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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Make It Merry!

By Sherrie Norris

Good food makes any day a holiday, but there is something special about the food we prepare for Christmas. Whether for office brunches, family lunches or  church, civic and/or community club dinners, we usually put a little extra effort into our gatherings around this time every year.

It’s hard to believe just how quickly the blocks on the calendar are moving forward, but in two weeks, things will be getting quite serious. In other words, we are running out of time to get all those special dishes and treats under way. So, no more chitchat this week. Let’s get down to business!

Simple Holiday Breakfast Pie

3 eggs

¾ cup Bisquick

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

6 pieces bacon, cooked and chopped up (divided)

1 cup cheddar cheese, divided

2 cups frozen diced hash browns (thawed)

Begin by cooking bacon. Let drain on paper towel and cut into small pieces. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, Bisquick, milk, salt and pepper, 3 of your bacon pieces (chopped) and ½ cup cheddar cheese. Whisk together until well combined. Pour this mixture into a greased 10-inch circle/pizza pan.

Pour hash browns over this mixture making sure they are evenly spread. Top off with remaining cheese and bacon pieces.

Bake at 400 for 20-24 minutes.

Mini Christmas Tree Pizzas

1 (10 oz.) prepared puff pastry sheet

4 Tbsp. pizza sauce

½ cup grated cheese

3 pepperoni  or any other sausage snack sticks

1 green pepper, chopped

1 onion, chopped

Unfold puff pastry. Use a tree cookie cutter to cut out as many trees as possible from pastry sheet. Place trees onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread pizza sauce lightly over each tree, sprinkle with some cheese and top with a few slices of pepperoni and finely chopped pepper and onion.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F/200°C for 10 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown.

Best served immediately.

These pizza trees are small, but versatile, so use any toppings that you might like, but only a few pieces each. The puff pastry will rise in the oven but it will deflate a bit after it has been taken out of the oven.

Christmas Crack

1 sleeve saltine cracker about 35-40 crackers

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a 10×15-inch pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Place saltine crackers in single layer on cookie sheet to cover the entire pan. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt together the butter and sugar; bring it to a boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Carefully pour mixture over crackers. Spread it overtop so that crackers are completely covered.

Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.
 Add chocolate to heatproof bowl. Microwave on medium power for 1-minute intervals, stirring between each. When chocolate is almost melted, stir until smooth. Spoon chocolate over crackers; spread smoothly to completely cover the pan. Decorate with sprinkles. 

Let chocolate set, either at room temperature or in the fridge.

Once completely hardened, remove from the pan and peel the aluminum foil off. Break/”crack” it into pieces. Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the fridge for 10 days.

Peanut Butter Candy

3 cups powdered sugar

½ cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

½ cup milk

¾ cup creamy peanut butter

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Sift powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl, set aside. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar and milk. As soon as mixture begins to bubble, continue boiling for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla. Pour peanut butter mixture over powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Pour into a parchment paper lined 8 x 8-inch baking dish. Chill until set. Cut into squares.

Quick and Easy Fruit Salad

1 cup strawberries

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1 cup grapes

1 cup diced apples

1 cup sliced bananas

½ cup yogurt, strawberry or vanilla

½ cup of cool whip, or whip your own cream

Place all the prepared fruit in a medium bowl. Stir in yogurt and Cool Whip. Serve immediately or refrigerate before serving.

Sugar Free Chocolate Fudge

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened

2 (1 oz. each) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

24 packets sugar substitute (equivalent to ½ cup sugar)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup chopped pecans

In small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, chocolate, sweetener and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pecans.

Pour into and 8-inch square pan, lined with foil.

Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into 16 squares. Serve chilled.

Diabetic exchanges: One serving equals 3 fat, 147 calories

7-Up Biscuits

2 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup 7-up

1/4 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 450.

Cut sour cream into biscuit mix, add 7-Up. Makes a very soft dough.

Sprinkle additional biscuit mix on board or table and pat dough out. Cut in to 9 biscuits.  Melt 1/4  cup butter in a 9- inch square pan.

Place cut biscuits in pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.