Monday, December 23, 2013

Recipes from Our Family to Yours

So, your teen is home for the holidays and expects you to be his or her social planner. You hear constant complaints of "Mom, I'm bored!" or "Dad, there's nothing to do around here!" I am all too familiar with this type of whining, because I was a master complainer growing up. What are some activities you can suggest to your teen to help with those boredom blues that may be a little more exciting than doing chores, reading a book (always my grandmother's suggestion) or staring at the wall and hoping that something fun just happens on its own? My suggestion: spend time in the kitchen! Cooking or baking with your teen is a great way to bond and start conversations about love, sex, and relationships. It may go a little like this...

Mom/Dad: Hey Suzie, can you measure two cups of flour and slowly add it to the mixer?

Suzie: Sure! Do I add the vanilla before or after?

Mom/Dad: After. By the way, your friend Johnnie seems nice and you two seem to really get along.

Suzie: Well....yeah, I really like him. I hope he asks me to be his girlfriend soon.

Mom/Dad: How exciting! But before you two get too serious, there are some things we should talk about...


Spending time with your teen while doing a low-stress activity like cooking or baking can create a comfortable, positive environment for sometimes-awkward or difficult conversations. These conversations should be open, often, and ongoing to ensure that your teen is comfortable coming to you about sensitive topics like love, sex, and relationships. For more ideas on how to start the conversation with your teen, click here. 

As a gift to you and your family, the SC Campaign has compiled some of our favorite holiday recipes. We hope you and your family will enjoy making and eating these treats!

CANDY FRUIT - from Beth DeHart
(This recipe is for strawberries. You can substitute the strawberry Jello with orange, lemon, blueberry, or any other fruit flavor you like, and shape the candies into the shape of that fruit.)

1 cup, very fine coconut
3 pkg. (3 oz. each) strawberry Jello
3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 sm. pkg. almond slivers, for stems; you can also use green icing
1 cup ground pecans
1/2 tsp. vanilla

1.  Mix all of the above ingredients thoroughly (EXCEPT for one of the Jello packages.)
2.  Chill for 1 hour.
3.  Shape into strawberries (or whatever fruit flavor you choose.)
4.  Roll each strawberry in the remaining Jello. This gives the ‘fruit’ a more matte look, and helps keep them from being super sticky on your fingers.
5.  Insert a green tinted sliver of almond for stem. To make the green almond, add a few drops of green food coloring to the almonds in a jar and shake. Note: you can also just use green icing for the leaves.

These can be made ahead and frozen. They freeze exceptionally well and are very decorative for dessert trays. If you make several different ‘fruits,’ they can make a beautiful candy fruit tray!

MELOMAKARONA (Greek Christmas Walnut Honey Cookies) - from Eleni Gavrilis

For the cookies:
1 cup olive oil
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one orange
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup walnuts, ground coarsely
Ground cinnamon for sprinkling

1 cup honey
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 whole cloves
1-2-inch piece lemon rind
1 tsp. lemon juice

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a small bowl, using your fingers, combine the orange zest with the sugar – rubbing the grains as if you were playing with sand to release the orange oils into the sugar.
3.  Using an electric mixer, beat the oil with the orange sugar until well mixed. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
4.  Add the orange juice and brandy to mixer and mix well.
5.  Slowly incorporate the flour cup by cup until the mixture forms a dough that is not too loose but not quite firm either. It will be dense and wet but not sticky. Once the flour is incorporated fully stop mixing.
6.  To roll cookies, pinch a portion of dough off about the size of a walnut. Shape in your palms into a smooth oblong shape, almost like a small egg. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Shape and roll cookies until the sheet is filled.
7.  Press the tines of a large fork in a crosshatch pattern in the center of each cookie. This will flatten them slightly in the center. The cookies should resemble lightly flattened ovals when they go in the oven.
8.  Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 – 30 minutes until lightly browned. (The cookies will darken when submerged in syrup.)
9.  While the cookies are baking, prepare the syrup.
10. In a saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon, cloves, and lemon rind. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon, cloves, and lemon rind and stir in lemon juice.
11. Place the ground walnuts in a shallow plate or bowl next to the stove top. When the cookies come out of the oven and while they are still very warm, carefully float the cookies in the syrup and allow the cookies to absorb syrup on both sides.
12. Using a fork or small spatula, remove the cookie from the syrup and place on a platter or plate. Press ground walnuts lightly into the tops of the cookies (syrup will help it adhere) and sprinkle lightly with ground cinnamon.
13. Do not refrigerate as they will harden. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.


12 ounces butterscotch chips
3 tablespoons peanut butter
5 ounces chow mein noodles

1.  Melt chips and peanut butter in microwave (about 2 minutes in mine, stir halfway through).
2.  Stir in chow mein noodles and drop onto wax paper (a heaping tablespoon per haystack).

Yields 2 dozen muffins

4 oz white country bread torn into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground pepper
2 tble unsalted butter
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 finely chopped celery
1/2 lb sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
6 garlic gloves, finely chopped
3/4 tsp dried sage
1 small granny smith apple, peeled and finely chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
2 tble chicken broth

1.  Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease two 12 cup mini-muffin pans with cooking spray.
2.  On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 2 tble spoons of the oil; season with salt and pepper.  Bake for about 10 minutes, until toasted.  Transfer the croutons to a bowl.
3.  Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter in the remaining oil.  Add the onion and celery and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the sausage, garlic, sage and cook, breaking up the sausage until no trace of pink remains, 5 minutes.  Mix the sausage, apple, eggs and broth into the croutons; season with salt and pepper.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
4.  Pack the stuffing into the muffin cups and bake for 20 - 25 minutes, until golden.  Transfer to a rack and let stand for 5 minutes.  Loosen the muffins with a sharp paring knife and lift them out.  Serve warm.

TORTILLA LASAGNA - from Jordan Slice

6 8-inch fat-free flour tortillas
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)
2 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. ancho chile powder
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 cups strained tomatoes, such as Pomì, divided
1 ½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium chayote, peeled and diced, or 2 medium zucchini, diced (1½ cups)
½ cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 ½ cups grated Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast tortillas on 2 baking sheets in oven 5 minutes, or until light brown, turning once.
2.  Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes, or until soft. Stir in chili powder, ancho chile powder, and garlic, and cook 30 seconds. Add 11/2 cups strained tomatoes, beans, chayote, corn, and 1/2 cup water, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until chayote is tender.
3.  Coat 2-inch-deep x 8-inch round baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/4 cup strained tomatoes in bottom of pan. Set 1 toasted tortilla in pan; top with 3/4 cup bean mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layering 4 more times. Top with last tortilla, and spread remaining 1/4 cup strained tomatoes over top. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until casserole is bubbly and cheese has melted. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting into 8 wedges.

by Sara Lamberson, Corporate Communications Specialist, SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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