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Sherrie Norris Lovin’ Spoonful Cooking Column: Wishing Everyone A “Super” Valentine’s Celebration

By Sherrie Norris,

 I’ve heard mention that the upcoming weekend scheduling “dilemma”  —with Sunday’s Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day just hours apart — can easily be combined into one big celebration. Some of us might beg to differ, but it does seem to have merit.

I’m not a huge football fan, but I do plan to watch at least some of the big game with someone I love, and I’ll be preparing their favorite snacks, so I guess it can work.  

Here’s hoping we all have a “super” weekend filled with lots of love.  Floral bouquets, if they must, can serve as table décor for the big spread on Sunday, I suppose, but let’s save the cards and gifts for Monday.

 I’m anxious to see how two of the biggest days of the year balance out. If we’ve learned anything over the past two years, it’s to be flexible, so let’s make it count and enjoy our time together.

 Seven-Layer Dip 

1 large can refried beans

2 cups sour cream

1 cup of salsa

½ chopped red onion

Chopped chilies

1 cup cheddar cheese

Sliced black olives

Layer in a 9 x 13-inch glass dish ingredients in order listed. Keep in fridge until time to serve. Great with your choice of chips. 

Fried Pickles

1 jar dill pickle spears
1 cup flour
½ cup plain yellow corn meal
1 Tbs. seasoned salt
1 cup milk
Vegetable Oil

 Ranch Dressing for dipping

Pour vegetable oil to a depth of at least ½ -inch in medium sized skillet and place over medium high heat. Drain pickles; place spears on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb moisture while you prepare breading.
Place corn meal in small bowl. Add ½ cup flour and seasoned salt. Stir until well combined. In separate bowl, pour remaining flour and place milk in third bowl.
Using your hands, dip a pickle into milk, then flour, then milk, then cornmeal breading. Repeat until all pickles are breaded.
Carefully place pickles into hot oil and cook until browned, stirring once if needed, about 10 minutes.
Remove from skillet and place on paper towel lined plate. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with ranch dressing.
These are extremely hot inside for several minutes after cooking.
Makes about 8

Baked Cheese Balls

Cut up string cheese, dip in skim milk, then Italian bread crumbs. Bake at 425 for 7-10 minutes.

Yummy dipped in marinara sauce!

Chicken Chili With Beans

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces

2 medium sweet peppers, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbs. olive oil

1 small can chopped chilies

2 Tbs. chili powder

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

2 cans (15 oz. each) beans of choice, rinsed and drained

1 can tomatoes with liquid, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

In large pot, sauté chicken, red peppers, onion and garlic in oil for 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink; add green chilies, chili powder, cumin and coriander; cook for 3 minutes. Stir in beans, tomatoes and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring often. Makes about 10 servings.

South of the Border Cornbread Squares

1 1/2  cup corn meal

1/2 cup self-rising flour

1/2 medium onion, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

2 or 3 seeded hot peppers, chopped

1 egg, beaten

1/4 cup oil

3/4 cup creamed corn

2/3 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together, bake in well-greased pan at 400 for about 35 minutes. Cut into small squares to enjoy alone or with chili.

Cupid’s Sundae Bar

Various flavors of ice cream, especially vanilla and strawberry 

Chocolate, strawberry and caramel toppings 

Red and white sprinkles, mini chocolate chips and other decorative candy toppings as desired

Chopped nuts

Whipped topping

Maraschino cherries

Set up a sundae bar on a table or counter with each ingredient in its own container. Family members or guests can create their own sundaes.

Valentine’s Dessert Pizza

1 (18 oz.) package refrigerated sugar cookie dough 

1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed 

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 can of strawberry or cherry pie filling (or fresh fruit, as desired)

Preheat oven to 350; Press cookie dough evenly into a 12-inch pizza pan. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool in pan on wire rack. 

In meantime, mix cream cheese and whipped topping together and spread over cooled crust nearly to edge. Cover cream mixture with pie filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve.