(Photo courtesy of thepioneerwoman.com)
How-to: Nontraditional Friendsgiving Recipes
By Bonny Lou Dady
Ahhhh……the Holidays are upon us! And along with them come the responsibility of hosting a get-together with friends or we find ourselves invited to one, with a request to bring along something yummy to share! Friendsgivings are reasons to dig out mom’s cookbooks or her little box of recipe cards, lovingly copied from her own mom. But how do we decipher that ancient handwriting? And what do those terms mean? Yikes!!
These days, many of us rush to our local grocery store or bakery to pick up something already prepared and ready to serve in its own disposable container. No dishes to wash either! Yay! It is so tempting to buy ready-made appetizers, desserts, side dishes; and even the main dish itself. Restaurants love to see us come in and buy take-out turkeys and roasts with all the trimmings.
But there really is something special about preparing homemade food for the people you love. And, it’s not as difficult as you might think! Over the years, I too have collected a couple of boxes full of recipes. A whole bookshelf of cookbooks (most of which I’ve never used!) is in my kitchen. I’d like to share a few easy but wonderful recipes some of my friends gave me….recipes from friends and are the best ones we can have!
“Bling-Bling Potatoes” is a dish from a good friend. She called them Bling Bling Potatoes because they are just sooo fancy! But they are really easy to assemble. And delicious! To make it, you’ll need the following: one can (about 11 ounce) condensed cream of chicken soup, 1/3 cup chopped green onions (the skinny ones), one cup sour cream, one package (32 ounce) frozen, shredded hash brown potatoes, ½ cup melted butter (margarine will do, but butter is better), and one cup crushed, regular potato chips.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (F). Stir together the soup, green onions, and sour cream in a large bowl. Add the potatoes and cheese, and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a 13 x 9 baking dish or pan. Combine the crushed potato chips and butter in a small bowl; then, sprinkle it evenly over the potato mixture. Bake for 40 minutes, or until it’s heated all the way through. You will probably be asked to bring this dish to every future get together! It’s just that awesome!
Now, if you’re asked to bring a dessert, I’ll share a couple of very easy cake recipes. The first one is called “Pineapple Sunshine Cake.” Cute name, huh? So simple to make! You will need one regular box of yellow cake mix, 4 eggs, ¼ cup vegetable oil, and one can (8 ounce) of crushed pineapple with juice. Put all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together – preferably with an electric mixer, but you can also mix it vigorously with a spoon. Mix for about two minutes or so until everything is smoothly blended with little bits of pineapple throughout. Pour this mixture into a prepared 13 x 9 pan.
To prepare a pan for cake, you first “oil” the pan with a little bit of cooking spray on the bottom (inside the pan). Then, sprinkle a little bit of regular flour over the bottom of the pan also. Now, pour the cake batter mixture evenly into the pan. Bake your cake on the middle rack of your oven for approximately 25-30 minutes. Test to see if it’s done by poking it in the center with a toothpick. If the toothpick is gooey, it will need more time to finish baking. When it’s done, let it cool for at least an hour or two before putting on the frosting.
For the frosting, you will need one (8 ounce) tub of Cool Whip, one small box of instant vanilla pudding mix, and another (8 ounce) can of crushed pineapple with juice. Mix the Cool Whip and pudding mix together until smooth. Then, add the crushed pineapple and stir. Spread this mixture over the cooled cake, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve it. If there are any leftovers, they will need to be refrigerated; but leftovers are highly unlikely!
My favorite cake, however, is “Chocolate Banana Cake.” For this one, you will need 3 or 4 very ripe bananas, so they will need to be purchased a few days earlier. They should have lots of brown spots on the outside, but not be yucky inside. Or stinky. You will need one chocolate cake mix, 3 eggs, vegetable oil (the amount called for on package), the bananas, and a little bit of water. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (or less if package directions say so). Mash up the bananas until they are liquid. Use a wire whisk if you have one, but otherwise, a fork will do.
Measure out enough mashed banana to equal the amount of water called for on the cake mix package. Add a little bit of water to that. Maybe a tablespoon or so. Using a large bowl, mix together the cake mix, bananas, eggs, and vegetable oil (as directed on the package) The bananas will replace most of the water called for. Pour the cake batter into a prepared 13 x 9 pan (same as above). Bake for the time given on the cake mix package – but it might take a little bit longer. Test it with a toothpick. When the cake has cooled completely, frost it with a tub of chocolate frosting. My family loves this! And so do others who’ve tasted it at church gatherings.
I hope you enjoy these recipes this fall….or anytime! God bless you for stepping out of your comfort zone and deciding to try something new!