The first weekend in December each year is always reserved for girls’ holiday weekend at my sister Judy’s house in Hawley. A group of us so enjoyed sitting around in our cozy pajamas with soft Christmas music playing in the background, good conversations and much good food. Judy started the evening with delicious marinated and baked chicken wings, then she served a wonderful holiday salad, next course was Tortellini Soup and topped the evening off with Crème de’ Menthe Cake. Here are just a few of the wonderful flavors we enjoyed. They are all tried and true wonderful recipes I’m sure you will enjoy.
■ Judy’s Holiday Salad
Serving size: 8
● 10 cups Romaine lettuce
● 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced
● 2 pears, chopped
● 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
● 1/2 cup dried cranberries
● 6 tablespoons lemon juice
● 3 tablespoons white karo syrup
● 1 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
● 3 tablespoons oil
● 1/2 teaspoon salt
● 1/2 cup chopped cashews
Combine lettuce, apples, pears, Swiss cheese and cranberries in a bowl; toss. Combine dressing ingredients and pour over lettuce mixture. Toss lightly and add cashews when ready to serve.
■ Judy’s Tortellini Soup
Serving size: 8
● 2 tablespoons olive oil
● 2 ounces bacon, chopped
● 1 medium onion, chopped
● 3 cloves garlic, minced
● 49 1/2 ounce can chicken broth
● 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
● 9 ounces stewed tomatoes
● 8 ounces fresh spinach, rinsed, stemmed and chopped
● Salt and pepper, to taste
● 1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
● 1 package tortellini
Heat oil, add bacon and cook until crisp. Add onion. Cook three to four minutes until soft. Add garlic (don’t overcook); add broth and seasoning. Bring to a boil and simmer five minutes. Meanwhile, cook tortellini. Don’t boil until done as the tortellini will cook in the soup mixture and can get mushy. Stir in tomatoes and simmer five minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with Parmesan cheese when served.
■ Creme de’ Menthe Cake
● 1 box white cake mix
● 6 tablespoons creme de menthe
● 1 jar fudge ice cream topping
(Not Hershey’s syrup)
● 8 ounces Cool whip
Make cake mix according to directions on box; add three tablespoons creme de menthe; bake. When you take it out of the oven put dallops of fudge ice cream topping (not Hershey’s syrup as it has to be the thick fudge and drop by spoons full all over the cake while hot. Spread over the cake carefully while hot. Cool. Take a carton of Cool Whip and add three tablespoons of creme de’ menthe and stir. Spread over cooled cake. You can add more creme de menthe to your liking or taste. Put a red cherry on top when you serve. So pretty, light and yummy. A favorite at Judy’s house.
GARY’S TIP: A potato ricer works great to squeeze liquid from frozen thawed spinach.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything. (Irish proverb).