Fake and Bake Christmas
by Joyce McCombs December 11
Everyone I know is a bit breathless getting ready for Christmas since it comes so quickly after Thanksgiving this year. I was looking at our calendar the other day and mysterious events and parties and other excitements are rapidly filling up the few blank days we had in the first place, which doesnít leave me much time to find great big complicated recipes for you to read. On the other hand, the headline up above says Carefree, and I thought the following swift and simple ideas might come in handy as we all run around trying to keep up with life.
Several of these make fine gifts for friends, neighbors and coworkers Ė a tradition I am glad to see is still alive and well in Delta. The appearance of jars and bottles and boxes and tins on office counters and dining room side tables is just so much fun. And I love when the giver shares the recipe with me, donít you? Feel free to pass any of these ideas along Ė they are gathered from several sources, including the ever growing and ancient Carefree archives, which I shall of course, one of these days, organize. As soon as I get through celebrating the holidays! (Isnít that what I say every year?)
Youíll notice that most of these have three ingredients or less, and they donít call for anything too exotic, and they are pretty economical to boot. You can also make most of them ahead of time when you have a quiet moment and bring them out when youíre desperate for something to feed company or a swarm of invading hockey players.
A simple variation of the tried and true classic onion dip, and be sure to add some Tabasco if you think it needs a little more kick. And warm up the tortilla chips if you can Ė it really makes all the difference.
1 package Taco seasoning mix
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
Mix well, chill at least an hour and serve with tortilla chips.
3 pre-made shrimp cocktails
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
Give the little crustaceans a ride through the blender until everything smoothes out nicely. You can serve this at once, with sturdy crackers or chips, or refrigerate it for up to a week and it just keeps getting better.
If youíre really strapped for time, you can just pour the shrimp cocktails over a block of cream cheese and arrange the crackers artfully around the edges, and nobody will probably know the difference, except you, and youíll be happy since now you donít have a blender to wash.
Some people have been known to chop up some green onions or celery to sprinkle over the top for a little more color and crunch, which looks mighty festive if youíre hauling this to a party. Just bring them along in a little plastic bag and
add them when you get there, or theyíll sink under the shrimp, never to be seen again.
Some of the same people who sprinkle green onions on everything in sight have been known to want these little delights for breakfast, which is probably ok on Christmas, especially if Steve is making the good kind of coffee.
1 8 ounce tube biscuits
1/2 cup any flavor jam, but strawberry is the best
Separate the biscuits and flatten them with a fork until they are doubled in size. Plop a tablespoon of jam in the middle of each one, then fold it over and seal the ends with a fork. Sprinkle the tops with sugar if youíre up to it, and then bake them at 375 for about 15 minutes until the edges are just brown.
I make this all the time and people just about faint when they taste the first bite and then they ask for the secret ingredients. I quit being coy about it years ago, since twisting my sash and scuffing my toe in the dirt is starting to look a little silly at my age. It is very tasty with just about any kind of cheese, and you can toss in some garlic salt if you feel like it, too. The secret is to keep the proportions of Mayo and cheese equal and to spread it very thinly. This amount will do an entire French loaf.
1/2 cup Mayo
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Mix together and spread evenly over French bread loaf halves, Bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes until crisp and spread is bubbly. Slice one-inch sections to serve.
The perfect solution for supper following a holiday shopping trip or an outdoor adventure Ė and the smell warms you up as soon as you come back in the house.
1 pound of stew meat chunks
One 16 ounce jar salsa
Before you do anything else in the morning, brown the meat well, then toss in your crockpot which is turned to low. Pour the salsa over it and do NOT add water, even though it will look a little dry. Run around and get through your day while it cooks for 6 to 8 hours. Serve a scoop rolled up in warm tortillas. The moisture and acids in the salsa takes care of tenderizing the meat and it should be nicely shredded by serving time. If youíre up to it you can open a can of refried beans to serve on the side, but people have been known to survive on this just fine without any fancy additions.
This is so easy, itís embarrassing. But not too embarrassing to quit making year after year after year after yearÖ.
1 can ready made chocolate frosting
1 12 ounce bag chocolate or peanut butter chips
Melt together over low heat, stirring occasionally. Add half a cup of chopped walnuts if you feel moved to do so. Pour into foil or wax paper lined 8 x 8 pan and let cool in refrigerator until set, about two hours. Cut into one-inch squares.
The big question here is whether these are cookies or candy? The big answer is, who cares? They wonít be around long enough to worry about!
1 cup chocolate chips
3 cups corn flakes
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Melt the chocolate chips over low heat, stirring now and then. Dump in the cereal and stir gently, you donít want the flakes to completely break down. Drop the stacks off the end of a teaspoon onto the wax paper and stick the whole works in the fridge to set up. The hardest part about these is waiting until they cool, but be patient, itís worth the wait Ė they taste completely different when they cool all the way down. Makes about two dozen walnut sized stacks.
Barely Legal Pie Crust
This is so easy and so delicious youíll never go back to graham cracker pie crust again. It probably is illegal in several states, but I am sure in Alaska itís probably required for any kind of sane and sensible life.
12 fig Newtons
2 tablespoons melted butter
Pulverize the newtons in the blender or food processor until they turn into crumbs. Dump into a nine-inch pie plate and pour the melted butter over the whole thing. Stir it around until it starts clumping together, then use the back of a spoon to press it into the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Now it's ready for any kind of no bake filling, like maybe this one:
No-bake Pumpkin pie filling
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup spiced, canned pumpkin pie filling
Just stir together and pour into the Newton crust, spreading it around until itís even. Freeze about two hours until firm.
If youíre more chocolate prone than pumpkin minded, you might like this filling instead:
Mud Puddle Pie
1 quart softened chocolate ice cream
1 cup sliced almonds
Mix together and fill pie crust, then freeze until firm before serving. Drizzle with bottled chocolate sauce, which you have cleverly purchased ahead of time.
This makes the whole house smell like a fancy bakery for some reason, even though all the action is taking place on top of the stove.
1 1/3 cups half and half
1 teaspoon rum flavoring
While the kids help unwrap the caramels, find a medium saucepan and pour in the cream and crank up the heat to medium low. Make sure you got all 20 caramels, then add them to the cream and stir until they are completely melted. (Now is a good time to tell the kids that yes, they can eat the rest of the caramels, but only if they save you a couple.) Take it off the heat, add the rum flavoring and stir again. Good over ice cream or baked bananas, and makes a great dipping sauce for apples. This keeps very well in the fridge for about a week, but Iíve never seen it last this long. A small jar of this in a basket of red and green apples makes a very jolly gift indeed.
Next time weíll have a couple new ideas for main dishes on your holiday table, as well as some hints for dressing up leftovers so they are less likely to lurk in the back of the refrigerator until well after the New Year. Enjoy celebrating the season!
Index to Carefree Gourmet Articles
Sensations June 29, 2007
Kitty Treats June
Dog Treats April 20,
Sandwich Plan March
Wacky Ingredients March 8, 2007
January 25, 2007
Carefree Cooking 101
January 11, 2007
December 23, 2006
December 12, 2006
November 20, 2006
October 16, 2006
Apples September 22, 2006
Kids Cook July 6, 2006
Wacky Tips June 8,
Graduation May 11,
April 13, 2006
A Bit of Irish March
Crazy for Carrots
March 9, 2006
February 23, 2006
Easy Budget January
December 22, 2005
December 8, 2005
November 22, 2005
- Part 2 - October 13, 2005
September 22, 2005
September 5, 2005
Halibut and Zukes July 28, 2005
Orange Juice July 14, 2005
Happy Birthday June
Honey June 9, 2005
Picnic Dishes May 26, 2005
Celebration Salads May 12,
Kraft Foods April 21, 2005
Shrimp April 7, 2005
Carry on Airline snacks March 25,
Sandwiches March 10, 2005
Back from Vacation February 24,
Super Bowl Snack Attack
January 14, 2005
Ginger Snaps December 29, 2004
Christmas Memories -
December 12, 2004
Thanksgiving November 23, 2004
Glen and Meat October 29,
Blueberry Pie Champion
September 30, 2004
Fair Winners September 2,
Glen's Knives June 11, 2004
Aunt Aggie Tells All... May 13,
Crazy About Catsup April 29,
Carefree Clearance Special
April 8, 2004
Seattle Adventure March 26, 2004
Vegas, part 2 March 12, 2004
Vegas Wind February 12, 2004
Casserole Bonanza January 11, 2004
No Fuss Dishes
December 19, 2003
Fake and Bake Christmas
December 11, 2003