Walworth County Sunday | Janesville Messenger | Stateline News



Walworth County Sunday | Janesville Messenger | Stateline News



One of my favorite convenience products is puff pastry sheets. I like to keep a box or two in the freezer. Pepperidge Farm makes a nice product. The sheets come two to a 17.3-ounce box. You can use just one sheet at a time, but be sure to wrap and freeze the other one -- this product dries out quickly and the uncooked sheets will keep only a few days in the refrigerator.

It’s Christmas week already -- can you believe it? Keep some time open for a family breakfast  believe it? Hopefully, you will have plenty of family and friends to spend the holiday with. Maybe a leisurely breakfast can be on the schedule -- there’s nothing better to get the day started. These recipes can be made ahead of time -- even the pancake can be prepped the night before.

Dips are great for entertaining -- there’s no doubt about it. Whether it’s a casual get-together or holiday-themed bash, a rich, creamy dip tops the list of must-have party foods. The first three recipes are from the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

The caramel apple pie dip is a  sweet, creamy rendition of an American staple.

The blue cheese beer spread is a tangy beer cheese dip that is perfect for New Year’s Day bowl games.

And the mascarpone spread with brandied walnuts adds a festive flair to your appetizer lineup.

If you are doing an all appetizer lineup, be sure to include additional protein-based choices and include some raw vegetables and fruit for a good balance.

Sometimes it takes a family gathering around the holidays to get you to haul out the old family favorites -- I’m talking recipes now. People ask for the same recipes because we so easily associate certain foods with life events. The smell, the taste, the look; it all reminds us of certain times in our life. The holidays are a great time to reinforce these memories, of course, but don’t be afraid to try a few new things, too. 

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means I’ll be cooking my big Hubbard squash. As big as it is, I know I’ll have plenty left after Thursday’s dinner.

What should I?make with the leftovers? That’s the dilemna --?there are so many good recipes to consider.

Once your squash is baked and mashed, maybe a little butter, brown sugar and salt added, it can be used in any recipe that calls for pumpkin.

All of these recipes are flexible enough to allow for more or less butter and sugar to your squash. However, if you like your squash served with marshmallows on top, remove the marshmallows before proceeding with these recipes because the marshmallows can turn into hard little pieces of molton sugar/gelatin.

The finished product won’t look right and you’ll have a mystery on your tongue when you come across one of those hard marshmallow bits.

Fall-in-love cookies

Makes 3-1/2 dozen

1/3 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 large whole eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup prepared squash

2-1/4 cups flour

4 tsps. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

1/2 cup chopped nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and squash and mix until creamy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in by hand until smooth, then add raisins and nuts if desired. 

Drop by teaspoon onto a greased cookie sheet and bake 12 to 15 minutes or until the bottom is lightly browned and cookie is dry.

Once the cookie is cool, you can drizzle a little powdered sugar icing over the top.

Mother Hubbard quick bread

-- Makes 3 mini loaves or one regular size bread loaf

2 whole eggs

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup prepared squash

1/2 cup salad oil

1/4 cup water

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. cinnamon

1-2/3 cups flour

In mixer bowl, cream together eggs, sugar and squash. Mix in salad oil and water. Sift together dry ingredients and add gradually while continuing to beat. Mix until smooth. Divide batter between greased and floured bread pans. Bake in preheated 350 F oven for 45 minutes to an hour (smaller loaves will take less time). 

The bread is done when you push on the center with your finger and the bread springs back. If you leave an indent, it is not done. You also can test for doneness by inserting a toothpick into center of loaf. If it comes out clean, it is done. Cool for five minutes in pan, then run knife along edges of pan and invert to remove loaf. Complete cooling on a bread rack.

The reason you want to cool the bread on a rack is so the bottom doesn’t get soggy, which will happen if left sitting flat on a counter or pan. 

Fall harvest pie

1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell, bottom only. Use a 4-cup, deep-dish pie shell

Squash layer:

1 cup prepared squash

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Pecan layer:

2/3 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

3 Tbsps. butter

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup pecan halves or pieces

Preheat oven to 350 F.

For bottom (squash)?layer: Combine squash, sugar, egg and pumpkin pie spice in medium bowl; stir well. Spread over bottom of pie shell.

For pecan layer:?Combine maple syrup, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla extract in same bowl. Spoon over pumpkin layer. Sprinkle pecans on top.

Bake for 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Squashed empanadas

-- This recipe is adapted from “Muy Bueno,” written by three generations of Texas-born cooks. Check out their recipe blog at for other great Mexican and Tex-Mex recipes.

Makes 24 empanadas

Squash filling:

2 Tbsps. butter

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

2 cups prepared squash

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Empanada dough:

3 cups flour

2 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup shortening

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsps. sugar

To make the filling:?Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves with the butter. Stir in the squash and the spices. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure the filling is not too watery; otherwise let it cook for a couple more minutes.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool down. After it’s cooled off for about 15 minutes, put the filling in the refrigerator to help it set for 30 minutes or overnight.

To make empanada dough: Mix flour, baking powder and salt together. Cut in the shortening with the dry ingredients. This works better if you use your hands. Add the eggs, milk and sugar. Continue to work in with your hands. Split the dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and put into the refrigerator for about 20-30 minutes. Take out one-half of the dough and split it into 12 balls of dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll out the dough into small, round circles. Add a small dollop of filling on one-half of the rolled out dough. Wet the bottom edge of the dough with water to help seal the two halves. Fold over the dough to seal. Seal off the edges with a fork by pressing down along the two edges.

Brush each empanada with egg whites, sprinkle with sugar and puncture each empanada with a fork to allow steam to escape while baking. Spray a large cookie sheet with cooking spray, place the empanadas on the cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes on medium rack in the oven. If after 15 minutes you notice the bottoms of the empanadas starting to brown, move the cookie sheet to the top rack and continue to bake for the last five minutes.

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