 oz. good turkey broth/gravy
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup chopped cooked turkey
  • 2 Tblsp. chopped pimiento
  • Salt/pepper
  • 1 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Saute onions and celery in margarine over medium heat for about 10 minutes.  Add sliced mushrooms and continue cooking until mushrooms are cooked through.  Add broth and cream cheese, stirring over low heat until cheese is melted.  Add turkey and pimiento.  Taste before adding salt – it will depend on how your gravy/broth is seasoned.  Grate some black pepper over the top.  Pour into a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.  Top with grated cheese.  Bake @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile cook 7 oz. of spaghetti or fettucine according to package directions.  Drain pasta.  Serve hot turkey mixture over pasta.

Yield:  4-6 servings. 

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For dessert today, I made my version of Tiramisu, developed about 15 years ago when we had enjoyed the dessert at a restaurant but I had no idea of how it went together.  We all like my version which uses low-fat versions of some ingredients and 1/2 cup of Kahluha.

MY FAIRLY LIGHT TIRAMISU

  • One package Italian lady fingers (about 12 lady fingers – I use Alessi Biscotti Savoiardi)
  • 4 oz. light cream cheese (Neufchatel), softened
  • 15 oz. light ricotta cheese
  • 2 cups light Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua (to pour over lady fingers)
  • One small block of Ghiaradelli chocolate (I like milk chocolate)

In a large mixer bowl, beat together the cream cheese and ricotta cheese until smooth.  Fold in Cool Whip whipped topping.

Place half of the lady fingers in layer in bottom of 9×9″ pan.  Pour half of the Kahlua (1/4 cup) over the lady fingers.

Spoon half of the cream cheese mixture over the top of the lady fingers.  Repeat with the remaining lady fingers, 1/4 cup of Kahlua and remainder of cheese mixture.

Grate the Ghiradelli chocolate over the top of the dish.  Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Yield:  8 servings 

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We all agreed that it was a good meal and a little bit different even if the entree did include turkey!

Fluffy Pineapple Dessert

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My oldest daughter was here on Sunday and we wanted something for supper that was satisfying, yet relatively healthy and not as heavy and rich as the food we’ve been eating for the past two weeks.

I got some leftover Thanksgiving turkey breast from the freezer and heated it on the stovetop with some broth and seasonings.

For our vegetables, I tried Sweet Rosie’s method of roasting vegetables – wonderful – be sure to include the whole cloves of garlic.

For dessert I went back to an old family favorite from the 1970s – Fluffy Pineapple Dessert.  This is really delicious and it makes a lot, way too much for two people.  But by the time I sent some home with this daughter, saved some for the youngest daughter and kept some for myself, it was just about right.

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FLUFFY PINEAPPLE DESSERT

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk (I used the non-fat kind)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple (in pineapple juice), drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 16 oz. container of whipped topping (I used Cool Whip Lite)

In a large bowl, combine milk and lemon juice; stir until thick.  Add crushed pineapple and nuts; mix well.  Fold in whipped topping.  Pour into 9×13 pan and refrigerate for several hours.

This dish was very popular at square dance potluck dinners. 

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