Dash of Class: Recipe Roundup

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

Probably the very best of Jo Ellen LaRue Thomas’ recipes is the one that didn’t make print last week. That is the Caramel Italian Cream Cake.

I know this will be popular with many of you, even my one student that always tells me every time I see her she says, “Mrs. Sweat, I think of you every time I make an Italian Cream Cake.”

That’s because the first one she made was in my Foods class. OK, Barb. I want you to try this one.

  • Stone Hearth recently offered me a “Mama and Me” brunch and lunch. I thought you might like to know the recipes that were selected from a list of foods I gave them. Those were Chicken Casserole, Bacon Cheddar Meat Loaves, Baked Mashed Potatoes, Pineapple Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Pineapple Upside Down Cake and 3 Day Coconut Cake. I don’t have room for all of them in this column but the two cakes and the two sides are in my book. The next Mama and Me brunch and lunch will be at 11 a.m. Oct. 26 at Stone Hearth. Hope to see you then. There will be more of “One of Hardin County’s Finest Cooks” honored.
  • By the way on last week’s Taste page, a pie crust was left out of the list of ingredients on the Tomato Tart recipe. Sorry.

Nora Sweat, author of "Mama and Me," is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.

Caramel Italian Cream Cake
1 cup finely chopped pecans
½ cup butter softened
½ cup shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup toasted coconut for topping

Place shaved coconut in a single layer in a shallow pan. Place pecans in a second shallow pan. Toast coconut and pecans at the same time for 5-7 minutes at 425 degrees or until coconut is toasted and pecans are lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.
Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add white and brown sugars, beating well. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add vanilla, and blend.
Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir in pecans and 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut.
Beat egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, and fold into batter. Pour into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, remove and cool completely. Use your favorite caramel icing for between layers and top of the cake. Use your favorite cream cheese icing for the sides. Garnish with the toasted shaved coconut.
Source: Jo Ellen Larue Thomas

Chicken Casserole
1 chicken - cooked, boned, and chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped onion
1 can evaporated milk
1 stick margarine
1 package Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix (Herb-seasoned)

Put chopped chicken in 9 x 13 baking dish. Sauté onion and celery in small amount of margarine and add to soups, add milk, and pour all over chicken. Sprinkle dry stuffing mix over top and cut pats of margarine on top of stuffing mix. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the mixture is bubbly and slightly brown.
Source: Joyce Johnson

Bacon Cheddar Meat Loaves
4 egg whites
½ cup crushed reduced-fat butter-flavored crackers (about 13 crackers)
1/3 cup plus 8 teaspoons shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound lean ground beef
2 turkey bacon strips, cut in half

In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, crackers, 1/3 cup cheese, onion, salt and pepper. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into four small loaves; place in an ungreased 11-in. x 7-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top each with a half-strip of bacon. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; bake 2-3 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.
Source: Tonya Vowels

Baked Mashed Potatoes
2 cup Idahoan real premium mashed potatoes
3 cups water
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons margarine
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
5 green onions, finely chopped
½ cup of French fried onions

Heat water, milk, and margarine in a sauce pan to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in potatoes. Let stand for one minute, add egg, sour cream, green onions, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese and add enough milk so that it’s moist (if needed). Then place in a greased 1½ quart baking dish. Top with French fried onions and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned. This dish can be made ahead and refrigerated. Just sprinkle the fried onions on just before baking. Yield: 8 servings
Source: Peggy Hash