Party treats

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Now that we’ve made it through the holiday baking and cooking season, I’m looking for easy ways to enjoy family favorite treats. I came across this idea for using my Bundt pan to make a nacho ring that is perfect for watching the big football games. Fill the center hole with my niece’s guacamole and serve with Spanish rice or refried beans to make it a Tuesday night supper. It is so easy.

Jolly Jack’s Restaurant used to be a supper club in the Pierz, Minnesota, area years ago. They were known for their cheese spread melted on Texas toast or French bread. It is great as a side dish, or mix leftover chicken or turkey and bake for an instant hot sandwich.

Of course, there always has to be a dessert or treat of some kind to satisfy a sweet tooth. Twinkie bars are a bit time consuming but can be done in stages or blocks of time to fit in between chores. They are guaranteed to disappear quickly. Enjoy.

Bundt pan nachos

8 ounces shredded Colby Jack cheese

1/2 cup onion

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 pound ground beef

2 tablespoons taco seasonings

1/4 cup water

Small bag tortilla chips, less than 12 ounces

Diced tomatoes

Sour cream

Cilantro

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cook ground beef, onion, salt and pepper until done (6-7 minutes). Drain. Add taco seasonings and water to pan with browned meat. Stir and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated (2-3 minutes). Spray Bundt pan with cooking spray. Layer pan with ingredients in this order: half the cheese on bottom of pan, half the seasoned ground beef, and one-third of the chips, but do not pack chips down into pan. Repeat the layers with remaining ingredients. You will have one-third extra chips. Do not overfill the pan. Make the top layer even, and bake for 10 minutes or until heated through. Place large plate over top of Bundt pan and flip over. Remove pan. Sprinkle diced tomatoes, cilantro and black olives on top. Drizzle with sour cream. Serve with guacamole in the middle hole of the nacho plate.

Carly’s guacamole

5 avocados

3/4 cup diced onion

3/4 cup diced tomato

2 jalapenos without the seeds

Cilantro, handful of shredded leaves

3 tablespoons lime juice or lemon juice

Lots of garlic salt to taste (1-3 teaspoons)

Mash avocados. Add lime juice and garlic salt. Mix. Stir in onion, tomato, pepper and cilantro. Serve right away. If you want to make ahead or have leftovers, make sure to press down a piece of plastic directly on top of the guacamole and seal dish with a lid to prevent air from oxidizing and changing the green color to brown. Use within a day or two.

Jolly Jack’s garlic cheese spread

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise or Miracle Whip

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon sour cream

Mix together and chill. Spread on French bread or Texas toast bread. Place in 375-degree oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to turn brown. Add leftover chopped turkey to cheese spread and bake on bread for an instant hot sandwich.

Chocolate Texas Twinkie cake

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

1 cup butter

4 tablespoons cocoa

2 beaten eggs

1/2 cup yogurt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix flour and sugar together. Bring butter, cocoa and water to a rapid boil and pour over dry mixture. Mix well. Add eggs, yogurt, soda and vanilla. Mix well. Bake in a 9-by-13 pan at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Cool. Cut in half horizontally using unflavored dental floss to make a top and bottom layer.

Cream filling

Cook 5 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of milk until thick, whisking the whole time. Remove from heat and stir again before placing plastic wrap directly on the mixture. Cool. Beat 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup Crisco with 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and milk/flour mixture. Add slowly and beat well in between additions. Beat this until consistency of frosting. Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar to mix. Put frosting between the two layers of cake. Cover and refrigerate to set.

Chocolate icing

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chocolate chips

6 tablespoons milk

Bring sugar, butter and milk to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, no longer. Add chocolate chips and vanilla. Beat a little to mix chips. It will go sugary if beaten too much; it sets up fast. It won’t be smooth if you wait too long to put on the cake.

As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark Schmitt started an adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.

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