Monday, February 19, 2018

McClellan: Special foods for special occasions

By Barbara McClellan
Jan. 31, 2018 at 4 a.m.

As I see it, we only have about two more weeks of our yearly All-American Eat-a-Thon. We start with Halloween candy and carry through heartily until Valentine's Day. Now these are just the generic holidays for all of us, but some others might have weddings, birthdays or other family situations that involve food. (Don't all special occasions involve food in some way?)

Of course, some of us are thinking about Super Bowl food preparation. I mentioned to you last week that I do not care about football at all, but I love the commercials on the Super Bowl telecasts. I heard today that the cost for a 30-second commercial had gone up from $5 million to $5.2 million for 30 seconds, and that is in addition to the million-dollars-plus to produce those commercials. So I think I need to up the quality of the food for the game because of this. (Sarcasm is one of my strong points!!)

I found a cookbook that my Lunch Bunch friends gave me on my 50th birthday. They had a surprise party for me, but I was not there. (It's a LONG story.) Anyway, I have enjoyed and used this cookbook through the years and love remembering the day they gave it to me. The recipe that I am sharing with you is very easy and similar to one that my mother made for parties at our house.

Oklahoma Prairie Fire Dip

  • 1 can (15 ounces) Wolf Brand chili (no beans)

  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies

  • 1 bunch green onions, including tops, chopped

  • 1 pound Velveeta cheese sliced

Mix chili, chilies, and green onions in a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish

Top with cheese slices. Bake at 275 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve in chafing dish, fondue pot or small slow cooker with Fritos or Doritos. The number of servings depends on how many other dishes are served.

I don't know the origin of this next bar cookie recipe, but I think the name is very appropriate.

Can't Leave Alone Bars

  • 1 white or yellow cake mix

  • 1/3 cup cooking oil

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup butter

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry cake mix with oil and eggs. This will be very thick and will form a ball. Press half the mixture into a sprayed or slightly greased 9-inch-x-13-inch pan. Melt butter and chocolate chips in a small pan on low heat (or in microwave on reduced heat). Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Pour chocolate mixture over dough in pan. Top with rest of dough and swirl with knife. If dough is too thick, flatten tablespoons of dough into little patties and place on chocolate. Swirl, as above, and bake for 20 minutes until dough is slightly firm. Do not overbake. Cool and cut into 16 to 20 pieces.

Now you probably would not want to serve this recipe if you are making the Can't Leave Alone Bars for the same party. However, this one is so good, and easy enough for an older child to make with a little help.

Peanut Butter Squares

  • 1 cup butter, melted

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

  • 1 cup peanut butter

  • 1 (12 ounces) package semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

Mix butter, powdered sugar, and graham cracker crumbs by hand. Press mixture into a greased 9-inch-x-13-inch pan. Spread peanut butter over graham cracker mixture. Spread melted chocolate chips on top. Chill 2 hours. Warm to room temp then cut into small squares.

— Barbara Richardson McClellan is a longtime food columnist and has written three self-published cookbooks. Her column appears in the News-Journal's Taste section each Wednesday. Write her at bayrm12@gmail .com or in the care of the Longview News-Journal, P.O. Box 1792, Longview, TX 75606.



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