Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Potluck 2008

We had a festive holiday potluck on Wednesday evening December 17th at Steve and Yvette Soto’s home on Hemlock Street. The event featured some favorite potluck recipes and we had an informal Neighborhood Watch meeting. We talked about the Hemlock Street traffic management issue mostly, how we are anticipating new stop signs from the County at Hemlock and Overbrook and Hemlock and Damon.

Many people generously brought toys and gift certificates to donate to the Sheriff’s Toy Project to benefit local needy children. I brought all the toys over to the Carmichael Sheriff’s Service Center on Thursday morning just in time to have the items sorted and given to the previously selected families. Our donations were very much appreciated because they said donations were light this year and there were more families than ever applying for help because of the economy.

Thanks again to all who participated in this fun event and especially to Steve and Yvette for volunteering to host again!

Here are the recipes:


Olive oil
Approximately ½ - bag (1 ½ - 2 pounds) Sierra Gold or
Klondike Rose potatoes (or similar), cut into ¼ - ½ inch slices.
garlic salt
4 oz. of cream cheese or reduced fat cream cheese
¼ cup of prepared pesto
¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper sauce
¼ - cup finely chopped or narrow 1 inch strips of prepared roasted
red peppers. (You can broil your own red bell peppers, too.)
Snipped fresh chives or minced green onion

Heat oven to 400ºF. Coat aluminum foil spread on baking sheet with olive oil (cooking spray may be used, if preferred). Arrange raw potatoes in single layer; brush with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic salt evenly over potatoes. Roast 20 – 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and lightly browned. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, pesto and pepper sauce, if desired. Pipe or spread pesto mixture onto each potato slice; top with chopped red pepper or a small strip of red pepper. Sprinkle with chives or bits of minced green onion, if desired.

Note: Red, green and white are the colors of the Italian flag, as well as Christmas. I adapted this recipe from one at

Mexican Casserole
(Serves 10-12)

1 lb. very lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion, chopped
½ tsp. Garlic powder
1 envelope taco seasoning mix
1-8oz Can tomato sauce
I C. sour cream
1 C. cottage cheese
1 sm. Can chopped green chilies
2 C. tortilla chips, crushed
2 C. cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat; drain. Add onion, garlic powder, taco seasoning, and tomato sauce. Mix together well.

In a separate bowl, mix sour cream, cottage cheese, and chilies.

Spray a 9x13” casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Put the chips in the bottom of the dish (save a few for the tip). Layer the meat on top of the chips, and then spread the sour cream mixture over the meat. Sprinkle the saved chips on top and top with the cheese.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until bubbly. Enjoy!

Serve’s 4

2 Tablespoons Oil
1 med onion chopped
1 clove of Garlic
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 ½ lbs Ground Turkey
½ cup chopped bell pepper
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 ½ cups of water

In a large pot heat oil, brown meat and drain. Sauté onion, pepper, chopped garlic. Return meat to pot. Add tomato sauce, paste and water. Add the following seasonings:

1 tablespoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
1 teaspoon Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

Bring to a boil then down to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 1 ½ hours or until meat is tender. Stir occasionally.

Ghirardelli Almond Bark

¾ cup roasted almonds (whole or halves)
16 oz. Ghirardelli White Chocolate Candy Making and Dipping Bar (8 sections)

Melt white chocolate in bowl. Add almonds and stir. Spread to desired thickness on waxed paper. Cool until hard (approximately 25-35 minutes). Break into pieces.

Triple Meat Lasagna Florentine
(Most of the time I double this recipe and make 2 of them since it’s so much work!)

1 package lasagna noodles
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. Italian sausage or Sage sausage
1 large can tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup red wine
1 large chopped onion
1 bunch chopped parsley
4 or 5 cloves of garlic chopped
1 10 oz frozen spinach
1 lb shredded mozzarella
1 lb ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 cup grated parmesan
Olive oil
3 tbs. oregano
Salt and pepper

The meat sauce:
In a cast iron skillet, sauté the onion, garlic, oregano, meats and parsley in a little olive oil slowly until the meat starts to brown. Remove meat, then sauté the tomato paste in the leftover oil for about 5 minutes. Transfer the meat and tomato paste to a large pot and stir in the tomato sauce, wine and salt and pepper to taste. You can add a little water if it is too thick.

The spinach/ricotta mixture:
Cook the frozen spinach just about 5 minutes, then drain and cool. In a large bowl mix the spinach with the ricotta, eggs and salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble:
Cook lasagna in boiling water 10/12 minutes until just tender. Drain and then plunge it into cold water until cool enough to handle. In a large, deep casserole dish, scoop about ½ cup sauce, then on top layer 3 or 4 noodles. On top of that layer half the spinach/ricotta mix, then a cup of the meat sauce. Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and parmesan. Repeat the layers, ending up with noodles, sauce and sprinkled cheese on the top.

Bake at 325 about 50 minutes or until the ricotta mixture is firm.


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