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franklin county times

TASTE OF FRANKLIN — And a tasty new year

RECIPES AND PHOTOS BY AMY DOLAN MCCOLLUM

As the new year begins, here are a few fresh recipes to get 2022 started on the right culinary foot. Consider trying one or more of these for your next party – whether for Valentine’s Day or the big game.

Broccoli and Chive Stuffed Mini Peppers
TIME: 30 minutes
YIELD: 2 dozen

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 miniature sweet peppers
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2/3 cup finely-chopped fresh broccoli
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut peppers lengthwise in half; remove seeds.
  3. In a bowl, mix cream cheese, chives, salt and pepper.
  4. Stir in broccoli.
  5. Spoon into pepper halves.
  6. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake until heated through, 9-11 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted, 3-4 minutes longer.
  8. Cool slightly before serving.

Veggie Pizza

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 ounce package ranch dressing mix
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup halved and thinly-sliced radishes
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated

Note: You can use low-fat cream cheese and sour cream for a healthier variation.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a jellyroll pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Pat crescent roll dough into a jellyroll pan. Let stand five minutes. Pierce with fork.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool.
  5. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cream cheese, garlic salt and ranch dip mix.
  6. Spread this mixture on top of the cooled crust.
  7. Arrange the onion, carrot, celery, broccoli, radish, bell pepper and broccoli on top of the creamed mixture.
  8. Cover and let chill. Once chilled, cut it into squares and serve.

Cherry Pie

INGREDIENTS

For the crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 12 ounce can cherry pie filling

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. In small bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter. Stir well and press into pie plate.
  4. Bake five minutes then let cool completely.
  5. In large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Mix well.
  6. In a medium bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
  7. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.
  8. Spread over cooled crust.
  9. Dot with cherry pie filling and smooth with knife or spatula to cover.
  10. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

Notes: You can use a 9-inch square baking dish if you do not have a pie plate. To save time, prepared pie crusts are also acceptable. You may also substitute blueberry pie filling or strawberry pie filling.

“Life is like a box of chocolates” Chocolate Valentine Cake

INGREDIENTS

For the cake:

  • Duncan Hines Devil’s Food chocolate cake mix and ingredients as listed on box

For the frosting:

  • 2 sticks of real butter, softened
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

You will also need a box of chocolates.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To make the cake, follow package directions to make up the batter.
  2. Pour half the batter into a square 8- or 9-inch pan. Pour the other half into a round 8- or 9-inch pan.
  3. Bake as directed. Let the cakes cool five minutes in the pans then invert on cooling rack and let them cool.  While cooling, make the frosting.
  4. Pour cocoa in a large bowl or bowl of stand mixer. Whisk through to remove any lumps.
  5. Cream together butter and cocoa powder until well-combined.
  6. Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture by adding 1 cup of sugar followed by about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added.
  7. Add vanilla extract and syrup until well combined.
  8. If frosting appears too dry, add more milk or syrup, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.
  9. If frosting appears too wet and does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until it reaches the right consistency.
  10. Cut the round cake down the center, then place cut sides on two adjacent sides of the square cake, creating a heart shape. Frost entirely with chocolate buttercream frosting.
  11. Use the chocolates from a box of chocolates to make the cake look like a traditional box of candy.

Note: Another variation is to do the cake with a strawberry cake mix, use a pink frosting and decorate with conversation hearts.   

Cajun Cabbage Soup

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, or to taste
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or more to taste
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 32 ounces unsalted chicken stock
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons browning sauce, such as Kitchen Bouquet
  • 1 head green cabbage, coarsely chopped
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 4 dashes Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch Cajun seasoning, such as Tony Chachere’s, or to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and celery and sauté until vegetables are tender and starting to brown, about five minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour in chicken stock, water and browning sauce.
  5. Bring soup to a boil; reduce heat to low.
  6. Add cabbage, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, bay leaf and Cajun seasoning. Simmer until cabbage is tender and liquid is reduced by half, 25-30 minutes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  7. Remove bay leaf before serving.

Note: For a healthier choice, you can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock if desired, and choose no-sugar-added tomatoes if possible.

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